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Strategies for easing poverty explored at conference

A conference that aims to reduce poverty in Niagara and Erie counties began Friday morning.

More than 170 people were expected to attend the day-long conference at the Niagara Falls Housing Authority’s Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building. The theme of the fifth annual conference was inspired by a white paper called “Poverty Interrupted.”

“The focus is on a two-generation approach to alleviating poverty, simultaneously working with vulnerable

adults and children to break them out of the cycle of poverty,” said Christian Hoffman, Communications & Development Manager at Community Missions of Niagara Frontier.

Morning sessions were expected to include a funders’ roundtable comprised of numerous entities that have been involved in anti-poverty initiatives. The organizations included the Key Bank Foundation, the Health Foundation of Western & Central New York and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

Afternoon sessions planned to focus on will the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative and local projects that are designed to ease poverty in the region.

Hoffman, who serves as co-chair of the Niagara County Poverty Conference,  said the goal is explore different approaches to tackling the problem.

“We really try to focus this as a solution-based conference,” He said. “We don’t just sit around and talk about the problems about Niagara County around poverty, but really look to bring in different solutions that we have seen.”Experts note that poverty rates in some Western New York communities remain high.

“[In] Buffalo, right around a third of individuals are living below the poverty line. That is a little bit less here in Niagara Falls, but it is certainly substantial. At least one of every four individuals in Niagara Falls is living below the poverty line,” Hoffman said.

The YWCA of Niagara’s Catering Crew, an organization devoted to helping woman become economically self-sufficient, provided meals for conference attendees.

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