Community Needs Assessment To Be Released Soon
For the past few months, there have been several community meetings held in the city to gather information for the Jamestown Community Needs Assessment report.
The report is being prepared by the Rochester-based consulting firm Center for Governmental Research as part of Jamestown’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative program, also known as ESPRI. 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 participate in the poverty reduction program. As part of the 2016-17 state budget, the city will received $1 million in state funding for the poverty reduction initiative.
Tory Irgang, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County executive director who heads the local ESPRI task force, said officials from the Center for Governmental Research held several community listening sessions that included the YWCA; Chautauqua Striders; Love School’s Parents and Children Together program; Jamestown Housing Authority; Conduit Ministries; single parents; and city employers.
A community-wide public meeting was also held earlier this month to collect data for the Community Needs Assessment report. On May 3, around 50 people attended the community “brainstorming” meeting at the St. Susan Center, located at 31 Water St, Irgang said. She said the meeting included everyday people and community service organizations.
Irgang said the community listening sessions were held to get the “lay of the land” from several community sectors for the Community Needs Assessment report. She said the report will be presented by the Center for Governmental Research at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, at the next ESPRI task force meeting. A location has yet to be determined for the meeting. Irgang said after the report has been given to the task force, it will then be made public.
During the past couple months, community organizations that might be allocated ESPRI funds have also been meeting in community improvement theories and practice workshops. A total of five workshops will be held, with the first being held April 24 and the last scheduled for Monday, June 12.
Irgang said 18 community organizations are involved in the workshop meetings. She said each organization has been bringing several members to each of the workshops, which are mandatory for organizations and agencies planning to apply for ESPRI funding. Each workshop is interactive, with each agency sharing ideas and possible theories of change for poverty focused initiatives.
The local ESPRI task force, which was created by the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, who is the administrator of Jamestown’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative program, has been meeting since November to develop a plan for solutions to help those living in poverty in Jamestown.
The task force consist of representatives from 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.
The ESPRI task force is slated later this year to allocate funding toward transformational projects to help those living in poverty in Jamestown.