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November 1991 New York's Community Affairs News Magazine $2.

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T H E G R A N D M O T H E R O F L O I S A I D A D D E R E G U L A T I N G D A Y C A R E
W H O C O N T R O L S E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T ?
Citv Limits
Volume XVI Number 9
City Limits is publisbed ten times per year,
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Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
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Project
Beverly Cheuvront, NYC Department of
Employment
Mary Martinez, Montefiore Hospital
Rebecca Rei ch, Turf Companies
Andrew Reicher, UHAB
Tom Robbins, Journalist
Jay Small , ANHD
Walter Stafford, New York University
Pete Williams, Center for Law and
Social Justice
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City Limits (ISSN 0199-0330)
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Editor: Lisa Glazer
Senior Editor: Andrew White
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Copyright 1991. All Rights Reserved. No
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2jNOVEMBER 1991jCITY UMnS
Blame the City,
Not the Homeless
T
his month's cover story should spur a sense of outrage from even
the most hardened New Yorker.
While the number of homeless families in the city's shelters
swells to nearly 5,000, newly-renovated apartments for homeless
families are sitting empty in the South Bronx, Harlem and Central
Brooklyn.
It's just one example of how the city's system for providing shelter and
housing for the homeless is in the midst of a bureaucratic crisis, plagued
by poor coordination, crisis management and harmful policymaking.
This wouldn't be so shocking if city officials admitted they had a
difficult problem on their hands and were having trouble taking care of
it. Instead, they've spent the past four months haranguing homeless
families for inundating the shelter system in the hope of gaining a city
apartment.
It's time to switch the spin control. The problem has very little to do
with the people entering the shelter system and a whole lot to do with the
city officials who decide how the system works. Or doesn't work, as is
currently the case.
The shelter system is not a static monolith-it's made up of many
interconnected parts and there's a constant flux of people moving in and
out. Changes at one end of the system affect the rest of the system. Because
of short-sighted policy choices, the Human Resources Administration
has made it more difficult for families to leave the shelters. Now there's
a bottleneck and it takes a long time for newly-homeless families to get
into a shelter, let alone permanent housing.
While newly-homeless families wait to get in to a shelter, they often
bounce back and forth from the shelter system entryway, the Emergency
Assistance Unit (EAU), to two-night hotels.
Each time they return to the EAU they are counted by city officials,
which is why it looks like there are so many more homeless families
entering the system. There has been an increase in homeless families
seeking shelter, but it's not nearly as dramatic as some city officials say.
To make matters worse, budget cuts at the housing department have
slowed down the process for moving homeless families into newly-
renovated apartments. That's why buildings are sitting empty.
Getting this botched-up system back into sync will be a major challenge
for the mayor's troubleshooters. Meanwhile, between 30 and 55 families
are sleeping on the floor each night at the Emergency Assistance Unit in
lower Manhattan. Blame the city, not the homeless.
* * *
Many thanks to everyone who supported our recent fundraiser by
buying tickets, making contributions and coming to the party. Despite
awful weather, we made about $1,000. Thanks! 0
Cover photograph by Isa Brito
FEATURE
Grandmother/Page 6
Shelter Gridlock
Dinkins officials crowd the shelters 12
DEPARTMENTS
Editorial
Blame the City, Not the Homeless ............. ..... ... ... .. . 2
Briefs
Federal Funds .......................................................... 4
Burned Again ........................................................... 4
Siting Slowdown .............. ..... .... .... .. ........................ 5
Turn Up the Heat! .................................................... 5
Profile
The Grandmother of Loisaida .................................. 6
Pipeline
The Super-Agency ............. ...... .. ..... .... ... ....... ........ .. . 8
Unfair Day Care? .... .... .. .... .. .... ...... ............ .... .. .. .. .... 18
Gridlock/Page 12
Vital Statistics
Charting the Crisis:
The Shelters and Permanent Housing ............... 17
Cityview
Gentrification, Mutual Housing Style ................... 22
Review
Beyond Shelter ....................................................... 23
Letters ... ..... ......... .... ...... ....... .......... ........... ................. 24
Day Care/Page 18
CITY UMITS/NOVEMBER 1991/3
BRIEFS
FEDERAL FUNDS
The historic National Afford-
able Housing Act could bring at
least $15 million in new federal
housing money to New York
City, but new initiatives are
being funded at the expense of
currently existing programs,
according to low income hous-
ing advocates in Washington.
"It's good news that the new
programs did so well. But we're
disappointed with some of the
cuts to existing housing pro-
grams," says Claire Doyle from
the National low Income
Housing Coalition.
Congress has allocated $1 .5
billion for the new HOME
Investment Partnership program,
which funds rental assistance as
well as the construction of new
homes and rental units. The
program includes a mandate
that 15 percent of the funds will
be allocated to community-
based housing providers.
"HOME and the community
set-aside are a real break-
through," comments Bud Kanitz,
executive director of the Na-
tional Neighborhood Coalition.
"It's a sign of a return of the
federal government to housing."
The other major new pro-
gram, Home Opportunities for
Peaf?le Everywhere (HOPE) did
not tare as well. Despite an
$800 million authorization from
Congress, the final allocation
was only $500 million. The
HOPE program funds a number
of public housing initiatives,
including funding for tenant
ownership.
Overall funding for housing
increased onlX slightly, from
$23.7 billion for fiscal year
1991 to $23.9 billion for
year 1992. Funding for the
new initiatives occurred because
some existing programs were
reduced or received no funding.
Programs that did not receive
any money for the current fiscal
year include the Nehemiah
Housing Partnership program
and the Section 31 2 loan
Program. Section 8 funding for
and vouchers de-
creased by about $61 million
from the previous year, which
translates into a loss of assis-
tance for about 9,000 units of
housing.
To qualify for the new
federal money, states and cities
4/NOVEMBER 1991/CITY UMITS
Bush-whKkers: Activists from ACT-UP protested outside of Federal Plaza recently about the shortage of
housing for people with AIDS.
have to prepare a Comprehen-
sive Housing Affordability
Strategy (CHAS), which is a
five-year plan, to be updated
annually, that outlines how
local, state and federal funds
will be used to provide housing.
New York City's CHAS was
prepared by the Department of
City Planning, with input from
the housing authority, the
housing department, the
mayor's housing coardination
office arid numerous other
agencies. The city's CHAS
supports the continued need for
rent regulation and promises to
commit a significant portion of
new federal money to very low
income New Yorkers.
About 30 peaple testified at
a public hearing on the pro-
posed CHAS. Advocates for the
real estate industry, such as
John Gilbert III from the Rent
Stabilization Association,
opposed the document, while
many housing advocates
expressed support.
"Mostly peaple were very
supportive," says Harriet Cohen,
a housing expert from the office
of Manhattan Borough President
Ruth Messinger. "It's an excel-
lent document that puts together
a lot of information about
housing and homelessness.
There are good policy state-
ments and commitments like
saving housing with expiring
federal subsidies and targeting
new funds to the lowest of low
income." However, she says, the
document should have included
more information about the role
and importance of community-
based housing groups.
As City Limits goes to press,
city planning. is revising the
CHAS to meet an Oct. 31
deadline for completion of the
document. Copies of the CHAS
statement can be obtained from
the Department of City plan-
ning. 0 Usa Glazer
BURNED AGAIN
The revised charter is barely
two years old, but its loopholes
are already showing, and
they're big enough for an
incinerator to slip right through.
In early August, community
groups and political leaders in
the Bronx learned that Bronx-
lebanon Hospital had hired a
private firm, Resource Manage-
ment Technologies Inc., to build
a medical waste incinerator in
the Port Morris section of the
South Bronx. The incinerator,
now almost complete, is de-
signed to burn 48 tons of waste
per day, gathered from hospi-
tals all around the metropolitan
region.
When a grass roots explo-
sion of demonstrations followed
the revelations, the hospital and
state regulators said the details
of the incinerator had been in
the public domain for two years.
But Bronx politicians and the
local community board said
they had been misled. ''This was
a very sophisticated attempt to
avoid public scrutiny," says Clint
Roswell of Bronx Borough
President Fernando Ferrer's
office. He says the hospital
deliberately turned the project
over to the private firm to side-
step the standard Department of
Health approvals process, which
includes community hearings
and a review by the Department
of City Planning.
Bernd Zimmermann, Ferrer's
director of planning, says that
the Bronx lebanon tactic points
up glaring weaknesses in the
revised City Charter. The "Fair
Share" clause of the charter was
supposed to force the govern-
ment to distribute unwelcome
facilities evenly around the city.
But, Zimmermann says, city
agencies and closely-regulated
corporations like hospitals can
avoid public review of major
projects by simply privatizing
them. Private companies can
build facilities like incinerators,
waste transfer stations, or
sludge treatment plants without
any input from local residents,
so long as their sites are zoned
for industrial use.
The impact of the loophole is
particularly damaging in
neighborhoods like Port Morris
and Hunts Point, where indus-
I
trial zoning proliferates along-
side the most stark poverty in
the city. "Clearly they selected
this neighborhood because iY s
poverty stricken," says Rev.
Gregory G. Groover of the
Bright Temple AME Church in
Hunts Point. 'We won' t tolerate
being dumped on."
Four hundred marchers at a
protest rally on October 16
succeeded in halting construc-
tion for the day, Groover says.
Bronx Lebanon recently
chose Montenay Power
Corporation to operate the
incinerator starting in Decem-
ber. Montenay operated a
garbage incinerator in Glen
Cove, Long Island, until it was
shut down August 4th following
violations of federal and state
air quality regulations and
federal occupational safety
regulations. The hospital's
environmental research consult-
ants, and the state Department
of Environmental Conservation,
insist, however, that the Port
Morris plant has state of the art
emissions control technology
and will release virtually no
toxins into the air above the
densely populated community.
"Any incinerator built is
always touted as the best of its
kind when it' s constructed, and
invariably becomes a dog that
must be closed," says Arthur
Kell of the New York Public
Interest Research Group. "As a
direct result of this technology a
large majority of medical waste
ends up in the air."
Ferrer and other local
politicians r e c e n ~ y demanded
that the city' s Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP)
do a full environmental impact
study of the incinerator and
hold a series of public hearings
before issuing an operating
permit. And Ferrer' s office is
preparing legislation for the City
Council that would establish
public review rules for all solid
waste facilities, both publicly
and privately owned. The bill
would require a special operat-
ing permit from the Department
of City Planning for such plants.
The Uniform Land Use Review
Procedure (ULURP) would be a
pre-requisite for the permit-
Which means community
boards, the City Council and
the City Planning Commission
would all hold public hearings.
Am-Bush: About 2000 people, including many homeless New Yorkers,
demonstrated near the preSident's vacation house in Kennebunkport,
Maine, October 5. The rally was organized by Housing Now!
Still, anger runs high in the
South Bronx. The incinerator
was originally proposed in
1988, and DEP was fully aware
of its scale at that time. "Now,
the public is in the position of
fighting something thaYs al-
readyaone," says Roswell.
"ThaY s what the charter revision
was supposed to turn around."
But Groover holds the
politicians accountable as well
as the regulators. 'We elect
them and put them in office to
do their homework, to know
what's going on," he says.
