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Projects Funded Through Empire State Poverty Reduction In Elmira Announced

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced five projects to be funded under the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative in Elmira. The $800,000 award will help to provide Elmira residents with job training and resources, promote business opportunities for entrepreneurs, and allow greater access to affordable housing through upgrades to multi-family units. These projects are a direct result of ESPRI, the Governor's $25 million initiative to help 16 communities develop locally-driven strategies to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity for all New Yorkers. 

"By empowering communities to connect people with opportunities that help them move on a path of economic independence, New York is taking the fight against poverty head on," Governor Cuomo said. "I am confident that these programs will deliver results and help Elmira residents access resources that can help them thrive." 

Shortly after the Governor announced the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative in 2016, Albany, Binghamton, the Bronx, Buffalo, Elmira, Hempstead, Jamestown, Newburgh, Niagara Falls, Oneonta, Oswego, Syracuse, Troy, Utica and Watertown joined Rochester by developing local task forces to oversee community efforts and administer state funding. These task forces worked to identify high-need areas and develop recommendations for investments and other changes to reduce the number of individuals living in poverty, and are now beginning to implement these poverty reduction plans through ESPRI funding. 

In Elmira, the local task force has focused its efforts on a target area that includes the same neighborhoods as the city's Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The Governor's Downtown Revitalization Initiative works to transform downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families. In 2017, Elmira was awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community's vision for revitalization. 

The five poverty reduction programs approved for funding in Elmira are: 

  • Chemung County Department of Social Services, $255,000 - Funding will be used to hire three "community navigators" who will be based at the Transformation Center, Frontline Community and Youth Center, and the Economic Opportunity Program to help people easily access services they are eligible for. Volunteers will also be trained to supplement efforts in each neighborhood. Additionally, hours will be extended at the Elmira Job Center to provide training and guidance to help residents become employed in fields that are in demand.
  • Southern Tier Economic Growth, $200,000 - A grant fund for entrepreneurs and small business owners has been created to foster new business development in the target neighborhoods.
  • Southern Tier Economic Growth, $275,000 - The "ESPRI Housing Revitalization Gap Fund" has been created to help address the need for safe and affordable rental housing by providing grants to upgrade multi-family housing units.
  • Arbor Housing and Development, $50,000 - Arbor Housing will administer the housing revitalization fund and will also work with property developers to line up comprehensive and viable financing strategies that leverage all available local, state and federal resources.
  • Chemung County Chamber of Commerce, $20,000 - Funding will support the new Entrepreneur Mentoring and Networking Program to help participants learn about budgets, financing, advertising, business operations; as well as, establishing a network and support system of local business owners. 

"Through ESPRI, Governor Cuomo has empowered local residents and stakeholders to work together to develop and execute a plan that harnesses opportunities that will assist in reducing poverty in Elmira," said Elmira Mayor Dan Mandell. "These efforts will complement those already underway thanks to the Governor's Downtown Revitalization Initiative." 

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