December 1994 NewYork's UrbanAffairs NewsMagazine

. Return to MetroTech • Have Nonprofits Sold Out?
I
C i ~ V Limirs
Volume XIX Number 10
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Editor: Andrew White
Senior Editor: Jill Kirschenbaum
Associate Editor: Kim Nauer
Contributing Editors: Peter Marcuse,
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Pratt Institute Center for Community
and Environmental Development
Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
Board of Directors':
Eddie Bautista, New York Lawyers for
the Public Interest
Beverly Cheuvront, City Harvest
Errol Louis, Central Brooklyn Partnership
Mary Martinez, Montefiore Hospital
Rebecca Reich, Low Income Housing Fund
Andrew Reicher, UHAB
Tom Robbins, Journalist
Jay Small, ANHD
Walter Stafford, New York University
Doug Thretsky, former City Limits Editor
Pete Williams, National Urban League
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2/DECEMBER 1994/CITY LIMITS
Crain's Delirium
A
mong the many Single Room Occupancy hotels on the Upper West
Side are a pair called the Marion and the Clinton Arms. Not entire-
ly pleasant places to live, they are owned by private landlords and
operated as businesses designed to make a profit.
So it came as a surprise to some when the two were referred to as non-
profit social service facilities in a recent article in Crain's New York
Business. Of course, the authors hid their agenda by not actually naming
the hotels; they simply wrote, "Three clients of facilities on the Upper
West Side stabbed a man trying to stop them from robbing a car," using the
incident as one more example of non profits running amok in civilized
neighborhoods. These "clients" were tenants of the two hotels.
The Crain's article was part of a series blasting the nonprofit social
service sector with a shotgun spray of innuendo and red-baiting concoct-
ed by executive editor Steven Malanga and reporter Robin Kamen. Their
disregard for accuracy reflects exactly the sort of dishonesty that drives the
current reactionary attack on nonprofits.
For nearly 20 years, City Limits has exposed corruption in the nonprof-
it sector, particularly in the politically connected social service empires of
people like former City Council Member Ramon Velez and state
Assemblyman Angelo Del Toro. But with a masterful trick of innuendo,
Malanga and Kamen used the example set by these poverty pimps to bol-
ster their own attack on quality organizations with excellent track records
whose only sin has been to provide homes for poor and disabled New
Yorkers.
The irony is that corrupt social service empires lorded by politicians are
invariably based in low income neighborhoods of color where the average
citizen's political influence is limited. Yet Crain's primary targets-
Volunteers of America, the Cooper Square Committee, the Institute for
Community Living, Community Access and West Side Federation for
Senior Housing-operate in neighborhoods with a growing percentage of
well-off residents. Guess where the influence lies.
For a closer look at the misrepresentations of this NIMBY blitz, see
Robert Kolker's article in last month's City Limits. If you haven't got a copy,
call-we'd be happy to send you one.
But more importantly, for those of our readers who are leaders in the
business community or work with top executives, please consider the
implications of all of this. Now is the time to speak out. Write a letter to
Crain's, or encourage your boss to write one. If you have been reading City
Limits, you know the scope of poverty in this town. Malanga and Kamen's
misguided offensive strengthens an increasingly vicious assault on the
least powerful people of our city. You might ask them, and the NIMBY
activists who helped craft their articles, what, exactly, they would prefer.
Reopening inhumane mental institutions? New orphanages? And perhaps
we shouldn't bother to provide housing and services for people with AIDS.
Instead, we should send them to die on the steps of the New York Stock
Exchange.
* * *
A clarification: our November 1994 article on Family Court, "Guilty
Until Proven Innocent," did not properly identify Beth Ornstein. She is a
training specialist at the New York State Child Welfare Training Institute
at the Center for Development of Human Services at Buffalo State College.
Cover design by Lynn Baldinger. Photos by Gregory P. Mango.
FEATURE
Down on the Street 16
An intensive grassroots effort is underway to reclaim one city block
in Central Harlem. Now the city wants to tryout its latest housing
initiative there. Strange bedfellows, or a marriage made in heaven?
by Andrew White
BUDGET REPORT
Blitzkrieg 6
Mayor Giuliani's October Plan will gut city programs already reel-
ing from the last round of budget cuts.
by Steven Wishnia and Andrea Payne
WESTCHESTER REPORT
Mixed Reviews 8
Everyone's talking about Westchester's workfare program. Is it real-
ly as good as they say it is? by Ed Tagliaferri
PIPELINE
History Repeats 12
Residents of Fort Greene want to know what happened to all of those
jobs they were promised, back when MetroTech was just a develop-
er's fantasy. by Laura Washington
In Nehemiah's Way 22
There's a struggle of biblical proportions going on in East New York
between a powerful church group and a tiny tenants' association.
Guess who's winning? by Jill Kirschenbaum
COMMENTARY
Cityview
Managing the Crisis
Review
No Solution at All
DEPARTMENTS
Editorial
Briefs
Branching Out
Loan Fund Milestone
2
5
5
Letters
25
by Harold DeRienzo
27
by Mary EUen Hombs
28
Professional
Directory 29,30
Job Ads 30,31
6
12
16
CITY LlMITSIDECEMBER 1994/3
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encourages all residential building owners and home owners in
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New York City
Department of
Environmental Protection
W. Guliani, Mayor
Marilyn Geller,
For all other water, sewer, air and noise issues call 718-DEP HELP
4/DECEMBER 1994/CITY LIMITS
Environmental ac:tiYists from the Federation to Preserve the Greenwich WIage
Waterfront & Great Port held a demotlStl atiUl'l to protest deweIopment plans for
the Hudson River shoreline by a subsidiary of the state Urban Development
Corporation. The group bumed an oversize check for $80 million, representing
money the city may lose to the federal government if curTent plans go foIwanl.
Loan Fund Milestone
ACCION New York has just
passed the $1 million mark in loans
to Latin<H>wned small businesses in
the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn and
Queens.
A privately funded nonprofit orga-
nization, ACCION New York began
lending to low income micro-entre-
preneurs in July, 1991. The aim was
to make credit available to people
who, with limited collateral or credit
history, were unable to secure loans
j from traditional commercial banks.
~ To date, ACCION has offered some
! 400 loans to help finance bodegas,
street vendors and other small-scale
operations.
Although the loans can be as
diminutive as $1,000 for an individ-
ual borrower, over 60 percent go to
groups of three to five borrowers,
which allows the would-be entrepre-
neurs to take out a Single, more siz-
able loan at cheaper interest rates
and distribute the money among
them. At the same time, the group
acts as an alternative to collateral,
providing peer pressure and support
to ensure that loan payments are reg
ularly met. In three years of lending,
only $13,945 has been written off.
The loans have given small busi-
ness owners the leverage to reach a
greater number of clients, increase
their inventories and diversify their
product base.
Branching Out: I.A.F. takes a new tack
According to Delma Soto, execu-
tive director of ACCION New York,
this kind of incremental growth is
the essence of microenterprise.
A national citizens group that has
fostered community action among
church congregations for decades is
grOWing fast in the New York region,
and has begun to organize among a
wide array of nonreligious neighbor-
hood-based groups as well.
At an October 30th rally on the
World Trade Center plaza in lower
Manhattan, attended by an
estimated 10,000 members
of the Industrial Areas
Foundation (lAF), the main
focus was on holding politi-
cians accountable for
reforming government job
training programs and creat-
ing new Jobs. But leaders
also revealed a new direc-
tion in their activist work,
announcing plans to bring
youth groups, recent immi-
grants and tenant associa-
tions, among others, into
the fold.
·We can see the day
when there will be 50,000
or 75,000 people in an
open space large enough to
Edgecombe Avenue force the
Department of Transportation to
enforce the long-ignored ban on
commercial vehicles in their residen-
tial neighborhood. Prior to HIT's
involvement, the association had
tried for a year to resolve the prob-
lem and had gotten "the royal run
around," Inman says. By holding
hold them, not just 10,000," ................................ .....
says IAF national staffer FCIIIIIddoa ............... TnIde c.IIr.
Mike Gecan. The IAF cur-
rently has seven member organiza-
tions in the New York region, includ-
ing East Brooklyn Congregations,
South Bronx Churches and Harlem
Initiatives Together (HIT).
Howard Inman of HIT has already
started putting the new strategy into
practice. Over the past few months,
his group has helped a block associ-
ation on 150th Street and
house meetings, developing leaders
and encouraging members to
demand a meeting with the city offI-
cial who could really accomplish
some change, HIT also helped the
group get new traffic lights and
speed limit signs installed.
Now they have a more ambitious
goal-ridding nearby Jackie Robinson
Park of drugs and prostitution.
Had the people from 150th
and Edgecombe approached him
for help in years past, Inman says
he would have had to ask
whether they belonged to a
church in the area, or suggested
they join a congregation affiliated
with IAF, such as Covenant
Avenue Baptist. "But some peo-
ple are not interested in
church,· he says, "and
there was a large body of
people we were not
speaking to.·
Members of the
block association have
each paid $25 in dues to
join what is being called
• Metro IAF." The relation-
ship between Metro IAF
and the other IAF affili-
ates in the New York
area is stili being
defined, Gecan says.
IAF leaders based
their decision to move in
o ... ~ this new direction partly
on what they see as
~ widespread frustration
with the t w ~ r t y politi-
cal system, Inman says.
"People need someplace
to go. We're saying this is where
they should put their efforts,
instead of the Democratic or
Republican parties,· he explains.
"We want to be able to hold
senators and congressmen
accountable. Given our method
of turning people out, we'll be a
force to be reckoned with.·
Robin Epstein
"This is a way to help people help
themselves," Soto says. The loans
have created or strengthened
approximately 231 jobs to date.
Furthermore, Soto stresses, over 35
percent of ACCION loans have gone
to women entrepreneurs, helping
them realize an increasingly secure,
if not totally independent, future.
Romalinda Rivera is a case in
point. Currently receiving public
aSSistance, Rivera is studying for a
job in the health services industry.
She is also operating a small retail
clothing business out of her apart-
ment with two other women, and
they just received their third loan
from ACCION-$3,OOO to buy more
merchandise and further expand
their growing business.
"Business is good," says Rivera.
"I plan to leave welfare soon:
At the other end of the spectrum
is Paloma Communications. Last
year, four freelance writers took out
a $6,000 loan to start a company
that produces newsletters and mag-
azines for a variety of agencies and
organizations in the Dominican
community, including the Dominican
Chamber of Commerce. When busi-
ness started to expand rapidly, the
group went back to ACCION for a
second loan, this time for $40,000.
Without the first loan the compa-
ny would never have gotten 'off the
ground, says Nelson Muniz, one of
the owners of Paloma Communica-
tions. Today, the company employs
two staffers, has just hired three
more, and plans are in the works to
expand operations further into mail
order and telecommunications.
Amber Malik
CITY LlMITSIDECEMBER 1994/5
Blitzkrieg
By Steven Wishnia and Andrea Payne
Giuliani's October Plan leaves a trail of devastation
in the agencies that serve the city's poorest residents.
The verdict is in: Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani's plan to cut $1.1 billion from
the city's budget would leave many of
the city's social services with little
more than Tinker Toy support. By the
time City Limits reaches newsstands,
the City Council should have taken a
vote on the proposal, known as the
October Plan. What follows is just a
small sample of the cuts currently on
the table. Some of them may be
excised before December 1, according
to Giuliani budget director Abraham
Lackman. Most will not. We have not
included here some of the cuts that
have received wide attention, includ-
ing an estimated 80 percent
reduction in contracts with the
Department of Youth Services.
