Fifty years ago Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders declared a Poor Peoples Campaign that culminated in a massive march on Washington.  The issues they raised remain alarmingly salient today, particularly in cities like Buffalo troubled by extreme segregation and inequality.

The ninth annual Buffalo Poverty Research Workshop will feature new research, promising strategies, and opportunities for collaboration for those concerned with poverty in Buffalo. Free and open to the public, the workshop is designed for local scholars, social service agencies, advocates, and government leaders and staff, among others.  It takes place Friday, April 13, from 9:00am to 12:30pm at the auditorium of the downtown Buffalo and Erie County public library.

The Workshop will include the first release of a new report titled “Workers on the Brink: Low-Wage Employment in Buffalo and Erie County.”  Nicole Hallett, a professor at the University at Buffalo School of Law, conducted the study as the 2017 Open Buffalo Public Research Fellow.  In surveying over 200 low-wage workers in Buffalo, she found dramatic evidence of legal violations regarding wages, hours, health, and safety.

Sam Magavern, executive director of the Partnership for Public Good, will discuss the findings of a report to be released on April 10 for the Truth Commission on Poverty in Western New York.  The report, titled “Poverty in Buffalo: Causes, Impacts, and Solutions” will aid the Commission’s work as part of the new Poor People’s Campaign co-chaired by national civil rights leader Dr. William J. Barber II.

Dianne Bessell, a professor of social work at Daemen College, will present on the “Lived Experiences of Homeless Families in WNY, while Megan Hurley, a lecturer at the University of Maryland, will report on welfare to work barriers faced by Buffalo residents.  Kristin Szczepaniec, collaboration and research specialist at Cornell in Buffalo, will present on new tools to link community groups with researchers. India Walton, Community Organizer at Open Buffalo, will offer introductory remarks.

The event is free and open to the public; registration is available at the Homeless Alliance of WNY website.

The workshop is presented by the Homeless Alliance of WNY, the Partnership for the Public Good, and the Buffalo Commons.  It is co-sponsored by University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University at Buffalo Humanities Institute, and University at Buffalo School of Social Work, and hosted by the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.