State funding enables local affordable housing projects to proceed

Three local supportive, affordable housing projects were among six developments across New York that will share in $30.6 million in funding, the latest allotment from the state’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s Homeless Housing and Assistance Program.

HELP Development Corp. was awarded $7.9 million for it’s Rochester project that will create 80 units of permanent supportive housing for veterans and their families, individuals who had been incarcerated and individuals with serious mental illness or a substance use disorder.

The HHAP program is critical to allowing supportive housing developers like us to create critical and important housing,” HELP Development Corp. president David Cleghorn said in a news release. “We thank Governor (Kathy) Hochul and the dedicated staff at OTDA for their support of these projects. We would not be able to build them without these critical dollars.”

DePaul Properties, Inc. is receiving $5.5 million for construction in Rochester of 35 units of permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless as well as seniors.

“We look forward to changing even more lives for individuals in Rochester by offering housing stability for the most vulnerable populations including those who are chronically homeless and senior citizens,” DePaul president Mark Fuller said.

PathStone, in collaboration with the YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County and the Gates Presbyterian Church, has received $3.1 million for construction of 45 units of supportive housing in Gates. The facility will help individuals with a substance use disorder, serious mental illness and survivors of domestic violence and their children.

Churchview Commons will create 45 energy efficient new homes and this funding is an important milestone in addressing a need in the community and bringing the development to reality,” PathStone Corp. president and CEO Alex Castro said.

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PathStone to present event on devaluation of Black-owned homes

The PathStone Foundation will host its Provok!ng Thought event this year in a free, virtual format on Nov. 9 on the topic of “The American Dream and the Devaluation of Black Homes.”

The keynote address will be made by Andre Perry, senior fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, a scholar in residence at American University and a columnist for the Hechinger Report. His research focuses on race and structural inequity, education and economic inclusion. Perry is a regular contributor to MSNBC, and has been published by the New York Times, the Nation, Washington Post and more.

The event’s discussion will examine the impact of racial bias on homeownership opportunities. Perry’s research has identified Rochester as one of the most devalued cities for Black homeownership with an average loss of 65 percent, more than $53,000 in absolute price difference. Perry’s latest book is titled “Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities.”

Provok!ng Thought will feature a panel discussion moderated by Tiffany Manuel, president and CEO of TheCaseMade. Panelists include Robin Wilt, co-chair of the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors Black Caucus; Aqua Porter, executive director at Rochester Monroe
Anti-Poverty Initiative; Daniel Randall, vice president and community investment officer, Federal Home Loan Bank; and Arline Santiago, senior vice president and general counsel, ESL Federal Credit Union, and co-chair of the Commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE).

This is the nonprofit organization’s fifth Thought Leader event, which attracts more than 500 people. In 2018, the event featured Matthew Desmond, the author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. The following year, Bernice King presented a very strong critique and vision of her life’s work to bring out the best in all of us and follow in the footsteps of her father. Also in 2019, Richard Rothstein presented a critique of his book “The Color of Law.” Last year, the group held a virtual bankers’ panel and a keynote address by Rev. Marvin McMickle. The event addressed the question of what is required for us to become a beloved community and eradicate the structural racism that plagues our community.

To register for the event, visit

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The Rev. Marvin McMickle to speak at PathStone series

PathStone Corp. on Election Day will present its fourth Provok!ng Thought speaker series featuring the Rev. Marvin McMickle, a renowned thought leader and former president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.

McMickle will be joined by a panel of local bank leaders who will lead an interactive discussion on the impact of the economic and social disparity that confronts and challenges thousands of families living in Rochester and Monroe County.

The Rev. Marvin McMickle
The Rev. Marvin McMickle

McMickle will challenge participants to embrace the vision of “The Beloved Community,” a belief that all people can share in the wealth of the earth, popularized by Martin Luther King Jr. It is the hope for a “better and brighter future when nothing in the present world suggests that such a future is possible,” officials explained.

Panelists include Daniel Randall, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York; Faheem Masood, ESL Federal Credit Union; Marty Birmingham, Five Star Bank; and Daniel Burns, M&T Bank.

