Justice Center Aims to Tackle Ulster Poverty

A new Restorative Justice Center has recently been given the green light by officials to begin construction. The center is one of many government projects planned by Ulster County which hope to combat the negative effects of living in poverty.

On Oct. 1, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein tweeted that he has “officially launched his new multi-year effort, known as the Brighter Futures Initiative and announced a $4 million grant that aims to disrupt generational poverty.”

The grant was administered by the Community Foundation of the Hudson Valley, with funding established by the Novo Foundation. 

The Community Foundation of the Hudson Valley describes their mission on their website as “a foundation, organized and supported by community people, to reflect the distinctive needs of their community.”

Similarly the Novo Foundation describes their mission on their website as an organization that is “dedicated to catalyzing a transformation in global society, moving from a culture of domination to one of equality and partnership.” 

Both organizations have played vital roles in supporting Heins’ initiative.

In addition to the $4 million grant, the funding was added to Hein’s existing $13 million plan to continue the fight against generational poverty in Ulster County districts.

“This brings our combined investment to an astounding and impactful $17 million dollars in funding that will help change the lives of countless children and families,” Hein said in a promotional Youtube video titled “Disrupting Generational Poverty.”

“I’m proud to say [that] through partnerships, we’re doing all this without impacting the hardworking taxpayers of Ulster County,” Hein said.

Hein also elaborated on the new justice center specifically, being that it is one of the first plans to be constructed. 

“Instead of giving up on teenagers who make mistakes and throwing them in jail, can we as a society instead help them see a better way?” Hein said.

“Our new restorative justice center will provide real hope. Giving more teenagers and their parents a second chance and a better life with mentoring education, family supports conflict resolution, mental health and advanced job training with a special care coordinator to greatly improve outcomes.”