"From now on we're going to
keep them awake." 0 Andrew
White
construction of new public
housing in low income, minority
neighbOrhoods. But strict cost
limitations make it nearly
impossible for the city to pur-
chase property in areas that
comply with HUD's rules.
'We're trying to get the local
people at HUD to realize this is
just a ridiculous situation," says
Denise Scott, assistant director
of the Mayor's Office of Hous-
ing Coordination.
Of the 1,100 units previously
allocated to NYCHA, Cohen
says she's applied to HUD for
approval to take control of 700
units in the Bronx that were
rehabilitated by the city's
housing department within the
Special Initiatives Program.
Applications are also pending
at HUD for two smaller sites for
public housing-one in Lower
Manhattan and another on the
Upper West Side. She's still
searching for sites for about
370 remaining units.
Desp-ite the city' s problems,
HUD officials defend their site
and neighborhood guidelines.
"They derived from a fear of
ghettoizing assisted housng in a
very limite<l area instead of
spreading it out," explains
David Burns, a regional econo-
mist at the local HUD office.
However, the guidelines are
not always followed. "If there' s
an overriding need for housing
in minority areas, and they do
not have available sites," then
HUD can waive the guidelines,
saxs Ethan Harris from HUD's
Office of Fair Housing and
Equal Opportunity.
When asked why HUD won' t
waive the siting guidelines for
New York City, Harris says, "If
there's any possibility of getting
them to find sites outside minor-
ity areas, then we go through
that." Another HUD employee,
economist David Bannett,
suggests that if the housing
authority would use New York
City' s capital budget funds
instead of federal money, they
could avoid having to meet
HUD guidelines.D Usa Glazer
SITING SLOW-DOWN
TURN UP THE HEAT!
In the aftermath of housing
budget negotiations in Wash-
ington, the New York City
Housing Authority (NYCHA) is
set to win approval to build new
publ ic housing apartments. But
NYCHA still hasn't built 1,100
new apartments they were
expected to create in previous
fiscal years.
The slow-down is the result
of stringent siting guidelines
being imposed by the federal
Deportment of Housing and
Urban and Development (HUD),
explains Amy Cohen, director of
planning ana development at
the housing authority.
"This is a problem for us,"
she says. 'We're working with
the city to try and find sites that
meet HUD guidelines."
HUD regulations prohibit the
The city's official heating
season began October 1 .
Landlords are required to
provide tenants with 24-hour
heat whenever the outdoor
temperature warrants it. The
heating season runs each
year from Oct. 1 to May 31 .
When the outdoor
temperature is below 55
degrees, building owners are
required to maintain an
indoor temperature of at
least 68 degrees Fahrenheit
between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
the indoor temperature must
be at least 55 degrees when
it is below 40 degrees
outside.
In the event of a heating
deficienS)', a tenant should
first notifY the landlord or
superintendent. If heat is not
restored, the tenant should
then call the city' s Central
Complaint Bureau at (212)
960-4800. The bureau is
open seven days a week, 24
hours a day.
During the heating seasan
of 1990-91 , 197,446 heat
and hot water complaints
were received. There were
68, 202 heat and hot water
inspection visits resulting in
the placement of 10,462
heat and hot water viola-
tions. In court, 2,338 heat
actions were storted. In
addi-tion, 11 landlords were
arrested for failure to
provide heat as well as other
housing code violations. Six
of those arrests resulted in
jail sentences. 0
CITY UMrrS/NOVEMBER 1991/5
By Anne Sanger
The Grandmother of Loisaida
Carmen Pabon is a one-woman roving referral service.
A
s she strolls down Avenue C,
Carmen Pabon bears no sign of
her importance in the commu-
nity. A grey-haired woman
wearing running sneakers, a festive
Hawaiian blouse and a plaid swing
skirt, she pulls a wire
shopping cart behind
her. The only clue is a
long string of keys she
produces from a shoul-
der-bag.
In this instance,
Pabon is entering the
community garden she
created at 119 Avenue
C. Later in the day and
the week she will use
her other keys to help
out at numerous lo-
cales throughout
Loisaida, the Puerto
Rican section of the
Lower East Side.
"I keep my time
busy doing work," says
the 70-year-old great
grandmother who jogs
regularly in the East
River Park. She helps
feed the homeless, col-
lects clothing and blan-
kets for them, serves as
a translator for friends
having trouble with
welfare and social se-
curity, counsels run-
away teenagers,
sweeps the front steps
of her church, per-
forms in locally-writ-
ten plays and writes
poetry about her neigh-
borhood.
And that's not all.
Pabon sometimes shel-
ters people in her
winter, she stays home at night ("I
can't walk too much in the cold
weather.") but starts as early as 9 a.m.
In an era where big government
looks to big business for solutions to
the city's problems, Carmen Pabon is
apartment, most re- Cannen Pabon: "1 keep my time busy doing work."
cently two young
people from El Salva-
dor and another from Honduras. She
is also a roving community referral
service, telling street people where
they can go to receive shelter, clothes
and food. Her hours of operation? In
the summer when she can't sleep,
she'll walk in Alphabet City with a
friend until one in the morning. In the
8/NOVEMBER 1991/CITY UMITS
a classic grassroots community activ-
ist, achieving the most simple and
important goals. By caring and advo-
cating for her neighbors, she helps
hold the community together when
the government, the drugs and the
economy are threatening to tear it
apart.
"I am very glad to know this lady,
to have her close to me," says Valentin
Ortiz, a community aid worker at Tal-
bot Perkins Children's Services, which
works to prevent foster care place-
ment and provides assistance to
people with welfare and housing prob-
lems. "She's been living here a long
time and she knows about all the
resources-the churches, shelters,
food pantries, community groups."
Ortiz says two or three times a week
people who have been referred by
Pabon come in for help.
If there was ever an
exemplary community
volunteer, then Pabon
is the one, adds Chino
Garcia, the founder of
Charas, a Lower East
Side arts organization.
And Father Patrick
from Bonitas, a refuge
for teenage runaways,
says, "She doesn't feel
sorry for people, she
offers compassion."
Worked in
Sewing Factory
Born in Ciales, a
small Puerto Rican
town, Pabon moved to
the United States in
1946 wi th her children
and worked as a "floor
girl" in a Bronx sewing
factory to support her
family. The father of
Pabon's children fol-
lowed her to New York
and together they
moved to Spanish Har-
lem. But shortly after-
wards, he went to sea
as a Marine and Pabon
was alone again-with
eight children.
Hopelessly over-
crowded in her one-
room apartment, Pabon
joined the throngs who
applied for housing at
the New York City
Housing Authority. In
the 1950s, she was as-
signed a five room
apartment on Houston Street, where
she still resides. Once she had a
decent living space, she focused her
energy on community issues: the par-
ents association at her children's
school and volunteering at St. Brigid's
church.
From here she became increasingl y
active in her changing neighborhood.
She started to attend Community
Board Three and went steadily for
years. Miriam Friedlander, the Lower
East Side's veteran City Council rep-
resentative, says that in her 18 years of
council work she can't remember a
time when Pabon wasn't involved in
the neighborhood. "She a basic activ-
ist," says Friedlander. "Deeply con-
cerned about the homeless, always
upbeat."
Commenting on the transforming
Lower East Side, Pabon returns time
and again to the need for new, afford-
able housing. "There have been a lot
of changes, but they haven't been for
the better of poor people," she says.
"There is some renovation, but it's
very hard to find apartments for the
people who live here. The rents are
always going up. People can't afford
them, and then they're stuck."
All Human Beings
Pabon knows many of the home-
less people from the area-middle-
aged men, younger people from
Tompkins Square Park, the mentally
disabled who roam the streets mum-
bling to themselves and to the air.
"People say to me, 'I see you hugging
the homeless people. What about the
sickness? Aren't you afraid?' I say I
don't worry. We are all human beings.
I say, Why do you call the homeless
'those people'-the same could hap-
pen to you tomorrow."
All of Pabon's children were raised
in the Lower East Side, and most of
them still live there. One daughter
has a master's degree in English, an-
other works as a social worker. But
Pabon's thoughts seem to turn most
often to her son, Gilbert, who died of
AIDS at the age of 33. Pabon refers to
AIDS in Spanish, as SIDA, and it is the
one topic that shatters her optimism.
While her son was in the hospital,
Pabon visited regularly with him and
many others with AIDS. "I used to go
see all the people there, at Bellevue
and then at Beth Israel. No more. It's
too hard. When you go through that,
it's very hard to encourage people. I
see a lot of families with one, two,
three people with SIDA in the family.
Sometimes I feel like my mind is go-
ing to explode, but then I say, I will
walk. I'll destroy myself if I continue
worrying."
To stop the sadness, Pabon helps
others and also writes poetry. "I write
about what 1 see in this neighborhood,
what is right and what is wrong, the
injustice and the justice. 1 write what
I feel." Pabon usually writes sponta-
neously and saving her poems is not a
big priority. When asked for an ex-
ample, she pulls out a brown paper
bag covered with her sprawling hand-
writing. She did publish one poem
recently in Loisaida magazine. "I won-
A classic
grassroots
community
activist.
der who they are/ the men who run
this land/ and 1 wonder why they run
it with such a heavy hand.! What are
their names? / And on what street to
do they live?! Because I'd like to ride,
ride, ride, this afternoon right over to
their house/ and give them a piece of
my mind.! A piece of my mind about
peace for mankind."
Tolerance
Pabon attributes her steadfast
commitment to improving her
community-and the world at large-
to her religious faith. She wears a
cross necklace and serves as a
eucharistic minister, helping hand out
communion wafers at St. Bridgit's
Church. Despite her strong beliefs,
Pabon is far from evangelical. "I never
argue with nobody about religion,"
she says. "Everybody has their own
idea ... the important thing is ' what's
inside you. "
Pabon's hospitality was on full
display on a recent autumn afternoon,
when about 60 people came for a free
meal at the community graden she
has nurtured from a vacant lot on
AvenueC. Amid red and white flowers
and a mixture of small trees and
shrubs, one elderly man sat in the sun
in his motorized wheelchair while
three other seniors sat on plastic milk
crates at a round wooden table. Home-
less people wandered in, many of
them former residents of Tompkins
Square Park who relocated to a nearby
vacant lot. A homeless man with an
arm of tattoos and a mouth without
teeth strode up to Pabon and gave her
a high five. Another man, Lyndon
Taylor, shook her hand. "I know
Carmen from when the park closed.
She's just.a wonderful person."
A younger visitor arrives, her 16-
year-old grandson, Jason Del Rios.
Pabon asks, "Why do I always see you
hanging around that candy store?
And why were you late to school?"
Jason smiles ruefully, and says, "I
forgot you were the FBI." Then he
promises to get to school on time.
When asked to describe his grand-
mother he says, "She helps people
out, she's everybody'S grandmother
in the community." He points to a
patch on his faded jeans. "The same
thing it says on my pants-Street
Hero."O
Anne Sanger was a summer intern at
City Limits. She is a senior at Vassar
College.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS
HOUSING AND HOMElESSNESS COMMlnEE
HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS IN THE '90s:
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED ... WHERE ARE WE GOING?
A conference to address the policy and practice challenges created by New York
City's continuing housing and homelessness crisis. Students, social workers,
advocates and concerned residents are encouraged to attend.
