Memphis, others to replicate Bloomberg's anti-poverty initiatives

Memphis is among seven cities that will replicate programs begun in New York City under Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Center for Economic Opportunity, according to a story in Sunday's New York Daily News.

Five of Mayor Bloomberg's unprecedented anti-poverty initiatives are going national.

They include the daring program that gives cash to the poor for completing mundane tasks like going to the doctor and taking college admissions tests.

Bloomberg and his staff spent Thursday and Friday teaching out-of-town officials to replicate his programs in seven cities: Memphis, San Antonio, Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio, Kansas City, Newark and Tulsa, Okla.

"For far too long, widespread poverty has been regarded as a troubling but inevitable condition of life in American cities," Bloomberg told participants Thursday. "That's something our administration a long time ago decided was something we could not accept."

Among the programs to be replicated in Memphis is Family Rewards, the cash giveaway program mentioned in the above excerpt. The version to be tried in Memphis has been slightly modified from the original program.

"It would be shortsighted for the mayor of New York to say, 'I'm only going to look out for New York,'" said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, who met with Bloomberg on Thursday. "When things are bad in New York, things are bad in Memphis."


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