Brooklyn partnership launches poverty reduction program
by Jess Berry
Feb 04, 2015 | 5548 views | 0 0 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, community development corporation Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) formally launched Stronger Together, a new program aimed at reducing poverty in Red Hook and Gowanus.

The program is a partnership led by FAC in collaboration with Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, Red Hook Initiative and Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation.

The organizations will work together to provide services like free job training and placement, adult education services, legal advice, financial coaching, benefits counseling and tax preparation.

The services are funded through the Capital Change Fund, a group of 17 major New York City funders developing data-driven strategies that alleviate poverty in low-income neighborhoods. The fund has provided $1 million over the next four years for the Stronger Together program.

During that time, it is expected that Stronger Together will serve more than 1,200 adults living in poverty in NYCHA developments in Red Hook and Gowanus.

“Fifth Avenue Committee and our Stronger Together partners are deeply committed to advancing equity and lifting people out of poverty in Red Hook and Gowanus,” said Michelle de la Uz, executive director of FAC.

Yannerys Castillo, the coordinator of Stronger Together, said that she feels these services will be particularly beneficial in the communities the program will serve.

“ I think anyone would benefit, but targeted to this specific population, I don’t know how well they’ve been able to access these services, so knowing that we’re right around the corner I think we’re going to have a great impact,” she said.

Funding also came from the Brooklyn delegation of the City Council, which allocated $77,500 to support Stronger Together during its first year.

Councilmen Carlos Menchaca and Brad Lander joined FAC and their partners at the formal announcement of the program.

Lander noted that poverty persists in Gowanus, despite its recent development boom.

“Unfortunately the benefits of growth and development are not shared equally,” Lander said.

Menchaca said that through Stronger Together, the partner organizations “have created a space where people in our local communities will have a fighting chance to get the jobs — and the lives — that they deserve.”

“This model can serve to meet the needs of communities from across our City concerned with unemployment, lack of education and lack of access to a higher quality of life,” he added.

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