Participants in the Nov. 3 program will share ideas for how we can best work together to promote equitable opportunity, financial self-sufficiency and intergenerational wealth. Actionable recommendations for next steps will be developed following the interactive program.

Last year, author Richard Rothstein drew a crowd of 550 in Rochester when he presented on redlining as part of the PathStone Presents – Provok!ing Thought series. Other speakers have included the Rev. Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., and Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Participants can register for the free program online.

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Series available to help childcare centers reopen

PathStone Enterprise Center will team with Arkatecht beginning next week to host a three-part series to help childcare centers in the region reopen.

The Zoom-based series, which begins Aug. 8, will help childcare providers learn how using technology to become more organized can help avoid public health, legal and insurance issues, as well as how to reduce risk in their operations based on the most recent public health research. Participants also will learn how to quickly assess “the voice of the customer” to anticipate changes in demand and what that demand looks like so they can effectively operate their business during the return to school and hybrid learning model.

The free series will be facilitated by Yasmin Mattox, owner of Arkatecht.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and state Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Rochester last month to meet with local child care providers and discuss the need for critical support for the child care industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in nearly half of all child care providers shutting their doors, and the industry faces a potential loss of more than 4 million child care slots, which would leave millions of families without access to essential child care services when normal work and life schedules resume, Gillibrand and Hochul noted while visiting Ibero Early Childhood Services. Now, with communities across the state reopening, providers are struggling to implement unclear CDC guidelines.

To support the child care industry through these challenges, Gillibrand, alongside Congressman Joe Morelle, sent a letter to the CDC calling on the organization to work directly with child care stakeholders to inform and implement critical guidance that will keep children, staff, and families safe. Additionally, as the Senate negotiates the next coronavirus relief package, Gillibrand is urging Congress to invest $50 billion in federal funding to stabilize child care providers as they work to safely reopen.

“Families and providers are facing unprecedented instability and uncertainty,” Gillibrand said. “Child care providers are critical to our economy and we can’t let them face these challenges alone. To get parents back to work and care centers open, the CDC must provide clear, practical guidance and Congress must provide funding to give providers the resources needed to comply with public health guidance and keep everyone safe. These resources are essential to weather this crisis and to lay the foundation for our recovery.”

The coronavirus outbreak has decimated the child care industry and left many parents without options for daytime care. Across the nine Finger Lakes counties, at least 200 child care centers — nearly one in five — have been closed since March, Hochul and Gillibrand noted. Those able to maintain operations have been burdened by confusing CDC guidelines that were developed without input from the child care community and often conflict with state or local guidance.

To address the child care crisis exacerbated by coronavirus, Gillibrand renewed her call to create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund through the Child Care is Essential Act. The fund would provide grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector and support providers as they safely reopen and operate.

Despite the $3.5 billion in funding included in the CARES Act for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to provide childcare for frontline healthcare workers and other essential employees, recent estimates show that it would take at least $9.6 billion per month to keep current child care providers in business and ensure that providers who closed due to the pandemic are able to safely reopen.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated racial, social and gender-based inequalities that already existed in our society. Nowhere is that more present than with the child care crisis that we have struggled with for far too long,” Hochul said when she was in Rochester. “To get our economy back firing on all cylinders, the stress and cost of the child care burden on families and providers must be addressed. It is no longer an individual family’s problem, it’s a problem for our economic recovery, and it’s finally part of the national conversation.”

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YWCA to take over Sojourner Home programs

The YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County is in the final stages of absorbing many of the services of Sojourner Home, a nonprofit that has provided homeless women and children with housing, self-sufficiency skills, and education programs for more than four decades.

Angela Panzarella
Angela Panzarella

“This is a terrific opportunity to enhance and expand the services that we can offer to our community’s most vulnerable women and children,” said YWCA CEO Angela Panzarella. “We believe that our mission aligns very well with that of Sojourner and we’re honored that Sojourner is working to partner with us to carry on its legacy.”