2
One important note: With the
election of Governor George
Pataki, observers fear any new
help for the city budget from
Albany is now just a fantasy. If
the October Plan is any indica-
tion, they add, the mayor doesn't
seem to want the aid anyway: his
proposal cuts millions from
services already heavily support-
ed by state and federal matching
funds.
o Day Care:
At a time when Mayor Giuliani
seeks to decrease welfare rolls,
advocates predict his plan to
eliminate 1,982 subsidized day
care slots could force some low
income parents to leave jobs and
school and seek public assistance
instead. And while the city will realize
an immediate savings of $6.2 million,
it will also lose $18 million in match-
ing federal and state funds.
These cuts would close between 20
and 30 day care centers, advocates say.
This will impact heavily on low
income working families, says Nancy
Kolban, executive director of Child
Care Inc. "As more women enter the
workforce, we're talking about cutting
back the services available to them.
[Any] economic development strategy
cannot work without good child care
services," Kolban says, adding that
children will lose a much-needed
jump on their education.
6/DECEMBER 1994/CITY LIMITS
o Emergency Food:
Eliminating the city's Emergency Food
Assistance Program would save $2.1
million this years and $6.5 million in
the next. But approximately 100 of the
city's 600 soup kitchens and food
pantries would close immediately, esti-
mates Liz Krueger, associate director of
the Community Food Resource Center.
The ability to feed the 250,000 to
300,000 people annually who depend
on these meals is further jeopardized
because the federal government is
slashing its own donations of surplus
food by two-thirds next January.
Hungry people may have a more
difficult time finding free meals
because the city's cuts would also lead
to the closing of the Food and Hunger
Hotline referral service and a food
stamp outreach program that brings
millions of dollars in federal aid to the
city's poorest residents.
o Mental Health:
Programs for alcoholics, the mentally
retarded and developmentally dis-
abled would lose all city support
under the October Plan, saving $4.4
million. And providers of all other
mental health services face an overall
16.4 percent reduction in program
funding. These cuts would save $1.7
million this year and $2.2 million in
fiscal 1996.
As yet, no one knows which pro-
grams would face elimination under
the universal cut, but estimates are
that as many as 20,000 people will be
affected when the dust settles, says
Phillip Saperia, executive director of
the Coalition of Voluntary Mental
Health Agencies. This is because every
dollar cut by the city is likely to lead to
cuts in matching funds from the state
and charities. "By cutting $2.2 million
in city support, the mayor may be
eliminating as much as $14 million in
state aid, Medicaid and private fees, as
well as $85 million in state reinvest-
ment dollars specifically aimed at
New York City," he explains.
At the Staten Island Mental
Health Society, 500 of its 2,000
treatment slots for severely trau-
matized children-many of them
homicidal, suicidal or victims of
abuse-would be eliminated,
says executive director Kenneth
Popler. "These cuts are unbeliev-
able," he adds.
o Housing:
Along with substantial reductions
in staffing at the Department of
Housing Preservation and Devel-
opment, the October Plan would
eliminate city-funded legal ser-
vices (amounting to $1 million
this year, $1.3 million next year)
for poor tenants who do not
receive federally-funded public
assistance. It would also deeply
wound the Community Consultant
Program, eliminating $2.5 million in
contracts with neighborhood groups
that organize and assist tenants. More
than 80 percent of this program would
be cut by next year.
Tenants in private buildings would
be hit hardest, says Anne Pasmanick of
the Community Resource and Training
Center. "The bottom line is there's not
going to be a lot of help," she says. The
city would also cut the maximum
amount of back rent it will cover for
welfare tenants from 12 months to
four, an annual savings of $4.5 million.
Scott Sommer of Legal Services calls
this cut "a classic example of being
penny-wise and pound-foolish. To not
pay $3,000 in rent arrears and
then pay $3,000 a month for a
shelter? I can't explain it."
o Homelessness:
"There'll be more families sleep-
ing on the floor of the Bronx
Emergency Assistance Unit," says
Steve Banks, coordinator of the
Legal Aid Society's Homeless
Family Rights Project. The $6.5
million in cuts will reduce
payments to nonprofit shelter
operators, delay the opening of
some single room occupancy facil-
ities for single men and women
and eliminate the long-planned
expansion of an intensive case
management program, that helps
families relocating to permanent
housing deal with problems such
as tracking down missing public
assistance checks or requesting repairs
and other services. Banks says the cuts
in the latter program could send more
families back to the shelters. "The most
nonsensical cuts are the ones in pro-
grams that prevent people from being
homeless," he says.
o Family Preservation:
Mayor Giuliani's plan would eliminate
treatment programs providing services
to drug-addicted women and their
children. The city expects to save $1.6
million in this fiscal year and $2.5 mil-
lion in the next. However, these bud-
get reduction measures could easily
end up costing the city more money in
increased foster care and boarder baby
costs, as well as several million dollars
in state and federal funding
A chief goal of family rehabilitation
is to keep children out of foster care by
providing mothers with services such
as drug treatment, day care and job
training. The programs now serve 700
families with 2,000 children. A "char-
itable estimate" is that 10 percent of
these children would be placed in fos-
ter care immediately as a result of the
cuts, says Mike Arsham, director for
social service policy for the Council of
Family and Child Caring Agencies. In
addition. newborns now discharged to
parents taking part in the program
would instead remain in costly hospi-
tal care, says Carmen Gaines, program
director of Community Services for
Children and Families at St. Luke's
Roosevelt Hospital.
o Corrections:
The October Plan would eliminate all
city-funded drug treatment in the jails,
including beds for 900 prisoners, as
well as all other inmate therapy and
counseling. Supervision in jail recre-
ational areas would be cut by one-
quarter, and the city's work release
program would be eliminated.
"For a law-and-order mayor,
[Giuliani is] taking steps that will
probably contribute to increasing
crime in the streets," charges Robert
Gangi of the Correctional Association
of New York. According to Gangi, the
number of guards will be reduced by
almost one-sixth by next June-just
about the same time the inmate popu-
lation, swelled by "quality of life"
arrests, is projected to pass 20,000.
The city would also cut $1.5 million
from alternatives-to-incarceration pro-
grams, according to Elizabeth Gaines
of the Osborne Society, which admin-
isters two such programs.
o Hospitals:
The city would cut $107 million from
its $356 million annual contribution to
the public hospital system. The effect
would be primarily in staffing; offi-
cials are looking for 2,500 to 3,000 of
the system's 40,000 workers to take
buyouts. Harlem Hospital, which has
lost patients to both expanded out-
patient clinics and increasingly
Medicaid-friendly private hospitals,
will lose one-sixth of its beds and
more than 200 workers, says Marshall
England, head of the hospital's com-
munity advisory board. The jobs lost
would be primarily in what John
Ronches of the Committee of Interns
and Residents calls "invisible, but
important" jobs, such as technicians
and transporters, though nurses would
also be among them.
This is adding insult to injury,
administrators say. The city's
contribution already fails to
cover the expense of mandated
services such as medical care for
police, firefighters and prisoners.
o Sanitation:
The big hits here are in the recy-
cling program, says Larry Shapiro
of the New York Public Interest
Research Group. The city plans to
cut $8 million this year and $13
million next year by reducing
public education and outreach
programs, cutting enforcement
officers by one-third, and termi-
nating an intensive recycling
pilot program in Park Slope,
Brooklyn. Recycling collections
in the Bronx, Upper Manhattan
and parts of Brooklyn would also be
cut from weekly to biweekly.
Shapiro argues that while educating
people about recycling doesn't direct-
ly pick up garbage, these cuts will
"ultimately condemn the program to
failure."
o Transit:
The October Plan cuts $230 million in
city aid to the Transit Authority
between now and July 1996; previous
cuts included $52 million in operating
aid and $750 million in capital funds.
No specific services have been slated
for the guillotine, says Gene Russianoff
of the Straphangers Campaign, but
"when you cut $230 million from their
budget in a year and a half, there are
going to be some serious repercus-
sions." The casualties could include
the $1.25 fare, the proposed monthly-
pass and double-fare-zone discounts,
and maintenance and repair work. 0
Steven Wishnia is a frequent
contributor to City Limits. Andrea
Payne is a freelance writer based
in Brooklyn.
Advertise in
Ci ty Limits!
Call Faith Wiggins
at (917) 253-3887
CITY LlMITSIDECEMBER 1994/7
Mixed Reviews
Workfare rhetoric targets cheats, but much of the savings
comes from shifting costs to Washington.
H
eriberto Rios sweeps the
floors inside the Cottage
Gardens public housing com-
plex in Yonkers and says he
is satisfied, for now.
It's been two years since he held a
full-time job and this assignment, as
part of Westchester County's workfare
program, is keeping him busy. "I'd
rather be working than in the house,"
says the 33-year-old Yonkers resident.
During the last nine months, Rios
has worked 20 hours a week for the
county, mopping floors, raking leaves
and performing general maintenance
work around this municipal housing
project. In return, he has gotten his
$400 monthly Home Relief check.
That's about $4.60 an hour.
Rios' situation is typical of many
other people in Westchester's five-year-
old workfare program, called Pride in
Work. The program has been touted by
many reform-minded Republicans as
an example of how government can
save money and promote the impor-
tance of work among adult recipients
of state- and county-funded Horne
Relief, the welfare program that sup-
ports primarily single men and
women, as well as childless couples.
The program has caught the eye of
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who
announced recently that he intends to
use Westchester's workfare program as
a model for New York City'S. He hopes
to save $80 million a year in welfare
payments by exposing fraud and keep-
ing people who could otherwise find
And critics also note that Rios' situa-
tion mirrors exactly what's wrong with
the program. He's getting no job train-
ing, only manual labor assignments.
And the county is using cheap labor
instead of hiring full-time workers,
undercutting the unionized municipal
workforce. Moreover, if Rios has a
problem with the job, they add, or if he
really can't work because of a physical
or psychological problem, he could
lose his benefits and end up homeless.
Reelection Campaign
Pride in Work was unveiled in early
1989 and became a cornerstone of
Republican County Executive Andrew
O'Rourke's reelection campaign that
year and again in 1993. He won both
times.
Men and women on Home Relief are
given jobs ranging from sweeping
offices to clerical work, from flushing
hydrants to painting fences. They work
for the county, other municipalities and
even some nonprofit organizations. If
they don't show up for their assign-
ment, they are eventually dropped from
the rolls.
With these rigid requirements in
place, welfare cheats can be easily
weeded out, says Westchester Com-
missioner of Social Services Mary
Glass. People working off the books
are no longer able to keep their under-
the-table jobs and still collect Home
Relief, she explains.
To crack down on cheats, the coun-
ty developed a computer program for
By Ed Tagliaferri
covered instead by Supplemental
Security Income (SSI), a form of Social
Security that is funded by the state and
federal governments. Home Relief, on
the other hand, is funded by the state
and county governments with no con-
tribution from the federal government.
As a result of the shift, officials say,
Westchester has avoided $15.6 million
in welfare costs. They make no apolo-
gies for the move. In fact, O'Rourke has
often criticized the state for passing
unfunded mandates down to local
governments and has publicly reveled
in the opportunity to pass this cost
back up the line.
Weeded Out
To demonstrate Pride in Work's suc-
cess, officials note that in 1989, the
county spent $44.6 million on Home
Relief. This year, the county budgeted
$38.3 million. Meanwhile, between
1990 and this year, the number of coun-
ty residents on general assistance grew
by less than one percent, to 7,638 peo-
ple. During the same period, with the
metropolitan area's economy in free-fall
much of that time, New York City's
Home Relief numbers jumped nearly 60
percent, to more than 243,000, accord-
ing to the state Department of Social
Services.
