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\;)lume X Number 5

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Whose H_I_.? Who City?
"Housing Justice, Not Just Housing," is the punchy but profound organiz-
ing slogan of a new, unique alliance known as the Housing Justice
Campaign. The Campaign seeks to unite diverse and historically separate
constituencies-community, tenant and religious groups, unions, and
advocates for children, the homeless and health-around a compre-
hensive housing program that would provide, preserve and protect
affordable housing.
This is no small feat. In its professed goals of preventing home-
lessness, housing the homeless with dignity and protecting tenants in
their homes, the Campaign seeks to reverse three powerful forces in
New York City.
First there is the alarming allocation of shrinking public funds away
from the majority of low and moderate income people to a minority of
upper income and wealthy people. It is a trend evidenced by recent city
and state housing "initiatives," the city's proposed use of Municipal
Assistance Corporation surplus money, further 4218 tax abatements
without requiring production of low and moderate income units and a
slew of "80-20" projects financed by tax exempt bond revenues. This
transfer of public funds away from the neediest majority contributes
to an accelerating housing crisis for New Yorkers earning under $25,000
a year.
At the same time there is a growing privatization of public policy and
decisions regarding housing and neighborhood development. With the
real estate moguls, private developers and financial institutions making
the crucial decisions, the public is deprived of its right to input on what
housing will be built and where, who will be housed and at what prices.
Finally, underlying and framing these trends is the notion of percep-
tion of housing as a commodity to be invested in, not lived in; to be
freely traded and profited from like pork belly or soy bean futures.
Housing has become "real estate" and real estate is the ultimate Yuppie
investment-stylish, ephemeral and self-centered. We need only look at
the current plans of billionaire builder Peter Kalikow to evict 1,200
tenants from 26 viable rent-regulated walk-ups in order to build luxury
apartments to realize how entrenched the commodification of housing
has become.
While real estate has always been a profitable investment for the
wealthy, what's new and insidious is the push to convert ordinary hous-
ing into real estate, and ordinary people into investors. This phenomenon
is driving up the costs of housing and deepening the crisis.
Only a change of public perceptions about the forces pushing
affordable and decent housing beyond the grasp of New York's majority
and a consciousness of housing as a necessity to be publicly protected
can turn the crisis around. The five-point, five-year plan of the Housing
Justice Campaign puts forward a sane and humane housing policy to
meet the real needs of the city's majority. Simple justice demands active
support of its agenda. 0
Nicaragua's Second Front 16
While the border war rages, Nicaragua fights another bat-
tle to rebuild its cities and meet its nationwide housing
Building Up From Within 19
As banks pull up stakes, a new network of community
development credit unions is putting down roots to nour-
ish local needs.
Whose City? Whose Housing? . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Short Term Notes
Harlem Won't Be Homeless . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
No Promises for City Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Banks Fund Shelter Projects ..... ........ 5
Tenants to Cuomo: Obey the Law .. ... .... 6
The J51 Rent Explosion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
The Data Doesn't Matter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Housing Justice - Not Just Housing! . ...... 8
Community Profile
New York's Housing Crisis: 1985 . . . . . . . . .. 10
City View
A Community Role in the New Homes
Program . ....... ... . . ......... :...... 12
Women Working (Non-traditionally) . . . . . .. 14
Brooklyn's Gospel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 22
Letters. . . . . . .. . .. .... ... . .. . . .. . ........ 23
Neighborhood Organizing Comes of Age . .. 26
America Unravelled . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Resources/Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 29
f Workshop. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
NYC's 1985 Housing Crisis/Page 10
~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ I
Nicaragua's Second Front/Page 16
Building Up From Within/Page 19- .
~ ~ = = = = = = ~ ~ ~ ~ I
~ CITY LIMITS May 1985
Land-its ownership and
control-is increasingly the
chief concern of low income
urban neighborhoods as
they confront displacement.
In New York Cit'; on the
Lower East Side, in East
Harlem and in Central
Harlem, the issue of how
large chunks of municipally
owned buildings and prop-
erty will be sold and devel-
oped lies at the heart of
community demands. The
question being asked is: will
government assistance make
it affordable to current resi-
dents, or will open market
sales lead to private specu-
In Harlem, where almost
two-thirds of the property is
under city ownership, the
Koch administration's long-
awaited announcement of
the sale of 150 city-owned
brownstones in late March
has become a touchstone for
that debate.
While Harlem's political
leaders gave it muted sup-
port (with the exception of
Council Member Fred
Samuel, who had pushed for
the plan and warmly
endorsed it), only a militant
group advocating building
seizure and squatting spoke
out against it. Harlem hoys-
ing groups, other than the
pro-auction Harlem Urban
Development Corporation,
were silent. The reasons for
hesitation are easy to see:
though 98 of the brown-
stones will be reserved for
Harlem residents living
within the boundaries of
Community Boards 19 and
110 (roughly 110th Street and
the Hudson River to 155th
Street on the north and Fifth
Avenue on the East), the
program's economics make
it inacessible to most. De-
spite a city subsidy of up to
$60,000 per building to re-
duce the interest on con-
struction loans from the
Freedom National Bank,
development costs still rule
American Indian Mewement's Wayne Duncan hands over the d_d to
Harlem to Sam White: A "'UfIfI'. fo, Land.
out most households making and 52 to residents from
below $50,000. In Harlem, anywhere in the city.
this puts more than 98 per- Financing issues, however,
cent of the population out of were more troublesome. The
the running. In Board 19 on housing department cast
the west, two percent of the about for months looking for
households earned $50,000 ways to bring the cost of the
or more in 1980; in Board refurbished buildings within
110, only half of one percent the grasp of more resi-
earned that much. Median dents- but without spending
household incomes were too much city money. As late
$9,935 and $6,487, res pec- as last February 15, facing
tively, according to census an end-of-the-month dead-
figures. Both the city and the line with the Board of Esti-
community are taking an ex- mate, Deputy Commissioner
pensive gamble that enough Bob Davis said plans were
local residents will be able still "in flux." Davis said the
to buy into the program. ultimate target was families
Harlem's only victory in earning $30,000 to $35,000.
the more than three years 'We're in that range," he told
the program was debated, is City Limits.
that it forced Mayor Koch to
do a second flip-flop on the
issue of restricted neighbor-
hood sales. Four years ago,
after the housing depart-
ment announced that a pilot
lottery for 13 brownstones
would be weighted toward
Harlemites, Koch blasted his
own housing agency. He
then said he would permit
the lottery to go forward,
but added that any future
preference toward anyone
group "would not be
But this time around, in
the wake of repeated stories
in the black press about the
"selling of Harlem," Koch
reversed himself again and
allowed a compromise that
will see 98 of the brown-
stones go to local people
Sealed brownstone on W. 126 St.:
..".nn.n9 01 lin oNen.'".
11911ln.' hom ..... n ....
But the auction plan was
laid over from the Board's
calendar in February, and it
wasn't until March 28 that
the Mayor's resolution was
introduced and passed.
According to the city's
figures, Harlem households
will have to team up to be
within the income range.
Even with two rental units in
the mostly four-story brown-
stones, incomes of over
$35,000 will be needed. The
city projected that brown-
stoners would have to
charge rents of $600 for a
one-bedroom and $800 for a
two-bedroom; a duplex
would go for $1 ,000. Al-
though the auction process
could bring them up higher,
the city is figuring on an
average purchase price of
$25,000, for which it would
make a 7'!. percent pur-
chase mortgage.
The most forthright oppo-
sition to the plan has come
from a group which has
made its battlecry, "Refuse
to be homeless." The group
Harlem Neighborhood Resto-
ration, has helped families
move into several of the
abandoned properties and
advocates that they be
turned over to low income
residents under a pion that
would combine sweat equHy
and training. The group has
had one major showdown so
far with police. One family
was evicted twice by police
from a West 136th Street
brownstone. The second
time a cordon of 100 police
officers kept families and
supporters away from the
Not surprisingly, the
group, which is allied with
the National Reclamation
Project, has drawn parallels
between Harlem's confronta-
tion and other land strug-
gles. At a rally outside the
Harlem State Office building
on April 4th, South African,
American Indian and black
nationalists made those con-
nections. "In South Africa,
it's a problem of land," said
Lesoane Makhanda of the
Pan-Africanist Congress.
"Just as in Azania [South
Africa] people have been
removed from the land, so
here too."
Wayne Duncan of the
American Indian Movement
said, "The struggle here
today is the same as the
Cherokees. The people of
Harlem have indigenous
rights." In a gesture to back
up those rights, Duncan
handed Restoration leader
Sam White a "deed" to the
land of Harlem.
Jitu Weusi of the National
Black United Front spoke of
the practices which had
pushed blacks off of the
land in the south and
brought them to Harlem in
the first place. "If they're not
going to build any new hous-
ing," said Weusi, "then we're
going to take the housing
that exists. This is the begin-
ning of an offensive against
There won't be any more
long-term leases from the
city for community open
space projects on the Lower
East Side. As the city readies
its plans to cash in on grow-
ing real estate values of its
tax-foreclosed property in
that neighborhood, commu
nity attempts to secure five-
year leases for the gardens
and pocket parks neighbors
have created are being
turned down, reports the
Trust for Public Land, a non-
profit open space advocacy
The city's policy shift came
last December said Wendy
Gibson, a field representa-
tive for the Trust. Three
gardens on East 6th Street
for which leases were
sought were assessed at
values rangin9 from $58,000
to $20,000. Since the long-
term lease option is open
only to those gardens
assessed below a $20,000
ceiling, the city's Depart-
ment of General Services
rejected tne applications,
even though one of the
gardens was within the
criteria, said Gibson. The
current one-year leases for
the sites are also in jeo-
pardy. Although the leases
are due to expire this
month, the city wasn't saying
if they would be renewed.
Of seven long-term leases
granted to open spaces
around the city, three are on
the Lower East Side: at 314 E.
Garden on Ea.t Third Street:
will ,h.y .row roN. or condo.'
4th St. , 293 E. 3rd St., and
530 E. 6th St. 'We won't have
any more," said Sophia
Rabinovich who coordinates
the leases for the city's
Operation Greenthumb.
Meanwhile, the tenuous-
ness of some of the city's
800 year-to-year leases was
underscored when a garden
in the East Flatbush section
of Brooklyn was put on the
auction block unbeknownst
to local gardeners and
several months before the
group's lease was to expire.
Despite a last minute
attempt by an adjacent
property owner to rescue
the garden by buying the
lot, it was auctioned to a
Queens construction com-
pany for $62,000.
May 1985 CITY LIMITS 5
The Trust for Public Land
and other open space advo
cate organizations have
stepped up their discussions
wi th the Department of
Parks and Recreation to
bring gardens under that
agency's protection. Such an
arrangement was part of a
settlement which saved the
long-threatened Clinton
Community Garden in Man-
hattan last year. Parks
department officials have
voiced support for commu-
ni ty open space projects,
particularly where there is
little other recreation space
in the neighborhaod. D T.R.
To contact the Trust for Pub-
lic Land, call (212) 563-5959.
For the first time,
developers of housing for
the homeless have success-
fully won loans from com-
mercial banks. Two projects,
a 55-room single-room-
occupancy residence in Man-
hattan's Washington. Heights,
and a temporary shelter for
nine families in Brooklyn's
Park Slope, both of which
have been assisted by the
nonprofit Communi ty Ser-
vice Society, will receive
loans worth nearly half a
million dollars.
The Service Society's
Shelter Development Project
helped to secure a Citibank
loan of $254,000 for Samari-
tan House of Park Slope in
Brooklyn, a neighborhood
organization that has been
sheltering the homeless for
the past six years. The loan,
combi ned with $185,000
raised from the J.M. Kaplan
Fund and other private foun-
dations, will support the
rehab of 388 Prospect
Avenue for homeless
The families will stay at
the shelter for a maximum
of six months, recei ving a
range of counseling and
other assistance. Like the
Urban Fomily Center oper-
ated by t he city's Housing
Authority and the Henry
Street Settlement House, the
project will utilize the same
emergency rate paid by the
city to hotels ($1 ,140 per
month for a family of three).
That amount will cover both
operating costs and pay
back the interest on Citi -
bank's market-rate loan.
Working with the Shelter
D e ~ p m e n t Project, the
Committee for the Heights-
Inwood Homeless in North-
ern Manhattan has secured
a $245,000 loan from the
Community Preservation
Corporation towards the
renovation of 530 West 178th
Street. The site will offer 55
single rooms as permanent
housing for homeless acfijtts
as well as 10 emergency
beds. The Community Pres
ervation Corporation is a
consortium of 34 commercial
banks with a stated goal of
meeting the credit needs of
low income housing de-
velopment. This is its first
loan to an SRO.
In addition to that loan,
the residence received a
$366,000 low interest loan
from the ci t y, a rent subsidy
contract from the federal
Section 8 Moderate Rehabili-
tation Program and a
$282,000 grant from the New
York State Division of Hous-
ing and Community Re-
newal. The project also
hopes to attract an addi-
tional $300,000 through for-
mation of a limited
partnership tax syndication.
Both projects received
assistance in architectural
services, legal counsel ,
financial packaging, site
selection, and construction
supervision from the Shelter
Development Project. The
project has received state
funding since 1982 and pro-
vides technical assistance to
nonprofit agencies seeking
to sponsor shelters and
housing for the homeless in
New York City. 0
To contact the Community
Service Society's Shelter
Development Project call
Joseph Biber (212) 254-8900.
6 e CITY LIMITS e May 1985
Jean Stedman described
how her ceiling collapsed
last April-in and of itself
not a remarkable occurrence'
for aging Brooklyn apart- .
ment buildings like hers. But
this was five years after she
and 113 other tenants in
their Greenpoint apartment
house started paying 42 per-
cent rent increases for
apartment and building-
wide repairs.
Leo Pringle of 350 Empire
Boulevard in Flatbush
pointed out how his landlord
raised rents up to $100 per
month for "improvements,"
but was still fined $2,500 by
the city for lack of repairs.
Pringle and Stedman's build-
ings are just two of some
4,400 for which owners have
sought increases for so-
called Major Capital im-
provements since 1975. But
they have plenty of company
among tenants who have
been paying what the courts
so for agree are illegally
high rates.