Under the proposal, YWCA will assume certain of Sojourners’ permanent housing programs and enhance YWCA’s current programs to carry on Sojourner’s legacy of providing intensive training and support as an essential element in helping women and families recover from trauma and rebuild their lives. YWCA plans to dedicate its emergency housing program for women and families as the “Sojourner House of Strength at the YWCA.”

The partnership with the YWCA is a key element of a comprehensive plan by Sojourner Home to realign its resources and services to better serve the Rochester community.

Since 2009, Sojourner Home has been affiliated with PathStone Corp., a Rochester-based not-for-profit community development and human service organization. Four years ago, PathStone brought Sojourner’s programs and services together with those of Wilson Commencement Park, which shared Sojourner’s mission of serving women and families in the Rochester community, under a new organization, Sojourner Home. Now that Sojourner Home is again an independent organization, Wilson Commencement Park will continue to operate as an affiliate of PathStone.

Shelby Stenson
Shelby Stenson

“From Sojourner’s perspective this is something that we started looking at last summer in our affiliation with PathStone and our future,” said Sojourner board Chair Shelby Stenson. “The mission of both organizations are so well aligned it makes sense, and we’re just fortunate that the YWCA can help us continue on with the Sojourner legacy.”

Under the plan, Sojourner Home will close its Millbank Street location and is working with the city to determine the best use for that property. Proceeds from the sale of the property will be added to Sojourner’s endowment fund to enhance the programming offered at the YWCA. Sojourner Home had 10 to 15 staffers that either moved to other positions within PathStone or at other organizations, Stenson said.

“We and the board of Sojourner Home looked at many options to make sure the services offered by Sojourner could be maintained and expanded,” said PathStone CEO Alex Castro. “The YWCA was an obvious partner who could support these critical needs of women and children, and who could evolve the services offered as well.”

With Sojourner under its umbrella, the YWCA will be able to help an additional 100 families, Panzarella said.

“What we’re exploring with them when we can finalize all the pieces will be an opportunity for us to expand our portfolio of services, and with some of the resources that Sojourner can provide from their endowments and the like, we also have the opportunity to enhance some of the skills training, some of the children’s programs, some other services we hope to be able to expand and enhance for our clients,” she said. “Throughout the community, we serve at any one time probably a few hundred families in the Rochester community, and we’re very excited about the opportunity to expand our portfolio and to bring some additional services to our clients.”

During Sojourner’s 40 years in Rochester, more than 2,700 families have been served, making it one of the most impactful and longest-running poverty interruption and women/children support programs in Rochester. Its mission and purpose are to give women and families the tools they need to recover from trauma and build stable, self-sufficient lives.

The YWCA helps women and girls who are faced with personal crises, including experiencing homelessness and young adult pregnancy. It also works to dispel stereotypes and promote racial equity. The organization has served the needs of the Rochester community for nearly 140 years.

“This is a strong example of local nonprofits playing to their strengths and ensuring the mission is at the center of decision-making,” says Jaime Saunders, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester Inc., an organization that supports a broad network of human service organizations. “This partnership builds on the foundation of Sojourner and the services at the YWCA to serve women and children. United Way’s Synergy Fund is a key resource to support such thoughtful and strategic partnerships to improve efficiency and better serve their clients and our community.”

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Housing Council at PathStone names new director

The Housing Council at PathStone has selected an 11-year veteran of the agency as its new executive director.

Mary Leo
Mary Leo

Mary Leo previously served as senior director of housing counseling services since 2018 and director of homeownership programs & program compliance officer since 2015.

“As a board, many of us have worked with Mary over the past 11 years and have seen her grow into several leadership roles. Mary’s passion for the programs and services which the Housing Council at PathStone offers is illustrated in her accomplishments, team approach with her peers, relationship with partners and continued vision for the organization,” said Orlando Ortiz, the organization’s board chairman. “I’m very excited and look forward to working with and supporting Mary and the entire Housing Council staff as we navigate through the transition period and beyond.”

