Third Annual Niagara Poverty Conference to Focus on Economic Developmentby Christian Hoffman
The Third Annual Poverty Conference, hosted by the Niagara County Coalition for Services to the Homeless, will take place on Friday, March 13 at Niagara University's Dunleavy Hall.
The theme for this year's event is "From the Ground Up: Economic Development Solutions to Alleviating Poverty." The conference will include examples of national, regional and local economic development initiatives, highlighted by keynote speakers Jeanne DuBois, Strategic Advisor for Boston's Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation (DBEDC), and Gary Wozniak of Detroit's RecoveryPark.
"Successful economic development strategies not only promote economic growth; they improve the quality of life and revitalize neighborhoods for the long term," said Robyn L. Krueger, Executive Director of Community Missions, Inc. and Homeless Coordinator for the Niagara County Coalition for Services to the Homeless. "These improvements promote reductions in poverty, unemployment and housing stability."
DBEDC focuses on affordable housing, community engagement, economic development and small business assistance within its inner-city Boston neighborhood. They engage more than 1,400 residents annually, have brought about thousands of jobs and housing units, and improved quality of life for those residing in Dorchester Bay and beyond.
Wozniak's RecoveryPark efforts have brought together a coalition of more than 125 government, education, non-profit and for-profit entities to envision a community development and large-scale metropolitan agriculture project in Detroit. Its goal is to offer insight into financially self-sustainable models and lifestyle options that end population losses in core city neighborhoods, while attracting employment opportunities to fuel further development ideas.
Following these morning addresses, the scope of the conference narrows to the Western New York region. This will include speakers from Buffalo's Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP), People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH), and Empire State Development's WNY Regional Office. The final session of the day, titled "What's Developing in Niagara County," will bring together economic development leaders from the county's three cities for a discussion on current and future initiatives.
New to the conference this year are advocacy efforts, including increased funding for homelessness and transportation, These are designed to make an impact upon key local issues beyond the day of the event. The conference will also introduce a plan to keep conversations that come out of the event going throughout the year.The event is open to the public at a cost of $20, which includes continental breakfast and lunch provided by the Catering Crew of the YWCA of Niagara. The registration deadline is March 6, though early registration is encouraged as space is limited. Registration can be completed online by visiting www.niagara.edu/povertyconference or by calling (716) 205-0287.
By The Numbers...
In 2016, Community Missions provided:
• 11,104 nights of shelter
• 89,366 meals
• 6,744 individuals with clothing
• 2,295 care days in Youth Services
• 46,888 care days in Recovery Services
• 73,994 care days in Housing Services
• 182 opportunities for Faith Development