poverty

Scott Willis/WAER News

More than 900 Syracuse City school children will be going home with a backpack full of food every weekend thanks to a program that aims to fill gaps in hunger for under resourced families.  It’s called “Blessings in a Backpack,” which has grown this year to include five schools. 


Health care isn't always a priority if you're homeless or in poverty.  Many don't have access to care or can't afford it.  But there's a collaborative effort to help some organizations fill gaps in care by offering medical and mental health services in locations you might not expect.  In this episode of City Limits, Scott Willis profiles two programs that aim to put people on a path to recovery...and perhaps out of poverty.  


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.


Kevin Fitzpatrick/WAER News

Four hundred families in Syracuse will have a bit of an easier time getting their kids to school fed and ready to learn this year thanks to a partnership between Feed the Children and PriceRite. The Feeding Minds and Bodies campaign is offering crucial food, personal care, and school supplies to 100 families in need from each of the City school district’s four middle schools. 


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? 

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