Leo joined the organization in 2009 as a counselor in foreclosure prevention and reverse mortgages. She brings experience in foreclosure prevention, homeownership and financial education, program compliance and more to the role.

Leo previously chaired the engagement committee of the United Way of Greater Rochester’s Emerging Leaders program and is a part of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Inc.’s Women’s Council and the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative’s public policy working group and housing sub-committee.

“It is an honor to have been selected as the next executive director of the Housing Council at PathStone as we begin to celebrate our 50-year legacy serving the community. The incredible partnership of our funders, the dedication of our passionate team and the resolute leadership of our board of directors inspire me to find innovative solutions to the unprecedented housing challenges we are facing,” Leo said. “I am excited to share the new tools The Housing Council at PathStone is developing to assist tenants, homeowners and landlords achieve their vision of home.”

Leo takes the reins from Sue Boss, who had served as both executive director and as senior vice president of housing services at PathStone since 2012.

“It has been an honor to serve as the executive director for the Housing Council for the last eight years and seeing Mary grow in her various roles. I am excited for the future as Mary makes the transition into leading the agency,” Boss said. Boss will continue to have oversight of the affiliate in her current position.

PathStone is a Rochester-based nonprofit community development and human services organization that provides services to low-income families and economically distressed communities throughout New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, Vermont and Puerto Rico. It is a NeighborWorks America Chartered Organization and a certified Community Development Financial Institution.

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NYSERDA and PathStone part of economic recovery project in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is getting a $4.5 million boost in its economic development arm, with a public-private project aimed at accelerating solar business on the island.

The package involves $3.8 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to train workers in solar energy, as well as energy storage and construction. Additional funds come from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, PathStone, and the Solar Foundation.

The project follows previous efforts by the state, under the leadership of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated the island along with much of its power transmission system.

“This collaborative program will equip Puerto Rican businesses and workers with the innovative training and tools necessary to build a more resilient Island that is prepared to face 21st century climate challenges,” said Alicia Barton, CEO and president of NYSERDA.
PathStone, which is based in Rochester but whose economic development programs reach several states and Puerto Rico, “has managed to help hundreds of business owners and individuals in Puerto Rico to improve economic self-sufficiency and quality of life of individuals and communities through entrepreneurial training, technical assistance, financing access as well as workforce development activities,” said Alex Castro, COO of PathStone. The program will operate out of PathStone’s offices in Ponce.

NYSERDA’s $30,000 contribution will help pay for instructors from the State University of New York to train Puerto Rican businesses and workers in the solar field for a year.

Other components of the program include developing a Puerto Rican Solar Accelerator to help improve financing, create a workforce pipeline and develop two solar and storage microgrid demonstration projects.  Additionally, the program provides technical assistance to indigenous businesses so they can play a role in the redevelopment of Puerto Rico.

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Annual homelessness event scheduled for Tuesday

Blue Cross Arena on Tuesday, Oct. 15 will again host the 10th annual Project Homeless Connect Rochester, an event that helps bring services to Rochester’s homeless population.

PHCR will serve as a one-stop-shop event, featuring services that include legal assistance, health and medical screenings, mental health assessments, veterans services, housing services, haircuts, services for youth, substance use recovery services and education and employment information.

The event will serve both homeless individuals and those at risk of becoming homeless.

“A major goal for this event is to reduce barriers for individuals to access necessary services,” said Kathryn Bryan, PathStone Corp.’s senior vice president of property management. “Having numerous agencies under one roof, participants are able to complete many steps toward self-sufficiency, which would otherwise take weeks to accomplish.”

The event is a necessity in the Rochester area, Bryan added.

“At the end of the day, everyone leaves the event feeling a sense of accomplishment,” she said. “This goes for participants, service providers, volunteers and organizers.”

More than 2,500 volunteers have donated their time and effort to PHCR since its inaugural event in 2009. Last year’s event helped more than 1,050 individuals seek services, officials said. At each event, the goal is to provide as many services as possible in one location, so that people can get done in one day what it otherwise might take many to accomplish.

YourCare Health Plan, a Monroe Plan Co., is the all-day event’s premium sponsor.

