Rochester, N.Y. – Newly-proposed state legislation aims to aid children who are living in poverty.Children’s advocates say nearly 900,000 children in New York live in poverty – with one out of two children in Rochester living in poverty – and that the pandemic has only made things worse. That includes Monroe County, in which they say 10,000 kids fell into poverty amid COVID-19.
“We’re facing a situation where more children are at risk of going hungry, more are being evicted from their homes with their parents, losing their healthcare and struggling to learn,” said Larry Marx of The Children’s Agenda.
During a news conference Thursday, officials outlined the Child Poverty Reduction Act, legislation they say would have New York commit to cutting child poverty in half over the next decade.
Under the proposal, the state would create an advisory council that would be tasked with coming up with a plan to reduce child poverty by half by 2030. That includes creating specific policies, offering recommendations and benchmarks and providing updates on progress to the governor and other leaders.
Assemblyman Harry Bronson, who is helping sponsor the bill, says he also hopes to include measures such as expanding the earned income tax credit, as well as work training and employment programs.
“In our city, take a 10-minute drive and the life expectancy is eight years less,” said Bronson. “Think about that, a 10-minute drive and life expectancy eight years less. That is in large part due to poverty and is the direct result of current and systemic racism. We’ve got to do better.”
Bronson called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make a public commitment to reducing poverty by half over the next several years, with a focus on addressing racial inequality.