City Limits

Katie Zilcosky

On Syracuse's Southside, a 3 acre urban farm is growing fresh produce on the former site of nearly abandoned apartments. While Brady Farm sits in an area of high concentrated poverty, it's working towards change in more ways than just supplying accessible and affordable food. As a part of City Limits' series "On the Front Lines," Katie Zilcosky spent the day at Brady Farm learning about its larger goal.

"On The Front Lines" is made possible by the Central New York Community Foundation. 


Scott Willis/WAER News

Syracuse’s high poverty rate means many households don’t own or have access to a car.  That can limit job searches to areas reached by foot, bike, bus, or a combination of the three, making it difficult for someone in poverty to find work.  

In this episode of City Limits Scott Willis explores how the area’s transit system and infrastructure works for those trying to get around without a car, and ways they might be improved.


The USDA estimates that there are 45 million people in America using SNAP.  City Limits Katie Zilcosky examines how proposed changes to the food nutrition program will impact local families, food security, and agriculture in our region.

In 2017, there were some 798 homeless in the greater Syracuse area living in emergency shelters or transitional housing.  Many were unsheltered.  This episode of City Limits on the Front Lines, supported by the Central New York Community Foundation, is a story of personal redemption, shared responsibility, and the power of community. 

Joe Lee joined Al-Amin Muhammad, once a homeless statistic himself, and a dedicated core of volunteers one Saturday morning as they set out to change lives one sandwich at a time.

Increasingly public schools have to do far more for children than teach reading, math and other subjects.  They’ve become the first line of defense against poverty for the school kids and their families.  Services from nutrition and health, to housing, child care and mental health have become necessities for schools to handle – if they want the students to be in school and prepared to learn. 

WAER’s Chris Bolt spent some time in Franklin Elementary School and found out school social workers are an indispensable link between poverty and school success.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Nearly two dozen agencies across Central New York have been selected to receive a combined $14 million  over five years to address poverty in the region.  The funding comes from a pot of $50 million designated for solely that purpose under the Governor Cuomo’s Upstate Revitalization initiative.  

Onondaga County is the lead agency of the 24-member Alliance for Economic Inclusion.  County Executive Joanie Mahoney says everyone came to the table and prioritized which agencies and services could have the biggest impact.

The numbers are staggering.  On any given day, about 25 Syracuse residents are forced to pack up their belongings and find another place to live.  They’re among the 8,000 to 11,000 renters who are evicted every year in Syracuse.  That’s the highest rate in upstate New York.  Why evictions are so prevalent?  Where can people turn for help? 

Throughout the early stages of City Limits, we have briefly discussed the concept of food insecurity. How do families living in poverty function day to day when they are unsure of how they will obtain their next meal?

For those struggling with poverty entering into a legal dispute is not only a challenge but it could also become nearly impossible. Ranging from evictions, divorce, and court hearings without the means to acquire legal assistance some are left to fend for themselves and they might not be equipped to do so adequately. 

Recently WAER held a City Limits Talk round table discussion centered around the topic of legal assistance and how it is impacting poverty in Syracuse. The discussion was moderated by WAER's News Director Chris Bolt.

The City Limits Talk panel included-

Those in our community who are unemployed or underemployed face a daily challenge of surviving from one day to the next and struggle to meet basic needs like food and shelter.  Who is there to catch them when they fall?  In this episode of City Limits, Brian Moore examines important safety net programs, challenges assumptions about who uses them, and the local impact from national policy-making.


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