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PathStone announces succession plan; Mitchell to lead foundation

PathStone Corp. Inc. leader Stuart Mitchell plans to transition out of his CEO role and take on the new role of executive director of the PathStone Foundation, the nonprofit organization said Oct. 10. Mitchell will be replaced by company COO Alex Castro on April 1, 2020.

Alex Castro
Alex Castro

“The board is confident PathStone’s future is bright under Alex’s leadership for a number of reasons,” board Chairwoman Arlene Wilson said in a statement. “We worked diligently for the past three years to ensure a smooth transition, and in Alex we have somone who really knows the issues, our work and the people we serve.”

Castro joined PathStone in 2015 as senior vice president of operations and was appointed chief operating officer last year. He brings to the role experience in real estate development, property management, housing and direct services that expands from New York to Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Vermont and Virginia.

“This transition will be seamless because of Alex’s strong working relationship with Stuart and his track record of addressing poverty at PathStone and as the top executive for other nonprofits,” Wilson said.

Castro leads from experience and a past connection to the agency he now will run. When he arrived in Rochester from Puerto Rico in the 1990s, he was a resident of PathStone’s Andrews Terrace building. Castro also served as executive direct of the Housing Council, which later became part of PathStone.

Founded in 1969, PathStone’s mission is to build individual and family economic and social self-sufficiency by providing services designed to create opportunities for low-income individuals and families. The organization serves some 40,000 people across seven states and has a staff of more than 600.

Stuart Mitchell
Stuart Mitchell

“I am excited for the future of this organization and humbled by the responsibility of picking up where Stuart is leaving off,” Castro said. “He’s been extraordinarily generous with his time and accumulated wisdom, and I am so glad he has agreed to focus his next chapter on helping connect supporters to our mission.”

In his new role, Mitchell will be responsible for fundraising on behalf of the organization’s mission. He will have the opportunity to connect potential supports to PathStone’s mission and fill in funding gaps that limit services.

“I am certain Alex is the right leader for PathStone right now,” Mitchell said. “The board has set PathStone up for continued success and I am happy to be able to support the work in a new way, starting in April.”

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Homelessness tackled by hundreds at symposium

More than 6,100 people experience homelessness annually in Monroe County, and on any given day, 850 people are without a home to call their own.

Speakers and organizers of the 15th Western New York Homeless Symposium (Photo by Velvet Spicer)
Speakers and organizers of the 15th Western New York Homeless Symposium (Photo by Velvet Spicer)

“While these numbers are staggering, they do not include all the people who are experiencing housing instability: people who are doubled up, people who are paying well in excess of 30 percent of their income for housing,” said Connie Sanderson, executive director of Partners Ending Homelessness, formerly Continuum of Care. “We need to work as partners to reduce barriers to accessing housing. We need to support efforts to create additional affordable housing resources in the community, and support other community initiatives that are addressing poverty, living wages, timely access to healthcare and treatment, just to name a few.”

Sanderson’s message was delivered Tuesday to hundreds of business and organizational leaders, and those on the front lines of the homelessness crisis in the area during the 15th annual Western New York Homeless Symposium – Bridges: From Barriers to Solutions. Hosted by the Homeless Services Network—a 60-member network composed of providers and agencies that offer services to homeless individuals—and held at Rochester’s Hyatt Regency downtown, attendees at the full-day event heard from a number of speakers on topics ranging from coordinating programs and services to end homelessness to opiate trends and serving those who served our country.

“At the center, we say it’s not how you stand, it’s the stand you take,” said Elaine Spaull, executive director of the Center for Youth and city councilwoman. “Remember, you may be the only person who believes in a homeless person. You may be the only person who looks at them and says you matter to me. You are a human being and you matter to me. That’s what it takes.”

Channeling noted author and Economic Policy Institute Fellow Richard Rothstein—who spoke in Rochester this summer on how government practices, including redlining, created and continue to maintain segregated neighborhoods—PathStone Corp. CEO Stuart Mitchell noted the importance of learning about Rochester’s historic segregation when confronting homelessness.