Glass also says that 15,000 people
have left or been bumped off the Horne
Relief rolls since 1989, either because
they found jobs, were eligible for
another form of assistance or were
weeded out as cheats.
In an era when welfare reform has become a political mantra, Pride in Work has kept the Home
Relief rolls stable, cut its cost to the county and reaped millions of dollars worth of free labor.
employment off the Horne Reliefrolls.
Indeed, workfare has been a politi-
cian's dream in Westchester. In an era
when welfare reform has become a
political mantra, Pride in Work has
kept the Horne Relief rolls stable, cut
its cost to the county and reaped mil-
lions of dollars worth of free labor.
But observers point out that a large
portion of the county's savings has
been achieved by simply shifting costs
to the state and federal governments,
ultimately saving taxpayers nothing.
S/DECEMBER 1994/CITV LIMITS
checking the background of anyone
applying for assistance. Employment
and tax records are reviewed, as are
welfare case histories. The clients are
screened by social workers to deter-
mine whether or not they have any
drug or alcohol problems or physical
disabilities that might prevent them
from working.
This is where the biggest single sav-
ings has been achieved: over the past
five years, the county has found that
3,000 people on Home Relief could be
However, while about 9,000 of those
people stayed off the rolls, the rest
came back and reapplied at some point.
Among them are nearly 2,000 people
who challenged their loss of benefits,
arguing that they were wrongly
removed from the rolls. Only 200 have
won their appeals following a hearing.
Advocates for welfare charge the
hearing process is unfair, and the high
number of failed appeals is proof.
While the county advises people that
they can have legal representation at
their hearings, none is provided.
Jerry Levy of Westchester-Putnam
Legal Services says that during the
past year, his office has represented
fewer than a dozen people at appeals
hearings. And the people who make it
to the appeals process in the first place
are only the most visible part of the
problem, he notes. He believes that
many men and women with legitimate
disabilities are being knocked off the
Home Relief rolls without even
attempting to defend themselves.
"This is such a beaten population," he
says. "They don't challenge things. "
Paula Roberts, a lawyer with the
Center for Law and Social Research in
Washington, D.C., agrees. "Part of the
problem is that if you are really dis-
abled, you're probably not a prime
candidate for advocating [for your-
self], " she explains.
Levy contends that a good lawyer
could overturn the county's actions in
80 percent of the cases mainly by chal-
lenging the medical evaluation of the
client. But free legal representation for
the poor in the hearing process would
run counter to the demands of welfare
reform. He suggests, as do many other
critics, that the actual intent of work-
fare programs is to disqualify people
from receiving their benefits, thus keep-
ing costs down.
Stepping Stones
Workfare has received mixed reviews
locally and nationwide, according to
Roberts and other researchers. She says
that some workfare programs work well:
"They can be stepping stones for getting
a real job. " But at the same time, she
adds, "What you are really doing is dis-
placing workers. What you're doing is
taking jobs away from other workers
and getting the work done at lower
wages with no benefits. "
The union representing West-
chester County municipal employees
shares these concerns. "You wonder .. . is
it easier to lay off our workers when
they know they've got these low-paid
welfare people?" asks Anita Manley,
spokeswoman for the Civil Service
Employees Association, which repre-
sents 6,500 county workers.
Rafael Salas, a laid-off landscaper
who also rakes leaves and sweeps up at
Cottage Gardens, is the perfect exam-
ple. Salas says he doesn't mind the
work. But when he performed the same
job professionally, he earned about
twice what he's currently getting paid
through workfare. About all he can
hope for now is a full-time job at
Cottage Gardens should one open up,
he says.
Most participants in Pride in Work
receive little or no training-only 860
Home Relief recipients attended train-
ing classes last year. Commissioner
Glass says that those who are identi-
fied as willing and able to learn new
skills are offered job training in com-
puters, office work and the health care
fields. All of the training programs are
funded by the state or federal govern-
ment. "I think we're training all the
people who are trainable," she says.
Meaningful
One study of workfare programs
across the country indicates that most
participants feel the tasks they have
been given are "meaningful."
"It may not have taught welfare
recipients new skills, but neither was
it make-work," reported the September
1993 study, published by the
Manhattan-based Manpower Demon-
stration Research Corporation. The
report also noted that most of the peo-
ple surveyed would have preferred a
real job, and said there was "little
evidence" that the work experience
provided by workfare programs led to
consistent employment or had any
effect on future earnings.
Still, there's no denying that some
participants find some benefit to the
program. At Cottage Gardens, the six
workfare staffers all say they are
pleased to have something useful to
do. Walter Nichols, unemployed for
two years from the building trade, says
he enjoys using his maintenance skills
around the development, though he
and the others would rather have real
jobs. "There are no jobs anywhere, "
agrees Rios, with a shake of his head.
"I wish I could get a job here." D
Ed Tagliaferri is a staff reporter for
the Gannett Westchester newspapers.
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CITY LlMITSIDECEMBER 1994/11
History Repeats
Did MetroTech create jobs for Fort Greene's unemployed?
Hardly. Now it's Atlantic Terminal's turn.
W
hen executives of the
Forest City Ratner devel-
opment group applied for
federal subsidies to build
an office and academic complex in
Downtown Brooklyn eight years ago,
they estimated the project would cre-
ate 1,071 new jobs for area residents. In
a fact sheet accompanying the
the park are nice. But that doesn't feed
and clothe people."
According to the developer, an affir-
mative action program for construc-
tion companies and laborers has
created a number of short-term jobs for
local residents. But as far as full-time
office work or employ-
By Laura Washington
Seedy Stretch
Downtown Brooklyn has undergone
a dramatic transformation since the
decade began. Sleek office towers and
a brand new university campus have
shot up on the once seedy stretch of
land between the off ramps of the
Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.
Several major financial companies
have moved here from the canyons of
Wall Street and the broad avenues of
midtown Manhattan to a new life in
Brooklyn. Lauded by the Brooklyn
borough president's office for reviving
downtown and establishing the area as
the third largest business center in
New York City, optimistic developers
have even come up with a new
moniker-"Wall Street East." Two
additional office towers have gone up
nearby since MetroTech broke ground
in 1989, and there are two more pro-
application ,
they even dug
up some dra-
matic statistics
underlining the
neighborhood's
desperate need
for an economic
booster shot.
After all, 24 per-
cent of the pop-
ulation had in-
comes below the
federal poverty
line.
Today, Metro-
Tech is bustling
with some 10,000

__________ .. that include more
office space, a
hotel and retail
stores.
office workers. But most if not all of
those employees came east when
companies like Chase Manhattan
Bank, and Bear, Stearns and
Company relocated their headquar-
ters from Manhattan. Meanwhile,
the residents of Fort Greene-the
neighborhood literally across the
street from MetroTech, home to the
4,900 residents of three public
housing projects and the most
impoverished area bordering
Downtown Brooklyn-say they are
still waiting to experience the econom-
ic benefit of the new, $1 billion com-
plex. Asked if MetroTech's arrival has
benefited the community they live in,
the prevailing answer here is a
resounding "No."
"The impression was that MetroTech
would create jobs for local people,"
notes Kathy Peake, an aide to state
Assemblyman Joseph Lentol. "Fort
Greene has not seen the fruits of that."
"Forest City Ratner sponsors free
concerts in Fort Greene Park," adds
Niger Campbell, a resident of the
neighborhood and an organizer with
the Fifth Avenue Committee, a low
income housing group. "Concerts in
12/DECEMBER 1994/CITY LIMITS
ment in the service industries is
concerned, observers say there's little
evidence of an impact. Even the self-
contained design of the complex has
created a sense of division here, with
broad blank walls facing eastward
toward the Ingersoll and Whitman
Houses on the other side of Flatbush
Avenue.
"[MetroTechl has isolated itself
from the community as if in a
fortress," observes Fort Greene resi-
dent Benjamin Irvin. "And conse-
quently, a very wary relationship
exists between MetroTech employees
and the community."
MetroTech.is a
joint effort of the
City of New York,
Polytechnic Uni-
versity and the
Forest City Ratner
Companies , a
Cleveland-based
real estate devel-
opment company
headed by former
commissioner of
consumer affairs
Bruce Ratner. The
project was con-
ceived in the 1970s
by Polytechnic's president, Dr. George
Rugliarello. He envisioned a commer-
cial and academic complex that would
meld the resources of Polytechnic-an
engineering school that lacked a cam-
pus but boasted a high-powered facul-
ty and a reputation for doing extensive
research in the telecommunications
and computer fields-with the needs
of major financial institutions looking
for a competitive edge in the global
marketplace.
To add bait to the hook-this, after
all, was a time when companies were
moving their offices out to the suburbs
"The impression was
in search of lower rents and better tax
breaks-the city offered what ultimate- that MetroT_
ly came to $329 million dollars' worth
....... create L.I- L_ of incentives to the developers and "", ,.,.,. ..,.-
prospective tenants, including a 13-
year exemption from real estate taxes,
a 12-year abatement of the commercial
rent tax and a 12-year corporate tax
credit of $500 for every employee
local people •••
Fort Gree ... has aot
moved to the Brooklyn offices. seen the fruits of thaI."
Today, four years into the project, 80
percent of the ll-building site is com-
plete. The Polytechnic campus is here,
along with the offices of Brooklyn
Union Gas and the Securities Industry
Automation Corporation (SIAC),
which processes financial transactions
for the New York Stock Exchange.
The development did have its casu-
alties. Approximately 200 residents
were bought out and relocated from
the site, as were some 60 businesses
and five governmental agencies when
the area was razed in 1989.
But the project's supporters argued
the losses would be more than offset
by improvements to the area, which is
bordered on the west by Jay Street and
the nearby Brooklyn Borough Hall, on
the east by Flatbush Avenue Extension
and Long Island University, and on the
north by New York City Technical
College. The infusion of thousands of
MetroTech employees into the area
would create a trickle-down effect on
downtown retail businesses, they said,
including the discount bazaar along
nearby Fulton Street. And it would
spur an increased demand for more
goods and services-and, in turn,
more jobs.
Static Opportunities
Such an effect has yet to be seen,
however. Employment opportunities
for local residents in retail remain sta-
tic, according to reports in Crain's New
York Business. Toys 'R' Us is now a
cornerstone store at the Gallery, for-
merly the Albee Square Mall, which
Forest City Ratner purchased in 1990
and renamed in an effort to move it
upscale. Vacancy rates in the shopping
center have steadily declined since
then-from 40 percent in 1990 to 10
percent today. But store owners say
business has not increased significant-
ly, and many small retailers have been
replaced by larger national chains such
as Foot Locker and Barnes & Noble.
The proprietors of the century-old
Gage & Tollner restaurant, a few blocks
to the west, hoped to see their business
flourish with the coming of Metro-
Tech's minions. They didn't; the own-
ers were forced to file for bankruptcy
protection in March of last year.
Ken Adams, the new executive
director of the Downtown Brooklyn
Business Improvement District, insists
that it is still too early to measure the
impact of MetroTech on retail business
in the area, though he acknowledges
growth has been slow. "We still have a
long way to go. Not enough of the
workers are going to Gage & Tollner, or
A&S. Our job is to try to change that."
Permanent Jobs
Most of all, there is little to indicate
that MetroTech has created anywhere
near the more than 1,000 permanent
new jobs promised to local residents
back in 1986, or the services necessary
to prepare and place people in posi-
tions with the financial and informa-
tion services businesses located there.