Right now there's just a
long silence coming from
the state's housing agency in
the wake of two such court
rulings that found that the
way the agency grants rent
increases for apartment
bUilding fix-ups is illegal.
State Supreme Court Judge
Elliott Wilk's decision to
give a group of Brooklyn
and Bronx tenants the
preliminary injunction they
sought against paying rent
hikes higher than six per-
cent was followed by an-
other decision from Judge
Bruce McM. Wright who
granted class status in
Bryant Avenue Tenants
Assoc. v. Koch to all rent
stabilized tenants who have
received or face increases
above that level.
That legal one-two punch
has stunned the state's Divi-
sion of Housing and Com-
munity Renewal 'routine
approval of increases rang-
ing as high as 50 percent.
Right now there are some
3,000 such landlord applica-
tions, affecting nearly 250,00
tenants, awaiting DHCR con-
On the strength of those
legal decisions, a coalition
of tenants, housing advo-
cates and public officials
called on Governor Mario
Cuomo to straighten out the
problem. As they put it, the
governor should "stop break-
ing the law."
The battle over the legal-
ity ot'the rent increases has
been ongoing since the
Association for Neighbor-
hood and Housing Develop-
ment, which spearheaded
the coalition effort, pointed
out two years ago that rent
increases were being rou-
tinely granted for in excess
of the six percent allowed
by law, and for beyond the
time period needed for own-
ers to recoup their costs.
The group also has insisted
that owners are "double-
dipping" in both public and
tenants' pockets by getting
property tax abatements for
their improvements in addi-
tion to the rent hikes. The
coalition is in support of a
bill sponsored by Assembly
members Daniel Feldman of
Brooklyn and Pete Grannis
of Manhattan which would
curb repair-related rent
hikes. Under the bill, in-
creases would be capped at
six percent and would end
when the owner's costs had
been repaid.
Feldman was among 50
tenants, advocates and offi -
cials at an April 11 press
conference to announce an
open letter to the governor
urging him to amend state
rent practices. "Now the
shoe may be on the other
foot," said Feldman. "The
state is going to have to
prove it's not breaking the
Jerry Ouderkirk of the J51
VClnl.hlnll rent prottlon
For twelve years, Gerry
and Patricia Ouderkirk paid
rent and regular increases
for their apartment in a
West Side brownstone, un-
aware that a time clock was
ticking away. But in Febru-
ary, 1985, they were notified
that apartments in their
building were no longer
under any regulation, and
that the landlord was raising
their $599 rent to $2,500 per
This was news to the
Ouderkirks, but the owner
was right. Because he had
received tax abatements
under the city's J-S1 program
in 1972 when he renovated
the building, the apartments
were placed under rent sta-
bilization. But the tax
benefits ended for the
owner in July, 1984, and so
did the rent regulation. And
even jbough not a Single
lease thebuderkirks ever
signed so much as men-
tioned the looming expira-
tion of the apartment's rent
protections, under current
law, the Ouderkirks have to
payor move.
in fact , the Ouderkirks'
apartment building is just
part of a trickle of buildings
with less than six units now
being deregulated as their
J-S1 tax benefits run out. But
by next year, it will become
a flood, as tax breaks
granted for multifamily
buildings, renovated after
the 1974 Emergency Tenant
Protection Act, expire. like
the tenants of new buildings
constructed under the Sec-
tion 4210 tax program, who
are now trying to maintain
controls over their rents, the
J-S1 residents will wake up
to find their old r ent is gone
and the new one i s sky-high.
The Ouderkirks wasted no
time linking up wi th other
threatened J-51 tenants and
formed a coalition which
persuaded East Side Assem-
blyman and Housi ng Com-
mittee chair Pete Grannis
to submit a bill that would
permanently cont inue rent
protections. As the newest
tenant protect ion bill at the
end of a long line of other
bills seeking attention this
spring, the J-S1 rent protec-
tion legislation is a long
shot. But, like 4210 tenants
who are up for a crucial test
on their continued protec-
tions, the importance of the
bill wi ll grow as the number
of affected tenants swells. 0
To contact the J-51 Tenants
Coalition, write: P.O. Box
20503, Columbus Circle Sta-
tion, New York, NY 10023;
or call (212) 807-6077.

Another attack on the
principles and policies of
affirmative action and equal
opportunity was recently
launched by the Reagan
administration. The federal
Office of Management and
Budget, under the authority
of the Paperwork Reduction
Act, has directed the De-
. of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD)
to cease collection of race
and sex data for HUD's hous-
ing programs.
The information, obtained
on various forms completed
by beneficiaries of federal
hOUSing, is used to monitor
the effectiveness of anti-
discrimination policies.
Without such data, gauging
the level of integration in
public housing may prove
impossible. "It looks like
a slick ruse," says Betty
Hoeber of the Open Housing
Center in New York. "You
can't make sure peqple are
ineluded if you don't have
information on It fits
in with the frightening policy
of demolishing the progress
we've made in civil rights."
Hoeber pointed to a suit her
organization championed
four years ago at the feder-
ally assisted Warbasse
Houses in Coney Island
which had only five black
families out of 2,600.
"Because there were facts
on it," she notes, "when we
brought suit, it confirmed
that it was all white. We
wound up with a settlement
to establish a minority
waiting list."
The OMB directive, which
has gone to the Veterans
Administration as well, is
supposed to reduce the bur-
den of paperwork, according
to OMB spokesperson Edwin
Dale Jr. Data on race and
sex, he says, are collected in
other places, such as the
census. But Martin Sloane of
the National Committee
Against Discrimination in
Housing in Washington, D.C.,
shares Hoeber's alarm:
"OMB says public housing
officials have difficulty filling
out forms. That's not much of
a rationale. Congress passed
the Paperwork Reduction Act
six years ago. But it's not to
interfere with compliance
monitoring of civil rights
laws." The direct effect, as
Sloane sees it, will be to
prevent HUD from determin-
ing if fair housing codes are
being enforced.
At HUD, spokesperson
Peter Centenari reports that
the OMB has asked his
agency to delete racial data
on Federal Housing Agency
applications. The directive,
dated April 9, is only a pro-
posal at this point and agen-
cies have until May 25 to
submit comments on it.
Centenari says, "Secretary
Pierce has asked the gen-
eral counsel to prepare an
appeal. We feel that data IS
needed for enforcement of
HUD's civil rights program."
Although the directive is not
yet law, OMB has begun re-
May 1985 CITY LIMITS 7
jecting forms done by hous-
ing and labor agencies
which contain race and sex
In February, the Dallas
Morning News published the
results of an investigation
they conducted of federally
financed housing which
showed that segregation
was rampant and whites
enjoyed better housing
conditions than blacks and
Hispanics. The article also
found that HUD has ignored
illegal segregation of ten-
ants and reduced its annual
number of investigations
during the Reagan Adminis-
tration by 90 percent.
In addition to impacting
on fair housing policies, the
OMB action will have a de-
trimental effect on employ-
ment practices within public
housing and construction.
According to a source at
New York City's Bureau of
Labor Services, which does
its own compliance monitor-
ing, maintenance and con-
struction workers on projects
that receive federal funding
are already in jeapardy of
losing the protection of affir-
mative action policies. 'The
OMB has made several pro-
posals to the entire federal
Office of Contract Compli-
ance Programs which looks
at anyone who gets federal
subsidies, and has directed
them to transfer their case
analysis to the Equal
Commission without any
additional staff." Together
with a 50 percent cut in bud-
get, OMB's proposals will
make it hard for the Employ-
ment Commission to check
the hiring practices of com-
panies doing business with
the government. "They are
doing fewer reviews and
encouraging submonitoring
on agreements, which allows
contractors to do their own
compliance monitoring,"
says the source.
Perhaps the worst result
of OMB's new policies has
been to contribute to an
atmosphere of indifference
or hostility towards the con-
cept of equal opportunity
and affirmative action which
has been fostered on a
national level by the Reagan
administration. 'The feds
are giving contractors the
go-ahead to do what they
want; not just those with
sub-monitoring agreements,
but others are getting the
message," says the Bureau
of Labor Services source.
"There's been a drastic im-
pact on our work. It's hard
for us because contractors
say, 'what right does the city
have to coltect information
and enforce affirmative
action if the federal govern-
ment isn't?' " Despite the
difficulties, the source noted
that the Bureau has gotten
strong support from the
Koch administration and has
been told to expand reviews
of contractors' compliance
with the city's own affirma-
tive action policies. "Our
dealings wlth contractors is
increasing and we will begin
tighter reviews of construc-
tion contractors."DA..F.
Housing Justlce-
Not Just Houslngl
movement started as a slow burn and
grew to a raging blaze that took racism
off the back burner and made it a
national issue of social concern.
There's a housing movement afoot in
New York City that likewise threatens
to burst through the brick wall of
governmental and social indifference
and make affordable housing a ques-
tion of social justice. Spearheaded by
the Association for Neighborhood and
Housing Development (ANHD) , the
Housing Justice Campaign, whose slo-
gan is "working for justice in housing,
not just housing:' has an explosive
potential. For the first time in the hous-
ing movement's history, a broad-based
coalition of religious, community and
housing organizations are linking
arms to put housing on the front
burner of the city administration's
agenda. Housing, they say, is no longer
the concern of a few special interest
groups around the city. HOllsing is the
human rights issue of the day.
"To a large extent housing has sim-
ply not been a political issue," states
Sue Reynolds, associate director of
ANHD. "It's not featured as part of
political discussions." While ANHD
and its 36 member organizations have
worked for ten years to focus attention
on the need for moderate and low
income housing and community
development, only in the past few
years has the Koch administration and
the news media taken tentative steps
toward acknowledging the problem.
That, in large part, is due to the dra-
matic mushrooming of homeless peo-
ple who are an ubiquitous presence on
the streets, subways and doorways of
the city. Homelessness has become as
much a part of the Big Apple land-
scape as its towering skyscrapers. With
the city's vacancy rate at two percent-
the lowest in 15 years - and a net
decline in rental units of 36,000 since
1981, the shortage of affordable hous-
ing hits virtually all New Yorkers
except the very rich. At present over
one third of all tenants need federal
subsidies to pay their rents.
Taking advantage of a growing
awareness of a housing crisis and
responding to both Governor Cuomds
proposal and Mayor Koch's housing
initiative of January 30, ANHD began
to formulate an alternative plan to cre-
ate housing from the vast stock of city-
owned property. "The genesis of the
Housing Justice Campaign," recounts
Bonnie Brower, executive director of
ANHD, "was an attempt to smoke out
the phony figures of the Koch housing
proposal and the shortcomings of
Governor Cuomds own plan and put
forth another view. As our critique
grew, so did alliances with other
organizations." Pratt Institute Center for
Community and Environmental
Development joined ANHD in for-
mulating the campaign.
Church Involvement
At the same time, church groups
involved in housing issues were
approached and drawn into a loose
coalition. For the first time, an offen-
sive strategy was chosen. In the hous-
ing and tenant movements, says
Reynolds, the battles are usually defen-
sive ones. Fight to hold onto a build-
ing, fend off rent increases or
speculators. But this time, the new coa-
lition would pose a bold, innovative
alternative which went far beyond the
Mayor's proposal to deal with the
shortage of housing for the majority of
city residents. Thus was born the
Housing Justice Campaign, its arrival
announced at a press conference on
March 28 at Dag Hammerskjold
Towers, luxury condominiums that
received nearly $7 million in city real
estate abatements and sell for $400,000.
Among those assembled at that
symbol of the city's inequitable hous-
ing policies were Rev. William Sloane
Coffin of the Riverside Church, Rabbi
Marc Tanenbaum of the American Jew-
.ish Committee, Father Neil Connelly,
Vicar of the South Bronx and chair of
the South Bronx People for Change,
Dr. Robert Polk for the Council of
Churches of New York and Rev. Gene
Wright of the Association of Commu-
nity Organizations for Reform Now
Such an array of religious leaders,
many of whom are active in advocat-
ing other social issues, evidences an
exciting development for the housing
movement. "The attention and endorse-
ment of major religious leaders is a
move away from marginality," states
Reynolds. "It also offers us a way to
reach people with longtime affilia-
tions in other community groups." By
expanding the housing and tenant
movements to embrace a church-based
constituency, the Housing Justice
Campaign has the opportunity to
popularize the principles of affordable
housing and tenant protections.
What is the root of the nascent co-
alition between religious and housing
organizations and why has it only now
begun to emerge? According to Jeff Big-
gers, staff member of the Riverside
Church ,"it comes from a long standing
tradition of the Church being involved
in social issues:' Peace, disarmament
and progressive struggles of all shades
have given Riverside Church a national
reputation; but a focus on the housing
crisis takes the Church into a different
arena, "It's a new coalition for the reli-
gious community as a whole," says Big-
gers, "and it came out of working with
the homeless, which is a revolutionary
That experience has been shared
by more and more church organiza-
tions as the homeless population has
grown and with it the need for shelter.
In November 1984, a new religious
organization, the Interfaith Committee
on Homelessness and Housing gave its
debut press conference. The message
was that charity is no substitute for
justice and sheltering the homeless is
no substitute for permanent housing.
Riverside Church has held hearings
and forums on the housing crisis and
incorporated housing justice into its
agenda for social change. "The issues
are all interconnected," asserts Biggers.
"For every dollar this country spends
on the military, it spends less than a
penny on public housing assistance.
Local housing justice is tied to the sit-
uation in Central America."
For Rev. David Garcia of St. Marks
in the Bowery, forging an alliance with
housing and tenant groups is a matter
of "self interest:' "Churches have been
providing shelter to the homeless and
are going to be providing even more if
the housing crisis continues. They are
starting to see the scope of the prob-
lem, the stark cold reality of the hous-
ing shortage," he says. Garcia predicts
an intensified focus on housing within
the religious community as leaders
and parishioners share an awareness of
that housing crisis.
Protection, Preservation
and Construction
At the heart of the Housing Justice
Campaign'is a thorough and painstak-
ingly constructed plan, the product of
ANHD and Pratt Institute. It is a com-
prehensive plan of action that for the
first time weaves together three inter-
related strands: tenant protection,
preservation of the existing housing
stock and construction of new housing
units, according to Brower. Unlike the
Koch proposal which looks only at
new construction and renovations
assisted by tax abatements, the Cam-
paign platform recognizes that co-op
conversions, rent deregulation, rent-
boosting major capital improvements
and the lack of serious, citywide code
enforcement efforts contribute to the
lack of affordable housing.