“As we think about what we’re working on today, I think we also have to think about how it is that we became the segregated communities we are today,” Mitchell said in his welcome speech. “Let’s also take time to think about those structures, those systems, the ways in which we have created barriers.”

“This problem stares us in the face. It transcends bricks and mortar. It defies easy solutions and requires a comprehensive approach,” keynote speaker Richard Dollinger said. “Only with this approach can we begin to restore in the minds of individuals a sense that they too have a place to call home.” (Photo by Velvet Spicer)
“This problem stares us in the face. It transcends bricks and mortar. It defies easy solutions and requires a comprehensive approach,” keynote speaker Richard Dollinger said. “Only with this approach can we begin to restore in the minds of individuals a sense that they too have a place to call home.”
(Photo by Velvet Spicer)

The event’s keynote speaker, Judge Richard Dollinger, pointed to our long history of recognizing the importance of home: from stories in the Bible to literature to Dorothy’s credo in “The Wizard of Oz” that “there’s no place like home.”

“In short, home is among the most powerful images in our culture and who we consider ourselves. And regardless of our race, creed, color, national origin or any other factor, we all recognize that home is where your heart is,” Dollinger told the audience. “With all of these powerful, life-sustaining images, how is it that we, the culture that celebrates home, tolerate homelessness?”

Homelessness, Dollinger said, is not just about place, a shelter, a roof over someone’s head, a meal in the morning and a smile before going to bed.

“All of these gestures are critically important and they are part of shaping our response to this national tragedy. But the real issue is that homelessness, in my view, is about identity, and how individuals from all walks of life can find that identity ebbing away in their lives until they no longer recall, remember or even envision what a home is all about,” he explained.

Tuesday’s event was sponsored by several local organizations including Partners Ending Homelessness, the Center for Youth, Coordinated Care Services Inc., PathStone and others. Some 20 workshops were offered for program staff, management and consumers.

Dollinger said more families experience homelessness nationwide than in any other industrialized nation, by some estimates 500,000 annually. A typical homeless family is composed of a single mother and her two young children, he noted. One in 30 American children experience homelessness annually, and 51 percent are under the age of five.

“This problem stares us in the face. It transcends bricks and mortar. It defies easy solutions and requires a comprehensive approach,” Dollinger said. “Only with this approach can we begin to restore in the minds of individuals a sense that they too have a place to call home.”

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Anti-poverty center of discussion here on funding re-authorization

A national anti-poverty expert spent time in Rochester this week, learning about the region’s efforts to move people from poverty to self-sufficiency.

From left to right: Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, David Bradley, Jerome Underwood and U.S. Rep. Joseph Morelle (Photo by Velvet Spicer)
From left, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, David Bradley, Jerome Underwood and U.S. Rep. Joseph Morelle. (Photo by Velvet Spicer)

David Bradley, CEO of the National Community Action Foundation and author of the Community Services Block Grant, or H.R. 1695, joined U.S. Rep. Joseph Morelle, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Action for a Better Community Director Jerome Underwood, PathStone Corp. CEO Stuart Mitchell and others Tuesday to discuss reauthorization of the bill, which provides direct funding to communities like Rochester to develop evidenced-based, innovative, locally focused programs.

CSBG also emphasizes the coordination and effective use of local resources, supporting existing efforts to move Rochester’s siloed social services providers into a more collaborative, family-friendly and integrated network. The bill has not been reauthorized since 1998. Morelle has since added his name to the bill.

CSBG has provided flexible funding to community action agencies to address the causes and conditions of poverty at the local level. It is the smallest federal block grant program at just over $725 million. That represents 0.015 percent of the federal budget.

ABC is part of the national network of community action agencies, authorized by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, Underwood noted, the impetus for Bradley’s visit.

