Newton will allocate $1.75 million in pandemic relief money to support a local economic mobility and self-sufficiency program for the city’s low- and moderate-income residents.
Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said the city’s lower-income residents, particularly those who are Black and Hispanic, have been disproportionately harmed economically by the pandemic. They also face significant economic challenges on a daily basis, she said.
“One of the key recommendations is that the City invest in programs for our lower-income residents for long-term economic stability and mobility and self-sufficiency,” she said in a statement. “We are poised to take action on this recommendation.”
Earlier this year, the city released the findings from a community needs assessment, which included recommendations to assist residents in areas such as housing, child care, and transportation.
The assessment, which gathered input from nearly 700 participants last fall, recommended that the city offer a range of services for its lower-income residents, including emergency housing and food assistance. It also said the city should explore ways to create more affordable housing.
Fuller said the city has formed a 10-member advisory committee that will work with the UMass Donahue Institute to design, implement, and monitor an economic mobility and self-sufficiency program.
The committee, which begins work this month, consists of a mix of Newton city officials, residents, and leaders with local social service agencies.
The Donahue Institute will work with the city’s staff in its Health & Human Services and Housing offices to manage the effort, Fuller said.
“Our goal is to explore which groups of services would be most helpful (e.g., financial coaching, education or job training, support services, employment counseling and services, mental health or substance use support, homeownership preparation, asset-building support),” Fuller said.
The city will release a request for proposals to identify contractors to support those efforts, according to Fuller.
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