Left, the Rev. Amy Rohler, Community Helping Hands director, and Tory Irgang, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County executive director, during the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative task force meeting Wednesday at Community Helping Hands, which is located at the Gateway Center at 31 Water St. Community Helping Hands officials provide emergency assistance to local families in need of clothing, household items and furniture and they also operate a youth/family center on the second floor of the Gateway Center. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips
For the past few months, there have been several community meetings held in the city to gather information for the Jamestown Community Needs Assessment report.
The report is being prepared by the Rochester-based consulting firm Center for Governmental Research as part of Jamestown’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative program, also known as ESPRI. ESPRI was first introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s during his State of the State address last year. Jamestown was one of 16 cities in the state selected to participate in the poverty reduction program. As part of the 2016-17 state budget, the city will received $1 million in state funding for the poverty reduction initiative.
Tory Irgang, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County executive director who heads the local ESPRI task force, said officials from the Center for Governmental Research held several community listening sessions that included the YWCA; Chautauqua Striders; Love School’s Parents and Children Together program; Jamestown Housing Authority; Conduit Ministries; single parents; and city employers.
A community-wide public meeting was also held earlier this month to collect data for the Community Needs Assessment report. On May 3, around 50 people attended the community “brainstorming” meeting at the St. Susan Center, located at 31 Water St, Irgang said. She said the meeting included everyday people and community service organizations.
Irgang said the community listening sessions were held to get the “lay of the land” from several community sectors for the Community Needs Assessment report. She said the report will be presented by the Center for Governmental Research at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, at the next ESPRI task force meeting. A location has yet to be determined for the meeting. Irgang said after the report has been given to the task force, it will then be made public.
During the past couple months, community organizations that might be allocated ESPRI funds have also been meeting in community improvement theories and practice workshops. A total of five workshops will be held, with the first being held April 24…