Democrat & Chronicle: Catholic Family Center to lead anti-poverty pilot
Sep 9, 2016
RMAPI selected two types of mentoring approaches — one using a peer approach and the other using professional mentors — and put out a request for organizations to lead a project that would compare the models. A total of 300 families — 150 in each program — will be enrolled. Based on what the participants need, services such as childhood or social support would be provided.
By Patti Singer , @PattiSingerRoc 10:16 a.m. EDT September 9, 2016
As president of the Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition, Kyle Crandall has been hearing for a while about plans to help families find their way out of poverty.
Talk is moving closer to action with the announcement Thursday by the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative that Catholic Family Center will lead a two-year adult mentoring pilot that is expected to start next month.
“We’re definitely excited to know that a lot of the vision we’ve heard for several months looks like it actually will start to get feet on the ground, and start to become real for some families in the neighborhood,” Crandall said.
Catholic Family Center, selected through a competitive process, will work with Community Place of Greater Rochester and Action for a Better Community to implement two evidence-based model programs. Catholic Family Center will be responsible documenting and providing information to an independent evaluator.
The project will be in the Beechwood, Marketview Heights and EMMA neighborhoods in the northeast part of Rochester.
RMAPI director Leonard Brock said the exact starting date depends on when funding is secured. He said the project will cost $2.9 million for 27 months, and the money is expected to come from the $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative won by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and from private sources such as foundations; but he declined to name specific donors. The Regional Council has recommended the state approve the project.
RMAPI, part of the United Way of Greater Rochester, was announced in January 2015 and is a collaboration of government, business, health care, faith groups and individuals who live in poverty. RMAPI has set a goal of reducing poverty by 50 percent over 15 years.
“There’s been significant pressure from some people to do something,” Brock said. “But we’ve been doing stuff. The question becomes how are we communicating the work we’ve been doing.”
James Norman, president and chief executive officer of Action for a Better Community, said this is the first concrete project that people can associate with the poverty initiative.
“They’ve only heard RMAPI, RMAPI, RMAPI, but it didn’t mean anything until now,” he said. “This is the first boots on the ground project.”
Participants share ideas at a Rochester-Monroe Anti-PovertyBuy Photo Participants share ideas at a Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative forum last July. The need for adult mentoring, which will be implemented this fall in three northeast neighborhoods, came from events such as this. (Photo: Patti Singer/File photo 2015.) Since being hired in June 2015, Brock has met with people in poverty and the agencies that serve them, identifying issues that prevent progress.
Repeatedly, he heard that helping adults get and keep jobs was the main problem facing individuals and families in poverty. RMAPI selected two types of mentoring approaches — one using a peer approach and the other using professional mentors — and put out a request for organizations to lead a project that would compare the models. A total of 300 families — 150 in each program — will be enrolled. Based on what the participants need, services such as childhood or social support would be provided.
Catholic Family Center was selected in July. Marlene Bessette, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Family Center, said that until the funding was finalized, her organization focused on developing its implementation plan following the templates of the Family Independence Initiative and the Crittendon Women’s Union Mobility Mentoring project.
Now that RMAPI has gone public with Catholic Family in the lead, Bessette said her organization can start to meet with neighborhood groups even without actual dollars in hand.
“We wouldn’t yet start recruiting any participants,” she said, “but we’re comfortable enough with the encouragement that we’ve received from everyone that this will be funded, that we’ll start talking to some other community partners in that neighborhood and get their feedback on the most effective way to actually get the word out and get people applying for slots in the mentoring program.”
PSINGER@Gannett.com Democrat and Chronicle