Lawmakers announce plans to address poverty in Monroe County

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — One in four people in Monroe County’s suburban towns is living in poverty, and a majority of Rochester’s school children live below the poverty line. Local leaders presented some ideas Thursday to combat these statistics.

One idea is to encourage Monroe County’s low-to-moderate wage workers to use their tax refunds in profitable ways.

The mayor and the county executive stood by groups like the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative — along with the United Way of Greater Rochester — to present these ideas and more.

Deondra Dukes is a community advocate in Rochester, and she says poverty is prevalent in the city.

“How can we combat this change how can we do better a friend of mine always tells me if you knew better you do better,” Dukes said.

She says one way to help — is to increase the tax credit for working families.

“A lot of families that i know have so much to take care of during tax time such as paying overdue bills or car repairs or getting a better car,” Dukes said. “[That] is necessary for getting around to appointments or work also getting the things their children may need.”

She also supports the cash program.

It matches families with volunteers who will help them file their taxes for free, apply for tax credits, and learn how to use their refunds to build wealth.

Mayor Lovely Warren also introduced the “ROC Your Refund” program. It allows people to get part of their refund throughout the year; instead of as one lump sum.

“The goal is to encourage our workers to use their cash refund as a platform to build long term sustainable wealth,” Mayor Warren said.

Dukes she thinks change is possible.

“I do believe that Rochester has a lot of success here and i would like the impoverished people to become part of that success as well,” Dukes said.

The Anti-Poverty Initiative also talked about their policy agenda for 2020.

Some of the policies they’re supporting include parole reform, ending driver’s license suspension for unpaid feeds, and increasing funding for public transportation.

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