what about the rest of rochester?
Throughout our region, there are substantial disparities in childhood poverty, overall poverty, academic achievement, earnings and homeownership rates between African Americans and Latinos and White populations. This is true in Rochester’s Northwest Quadrant, where the median household income is $27,439 annually, the lowest in the city. This median income (the middle of all incomes in the area) is even below the federal poverty rate of $28,290 for a family of four! Poverty is a fact of life in many neighborhoods in the Northwest Quadrant, but there are organizations ready to help.
Cameron Community Ministries is a non-profit organization that provides food and clothing to those in need. They also provide after-school programs and homework help for children. They serve a free hot meal to the public six days a week, but they are more than a soup kitchen. They provide free books, emergency food assistance, and, most importantly, a place for people to feel safe and welcome.
Neighborhoods in the Northwest quadrant are very diverse and have their own identities. Charlotte and Maplewood are two of the most well-known neighborhoods. Charlotte is our city’s access to Lake Ontario and was an important part of our commercial past. Some recent improvements to Charlotte include a marina at the Port of Rochester. The port building is home to a few restaurants, and the beaches at Ontario Beach Park are a popular stop for families around the area.
Maplewood is another well-known neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant. It is home to the popular Maplewood Rose Festival and is located near the Lower Falls of the Genesee River. Recently, more immigrants are calling the Northwest quadrant home. Refugees from Bhutan and Nepal have begun to open their own businesses and settle into our city. Maplewood is also home to Foodlink, our region’s food bank. Did you know that more than a third of the people it helps are children? It distributed over 17 million pounds of food last year, including food for its backpack program for kids at schools. Our class was able to help sort food and health care items for its clients. You can help, too. Click here to find out more about Foodlink.
During our research, we noticed that the poverty in the Northeast Quadrant is a giant barrier to success. The poverty rate for adults in the Northeast quadrant is 46.8%, and for youth it is 62.2%, which is the highest in the city. We have also noticed that the unemployment rate is very high for African Americans and Latinos. In Monroe County, the unemployment rate is 5.4%, but in the Northeast quadrant the unemployment rate is a disappointing 22%. Home ownership is also lowest here - fewer than 1 in 3 people own a home, yet there are dozens of abandoned homes that could be renovated to provide people with shelter and a chance to gain some economic hope.
One organization that is making a difference in the NE Quadrant is Community Place. Community Place connects people with opportunities to improve the lives of individuals, revitalize neighborhoods, and strengthen the fabric of our community. During our visit to Community Place, we learned about their programs with youth, the elderly, and people with disabilities. They help families in crisis in the NE with housing referrals, a food and personal hygiene pantry, and financial literacy classes, and bus pass help.
Meeting with Teen Empowerment helped us grapple with the realities of racism in our community - and why all of us need to find our voice to stop it.
Organizing Against Racism helped fight to take down a racist panel from the city's famous carousel. We learned that pickaninny art is offensive and promotes racist stereotypes.
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