The Center targets its initiatives to young adults, the working poor, and families with young children, as recommended by the Mayor's poverty commission. These programs aim to reduce poverty through education, employment, and health-based strategies. Several CEO initiatives also improve access to public services through innovative uses of technology and by launching new work supports. Each program is evaluated to determine its impact and success.
In New York City, approximately 230,000 young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 live in poor households, representing a higher proportion than the general population. This is the age when young people establish important precedents for educational attainments, family life and labor force participation, and CEO is particularly concerned with disconnected youth and teen pregnancy. An estimated 117,000 young adults are neither in school nor in the labor market. Of these, approximately half have high school degrees, while others struggle with basic literacy skills and face many other hurdles. Teen pregnancy, for example is highly correlated with poverty and after a long decline, the teen birth rate in New York City appears to have flattened.
CEO offers educational, employment, and health programs tailored to young adults. To meet the needs of this varied population, CEO programs range from basic literacy to higher education; innovative approaches to pregnancy prevention such as community service opportunities for students; and employment programs for disconnected and court-involved youth.
Young Adult Program Index
In New York City, approximately 350,000 individuals are working yet remain in poverty. The proportion of working poor has dramatically increased in recent years from 38 percent of all families living in poverty in 1999 to 47 percent in 2007.
CEO offers a wide range of programs for low-income workers. The initiatives involve multiple City agencies and in many cases represent the forefront of workforce development strategies. The programs include: Expanded access to job placement and training; Increased career advancement and retention opportunities; Expanded and increased the take up of work support; and Protection of low-income workers from exploitive financial practices.
Working Poor Program Index
Nearly four out of every ten children nationwide live in poor household, according to the Federal poverty measure. Since 2000 the percentage of children in poverty increased by 15 percent and by 24 percent for children under the age of six. Of these young children, just over half live in households where at least one adult works full-time. The CEO poverty measure (target link: ML report) estimates that New York City is home to 223,118 young children in poverty, similar to the 213, 574 children counted under the Federal measure. Child poverty rates in New York City are the highest in the Bronx and Brooklyn, at 38 percent and 34 percent, as measured by CEO. Although poverty alone does not place children's development at risk, children living in poverty are more susceptible to risk factor that can jeopardize their well being and life outcomes.
Many of the programs included under young adults and the working poor also benefit young children, as enhancing the earning capacity of parent is a direct strategy to support children who are age six and below. Additional programs were included to mitigate the impacts of poverty on children. Several programs increase child care and early childhood educational options for poor children. Other programs offer parenting supporting to young mothers and non-custodial parents. And several initiatives that promote family health by expanding access to healthy foods in low-income communities.
Families and Young Children Program Index
CEO is working to ensure that NYC laws and practices are improving the lives of low-income individuals as best as we know how. However, some issues are too big to be tackled at the City level alone. Influencing State and Federal anti-poverty policies and legislations are crucial to CEO's goal of reducing poverty.
CEO's successful policy initiatives at the local level include enacting a local Child Care Tax Credit, helping low-income households build assets and make the best use of their financial resources, and expanding access to healthy food, particularly in low-income communities.
At the federal level, the Center is working with the Obama Administration and Congress to advocate for the creation of a Federal Urban Innovation Fund to fight poverty. The Fund, which would be modeled on CEO, would support innovative anti-poverty initiatives in cities across the country. The Fund would require that the initiatives be evaluated in order to build an evidence-based foundation for the next-generation of anti-poverty policies
Public Policy Index