Unlike the Koch proposal, too, is
the Housing Justice Campaign's focus
on low and moderate income people;
although 76 percent of all New York-
ers earn less than $25,000 a year, the
Koch plan would allocate the majority
of new units to the 19 percent of resi-
dents who earn over $25,000. Over-
coming that basic inequity is what the
Campaign is all about. "The Mayor's
housing initiative upped the ante;'
says Sue Reynolds. "It encouraged us
to talk about more money. He said the
money is there, so we should use it-
to create affordable housing for those
who need it."
Specifically, the Campaign posits
a five-point, five-year-Iong strategy
which is cheaper, more efficient and
practical in providing permanent
housing. First it calls for using the
city's vacant city-owned buildings to
create 45,000 apartments with $2.5 bil-
lion generated from five sources: $125
million in Municipal Assistance Cor-
poration surplus funds; $625 million
from revenue bond funds based on
increased payments in lieu of taxes
from the World Trade Center; $750 mil-
lion in additional MAC surplus funds
in 1987; $500 million in city Capital
Budget funds; and a $500 million city
Housing Trust Fund fed by developer
contributions among other sources. In
addition to rehabilitating vacant in rem
properties, it calls for repairs of 28,000
city-owned units not included in cur-
rent rehab plans.
Preservation of existing rental
housing to stem the tide of landlord
neglect and abandonment is the sec-
ond key component. A woefully inade-
quate number of housing inspectors-
397 - has meant sketchy enforcement
of housing codes. Beef up that force for
regular, thorough inspections, reform
Housing Court for quick and effective
action against unlawful landlords, and
make city intervention to repair dan-
gerous violations a regular policy.
Protecting tenants' right to remain
in their homes is crucial to the Cam-
paign plan. For those in small build-
ings, buildings with 4218 tax abate-
ments about to expire or where owners
have passed on inflated rent increases
after making repairs, lack of protection
hangs over their heads like the sword
of Damocles. Rent regulations, prohi-
bitions on apartment warehousing
May 1985 CITY LIMITS 9
during a co-op conversion and strict
limits on rent pass-alongs for Major
Capital Improvements must be imple-
The plan also calls for an inclu-
sionary development policy to recap-
ture some of the immense profits big
developers are reaping with the help of
city tax abatements and zoning bonus-
es. Contributions to a Housing Trust
Fund and inclusion of lower income
apartments in developers' schemes for
luxury housing should become auto-
matic. And finally, the Campaign calls
for linking new middle income hous-
ing to creation of low and moderate
income housing with anti-displace-
ment protections to protect neighbor-
hood residents from gentrification.
To date, the Housing Justice Cam-
paign has held three press confer-
ences. One, in Harlem, boasted Rev.
Jesse Jackson who had previously
offered his support to the Campaign.
A call-in day to Governor Mario
Cuomo and a postcard mailing to State
Senator Warren Anderson - both
emphasizing tenant protective legisla-
tion coming up in the Assembly - were
carried out in April. On May 4, the
Campaign plans a citywide demon-
stration. The two-month organizing
plan culminates in lobbying on the
new city budget which will be adopted
by the City Council at the end of May.
"WfJre working hard on the budget and
tenant protection issues. We've met
with Deputy Mayor Esnard already to
discuss our proposals," says Reynolds,"
but its still early in the process." The
Housing Justice Campaign will march
on through the end of the budget
process and, hopefully, into fall when
either a new city administration or an
old one will be faced with the same
housing crisis.
Media attention to the Housing
Justice Campaign has been less than
overwhelming, with its preference for
unicorns and personalities over the
more gritty and sophisticated housing
issues. But coalition members are
undaunted. "The press is going to
avoid it for, some time. They take head-
lines that sell," notes Rev. Garcia. "But
were entering a period as rich as the
1960's and 7{)'s where housing and
empowerment of the people will be
primary struggles. Once a mass base is
established, it's going to be hard to
hold back:'OA.F.
10 - CITY LIMITS - May 1985
New York's Housing Crisis:
-Household size has likewise
gone up in the last three years, revers-
ing a trend of at least 20 years duration.
The 19851e1lllon
Bureau of the Census does a special
"Housing and Vacancy Survey" in New
York City, to provide information to see
if there is still a "housing emergency"
in New York City. If there is, the city
may continue rent control; if there
isn't, rent controls must be lifted. A
"housing emergency" exists, according
to state law, if the vacancy rate is below
5 percent.
Is there still a housing emergency
in New York City? Yes there is. The
vacancy rate is in fact 2.04 percent, the
lowest it has been since 1970. The find-
ings of most importance to tenants are
as follows:
SUPPLY: There are only 39,594
vacant available housing units left in
the city (all figures, unless otherwise
noted, are as of the date of the survey,
spring, 1984). Ten years ago there were
56,968 (1975); 20 years ago, 68,423
-There are 36,000 fewer rental
units in the city today than there were
at the time of the last survey in 1981,
even though the city's population has
grown by 78,000 persons.
-There were only 25,000 new
units built in the last three years (com-
pared to 28,000 the preceeding three
and 45,000 the three years before
that - and the subsidized portion of
that construction level, averaging
about 25 percent over the long term, is
on the point of disappearing
altogether). Rent control is hard to
blame for the reduction in new con-
struction: rent regulations don't cover
new unassisted construction; high
construction costs, high interest rates,
and limited incomes put a damper on
construction all over, and New York
City's share of New York State construc-
tion has remained virtually constant
over the last 6 years, even though most
of the state has no rent regulation.
-Gross losses from the housing
inventory were 69,000 for the last three
years, (almost three times more than
new consJpuction) averaging 1,917
units losf from the inventory every
AF'FORDABILlTY: Rents have
gone up: the median increase (the half-
way point: half of all rents above, half
below), was $65 a month per-unit in
the last three years, compared to $55 a
unit in the three years before that.
Adjusting for inflation, rents actually
went down a little between 1978 and
1981, but have gone up by 5.8 percent
from 1981 to 1984.
-Units renting for less than $300
a month went down by 399,663; units
renting between $400-499 went up
110,214, those renting over $500 went
up 106,397.
-Incomes, on the other hand, have
gone down, in real terms: 4.4 percent
for all renters. More people are on wel-
fare than three years ago: 14.3 percent
compared to 13.3 percent.
-Rent-to-income ratios are at an
all-time high: at the median they are
now 29.3 percent of income going for
rent. Twenty-five percent used to be
considered the most the average
household could pay; more than 60.2
percent of all renters pay more than
I that today), compared to 28 percent
~ three years ago. More than 39 percent
month. The gross loss rate is a little
better than what it was in the previous
three-year period (2,250). The rate of
recovery of earlier losses (what the
report calls "returning losses") may
actually be down - 32 ,000 in the last
three years, compared to 33,000 the
preceeding three and 38,000 the three
-There was a net gain of 11,000
units (less than the 16,000 increase in
households) despite these factors
because there were 24,000 conversions
which added residential units. The
conversions and new construction
were mostly at the high end of the
cost/rent scale.
CROWDING: The crowding rate
has increased for the first time in 25
years. More than 144,000 live in rental
units with more than one person per
room. Severe over-crowding (more
than 1.5 persons per room) increased,
proportionately, even more.
of all households pay more than 35
percent. .
GENTRIFICATION: 57,000 units are
estimated to have been converted from
rental to co-op/condominium status
between 1978.and 1984 (the figure
seems low-the report doesn't look at
any source of data other than the
Census Survey). The rate of conversion
is accelerating; there were three times
as many in the last three years as in the
three years before that.
-The median income of those in
co-op converted units before conver-
sion was $18,375; after conversion,
those living in these units had a
median income of $35,687.
- 255,000 apartments experienced
rent increases of over 50 percent in the
last three years. This includes 54 per-
cent of all units that were taken out of
rent control because of vacancy decon-
trol, but it also includes 10.8 percent
of all units that remained under rent
control , and 13 percent of pre-1947 rent
stabilized units. The Report opens the
door on what is clearly a major
problem, but provides little more on it
than the bare figures; what proportion
are MCI (Major Capital Improvement)
increases, for instance, or how many
illegal rent increases there were, can-
not be told from the figures provided.
CONDITION: Occupied dilapi-
dated units went down slightly from
1981, back to their 1978 number. Units
with one or more maintenance defi-
ciencies went up slightly, from 55.4
percent to 57.5 percent, with three or
more deficiencies stayed constant at
20.6 percent, with rodent infestations
went up "dramatically," from 24.3 per-
cent to 28.9 percent of all rental units.
INEQUALITY: Conditions are
much worse for blacks, Puerto Ricans
(the Report does not provide informa-
tion on Hispanics as a category).
women, large families, the elderly, by
most of the measures provided in the
Report. The segregation of the poor has
probably increased even beyond what
it was three years ago: more propor-
tionately are in the Bronx than three
years ago, fewer in Queens.
THE FUTURE: Solid figures can
only be provided on the past and the
present. But some conclusions can be
drawn from them for the future.
Perhaps the most striking come from
the following two facts:
-There are 605,784 households
eligible for Section 8 rent assistance in
New York City today, based on income
below 80 percent of the median and
payment of more than 30 percent of
that income for rent. 526,119 of these
households are of very poor income:
May 1985 - CITY LIMITS - 11
below 50 percent of the median. That
means 22.5 percent of all households
in the City of New York, 31.8 percent of
all tenants in the city, need federal
assistance to obtain adequate housing
within their means, by the official
criteria established by the Congress of
the United States.
-There will be no further Section
8 units, and, if President Reagan has
his way, no further federal assistance
of any nature for low income housing
next year. 0
Peter Marcuse is Professor of Urban
Planning at Columbia and is an active
member of the Planners Network. This
article provides a brief summary of the
key findings of interestJo tenants from
the 1984 report referred to in the text.
A longer article, providing more
detailed analysis, Will appear in our
August issue.
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12 CITY LIMITS May 1985
New York's New HOllies:
Bring in the COllllllunlty
greeted New York City's "New Homes
Prograrn"-the ambitious effort to build
new communities of moderate and
middle income homeowners on barren
land in some of the city's most blighted
neighborhoods. Groundbreakings-
both real and symbolic - along with
ribbon-cuttings and, within the last
year, presentation of traditional bread
and salt to proud new homeowners
have accompanied the city program
that was launched in 1981.

Aimed at households with
incomes between $20,000 and $48,000,
the New Homes Program is developed
on city-owned sites using subsidies
from the now virtually defunct Section
235 program. Additional subsidies are
provided in combination with the pri-
vate nonprofit New York City Partner-
ship headed by banker David
Rockefeller. (The nationally acclaimed
Nehemiah Project of East Brooklyn is
an independent effort also using city
~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ______________ - - J ~
Virtually all of the attention has
focused on the public officials and pri-
vate sector backers who pushed to
bring the program to the city, and on
the developers who have risked
developing homes in areas previously
deemed unmarketable.
Meanwhile, participating com-
munity sponsors, comprised of local
organizations and churches, have been
slighted in their share of recognition.
Yet it is their involvement which bol-
sters the long-term viability of these
projects. The groups have worked to
represent the community's and the
homeowners' interests in the projects,
and at the same time assisted
developers in marketing the new
A recent round of interviews with
key participants in the city's program
reveal some of the critical functions
performed by these nonprofit organi-
zations. The results strongly suggest
that community groups should be for-
mally incorporated into each project
with the resources provided to make
that possible.
Pre-fob housing being Installed at Brownsville's New Horizons Village:
What rol. lor th. community'
The New Homes Program's Sec-
tion 235 component provides federal
assistance in the form of monthl y pay-
ments to mortgagees (most often banks)
to subsidize the purchaser'S interest
rate. Those rates started out at one per-
cent under the 235 program, and are
now at seven percent.
When written into the National
Housing Act of 1968, Section 235 was
expected to be used in communities
where single-family homes were the
standard. but in 1981 New York City-
where rental multiple dwellings have
long predominated - decided to use it
to give moderate income families an
incentive to remain in the city. As
Mayor Ed Koch has often stated,
"Homeownership is the cornerstone of
the city's efforts to rebuild neigh-
To make projects economically
feasible, the city used a patchwork of
cost reducing techniques along with
the Section 235 subsidy. Projects were
to be built on city-owned land, sold for
a nominal amount, with city real estate
tax abatements and grant monies of up
to $20.000 per house to bring down the
purchase price. The result is single-
family homes selling for $65,000-
about 2'5 percent less than homes sold
at market rates. Since mid-1984,
however, the city's Section 235 alloca-
tion has been depleted and the interest
subsidy has been dropped.
By 1985 the New Homes Program
involved 1,876 new units of housing in
various stages of construction at 20
sites throughout the five boroughs.
Most sites have sales commitments
before completion, in some cases even
before the model horne is constructed.
Developers are responding to the city's
requests for proposals even though the
sites are located in marginal neighbor-
hoods where little privately financed
construction is taking place. The num-
bers, as well as the demand for the pro-
gram, are impressive.
But the city should move cau-
tiously in lauding its program. Across
the country. the earlier Section 235
program was plagued with problems:
emphasis on production often worked
against quality contruction; the pro-
gram's then nominal $200-per-house
downpayrnent resulted in high default
rates when housing costs outstripped
family finances; the program also
totally failed to provide counseling for
purchasers, most of whom were first
time homebuyers,


Meeting the Challenge in New York
New York City's program
~ d d r e s s e s some of these problems, but
It appears to be by chance, not design.
While new sites have hardly been con-
struction problem-free, the bulk of the
defects have been spotted during or
soon after construction-when the
developer is still in the picture and
home warranties still in effect. Almost
half of the projects now under con-
struction are being built with modular
homes. These factory-assembled
houses are expected to yield higher
uniformity and quality than those
built on site.
The downpayment is now a mini-
mum 10 percent of the price-about
$6,000. Those buying homes with Sec-
tion 235 assistance, however, pay a big-
ger chunk in downpayment because of
federal regulations which cap the
amount which can be mortgaged.
While the resulting steep
downpayment-as high as $10,000-
push many out of the picture, they also
reduce the likelihood that home-
owners will walk away from their
But the crucial issue of
homeowner education is not being sys-
tematically addressed. At seven sites,
Cornell Cooperative Extension pro-
vides workshops for new homeowners.
