New York City aims to lift 800,000 people out of poverty’s clutches within a decade under a program that has drawn applause for its ambition and skepticism about its feasibility.
Mayor Bill de Blasio put the nation’s largest municipal anti-poverty plan at the center of his revamped OneNYC program, a blueprint for making New York more equitable. The administration on Thursday outlined the goal of pulling nearly 10 percent of New Yorkers out of poverty through a potpourri of proposals.
More than 45 percent of New Yorkers live at or near the poverty line, which is defined by the Center for Economic Opportunity as $31,156 for a family of four in 2013.
About 100,000 people are expected to be lifted above the poverty line thanks to a series of administration efforts enacted since de Blasio took office in January 2014, according to City Hall’s calculation models. Among those plans: preparing workers for higher-paying jobs and an expanded pre-K program estimated to save parents $10,000 a year in child care costs.
The city also already announced a massive affordable housing program — de Blasio pledged to create or preserve 200,000 units by 2024 — that would create construction jobs and tamp down housing costs.
Other programs have more of a tangential link to the anti-poverty plan. For instance, a new municipal ID card that aides say, among other benefits, allows access to libraries where job research can be conducted. De Blasio also has signaled a hope to cut the average New Yorker’s commute time to 45 minutes.
But many of those concepts — including a commission to study an extremely expensive new subway link in central Brooklyn — have not yet reached the drawing board. De Blasio said they would be addressed in next month’s budget presentation.
The biggest weapon in the anti-poverty arsenal would be a minimum wage increase. But that was shelved on Monday by the Assembly.
But de Blasio administration officials expressed confidence in meeting their goal.
“Look, I don’t blame anyone that’s cynical,” the mayor said. “I represent 8.5 million jaded people.”