First Quarter Program Update

By Peter Schmitt
Watertown ESPRI Director

(The following is a portion of the report submitted to the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance by the United Way of NNY, which is administering the $1 million Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative. Watertown is the first of 16 New York cities to begin its ESPRI programs.)

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Wheels to Work – Urban Mission

Q: Where are you in the process of serving the need?

A: We have already assisted 27 individuals with their need for reliable transportation. This has involved the purchase of 12 vehicles averaging $4,021, and repairs to 15 vehicles averaging $1,000. To date we have spent $63,000 and have about $50,000 remaining.

Q: Anything that has surprised you as we have gotten started?

A: Need to have a dealer license which has required some computer work to go digital to align with DMV requirements.

Q: Is the need more or less than expected?

A: Need is higher for the purchase of vehicles ahead of repairs. We will not be meeting our target of 125 individuals served but we are certainly meeting a dramatic need.

Q: How do we feel about ongoing funding?

A: We are looking at securing the support of a grant writer to pursue foundation funding.

Q: How will we be measuring impact?

A: We will do a 3 month and 6 month follow up with all individuals receiving support to see if their situation has improved.

Pathway to Home Ownership – Thousand Islands Habitat for Humanity

Q: Where are we in the process of serving the need?

A: Habitat is a member of the City Housing Committee and the NDC housing committee. This group has visited 13 houses for sale in the City that are listed for less than $60,000 and have been on the market for more than 60 days. Currently 14 applications have been received and they are going through the process of receiving credit evaluations and are being reviewed to see if they are eligible for ESPRI funding. One house and one applicant have been matched up and are currently in the process of making a purchase offer. Once this process has been finalized then repairs and upgrades will be made to the house.

Q: Anything that needs to be improved as we move forward?

A: Communication between Habitat and Neighbors of Watertown.

Q: Impact measures?

A: Habitat will be using 6 baseline measurements at the 6 month and 12 month points to measure impact.

Q: Is the need more or less than expected?

A: On target with projections.

Champions of Change – CAPC

Q: Where are we in the process?

A: Bridges Training has been completed and we now have 50 individuals ready to offer trainings in the community tailored to the needs of community groups. An information network is being developed to help trainers match up with organizations who desire to better understand people living in poverty.

Q: Has the need been what you had expected.

A: Yes. To date we have done 2 classes of Getting Ahead with 28 enrolled and 23 graduating and more programs are in the planning stages.

Q: Impact Measures?

A: Getting Ahead program has a series of criteria to measure to compare with other programs. Measurement follow up will be at the end of 3 months and a year. It is important to note that some of the graduates will move out of town which will affect impact. We will note numbers who have moved out of town.

Employee Resource Network ERN – Jefferson County Workplace

Q: Where are we in the process?

A: We are currently in the company enrollment phase with City Mission of Schenectady. Companies buying shares of the first success coach include Samaritan Health System, Jefferson Rehabilitation Center and Community Action Planning Council. The first success coach Linda Munn, has been hired and is in the process of being trained and we are hoping for an August 1 start up. We are hoping to have second success coach in place by January 2019.

City Mission is working with CAPC to be the Employer of Record as well as the local manager of the Jefferson County ERN. MOU has been signed between Schenectady Works and CAPC.

Q: Is the need as expected.

A: Company sign up process has required a fair amount of education. Companies expressing interest include: Great Lakes Cheese, Transitional Living Services, JAIN USA and discussion meeting have been set up with JCC, HP Hood and the Children's Home.

Q: Impact Measures

A: We will be establishing a baseline retention rate with each of the companies that enroll. Numbers using the service and retention rates will be two of the more significant measurements will be looking for.