Heastie names Cymbrowitz to anti-poverty panel
Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz, who is the chairman of the Committee on Aging, has been tapped by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to serve on a new panel that will look into the causes of poverty.
Heastie appointed Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay-Brighton Beach) to the Anti-Poverty Work Group, a 13-member panel made up of assemblymembers from various committees, who will be charged with examining what officials call the drastic increase of New Yorkers living in poverty.
“Nearly 1.4 million people in this state currently live in conditions of extreme poverty. There are unacceptable rates of poverty among New York’s children, elderly, women and minorities,” Heastie said in a statement announcing the creation of the panel. “We need to find ways to break the vicious cycle that forces people to focus on getting by and never allows them to focus on getting ahead.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15.3 percent of New York state residents are living in poverty.
“I commend Speaker Heastie for recognizing that poverty is a daunting challenge that is best addressed with a collaborative approach. I look forward to working with my colleagues to improve efforts to prevent poverty and find any gaps in services that may lead to the creation of new initiatives, or a review of existing ones, in order to reverse this trend,” Cymbrowitz said in a statement.
The Anti-Poverty Working Group will be looking at finding ways to combat poverty.
Among its duties, the group will analyze societal issues relating to poverty, like nutrition and hunger, and will look at things like supportive housing, shelters and rental assistance, job training, access to quality child care and after-school programs and access to health care.
As chairman of the Aging Committee, Cymbrowitz has spoken out on the issue of older adults living in poverty in New York state.
“According to the 2013 American Community Survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau, approximately one in 10 New Yorkers aged 65 and over are currently living in poverty,” he said. “Older adults are living longer due to better health and medical advances, but their quality of life can suffer when they need to make difficult sacrifices with severely limited resources.”
In November, Cymbrowitz sponsored a public hearing in Albany focusing on poverty and the elderly with Assembly colleagues Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) and Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx).
At the hearing, Cymbrowitz said it is “imperative that we do more to ensure that seniors’ later years are truly golden ones.”
Hevesi and Crespo have also been named to the Anti-Poverty Work Group.
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