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Poloncarz announces 49 community initiatives

In an effort to improve the quality of life for all Erie County residents, County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has developed 49 “Initiatives for a Stronger Community.”

In announcing the initiatives, Poloncarz on Friday said, “Erie County is undergoing a transformational period, with an improving economy and markedly lower unemployment than when I took office in January 2012. While these developments are welcome, not everyone has benefitted from this transformation. There is significant work to be done to ensure that all residents reap some benefits from our rising economic tide.”

The goal, he said, is to break down barriers to employment, support children and families, promote good health, and provide assistance when it’s needed.

The plan is grouped into four categories: employment and financial security, dedicated to creating greater self-sufficiency; strong families, strong schools, strong children, to address challenges young people face and find ways to support families and improve academic performance; lifelong health, to identify chronic health issues and support physical and mental wellness; and “help where and when it is needed,” to target assistance to people in need during critical points in their lives.

Among the problems the initiatives will address are:

• More than 49,000 renters in Erie County pay more than 30 percent of their gross income for housing;

• 87 percent of low-income renters live in substandard housing;

• Only about one in five children with developmental delays are identified before age 3, and many are not detected before starting school;

• Erie County ranks ninth in New York State for poor health outcomes, with 64 percent of its residents considered overweight or obese.

Also part of the plan: providing more help for seniors so they can stay in their homes; helping the growing refugee community acclimate to and navigate their new cultural situation; offering more guidance for people in and leaving the criminal justice system so they can become productive members of society; making sure all mothers who want to work have access to quality child care; and assuring that all county residents have daily access to healthy food and are able to receive quality medical care.

To read the entire report, go online at and click on the “Initiatives for a Stronger Community” link.