Monday, November 18,8:30 am-3:30 pm
Hunter College School of Social Work
129 East 79th Street (comer of Lexington Avenue) NYC
Registration: $10; $5 students and low income; or
whatever you can afford!
For information about workshops and pre-registration,
contact Diane Wagner (212) 875-2205 or Jeff Schwartz (718) 468-8025.
CITY UMrTS/NOVEMBER 1991/7
By Paul Lin
The Super-Agency
Does bigger mean better at the new Economic
Development Corporation?
T
here's anew and powerful force
in city economic development,
and it has the potential to
change the face of New York
with nary a peep from the city govern-
ment that formed it, or the taxpayers
that fund it.
New Yorkers
shouldn't be sur-
prised. At the
core of the new
super-sized
agency is the old
Public Develop-
ment Corpora-
tion at 161
William Street, a
freewheeling
organization
accountable only
to the mayor.
"Is the Eco-
nomic Develop-
ment Corpora-
tion in this build-
ing?" a man was
asked in the
elevator.
deal city-owned land.
There was intense debate in the
Council before the vote early in the
summer. Some members are still
strongly opposed to the consolida-
tion. "Mayor Koch in his wildest
dreams would have never tried to pull
their colleagues voted against the bill
creating EDC because they saw the
city creating an authority with the
power of too many agencies under the
guise of trimming bureaucracy from
the budget - without establishing a
system of legislative checks and
balances.
On the Waterfront
This month, members of the City
Council are gearing up for a fight to
gain legislative control over the city's
waterfront development projects. The
Department of Business Services
(DBS), composed
of the former of-
fices for eco-
nomic develop-
ment , business
development and
labor services, re-
centl y negotiated
a contract that
would turn over
control of water-
front develop-
ment to the EDC.
The contract
must be approved
by the City Coun-
cil this month
before it becomes
legall y binding.
"Yes, it is," re-
plied the man.
"The EDC -
sometimes it's
called the PDC."
The water-
:=<: front develop-
~ ment projects had
~ been the respon-
~ sibility of the
__ ......... -=_ ...... -=-....I...AJ now-defunct De-
On the waterfront The City Council votes this month on 0 contract to shift control over partrnent of Ports
waterfront development to EDC. and Trade. The
Even the three-
letter acronym
sounds the same.
The man smiled inscrutably and,
without explaining, quickly stepped
out of the elevator and onto the 19th
floor, where the office of the former
Public Development Corporation's
President Carl Weisbrod is located.
Weisbrod now heads the EDC.
Down in the lobby, however, there's
no indication in the directory of the
July consolidation of the city's
financial and economic development
agencies that resulted in the birth of
the EDC, and its sister office, the
Department of Business Services
(DBS). Nor is there any hint of the
controversy that split City Council
members 24 to 11 when they voted on
the formation of the new quasi -public
corporation, loosely monitored by the
city's executive branch and given
wide-ranging powers to wheel and
8jNOVEMBER 1991/CITY UMITS
off what [the Dinkins'] administra-
tion did," says Brooklyn Councilman
Stephen DiBrienza, adding that the
passage of the consolidation bill was
"an outrage and a scam." Lisa
Gugenheim, an aide to Manhattan
Councilwoman Ronnie Eldridge,
reports her boss's anger as well: "This
is a serious issue of public policy
addressed in an expedient and
irresponsible way," she says.
Today, EDC develops, markets, sells
and manages city-owned land; funds
commercial, industrial and waterfront
projects, including development of
the city's markets and transportation
networks; works to retain private
businesses in the city and to help
them grow; and provides loans and
financial assistance to companies
requesting aid.
Eldridge, DiBrienza and nine of
proposed con-
tract would transfer $128 million of
former Ports and Trade pro-jects to
the EDC over the next 10 years.
Under the old hierarchy of city
agencies, the City Council had over-
sight of Ports and Trade's budget and
contracts, which translated into pub-
lic review of maritime land use pro-
posals. But since the consolidation,
EDC controls the Industrial Develop-
ment Agency (IDA), which provides
below-market rate financing for pri-
vate companies' development
projects, often on city-owned land.
That means EDC has both financing
and planning authority, and some in
the City Council fear they could lose
any input on maritime development
projects.
DiBrienza says that EDC's control
over both IDA and Ports and Trade
would mean the corporation could
effectively package and help finance
properties for projects that it favors-
projects that don't necessarily pro-
mote the development of the city's
port facilities, which DiBrienza con-
siders important because they pro-
vide vital manufacturing jobs. The
contract would give EDC an
"unchecked power base at the ex-
pense of a struggling maritime indus-
try," says DiBrienza.
In November, 1989, PDC tried to
sell the South Brooklyn Marine Ter-
minal to the Daily News for construc-
tion of a new printing plant, says Eric
Freedman from DiBrienza' s office. The
container port had been inactive for
three years prior to the move, but
Ports and Trade's opposition to the
idea prevented it from going forward.
If the current contract proposal goes
through, he says, such inter-agency
competition would cease and the pub-
lic corporation could steamroll any
opposition that seeks to bring the ship-
ping business back to New York.
The City Council's lack of over-
sight over EDC is also a concern to the
New York Public Interest Research
Group (NYPIRG). Chris Meyer calls
EDC an entity "larger than life," and
says he hopes council members will
try to insert provisions in the new
contract so that they can playa mean-
ingful role in the affairs ofEDC. But he
voices doubts about the City Council's
ability to even alter the contract.
One-Stop Shopping
At the moment, however, develop-
ers are pleased at the prospect of
dealing with the semi-autonomous
office for economic development,
designed to cut through red tape and
to serve as a one-stop shopping center
for industries looking to relocate in
New York Ci ty and companies looking
for tax breaks as an incentive to stay in
the city.
Officials tout the consolidation of
agencies as a budget-cutting, service-
saving move. "We will be lean, mean
and focused," says Sally Hernandez-
Pinero, the Deputy Mayor for Finance
and Economic Development.
The creation of DBS and EDC "will
save $5 million each year and will
reduce our economic development
budgets by 17 percent," the mayor
said in April of the consolidation. By
September, however, the Mayor's
Management Report indicated a
change in tune, and listed the savings
:is $5 million over the next two years.
rhe savings nonetheless would come
from cutting 75 jobs. The executive
Ten-Year Plan allots $638 million of
city funds to EDC, to continue former
PDC projects. Over the next fi ve years,
EDC's average annual capital budget
will be $67 million.
The EDC:
A one-stop
shopping center
for business.
Catie Marshall, spokesperson for
the EDC, says concerns about the un-
accountability of the new corporation
are unfounded. She says EDC projects
are submitted to public scrutiny and
review by the City Council, and where
zoning conflicts are concerned,
projects are examined by the commu-
nities affected via the city's Uniform
Land-Use Review Procedure.
"We believe in community involve-
ment for the benefit of the city of New
York," says Marshall, who assures
that representatives from both the
community and the EDC can now
work "side-by-side" for a "user-
friendly" approach to industrial de-
velopment.
Despite what could be seen as a
move by EDC toward a kinder, gentler
development corporation, the basic
bottom-line priorities of business and
politics still underlie the corporation's
activities, according to a former PDC
official. He says that some 30 former
PDC board members still have tenure
on EDC's board, and are likely to con-
tinue to "rubber stamp" project pro-
posals that come before them from the
chairman of the board, financier
Arthur Levitt, Jr. Levitt is the former
head of the American Stock Exchange.
And opponents of EDC point to
PDC's long history of ineffective use
of public money and sale of public
land, examined recently in a perfor-
mance audit released in September by
the New York State Comptroller, Ed-
ward V. Regan. According to the re-
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CITY UMITS/NOVEMBER 1991/9
port, PDC had sold 475 city-owned
sites for $68 million since 1977. But
Regan's report said that, on average,
PDC took three times longer to close
on site sales than its published target
date of one year. Delays often resulted
in cancellation of sales or reductions
in the land price.
The report also said that PDC over-
reported job-creation figures, and in
at least one case continued to report
jobs from a company that had left New
York.
The corporation also failed to moni-
tor the construction progress of buy-
ers, the report said. State auditors
who visited several sample sites sold
by PDC found "vacant, debris-littered
lots or abandoned structures." At
Gypsum Floors' site on East 182nd
Street and Park A venue in the Bronx-
seven lots purchased in 1989-a ware-
house was constructed that violated
city zoning regulations. At a site in
Brooklyn where nine jobs were meant
to be created within three years of the
May, 1989 land sale, the only evidence
of employment were drug trafficking
and prostitution on a vacant lot, the
auditors say.
But the real indictment of the PDC
is in the history books. The agency's
original mandate was to rejuvenate
the city's industrial and manufactur-
"Any quasi-public
organization
should be subject
to the same levels
of oversight as a
government
agency."
ing base, and to retain and create jobs.
But during the 1970s, 43 percent of
the city's blue-collar jobs were lost,
according to the federal Bureau of
Labor Statistics. And between 1980
and 1990, one-third of the city's manu-
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10jNOVEMBER 1991jCITY UMITS
facturing jobs disappeared.
For those who have been on the
raw side of a PDC deal, EDC promises
of renewal are less than convincing.
"We were always running up against
them," says Harry DiRienzo, vice
president of the Consumer Farmer
Foundation, which funds low-income
housing. In one case, DiRienzo's
organization wanted residential
zoning in a section of the Bronx's
Community Board Three; PDC, having
different priorities, "wanted a fortress
of industrial parks," and got what it
wanted. Now, DiRienzo is lobbying
against the contract that would turn
waterfront development over to the
EDe. "Any quasi -public organization
should be subject to the same levels of
oversight as a government agency
would," he says. The lack of over-
sight, says DiRienzo, lets EDC "buy
city-owned property for a dollar and
sell it for a million. I think that's
wrong."
At press time, Gugenheim from
Eldridge's office says that a bill is in
the works at the committee level in
the City Council to modify the contract
proposal. She said the bill would
increase the legislature'S oversight of
EDC contracts, staffing and budget
priorities, at least where the water-
front is concerned.
Meanwhile, a bill currently in the
works in the New York State Legisla-
ture could change things for EDC.
Called "COBRA" or City Off-Budget
Review and Accountability Act, the
bill could provide the City Council
with the power to oversee EDC's ac-
tivities project-by-project.
But until the COBRA bill starts to
move, or the City Council takes charge
on its own, the EDC on William Street
may very well keep its low profile,
indistinguishable from its front - as
headquarters of the PDC. D
Paul Lin is a freelance writer based in
Brooklyn_
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CITY UMITS/NOVEMBER 1991/11
Shelter Gridlock
The Dinkins administration blames the homeless for an overcrowding crisis in the
family shelters. Evidence points to problems of the government's own making.
BY ANDREW WHITE
E
very morning, behind a
single steel door on the
edge of Chinatown, doz-
ens of women and chil-
dren and a few men arise
from a fitful night on the lit-
tered, sticky linoleum floor of
the Manhattan Emergency As-
sistance Unit. Some of them lie
curled up on flattened card-
board boxes, or stretched out
on tables and black plastic
chairs. The stink of the bath-
room fills the air. Mice scurry
across the floor, and small chil-
dren cry constantly, coughing,
sniffling, whining. Fights break
out, women curse one another,
guards stand clear until a knife
is pulled. These rooms are the
first stop, and often the second
and third stops, for homeless
families coming into New York
City's shelter system.
chaotic than usual right now,"
explains Elizabeth Lynch from
the Citizens Committee for
Children. "It's the result of a
gridlock in the system."
