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Symposium to address poverty, affordable housing

Symposium to address poverty, affordable housing

Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County to be host
Symposium to address poverty, affordable housing
Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County President Rev. Dr. Bill Levering delivers comments at City Hall on Monday.
Photographer: Pete DeMola/Gazette Reporter

SCHENECTADY — Community leaders want to keep the spotlight on the proliferation of substandard housing and poverty in the city. 

Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County will host a community symposium April 25 at the First Reformed Church of Schenectady to foster discussion among a broad cross section of community residents. 

The city has made “significant progress” in addressing distressed and vacant city-owned properties over the years, Mayor Gary McCarthy said at a news conference at City Hall. 

But more work is still needed to ameliorate those problem areas, he said.

The forum, McCarthy said, is an attempt to address “serious issues in a thoughtful manner while continuing to build the dialogue we need to tackle poverty and related housing issues."

“It Takes a Community: Building a New American Promise” will feature a panel discussion with community members and a roundtable interactive presentation from community leaders.

Expect “do-gooders” of all types, said Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County President Rev. Dr. Bill Levering. 

“To do this the right way, we have to collaborate with each other,” Levering said.

Photojournalist Brenda Ann Kenneally, known for chronicling the lives of impoverished teenagers in Troy as part of a controversial multimedia project, will be the featured speaker and lead the discussion.

She views the event as a springboard for a broader conversation.

“Poverty and disadvantage is a landscape,” Kenneally said on Monday. “It is also the way people live their lives emotionally and how it feels. It is not something to blame people for.”

Kenneally will also display her photos at the symposium, which McCarthy hopes will be an annual event. 

Co-presenters include Union College, The United Way of the Capital Region, the YWCA of Northeastern New York and it is sponsored by M&T Bank.

“It Takes a Community: Building a New American Promise”: Thursday, April 25 at the First Reformed Church from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Entry is $25, which includes lunch. Register at schenectadyhabitat.org

Reach Gazette reporter Pete DeMola at 518-395-3113, [email protected] or @pmdemola on Twitter.

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