City Limits: A Poverty Project

In short, City Limits is a year-long multi-platform civic engagement project produced by WAER Public Media that examines and explores poverty in Syracuse.  It is a mix of journalism, storytelling and community convening designed to spark a community-wide dialogue between individuals, organizations, and community constituencies.  Each episode of this podcast project will challenge assumptions on poverty and highlight one of the many poverty related issues ranging from food insecurity, to economic development, to affordable housing and more.

If you like what you hear find more content from the project at CityLimitsProject.org . 

WAER News

In his state of the city address this year, Mayor Ben Walsh said Syracuse's best days aren't just around the corner, but they are in reach. The future of interstate 81, the creation of Syracuse Surge and new leadership has positioned 2019 to be a year of big changes for the Syracuse area.

On this episode of City Limits Talk, Chris Bolt and Katie Zilcosky sit down with Mayor Ben Walsh and his team to discuss how they plan to achieve their goals.


It might seem like one of the quickest ways out of poverty is a steady job.  But despite low unemployment and government-funded job training, those who need jobs the most find obstacles to getting them.  Some built-in factors get in the way but there are policies and practices that could hold promise.  In this episode of City Limits, Chris Bolt examines the role local businesses play in reducing poverty in Syracuse.


Katie Zilcosky

The Greater Syracuse HOPE Initiative has been working to make a difference in Syracuse’s poverty problem. Last year, the organization asked the community what programs they think would make an impact. From that community input, HOPE chose eleven proposals and has spent the last year developing them.

City Limits’ Katie Zilcosky sat down with Greater Syracuse HOPE’s Executive Director to talk about what changes 2018 brought to Syracuse and what is still to come.


Scott Willis/WAER News

It’s been almost a year since City Limits introduced listeners to Providence Services and some of the people who use the shuttle-to-work service.  At the time, the fledgling non-profit was  making the most of small grants and donations to take people to work who didn't have access to a car.  The goal was to help lift people out of poverty by providing transportation to better paying jobs.  In this episode of City Limits, Scott Willis checks back with Providence Services to see where things stand a year later.


There’s a demographic that might be forgotten or dismissed as part of the overall employment picture in Syracuse and Central New York, even if they make up about 20 percent of the population.  Only about three in ten people with disabilities has a job, a stark contrast to the record high levels of employment in recent months. 

That means many are living solely on government assistance, just at or below the poverty level.  In this episode of City Limits, Scott Willis explores the complicated employment puzzle for people with disabilities.  


Reproductive health often gets billed as a women’s issue in national conversation. But here in Syracuse, and increasingly across the globe, access to reproductive healthcare is a vital piece of the puzzle for finding a solution to poverty. For City Limits, Katie Zilcosky takes a closer look at why reproductive health matters when trying to alleviate poverty.


It’s been said time and time again that one of the keys to escaping poverty is steady employment. City Limit's Brian Moore continues to explore workforce development programs in Syracuse that are helping people gain skills and lasting employment. In the second episode of his series, he visits with employment programs that not just help the needy gain employment but also build a career.


Central New Yorkers may hold the misperception that Veterans in poverty and homelessness have been well taken care of and it’s no longer an issue that needs to be addressed.  Part of our City Limits Project is a series we’re calling “On the Front Lines” to shed light on individuals and organizations dealing with the causes and effects of poverty. 

John Smith met with veterans who went through the process to get essential services and housing.  In this installment, you’ll learn more about one place in Central New York providing support and connecting them to the right programs.


Scott Willis/WAER News

Those who represent and make policy for Syracuse residents on the city and county level know all to well the parts of their districts that are most impacted by poverty, right down the street and block.  But that intimate knowledge of residents' struggles also comes with limitations about what any one representative can do to help.  In this episode of City Limits, Scott Willis takes a walk with lawmakers to hear about glimmers of hope amid some considerable challenges


Chris Bolt/WAER News

More than 95% of those who go into jail or prison after being convicted and sentenced for a crime come out.  Ex inmates find barriers to work, affordable and safe housing, and dealing with mental health and possible addiction problems.   They’ve served their sentence, paid their debt to society.  Yet the prospect of poverty is all too real for those coming out.  Is this due to lack of community resources? … a built-in continued punishment even after serving their sentence?  … other personal challenges that need to be managed in order to avoid poverty, or a return to crime and more incarceration? 

Chris Bolt reports that help exists, such as a Re-entry Program through the Center for Community Alternatives in Syracuse, but it’s still a tricky road to navigate to beat poverty and the possibility of more crime and incarceration. 


Pages