The city's Economic Development
Corporation established the Downtown
Brooklyn Training and Employment
Council (DBTEC) in 1992 to address
such needs. But since it opened 18
months ago, it has placed only about
90 people in permanent positions,
reports director Earl Haye.
Haye explains that many of the
companies at MetroTech tend to go to
commercial temp agencies when they
have low-level positions to fill; that
way they can avoid the soaring costs of
health coverage and other fringe bene-
fits. In addition, he says, many compa-
nies have had hiring freezes since his
office opened.
Most significant, he adds, is the fact
that there are few low-skill positions
available. "We are telling training
groups that they have to prepare their
students to do more. Basic data entry
skills are not enough, for example. The
companies want them to be able to do
customer service too, and have good
communications skills." The people
MetroTech companies are hiring have
advanced computer skills, Haye says-
skills that the 40 job-training groups
affiliated with DBTEC are not
equIpped to provide.
On the construction side, Forest
City Ratner claims to have more than
met its goal for an aggressive affirma-
tive action program. According to the
company, 30 percent of the construc-
tion contracts are currently with busi-
nesses owned by women or minorities,
and the construction workforce is
roughly 50 percent women and
minorities. More than one-third of the
construction laborers are from the
neighborhood, they add.
City Council Member Mary Pinkett
believes MetroTech has been benefi-
cial. "To improve a community, you
need an economic infusion. Mom and
Pop stores alone can't do it. To the
degree that MetroTech has brought in
growth businesses, it has greatly
enhanced the area in which we live.
The beginning is there."
Pinkett says Forest City Ratner
should be commended for its contribu-
tion to recreation and education in the
area. Some tenants of MetroTech have
formed partnerships with Brooklyn
schools, for example, such as Chase
Manhattan's Smart Start program, a
scholarship initiative for 20 graduating
high school seniors planning to attend
Brooklyn colleges. And Forest City
Ratner sponsors a summer job program
that hires high school students
part time in maintenance and clerical
positions.
But there are other areas in which
residents feel they have been neglect-
ed. Michael Boyd, director of the Fort
Greene Community Action Network,
recalls that a portion of the $8 million
Urban Development Action Grant
(UDAG) awarded to Forest City Ratner
was earmarked for the beautification
of the area surrounding MetroTech.
However, Boyd says, "The funds went
everywhere but east. Nothing past
Flatbush Avenue got attention. How
far do you have to go to get to the sur-
rounding community? We are right
across the street." Forest City Ratner
spokesperson Joyce Baumgartner,
however, denies that UDAG monies
were ever designated for that purpose.
And while Borough President
Howard Golden recently announced
that the downtown area will be getting
a face-lift-plans are being made to
add distinctive street signs, new side-
walks, updated lighting, and trees to
create a unified visual image-critics
point out that, once again, Fort Greene
is not included in the plan.
Eric Blackwell, editor of the Fort
Greene News and a member of the
local community school board, calls
CITY LlMITS/DECEMBER 1994/13
the situation "the tale of two cities,
separate and unequal."
"Who is looking out for our commu-
nity?" he asks. "The development
plans should have had attached to
them the inclusion of new parks, new
schools. In this case, all that has been
an afterthought. That puts all the cards
in the developers' hands, and that
doesn't make sense. Their bottom line
is profit."
No Systematic Effort
Residents are now wondering if the
$530 million Atlantic Terminal pro-
ject, another city-subsidized Forest
City Ratner undertaking on a 24-acre
site located above the nearby Flatbush
Avenue terminal of the Long Island
Railroad, will provide the kind of
opportunities they say MetroTech has
failed to realize. Community groups
monitoring the project are skeptical.
The problem, says Brad Lander,
executive director of the Fifth Avenue
Committee, is that there has been no
systematic effort made to pinpoint
exactly what the developers' responsi-
bilities are to the community, and
what can be done in the future if they
''The funds went
------
everywhere but east.
far do you
have to go to get to
the _lTOIInding
community? We are
don't meet these responsibilities.
"We sent the Borough President's
Advisory Committee on Atlantic
Terminal a letter with a ton of ques-
tions," he says. "We asked them to set
some targets in terms of the creation of
meaningful career track positions, hir-
ing and training programs, and what
they would do if they didn't meet
those targets. What kind of community
structure would be set up?" So far,
says Lander, his group hasn't received
a reply.
"Public officials so strongly want
development, they are unwilling to
press for those kinds of agreements or
concessions," Lander continues. "We
have a federal, state and city corporate
development policy with no clue how
to link-or the willingness to ensure-
community jobs for people of color."
Reap the Benefits
It will take more than a ribbon-cut-
ting ceremony to insure that Fort
Greene residents reap the benefits they
feel they have coming to them. John
Mollenkopf, a professor at the City
University of New York's Graduate
Center and an urban renewal special-
ist, is not optimistic.
"There are ways, for example, to
link the New York City school system
to the telecommunications and com-
puter industries," he explains. So far,
however, those connections have not
been made. Mollenkopf suspects that
MetroTech will turn out to be a "clas-
sic urban renewal project, good for
companies and generating a plus for
the city fiscally. But it [won't] impact
Fort Greene. There are lost opportuni-
ties." 0
Laura Washington is a copy editor
at Vogue.
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14/DECEMBER 1994/elTY LIMITS
Congratulations to
Jill Kirschenbaum,
Senior Editor of City Limits
and recipient
of the NASWs 1994
Carroll Kowal
Journalism Award
for enhancing
the public's awareness of
Social Conditions
in New York City.

Comtru1ity Development Group
CITY LIMITS/DECEMBER 1994/15
By Andrew White
"Mother Pearl" Chambers outside her window on West 119th Street
The tale of one block in Central
Harlem where residents are stirring
the coals of community action-
and preparing to bargain with the
city over who will own their homes.
H
alfway down West 119th Street in Central
Harlem, past the streetcorner dice game
and a row of gutted brownstones with
cinderblocks in place of doorways, the mother
of all compassion leans out from her first
floor window.
"Mother Pearl" Chambers spends a good part of most
every day with her elbows set on the window sill, keeping
an eye on the men, women, boys and girls that pass by on
her block between Fifth and Lenox avenues, where she has
lived since 1945. To the many homeless and poor people
16/DECEMBER 1994/CITY LIMITS
who stop by her window day after day, she provides food,
clothes, comfort and wisdom; sometimes even a few dollars.
On a chill November morning, a young and very preg-
nant Jeanette Ortiz stops beside the stoop of Number 48 to
speak with "this woman Pearl, my mentor." Ortiz is home-
less, just out of prison after a short stay for selling drugs.
She tried to get a place in a shelter, but it didn't work out.
So she is still homeless, walking the length and breadth of
the block where she has lived off and on for much of her
life. Pearl encourages her to be careful and stay warm, and
hands her a few things.
"I can see myself like her someday," Ortiz says with a
beaming smile and a nervous hand clutching a pack of
Newport cigarettes. "She's aware of the people that need
help. She's given me shoes and clothing from her house."
Ortiz is barely 20. Up close her worn thin face indicates
a brutal life. As she walks away, Pearl's eyes betray a deep
sadness. "She's on drugs," she says. "I've known her since
she was so young, she's lived in so many buildings on this
block." When Ortiz was arrested, she was living in an aban-
doned house across the street without heat or water. Her
baby is due in December. "I told her I think it will come
sooner," Pearl says, quietly. "I don't know how much we
can help her. But we have to try."
A
ccording to conventional wisdom, Pearl
Chambers and Jeanette Ortiz represent the old
and the new, two sides of life in America's poor
urban neighborhoods: the disappearing history
of communal responsibility and support net-
works, and the rise of violence, drug addiction,
unplanned motherhood and dependency. But conventional
wisdom is often wrong.
The small gifts of compassion emerging from Number 48
are to some a sure sign of Harlem's greatest strengths, of the
spiritual core of a community written off as lost long ago.
For many years Mother Pearl was one of a small number of
people here striving to make a difference: she organized
annual block parties for 20 straight summers, arranged
decent burials for scores of indigent men and women who
died alone, and still regularly sweeps the sidewalk clear of
litter. But today she is part of a blossoming movement of old
and young alike building on the community's strengths,
reversing the long decline of West 119th Street.
"It's beginning to grow again. It's getting clean again.
There are young minds bringing us together," says
Marguerite Gordon, a local church leader who is 86 years
old and has lived in her brownstone home on the north side
of the block for more than five decades. "It can be a good
block. It has been in the past, so why not now?"
There are two strands of change threading through the
fabric of West 119th Street: first, the people of the block
coming together, building new relationships with one
another and learning to advocate for repairs in housing,
better services and a stronger sense of mutual responsibil-
ity; and second, the city government sketching plans for a
new direction in housing policy. West 119th between Fifth
and Lenox is near the top of the current list of blocks being
considered for the first round of the Giuliani administra-
tion's initiative to rehabilitate and sell city-owned build-
ings to small businessmen and women, as well as to neigh-
borhood-based nonprofits and tenants themselves. If
Harlem's tumultuous politics don't reverse the city's
course, the program could be in full swing here
within a month or two.
At the point where the two strands knot togeth-
er is Community Pride, a government-funded
group experimenting with innovative strategies
for rebuilding a spirit of community, organizing
tenants and providing a broad array of youth pro-
grams and social services. A project of the
Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families, a
leading provider of youth development programs,
Community Pride is one of a number of compre-
hensive community-building initiatives under-
way around the country combining social services
and advocacy with organizing. It is also one of the
neighborhood groups the city hopes will facilitate
the new housing initiative.
Of course, when this kind of enterprise is
funded by government-as many say it ought to
be-questions inevitably arise. The story of
Community Pride, still in its infancy as a community action
organization, offers a revealing glimpse into the tremen-
dous possibilities and the complicated dilemmas that face
those engaged in such innovative approaches to neighbor-
hood revitalization.
"These groups are testing a hypothesis," says Sherece
West, program associate for the Annie B. Casey Founda-
tion, which is funding similar projects nationwide. "If you
put resources in place with the right partners, engage the
residents in the right way and have the willingness of the
city to work with you, can you move a successful commu-
nity building agenda? It's still a bit too soon to say."
Community Pride has brought together a disparate array
of people on West 119th Street, including many who live in
the 19 city-owned buildings on the block (all of them taken
from tax-delinquent landlords during the last decade and a
half). The tenants want much-needed repairs, but are
apprehensive about the city's new housing plan.
"The city can't just come in and do anything they want,"
explains Rosetta Carey, a tenant on the block for 11 years
and super of five city-owned buildings. "They have to come
in and speak with the people. That's the way it has to be."
This leaves Community Pride-whose government fund-
ing comes through a contract with the tenants' landlord, the
city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development
(HPD)-in a potentially delicate position. The way HPD
Commissioner Deborah Wright's new plan for selling city
properties plays out on West 119th Street promises to be a
test case for the entire concept of government and commu-
nity collaboration.
Lee Farrow, the lead or-
ganizer with Community
Pride, and Geoffrey Canada,
Rheedlen's president, say
they are committed first and
foremost to the people of
West 119th. "We're going to
stay with that community,
and that's regardless of
whether we keep city fund-
ing or not," says Canada. "If
we find out that this does
"The city can't
just come in and
do anything
they want .... They
have to come
in and speak
with the people. "
CITY LlMITSIDECEMBER 1994/17
g
z
~
a:
~
a:
Cl
not work for the community, we will do whatever is possi-
ble to change this process."
poverty."