Nobody denies that the shel-
ters for homeless families are
jammed with people. As ofSep-
tember 30th, about 4,800 fami-
lies were in the shelter sys-
tem-morethan 15,000people,
a number nearly equal to the
record set in 1987.
The dispute centers around
the reason for this overload.
Instead of pointing the finger at
a new breed of welfare cheat,
advocates look to the Dinkins
administration. They say that
erratic management, inept
policymaking and harmful bud-
get cuts have converged to cre-
ate a logjam in the system for
providing shelter and housing
for homeless families . Informa-
tion compiled by City Limits
supports their claim. So many people spend the
night at the Emergency Assis-
tance Unit (EAU) because
there's no room for them in the
shelters. Ask a government of-
ficial why that is, and he or she
will tell you there's an unprec-
edented new flood of families
into the system. Prod further,
Up to 55 families sleep on the floor or on chairs each night at
the Emergency Assistance Unit ...
To support the "flood"
theory, city officials have re-
peatedly said that at least 200
families a day are seeking
shelter at EA Us, the entrance to
the shelter system. Yet a review
of Human Resources Amini-
and they'll tell you that word is going around out on the
street: If you're poor and can't afford to rent an apartment
on the open market, the quickest route to a subsidized
home is through the shelter system. People know, they'll
say, that once you're in the shelters for a few months, the
city housing agency is bound to give you a comfortable,
rehabilitated apartment.
That's the official story, which the Dinkins administra-
tion has been presenting to the media since this summer.
But many close observers of the shelter system say the
official story is a myth.
"The city talks about an avalanche of homeless fami-
lies. That's their imagination," says Anna Lou Dehavenon,
a widely-respected medical anthropologist who has done
research on the city's homeless families, with the
government's cooperation, since 1979.
"The fundamental bureaucratic process is much more
12/NOVEMBER 1991/CITY UMITS
stration statistics shows that
only 31 new families a day came into the EAUs in
September. The 200 number includes families who are not
new arrivals-they're people who have been bouncing
back and forth from the EAUs to two-night hotels to the
floors of friends' apartments because they can't get into a
shelter.
Families can't enter the shelters because they're full.
This is because new policies have made it more difficult
for families currently in the system to leave. At one point,
it only took three months for a family to qualify for
subsidized permanent housing. Now a family must wait
between nine and 12 months.
Once a family qualifies for permanent housing, there's
no guarantee they'll move quickly, because fewer apart-
ments are available. The "Alternative Pathways" policy
has diverted hundreds of apartments away from shelter
families and towards families living doubled up with
friends or rela-
tives.
A Stream
or a Flood?
I
n the New York
City Council
chamber one
morning in late
September, a row of
politicians gazed
around the room as
top level officials
presented their in-
terpretation of
what's wrong with
the city's emer-
gency shelter for
homeless families.
Two departing
officials, Victor
Kovner and Nancy
~ Wackstein, gave a
~ classic presenta-
~ tion of the official
S story. They said the
~ shelter system was
g so overwhelmed
Newly-reno-
vated city apart-
ments intended for
homeless and low
income families
are sitting empty
in the Bronx, Har-
lem and Brooklyn
because of budget
cuts and misman-
agement at the
city's housing de-
partment. And ad-
vocates say the
process for refer-
ring families from
the shelter system
to permanent
housing is plagued
by time-consum-
ing procedural
problems in the
housing bureau-
cracy.
Confronted
with this informa-
tion, Kenneth
.. while newly renovated apartments for the homeless sit empty. One example is 1087
Summit Avenue in the Bronx, ready for tenants since June.
the administration
couldn't possibly
comply with the
Murphy, deputy commissioner at the Human Resources
Administration (HRA), which runs the shelter system,
concedes that the vast majority of people at the EAU are
not new arrivals to the shelters. But he still blames the
homeless for the problems, saying many families are
looking for the perfect shelter, and won't accept their first
placement. .
William Spiller, a deputy commissioner at the Depart-
ment of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), is
less emphatic when asked why renovated apartments are
sitting empty. He says budget cuts and a hiring freeze have
slowed the pace of paperwork, noting, "This has been a
very difficult year."
Considering the legal troubles of the Dinkins adminis-
tration, "difficult" may be an understatement. Behind the
public announcements about a crisis in the shelter system
are a raft of challenges in State Supreme Court that the city
has failed to respond to. The administration is facing
contempt charges and possible criminal penalties because
it is violating three court orders - and a consent decree
signed by the city's lawyers, promising compliance with
the court orders - concerning conditions for homeless
families.
Advocates say the administration's rhetoric directing
blame towards the homeless is part of a public relations
battle. "Dinkins is trying to regain control of a debate that
he hasn't been able to control at all," says David Steinglass
of the Community Housing Association of Managers and
Producers (CHAMP), a group of community-based hous-
ing providers.
"You can't help but be left with a profound feeling of
sadness when you watch officials defend their own fail-
ings by lashing out at families who have the misfortune to
live in poverty," adds Steve Banks of the Legal Aid
Society's Homeless Family Rights Project, the organiza-
tion responsible for the lawsuits.
court orders or a
city law requiring the closure of barracks shelters for
families. They said rules for entering the shelters were too
lax, that families were coming into the system without
being truly homeless. Wackstein told the City Council that
a nightly figure of 200 families requesting shelter had
become common.
Yet only about 31 new families came to the EAUs
seeking shelter each day in September, according to HRA
data (see Vital Statistics, p. 17). That's only slightly above
average for the rreceeding four years, and below the
summer peak 0 about 34. Most of the families, the
difference between 31 and 200 or more, are victims of a
ping-pong policy.
These families have already been in the shelters or in
the EAUs sometime during the previous month, and are
trying to get back in. Sometimes their assignment to a
barracks shelter is over because they've reached the
maximum stay-21 days-and they come to the EAU for
a new placement. Sometimes they have been sent repeat-
edly to hotels, and after each stay they return to the EAU
for a new placement. Sometimes after a 17 hour overnight
wait in the squalid EAU they escape to a friend's floor for
a rest, then come back and try again.
The number of families bouncing around and showing
up repeatedly at the system's gateway nearly doubled this
summer, and Dehavenon, who has done interviews inside
the Catherine Street EAU every week since last January,
says it's because dozens offamilies are placed in hotels for
a few days, or in overnight beds in the recreation rooms of
barracks shelters. "By July the situation was so horren-
dous," she says, that as many as 55 families were spending
the night on the chairs and the floor. "I've never seen it as
bad as this," she says. "The EAU is a refugee camp without
the Red Cross. It's just falling to pieces. "
Murphy from HRA denies that the ping-pong effect is
the city's fault. "The bulk of these families are coming out
CITY UMITS/NOVEMBER 1991/13
of other people's apartments," he says. "It's not a policy of
the the city driving them back into the EAUs. That's their
choice to come back in." Murphy says that some families
come to the EAUs because they know the city might put
them in a hotel, "which to some families is desirable." He
adds that many people come to the EAUs in search of a
food allowance - about $13 for three people - that is
sometimes offered along with a hotel room.
But conditions inside the EAUs are not particularly
enticing. The office at Catherine Street is not designed for
sleeping, though the place is frequently packed with
people in the pre-dawn hours. There are two cribs. And
lots of plastic chairs. Since mid-summer, families have
been spending 12 to 17 hours, and sometimes more, at the
EAUs awaiting a placement. "Where we sit is where we
eat, where we sleep is where we sit," said Feliciano Frank
one late September morning. She was on her third journey
through the EAU in a little more than a month.
Renee Ashley, sitting in the EAU one Friday morning in
late September, told a story similar to those told by a dozen
other women in the office: "Last Sunday they sent me to
the Holiday Inn. We spent two days there. Tuesday I came
back here. I've been sleeping and sitting on a chair since
Tuesday. I have a 15 year
old son, he's looking out for
me, he doesn't want to go
with friends because he
wants to make sure I'm okay.
Now we're placed at the
LaGuardia Hotel for two
days. I'll be right back here
sitting another four or five
days. They got babies sleep-
ing on boxes here, boxes on
the floor, night after night."
Manufacturing a Crisis
T
hree years ago the city
was in the midst of a
political maelstrom de-
crying the conditions and
the expense of housing for
homeless families in the
massive, drug-infested wel-
fare hotels. Under the gun
from the federal government,
the Koch administration set
out to close them down, and
the Department of Housing
Preservation and Develop-
ment and the New York City
Housing Authority opened
thousands of apartments to
homeless families.
Spiller says. "We had to say it's not an entitlement pro-
gram." The administration was determined to discourage
people from coming into the shelters.
One year ago this month, W ackstein and officials at
HRA crafted a policy called Alternative Pathways. It was
a turning point in the city's approach to homelessness.
And it opened the cover to Pandora's box.
On the face of it, Alternative Pathways looked like a
good idea. Families living in crowded conditions could
enter a special HPD lottery for apartments instead of going
into the shelters. Contestants chose a new development
project, filled out an application, and, if they were lucky,
a community-based, non-profit management company
invited them in for an interview. The Alternative Path-
ways lottery centered around a special allocation of city-
owned apartments, taken mostly from the units prepared
for shelter families.
Latino housing activists and community groups were
supportive of Alternative Pathways at the outset. The
policy was announced publicly at a banquet held by the
Hispanic Housing Coalition on the Lower East Side, and
political figures spoke of the antipathy many Latinos have
for the shelters, where non-English speakers are often
subject to abuse. Others saw
it as a way to help families in
their own neighborhoods on
the verge of becoming home-
less. "I've seen buildings
with 75 families in 20 apart-
ments," says Jose Acuna of
Promesa Housing Services,
a non-profit group in the
South Bronx. "We know we
could fill up any project right
here, with families from right
here," he says.
"It was a holy mission,"
says Deputy Commissioner
William Spiller ofHPD. "But
no sooner would we get [the
hotels] closed than HRA
would say hundreds more
But even by conservative
standards, the city govern-
ment estimates that at least
100,000 families live
doubled or tripled up with
friends and relatives in New
York City. Officials decided
that simply creating a lot-
tery for several hundred
apartments would not be
enough to ease pressure on
the shelters. So they tacked
on a few new rules to make
the shelters unattractive.
"Any family entering a shel-
ter or hotel on or after Octo-
ber 3D, 1990," read the no-
tice plastered in the hall-
ways and caseworkers' cu-
bicles, must wait nine
RIse and Shine: At 8 a.m. families are awake and months before getting a
Emergency Assistance Unit. placement in an HPD-man-
aged apartment building, or
are at the door. We thought we would lose control of the
system." City officials saw that new entries were increas-
ing and aides to the mayor concluded that word of the
apartment allocations had spread across the city.
"The decision was made that a message had to go out,"
14/NOVEMBER 1991/CITY UMITS
12 months to get one of 950
apartments in the city's public housing project.