At others, community sponsors have
provided this kind of assistance. But in
the majority of cases no provision has
been made to prepare purchasers for
the new and difficult responsibilities
of owning their first home.
This bypassing of community par-
ticipation also threatens an additional
program goal: neighborhood stabiliza-
tion. Summing up the New York City
Partnership'S goals, executive commit-
tee member Virgil Conway of Seaman's
Bank for Savings said recently, "New
York [faces the threat] of becoming a
city where only the very rich and very
poor reside ... we intend to ... stimu-
late the revitalization of the city's
neighborhoods to assure that they
remain comfortable places to live."
Yet community representatives
with the vantage point needed to artic-
ulate complementing revitalization
efforts have been largely in the back-
ground. And at those sites without a
structure for community participation.
projects may not}ive up to their I?oten-
tial. Those proJects run the risk of
being stigmatized as having been
created by outsiders and imposed on
the neighborhood - a familiar image
on ~ e vacant land razed for long-
promIsed urban renewal projects that
never materialized.
To find out how those gaps can be
filled by a community sponsor, Cornell
Cooperative Extension undertook to
survey a 20-member sampling of the
range of participants in the New
Homes programs: developers, lenders,
government officials and community
representatives. The results pointed
out some major advantages (as well as
perceived disadvantages) to that kind
of partnership.
Community Benefits
Marketing: Each site runs the risk
that homes will not be sold. Signifi-
cant stumbling blocks have been loca-
tion as well as the reliability of
unknown developers. Local endorse-
ment-from a neighborhood group or
a church - has been the most success-
ful marketing tool to allay such fears.
Staffing the model house, filling out
mortgage applications, arranging con-
tract signing and translation services
are just some of the marketing services
which groups have undertaken.
Community Support: Local en-
dorsement not only eases acceptance
and adds to project credibility but has
reduced vandalism and provided use-
ful project contributions. In Coney
Island, the local sponsor specified
density and location of the new
development and helped select the
project's developer.
Advocacy: The community spon-
sor's reputation hinges on the initial
success of the project, as well as its
durability. As part of their role, local
sponsors have reviewed developer
credentials and performance records,
lobbied for contract changes, provided
education programs for prospective
purchasers (or contracted with outside
organizations such as Cornell) and
gone to bat for buyers when construc-
tion has fallen short of the promises.
Some groups have used the New
Homes Program to help lobby for other
improvements: Brooklyn's Fifth
Avenue Committee used its Baltic
Street project to prod the Board of
Estimate into funding extensive reno-
vations to a school adjacent to the site.
Liaison: Many sites reported mis-
trust and bad communications
between buyers and builders. Local
May 1985 CITY LIMITS 13
sponsors, however, took the attitude
that ,"The more the homeowners know
the less problems there will be.';
Apprising buyers of construction
progress, design changes and delays is
a necessity if mistrust is to be avoided.
Not surprisingly, some of those
questioned articulated reasons why
the community should be kept out of
the development process. A city
representative voiced the sentiment
that there would be "one too many
actors" with the inclusion of sponsors
in all the projects. Ironically, while
many have complained of long delays
resulting from the complicated web of
bureaucratic procedures through
which projects must pass, one official
worried that a formal community
role - especially where consensus was
demanded-would hinder the
Some groups have offered services
without being reimbursed by the
development team, but the more com-
mon scenario has been a fee of one-half
to one percent of the purchase price -
roughly $500 per unit. Most
developers felt that payments made to
groups for marketing tasks were well
worth the price.
Needed: Local Sponsors
Thus far, the success of the city's
New Homes Program appears hopeful.
The concept of providing new, afford-
able homeownership opportunities at
sites strategically located to aid neigh-
borhood stabilization has received
widespread endorsement. But the lack
of a specific, defined role for the
community-or even a mandated
one - could come back to haunt this
major effort. With the disadvantages,
both economic and qualitative, rela-
tively insignificant when measured
against the acknowledged benefits, not
to ensure a community role appears
foolhardy. Establishing a mechanism
through which both the new
homeowner and community needs
can be heard can only reinforce the
promise of the New Homes Program to
the neighborhood and, ultimately, to
the City of New York. 0
Laura Blair is Director of the Brooklyn
Housing Resource Center, Cornell
Cooperative Extension Service, New
York City Program.
14 CITY LIMITS May 1985
Wo._n Working

in New York City offers some of the
highest paying jobs to be found any-
where in the metropolit:.:n area. Unfor-
tunately, the industry has traditionally
been indifferent (when it is not out-
right hostile) to women seeking jobs in
the construction field as an alternative
to low-paying, dead-end office work.
However, there are organizations
that are pushing for a greater represen-
tation of women on work crews at con-
struction sites around the city. One
such place, Non-Traditional Employ-
ment for Women (NEW) was started
seven years ago to train women who
want to work in the better paying blue
collar fields of construction, machine
repair and mechanics, to name a few.
NEW-trained women have been placed
in apprenticeship programs for sheet-
metal workers, carpenters, electricians,
painters and latherers.
Woman conltructlon work.r: h',,''''' to II,.." Hrr'.""
NEW is sponsored by the State
Communities Aid Association and has
received funds from the federal Job
Training Partnership Act (admin-
istered by the city) as well as grant
money from the State Department of
Labor and the New York City Commu-
nity Development Agency.
Mary Ellen Boyd, project adminis-
trator for NEW, said that New York City
was projecting a construction boom for
the next eight years. "There are plenty
of jobs for white males," she said, "but
no one is waiting for women with open
Boyd explained that NEW staff
works two to three weeks per person
after training, contracting employers
and following job leads. Staff also ac-
company women on "shapes;' where
workers congregate at job sites at 5 a.m.
for possible employment that day.
Boyd noted that the early hour and the
"psychological stamina" needed to per-
sist in the job search discourages many
women. Of the 570 women who
showed up for a NEW orientation, only
268 enrolled. Of that number 228
stayed for the whole course; 130 were
The group also places women in
other non-traditional fields beside
construction, such as business
machine repair, auto mechanics, and
telecommunications. Training for
these areas is given in conjunction
with the New York City Technical Col-
lege and the Educational Opportunity
Center of the State University of New
York. The average wage for NEW grad-
uates is $8.67 an hour. Boyd estimates
that of the 400 to 600 women in con-
struction in New York, 50 to 60 per cent
are from NEW.
Asked if NEW worked in tandem
or conflict with groups such as Fight
Back, which agitates at construction
sites for the hiring of more minority
workers, Boyd replied: "We support
their aims and they support ours. Fight
Back places a woman once in a while.
We have no argument with minority
males; we're arguing for a bigger piece
of the pie, not the same piece."
Boyd said that the social obliga-
tion written into government contracts
makes it "a little easier" to get slots for
women on government funded jobs
than from private contractors. "We can
threaten to turn them into a regulatory
agency;' she explained.
At the moment NEW is "exploring
the possibility" of suing the state Bat-
tery Park City Corp. in federal court. Of
2,200 workers on the project, only 17
are women; one is from NEW. Over the
past 18 months, 150 women from NEW
have "shaped" there.
Boyd cited Yonkers Contracting
Co. as "better than most" in hiring
women for their road construction
projects. Tishman Construction Co ..
however. was "insensitive to hiring
women;' she said. Other companies
that have hired NEW women are
Schiavone Construction and the Xerox
Unions an Obstacle
Boyd cited union control of
apprenticeship programs as an obsta-
cle to placing women. The "hometown"
plan sponsored by the New York Plan
for Training parallels union appren-
ticeships and is funded by the build-
ing trades. The Plan is administered by
union officials, however.
"It's designed as a safety plan to
keep minorities happy and out of the
union;' Boyd asserted. According to
Boyd. it is not unheard offor a person
in the plan to be a trainee for 7 years.
When a Plan apprentice does graduate
to journeyman status, he or she must
compete with journeymen who have
received more guidance and who were
less "sheltered." "They are separate but
not equal systems;' she said.
The first job for many is
"unpredictable;' said Boyd, an can
last anywhere from two weeks to seven
months. Although it is "very expen-
sive" to keep in touch, Boyd said there
is a core of 50 women that NEW con-
tacts, and who remain in the field.
"Expanding Options"
Another program that offers train-
ing for women in the building trades
is Expanding Options for Teen Moth-
ers, which is offered free at the New
York Technical College in downtown
According to Sheila Turner, the
job developer for Expanding Options,
the program aims to place their stu-
dents in unions as carpenters, plumb-
ers and electricians-'!'anything with
maintenance and construction:' The
fledgling program started last July: the
current term, which b e g ~ February 5,
has 24 women enrolled. It ends June
28. Funding comes from the New York
Community Trust, the New York Foun-
dation, and the Public Welfare Trust.
Among the . .firms that have ex-
pressed an interest in their students are
the Electricians Union, Columbia Uni-
versity. and the Department of Hous-
irig Preservation and Development.
Turner said that contact with
potential employers is made in a mas-
sive mailing of a questionnaire to 450
companies. However, the response rate
to this method of contact has been low;
Turner attributed a 10 percent response
rate to "a slow period in construction:'
Nonetheless, of the nine students grad-
uated in January, all but one have been
placed. Placement has been made with
the Brooklyn Energy Co . the painters
May 1985 CITY LI/IIUTS 15
union, NYC Tech, and the Citizens Ad-
visory Bureau in the Bronx. which
makes minor repairs in the homes of
the elderly. There is a three- to six-
month follow-up to place students. 0
For more information:
Non-Traditional Employment for
Women. 105 E. 22nd Street, NY, NY
10010 (212) 420-0660.
Expanding Options for Teen
Mothers. NYC Technical College.
CUNY, 300 Jay Street. Room M407,
Brooklyn, NY 11201. (718)
Master's Degree in Urban AHairs at Hunter College, CUNY
This 36-credit graduate program prOVides training in neighborhood development. Master's degree can be
completed full-time in one year (two semesters and summer) or part-time.
Theoretical grounding and field experiences in metropolitan New York are provided by our faculty of
experienced social scientists, planners and lawyers, and by distinguished visiting lecturers.
Graduates of Hunter's Urban Affairs Program have gone on to perform vital community work as neighborhood
organizers, economic development specialists, district managers, housers and program managers.
Present tuition for a 15-credit semester is $950 plus fee for New York State residents. Financial aid available.
For information contact Hans B.C. Spiegel, Director, Graduate Program in Urban Affairs, Hunter Col/ege, 695
Pork Avenue, New York, NY 10021, telephone (212) 772-5515.
Pre -Paid Legal Assistance Plan (PLAN)
The Urban Homesteading Assistanee Board (UHAB) aDd the Self-Help Works
Mutual Housing Association are extremely pleased to announce
new I o w ~ lep1 serviees program for HDFe's aDd TIL
participants. Make sure your cooperative
has aeeesS to high quaHty
legal representation at
the lowest rates.
For more information, eall UHAB at 74H602.
._ ...

. .
. .
: .. ! .. :
. . .
': .: J
. . .
16 CITY LIMITS May 1985
wo earthquakes shook Nicara
gua in the 1970s: first, the devas-
tating 1972 quake which ravaged
the capital city of Managua; and
second, the violent overthrow of the
more than three-decade-old Somoza
dictatorship, long backed by the
United States .
. Today, Nicaragua's path is deter-
mined by both those events: it is en-
gaged in a dramatic rebuilding hom
the devastation wrought by earthquake
and revolution, while at the same time
carrying out a radical restructuring of
The government's ambitious urban
housing policies display both those
strategies - and their impediments-
in sharp relief.
For Nicaragua, urbanization came
late and fast. As the economy shifted
gears in the 1950s and 60s from coffee
to cotton and sugar cultivation on the
Pacific Coast and industrialization, the
urban jumped from 35 per-
cent of the country in 1950 to 59 per-
cent in 1980.
In the capital city of Managua this
swelling population was absorbed in
marginal areas around Lake Managua,
as well as on the city's periphery,
which grew in size by 70 percent be-
tween 1960 and 1977. Much of this
peripheral growth took the form of
"illegal" speculative tract develop-
ments after the earthquake destroyed
75 percent of the housing stock in the
center city.
Overcoming Somoza's Legacy
At the moment of the Sandinista
victory in July, 1979, a full 65 percent
of Managua's residents lacked one or
more basic infrastructural elements
where they lived: paved roads, fresh
water, electricity, sanitary drainage or
storm sewers. In addition; a substantial
number of people lived in overcrowded
cuarterias, where entire families occu-
pied one or two rooms with shared and
inadequate sanitary services.
In the face of these conditions,
and under the multiple handicaps of
supply shortages and continuing war,
Nicaragua has launched a series of
major housing reforms. The most
sweeping housing measure took aim at
speculation in the private rental hous-
ing market and sought to increase the
Second Front
Managuan st,..t scene:
Unde, multlpl. Hnt//c.".. _I .. 0' _1_ Ito"""" ,.torm..
ebuilding their housing from
earthquake and revolution
May 1985 CITY LIMITS 17
real income of the work force. The
'llmants' Law of January, 1980, reduced
all rents (88 percent of them by half),
and set a maximum annual rent on
future leases at five percent of the
assessed value of the property.
The law also enabled the state,
through the Ministry of Housing and
Human Settlements - known as MIN-
YAH-to take the cuarterfas into re-
cei vership to make necessary improve-
ments. Unlike Cuba, which after its
revolution effected a forced sale of
private rental properties by turning
monthly rent into purchase payments,
Nicaragua's Thnant Law may be seen as
a kind of national rent control. It elim-
inates speculation in rental housing
and guarantees tenants' rights, but re-
spects certain private ownership rights
as well, including eviction for cause.
