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WAER Launches 'City Limits', Yearlong Look at Poverty in Syr to Engage Community, Advance Solutions

WAER launches City Limits: A Poverty Project, a year-long initiative to examine the gripping, pervasive poverty problem facing Syracuse.  Over the course of the next year, WAER staff will tell stories about some of the impacts of poverty, how the city finds itself as the 13th most impoverished city in the nation and the myriad issues involved in trying to reduce the number of people in poverty. 

WAER Starts Year of Poverty Reporting @

Syracuse ranks first in the nation in concentrated poverty, meaning Blacks and Hispanic residents find themselves in areas where fully half their neighbors are in poverty. 

The City Limits project will be telling some of the stories of people caught in the grips of the multiple issues and challenges that define their lives – lack of safe, affordable housing; food insecurity; lack of education; poor availability or access to jobs and job training; transportation difficulties; and the need to get treatment for substance abuse or mental health issues. 

(L-R) Ocesa Keaton, Evan Weissman, Sharon Owens and Tim Penix take part in discussion on Syracuse's Poverty statistics and issues.

City Limits began with a panel discussion covering some of these issues.  The participants deal directly with the effects of poverty and research the impacts and causes.  Joining us in the conversation were:

The City Limits webpage includes podcasts on a variety of issues; several more stories will be added each month.  There’s also an interactive list of resources covering a variety of the needs of those struggling with poverty.
The goal of City Limits: A Poverty Project is to engage the community around the issue.  People might be moved to contribute to an organization or a topic, such as education, job training, improved transportation, or other.  They might find an avenue to volunteer time in order to help.  Perhaps community institutions will develop ways to collaborate around various issues and solutions.

The first podcasts on cover:

  • What is City Limits?  Hear how people are talking about the issue of poverty, some of the unflattering statistics defining the problem in the city, and perceptions and misconceptions as to why.
  • Why reducing poverty is such an elusive goal: hear about people who have struggled with poverty, their challenges  and some of the local conditions that exist that make it hard to attain a more stable, self-sufficient life.  
  • Art Delivers Hope to Syracuse Neighborhoods: How even cosmetic changes, as part of a program to bring some beauty to blighted neighborhoods, can elevate moods and attitudes for those that live there.  

.  The podcasts can also be subscribed to through Apple podcasts and Stitcher radio.  

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.