So Rheedlen set out to see if it could change the nature of
poverty in one small part of the city: a block on West 119th
Street where housing conditions are bad and drugs and vio-
lence loom large over everyday life, but where there is also
a strong foundation on which to build. For one thing, there's
a well-established church-Emmanuel A.M.E.-as well as a
cooperative apartment building that tenants purchased from
construction dumpster by the curb on the north
side of the street is overflowing with garbage
gathered from rear alleyways and yards, tossed
from apartment windows by tenants too lazy to
take their refuse down to the garbage cans, says
Willie Johnson, the super
for four of the city buildings. He is a "While "ou might
quiet, solidly built man who can be , ,
the city, standing as a model of what
could be for the residents of the remain-
ing city-owned buildings. There is also a
block association, numerous homeown-
ers and elders like Mother Pearl with a
wealth of experience and devotion to
their community.
found on the sidewalk almost every have to come in
day, keeping an eye on things. He has
lived on the block since 1961. "Some of on the short term
these people don't care," he says, in a and deal with
tone that says this should be no sur-
prise to anyone. the symptoms that 119th Street lies on
But a people's capacity to respect the edge of one of the
their home can depend on whether it is poverty produces, poorest census tracts
a home worth respecting, argues Farrow. h I I in New York City. In
"Home should be an environment t e on y rea cure the four-block area
where you feel like a human being. But is changing the stretching southward,
the physical conditions here are so bad, the median annual household income is
you can see gaping holes, ceilings falling nature of poverty. " only $8,856. More than one-third of the
down," she says. "People do not like residents are children and at least three-
living in bad conditions. But they end quarters of them are being raised by
up conforming to them because they a single parent, according to the 1990
don't feel they have a choice .... People's census.
need to survive has overwhelmed the With a high density of city-owned
goodness people have." housing, the area has a double-edged
For the staff at Rheedlen, the genesis connection to the city's shelter system
of Community Pride was in the lessons for homeless families. Most families
they learned from another of their pro- seeking shelter come from neighbor-
jects, Neighborhood Gold, which pro- hoods like this one, studies show, and
vides comprehensive support services the nature of housing here appears to be
and case management for families mov- a large part of the reason why: a 1993
ing from homeless shelters into apart- report by Anna Lou Dehavenon of the
ments in Central Harlem. The group Action Research Project on Hunger,
quickly found that services were only a Homelessness and Family Health found
small part of what they had to do. that one-third of all families seeking
"We realized you couldn't save fami- shelter came from city-owned buildings,
lies without dealing with housing primarily because of intolerable physical
issues, and the real stuff that made fam- conditions or drug activity. City-owned
ilies stronger was what was happening housing is also one of the few resources
in the community," Canada recalls. ~ the city has for placing homeless families
Neighborhood Gold began to organize a: in permanent apartments. Well over half
tenants in city-owned buildings where i'i: the families in city-owned buildings
o
most formerly homeless families lived, ~ today moved there directly from the
helping them drive out drug dealers <!l shelter system, according to HPD.
and advocate for repairs (see City limits, Geoff Canada, president of the Rheedlen In 1991, when HPD came up with fed-
April 1993). Centers for Children and Families eral funding under the McKinney Act to
It was clear, Canada says, that community organizing was prevent homelessness by improving services to tenants in city-
the single most effective tool for overcoming instability in owned buildings, Rheedlen won a multiyear, annual contract
any given neighborhood: developing people's strengths as of $200,000 to do the work in Central Harlem. Soon after,
well as their desire and ability to change things, and thus Community Pride set up shop in a brownstone on West 122nd
countering the ravages of poverty. "Sometimes when you look Street and raised another $150,000 from the Edna McConnell
at problems, you come up with solutions based on mental Clark Foundation for organizing and other work.
health issues, drug issues, racial issues, when the real issue is Many of the people they try to help don't live on West
mostly poverty," says Canada. "While you might have to 119th Street. By contract, the organization provides ser-
come in on the short term and deal with the symptoms that vices to tenants throughout the southern part of Central
poverty produces, the only real cure is changing the nature of Harlem. Much of their work involves arranging for home care
l8IDECEMBER 1994/CITY LIMITS
The idea is not to
flood the community
with social services,
but to provide
the resources that
neighborhoods like
this have not been
able to afford
of their own accord.
attendants or health
services for elderly
people, or advocat-
ing for apartment
repairs from the city.
But there are far
more difficult cases
as well, such as
helping a mother
cope with her 13-
and 14-year-old
children who have
become addicted to
drugs, or working
with an older man
who has strong lead-
ership skills but
needs to kick an
alcohol habit.
In the last year,
seven youths with
ties to Community
Pride have suffered
violent deaths on
Harlem streets. When
one young man was
Lee Farrow. director of Community Pride shot dead on the
block last year, his
mother, who lived near the spot where it happened, could no
longer face the horrible patch of sidewalk. Community Pride
helped her move away from the area, rebuild her life and care
for her other young children.
It can be extraordinarily difficult work, says social worker
Leslie Sims, but it is more "real" than many social workers
ever get to experience. "When you finish a case, it can be so
fulfilling. You can believe in what you are doing."
The idea, adds Farrow, is not to flood the community
with social services, but to provide the resources that neigh-
borhoods like this have not been able to afford of their own
accord.
"We don't need social services any more than anyone
else," suggests Janice Dozier, a choreographer who is secre-
tary of the tenant association at 8 West 119th Street and
who has been working with Community Pride to pull the
block together. "What we need is organization. People
downtown have advocates who know what's available.
They band together and spend money and scream for what
they want. Uptown, they don't know. When you approach
institutions they push you aside."
P
art of Community Pride's organizing strategy has
been to build trust with the neighborhood
through its youth programs and to build a sense
of community through celebrations. After school
and in the evening, the two-story office on West
122nd is alive with young people. Tutors work on
math problems with students at a large table in the kitchen,
teenagers in the back yard map out a fashion show. It's all
part of a greater design to create a safe hang-out space-and
a place to do homework-while fostering creativity and a
positive neighborly connection. Many, but not all, of the
youths are from West 119th Street.
Block parties, small weekly "worship" sessions during
the summer and holiday parties have brought together the
elders, the parents and their children, even a few of the
hardest to reach-the older teenagers. At least 400 people
showed up in a borrowed auditorium the Friday before
Halloween for a Community Harvest celebration of games,
food and music planned by about 40 residents of West 119th
and 120th streets.
"It was everything right about a community that most
people would think there was nothing right about," says
Canada. "There were parents with children spending an
evening, giving them a positive alternative to the craziness
that we see in Halloween. It's a different way to help peo-
ple recognize their strength as a community, even while
acknowledging that there are problems within that commu-
nity. Using the strength to tackle the issues, not doing it in
such a way that everything is focused on a problem. If we
learn to celebrate, we'll be much more organized and we'll
be ready to tackle the crises when they come."
That's not to say things have turned around overnight.
Young dealers maintain a blatant presence throughout the
neighborhood. And one Monday evening, as 14 residents
gather with Community Pride organizers in the basement of
8 West 119th, a rehabilitated tenement, four teenage girls on
the sidewalk huddle around the flame of a lighter, flaring
crystals of crack in their glass pipe. It's not really anything
out of the ordinary, one woman says, as the girls head off
down the block.
But these meetings, too, are becoming something the
people on the block can count on, where the work of orga-
nizing and educating residents to take the lead in planning
for the future of their community will take place. This is
Farrow's message to the small group as they gather among
the gas meters and low-slung pipes, and begin to discuss
their options under the city's new housing plan.
H
ousing experts say the Giuliani administration's
program for selling off city-owned apartment
buildings represents a sea change in city policy.
Commissioner Wright has mapped out the first
stages, focusing about $47 million in HPD
resources during the next several months on
refurbishing perhaps a dozen troubled blocks citywide and
boosting the real estate market there. The piece of the plan
she has promoted most intently is the Neighborhood
Entrepreneurs Program (NEP), in which small business
owners who have management experience and are based in
low income communities will be offered the chance to pur-
chase groups of city-owned buildings.
"People out there have proven that they can manage prop-
erty," Wright told a City Council committee at a recent hear-
ing. "But they cannot access the financial resources they
need" to purchase buildings and do the necessary upkeep
and rehabilitation work. "This program will link local entre-
preneurs to the downtown business community," she added,
thus making credit accessible.
NEP will be run by the New York City Housing
Partnership, a nonprofit affiliated with the Chamber of
Commerce that has developed thousands of units of moder-
ate and middle income housing in recent years. Ownership
CITY LlMITSIDECEMBER 1994/19
o
'"
z
~
a:
i'i
o
~
II:
'"
of buildings entering the program will be turned over to a
shell corporation controlled by the Partnership, Wright says,
so the city can avoid "the panoply of rules governing pur-
chasing, contracting and so on" that could tie the city's hands
and slow the process.
While the buildings are in the Partnership's hands, the
prospective buyers will take over management, oversee the
mostly government-funded rehabilitation, work with ten-
ants and prove their competence as landlords. Only then,
after passing through all of this and winning the approval
of HPD, the Partnership and a neighborhood nonprofit
assigned to monitor the project, can the actual sale go for-
ward. The whole process should take anywhere from two to
"What we need is
organization. People
downtown have
advocates who know
what's available and
scream for what they
want. Uptown, they
don't know. When you
approach institutions
they push you aside. "
Janice Dozier, secretary of the tenant
association at 8 West 119th Street.
three years in most
cases, says Kathy
Wylde, director of
the Housing Part-
nership.
What if the ten-
ants don't like what
they see along the
way? "It would not
be fair to the [pro-
spective] owners to
let the tenants
decide unilaterally
whether the sale
should go through,"
Wylde says. "We
will set up a pro-
cess with objective
performance stan-
dards. If the Part-
nership, HPD and
the nonprofit mon-
itor are not satisfied,
that will reflect ten-
ant dissatisfaction
and they will not
have the right to
purchase the build-
ing."
She adds that
150 small business-
people involved in
real estate manage-
ment have shelled
out $25 to buy a
copy of the pro-
gram's request for
qualifications. The applications from those still interested
were due back by the end of November.
Who will these entrepreneurs be? According to the appli-
cation rules, they must be based in the neighborhoods
where the buildings are located, they cannot own more
than 250 units of housing, they cannot have a record of ten-
ant harassment, tax foreclosure or serious housing code vio-
lations, and they must have rehabilitation and management
experience, among other things.
"I've been in the business thirty-five years," says Wilfred
DeFour of Saverin Realty in Central Harlem. He owns 60
20IDECEMBER 1994/elTY LIMITS
apartments in the community, manages another 20, and
intends to apply for the program. "It looks doable," he says.
"Not a cinch, but doable. In the past, HPD requirements
were so stiff it was difficult for small businesspeople to be
involved, but this is different."
Leroy W. Morrison of Lemor Realty on 135th Street also
hopes to get involved. He has worked with nonprofits in the
past as a building manager and believes organized tenants
are an asset to any decent landlord. As for turning a profit?
"I believe it can be done .... A lot of things are unspecified
at this point, but I believe it's worth a shot."
T
wo years after Community Pride arrived on 119th
Street, what's expected of them under their city
contract may be set to change. "Commissioner
Wright has been out to see Community Pride,"
says former HPD assistant commissioner Richard
Heitler, who worked closely with the Harlem
organization until he recently left his government job. "She
sees it as something of a model of what grassroots groups'
involvement could be" in the city's new privatization pro-
gram. "It's exactly what they had in mind."
