Leaders of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative say they are pleased to see Governor Andrew Cuomo taking a lead on poverty related initiatives he mentioned in his State of the State Address last week.
Ann Johnson, Senior Director ACT Rochester, said poverty is complex, and there is no single solution to the problem, but Cuomo’s 2018 goals in workforce development and monetary bail were promising.
"If you look at someone in poverty who has that challenge, they just keep digging a deeper and deeper challenge, to not only pay off bail but to be with their families."
Johnson mentioned the 2017 address that implemented Raise the Age limits, keeping 16 and 17 year olds out of adult prisons, saying that has been a significant change in the last year in terms of poverty and criminal justice reform.
But an editorial in the Democrat and Chronicle Sunday called for a "reset" of the anti-poverty initiative, saying more can be done both by RMAPI and the state. Johnson said that’s not always the best move.
"When you say the word reset, you’ve got to decide why you’re resetting. Any time you change something that’s moving in a particular direction, it’s disruptive. And often you lose momentum."
Johnson said a year ago, RMAPI focused on a reset with a consultant that was focused on the collective impact of the initiative. She said she wouldn't want to see more changes until the results of that work is understood.