Priority for new housing moved quickly away from the
shelter families. Almost 600 of the best-quality units
previously set aside for them were allocated to the doubled
up lottery. Another 700 were given to families and indi-
vi duals that lost their
city-owned and man-
aged homes for one
reason or another,
whether through fire,
urban renewal, major
repair work or con-
demnation by the
buildings depart-
ment. Mean while the
families in the shel-
ters began their long
wait. HPD produced
a record 4,173 units
for homeless families
during Fiscal Year
1991. But only 1,908
of them were rented
to shelter families.
The number of
families leaving the
shelters dropped pre- Kristin Morse: "Months and months a ~ ~ wasted as buildings sit vacant and families sit
cipitously, from in the squalor of shelters and hotels.
HPD. "The rent up
process is so totaly
convoluted that
months and months
are wasted as build-
ings sit vacant and
families sit in the
squalor of shelters and
hotels," says Morse.
David Steinglass of
CHAMP, which rep-
resents more than 50
non-profit, commu-
nity based organiza-
tions that work with
HPD, recently wrote
to Deputy Mayor
Norman Steisel com-
plaining that "it has
become almost im-
possible to house
families from (the
shelters) in commu-
1,027 in July, 1990 to
just 685 in February, 1991, according to HRA. Conversely,
the nllmber of families in hotels and barracks shelters
increased rapidly, from 820 to 1,149. By mid summer,
1991, the pressure on the system was too intense, and the
crisis emerged at the front doors to the system, the EAUs.
One year after Alternative Pathways was created, the
lottery process is crawling forward. Of 1,000 units origi-
nally allocated to doubled up families living outside of the
city's housing projects, only 579 were rehabilitated and
turned over to the lottery for doubled-up families, and of
those only 216 had been rented, Wackstein told the Coun-
cil in September. Another 356, she said, "are in the rent up
process," meaning the lotteries have been advertised and
rental could be anywhere from one month to six months
away.
"The reality is they are poor managers," says Kristin
Morse of the Coalition for the Homeless. "They couldn't
implement their own policy, they couldn't marshall and
coordinate their resources."
Wackstein disagrees. "Alternative Pathways has helped
families in horrible situations. That can't be termed a
failure."
Empty Buildings, Empty Promises
A
t 1087 Summit Avenue in the Highbridge section of
the Bronx, just two blocks from the broad parkland
near Yankee Stadium, a five-story brick tenement
house stands empty, window shades pulled halfway down
and the sidewalk neatly swept.
The tenement is one of four in the surrounding neigh-
borhood that city contractors rehabilitated and completed
last spring for HPD's Special Initiatives Program (SIP),
where more than half the units are delegated to homeless
or doubled-up families. All four buildings, totalling 66
apartments, received Certificates of Occupancy in June.
But more than four months after they were ready to be
rented, SIP officials hadn't even appointed a community-
based management group, much less begun looking for
tenants. The buildings may not be entirely rented until
next spring, a full year after they were ready for tenants.
Complaints proliferate about bureaucratic delays at
nity-based housing."
The South Bronx buildings are not an isolated example.
Last month, the SIP office chose the Pratt Area Community
Council to manage two attached tenements on Gates
Avenue in Brooklyn that were recently rehabilitated. The
group's director, Vivian Becker, says her group didn't gain
control until the construction work was complete. So the
25 apartments will sit empty for another six months, while
the rental process unfolds. "We haven't even put our ad in
the papers or started marketing," says Becker.
The standard procedure at SIP is to appoint a commu-
nity-based manager and begin looking for tenants at least
six months before construction work is completed. But the
office sent out a document earlier this year that outlined
the status of buildings nearing completion, including
several with predicted dates of completion between June
and October of this year.
By October 10, SIP had not yet chosen managers for at
least 10 Manhattan buildings on the list that were meant
to be completed by October. Directors of housing organi-
zations say the SIP office is frantically changing its
marketing policies because so many rehabilitation projects
are nearing completion, while the search for tenants has
not yet begun. Officials would not comment on the charge.
In fact, apartments are sitting empty all across the city.
In another South Bronx project, 268 new city-owned
apartments are managed by the Settlement Housing Fund.
More than 100 are still vacant four months after the final
building received its Certificate of Occupancy. They are
meant to be filled by both shelter families and an Alterna-
tive Pathways lottery, according to Carol Lamberg, the
executive director, but the group has had trouble getting
tenant referrals from HPD. She says that during one recent
six-week period her organization received no referrals at
all from the city shelters.
Morse says her organization has four apartments in East
Harlem that she has been trying to rent to shelter families
for three months. In that time, she says, the city has sent
only seven applications, some from families that were no
longer looking for ahome. "It's amazing," she says. "It's so
few units and I can't tell you how many hours and phone
calls to HPD we've spent on this crud."
CITY UMITS/NOVEMBER 1991/15
"The problem right now is that you can't get tenants,"
adds Chris Havens, general manager ofBEC New Commu-
nities in Brooklyn, a community-based manager of city
housing in the LISC and SIP programs. "Their system
sucks. How can this freight train keep moving in this
direction?" He blames City Hall, not HPD, pointing out
that the agency has taken heavy blows in the recent round
of budget cuts.
Abdul Farrakhan, director of Ocean Hill/Brownsville
Tenants Association, also a commu-
accept and which to reject.
Then he gives another explanation for delays. "Some
[families] are accepted by [an organization] and they
change their mind. HRA says people are shopping around. "
He says picky homeless families have caused more of a
bottleneck in the system than the new policies instituted
by the Dinkins administration.
Meanwhile, at Catherine Street, the families wait, go to
a hotel , and come back to wait some more. Orlando and
Juanita Pena have been in the system
six months. They say they can't be nity-based management group work-
ing with the city, says he takes the
bureaucratic hassles in stride. "There's
usually a logjam in the paperwork
downtown, " he says. "It may sit there
two, three, four weeks. Then we go and
bitch, and they call us arrogant and
move our paperwork. It's a pathology
that has developed within the agen-
cies."
/ Spiller from HPD admits his agency
ij.as made mistakes. "We've been on a
full hiring freeze. SIP is understaffed,"
he says. But he denies that HPD or City
Hall is responsible for many of the
problems slowing the rental of apart-
ments. He argues that some of the
blame lies with the non-profit man-
"There's usually a
logjam in the
paperwork .. .its
a pathology that
has developed
within the
picky, because they have no control
over where they are sent. "We've been
five times at the EAU, " says Orlando.
"We stayed in hotels for three days,
four days. This month we get sent
around, the Westchester Hotel for two
days, three days here, two days there.
Every time we come back here and
spend 48 hours. I have two children,
Anthony is 15, Orlando Jr. is 11."
The welfare documents in Pena's
hands outline a convoluted trail. He
and his wife have been homeless since
at least June 10, 1991, ejected from his
father-in law's. They lived at a bar-
racks shelter until July 15. They spent
agencies. "
agement groups, because many of them
are too slow and choosy in deciding which families
should get an apartment. "They've interviewed many,
many people," he says, but the city has no right, and no
obligation, to tell the sponsor groups which families to
four days at the Aqua Motor Lodge in
Ozone Park, Queens; three days at the
Westchester Hotel starting September 17, and again on
September 22. Then the Laguardia Hotel on September 27
and 28th for $342. The city gave them $13.20 for food for
two days. And $4.60 for the return trip to the EAU. 0
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18/NOVEMBER 1991/CITY UMITS
Charting the Crisis:
The Shelters and Permanent Housing
(1) Average number, by month, of new families entering the
sheRer system each day, July 1987 to September 1991
4 0 ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3 5 + - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ - -
30
25
20
10
5
o
J A SON D J F M A MJ J A SON D J F M A M J J AS 0 N D J F M AM J J A SON D J F M AM J J A S
1988 1989 1990 1991
C
ity officials say a flood of new
families is entering the shelter sys-
tem in the hopes of gaining a city
apartment. Yet data from the Hu-
man Resources Administration (HRA)
show that the number of new families
coming into the system each day has risen
only slightly.
Meanwhile, the overall number of
homeless families in the system is on the
rise. Advocates say this is because policy
changes have forced families to stay in the
system longer, and decreased the number
of apartments available for homeless fami-
lies. In addition, bureaucratic problems
are delaying the rental of already-reno-
vated apartments.
One interesting note: according to HRA,
the daily average of new arrivals to the
shelter system always increases in the
summer, rather than the winter, because
the stress of living in crowded, doubled-
up conditions can become unbearable in
the summer heat. 0 A.W.
Sources:
Chart 1 - HRA Crisis Intervention Services
via Legal Aid Society
Chart 2 - HRA Homeless Families Census
Chart 3 - Mayor's Management Report,
Sept. 1991 and HPD interviews
5000
4000
3000
2000
1000
(2) Number of families in the NYC
sheRer system
10/89 1/90 4/90 7/90 10/90 1/91 4/91 7/91 9/91
(3) Allocation of 4173 rehabilitated and repaired
apartments for the homeless created by HPD,
Fiscal Year 1991
Unaccounted for
or still unrented
905
Alternative Pathways
216
Persons with AIDS
287
Relocated HPD Tenants 695
CITY UMITS/NOVEMBER 1991/17
By Mary Keefe
Unfair Day Care?
ture of city agencies. By loosening the
requirements for licensing, they say
that thousands of "underground" day
care workers will become registered
and give parents a greater number of
providers to choose from.
A new law is deregulating family day care.
E
thel Jordan, a middle-aged resi-
dent of the Red Hook housing
project in Brooklyn, has spent
the past 15 years providing day
care for up to five children in her
apartment. "I love the kids ," she says.
Despite the isolation, hard work and
meager pay, she says, "If I could take
more kids I would."
Jordan is one of nearly 3 ,000 women
who provide licensed day care in their
homes and look af-
ter more than 8 ,000
youngsters, many
of them among the
city's poorest. She
is part of New
York' s licensed
family day care sys-
tem, a home-based
alternative to day
care centers that
provides much-
needed employ-
ment for low in-
come women and
enables working
parents to hold on
to their jobs.
by Assemblyman Al Vann and State
Sen. Mary Goodhue and it's slated for
implementation in the city by January
1992. Critics say that a cut-and-slash
budget environment turned an oppor-
tunity for positive improvements into
a major step backwards for family day
care workers and the parents who rely
on them.
Many family day care advocates
are hopping mad about the changes.
"There's really a need to open up
the system so parents have choices,"
says Louise Stoney, former policy di-
rector of the state's Child Care Coordi-
nating Council, which supported de-
regulation. "When parents don't have
choices, they may not feel comfort-
able wi th a provider but feel they have
to stay there. We feel parental choice
can make a difference."
Because the family day care system
will be simplified,
"registration is a
more comprehen-
sive approach, "
adds JoAnn Frie-
dell, head of child
care for the state's
Department of So-
cial Services (DSS) .
When asked how
standards for safety
will be main-
tained, she says
parents will help
out, based on in-
formation they've
gleaned from a
planned "parent
information cam-
paign" through the
media. There will
~ also be an "800"
c;:
III number that par-
ili ents can call if they
Family day care
is considered a cru-
cial part of the
city's day care fu-
ture, but a new
state law loosening
regulations threat-
ens to dismantle
the city's system
Changing the RIles: Family day care workers protested outside City Hall recently to oppose
deregulation.
have problems, she
says.
and destroy the support structure that
provides assistance for the day care
workers.
Under current law, inspectors visit
the homes of family day care workers
before they are licensed, and the homes
are monitored at least once a year.
