UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) — Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri announced today that the city has entered a contractual partnership with Cornerstone Community Church to support the church’s social enterprise program which employs individuals who experience chronic homelessness. the city is investing $120,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds which are allocated through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES).
Homeless individuals who participate in the program will assist city crews in cleaning and improving public areas, including picking up litter and trash in and around city parks, planting and watering flowers in major city corridors and painting lamp posts and fire hydrants.
“We were excited to partner with the city on this project. Not only with our overnight emergency shelter but with something positive and productive to do for our residents in the shelter and people who are also in Oneida Square to do during the day that will bring dignity and self-worth and feel like they’re a part of the community, that the community cares about them and that they’re important and they matter.” – Pastor Mike Ballman, Cornerstone Community Church
“And this is the perfect marriage that is giving hope back to people. People are seeing men and women working out there that otherwise would be, hate to say this, hanging around areas and people kind of just talking about them, instead of talking with them.” – Robert Palmieri, Mayor of Utica
Participants in the program will be paid for their work out of the grant funding, equaling to about 12 dollars an hour.