July 27, 2016. New York is the wealthiest state in the entire nation but many of its residents are struggling with meeting basic needs like housing, food, and child care. A group of advocates led by the Labor-Religion Coalition (and including the Fiscal Policy Institute) across the state are coming together at truth commissions to expose the “truth” of poverty. Truth commissions are tasked with discovering and revealing past and present wrongdoing in the hope of resolving the conflict or issue.

More than 3 million New Yorkers live below the poverty line, and millions more are unable to make ends meet. Child poverty has reached a crisis level in upstate New York, where more than half of children in Rochester and Buffalo, and over forty percent of children in Binghamton, Utica. Syracuse, Troy, and Schenectady are poor. Poverty is also highly racialized – families with a black head-of-household are twice as likely to live in poverty and Latino-headed families are two-and-a-half-times more likely to be low income than white-headed households.

According to Melissa Krug from the Fiscal Policy Institute, who also testified, 45 percent of residents in Schenectady County cannot afford their basic needs — 40 percent in Albany County, and 37.5 percent in Rensselaer County. They include the very poor — those below the poverty line — and those who are considered “ALICE,” or, Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed: a term for those who are above the poverty line, but do not make enough money to afford the basic standard of living in their area.

Here is the link to The Alt Weekly.