While legislation to eliminate pri-
vate rental housing was discussed in
Nicaragua, the issue has not been pur-
sued. Housing units owned by the
Somoza family and their associates
were confiscated, but much of the rent-
al housing stock was owned by work-
ing and lower middle class people who
supported the Sandinista struggle. .-
MINVAH, the state's housing
agency, estimates the national housing
need at 280,000 units, with a particu-
larly acute need in Managua. But the
combination of the l e ~ a c y of under-
development plus a wartime austerity
budget has forced an emphasis on "site
and services" for housing. Under this
approach, the government prepares
the land (usually by grading) and
installs necessary services such as
potable water. It then gives lots to fami-
lies who build. Most homes are built
with scavenged materials, but families
may also purchase pre-fabricated wood
panels with low-interest loans from the
state-run Materials Bank.
illegal Settlements and Squatting
One of the most urgent tasks is to
upgrade the 230 "illegal' post-earth-
quake settlements on the outskirts of
Managua, which house over 50 per-
cent of the city's population. Owner-
ship of these lands was considered
illegal by the Sandinista government
because of the failure of the tract devel-
opers -lotificadores - to furnish
necessary infrastructure and services
or to provide sales certificates for the
lots they sold.
18 CITY LIMITS May 1985
In September, 1979, just two
months after .the Sandinista victory, the
Law of Illegal Settlements empowered
the state to intervene in these settle-
ments. It made MINVAH receiver of the
monthly amortization payments pend-
ing transfer of title from the lotificador
to the lot-holder. This revenue was
used to pay for infrastructural develop-
ment and to purchase 15 percent of the
land area for communal services, as
well as needed topographical and
planning studies. Where amortization
payments were insufficient to cover
these costs, MINVAH was given the
right to place liens on other assets and
attach the bank accounts of the lotifica-
dares. Legal title to the lot-holders who
lived on their lots was conveyed in
January, 1982. Previous mortgages
were considered paid in full, although
lot-holders are obliged to continue
payments to MINVAH to help finance
the infrastructure work.
An even greater government chal-
lenge are the spontaneous squatter
settlements on the shores of Lake
Managua. By 1979, 36 shantytowns
ringed the lake, housing nine percent
of the city's population. High tension
electrical lines and raw waste dumped
into the lake by seventeen sewer trunk
lines - a problem exacerbated by peri-
odic flooding - pose critical health
The government has sought ways
to move residents to safer and more
sanitary locations. To do that, it passed
the Law of Expropriation of Vacant
Urban Land in December, 1980, which
made unused urban land a public re-
source. Like this country's eminent
domain principle, the law authorized
the taking of unbuilt but developable
urban sites, having access to infrastruc-
ture and basic services but held vacant
by owners awaiting a speculative in-
crease in value. The law restricts com-
pensation to assessed property value,
authorizes payments with.state bonds
and allows immediate possession of
land by MINVAH for projects of "pub-
lic utility and social interest."
With the legal mechanism in
place to secure the land, MINVAH
launched a Progressive Urbanization
program to install minimum urban
services (graded dirt roads, electricity,
latrines, one potable water tap for every
tWenty lots) and to allocate lots to fami-
lies relocated from the lake shore.
~ ______________________________ i
State-supplied drlnklnt _ter In "I' ..... ,. Manatauan settlement:
An emph,..I. on deve/op/nll the 'n,"",,,,,",,,,.
Despite its costs, the program was
pushed forward with some urgency
after heavy flooding in 1982 rendered
the lake-front settlements even more
precarious. Some 5,000 lots were pre-
pared in Managua in 1982, and a total
of 15,478 through the program nation-
ally by the end of 1983.
The government has also under-
taken the construction of state-built
housing, relying primarily on pre-
fabricated units of light-weight con-
crete and wood wall sections to reduce
costs, speed-up production and cut
labor requirements. As the housing is
built in complexes of at least a hundred
units to exploit serial production, the
program is known informally as "mas-
sive construction."
Most of the program's 9,513 units
have been built in rural areas to sup-
port the establishment of agricultural
cooperatives and provide resettlement
villages for Indians and peasants dis-
placed from the war zones along the
Honduran border. Monthly payments
for state-built housing in the coopera-
tives are limited to 15 percent of family
income. Housing in the resettlement
villages is provided free. This leads to
ownership in the form of a "family
patrimony" which permits inheritance
of the unit by family members but
allows the state to control any sale or
transfer of title outside the family.
Despite the evident improvement
in living conditions for most Nicara-
guans, MINVAH officials remain sober
about their accomplishments. The
state's housing production is not keep-
ing pace with the increasing popula-
tion, and most new housing must still
be produced through private, unassist-
ed efforts. Infrastructural development
in the settlements and progressive
urbanization districts is rudimentary,
particularly with regard to sanitary
drainage. The pre-fabricated concrete
units of the massive construction pro-
gram tend to produce a gray, barracks-
like environment.
The principle obstacle to housing
development remains, of course, the
ongoing counterrevolutionary offen-
sive which drains over 25 percent of
the national budget for defense, dis-
rupts transportation of materials, and
diverts labor resources. Given this con-
text, the conceptual framework of
urban housing policy is more signifi-
cant than the physical results to date.
It's a policy whose touchstone is the
treatment of urban land as a social
resource rather than a speculative
commodity, a policy which encour-
ages individual homeownership while
emphasizing housing's use value over
its exchange value.
Nicaragua's housing tools-rent
control, receivership and expropria-
tion through eminent domain - are all
in widespread use in the United States.
But the difference is in the degree and
intent of their application, and stems
from the conviction in Nicaragua that
the private sector exists to serve the
public interest, and not the other way
around. 0
Tony Schuman is an architect and is
co-organizer of the New York Planners'
Network. This article is an edited ver-
sion of an essay written for Critical Per-
spectives on Housing, edited by Rachel
Bratt, Chester Hartman and Anne
Meyerson, to be published this fall by
Temple University Press.
Building Up
From Within
May 1985 CITY LIMITS 19
New York City's Community
Development Credit Unions
ere Committee to right) Irl
hen the Manufacturers
Hanover Trust Co, announced
the closing ofits generations-
old branch on Manhattan's Lower East
Side which served a hundred-square-
block area with a population of over
50,000, neighborhood residents ral-
lied. Faced with a strong community
reaction but finding no other bank
willing to move into that site. Manu-
facturers agreed to donate the property
to a credit union now being formed by
local residents with the assistance of
the National Federation of Community
Development Credit Unions.
Stripped of their financial re-
sources, as so many of them are, low
income neighborhoods are considered
too high a risk for lending by "prudent"
.... mber; Doretta Headen, lecretary; Janice GutloH. chair.
community dolla,.. In ,h. community.
investors. As a result, neighborhoods
like the Lower East Side, are denied
access to needed capital upon which
to build. Hence, an enduring cycle of
local poverty: no money, no credit and
no development.
There are, however, institutions
that not only lend in these high-risk
zones, but are proud to do so. Union
Settlement Federal Credit Union is
one. This 28-year-old East Harlem
institution has assets of over $2.5 mil-
lion and lends virtually exclusively to
local residents, workers and busi-
nesses. Two-thirds of its outstanding
loans are small (under $1,000) and are
made to community residents -70 per-
cent of them Hispanics; 22 percent
blacks r70 percent of these are to
women). These loans are for financing
education and consumer durables.
The Union's remaining credit is
extended to small businesses, non-
profit organizations and residents pur-
chasing or rehabilitating East Harlem's
Consider, too, the Brooklyn Ecu-
menical Cooperative - a coalition of 34
churches in and around downtown
Brooklyn that has taken the message
from the pulpit to the pocketbook. In
the past year, BEC has raised over
$700,000 ' to lend solely to its pre-
dominantly low income membership
which is one-third black, one-third
Hispanic and one-third low income
Union Settlement and Brooklyn
Ecumenical are, respectively, the
oldest and the youngest of New York
City's strident, grassroots credit unions
aimed at strengthening local commu-
20 CITY LIMITS May 1985
nity development. It's a phenomenon
increasingly finding its role in New
York City's neighborhoods as residents
pool their savings in these nonprofit
financial cooperatives to provide
affordable loans and credit facilities to
members in need.
It's also a movement with mani-
fold community benefits. First, credit
unions promote savings by providing
federally insured depositories without
huge minimum balances or high fees.
Second, they offer vital low interest
loans: maximu.m rates are generally 12
to 15 percent, far less than the 20 per-
cent charged by many banks or the far
higher rates demanded by finance
companies or other credit sources
which prey upon low income people.
Third, community development credit
unions often have check cashing, pay-
roll deduction, insurance and other
needed, yet often unavailable services
for the small saver. And that is without
even mentioning the intangible bene-
fits : education in savings, credit and
financial planning; training in book-
keeping and management for resident
members, and, as in most work done
by volunteers, development of a
cooperative ethic and community
National Federation
But the bottom line is that all of
these services are provided to people
who generally would not have them
available without inordinate trans-
action charges - if they could receive
them at all . In making credit union
loans, a member's character is often as
important as income criteria. Thus,
credit unions extend credit to first-time
borrowers (such as a recently divorced
woman) and others regularly turned
down by banks.
While credit unions have grown
over recent years, the issue of bank
flight has provided an important spur
to growth. The National Federation of
Community Development Credit
Unions, a nonprofit association of over
100 institutions, is now providing
technical assistance, capital develop-
ment, management support as well as
marketing and regulatory advocacy
services to credit unions in New York
and nationally.
Now in the works at the National
While commercial lenders often siphon resources away, credit
unions reverse the process.
Federation is a plan to create a "Corpor-
ation for Hanking" which
would be capitalized "" it j 1 $20 million
loaned at six percent interest by New
York banks. As planned by Federation
head Clifford Rosenthal, this corpora-
tion would then . provide matching
deposits of up to $2 million for five
years to credit unions. The goal is to
enable credit unions to develop appro-
priate asset bases to meet the rising
need for credit and financial facilities
by low and moderate income commu-
nities forsaken by the banking com-
But credit union boosters see
them as far more than just a financial
intermediary providing credit services
to those others deem "unbankable."
Institutions like Brooklyn Ecumenical
and Union Settlement become a cata-
lyst for community change, with
influence and effects extending far
beyond the cash transactions them-
selves. While the neighborhood
income from paychecks, social secu-
rity, and public assistance wash away
due to high prices and disinvestment,
credit unions act to anchor resources
within the neighborhood.
For instance, commercial lending
sources charge two-to four-times a
credit union's rates. These substan-
tially higher interest charges are
immediately siphoned out of the com-
munity, leaving the neighborhood
with less money to spend and recycle.
Credit unions reverse the process.
First, they charge less and those fore-
gone interest charges represent a sav-
ings to the members who can then use
that differential themselves in their
own community. Second, the surplus
in interest that the credit union does
charge is distributed to the members as
Nor can credit unions mimic the
banks' practice of disinvestment-
taking savings from a low income
neighborhood and using it to support
its activities elsewhere. Legal bars-
not to mention moral ones - prevent a
credit union from discriminating
against its own community. It must
lend only to its members who live
within, or are tied to the community;
and as one-member one-vote coopera-
tives, local control is assured over
credit union resources.
Increasingly, community de-
velopment credit unions are becoming
involved in providing mortgages for
neighborhood residents to buy or
rehabilitate their own dwellings and
thereby mitigate the effects of displace-
ment caused by speculation and gen-
BEC, for example, is using its
credit union to resist such pressures in
downtown Brooklyn. The group has
recently begun granting and process-
ing mortgages for eventual sale to a
secondary market. Through such sales
it can recycle capital back into its credit
union for new mortgages. BEC has also
started a special depository program to
provide some of the financing for the
rehabilitation of 8,800 abandoned,
city-owned units which it seeks to
reclaim for housing for cooperatives
for low and moderate income families.
How to Support Your Local
Credit Union
There are three basic steps to sup-
port credit unions and promulgate
community control and development.
1. Become a credit union member
(see box). Credit unions can offer the
same services as banks (checking, cer-
tificates of deposit, insurance, etc.).
Since most are small in size and staff,
however, actual services offered are
generally limited.
2. Place non-member deposits in
a community development credit
union. According to their charter,
credit unions have limitations on who
can become a member, but many allow
non-member deposits. Depending on
their size, rates and maturities, these
deposits can be competitive with
banls; moreover, they are fully insured
up to $100,000.
3. Make deposits in the Community
Development Central Credit Union-a
recently formed unit to provide econ-
omies of scale and deposit services to
member credit unions. It acts as a kind
of credit union to the credit unions. 0
Michael Kilcullen is a graduate ofHar-
vard Business School and has worked
as all investment research analyst for
Morgan Guaranty Trust Company. He
is currently a consultant to several
community development organiza-
tions in the New York City area.
For more information on community development
credit unions, contact the National Federation of Com-
munity Development Credit Unions, 29 John St. , #903,
New York, NY. (212) 513-7191.
Local credit unions can be contacted directly:
May 1985 CITY LIMITS 21
Council for Human Services FCU
2253 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10035
Joyce Levy
(212) 289-6650
Brooklyn Ecumenical Cooperatives
562 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Bliss Street Federal Credit Union
46-27 Skillman Avenue
Sunnyside, NY 11104
North Brooklyn Federal Credit Union
11-29 Catherine Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
John Flickenger Jeffrey Byers Marie Leanza
(718) 858-8803
(718) 784-6171 (718) 782-3390
Bethany Bronx Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 323, Hub Station
Saint Anthony of Padua FCU
832 East 166th St.
Union Settlement FCU
237 East 104th Street
New York, NY 10029
Sally Yarmolinsky
(212) 360-8805
Bronx, NY 10455 Bronx, NY 10459
Joy Cousiminer Thelma Minus
(212) 580-2057 (212) 547-9648
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22 CITY LIMITS Mayl985
Gospel in Brooklyn
singular influence on rock, jazz, and
all other tributaries of popular music.
The flow of performers who course
into the cultural mainstream from black
church choirs seems to issue almost
perpetually. Al Green, Aretha Frank-
lin, Lou Rawls, Cissy Houston, Dionne
Warwick, Little Richard: one can
barely commence such a list without
it becoming ungainly and all-encom-
passing. Motown, the pivotal musical
influence of the sixties, injected gospel
singing and attendant, polished rhy-
thms into the electronic circuitry of the
mass media. Smokey Robinson, Stevie
Wonder, The Four Tops, and all the rest
arrived at the hour of the civil rights
movement when the crack in the wall
was as wide as it would ever be. That
began a lineage that altered the sound
and resonance of airwaves everywhere.
Gospel's special gift to musical com-
merce has been the unifying vocal har-
monies that transcend earthly wounds;
once absorbed by popular music, that
sound became an exhilarating eco-
nomic, as well as cultural, force.