That may not be exactly what Community Pride has in
mind, however. Canada and Farrow insist that they are orga-
nizing the community for the broader goal of community
itself, to build leadership, share resources, improve the
neighborhood and plan for the future. On that score, they
say, they want the residents of West 119th Street to take the
lead, rather than the dictates of their city funders.
At community meetings and in interviews with tenants,
the question of ownership is becoming a central part of the
discussion.
Caristha Easton remembers the last time she had a
private landlord, when she moved to the block in 1975. He
was a local preacher, and he refused to provide heat or hot
water. "I just used the stove. You got to know how to use it."
Many people here have similar stories. It's not as though
they write off any possibility of a private owner: "Not all of
them are slumlords," says Rita Russell. "There are decent
landlords. But I would want a building that all the tenants
owned. That would be their responsibility." One of the
options the city is proposing as an alternative to NEP is ten-
ant ownership through the city's Tenant Inter-im Lease pro-
gram (TIL).
Dozier's building at 8 West 119th has been in the TIL pro-
gram for two years; the tenants expect to purchase the 20-
unit property in 1995. They have already established an
evening tenant patrol. taken over management, overseen
some of the rehabilitation and gone to court to evict six
problem tenants who were involved in drugs.
"You would not have come in here two years ago," says her
son Vernon, who lives on the top floor. "This was a cracked-
out building. It was rough."
"We've cleaned up a little section of this block," Dozier
says. "Once other people see we respect this block, they
begin to respect it."
Mother Pearl is also interested in TIL, especially if her
five-unit building could enter the program along with the
larger one next door; that way enough tenants would be
involved so that the burden wouldn't fall exclusively on
her and the other seniors who live there. Easton says the
same thing.
But TIL does have problems as well: Rita Russell and
members of another organization working with tenants on
West 119th Street, Action for Community Empowerment,
point out that no tenant should have to buy a building in
bad shape. In too many cases, Russell says, properties have
been sold to tenants before they have been properly reha-
bilitated.
As for NEP, many affordable-housing advocates warn that
the program could present many opportunities for abuse.
"It's a masterful set of loopholes," says Jay Small of the
Association of Neighborhood Housing and Development
about the NEP guidelines outlined in the request for quali-
fications. Others warn that a profit simply can't be made on
these properties, even if they are sold in combination with
extensive subsidies and vacant buildings that can be rented
at near-market rates, as is the plan.
All of this leaves Community Pride and the residents of
119th Street in an urgent posture. If Harlem politicos decide
the city can go ahead and target West 119th Street for the pri-
vatization effort, tenants will have only a short time-rough-
ly two to three months, according to HPO-to organize ten-
ant associations and decide if they would like to make a go
of it in TIL or try something other than NEP.
During the basement meeting at Number 8, tenants say
they are unsure what all of this means, but each has very
deep concerns about whether they will have a role in influ-
encing what happens. Dozier says she wants to be sure that
residents of the block get whatever jobs are created through
the program-something the Partnership says will be a key
part ofNEP.
"We'll have to have a movement, we'll have to have an
action around these things," Farrow says, reassuringly.
"We'll have to be ready when it starts."
In private, her enthusiasm is tempered with worry, how-
ever, as she recognizes the stakes for Community Pride. "I
came up here to do homeless prevention, support services
and block-by-block organizing," she says. "Here we are two
years later at center stage of this big program. They have
next to no money allocated for nonprofits to do support
work in NEP. They say they are trying to tap existing
resources .... But if things go kaput, we are caught up in it. It
would be just as well if they did it on another block so we
could see how it goes."
On the other hand, she adds, it's about time the city got
serious about doing a wholesale rehabilitation of its crum-
bling housing stock. "People have been living in these con-
ditions so long it has become normal. Poor services, devasta-
tion, dilapidated conditions. I see the devastation of peoples'
lives while we sit around talking about things. Let's not make
it a political thing. Let's just start." 0
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CITY LIMITS/DECEMBER 1994/21
In Nehemiah's Way
A scramble between East Brooklyn Congregations and
tenants of the buildings they want to raze
Tenants in nine East New York
apartment buildings thought they had
turned the corner last March in their
long struggle to reclaim their homes
from years of landlord neglect. Then
they discovered that the city and a
local community organization wanted
to tear their buildings down.
The tenants of Williams Avenue-
most of whom are poor or elderly-
mobilized and won a significant victo-
ry last month, convincing the City
Planning Commission and housing
officials to spare their homes from the
wrecking ball. But their struggle is not
yet over.
Members of East Brooklyn Congre-
gations (EBC), the community organi-
zation seeking to raze the buildings,
say they intend to take their case to the
City Council. Their aim is to overturn
the planning commission's decision,
which they charge threatens an exten-
acres of vacant land and decrepit
bUildings in some of the toughest sec-
tions of the Bronx, Brownsville and
East New York to make way for
enclaves of these low-priced homes,
most of which are bought by families
with incomes in the $20,000 to
$60,000 range. People on all points of
the political spectrum admire the
group for making the dream of home-
ownership possible for more than
2,500 moderate-income families.
Tearing down the nine attached
buildings on Williams Avenue would
have enabled EBC to construct 20 of
the 700 homes scheduled for the next
round of the Nehemiah project, named
for a Biblical prophet who rebuilt
Jerusalem. But many affordable hous-
ing advocates say they do not under-
stand the logic of tearing down 135
viable apartments to make way for a
few single family homes. "Given the
fact that we are cur-
rently in a housing
crisis, how can the
city justify that?" asks
Andrew Reicher,
executive director of
the Urban Homestead-
ers Assistance Board.
"It is a classic exam-
ple of what's been
wrong with urban
renewal programs."
This is the latest
twist in a long EBC
organizing campaign
to move forward with
Nehemiah develop-
~ ment. For several
Williams Avenue tenants are fighting to stay in their homes.
years, the group nego-
tiated with the admin-
istration of then-Mayor David Dinkins
over the scope of the project. Initially
the city offered only enough land to
build about 200 houses, but EBC
charged this was insufficient for the
"critical mass" of new homes and fam-
ilies needed to stabilize the crime-rid-
den area. Leaders demanded enough
land to build between 700 and 800
homes, or there would be no deal. The
two sides finally reached an agreement
for the larger plan in October, 1992.
sive urban renewal program slated for
the area.
Powerhouse
East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC),
a powerhouse neighborhood organiza-
tion representing 51 religious groups
and thousands of parishioners, is
seeking to replace the nine 15-unit
apartment buildings with a row of new
houses as part of its Nehemiah hous-
ing program. Over the last two dec-
ades, EBC and sister organizations
around the city have cleared dozens of
22IDECEMBER 1994/CITY LIMITS
The agreement did not originally
include the string of contested apart-
.,
By Jill Kirschenbaum
ment buildings on Williams Avenue,
according to a memo of understanding
with the housing department. But city
officials opened the door to demoli-
tion last year when, at the behest of
EBC, they included the buildings in an
amendment to the renewal plan.
History of Failure
EBC leaders claim the buildings
have a 15-year history of failure, argu-
ing that the city's Department of
Housing Preservation and Develop-
ment (HPD) has spent hundreds of
thousands of dollars to maintain the
buildings only to see them slip into
ever-worsening condition. Worse, the
buildings became havens for drug users
and sellers in the mid to late 1980s.
"You look at the history of the
buildings, and the history is that they
have never worked," says EBC orga-
nizer Ken Thorbourne. He says the evi-
dence shows that the buildings are
unmanageable and would become a
cancerous sore if they were left to
stand amidst a new development of
Nehemiah homes.
Trouble is, the Williams Avenue
tenants-some who have neighbor-
hood ties going back three decades-
don't want to leave. All have incomes
far below those needed to get
Nehemiah mortgages, and they are not
interested in the alternative EBC and
the city have offered them: moving to
other city-owned apartments or to
public housing projects.
Their supporters charge that EBC is
too eager to displace the poor in the
name of progress. For some, observes
Ron Shiffman, a member of the City
Planning Commission, "Nehemiah.has
been a blessing. But at the same time,
it's important to recognize that there
are people here trying to make East
New York work. ... We must not pit one
group of people struggling to rebuild
their community against another
group struggling to maintain it."
The tenants agree that there have
been serious problems with drugs and
crime on the block and in the build-
ings. But, they counter, they have suf-
fered through years of mismanagement
by private landlords and city caretak-
ers without having a meaningful say in
the way the properties have
beennm.
"I've worked hard to
repair my place on my own,"
says tenant John Hall. "I put
in a toilet and a wash basin,
cabinets and a stove. I did my
floors and retiled the bath-
room. The way I did my
apartment, it's my home. And I don't
intend to move."
Under a Curse
A superstitious person might
believe that the short block between
Livonia and Riverdale has been under
a curse for the last 25 years. People
have a way of talking about the build-
ings from 486 to 532 Williams Avenue
as though they are possessed, like an
urban Amityville Horror.
The nine properties were first reno-
vated by the city in the mid-1970s and
structured as a nonprofit, tenant-run
cooperative. But the rehabilitation was
shoddy, recalls Abdur Rahman
Farrakhan, a housing activist familiar
with the project, and the tenants were
never properly organized and trained
to run the buildings. When mainte-
nance problems developed and the co-
op members began to quarrel, a frac-
tious rent strike drove the buildings
into tax arrears and, ultimately, city-
ownership in 1983.
In 1984, the city contracted with a
private landlord to manage the build-
ings under the now-defunct Private
Ownership Management Program
(POMP). The firm of Eiges & Eiges, a
subsidiary of the William Crown real
estate company, received the city con-
tract for the properties, along with a
subsidy of $1,200 per apartment for
renovations. In 1986, William Crown
purchased the nine buildings from the
city for $234,000. They were to
become one of POMP's most spectacu-
lar failures.
In a lawsuit brought against William
Crown by HPD at the end of 1990,
court papers indicate that the build-
ings rapidly deteriorated under the
management of Eiges & Eiges and that
"widespread and egregious violations
of the Housing Maintenance Code
existed at the time of sale" in 1986.
The city hauled William Crown into
housing court in 1989 for failure to
provide heat and hot water, resulting
in nearly $1 million in fines and
orders to correct all building viola-
tions. But the work was never done.
As tenants fled the intolerable con-
ditions, drug dealers and their cus-
tomers took over the vacant apart-
ments, roaming the hallways and ter-
rorizing the remaining tenants.
Finally, in November 1990, HPD
brought contempt proceedings against
William Crown in Housing Court for
failing to provide services and correct
outstanding violations. At the time,
there were 995 housing code viola-
tions. The court appointed an outside
administrator to take over manage-
ment and repair of the buildings.
Farrakhan, executive director of the
Oceanhill Brownsville Tenant
Association, was tapped to take over.
He was charged with the unenviable
task of booting out the now firmly
entrenched drug trade, making repairs
and renting the vacant apartments. But
the city gave him no money for the job,
Farrakhan recalls, and he quickly
began to lose ground. Only after Legal
Aid filed a lawsuit did HPD finally
allocate $124,394 from its 7 A
Financial Assistance Program. The
city also agreed to replace the heating
system, at a cost of some $400,000.
But it was all he could do to cover
the cost of managing the buildings,
while trying at the same to time to rout
illegal tenants, Farrakhan says. "As
fast as we tried to repair the apart-
ments, the dealers would break in and
steal. We could never catch up."
Still, tenants and Legal Aid attorney
Mimi Rosenberg say that overall man-
agement of the buildings under
Farrakhan was woefully inadequate. In
April 1993, Rosenberg filed a contempt
motion against him and the city moved
to remove him as administrator.
