Task Force Makes Funding Decisions

Seven organizations will receive funding for the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative.

On Thursday, the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, the local organization selected to administrator Jamestown’s ESPRI program, announced the organizations that will get a share of the state funding. The organizations include Chautauqua Adult Day Care, Community Helping Hands, The Resource Center, Mental Health Association of Chautauqua County, Jamestown Community College, Jamestown Public Schools and the YMCA of Jamestown.

ESPRI was first introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s during his State of the State address last year. Jamestown was one of 16 cities in the state selected to receive $1 million in funding to participate in the poverty reduction program.

The local task force had received 13 funding application request, which totaled more than $1.8 million. The local task force has about $850,000 to funding to the local organizations who were approved for funding. Of the $1 million Jamestown was rewarded for the ESPRI program, 15 percent has gone toward the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County for administering the program. The local ESPRI administrator was eligible to use up to 20 percent of the $1 million granted by the state.

Krista Camarata, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County community impact director, said the local task force funding recommendations will now be submitted to the state for final approval, which is expected in January 2018.

“We are very excited to see this process moving forward,” she said. “It has been just over a year since the first task force meeting and we are looking forward to seeing innovative and transformative projects get up and running. We appreciate the time and effort all 13 of the applicants put into this process. We would like to thank them and the task force for working to improve our community.”

The local funding will go toward programs that will secure and retain employment; support employers and employees; educational preparation; and family and community support for employment.

The aim, or goal, of Jamestown’s ESPRI program is to reduce the number of ALICE families by 160 by 2027. ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed, which represents nearly 8,000 city households.

The point of the ESPRI program is to find transformational initiatives that are new or go further than what is currently being offered.

The Jamestown ESPRI task force consists of 27 representatives from the city, county and state government; local school district and educational organizations; nonprofit and faith-based community organizations; local businesses who employee local people; workforce service entities; economic development organizations; public safety officials; and health services providers.