The Institutional Radio Choir of
Brooklyn is one of the premier gospel
groups in the country. In the past two
years, the Choir has captured a broader
audience through its performance in
the Gospel at Colonnus at the Brooklyn
Academy of Music. Gospel at Colon-
is a gospel version of Oedipus Rex;
thIS play adroitly appropriates Sopho-
cles to assemble a delicate mythology
which registers, through the transcen-
dent music, the painful fragmenting
and ultimate subversion of a regal
African society.
There are several acclaimed gos-
pel groups in the cast of Gospel includ-
mg Clarence Fountain and the Five
Blind Boys and the Soul Stirrers,
whose lead singer more than twenty-
five years ago was Sam Cooke. But the
Institutional Radio Choir, performing
thirty-five voices strong as the Greek
chorus in the tragedy, is the revelation
of the play. The vocals soar in almost
algebraic perfection; their handling of
the show-stopping "Let the Weeping
Cease" (written by Lee Breuer, who
wrote most of the play's music) is a
nearly overpowering response to the
death of Oedipus, played by Clarence
Fountain. Their vitality and gravity
throughout the play reminds even the
most casual listener that music is an
articulation of living, proclaiming
the present as life against a future
silence that is fully democratic and
inexhaustible. '
The Radio Choir was founded by
Bishop J.C. White in 1955 as the musi-
cal branch of the Institutional Baptist
Church in Brooklyn's Fort Greene sec-
tion. The group began broadcasting
over radio station WADO in 1956, then
to WRAO in 1958. They con-
tInue to broadcast live over that
channel every Sunday. Bishop Carl
Williams, Sr., had founded the church;
his son, Carl Williams, Jr., is currently
the Choir's director. The Choir still
draws it members from the church con-
gregation. Among its voices are teach-
ers, accountants, bank clerks and
medical workers. Williams is a case-
worker for the city's social services
department. There's been little turn-
over. Fifteen members are from the
original 1955 chorus.
National prominence descended
upon the Choir in the mid-sixties after
recording an album with Shirley
Caesar, who, these days, tours with Al
Green. An original song from that
record, "When Trouble Comes, Stretch
Out;' sung by Choir member Gloria
and written by Bishop White,
achIeved enormous popularity with-
gospel audiences with sales spilling
over into the rhythm and blues market.
then, the Radio Choir has nego-
tIated a half-dozen national tours,
played the Apollo over a dozen times
filled Carnegie Hall, recorded with
Paul Simon, the J. Geils Band and D
Train and now consider the Brooklyn
Academy of Music home turf.
When the Academy first ap-
proached Carl Williams about doing a
gospel version of Greek tragedy, he
considered the project an ill-fated
affair. "The music didn't seem to fit
comfortably with Sophocles' inten-
tions. Morgan Freeman, who played
the preacher/narrator, is an atheist and
that took some serious adjustments on
our side. But attention to detail was
paramount. Details began to dovetail,
the historical scope began to acquire a
broad resonance and eventually the
story, lyrics, music and acting, all very
unique, harmonized:'
The Choir's next project is raising
$2.5 million to take Gospel to Broad-
way, the graveyard of good theatrical
intentions. Williams doesn't think that
the forbidding economics of Broadway
ought to bar Gospel's entry onto the
higher ground. "We come very cheap;'
he argued to a disbeliever, "the show
did very welfin Brooklyn, has a suc-
cessful album offshoot and they can get
all of us, some fifty folks, for about the
same money Dustin Hoffman makes in
one night. That sounds like good
economics to me."
Brooklyn's paramount musical
resource has gained some visibility
and presence through the Columbia
Records album, produced by Steely
Dan eminence Donald Fagan. Even
WNEW, Radio Apartheid, played a few
cuts. The choir's harmonics, sensual
dynamism, synchronicity, and con-
nectedness are irresistible. They heal
lesions of the spirit and catapult the
deadest of souls beyond empty isola-
tion. Their art is as old as the mantic
divinations of the Greeks and as mod-
ern as sonic graffiti. With all the talent
in those three dozen voices, Broadway
doesn't deserve them. But Brooklyn
does. 0
Richard Schroder is a commentator for
WBAI-FM and writes on culture issues.
Dear City Limits:
The Board of Directors and Staff of
the West Bronx Housing and Neigh-
borhood Resource Center are thor-
oughly disturbed by your total
misinterpretation in "The Housing
Fund Story the Times Didn't Tell" [City
Limits, February '85] for two reasons:
1) you ignored the facts; and 2) you
didn't attempt to verify what had actu-
ally occurred, and what is currently
Your statement that the West
Bronx Housing Center selected its tar-
geted buildings only five days before
the NSA submission deadline, and at
the behest of Center for Housing Part-
nerships (the developer) is absolutely
untrue. The request for proposals was
printed in the City Record on May 7,
19'79 with a submission deadline of
June 8, 1979. The Housing Center
sought a list of buildings that were
eligible for development. We visited all
the sites and selected a developer after
interviewing at least four who were
interested in the project. We chose
Center for Housing Partnerships [who]
decided that the only site that could be
properly developed was the Decatur
Avenue project.
You state that the occupants that
were left in those buildings were never
informed of the proposed develop-
ment. This too is false. We were pro-
hibited by HPD from approaching
these tenants until the proposal was
approved by HUD; and at that time
HPD was obligated to inform the
tenants who were still in those build-
ings, After HUD's approval, we ar-
ranged a bus trip for those tenants who
were interested, and took a tour of
another group of buildings that the
developer had completed on E a ~ t
182nd Street. All the tenants of the
Decatur Avenue project were informed
of their rights with respect to reloca-
tion monies that they were entitled to
as well that they would be placed on
the priority list to be moved back into
the building upon completion of the
This was history and it was your
responsibility as a reporter to verify the
facts. As to the present, with relation
to the opening of the playground on
Decatur Avenue, we are sure that you
are fully aware of the bureaucratic
delays that are involved in purchasing
a piece of property from the city.
Countless delays were encountered by
both the Housing Center as well as by
the developer, who at all times stood
ready to complete his part of the HUD
requirements, and thus complete the
To repeat, you should have pub-
lished an accurate account of what had
actually transpired, instead of accept-
ing an obviously biased and malicious
version. We would appreciate your
presenting the facts as they were,
instead of the pne-sided distortion
provided to you by whomever you
James Weinberg, President Emeritus
Paul Fisher, President
Max Wiener, Executive Director
West Bronx Housing and Neighbor-
hood Resource Center, Inc.
Actually, my account of the Decatur
Avenue rehab project just skimmed the
grim details. It was based on a June,
1980, interview with former West
Bronx Housing Center director Charles
Rappaport, articles from the Daily
News and the 'limes, as welJ as Q writ-
ten description of events by Rev. James
Jenik of the Fordham-Bedford Commu-
nity Coalition, which pressured the
city to clean up the project.
All tell the same tale. Rappaport,
who left the Housing Center in the
woke of the project's bad publicity, said
that it was actually only three days
before the deadline that the developer
submitted the proposal for Decatur
and another cluster of occupied build-
ings. No one said anything to the
tenants, but owner Irving Bauer signed
options to sell the buildings - which
had been worth about $15,000 apiece
before the Section 8 funding became
available-for $75,000 each. He then
walked away.
By February, according to Rev.
Jenik, tenants had had no heat for
months and were lugging buckets of
water upstairs. Within six months of
the development proposal for the
buildings, occupied apartments
May 1985 CITY LIMITS 23
dropped from 49 to 15. Rappaport,
who was running the show for the West
Bronx Center, acknowledged to me
that tenants were never told about the
pending rehab, but said nothing about
being prevented from doing so by the
city. "That was HPD's job wasn't it?" he
said at the time. Most tenants had left . .
(without their rightful payments) by
the time the empty-sounding promises
of relocation were made. .
The Kingsbridge Neighborhood
Strategy Area was a perfect example of
government plans working at cross-
purposes to communitr need. While
there was substantia demand for
moderate rehabilitation in aging '
apartment buildings, there weren't
nearly enough vacant buildings to
accommodate the 300 units of Section
8 gut rehab funding which had been
allocated. Rev. Jenik estimated there.
were closer to 75 vacant units. "The sys-
tem went wild," he said.
As to the much-delayed play-
ground - the very modest reinvestment
the developer was asked to make out
of his profits from the proJect-other
local community groups agree with
Housing Commissioner Gliedman that
it wasn't just bureaucratic delay's
which made it take 4'1a years to
.1 .t&1"1
"'"':' ,", ! ~ , I , ,; :-;". .:-:u-n-> .. rr:". '
- . .
Dear City Limits,
We are writing to thank you for
your excellent piece in the February
City Limits, '7he Other Housing Fund
Story," All of us expend so much
energy in difficult situations to
improve our neighborhoods; yet we
remain subject to know-nothing and
lazy reporting that smears all of us-
such as The Times article. While
damage done by The Times is insidi-
ous and long lasting, at least your arti-
cle gave the balanced picture of the
"syndication proceeds" story. You
. showed them the difference between
real and pop journalism . .
The only regret is that our story,
which you report so well, will not get
the exposure it needs and deserves.
Nevertheless, seeing your article gives
us a sense of vindication that we will
probably never get from The Times.
Thanks again for the good work.
Bob Blank
Executive Director
Flatbush Development Corp.
Dear City Limits:
Your column "Truth in Advertis-
ing" [Feb. 1985], which characterized
recent real estate stories in Newsday
and The New York Times as being
pro-developer stories, a.k.a. "advertise-
ments," fails to bear in mind the basic
difference between your publication
and a major paper's real estate section.
City Limits' premise is largely built on
a pro-tenant stance and therefore, the
issues relevant to persons living there
are the meat of the text. The intent of
many real estate sections is to inform
would-be and prospective buyers of
what life will be like once they are
there. In covering landlord-tenant dis-
putes and co-op conversions in Queens
during the early part of my career at
Newsday, I have found that tenants'
grievances-which are often well-
documented - seem less relevant to
outside buyers who will control their
own units and handle their own
In your criticism, you fail to ack-
nowledge this very basic difference.
rm not saying that a real estate section
is not a place for controversy - indeed,
just the opposite - but you must con-
sider whether such controversy is rele-
vant to readers of a real estate section.
I weighed that question heavily,
with the help of your article on Bor-
ough Park. I asked questions of would-
be buyers and of buyers, and found that
past tenants' concerns were just that-
past concerns that had no bearing on
future buyers.
Newsday strongly discourages so-
called "advertising" in the guise of
editorial content. On a personal level,
my own ethics also (orbid it. Perhaps
you should have asked me first how I
arrived at developing my story, and
perhaps I could have informed you
about all this before your column went
into print, alleging "unfairness" and
bias. Then perhaps you would have
been able to write a much fairer story
Caryn Eve Wiener
Reporter, New York Newsday
Admittedly, in an era when Reagan
can 'let bygones be bygones' with the
Nazi SS, City Limits is fairly petty to
insist that the destruction of 700 low
income and minority homes amid
arson and harassment at the behest of
local community organizations is
newsworthy. But we do stick by our
outmoded notion (even if condo own-
ers find it boring) that over 40 arson
fires, hundreds of violations and de-
liberate racial steering are worthy of
mention in an article about how the
perpetrators of those acts are market-
ing their now-renovated buildings.
Using Wiener's rules, Newsday could
run some interesting features: a busi-
ness focus on Union Carbide's Bhopal
chemical works omitting its gas leak
problems if corporate execs found it
"irrelevant"; a personality tintype of
Bernhard Goetz that never mentions
his race ---
We didn't contact Wiener because it
matters little why or how she arrived
at her conclusions; what counts - in
City Limits as well as Newsday - is
what is printed. 0
Dear City Limits:
Thank you for this latest issue of
City Limits. The article on Long Island
City and the other on Sunnyside
Gardens were both excellent. I would
like to receive some back issues.
Fr. Belford
Kingsbridge Ave.
Dear City Limits:
Thank you for your mention of
Property 'Owners' Press in the March
issue of City Limits ( ~ Paper for Small
Landlords," by Annette Fuentes). I
would like to clarify one point.
Property Owners' Press began its
existence in November, 1984, as a pub-
lication of SPONY (Small Property
Owners of New York). That is why the
articles in the first issue. were all by
SPONY members.
We have since realized that the
needs of small owners would be better
met by an independent newspaper.
Consequently, the paper has been re- .
organized and renamed Property
Owners' News. It is now on its own,
serving all owners' groups and indi-
vidual property owners, from one-
family houses of co-ops, up. As such,
it might well be of interest to the buyers
of houses in the Nehemiah Housing
development, for instance, as well as
to owners of one-, two-, and three-
family houses all over the city, who are
being hit with ever-increasing prop-
erty taxes. These taxes may eventually
cause the loss of their homes by city
foreclosure for nonpayment of taxes.
The first issue of Property Owners'
News did indeed appear early in
March (see enclosed copy). Unlike
City Limits, we are not supported by
any grants from any community
groups, although ANHD's Fuel Buying
Group was kind enough to advertise in
our first issue. "Wicked" capitalists that
we are, we are scratching for our exis-
tence, through ads and subscriptions.
Regarding Fuentes' charge of "anti-
tenant rhetoric," I still have copies of
early issues of City Limits that I would
describe as absolutely rabid in their
"anti-owner" or "anti-private-property"
rhetoric. The position' of Property
Owners' News is "pro-housing." We do
believe private owners work harder
and do a better job, at a lower cost, to
provide housing, than the government
is able to do. Please refer to your many
articles exposing the problems, ripoffs,
and scams of one or another city hous-
ing program. We do believe the city
administration has been making
suckers of owners and tenants alike for
decades, creating a legal "warfare;' a
shambles, and a battleground where
profiteers thrive on public funds.
Many tenants, who wonder why
rich people like Mayor Koch and "pro-
tenant" Manhattan Borough President
Andrew Stern.are "protected" by rent
control, to the point where they pay
less than 1 percent of their annual
incomes for rent, agree with us.
If enough tenants' groups con-
nected with enough owners' groups,
we could work out our difficulties, and
then nobody would need Mayor Koch.
Stephanie Caruana
Editor, Property Owners News
Dear City Limits:
In response to your February col-
umn, "Truth in Advertising":
1) You complain that my Jan. 6 article
in The New York Times Real Estate Sec-
tion on the pro's and con's of buying an
apartment occupied by a rent-regu-
lated tenant lacked any reference to the
problems this causes the tenants.
