As it does annually, the New York State Community Action Association has just published “Poverty in NY,” which has a poverty report for each county and city in New York State.
Otsego County has a poverty rate of 16.1 percent, meaning roughly one out of six people are living in poverty. Forty-eight percent of school children are enrolled in either the free or
reduced school meals program.
There are two distinctions at play here. The overall poverty rate is classified as 100 percent of poverty. This is a calculation of what the lowest income needs to be in order to be classified as poor by the federal government. So a family of four earning $24,000 or less is considered living in poverty.
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal
ONEONTA – Daniel Maskin, Opportunities for Otsego president, wants people to rethink poverty.
“Most people who are poor work,” he said. “They’re not sitting on their porch drinking beer. But where in this county can working class families get substantial jobs that support their families? There aren’t a lot of those.”
The annual poverty report, put together by the state’s Community Action Association and released in the past few days, rated the county’s poverty rate at 16.1 percent. “Poverty is defined as $24,000 for a family of four,” he said. “That might be two parents with two kids, or a single parent with three kids,” he said.
ONEONTA – A $10,000 Opportunities for Otsego proposal to determine the need for low- and moderate-income housing in the city and how to fill it met skepticism from a Common Council committee last night.
Still, the Community Development Committee forwarded the proposal for discussion by the full Common Council, which next meets at 7 p.m. this coming Tuesday.
OFO Housing Director Audrey Benkenstein said her organization is seeking $5,000 from the city to match the $5,000 OFO would provide. The idea is to underwrite “a process done by a facilitator” who would examine housing information and analysis done an Otsego County housing study just on Oneonta.
FLY TYING CLASS – 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Join Otsego Land Trust for fly tying demonstrations, lessons with Craig Buckbee, licensed fishing guide, master certified instructor with Fly Fishers International. Equipment, materials provided. Prepare for spring fly casting/fishing workshop. Pizza, beverages provided. Pre-registration recommended. Pine Lake Environmental Campus, 1894 Charlotte Creek Rd., Oneonta. 607-547-2366 ext. 108 or visit www.otsegolandtrust.org/the-news/programs-a-events/429-fly-tying-class-december-12
COOPERSTOWN – M.E. “Betsy” Hayes, 70, Toddsville, long active in public health initiatives, and most recently in the news as president of the Centers at Cooperstown (former Focus) Family Council, passed away on Jan. 2, 2019, from complications of a recent illness.
Born in Plainfield, N.J., Betsy cherished the memories of her early childhood in the South Jersey town of Delanco, moved to metropolitan Cranford, N.J., in middle school, and obtained a BSN degree from Keuka College.
ONEONTA – Opportunities for Otsego has received a $3 million grant to hire attorneys who will support crime victims with civil legal matters, such as divorce, custody, immigration and financial issues, OFO CEO Dan Maskin announced a few minutes ago.
Administered by the state Office of Victim Services (OVS), the federally funded grant will provide $600,000 annually for each of the next five years so its Violence Intervention Program can provide free legal help to its clients.
FAMILY PROGRAM – 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. NYS K-9 unit demonstrates care, training of police dogs & how they help fight crime, assist in other duties. Cooperstown Village Library. 607-547-8344 or visit www.facebook.com/VillageLibraryOfCooperstown/
OPEN HOUSE – 5 – 7 p.m. Meet new doctor Lia Briggs M.D., tour doctors office, see renovations, enjoy refreshments, meet new people. Hoffman Family Medicine, 50 Dietz St., Suite M, Oneonta. 607-643-4045 or visit www.facebook.com/HoffmanFamilyMedicine/
NAVIGATORS – 8 a.m. – Noon or 1 – 5 p.m. Communication Across Barriers returns to perform training of community members who choose to become Navigators, people who choose to use their time and contacts to help neighbors in poverty. Opportunities for Otsego, 3 W. Broadway, Oneonta. Call 607-433-8005 or visit www.ofoinc.org
ONEONTA – When Ben Lockwood, vice president of Housing Visions, came to Oneonta six years ago, he knew he had the tools to fill a need. “I saw the Oneonta really needed housing,” he said. “The student population puts a stress on low-income residents who need access to their jobs, services and shopping.”
That project fell through. But Wednesday, at the city Planning Commission meeting, Lockwood got to present a 60-bedroom project two years in the making. “We want to be a catalyst for positive sustainable neighborhood revitalization,” he said.
Since 1990, Housing Visions has built 1,300 low-income units in Syracuse, Binghamton, Albany, Oswego, Rome and Corning.
In 2012, former city manager Mike Long and Planning Commission vice chair Gary Herzig – also chief operating officer of Opportunities for Otsego – approached Lockwood again in hopes of revisiting the project. “There isn’t much low-income housing here in Oneonta,” said Herzig. “This is an important need.”