The new law will create what is known
as a "registration" system. Day care
providers will be authorized to care
for children on the basis of a written
application and random inspections
will reach onI y 20 percent of the homes
across the state. Day care providers
are expected to judge for themselves
whether their home meets health and
safety standards, and parents are ex-
pected to take up the slack and per-
form the monitoring role previously
provided by inspectors.
Passed in 1990, the law was backed
18/NOVEMBER 1991/CITY UMITS
"We're abdicating our responsibility
for children's health and well-being,"
says Letisha Wadsworth, director of
day care services for the Child Devel-
opment Support Corporation in
Bedford Stuyvesant, a child care train-
ing and referral organization.
"Deregulation isn't motivated by
anything but [saving] money," adds
Sandra Gellert, past-president of the
National Association for Family Day
Many people
involved in family day care say this is
a potentially-dangerous, bargain
basement approach. Harriet Yarmo-
linsky, a family day care coordinator
within the city's Department of Health,
says, "We are asking parents to do
things that will be very hard for them
to do. I don't think it gives their chil-
dren as much protection as they had
before."
Care. "State standards are never any- . Raging Debate
thing but minimum for health and Congress passed a historic day care
safety and registration is taking it be- bill last year and new money for day
low the minimum." care is starting to flow into states
Not surprisingly, supporters of the throughout the country. Family day
bill and the state's Department of So- care is one of the most popular
cial Services have another point of approaches, mainly because it ' s
view. They say the new system will cheaperthanbuildingexpensivenew
streamline day care, which is cur- day care centers and is popular with
rently run by an alphabet soup mix- parents, who often prefer to have their
children looked after within a home
environment. Across the country, a
debate is raging about appropriate
levels for inspection and licensing.
Regardless of the new federal money,
many states with fiscal troubles are
saving money by calling for onI y mini-
mal inspection.
New York City's current licensed
family day care system is really two
separate systems. A total of 769
Organize!
On a hot Saturday morning this
summer, more than 40 women-
all family day care providers-gath-
ered in an ornate, high-ceilinged
room in a Brooklyn brownstone
owned by a church. The atmo-
sphere of the architecture was gen-
teel, but the attitude of the crowd
was angry.
It all came out. Anger about
working for poverty-level wages
with no increases for experience or
training. Anger about nonexistent
vacation days and sick pay. Anger
about being paid by a tax-free sti-
pend that means money isn't set
aside for social security. Anger
about the city's notoriously ineffi-
cient day care bureaucracy.
The meeting was run by organiz-
ers from DC 1707 of the American
Federation of State, City and Mu-
nicipal Employees (AFSCME). In
recent years, the union and family
day care workers have had a long,
difficult and unsuccessful organiz-
ing fight, but the struggle is far from
over. A National Labor Relations
Board (NLRB) decision during the
Koch administration denied fam-
ily day care workers the right to
join a union, but DC 1707 is in the
midst of a second campaign, this
time to organize a voluntary asso-
ciation that can address the
women's concerns.
It won't be an official union, but
the hope is that it will put orga-
nized day care workers in a posi-
tion to influence policy and
negotiate with the city. The effort
is modeled after an early strategy
that farm worker organizers used
when the NLRB ruled against their
union effort, according to James
Guyette, the head of organizing for
DC 1707.
women are licensed to provide day
care in their homes through the city's
Department of Health. These women
provide day care that does not recei ve
any government subsidy. Another
2,061 women are licensed through
the Agency for Child Development
within the Human Resources Admin-
istration. These women care for low
income children who have been re-
ferred through ACD, and the day care
The most that a family day care
worker looking after children referred
through the Agency for Child Devel-
opment (ACD) can make is $300 a
week. That's with a full complement
Family day care
workers make a
pittance.
of youngsters-two babies or toddlers
at $75 a week and three preschoolers
at $50 a week. But few day care
workers consistently earn this amount
because children are often sick, or
mothers work part-time, or the ACD
bureaucracy is slow replacing chil-
dren who have grown and gone to
school.
Family day care workers make a
pittance compared to the wages of
unionized day care workers who look
after children in city-subsidized day
care center. A teacher's aide with no
educational requirement for employ-
ment starts at $16,000 per year with
health benefits, paid vacation and sick
days, disability and pension. The
wage scale increases with experience
or education.
Guyette says that the only way fam-
il y day care workers can improve their
lot is through rigorous organization.
We need to "elevate the status of these
providers and change the perception
out there that these people are noth-
ing but babysitters," he says. There
are some positive signs towards
change. Family day care workers are
starting to form associations at city,
state and national levels and an Au-
gust convention of the National Asso-
is subsidized by the city.
The ACD family day care stream
was created two decades ago as a way
to help women work their way off
welfare. Ironically, family day care
workers have been working for years
for very low level wages, no benefits
and no right to form a union. (See
sidebar.)
Family day care workers within the
ACD stream are currently recruited,
ciation for Family Day Care brought
almost 1,000 providers to New
York. DC 1707 cooperates with the
New York City chapter of the orga-
nization.
Hundreds of family day care
workers signed up during a cam-
paign in the mid-1980s and the
union petitioned the National La-
bor Relations Board for a represen-
tation election in 1987. The Day
Care Council-an organization of
day care centers that acts as a bar-
gaining agent in union negotiations
and is closely tied to the city's
Agency for Child Development-
challenged the petition saying fam-
ily day care providers are
independent contractors, not em-
ployees.
The union won the first round.
Elections were held in 1989, but
the ballots were never counted
when the federal NLRB reversed
the regional board's decision. For
two years, while the hearing ground
on, Koch-era ACD officials intimi-
dated providers involved in the
organizing, according to the union.
Some of the women are still afraid
to be quoted publicly for fear of
reprisal.
After a round of meetings, the
new union effort is about two-thirds
of the way towards the goal of sign-
ing on about 2,000 day care work-
ers and borough representatives
have already been elected, Guyette
says. In addition to lobbying on
basic payment issues, much-
needed group insurance is a possi-
bility when 2,000 dues-paying
providers are on board.
When Mayor David Dinkins first
took office, his administration was
supportive offamily day care orga-
nizing, Guyette says. In an all-too-
familiar scenario, the city's fiscal
crisis put talks on hold. 0 Mary
Keefe
CITY UMITS/NOVEMBER 1991/19
trained and monitored by non-profit
agencies such as the Police Athletic
League and the Cardinal McCloskey
Center for Children and Families.
Because monitoring will no longer be
required by the state, the sponsoring
agency role could be eliminated under
the new system and providers left to
fend for themselves. Some sponsor-
ing agencies are better than others, but
they all provide a basic level of support
for isolated day care providers.
Limited Back-Up
Still, there are some advantages to
the changes. The state law will
consolidate the DOH and ACD family
day care streams into one system. And
if a voucher is carefully designed, it
will allow women who look after ACD-
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20/NOVEMBER 1991/CITY UMITS
referred children to also look after
children who don't receive a city
subsidy.
The new system also mandates 30
hours of training for each family day
care provider in a three-year period.
However, almost everyone involved
Quality family day
care takes more
than one-shot
training sessions.
in the day care debate concedes that
this is a very limited back-up for the
workers.
Day care advocates say quality
family day care takes more than one-
shot training sessions. People who
care for children in their home are
often isolated, and the isolation is
worse for providers in poor neighbor-
hoods who have limited resources
and are often caring for children from
families with health or social prob-
lems.
The city officials who have to
implement the new law are express-
ing discouraged resignation. "Regis-
tration would not be my first choice,
but it is here and we have to work with
it," says Yarmolinsky from the city's
health department. Even if the city
wanted to continue prior inspection
and regular monitoring of family day
care homes, the state Department of
Social Services isn't about to allow
that because it would be "contrary to
the legislation," according to JoAnn
Friedell from DSS. The issue requires
legislative change and many day care
professionals are now preparing to
take the battle back to Albany.
Still, the state law does not man-
date the dismantling of the support
system that non-profit agencies pro-
vide for day care workers. The city
could save-and improve-this sys-
tem, but budget constraints mean it
will probably be eliminated. Edwina
Meyers, the new head of ACD, says,
"Down the line I see us coming back
one day to something more real than
where we are moving right now."
Nonetheless, she adds, "Right now
this is where we are." D
GUTSY. INCISIVE.
PROVOCATIVE.
Life inside a city-owned crack
den ... public agencies cutting deals for
private developers .. .landlords who
collect the rent and let their buildings
rot. Each month, CITY LIMrrS probes
the misguided public policies and ineffi-
cient bureaucracies besetting New
York. But we don't think it's good
enough just to highlight the muck. CITY
LIMrrS looks for answers. We uncover
the stories of activists and local organ-
izers fighting to save their neighbor-
hoods. That's why CITY LIMrrS has
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CITY UMITS/NOVEMBER 1991/21
III+N'I\l1I
By William A. Price
Gentrification, Mutual
Housing Style
A
30-year fight to save low-rent
homes in the Upper West Side
may be lost thanks to several
non-profit agencies to which
housing activists have looked for sup-
port and the city's Department ofHous-
ing Preservation and Development.
The mechanism of this defeat will
be a proposed Mutual Housing Asso-
ciation (MHA)
being organized
in the name of
the United Ten-
ants Associa-
tion, a group of
tenants who
occupy 181
apartments in
the West Side
Urban Renewal
Area, a 20-
square-block
area running
from West 87th
Street to West
97th Street,
from Central
__ a. .....
." .... 11 __
....., ..... ..
.... II .,
CD 'L ....
....
Park West to Amsterdam Avenue.
The MHA, if carried out, will result
in objectives which some of the plan's
proponents might otherwise oppose:'
privatization and gentrification. It
will also transform a low income but
independent group of tenants into a
subsidy-dependent population.
The United Tenants Association's
MHA proposal has been so touted that
not until the very end of a many-
months-long process has the final
shape emerged from documents that
most of the tenants have never seen.
The MHA was allegedly approved by
a "petition" that tenants were per-
suaded to sign that so misrepresents
the facts that an opposition group
among the tenants has charged it is a
fraud.
That opposition group is the Ad
Hoc Committee of UTA Tenants for
Low-Rent Housing and I am one of its
members. We are trying to stop the
MHA. Back in 1977, I was one of the
City View is a forum for opinion
and does not necessarily reflect
the views of City Limits.
22/NOVEMBER 1991/CITY UMITS
founders of the United Tenants Asso-
ciation and for several years was an
active vice president of the group.
That's when we were actively consid-
ering options that would keep our
city-owned buildings affordable to low
income tenants. UTA had originally
won substantial victories in demand-
ing-and winning-the sponsorship
of 15 buildings in the renewal area
against the claims of well-established
developers. We organized, fought hard
and won the respect of the community.
Raucous Meeting
Butin 1989 the UTA Steering Com-
mittee, of which I was a member,
voted in one raucous meeting to elimi-
nate the possibility of a 99-year-lease
as an ownership option. This left only
the privatization option open. The
vote occurred when we were getting
signals from downtown that there was,
in fact, no option for us except
privatization in one form or another .
We were getting advice to "Do the
doable." If we had started out with
such advice, we never would have
even existed. With only privatization
left, I resigned in protest from the
Steering Committee.