“The reason what you do in Rochester is so important is that you absolutely are ground zero of what we expect out of CSBG, what we expect out of this community action network,” Bradley said to a packed room of nonprofit and community leaders. “What we’re trying to do in Congress—during a strange time in D.C. these days, sort of surreal—is capitalize on the fact that a majority in both parties, a strong majority, support the work of agencies like ABC, support the Community Services Block Grant, support doing things for their community, support the partnerships that this program fosters and support a lot of the other safeguards that we put into this legislation.”

Bradley said it is an exciting time to be involved with poverty programs in the community, chiefly community action agencies and their particular focus on poverty. What Bradley and his cohorts are trying to do through the reauthorization of CSBG is exert local decision-making, local flexibility and local partnerships.

“Second, we want to reward partnerships, whether they be foundations or the private sector or universities. We’ve got a lot of partnerships out there that we want to foster,” he added. “Third, which is very important to this program in this time period, we want to show off that we have accountability, transparency, outcomes, performance measures. There are some out there that still view the (community action agency) program as the one that started in 1964.”

Audience members included Leonard Brock, who leads the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative; Marlene Bessette, president and CEO of Catholic Family Center; former Mayor William Johnson; Jaime Saunders, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester Inc.; as well as representatives from the William and Sheila Konar Foundation, Farash Foundation, Greater Rochester Health Foundation and many others.

“It does seem at times like there is a war on poverty and poverty is winning,” Morelle said. “One of the things I wanted to highlight is the work that’s being done around integrating service delivery in this community, trying to make sure we really start to look at in this community how to make sure that we integrate education, health and social services.”

Morelle also noted his frustration over the “siloed” aspect of poverty-reduction services but pointed to the “great people” over the last several years who have been working in that regard.

“A collaborative effort and action is required in order for us to move out of poverty,” Underwood said. “All of us in the human services field and in education and health better be closely aligned so that in our network we have a “no wrong door” policy, where anywhere you walk you can get the same level (of service) and attention to detail.”

Underwood cautioned patience in regard to seeing the needle on poverty move.

“We’re talking about evidence-based practices and unfortunately the level of poverty and the concentration of poverty in Rochester is not going to just move in two months or two years,” Underwood explained. “The best evidence-based programs tell us it’s five to 10. So part of our job as community service providers is to do the work, but also inform and ask people to be patient.”

ABC board Chairman Brad Rye noted a number of words and phrases that were repeated during Tuesday’s discussion: innovation, outcomes, results, partnerships, collaboration, experimentation, transparency and others.

“That’s describing what community action is all about. It’s describing the many tenets and principles that are part of the bill,” Rye said. “But it’s really also describing what all of us in this room are doing every day, the teams that we’re a part of, the organizations that we’re a part of, to really move the needle in our efforts here in the Rochester community.”

Warren said when we talk about Rochester we often hear about its challenges.

“But I want to talk about our great opportunities,” she said. “There’s not a military drone in the sky that doesn’t have part of Rochester in it. There’s not a cellphone that you can use that doesn’t have part of Rochester in it. There’s not a plane that leaves the tarmac that doesn’t have part of Rochester in it. There’s not a grocery store or store that you can walk in that doesn’t have part of our city in it. We are, and have been, a city that has created great opportunities for the world, and we will continue to do so as long as we’re working together, making sure that we’re educating our families and making sure that we’re creating job opportunities for everyone to lift themselves out of poverty.”

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Pathstone, celebrity bartenders to raise money for Puerto Rico

PathStone Corp. is partnering with a local restaurant to raise money for Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria.

Ten area business and community leaders will serve as celebrity guest bartenders at City Grill Thursday, including Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. Other famous faces include PathStone President and CEO Stuart Mitchell, 13WHAM’s Jennifer Johnson and 10NBC/WHEC’s Samantha LaRocca.

The event will raise funds for PathStone’s Puerto Rico Disaster Recovery Fund and will help rebuild Puerto Rico and the lives of those affected by Hurricane Maria. PathStone also will collect canned and dry goods to be distributed by Ibero American Action League Inc. to families in Rochester who were displaced by the disaster.

The event will be held Jan. 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. in City Grill’s main bar area.

PathStone is a private, nonprofit community development and human service agency serving seven states and Puerto Rico.

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