I dealt with this problem in a lengthy
article about 14 months ago, when this
sort of investment became significant.
At the time, there were few tenant cases
to report on and the regulatory and
state officials and tenant leaders said
it was, at that time, more of a potential
problem than an existing one. Never-
theless, I covered the areas of potential
abuse and harassment that tenants
could face.
In researching the Jan. 6 piece, the
same spokesmen said tenant harass-
ment by investors continued to be a
potential problem. The Attorney Gen-
eral's office had no tenant complaints.
Rather than discuss the apparent
lack of investor-tenant problems, I
included a lengthy section on the
rights of. tenants to keep their apart-
ments and pass them on to family
members - conceivably, in perpetuity
as a way to educate investors and make
them understand that the windfall
profits promised by sponsors may
never fall down. That was a service to
tenants as well as to potential investors,
who may be misled by advertising-
which I quoted - that suggests inves-
tors may be able to vacate the apart-
ments quickly.
2) You assert that I went "into detail
about various methods for curtailing
tenant occupancy, and quotes the
authority on this sort of sponsor and
owner maneuvering, Gerald Gutter-
man:' This is not true. The article was
anything but a how-to for evicting ten-
ants and not a single "method" was
described. I quoted Mr. Gutterman-
. talking about real estate appreciation,
not tenant evictions - because he runs
the biggest business in occupied apart-
ments. Since I have already written
about the problems tenants in Glen
Oaks (owned by Mr. Gutterman) have
suffered, I had no reason to repeat the
The ~ i c l e was not a promotion for
occupietl apartments. Its premise was
that this investment, as one financial
analyst said in the article, is a high-
priced lottery ticket and one not to be
undertaken by people inexperienced
in real estate.
I am sorry you misread my article
and more sorry that you misinformed
your readers.
Michael deCourcy Hinds
Reporter, The New York Times
May 1985 CITY LIMITS 25
Hinds expects Times readers to have
awfully long memories. Since his
piece on "potential" harassment in
occupied apartments appeared iIN,ate
1983, a brief refresher course wou:ld
seem to be warranted in his later in-
vestor-oriented article. As it is, neither
the word harassment, nor any lan-
guage concerning its hazards, ever
appears in this 57-paragraph lead arti-
cle in the Real Estate section. .
I think that Hinds believes that
tenant problems are legitimate and
deserve airing, as other articles he has
written demonstrate, but apparently
since the slant of this story is towards
-investing" there was no attempt to
point out occupant problems - real or
potential. As my piece on Glen Oaks
in the February issue ["Out-Organizing
the Mini-Landlords"] illustrated, the
problems have been real. Tenants
whose apartments were purchased by
investors were plagued by petty suits,
legal claims and other kinds of harass-
ment, all aimed at persuading them to
vacate. These new owners were
coached by landlord and sponsor
Gerald Gutterman, who was ordered
by the Attorney General to end a num-
ber of practices including unjust evic-
tion suits and deceptive advertising.
Since Hinds quotes Gutterman as an
authority, shouldn't Times readers
have been informed that he ran afoul
of the law in promoting h.s schemes?
But the major point here is that real
estate sections in the dailies, includ-
ing the Times, never do this. Their
stories are inevitably so oriented
towards investors (include landlords
here) that tenant concerns rarely make
it in. This kind of journalism is forged
by the real estate industry advertising
revenue these sections are designed to
lure. Perhaps if the dailies had other
sections which highlighted tenant and
community concerns, this would be a
fair trade-off. But little of this kind of
coverage makes it into the main news
sections and tenant needs go begging.
Investor purchasing of occupied
co-ops is now regularly pitched to
late-night TV audiences by Tohn
Gambling, with nary a mention of
occupant rights. If the Times took seri-
ously the need to scrutinize the prob-
lems of this growing industry those
omissions would be harder to get away
26 CITY LIMITS May 1915
Co_I.g of Age r-\ --:-----------::"1
AMERICA, by Robert Fisher, Twayne I
Publishers (/tl Lincoln St., Boston, MA
(2111), 1984, 166 Pages, $7.95.
to the growing. literature on
nity organizing deserves a place along-
side Lawrence Goodwyn's The
Populist Moment, and Frances Fox
Piven and Richard Clowards' Poor Peo-
ple's Movements, both social histories
set in a political economic framework.
It is a slim volume, offering a selective
history of organizing activities from
1866 through the 1970's. Yet, because he
treats a range of organizing strate-
gies- social-work, political-activist,
neighborhood-maintenance - from a
number of different levels, the author
conveys history's richness and moral
. complexity.
Individual struggles may be
detailed more thoroughly elsewhere;
but Fisher is able to draw critical con-
nections between political economy
and neighborhood organizing
Fisher describes the settlement
housing and community-center move-
ments prior to the Depression, the
.... neighborhood organizing of the Com-
plUnist Party and Saul Alinsky's
organizing in the "Back of the Yards" in
Chicago in the 30's and 40's. A percep-
tive analysis of community-develop-
ment and neighborhood-improvement
associations follows, linking their
growth to the antiradical repression-
ism and suburbanization of the late
40's and 50's. Fisher reflects on the New
Left's organizing projects and the "War
on Poverty" of the 60's and ends with
the new populism, community-devel-
opment organizing, and the neo-
Alinskyism of the 70's.
In chapter two, Fisher describes
the Alinsky method, the central
premise of which is that "skillful,
nonideological, democratic organiza-
tions willing to use any and all means
can ultimately obtain more power and
be more effective than ideological rad-

lronx tleft.Mtratlon ... In_. II .. lIOr lumpUR _hootlnll:
,.",... ".... of _"""""'0011 OI'fIfI",z,,,,.
ical groupS." But if Alinsky later played
down the role of ideology and saw
himself as an "urban populist:' when '
he started out in the 1930's, he was
largely influenced by his experience
with the CIO. "His coming of age,"
writes Fisher, came "amid the Com-
munist Party's Popular Front organiz-
ing campaigns and the growing anti-
fascist movement in Chicago," New
York, and parts of Europe. In those
groups he learned strategies for neigh-
borhood organizing efforts such as the
importance of uniting with all poten-
tial allies in the community in a sort
of grassroots united front . Fisher clar-
ifies how neighborhood organizing
took its "impetus, militant spirit and
democratic direction" from the period's
labor. movement inspired by world-
wide events and national political
Of particular interest to today's
neighborhood housing groups is
Fisher's critique of "the new commu-
nity development" organizing which
responded to the continuing shrinkage
of social services and disappearance of
municipal capital improvements in the
70's. Fisher frames a contrast between
these community development organi-
zations and neo-Alinsky groups such
as ACORN, which he sees as the most
politically active and consciously left-
oriented branch of the "new populism."
He concedes that the development
groups may share with neo-Alinsky
groups a "let the people decide" ideol-
ogy, "a willingness to use conflict tac-
tics, and a deep frustration with the
policies of elected representatives, cor-
porate executives and bureaucrats." But
he argues that by seeing neighborhood
decline and powerlessness as the prob-
lem, and by seeking "to gain maximum
benefits for the physical and economic
restoration of the neighborhood ...
and accepting the restraints of the
existing political and economic sys-
tem," organizations may wrongly inter-
pret the sometimes substantial gains as
indications that if those in power are
forced to see the havoc their policies _
have wreaked, they will ultimately
support needed remedies.
Of course, there are stages of gen-
trification when the initial interests of
certain neighborhoods are not incom-
patible with the interests of developers.
rea!tors and politicians. A neighbor-
hood organization receives financial
support to "attract investment." Mem-
bers and residents are lulled into be-
lieving that their efforts to pressure
government to support housing, open-
space, commercial and infrastructure
rehabilitation, will somehow also pro-
tect low and moderate income people.
Once gentrification is in full swing,
however, the myth that the working
class will be protected is exposed.
Fisher, and most neighborhood
organizers, have recognized that com-
munity development strategies may
work for a time under propitious con-
ditions. But ultimately even a large
coalition may be unable to counter the
external pressures against one low and
moderate income neighborhood.
Fisher contends that "while the neo-
Alinskyite emphasis on development
statewide and mass-based organiza-
tions has its limits," it does recognize
the need for a national "people's
organization." Such an organization
could "address the underlying causes
May 1985 CITY LIMITS 27
of community transformation that rest
outside and beyond any one neigh-
Perhaps it's time, as Fisher sug-
gests, for all groups to join with larger,
national social movements, to prepare
for our future and the future of the vast
majority of city dwellers. 0
Francine Justa is a founder of Brook-
lyn's Fifth Avenue Committee and
teaches Urban Studies at Queens
Buy a b r i c k ~ Yes, but don't stop there. Buy a roof, a boiler, a door or just a nail. Put them together and
we'll have what we're trying to build: Big Apple Coalition for HOusing.
Big Apple is an innovative attempt by City Limits and a dozen other New York housing groups to take the
hOUSing crisis, and our own ongoing crisis of funding-direcdy to New Yorkers. In the face of government
and foundation cutbacks, we are planning a major campaign this fall to allow workers to "check off" con-
tributions to housing groups through payroll deductions. Help us break the ground. Buy a brick, a door, a
nail. We need your support.
I support the work of the Big Apple Coalition for Housing. Enclosed is $ _ __ _
o $1.00 Nail o $50.00 Ramp
o $5.00 Brick o $100.00 Roof
o $10.00 Window o $500.00 Boiler
o $25.00 Door
o $ __ Other
City State Zip
Make your tax-deductible gift payable to the Big Apple Coalition for Housing. Inc.lUHAB. send to City Limits. 424 West 33rd Street. New
York. NY 10001.
Big Apple Coalition Member Groups: Accion latina. Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development. Brooklyn Neighborhood
Improvement Association. City Limits, Flatbush Development. Harlem Restoration Project. Housing for Diabled People. St. Nicholas Neigh-
borhood Preservation Corporation, Clinton Housing Development Company. West Harlem Community Organization. Pratt Institute Center
for Community and Environmental Development. Urban Homesteading Assistance Board.
28 CITV LIMITS May 1985
'-)1.) - = ..:::::::====- .... ..
~ ' - - " ' - : : : - " - - - " - - = - ~ ~ .
1960's by Allen J .. Matusow, Harper and
Row, 1985, 542 Pages, $9 .. 95 Paperback ..
Reagan revolution, will not soon tire of
the sixties .. Activists of all persuasions,
reestablish the primary codes of that
period's political language: there are
teach-ins on Latin America and Free-
dom Summers for voter registration
campaigns. Even the theocrats of the
anti-abortion movement fervently (and
openly) mimic the strategies of the
peace movement. Since so much polit-
ical thinking and style seems mired in
that era, everyone needs to find some-
body to blame for all the perplexity.
Prof. Matusow has produced what
in those days would have been called
a cranky conservative critique of dis-
sident activism; these days most
reviewers will undoubtedly find
Unraveling an irresistible specimen of
neo-liberal vigor. The author deliber-
ates on the customary themes
("Kennedy and Keynes;' "Politics and
Principle: Civil Rights," "The Over-
throw of Lyndon Johnson"). connect-
ing the usual dots to draw the familiar
stick figures. That trinity of insurgen-
cies, the anti-war and civil rights move-
ments and the counterculture, are
claimed as troubling heirs of post-war
liberalism which in turn is explained
as the reaction of tough minded prag-
matists against the soft-headed Soviet
partisanship of the thirties. Liberals in
the Kennedy era, according to Prof.
Matusow and other Whig revisionists,
were a beleaguered lot doggedly fight-
ing Communism, Jim Crow, the Far
Right (where America's hearts and
minds truly reside) and a generation of
insolent, hedonistic upstarts. "The
young knew that they enjoyed more
freedom. more privileges, more
options,-more Eros-than did poor
peop Ie, peasants, their par-
ents ... Moral outrage, then, not self-
liberation, was the principal fuel of
this radicalism, which (goes) far to
explain both the movement's militance
and its brevity." Undoubtedly, per-
petual outrage and great quantities of
Eros are exhausting experiences; no
wonder everyone burned out around
1972. Of course, this is the perception
that dominates the public mind in
books, movies. on T.v. Sixties youth
passes from commonplace idealism to
fanatic monstrosity in between the
Coke (It's the Real Thing) commercials.
It is useful to remember that the
pivotal dissident experience which
shaped a style of adversarial behavior
for the anti-war and youth movements
was black alienation and the early civil
rights campaign. The civil rights
movement was nothing if not the
explosion of generations of repressed
black energies and imagination from
black communities across the country.
The force of it spread and overflowed,
eventually reaching those in the main-
stream whose aspirations hadn't yet
sunk into apathy. It was the first time
beyond memory that an interracial
exchange was marked by neither
appalling racist cruelty nor an inevita-
ble sense of nothing to say. What seems
most worth retrieving from that time,
the communitarian vitality, the moral
authority. the spontaneity, the erosion
of a certain Anglo-American decorum.
traces an arduous path back to a
Southern black culture whose roots
were more populist and decentralist
than the Jeffersonian myth.
Matusow barely attempts to
describe the possible sources of moral
irritation so frequently visited upon
these malcontents. This is a great
relief. Is there really anything new to
say about Gov. Wallace, Walt Whitman
Rostow, or Gen. Westmoreland. so
luckless in combat, either military or
judicial? A group portrait of that man-
darin class would find them delu-
sional. aggrandizing. conformist and
not unlike the current higher circle.
except that LBJ never slept and RWR is
capable of nothing else. What Unravel-
ing overlooks entirely is any analysis of
what eventually marginalized insur-
gency as a public gesture and con-
secrated the Nixon/ Reagan epoch,
despite the larceny of the former and
the inanity of the latter. America is a
society driven by middle-class anxie-
ties and has been for nearly a century.