Court Battle
During the yearlong court battle that
followed, the tenants of Williams
Avenue were once again on their own,
without a superintendent or building
manager. The buildings' boilers,
housed in unlocked basements, were
vandalized anew. When plumbing
leaks developed at 520 Williams this
past January, tenants called the Fire
Department, which had no recourse
but to turn off the water and the heat.
The city placed vacate orders on three
buildings that shared the same boiler,
and the tenants were forced out
to shelters or to stay with family
or friends. By then, there were
more than 1500 code violations
in the nine buildings.
Finally, with the help of Legal
Aid, the tenants filed a suit in
state Supreme Court to force the
city to take emergency mea-
sures-not only to repair the boilers,
heating risers and plumbing systems,
but to provide on-site building man-
agers and to secure the buildings once
and for all against further vandalism.
The tenants were allowed to move
back into two of the vacated buildings
in March, and at long last, conditions
at Williams Avenue began to stabilize.
Tenants had regular heat and hot
water at last. Hallways and common
areas were given fresh coats of paint,
broken windows and doors were
replaced. Even new intercoms and
mailboxes were installed, allowing for
regular mail delivery for the first time
in years. The tenants met with HPD
officials and organizers from the East
New York Urban Youth Corps, a near-
by low income housing manager and
developer, and began discussing the
possibility of getting into the city's
Tenant Interim Lease (TIL) program,
which would allow them to manage
and ultimately purchase the buildings
themselves. It was only then that they
learned of EBC's desire to tear the
buildings down.
Crash Course
After hearing the news, the tenants
embarked on a crash course in grass-
roots organizing. They educated them-
selves about the city's land-use review
process. They sent letters to the mayor,
the borough president and other city
and state officials, informing them of
their desire to stay put and get into the
TIL program. They followed up with a
telephone campaign and petitions
signed by some 100 tenants.
On October 12th, the final day of
hearings before the City Planning
Commission on the Second Amend-
ment to the Urban Renewal Plan for
East New York, lines were drawn down
the middle of the City Hall hearing
room. EBC clergy leaders and some 100
congregants bused in for the occasion
filled the seats to the right of the aisle,
while 50 Williams Avenue tenants took
their seats to the left.
The EBC case was simple: home-
owners were, by virtue of their finan-
cial commitment, more likely to do
what had to be done to keep their
CITY LIMITS/DECEMBER 1994/23
neighborhoods safe.
"What's the definition of a successful
building?" testified Irving Domenick, a
member of the Brownsville Nehemiah
Homeowners Association and the EBC
strategy team. "Tenants who pay rent,
low vacancy rates and low serious
crime. For the last 15 years, these
buildings have failed. Can they be
turned around? Maybe. But we can't
and will not ask people to invest their
life savings in a maybe."
The Williams Avenue tenants coun-
tered that EBC had no right to take
their homes from them, or pass judg-
ment on them.
"I've lived in East New York for
thirty-five years," said Lessie Sanders,
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turning to the EBC parishioners across
the aisle. "I can live with anybody.
These church folks, wanting to put
people out of their apartments, ought
to be ashamed of themselves."
As they have done before in other
areas, the tenants explained, EBC could
build around the Williams Avenue
properties. And some of the commis-
sioners were unconvinced by the EBC
members' arguments to the contrary.
"You are taking such a firm position
against renters," observed Commis-
sioner Irwin Cantor. "We've been lis-
tening to a group of people who are
working hard to save Williams
Avenue. Why are- you so adamant
against a compromise?"
But compromise is not what has
enabled EBC to turn around devastat-
ed neighborhoods, leaders insist. "It's
too soon to compromise," observed
Father Mason in an interview after the
hearing. "We haven't exhausted all of
our options yet."
Groundswell of Support
It turned out EBC had lost at least
this round of the battle, however. After
conducting an extensive review of his
own, Brooklyn Borough President
Howard Goldin reversed his original
position and threw his weight behind
the tenants. Then, days before the
final vote of the planning commission
on November 16th, Housing Commis-
sioner Deborah Wright, who had met
with the tenants and visited the build-
ings, removed the Williams Avenue
properties from the demolition plan.
EBC, determined to pursue their
course and disgruntled by the actions
of Wright and the City Planning
Commission, is now gearing up to take
their case to the City Council, which
can amend the plan with a two-thirds
vote. If that doesn't work, leaders say,
they will go back to Mayor Giuliani,
with whom they met prior to the final
commission vote.
They may be ultimately forced to
compromise where Williams Avenue
is concerned, however. Sources close
to the negotiations say Commissioner
Wright has already met with the
mayor and convinced him to preserve
the Williams Avenue buildings.
There is still a long road ahead for
the Williams Avenue tenants. But,
they say, they are in it for the long
haul. "We have never had an opportu-
nity to say, as tenants, what we want,"
notes association president Lyndon
Rutherford. "We are asking now for
that opportunity, to have a say." 0
Cityvi
Managing the Crisis
By Harold DeRienzo
I
t's easy to romanticize New York
City's housing movement. The
concept is so appealing: communi-
ty people joining together,
responding to their own needs and
those of their neighbors, building new
homes and reconstructing de-crepit
tenements.
But it is an illusion. Local housing
groups have, for the most part, ceased
to be agitators and protagonists for
change. Instead, the organizations that
comprise the so-called community
housing movement have become con-
tent to merely manage a desperate cri-
sis of dilapidation, abandonment and
homelessness.
This has not always been the case.
There was once a genuine housing
movement intent upon social and
political transformation via the physi-
cal redevelopment of inner city neigh-
borhoods. Somewhere along the way,
however, the social agenda got con-
fused with the vehicles created to
carry this agenda forward. Community
organizations that once focused on the
demands of neighborhood residents
have now become "community devel-
opment corporations" dedicated pri-
marily to their own institutional
growth.
The transformation is understand-
able. Those of us who were active from
the mid-1970s to early 1980s mistook
the vacuum left by private and public
abandonment of the inner cities as the
source of our own strength; we were
intent on filling the vacuum and we
did so with a sense of pride and an
inflated sense of power. But in the
process, as community organizations
undertook the work once expected of
government and private landlords and
created a new community develop-
ment sector, they took on all the bur-
dens abandoned by others. They
became service providers, agencies,
landlords.
Defined by Funders
In my own experience during this
time, funding and administrative
demands became the driving force of
the organization I directed. By 1982,
Cityview is a forum for opinion
and does not necessarily reflect
the views of City Limits.
when I left my post as executive direc-
tor of the Banana Kelly Community
Improvement Association in the South
Bronx, our organizers had become our
managers; our volunteers had become
our employees; our members had
become our clients. This transition,
which took place in the short span of
five years, was not purposeful but
occurred because we were not paying
attention to our underlying mission
and became driven by institutional
needs as defined by
funders, foundations
and government offi-
cials outside the
community.
the author Frances Moore Lappe, who
was working on a book about commu-
nity development. She was shocked
when the homesteaders referred to
Banana Kelly, the local community
development corporation, as the
"agency" they worked with, and sur-
prised when the tenants constantly
referred to the same organization as
their "landlord." I suppose she expect-
ed to find a united sense of communi-
ty. Instead, she found residents who
viewed their own
community organi-
zation as an outside
force, an entity they
felt no connection
with, only connec-
tion to.
The sad fact is
that currently, most
community housing
groups no longer
work for, represent,
or even hold them-
selves accountable to
the communities in
g which they work.
g; There is very little
!Ii work going into
The result, not
only in the South
Bronx but through-
out the city, has been
magnificent from the
point of view of phys-
ical development but
abysmal when scru-
tinized from the per-
spective of social
development. Many
"organizers" no long-
er work for social
change.CITganizations
that grew out of activ-
ist grassroots efforts
are no longer the
vehicles by which any
"community" agen-
Harold DeRienzo is president of
the Parodneck Foundation for
SeN-Help Housing and Community
Development.
changing anything.
We have all become
managers of the
crisis. In effect, this
means that we mere-
ly compete amongst
ourselves to manage da is to be realized.
Missions once framed around con-
fronting and challenging the prevailing
system of economic control in low
income neighborhoods are now geared
simply to accommodating the status
quo and domesticating potentially
troublesome local residents.
Organizations now claim to be
accountable to their local communities
in principle, but are in practice
accountable only to outside funders . It
is a fundamental but commonplace
contradiction that is usually glossed
over, but in the end it underlines how
little commitment there is for change
that is prompted by and benefits com-
munity people.
About a year ago, I was invited to
Fox Street (two blocks from my home
on Kelly Street in Hunts Point) to meet
with some formerly homeless tenants
in a building rehabilitated by the city,
as well as some homesteaders from the
neighborhood. I was accompanied by
different parts and amounts of the
same problem. We succeed, not by the
social change we promote and achieve,
but by the size of our budgets, the pro-
grammatic reach of our institutions
and the scope of our activity. In the
process of going from relevant and
dynamic agents of change to proficient
managers of the status quo, we have
abandoned our missions and our com-
munities.
Shared Agenda
A community, if nothing else, is an
association of people with shared con-
cerns and desires, issues in common, a
sense of interdependence and some
capacity (power) to accomplish a
shared agenda. A community devel-
opment corporation is a perversion if
it is not the means through which the
community agenda is realized. In the
process of seeing residents as little
more than objective components of the
CITY LlMITSIDECEMBER 1994/25
development process, managing poor,
primarily publicly assisted residents
becomes just another component of
the community development business.
Once residents become objects of
development or social service pro-
grams, their social connection to the
institution is severed. And in the
process of delivering the services, the
residents' role as part of the communi-
ty is destroyed because their problems
are seen as their own and (implicitly)
not susceptible to collective redress.
Their financial poverty becomes a per-
sonal pathology, not a circumstance of
the economic system to be fought over
and changed.
Of course, as community housing
groups become further detached from
a constituent base, less responsive and
less accountable to local residents,
they become vulnerable to the whims
of outside funders who are constantly
seeking new, inexpensive ways of
delivering government services. If out-
siders call the shots then community
development corporations may
become the equivalent of middle man-
agers in the private sector-a dying
breed in this age of downsizing. This
has already started with the city hous-
ing department's new Neighborhood
Entrepre-neurs Program, which casts
community organizations as monitors
and members of oversight bodies for
developments undertaken by for-profit
"entrepreneurs." In many respects, the
role is no more than one of accommoda-
tion, one easily eliminated in the future.
From the tenants' perspective,
beyond the distinction between slum-
lord and landlord, one landlord is as
good as any other. If the community
development corporations are seen as
mere extensions of government, their
origins make little difference. In short,
current prevailing attitudes and
actions of many of this city's commu-
nity development corporations are the
seeds of their own demise. It is long
past time for these groups to reassess
their own motivations and redefine
their missions.
Active, Connected Base
There is hope. But it starts with a
recognition of the problem. Current-ly,
the survival of most organizations
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26/DECEMBER 1994/CITY LIMITS
depends upon a combination of com-
petence in delivering local services
and the usefulness of these services to
the funding sources. Once this useful-
ness - or to a lesser extent, compe-
tence - fails, all such organizations
are doomed. In the long term, the
health and longevity of community
development organizations is depen-
dent upon an active, connected con-
stituent base. Such a base is achieved
only through organizing, dialogue,
agenda-setting from the base and
accountability to the community itself
in the pursuit of this grassroots agen-
da. Organizations have to straighten
out their priorities; in many cases, this
will ultimately mean refusing certain
government contracts and rejecting
funders' mandates when they do not
serve the community agenda. But if
the community is itself the nucleus of
the organization, it will not fall.
