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Public forums to focus on tackling poverty locally

A series of forums hosted by the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County is giving residents a chance to share their ideas on combating poverty. Forum attendees will participate in focus groups, says Doris Carbonell-Medina, project director for the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative. Their feedback will be used to identify problems locally and shape solutions.

“Gone are the days where we designed projects and solutions to social problems and don’t seek input from those individuals who actually experience the problems themselves,” Carbonnell-Medina said.

She says the forums will help identify ways to address issues related to poverty, including education.

“Certainly we know the data demonstrates that the rate of graduation is disproportionate for African American and Latino children in our cities as compared to some of the success of some of the suburban school districts,” Carbonnell-Medina said.

The information and ideas collected at the forums will be used to create a plan of action to submit to the state.

“We will return to the community once we have been able to submit our action plan and we receive a response from the state, we’re going to report back to the community in 2018 and let them know about the plan that was developed,” Carbonnell-Medina said.

Four public forums are scheduled throughout June. They are scheduled as follows:

  • Saturday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to noon at Harvey Austin School, 1405 Sycamore Street, Buffalo, 14211
  • Saturday, June 10 at 2 p.m. at PUSH Community Concert at Massachusetts Avenue Park
  • Saturday, June 17 at 1 p.m. at Juneteenth Festival at Martin Luther King Jr. Park
  • Saturday, June 24 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church, 641 Masten Avenue, Buffalo, 14209