The privatism of the middle class, its
inert bloodlessness. its neurotic iden-
tification with wealth and consump-
tion renders a rather large proportion
of this society both deaf and blind to
either the suffering of others or the
prospects of a satisfaction beyond
squalid possessions. But memories of
that period. steeped in nostalgic fasci-
nation. seem destined to haunt the
comfortable as a reminder of lost
opportunities. Others will remember
it as a time when the affluent lost some
of its precious elbow room.O
Richard Schrader is a politica l com-
mentator for WBAI radio and a free-
lance writer.
cr ENERGY SfUDY: A 24-page study,
Renewable Energy at the Crossroads,
has just been released by the Center for
Renewable Resources. In it, author
Christopher Flavin shows that renew-
able energy sources, such as wood,
solar and hydropower, provide an in-
creasing share of the nation's energy
and have still greater potential. The
government has squelched informa-
tion on alternative energies while sup-
porting a media campaign for nuclear
energy. Copies are $5 each and avail-
able from the CRR, 1001 Connecticut
Ave., N.w., Suite 638, Washington, nc.
Center for Popular Economics is hold-
ings its Summer Institute for Popular
Economics at the University of Massa-
chusetts at Amherst on Agusut 4-10
and 18-24. The two sessions examine
economic analysis and research meth-
ods to provide activists with economic
knowledge and skills for organizing.
Topics discussed include unemploy-
ment, government spending and taxes,
international economics and the eco-
nomics of racism and sexism. Fees for
tuition, room and board are from
$250-450 according to income.
Scholarships and-childcare are avail-
able. For information and an applica-
tion, contact: Center for Popular
Economics, Box 785, Amherst, MA
01004; (413) 545-0743.0

annual House Sense Fair will be on
display at the Girl Scout
Council headquarters at 335 E. 46th
Street. Sponsored ,by the city's House
Sense Program within the Department
of Housing Preservatipn and Develop-
ment, the fair will contain some 50
exhibits crafted by school chilClren and
scouts on various housing themes. The
fair will be open to the public from 9-5
p.m. For information contact: Dr. Jim
Story, Program Director of House
Sense, (212) 566-7568.0
cr POLICY AT SIX: The Planners'
Network and C.u.N.Y. Graduate Center
on Human Environments present the
last in their current series of forums
May 10 on "Politics and Policies:' with
a video, "Hizzoner," and speaker Ruth
Messinger, City Council Member. The
event is at 6 p.m. at the Graduate
Center, 33 W. 42nd Street in the third
floor studio. Admission is free and
donations will be collected. 0
Fall of the I-Hotel" is an hour-long
documentary film about the housing
struggle in San Francisco, centered on
the International Hotel in that city's
Manilatown. In 1977, police forced resi-
dents from the hotel to make way for a
parking garage after a protracted com-
munity battle, The film is available for
rental for $75 from Chonk Moonhunter,
2721 Bellaire Place, Oakland, CA
94601; (415) 436-6978.0
cr WOK AT LABOR: The Depart-
ment of City Planning has released the
sixth bulletin in a series of population
portraits. Titled "Labor Force Partici-
pation and Unemployment by Com-
munity District, 1980; it is available for
50 cents at the Department of City
Planning, Map Sales Room 1616, or for
$1 by mail, from New York City Plan-
ning Commission, 2 Lafayette St., New
York, NY 10007.0
May 1985 CITY LIMITS 29
Housing Center of New York just
issued a "Tenant Fact Book" with valu-
able information on rent levels and
controls, leases, essential services,
harassment, housing court and more.
With an opening explanation on the
State Omnibus Housing Law of 1983,
this booklet has information for all
New Yorkers who rent apartments in
the city today. Cost is $3.50 and can be
ordered by mail, with an additional $1
for postage, from the Open Housing
Center, 150 Fifth Ave. , New York, NY
10011; (212) 989-7346.0
DISABLED: Ride-to-Work is the first
citywide ride-sharing network in New
York which helps disabled city resi-
dents get to and from work. Started in
October 1984, the program plans to
provide some 27,000 rides this year by
matching volunteer drivers with dis-
abled people who live and work near
each other. The Ride-to-Work program
aims to break the transportation barrier
which keeps thousands of disabled
people from obtaining and keeping
jobs. For information or to volunteer as
a driver, contact Ride-to-Work, 377
Broadway, New York, NY 10033; (212)
paign to spread information on illegal
evictions is underway by the Eastside
SRO Legal Services Project, MFY Legal
Services, Community Action for Legal
Services and the Citywide Task Force
on Housing Court. The goal is to reach
as many tenants as possible by placing
posters in the subways advising of their
rights regarding illegal lock-outs. The
organizers are fundraising to pay for
4500 posters and maintenance charges
of $1.50 to the Metropolitan Transpor-
tation Authority. For information or to
make a contribution, contact E. Bader,
Eastside SRO Legal Services Project,
332 E. 29th St. , New York, NY 10016.0
30 CITY LIMITS May 1985
To direct property management division of
progressive non-profit Brooklyn community
organization. Strong in staff supervision, tenant
and owner relations, fiscal analysis and manage-
ment, legal, maintenance and rehab, section 8
(HUD and moderate], computer. Salary: mid
twenties. Send resume to: Mark Levy. Flatbush
Development Corporation. 1418 Cortelyou
Road, Brooklyn. NY 11226. Equal Opportunity
New NYC remodeling contractor seks F/ T energetic
exper ienced working carpenter w/ supervisory
capacity & commitment to excellence. State
interests, references, special skills, training &
salary requirements. Knowledge of electrical,
plumbing, kitchens, baths, interior renovation & a
driver's license required. Position available May.
Write Foreman, Dept. C, P.O. Box 413, Fordham Sta-
tion, Bronx, NY 10458.
Bachelor's Degree in Social Work-or equivalent-
and organizing experience. Some night meetings.
Mllst be bilingual in Spanish/ English or Can-
tonese/ English. Experience with health issues,
senior citizens, or tenant organizing a plus. lower
East Side resident preferred.
Salary: $12,000 to $14,000, depending on qualifica-
tions and experience. Excellent fringe benefits.
B.A. degree, or H.S. degree and two-years of com-
munity/ tenant organizing experience. Will
organize tenant and block associations, as well as
work very closely with tenants of the Cooper
Square urban renewal area to secure necessary
repairs, and preserve the neighborhood. Some
night meetings required. lower East Side resident
preferred. Must be bilingual (Spanish/English).
Salary: $12,000 to $14,000, depending on qualifica-
tions and experience. Excellent fringe benefits.
For either of the above positions please submit
resume to: Cooper Square Committee, attn. House
Personnel Com., 61 E. 4th St., N.Y. , N.Y. 10003.
Responsibilities: Organize and deliver technical
assistance on housing and neighborhood issues. Build
and staff coalitions of community and tenants groups
around these issues. Analyze housing problems and pro-
grams, develop solutions and related organizing
Qualifications: Strong writing and analytical skills. Expe-
rience in chairing meetings, working with diverse con-
stituencies, making group presentations. Knowledge of
NYC housing problems and programs. Experience in
analyzing housing programs and in developing alter-
natives. Experience in organizing at the neighborhood
and/or coalition level. Other helpful areas of knowl-
edge: housing finance, budget analysis, city-owned
property issues. Bil ingual (Spanish) a plus.
Salary: to $21, 000. Position begins August 1st. Equal
Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Send resume
and cover letter to: Associate Director, Association for
Neighborhood and Housing Development, 424 West 33rd
Street, 9th floor, New York, NY 10001 .
The Youth Enterprise Self-Help Project, Inc. of East Har-
lem Interfaith is looking for an ambitious person with
secretarial/bookkeeping skills. Applicant should have
leadership qualities and the desire to learn administra-
. tive management skills. The job involves serving as an
apprentice to the Project Director, helping to develop and
coordinate businesses that employ youths who will
eventually own the business. Project funded for at least
one year.
Responsibilities include: typing (at least 50 wpm);
reconciling bank statements; some posting of books;
developing profit/loss statements and trial balances;
producing budget reports; attending meetings with or
for the Director; learning about proposal writing and
fundraising; coordinating recruitment of youths and
locating supportive services for them.
Salary: $14,000 a year plus benefits.
Send resume to Leonard H. Burg, Jr. Y.E.S. Project, 2050
2nd Avenue, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10029 or call (212)
427-1500. Bilingual applicants encouraged to apply.
Community group seeks to fill 3 temporary
maintenance positions.
Requirements: Skilled in all fields of building main-
tenance such as plumbing, electrical, carpentry,
boiler, roofing, sheetrocking/ taping etc. Must have
drivers license, some experience necessary. Bilin-
gual preferred, but not necessary. Salary: $250.00
per week. Please send resumes to:
Joann Bobe
Community Management Program
St. Nicholas Neighborhood
Preservation Corp.
11-29 Catherine Street
Brooklyn, New Vork 11211
The Housing Litigation Bureau of the New York City Department
of Housing Preservation and Development is seeking resumes of col-
lege graduates with Housing experience who wish to assist attorneys
in Citywide Housing Code enforcement efforts. Knowledge of legal
proceedings and ability to communicate with community members is
helpful. $16,000. Send resume and cover letter to Deputy Director,
Housing Litigation Bureau, 125 Church Street, New York, NY 10007
MIF EOE. No telephone calls please.
Community group seeks tenant for 300 to 500 square feet
of office space, at corner of 110th Street and 3rd Avenue.
Multiple year lease available. Rental fees approximately
$1500 depending on use of existing electricity, tele-
phones and office furniture. Little or no renovation
Community agency preferred. However, responsible
professidnals (lawyer, doctor, etc.) acceptable. One
month's rent, one month's security required. Write to
leonard H. Burg, Jr., I. R. D., 200 E. 116th Street, New York,
NY 10029 or call (212) 348-3310.
Community group seeks maintenance field supervisor to supervise crew
o f . ~ - 1 0 handipersons. To evaluate request for repairs for both method
of repair and necessary materials to complete repair. Requirement.:
experience in all fields of building maintenance and rehabilitation;
2 years' supervisory expeirence; driver's license a must. Salary:
range of $18,000-$20,000. Good benefits. Bilingual preferroo. Plea.e
.elld re.ume. tal Joann Babe. Community Management Program,
St. Nicholas Neighborhood Pres. Corp. , 11-29 Catherine St., Brooklyn.
NY 11211.
May 1985 e CITV LIMITS e 31
Salary: 16,500 to 18,500 (depending on experience).
Duties: To work with Community and Tenant
Organizers of Community based, not-for-profit, Clin-
ton Agency in tenant advocacy, including legal
representation of tenants and tenant groups and occas-
sional appellate work.
Coordination of the agency's weekly evening legal clinic
of volunteer attorneys. Qualifications: Knowledge and
experience in community organizations and hous-
ing/ displacement issues. Must be admitted or awaiting
admission to the New York Bar. Ability to work with
tenant organizers and other non-legal workers in team
effort. knowledge of New York State and City Hous-
ing Legislation and Landlord/ Tenant Law. Bilingual
Preferred (Spanish).
Submit a copy of resume and references to: James Soler,
Executive Director, Housing Conservation Coordina-
tors, Inc. 777 Tenth Avenue, New York, New York
10019. No telephone calls. HCC is an Equal Opportu-
nity Employer.
The Lead Poisoning Prevention Project is seeki,ng
a full time Housing Educator/ Organizer for Bronx
outreach and advocacy. Strong leadership and
interpersonal skills. Community organizing or
housing experience required. English/ Spanish.
Salary 18-19,000. Please send resume to: Maxine
Golub, Montefiore Medical Center, Moses 401,
111 E. 210 St., Bronx, N.Y. 10467.
Neighborhood-bosed, non-profit organization involved in hous-
ing rehab, management, tenant development, technical assis-
tance, and other community development issues is seeking on
experienced housing professional to serve as Executive Direc-
tor_ Respollslbilltles: program oversight, fund-raiSing, stoff
development, budgeting, financial overSight. Qualifications:
3 years' experience directing neighborhood-based program;
strong administrative and fiscal skills essential; experience
with housing co-ops and tenant organizing; knowledge of
building rehab and maintenance; familiarity with governmental
agencies and private funding sources desirable; experience
with housing and community development issues helpful.
Resident of Clinton and fluency in Spanish preferred. Salary:
competitive, excellent fringe benefits. Resumes to: Search
Committee, Clinton Housing Development Co., Inc., 664 Tenth
Avenue, New York, NY 10036. (No phone calls, please.) Equal
Opportunity Employer
State Zip
Neighbors Battle Times Square Pion
NOV New York's Homeless Families Speak Out
OCT Starret City's Racial Quotas
AUG SEPTenants lose in Albany Dealing
JUN JUl lower East Side Community Proposal
MAY Low Income Housing in America
APRil New York's Homesteading Programs
FEB MAR Rent Stabilization Association's New Code
JAN Displacement in Bora Park: The Untold Story
DEC luxury Housing Tax Proposal
NOV Fulton landing Plans vs. Blue Collar Jobs
OCT Housing Programs for the Homeless
AUG SEP low income Co-ops Ten Years later
JUN JUl Pueblo Nuevo: Rebuilding the lower East
MAY NYC's 'rex-Foreclosed Housing Programs
APR People's Development Corp: 1974 1979
MAR Organizing the Northwest Bronx
FEB Zoning as 0People's HOUSing Tool
JAN An Ex.Plcnners City Island Story
DEC East New York's Nehemiah Plan
NOV Brooklyn Waste, to, Energy Plan
OCT Artist HOUSing: Promise or Threat?
AUG SEPJersey City Redevelopment Bottle
JUN JUl Hard Times at Co-op Bonk Port I
MAY Battle Over Enterprise Zones
APR Barry Commoner on NY's Energy Future
MAR Transit Tax Corporations Won't Pay
FEB Reassessing Property Taxes
JAN Housing in on Age of Austerity
DEC The Fruits at Tenont Harassment
NOV Squatters of Homesteaders?
OCT Public Housing in New York
AUG SEPOpen Space Projects
JUN JUl Displacement in New York
MAY Rent Regulation Overhaul
APR Reagan's Descending Budget Ax
MAR Tenants Fight Speculators on 42nd SI.
FEB Court Appointed Building Administrators
JAN Tax Shelter Syndication for Comm. Groups
DEC Two Sides of low Interest loans
NOV A Day in Housing Court
OCT New York City and the 1980 Census
AUG SEP Displacement in the Rockoways
JUN JUl Rehabilitation Battles
MAY Housing Commissioner Anthony Gliedmon
APR Renewal Plan in Port Chester
MAR Tenant Management Programs
FEB Rehabilitation Sweat Equity
JAN Reselling low-Income Co-ops
Only $14for all ten issues for the
following years:
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