The "petition" that tenants were
pressed to sign stated that the tenants
will be paying $45 per room, while
the rents after a two-year period will
in fact be double that amount- about
$90 per room-a fact hidden in the
fine print. The Ad Hoc Committee's
calculation is that after 10 years-
under rent stabilization-a three bed-
room apartment could go up to
$1,012.76 per month. These rents
would be affordable to some of the
West Side in-migrants but would be
out of the range oflow income tenants
who have called this area home for
many years.
The only way this scheme can
work-for low income tenants at
least-is to promise tenants federally-
funded Section 8 subsidies. In 1980,
Congress's General Accounting Office
criticized the Section 8 program as
"enormously costly" when compared
with publicly-owned housing. But, of
course, that's federal money, so who's
looking?
The UTA-MHA package was put
together with the help of several non-
profit agencies. They include
Stryckers Bay Neighborhood Council,
which was originally funded as a
project area committee to watch over,
but not challenge, the urban renewal
program that moved 9,500 ~ o w income
families out of the area; the Commu-
nity Development Legal Assistance
Center, whose adviser helped set up
the UTA by-laws, which some of us
have claimed effectively eliminate
rank and file involvement; and Pratt
Institute Center for Community and
Environmental Development. These
agencies, or individuals attached to
them, all received sizable fees from
money raised by UTA for the preser-
vation of low income housing. I
know-I helped raise the money.
In a Newsday article in 1988,
housing activist Harriet Cohen wrote,
"only if the city takes the initiative to
forge a second public housing system
out of these cast-off properties can it
prevent speculation and profiteering
and permanently preserve them as
affordable housing." At the Commu-
nity Service Society (CSS), where
Cohen used to work, a Committee to
Preserve Affordable Low-Income
Housing was created. That group
Rents could go
way up.
sought a program of permanent
affordability and concluded that some
form of public ownership was key to
the success of any long-range strategy
to house low income people.
Aside from CSS, the committee
included Metropolitan Council on
Housing, the Urban Homesteading
Assistance Board, the Urban Coalition
and the Union of City Tenants. Some
suggested approaches included a
Community Land Trust, a 99-year-
lease, a second public housing
authority or continuing city owner-
ship. Neither UTA, nor Stryckers
Bay, nor Pratt showed interest in such
solutions.
The United Tenants Association
MHA provides a lesson in how not to
provide affordable housing for low
income families. It should not proceed
and it should not be repeated. 0
By Eric Weinstock
Friendly Advice
for Neo-Conservatives
"What You Can Do To Help The Home-
less," by Thomas L. Kenyon with
Justine Blau, The National Alliance
to End Hom elessn ess, A Fireside Book
published by Simon and Schuster,
1991, 125 pages, $7.95 paperback.
y
ou can't judge a book by its
cover," is a shopworn truism.
Yet so many books can be
disposed of in exactly that
manner. After all, a so-called romance
novel will never entice me into buying
it, no matter what literary talents the
author may possess. The cover of
"What You Can Do To Help The
Homeless" nearly turned me away as
well. It reminded me of the simplistic
advice of "50 Ways to Save the Planet"
and its host of imitators. These books
on the environment and other
important national topics are usually
overly simplistic and directed solely
at readers with no previous back-
ground on an issue. However, after
reading, "What You Can Do To Help
The Homeless," I found myself saying,
"Now that wasn't so bad, was it?"
Obviously, most of the readers of
City Limits are already familiar with
the causes of homeless ness and a wide
variety of homeless assistance
programs. However, it is almost
guaranteed that any community
advocate who reads, "What You Can
Do To Help the Homeless," will come
across something they hadn't heard of
or thought of previously. If nothing
else, reading about all the successful
programs in place nationwide will
counteract the nausea caused by re-
cent claims in the media that the gen-
eral public is no longer concerned
about homeless people.
The National Alliance to End
Homelessness is a mainstream orga-
nization headquartered in Washing-
ton. Founded in 1983, it has 1,250
members consisting of individuals,
service providers and 99 corporations
(a roster of heavy hitters, including
IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Citicorp and
American Express.)
The chairman of the National
Alliance's board of directors is Susan
G. Baker, Secretary of State James A.
Baker Ill's wife. Last year the alliance
gave awards to Leonard Stern and
First Lady Barbara Bush (among oth-
ers). Despite its Republican roots, the
organization is still considered re-
spectable by organizations such as the
National Low Income Housing
Coalition. The Alliance's main focus
is information gathering and dissemi-
nation-it does not participate in
lobbying efforts but instead hold con-
ferences and roundtables of organiza-
tions that work with the homeless or
to prevent homelessness.
I spoke to the author about the
genesis of the book. He replied that it
was an effort to respond to the 25-30
inquiries a week received by the
organization from concerned
This book
counteracts the
nausea caused by
recent claims
that the public is
no longer
concerned about
homelessness.
indi viduals. He said most of the letters
and calls were from people who did
not have the financial means or free
time (or so they thought) to help the
homeless or who just wanted to learn
more about the causes and cures of
homelessness. Nevertheless, many of
them contacted the National Alliance
hoping in some way to contribute
something. Many of them were afraid
that the homeless population con-
sisted solely of drug addicts and alco-
holics and they were reluctant to offer
assistance even though their hearts
told them that something must be
done.
"What You Can Do To Help The
Homeless," dispels the harmful myths
that prevent some people from be-
coming involved. "The only things all
homeless people have in common are
that they do not have a place to live,
and they are poor." Rightly the book
blames the lack of affordable housing,
federal cutbacks, deinstitutionali-
zation and increasing income
inequality as the root causes of home-
lessness. The book does an excellent
job chronicling the efforts of nonprofit
groups across the country who work
to provide for the many needs of the
homeless.
Obviously, homeless people need
shelter. An individual seeking to as-
sist the homeless, who is unable to
provide housing, may think that they
can't help at all. "What You CanDo To
Help The Homeless" provides numer-
ous innovative suggestions and even
the busiest volunteer will find at least
one which will meet their time limita-
tions. The book also points out that
while some homeless people just need
a place to live, others need jobs, coun-
seling, education and help adjusting
to having their own home again in
addition to having new material needs
(furniture, kitchen appliances, etc.) to
make their house a home.
The book does not mention several
major organizations like the Union of
the Homeless, in which homeless
people are organizing themselves
through political activism. Helping
the homeless heIr themselves is men-
tioned in severa places in the book,
but as one would expect, given the
National Alliance's roots, the major
focus is on providing services to rather
than empowering the homeless.
Despite these serious limitations,
this short book does a good job of
humanizing the homeless population
for a mainstream audience. By stress-
ing homeless children, the lack of
affordable housing and the needs of
the homeless beyond mere shelter,
"What You Can Do To Help the Home-
less," will increase the empathy and
concern of even the most hard-hearted.
I suggest you stick a copy in the Christ-
mas stocking of your favorite conser-
vative or neo-conservative. D
Eric Weinstock is the director of the
housing research project for the
Community Training and Resource
Center and an adjunct instructor in
economics at Broooklyn College.
CRY UMITS/NOVEMBER 1991/23
Distortion?
To the Editor:
Your Ten-Year Housing Plan Up-
date article (October 1991) accurately
described some of the policy shifts
made by the Dinkins administration
to the city's housing program. Unfor-
tunately, however, the article pre-
sented a distorted view of the
program's allocation of resources by
income group.
First, the article contained a chart
which showed more than twice as
many middle income units to be
produced under the program than
homeless units. However, given the
much smaller per unit subsidies nec-
essary to produce new middle income
units, the more relevant comparison
is the allocation of dollars to new
housing production. The truth is that
the program allocates $26 million
more to produce new homeless hous-
ing than to produce middle income
units. And when low income units
are included, it is clear that producing
new housing for the city's neediest is
one of the administration's top
priorites: in tqtal, the program allo-
cates more than $1.1 billion to create
new housing for the homeless and
other low income New Yorkers.
Second, the article accurately
showed that roughly half of the $4.8
billion program total is allocated to
preservation programs, indicating that
rehabilitating and preserving the city's
low and moderate income housing
stock is another top priority of this
administration. However, the article
then neglected to provide the break-
down of the $4.8 billion total by
income group, instead showing only
that roughly half of the production
dollars are allocated to the homeless
and other low income category. In
fact, more than 88 percent of the total
funds are allocated to low and moder-
ate income New Yorkers.
Finally, it is also essential to
understand that the 10-year capital
plan does not include the additional
expense budget funds which are also
devoted to the homeless. Last fiscal
year alone, the city augmented the
$67 million in capital funds allocated
to the homeless with another $45
million in expense funds to repair
vacant apartments in occupied city-
THE NEW YORK WOMEN'S FOUNDATION
is accepting proposals from projects and organizations which
Are grassroots and are led by women
Direct their efforts to addressing the root
causes of poverty and achieving social change
for low income women and girls through direct
services, advocacy or both
Address the housing, employment, safety,
education, child care or health needs of
income women and girls
Deadline for this funding cycle: January 21, 1992,5:00 p.m.
For application and further information contact
THE NEW YORK WOMEN'S FOUNDATION
34 East 70th Street
New York, New York 10021
(212)
24/NOVEMBER 1991/CITY UMITS
owned buildings for the homeless.
The truth is that, with these expense
funds included, the city spent more
than four times as much to provide
new permanent housing units for the
homeless last year as for middle in-
come households.
Felice Michetti
Commissioner
Department of Housing Preservation
and Development
City Limits responds: First of all,
we want to take this opportunity to
say it's great that HPD is being more
open with their planning documents
and budget information so that
informed policy debates can take
place.
It's true that the money for preser-
vation programs is targeted to home-
less, low and moderate income New
Yorkers. But preservation programs
do not expand the city's housing stock.
Instead, these programs maintain
people's homes in a livable state-
something every private landlord, and
the city as landlord, is required to do
by law.
We do not deny that when you look
at the city's overall housing budget,
the majority of funds are directed
towards homeless, low and moderate
income New Yorkers. But HPD's own
statistics show that a whopping half a
billion dollars are being directed to
middle-income housing within the 10-
year capital plan. New York City is in
the midst of a serious housing emer-
gency, with a homeless population
reaching 100,000 and hundreds of
thousands more living doubled-up
with friends and relatives. Especially
in a soft real estate market, do people
earning up to $53,000 a year deserve
precious government subsidies for
housing?
TAKEOVER
A documentary about the
homeless helping themselves
is available on video from
Skylight Pictures. The cost is
$20 for individuals, $50 for
institutions.
Call (212)
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Manuals, guides, handbooks, pamphlets and fact sheets
available from City Limits' information clearinghouse.
TENANT AND HOUSING RIGHTS
"Tenant Rights Fact Sheets." Cover a wide range of topics. Some available in
Spanish. Community Training and Resource Center. Free. Send self-ad-
dressed envelope with stamp.
"A Tenant's Guide to Subletting and Apartment Sharing." New York State
Tenant and Neighborhood Coalition. 24 pp. $9
"Housing Fact Sheets." Cover a wide range of topics. Some available in
Spanish. Metropolitan Council on Housing. Free. Send self-addressed enve-
lope with stamp.
"A Tenant's Guide to Housing Court." Includes information on holdovers,
eviction notices, nonpayment cases, etc. Separate borough editions, specify
which one required. Association of the Barof the City ofNew York. 31 pp. Free.
