Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI)

The Village of Hempstead was awarded $1,500,000 as part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI). The program empowers community members to work together in an effort to reduce the number of households residing in poverty and increase the number of households with earned income above poverty. The Village of Hempstead was chosen as one of 16 communities state-wide to take part in this initiative, the only municipality on Long Island.

“Every New Yorker deserves a shot at the American Dream – and this smart investment does just that,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is a complex problem, but through strong partnerships, we will expand economic opportunity and put all New Yorkers on a path to success. I look forward to working with these communities – from Troy to Elmira –to break down barriers and create meaningful change for millions of hard-working families across the state.”

Funding for ESPRI is included in the 2016-2017 state budget and will be provided by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance through a contract established with a not-for-profit organization designated by the Village of Hempstead. The Village has selected United Way of Long Island as the organization to lead this effort. United Way has a long history of serving the Village and will assist in assembling the anti-poverty task force across the municipal, not-for-profit and private entities. The task force’s purpose is to identify common issues contributing to local poverty and develop recommended interventions to address the identified issues.

“United Way of Long Island is honored to be designated as the organization to coordinate the Village of Hempstead’s poverty reduction initiative,” said United Way of Long Island President Theresa Regnante. “We look to include many partners in the Task Force, having a cross-section of leaders, individuals living in poverty, social service providers, faith-based community organizations and Government officials to plan for a better future for our residents of the Village, speaks to the heart of our mission in developing community impact.”

Nine projects recipients named for Gov. Cuomo’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI)

$1,100,000 in State Funding Awarded

United Way of Long Island and the Incorporated Village of Hempstead named nine projects as recipients of $1.1 million in state funding as part of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI). State funding provided by the Office of Temporary Disability and Assistance (OTDA) and distributed by United Way of Long Island will unite the selected programs in the Village of Hempstead under one goal: to reduce poverty. The grants awarded range from $98,000 to $200,000.

 Working with the entire community to identify the root causes of poverty, the Village of Hempstead – ESPRI aims to create better coordination of services and advocates for effective anti-poverty policies to address these factors. "We are pleased to be part of this statewide initiative and are especially grateful to those in our community involved in the ESPRI efforts to reduce financial hardships in our neighborhoods," said Village of Hempstead Mayor Don Ryan. "The nine organizations selected will now be able to use the funding they receive to empower Hempstead Village residents with resources and opportunities that will help put them on the path to economic independence."

"We are empowering communities to connect people with opportunities that help move them on a path out of poverty toward economic independence," Governor Cuomo said. "I commend Hempstead for their efforts to bring meaningful change to their community and I look forward to these programs delivering results."

The Village of Hempstead’s programs are part of a wider, $25 million initiative serving 16 communities in New York. "As part of our Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, we’re providing funding to communities across the state to address the critical issue of poverty that continues to impact the lives of so many New Yorkers," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "We want to ensure that people who are living in poverty are given the opportunities and resources they need to help lead a more stable life. This investment in poverty reduction programs in Hempstead will provide increased economic opportunity for residents on Long Island."

As the convener of the Village of Hempstead – ESPRI, United Way of Long Island brings together a task force of multiple agencies, organizations, and residents to address financial hardships in the community. In March 2018, the nonprofit issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking eligible organizations with an established track record of providing services to Village residents to submit grant applications to reduce poverty in the community.

Theresa Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island emphasized, "We want to ensure that people who are living in poverty are given the opportunities and resources they need to help lead a more stable life. This investment in poverty reduction programs in the Village of Hempstead will provide increased economic opportunity for residents and help further our efforts to revitalize the community. Our collective impact model calls on institutions large and small to work together to reach a set of shared goals."

After extensive analysis and evaluation of the needs of the community and its residents, nine projects funded through the Village of Hempstead ESPRI will benefit its local residents. These programs in alphabetical order are:

  • Community Development Corporation of Long Island will provide financial literacy and long-term financial coaching sessions for low- to moderate-income families.
  • Family and Children’s Association will provide a college and career readiness program for high school students by helping them attain placement test scores needed to avoid remedial non-credit college courses.
  • Hispanic Counseling Center will establish a community health worker program to reduce challenges and barriers for community residents.
  • Leadership Training Institute (LTI) will provide vocational training leading to gainful employment for individuals 18 years of age and older. Participants will receive hard and soft skills training, cognitive-behavioral training, support groups and professional mentorship, vocational training materials and resources.
  • Morrison Mentors will provide after-school STEM enrichment classes and peer-to-peer mentoring for students in the school district.
  • The Interfaith Nutrition Network (The INN) will provide mental health/substance abuse services for very low-income and homeless individuals who face multiple barriers to accessing services.
  • Town of Hempstead Department of Occupational Resources will assist Village residents, 18 and over by guiding participants through sector-based career pathways by offering education and training in demand-driven occupations such as healthcare, business services, manufacturing and hospitality.
  • Village of Hempstead Community Development Agency will establish a community empowerment resource center.
  • Woman’s Opportunity Rehabilitation Center (WORC) will provide vocational job training and soft skills training for females who are at risk of incarceration and female ex-offenders.

There has already been significant progress toward these collective goals. In 2017, the Village of Hempstead - Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative brought hundreds of community members together—from people impacted by poverty to agencies working to end it—to develop a set of guiding principles to address the major drivers of poverty in our community. After a deep investigation of areas including economic empowerment, education, health and wellness, justice, social supports and workforce development these groups developed a list of recommendations for addressing poverty-related barriers.

 Learn more about ESPRI and efforts to reduce poverty on the Village of Hempstead ESPRI website. 


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