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March 14, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am
If you have not yet had a chance to weigh in on our potential issue areas for 2020 organizing campaigns, please join us at Word of Life Ministries (1941 Hyde Park Blvd) for the final House Meeting before our Leadership Assembly!
House meetings are an opportunity to share your vision for your community and discuss issues that need to be addressed with other concerned citizens. This is part of NOAH’s listening campaign, which will culminate in our March 28th Leadership Assembly, where we will come together as a community and identify which of the issue areas we will work on collectively in 2020.
Please click here for information regarding our Coronavirus precautions for meetings.
Our potential issue areas include:
# 1 – QUALITY AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE
The lack of quality, affordable child care in Niagara County is a critical barrier to everyone thriving. This deficiency impacts most severely people of color and those who are low-income. Parents who can’t find quality, affordable child care are kept from entering the workforce and thereby contributing to the common good. In 2018, NOAH won an incremental increase in the income cap for county childcare subsidies from 120% to 130% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). This change was effective January 1, 2019. An additional increase to 150% FPL was effective January 1, 2020.
In neighboring Erie County, the child care subsidy level is 200% FPL. This additional level in Erie County is possible because the county supplements state dollars with county support. If this issue area is selected on February 8, 2020 at NOAH Leadership Assembly we will create a strategy team to work toward implementing the 200% FPL subsidy in Niagara County or effect a similar change that will increase the availability of quality, affordable child care.
# 2 – ECONOMIC JUSTICE
CBA ENFORCEMENT / LOCAL JOB CREATION / EQUITABLE HIRING PRACTICES
Several years ago, during the construction of the new Amtrak Station in Niagara Falls, it became very apparent that very few local residents or residents of color were employed in this multi-million-dollar project. Out of a total of 30,000 man hours well into the project fewer than 300 were completed by people of color. NOAH brought together a table with the Mayor’s Office, Local Labor Unions and Developers that created a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) that would guarantee the hiring of local low-income people, women and people of color. In 2017 the City of Niagara Falls adopted a CBA as a result of NOAH’s efforts.
A new mayor took office on January 1, 2020, along with new members of the Niagara Falls City Council. If local low-income women and people of color are to benefit from the CBA and find employment in living wage jobs, the CBA will need to be fully implemented. NOAH has also identified an issue with a lack of representation of people of color in Niagara County government and civil service jobs: people of color hold just 3.4% of county staff positions, despite representing 12.6% of the county’s overall population.
If this issue area is selected at the Leadership Assembly on February 8, 2020 a Workforce Development/Job Creation/CBA Enforcement Strategy Team will be formed.
# 3 – CRIMINAL JUSTICE
The third issue area involves guaranteeing that changes in the criminal justice system that were passed in 2019 in NYS are fully implemented in Niagara County. A specific area of focus will be ending cash bail for low level, non-violent crimes. Some district attorneys and law enforcement officials have worked to delay the implementation of this state legislation, continuing to delay these long-awaited changes. NOAH’s role will be to make sure Niagara County implements in a timely manner all the elements of the NYS criminal justice reform legislation and a Criminal Justice Strategy Team would do this work.