NEPA Organizing Center forming faith-based project


Poverty Initiative visits Northeast Pennsylvania Organizing Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA to help the Center kick off its new faith-based project. 

WILKES-BARRE – Poverty is an escalating problem in Luzerne and surrounding counties.  Increased foreclosures and layoffs are packing a one-two punch.

Frank Sindaco, founder of the NEPA Organizing Center, has seen this all too often in the last year.

He said 1 in 213 homes in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties was in foreclosure proceedings from January to June, up 74 percent from the same time period last year, according to data the center has collected.

The center, located on South Main Street, is forming Poverty Initiative, a local faith-based project, to encourage the creation of alliances with individuals, non-profit and faith organizations to work with government officials to combat poverty.

“The Poverty Initiative believes that it is possible to end poverty – not merely manage it — and that is our moral imperative and theological calling to do so,” Sindaco said in an e-mail.

Anyone interested in addressing the poverty problem is welcomed to attend. Members of the religious community are especially encouraged to attend.

Representatives of Poverty Initiative, a project of the Union Theological Seminary of Columbia University in New York City, will give a presentation at the center Friday night to get the local Poverty Initiative started.

The initiative is a grassroots movement allowing citizens an outlet, through Poverty Truth Commissions, to tell their stories to leaders in the faith, academic, business and government community.

Once the stories are told then solutions can be developed between all the entities to combat and solve the issues that create poverty.

“There is a lot of discussion about what we would like to see done, but not much creation of our ability to get it done. We want to clarify the issues and come together to make standards. …Our organizing isn’t just about understanding what’s happening, it’s about figuring out what we would like to do and involving the community in a system to carry it out in a very clear and organized fashion,” Sindaco said.