Uplifting Our Families

It’s no secret that the Rochester community faces alarmingly high rates of poverty—especially childhood poverty. In fact, more than 50% of children under 18 in the city of Rochester are impacted by poverty and are faced with a myriad of challenges and barriers that stand in the way of the reaching their full potential.

We cannot stand idly by as more and more families fall into the devastating cycle of poverty. We can—and we must—work together as a community and take a comprehensive, holistic approach to uplift families in need and empower them with the tools to be successful. That means addressing the need for higher wages, affordable housing, universal childcare, nutritious meals, quality healthcare, criminal justice reforms, and so much more to truly help families become self-sufficient.

Legislation alone cannot solve the deeply entrenched poverty our community and so many others across the nation face every day—but it can play an important role in helping to foster an environment in which families have the tools and resources to thrive. That’s why I’ve co-sponsored a package of bills to move us one step closer to finally breaking the cycle of poverty:

HR 582 The Raise the Wage Act – *PASSED HOUSE 

To gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 in 2024 and index future minimum wage increases to median wage growth. The Congressional Budget Office estimates it would lift 1.3 million people out of poverty, including 600,000 children. 

HR 1560 The American Family Act 

To create a new $300 per-month, per-child credit for children under 6 years of age and a $250 per-month, per-child credit for children under 17 years of age. Poverty among children would fall from 14.8 percent to 9.5 percent, meaning 4 million kids would escape poverty.

HR 1364 The Childcare for Working Families Act

To guarantee childcare assistance to low and middle-class families by ensuring that no family under 150 percent of state median income pays more than seven percent of their income on childcare – and families under 75 percent of the state median income will not have to pay anything at all.

HR 3077 The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act

To expand and strengthen the Affordable Housing Tax Credit (also known as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit) to produce more units of affordable housing and better serve a number of at-risk and underserved communities.

H.R. 3884 The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act

To decriminalize marijuana at a federal level, remove it from the Controlled Substances Act, and apply this retroactively to federal drug convictions and pending convictions.

HR 3378 The Stop Child Summer Hunger Act

To reduce child hunger during the summer months by providing families with children eligible for free or reduced-price school meals with an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card to purchase food to replace the meals that the children would otherwise be receiving at school. 

HR 1695 The Community Service Block Grant Authorization Act

To reauthorize the Community Action Agencies program for 10 years to help improve economic security of low-income individuals and families.

HR 1185 The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act 

To create a universal, gender-neutral, national paid family and medical leave program guaranteeing 12 weeks of paid leave while earning 66% of a worker’s monthly wages.

The Fair Chance Act – Included in National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020

To prohibit the federal government and federal contractors from asking about the criminal history of a job applicant prior to a conditional offer of employment, while still allowing an employer to determine an individual’s criminal history before they are hired.


More on Uplifting Our Families

March 3, 2020 Press Release

(Rochester, NY) – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle announced that $830,000 in funding has been awarded to local organizations to support affordable housing initiatives in Rochester. $480,000 has been awarded to PathStone Corporation and $350,000 to NeighborWorks® Community Partners by NeighborWorks America, a national organization that strives to support community development and affordable housing challenges in urban, suburban and rural areas.