Poloncarz appoints members of poverty committee

Poloncarz appoints members of poverty committee

Publication Year: 2015

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz recently announced the appointees of the re-established Welfare Advisory Board, which will function as a Poverty Committee to advise Erie County on how to reduce poverty, according to a release.

Poloncarz called for the establishment of the committee earlier this year as part of his health and human services plan, Initiatives for a Stronger Community.

“Although numerous indicators show that the County as a whole is better off than it was a few short years ago, our community cannot truly be prosperous if a significant portion of our community is unable to take advantage of these opportunities,” Poloncarz said in the release.

Although the poverty committee will be staffed and supported by the Department of Social Services, it will be engaged with all county departments that work with individuals in or at-risk of poverty.

The poverty committee will advise county government on measures to reduce poverty and its causes, including access to employment opportunities, the high cost of safe and secure housing, substance abuse, mental illness, discrimination and disability.

The Erie County Charter directs that the board, which had been inactive for many years, be made up of seven members. Poloncarz introduced the members along with the chairperson of the board, the Rev. Kinzer Pointer.

“Re-establishing this important committee to ask and seek answers to reducing poverty is our responsibility to our fellow citizens,” Rev. Pointer said. “This is vital work in returning the entire region to better days, and I am pleased to join this effort.”

Rev. Pointer, of Buffalo, and a graduate of Canisius College, is the pastor of Agape Fellowship Baptist Church.

The other new appointees are:

Dr. Henry Louis Taylor, the founding director of the Center for Urban Studies at the University at Buffalo. His research focuses on understanding distressed urban neighborhoods, the redevelopment of shrinking cities, and issues of social isolation, racial justice and class facing people of color.

Anna Falicov, who has focused her law practice and activism on representing and advocating for working people. She is the chairwoman of the Coalition for Economic Justice, an organization that works on issues of equitable economic development and workers’ rights.

Dr. Myron Glick, the chief medical officer of Jericho Road Community Health Center. The center provides a culturally sensitive medical home, especially for refugee and low-income community members, facilitating wellness and self-sufficiency by addressing health, education, economic and spiritual barriers.

Rev. Frank Cerny, board chairman of the Rural Outreach Center in East Aurora, which provides a centralized facility where those in need in rural areas of Erie County can receive acute assistance when dealing with sudden traumatic events, along with empowerment and training programs to elevate their status.

Dr. Yvonne Minor-Ragan, president of Buffalo Promise Neighborhood. The organization is a public/ private partnership seeking to improve academic performance at the neighborhood’s three schools while revitalizing the surrounding community.

Marlies Wesolowski, executive director of the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center, a multifaceted human service organization, since 2001. She previously served as Buffalo School Board president.