"When the City Forecloses: Community and Owner Options." A guide to the
tax foreclosure process. Association for Neighborhood and Housing Develop-
ment. 33 pp. $6
"A Guide to Redemptions and Releases." Guide to how owners repay back
taxes. Association for Neighborhood Housing and Development. 24 pp. $6
"Rehab and Rehab-Related Rent increases: The ABC's of MCl's."
Guide to understanding and challenging Major Capital Improvement rent
increases. Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development. $6
"Subsidized Moderate Rehabilitation Programs: Improving Housing for Ten-
ants." Detailed guide to city housing subsidy programs. Association of Neigh-
borhood Housing and Development. 75 pp. $25
"Tenant Fact Book." Overview of New York's Omnibus Housing Law.
Open HOUSing Center. 27 pp. $6.25
"Government-Assisted Co-Ops and Rentals." Outlines eligibility rules and
application procedures. Open Housing Center. 61 pp. $3.75
"Sexual Harassment in Housing." Defines sexual harassment in housing and
outlines what women should do if they are sexually harassed. City limits. Free.
Send self-addressed envelope with stamp.
"Becoming a Cooperative." Outlines the steps involved in buying a city-
owned, tenant managed building. Available in Spanish and English. Urban
Homesteading Assistance Board. 106 pp. $7.75
"A Guide to Cooperative Ownership." How to meet the tasks and responsibili-
ties of owning a co-op. Available in Spanish and Enblish. Urban Homestead-
ing Assistance Board. 126 pp. $14
"Where You Stand." A shareholder's guide to cooperative ownership. Avail-
able in Spanish and English. Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. 24 pp. $2
"People Power." Comic book about how to do community and tenant organ-
izing. South Bronx People for Change. $2.50
ENVIRONMENT
"Making the Difference: Using the Right-to-Know in the Fight Against
Toxics." Shows how to use laws to acquire environmental data. National
Center for Policy Alternatives. $12.
POLICE HARASSMENT
"What You Can Do: If You Are the Victim of Police Abuse." Pamphlet on
citizen rights during stop, search or arrest. Citywide Committee Against Police
and Racial Violence. Free. Send self-addressed e ~ v e l o p e with stamp.
ENTITLEMENTS
"Advocacy, Counseling and Entitlement Services (ACES) Manual." Guide to
26 government benefit programs. Community Service Society. 300 pp. $40
LEGAL RIGHTS
"Understanding the Law." A citizen's guide to the legal system. New York State
Bar Association. 210 pp. $9.95
"The Coutt of New York." Guide to coutt procedures, with a glossary of legal
terms. New York State Bar Association. 51 pp. $3
"Managing Your Lawyer." A guide for tenant associations and cooperatives. 28
pp. Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. $2.
GOVERNMENT
"New York City's Development Review Process: A Guide to Participation." 24
pp. Municipal Art Society. $1.50
"Coping With City Hall." Pamphlet. Citizens Union Foundation. Free. Send
self-addressed envelope with stamp.
,-----------------,
ORDER FORM
To order, please include check{s} or money order{s} payable
to the publisher of the guide{s} or handbook{s} you are
requesting. Send this form to City Limits, 40 Prince Street,
NY, NY 10012. Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.
Please send:
HOMELESS RIGHTS Ordered by:
"Reference Manual for Food, Shelter and Resources for the Homeless." Name
Includes explanations of public assistance programs and shelter rights. Coali- ------------------
tion for the Homeless. 163 pp. $11.50. Address ________________ _
PREGNANCY RIGHTS City, state, zip ____________ _
"Pregnancy Rights." Pamphlet covers health care and patient rights. Medgar Telephone _______________ _
Evers Center for Law and Social Justice. Free. Send self-addressed envelope
~ b ~ L _________________ ~
The Clearinghouse Program is sponsored by The Public Interest Law Foundation
CITY UMITS/NOVEMBER 1991/25
PROFESSIONAL DIRECTORY
Barry K. Mallin
Attorney At Law
A decade of service representing
community development organizations
and low income cooperatives.
72 Spring Street, Suite 1201
New York, N.Y. 10013
Telephone 212/334-9393
DEBRA BECHTEL - Attorney
Concentrating in Real Estate & Non-Profit Law
Title and loan closings 0 All city housing programs
Mutual housing associations 0 Coopertive conversions
Advice to low income co-op boards of directors
100 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201, (718) 624-6850
architectural/engineering services for nonprofit developers
o Building Evaluation and Inspection
o Feasibility Studies 0 Construction Supervision
o Preliminary Design/Scope of Work Studies
o Complete Construction Drawings & Specifications
Call John Harris RA. for an evaluation of your project's needs
458 BERGEN STREET, BROOKLYN, NY 11217 (718) 398-1440
BERNARD CARR ASSOCIATES
J-Sl TAX BENEFIT EXPEDITING
Specialists In:
HDFC'S Gut Rehabilitation
Vacant Building Program Developments
CALL TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTAnON
1740 Victor Street, Bronx, NY 10462 Tel. (212)824-5044
WILLIAM JACOBS
CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT
Over 20 years experience. Specializing in nonprofit housing &
community development organizations.
Certified Annual Audits. Compilation & Review Services
Management AdviSOry Services. Tax Consultation & Preparation
Call today for free consultation
77 QUAKER RIDGE ROAD, SUITE 215
NEW ROCHELLE, NY 10804
914-633-5095 FAX-914-633-5097
28/NOVEMBER 1991/CITY UMITS
TURF COMPANIES
Building Management/Consultants
Specializing in management & development
services to low income housing cooperatives,
community organizations and co-op
boards of directors
329 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217
Rebecca Reich
718/857-0468
SMOLLENS and GURALNICK,
COUNSELLORS AT LAW
Specializing in representing tenants only in
landlord/tenant proceedings, cooperative
conversions, loft proceedings. We represent
sellers/buyers in house, condo and co-op closings.
15 Maiden Lane, Suite 1800
New York, NY 10038
2121406-3320
C ommunity D evelopment legal ASistance C enter
o project of the Council 01 New YOi'k law Associates, 0 n a n p r o ~ t organization
Real Estate, Corporate and Tax Legal Representation to Organizations
Tax Syndications Mutual Housing Associations
Homeless Housing Economic Development
HDFCs Not-far-profit corporations
Community Development Credit Unions and Loan Funds
99 Hudson Street, 14th Fir., NYC, 10013 (212) 219-1800
REACH 20,000
NEW YORK DECISION-MAKERS
NONPROFIT MANAGEMENT
COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS D COMMERCIAL DEVELOPERS
AND MUCH MORE
To place a low-cost Professional Directory listing
please call 212/925-9820.
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ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT. Housing legal services agency seeks
junior college graduate or equivalent with housing or legal assis-
tance experience; self-starter, super secretarial/word processing
skills. Bilingual Spanish/English preferred. $23K plus benefits.
Resume to Barbara Lowry, Northern Manhattan Improvement
Corporation, 549-559 West 180th Street, NYC 10033.
MSW/COORDINATOR. CBO seeks MSW to coordinate homeless
family housing program. Responsible for supervision/provision of
support, case management services; liaison with landlords, hous-
ing agencies. Bilingual Spanish/English, experience with low
income housing/homeless families. Resume to Barbara Lowry,
Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, 549-559 West
180th Street, NYC 10033.
PROJECT COORDINATOR. Simeon Housing Company is seeking to
develop affordable housing and organize parishioners and neigh-
borhood residents. Responsibilities include supervising Enter-
prise/HPD funds for 3 vacant buildings, overseeing construction,
rent up and management, fund raising, loan packaging. Commu-
nity organizing and community-based development experience
preferred. Salary low to mid-20s. Resume to: Father Davies-Jones,
1020 Carroll Place, Bronx, NY 10456.
STAfF ATTORNEYS. Three staff attorneys to aggressively represent
individual tenants and tenant associations out of Williamsburg
office. Great commitment to the work essential ; experience,
SpanishIYiddish/Polish language skills, and bar admission helpful.
Send resume to Martin S. Needelman, Brooklyn Legal Services
Corporation A, 260 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211
VOLUNTEER. City Limits is looking for a committed volunteer to do
office work and help promote the magazine. Write to: Lisa Glazer,
40 Prince Street, NYC 10012.
DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR. Sought by Habitat for Humanity, an ecu-
menical Christian housing development group. Experience needed
in nonprofit fundraising including direct mail , major donors, corpo-
ration/foundation proposals, special events, church relations and
budgeting. Send resume with cover letter and salary requirements
to: Personnel Committee, Habitatfor Humanity, 742 E. 6th St. , NYC
10009.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. For large state environmental organization.
Political , organizing, fundraising and administrative experience
required. Exciting and challenging position supervising profes-
sional staff, building coalitions and winning on environmental
issues. Salary $30's plus. benefits. Send resume by Nov. 15th to
Search Committee, NJEF, 46 Bayard St., New Brunswick, NJ
08901.
Statement of OwnerShip, Management and Circulation
Required 39 U.S.C. 3685
Title of Publ ication: City limits. Publication No. 498890. Date of Filing: 9/27/
91 . Frequency of issue: Monthly, except bimonthly in June/July, August!
September. No. of issues published annually: 10. Annual subscription price:
$20 individual , $35 institution. Complete mailing address of known office of
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limits Community Information Service, Inc. 40 Prince Street, NY NY 10012.
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BankersliustCompany
Community Development Group
A resource for the non.,profit
development community
Gary Hattem, Vice President
280 Park Avenue, 19 West New York, New York 10017
Tel: 212A54,3487 FAX 454,2380
CITY UMITS/NOVEMBER 1991/27
Bridge loans for NPP and NRDP funded community
organizations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Nassau
now available at
The East New York Savings Banl{
We at The East NewYork Savings Bank believe that the work of community groups
participating in the State of NewYork Division of Housing and Community Renewal's
Neighborhood Preservation and Neighborhood Redevelopment Demonstration Programs
is too important to be jeopardized by cash-flow difficulties arising from delays in receipt
of already contracted for state monies.
That's why, with the cooperation of DHCR, we developed bridge loan programs
which provide short terms loans to NPP and NRDP groups located within our servic
area (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Nassau) for administrative and operation
costs during the critical period between the submission of draw-down requests to HCR
and the actual receipt of these monies from NewYork State.
We strongly support the efforts of neighborhood organizations striving to m
communities better places to live and do business. Ifyour organization needs br
financing please write to us at:
~ ~ 7 Y J V 7 : X ~
~I The East NewYork Savings Bank
s, "?)-Y"lC ~
-E------------ Bridge Loan Program
. ~ > - ? d . . . s 9 0 0 J\J)S' - 41 West 42nd Street
~ ~ "O?v~ 1 Ynj- ' NewYork, N.Y. 10036
~--------~-----7
~:~ '1 0 0 Or telephone David Burstein at (212) 382-4880.
" ';vv'~ s v!9A \ ~ ~~JV1. __ _,{)
('.IJ J'-- -?J..... _J_ J . ; v0 -fw 6)tl?~
S t ~QO I The East NewYork Savings Bank:
?)1-- Putting our money where our neighborhoo
J )? ~
THE EAST NEW YORK SAVINGS BANK MEMBER FDIC