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Brainstorming ways to combat poverty

   During a recent meeting of Buffalo News staffers to discuss our coverage of poverty issues, reporter Mark Sommer offered up an interesting idea for a story.

   How about a blueprint for attacking the problem of poverty in Buffalo?

   It was a tough assignment for a journalist, and even a tougher one for city officials and those who run the various agencies that try to help the city's poor.

   After talking to many experts, Sommer and Jonathan D. Epstein came up with a number of issues that must be addressed by any such blueprint. Here are a few of them:

   -- Early childhood education and enhanced after-school programs need to be available to more children, especially those from poor families.

   -- More job-training programs are needed, and Buffalo should try to put itself in the forefront of the effort to create "green jobs."

   -- Blighted, vacant buildings need to replaced by affordable housing.

  --  The city needs to stop squandering Community Block Grant funds on projects that are ineffective in the fight against poverty.

   Mayor Byron W. Brown has designated one of his deputy mayors, Donna Brown, to develop a comprehensive anti-poverty plan for the city.

   News readers have come up with some good ideas over the years. Do they have any suggestions for ideas that Donna Brown can consider as she formulates this

   -- Dan Herbeck



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