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Economic Opportunity Report

October 4, 2006

A response by Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, was quick to follow after Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his commission against poverty released the Economic Opportunity Report in September. The economic report released by Bloomberg outlines goals that the Bloomberg administration is tackling to combat poverty. It also focuses on three specific poverty groups; children, young adults 16-24, and the working poor. Berg agrees that this is a good place to start, since these groups comprise a large percentage of New Yorkers living in poverty, although other populations living in poverty should not be forgotten.

Berg also said, “We certainly support the call to increase access to work supports such as food stamp benefits and child care. Furthermore, we whole-heartedly support the creation of poverty measurements that more accurately reflect the daily reality of low-income people living in a city as expensive as New York.” Bloomberg also mentioned a new program the city would like to implement. This new program would reward people with up $1,500 in return for other positive behaviors. Melanie Lefkowitz, Newday staff writer, writes in her article Perks for the poor (available by subscription only), that the rewards program would be funded through private donations, and it would even be the first of its kind in the United States. Although proven successful in other countries, Berg criticized the Administration for creating new benefits that would require additional funds, rather than increase access to the Food Stamp Program, which would provide a low-income family in New York City with an average $2,400 per year in federal support for improved nutrition.

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