Poverty reduction efforts showing progress in Elmira
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- An effort launched back in 2016 to help reduce poverty, based on a program developed in Paraguay, is now growing stronger in the City of Elmira.
Two communities worlds apart are helping each other find ways to reduce poverty and hopefully shape their futures in a positive way. The Elmira Poverty "Stoplight" Coalition aims to help people in the community, as well as leaders, truly understand how certain circumstances, policies and even activities may be affecting their situation.
"It's a methodology that's really helpful and that people are actually moving forward in making progress -- helping them move out of poverty. And we like it also because it's multidimensional, it's not just about money. it's not just about whether you have a job or not. it looks at life more holistically," says Andrew Fagan, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chemung County.
The program was first developed by Dr. Martin Burt from Paraguay and is now used in more than 20 countries around the world. Elmira is the second community in the U.S. to implement the visual survey-based system.
Community leaders took a trip to Paraguay this past spring to connect with others also fighting for change.
"It's the people that you meet. The connections that we've made with people all over the world, even people right in Paraguay," says Carol Houssock, Administrator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chemung County.
Data from the families and individuals in our community is revealing a positive trend in the program.
"We're calling the project now 'Move Forward Elmira' and so we're really pleased that the data is showing that it is a methodology that's helpful and that people are actually moving forward and making progress, helping them move out of poverty," Fagan explains.
As the poverty reduction efforts continue in Elmira, leaders have continued hope that there will be positive results.