Lately, I’ve been sharing with people my experience growing up. When I was a child, my family struggled with housing insecurity. I now have two Master’s Degrees, a Law Degree, and a career in County Government, but I was the face of child poverty growing up.
And sadly, things haven’t improved all that much. According to recent U.S. Census data, 16.3% of Ulster County children under the age of 18 are living in poverty. We must do more than just provide families benefits by creating an in-depth and transformational support model designed to help them break the recurring cycle of generational poverty.
If I become your next Ulster County Executive, here’s my plan to do just that:
- Create an interdisciplinary team of cross-sector professionals who will work close in and one-on-one with families living in poverty to provide an in-depth assessment of challenges and barriers, including housing, transportation, education, job skills and more to determine exactly the services and support that are needed how to make small and achievable steps that can lead up to big change.
- Leverage community-wide resources, including Ulster Community College, BOCES, the UC Office of Employment and Training, Ulster County Area Transit, private sector employers and more to help families obtain the job skills, education, and other life resources needed to improve health, and obtain good-paying jobs with benefits.
- Engage community partners, utilizing our collective resources to remove barriers that hold people and families back, including access to housing, education, and transportation.
- Long-term commitment to provide support and resources, to ensure that families coming out of poverty are able to continue to thrive.
No child in Ulster County should live and grow up in poverty when there are resources available to help. But too many families who are struggling for daily survival are unaware of the programs, services and resources that exist in our community, and struggle to access them. This model will offer greater access to the support families living in poverty need to move beyond survival, and thrive.