The Binghamton-Broome Anti-Poverty Initiative (BBAPI) is a collective impact project convened by the United Way of Broome County and funded through Governor Cuomo's Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI). Binghamton-Broome is one of 16 New York State localities that received this aid based on our community's rate of poverty and income strained households. We launched this community-driven, cross-sector steering committee to assess, analyze, and innovate cooperative solutions to address the root causes and reinforcing barriers that are creating poverty across the county. The United Way opened a second satellite site office, called The Mansion, in partnership with The Salvation Temple Church on the West side of Binghamton to increase access and communications among BBAPI stakeholders, neighborhood groups, community leaders and residents. The Mansion hosts a shared office and meeting space with Broome County HEARS from the heart of an historically high-needs neighborhood, north of Main Street (NoMa) in Binghamton, where adult and childhood poverty rates are substantially higher than those for all of Broome County. With this space, this neighborhood, and these partners, United Way is turning its attention to education, mentorship, and workforce development. BBAPI's steering committee of 34 members has met eight times between January and July and has expanded into three temporary work teams organizing around three Areas of Focus: Community and Relationship Building, Workforce Development and Education, Assets and Challenges. These Areas of Focus were developed by steering committee members as a result of the topic clusters that showed both high challenges and high opportunities for leveraging existing resources with significant need.
"I’ve appreciated the sense of urgency in everyone’s voices and the optimism – the sense that solutions are to be had." - Myra Sabir, Resident
Preliminary local needs assessments between 2014-2016 indicate that 17% of Broome County residents are living below Federal Poverty income levels and an additional 26% of families are earning income from one or more jobs but still struggling to meet basic household needs—totaling 42% of Broome County residents struggling to make ends meet (United Way ALICE Report - New York). In 2016, 25% of children in Broome County and 47% of children in the City of Binghamton were living in poverty, according to Census data and Opportunities for Broome.
"I am excited to hear everyone’s ideas on how we can work together to make the changes we need to help move our community forward. I am also enjoying spreading the word to others in the community on ways they can help." - Raychelle Kendrick, Resident
Of 34 individual steering committee members, 11 members represent resident perspectives while the rest represent a spectrum of insights from employers, education, social services and basic needs, government, community advocacy, and basic needs agencies. As an expansion of the United Way support to community members, two AmeriCorps VISTAs began a full year of service working primarily from The Mansion to build resident engagement and education opportunities. BBAPI is entering its second phase this Fall after work teams present recommendations to the Steering Committee.
For more information, contact Nasha Taylor, Community Engagement Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-240-2031.