I recently received a phone call
from the director of a community-
based, nonprofit housing organization
threatening arrest "or worse" if any
surveyors from the Task Force on City-
Owned Property were to try to speak
with his tenants. Receiving such a call
filled me with a sense of anger, sad-
ness and deja vu. The last time I was
directly confronted this way was in
1978, when city finance officials were
preparing to foreclose on a substantial
number of Bronx tenements because
their owners had failed to pay taxes. I
was the target of many threats as my
fellow organizers and I tried to inform
tenants in Bronx Community Board 2
of what was happening. The only dif-
ference, beyond the span of 16 years,
was that the threats at that time were
coming from private sector, for-profit
slumlords. Now, they are coming from
our colleagues. 0
Subscribe to
,
City Limits!
Call today:
(212) 925-9820
R-=--·r ..... _------.
No Solution At All
"The Homeless," by Christopher
Jencks, Harvard University Press,
1994, 161 pages, $17.95 hardcover.
Some people still believe that
poverty just means not having enough
money to pay for the basics, like food
and housing. But poor people increas-
ingly carry other burdens, among them
a loss of autonomy that often equals
enslavement, and a heightened vulner-
ability to being a research subject. The
former is a key component of all cur-
rent policy proposals. Responsibility
and reciprocity, we tell the poor, will
bring dignity, privacy and autonomy.
Until then, you belong to us.
Which brings me to Christopher
Jencks. His book, The Homeless, has
been hailed as a much-needed contri-
bution to the debate about homeless-
ness and its solutions. Jencks chroni-
cles the rise of homeless ness since the
late 1970s and examines why the prob-
lem persists. Several reviewers have
praised the book, respectfully noting
that it will please neither the right nor
the left. In reality, this "nobody else
got it right" approach fails on some
urgent issues.
Jencks begins by trying to pin down
the actual number of homeless, but he
fails to distinguish between scholarly
estimating methods and sham research.
He then turns to "promising and less-
promising" explanations for homeless-
ness and finds that deinstitutionaliza-
tion, crack and nuclear family forma-
tion patterns are better explanations
than changes in the housing market,
budget cuts and a lack of rent control.
Finally, he concludes with sugges-
tions on how to truncate-rather than
end-homelessness. And his analysis
seriously considers an old phantom of
public policy makers: do shelters
cause homelessness?
Imprecise Definitions
Jencks fails to define homelessness
in a consistent way. By his measure,
homeless people are sometimes those
with no place to stay and sometimes
only those living in the streets and
shelters. Jencks offers similarly dis-
missive treatment of homeless advo-
cates. He identifies only two from his-
tory, Mitch Snyder and Bob Hayes,
and then generalizes that all "advo-
cates" support inflated numbers and a
broad definition of homelessness.
In truth, homeless advocates run the
spectrum. Some defend the status quo;
others seek drastic change. Those who
choose to stand with poor people sig-
nal their choice by using clear defini-
tions and methodology. They seek to
give voice to those for whom they pur-
port to speak, even when the message
is difficult to accept. I know the rules
from my own experience: sometimes
you scream, sometimes you whisper,
and sometimes you just shut the hell
up so homeless people can be heard.
How do you accomplish this? The
late anthropologist Elliot Liebow said
it well: "One simply goes where they
go, gets to know them over time as best
one can and tries very hard to see the
world from their perspective." It's an
old rule-proximity informs advocacy.
Liebow himself slept on the streets
more than once. Such proximity can
make one a partisan for poor people,
although differences in race, class and
Incrementalism
didn't work for the
abolitionists. It
won't work now.
education (which Jencks ignores in his
"index of vulnerability" for homeless-
ness) leave an exit for many of us in
this imperfect world. Jencks says,
"Living with the homeless is both dis-
agreeable and dangerous, so only the
adventurous want to do it." More
accurately, he should say this is an
option for those who want their opin-
ions shaped by experience rather than
the academy.
Laying Blame
Other topics should now drive the
debate about homelessness but, in the
book, do not. There is, for example, the
role of crack cocaine in making and
keeping people homeless, a physical
and spiritual slavery inextricably
linked to economic slavery in too
many poor communities of color.
We desperately need candid conver-
sation about chemical addiction among
rich and poor alike, but can we decide
with certainty how much homeless-
ness precedes or follows crack use? In
Washington, D.C., crack was not the
By Mary Ellen Hombs
drug of choice until 1988. Homeless-
ness was already an entrenched prob-
lem by then. Furthermore, studies
show how easily drugs grab hold of
lives and whole communities, particu-
larly when the employment market has
little use for low-skilled workers.
Anecdotally we know that many
people will do what they must to
survive, even avoiding or rejecting ser-
vices they find frightening or disre-
spectful. Others maintain off-the-
books income to buy food, shoes and,
yes, sometimes drugs. To Jencks, these
are people who don't play by ~ e rules.
But does that mean they are cunning
opportunists or just people bent on
survival?
To see people play by the rules, try
this: head into the city in the pre-dawn
hours and watch as clusters of men
wait to be picked up by day-labor
employers. These are slave jobs-and
big business. Workers do undesirable,
dangerous and unregulated work for
no benefits and subminimum wages.
Often the work is for some of the
largest corporate employers in the
community.
Jencks suggests implementing a
government jobs program and creating
housing that is "good enough" for poor
people. But in the end, Jencks' prob-
lem is this: his policy prescriptions are
inconsistent and weak.
He underscores the importance of
housing in solving family homelessness
and suggests increasing cash benefits.
But he also recommends stigma, coer-
cion and blatant inequality against sin-
gle adults. Jencks calls for rebuilding
skid row zones in nonresidential areas
(a surrender to NIMBYism), reconsid-
ering involuntary commitment, and
offering homeless people low-level
public jobs in return for pocket money
and windowless cubical rooms.
Incrementalism didn't work for the
abolitionists and it won't work now.
We need people who offer small solu-
tions, like a cup of coffee and a blan-
ket, and fight for big ones, like a right
to housing and jobs that pay. In the
end, these answers are cheaper than
Jencks' alternatives. The policy of hat-
ing poor people hasn't worked. Let's
try hating poverty. 0
Mary Ellen Hombs is director of the
Legal Services Homelessness Task
Force in Washington, D.C.
CITY LIMITS/DECEMBER 1994/27
Ignorance, or Arrogance?
In the past, James Bradley did
what no one could do before: unite envi-
ronmentalists and city sanitation officials
on the issue of recycling. Consequently,
we expected to see very little truth told
when Bradley requested an interview
with NRDC on the Bronx Community
Paper Company project ("Bitter Justice,"
October 1994).
Bradley did manage to get one issue
right: the Urban Development Corpora-
tion (UDC) could have done a better job
in publicizing the first public hearing on
its grant to support the Banana Kelly
Community Improvement Association's
de-inking project, which is why only 30
or so people showed up. For the follow-
up UDC hearing on the same issue,
notices were more broadly posted,
including in El Diario and New
Amsterdam News [sic]. When the hearing
was better publicized, 300 people
crammed into the Bronx County
Courthouse. Contrary to Bradley's dis-
torted assessment that the environmental
movement and community representa-
tives are "splintered" on Banana Kelly's
project, virtually everyone in the hall
was loudly in favor of the project. Only
four speakers raised any questions of
concern.
Bradley places Panama Alba, a mem-
ber of the National Congress for Puerto
Rican Rights, in the role of "critic" to
Banana Kelly's efforts. But, alas, Bradley's
claim is just another example of his trying
to fit reality into his own agenda. How
else to explain Mr. Alba's opening
remarks at the second UDC hearing where
he states on the record: "I come here in
behalf of the National Congress for Puerto
Rican Rights and ... the South Bronx Clean
Air Coalition ... and I want to make it clear
that there is no rift with Banana Kelly. We
come here tonight to support the UDC
grant on behalf of Banana Kelly for stud-
ies with UDC. ... We ask everyone to
support the UDC grant for $400,000,"
(UDC hearing transcript, Oct. 5, 1994).
Bradley claims that contrary to my
assertions, Community Board 1 has not
endorsed the plant, and then claims Bob
Crespo, district manager, knows little
about it. First, Community Board 1 is
chaired by George Rodriguez, not Bob
Crespo. Why wasn't he quoted? Probably
because the position of Mr. Rodriguez
couldn't fit into Bradley's preconceived
scheme for an article: Mr. Rodriguez has
clearly indicated his support for Banana
Kelly's effort. Equally important, and
obvious to anyone who understands the
de facto environmental permitting
process in NYC, unless the community
board signed off on the project, the DEC
would not have been very likely to issue
28/DECEMBER 1994 lei TV LIMITS
the Final Environmental Impact
Statement (FEIS) approving the project.
Bradley also states that, contrary to my
claims, state Senator Espada has offered
"tentative support for the project." In
a February 24, 1994 letter I provided
to Bradley from Senator Espada to
the UDC, the Senator writes: "I am
writing to express my strong support of
Banana Kelly Community Improvement
Association's request to the NYS
Urban Development Corp. for financial
assistance .... "
Bradley's interview with NRDC was
indeed difficult, but he understandably
omits explaining why. He had absolutely
no idea of what NRDC has been up to for
the last 25 years, he had absolutely no
idea of what type of project NRDC and
Banana Kelly were designing, and he
said so. We might as well have been a
chemical manufacturer. When viewed in
the context of our environmental litiga-
tion and advocacy during the last 25
years, he asked us the most absurd ques-
tions about what we might develop at the
River Yards: "An incinerator?" "A chlo-
rine bleaching facility?" "A garbage
transfer facility?" He had no idea what
was in the FEIS for the rail yards and had
no idea of what the technology we're
developing does. Bradley asked NRDC if
our steam boiler could be "an incinera-
tor," belying not only his ignorance of
permitting procedures, but his ignorance
as well of NRDC's proud struggles
throughout the U.S. on behalf of commu-
nity groups fighting incinerators.
I know how hard it is for the voice of
progressive reform to be heard, having
spent my entire professional career pur-
suing it. But to be effective at reform, we
need to get it right. On environmental
issues, James Bradley seems incapable of
doing so.
Allen Hershkowitz
Senior Scientist
Natural Resources Defense Council
James Bradley replies: Allen Hershko-
witz's letter once again demonstrates that
his idea of dialogue is abuse, slander and
debasement. First, in our interviews for
the article, his target was the people of
the South Bronx who questioned his
beloved de-inking plant. Now, he has
turned his bile on a journalist who report-
ed that there are people in the communi-
ty angry about the way NRDC and
Banana Kelly's project has been forced
upon them without their input.
Hershkowitz begins his harangue by
citing the October 4th UDC hearing and
its large enthusiastic crowd as evidence
that the South Bronx is behind him all
the way. As reported in the October 5th
El Diario/La Prensa, however, the audi-
ence was mostly composed of Banana
Kelly tenants and workers brought in on
some five buses. Yes, Banana Kelly has
the resources to mobilize; no one ever
questioned that. But the point of my arti-
cle was that the people of the South
Bronx would like more input on this vital
issue. Just because Banana Kelly can
bring in busloads of supporters does not
mean the people have spoken.
But what to make of Panama Alba? He
now tells me he regrets his statements at
the UDC hearing quoted in Hershkowitz'
letter and says he misunderstood what
the UDC grant was all about. All I can say
is, when I interviewed Alba in August, he
was unequivocal in his denunciation of
the project. Here are some excerpts:
"Banana Kelly has not been willing to
sit down and have an open forum with
the community to explain themselves.
On the basis of this, we cannot support
the project.... For the sake of expediency,
they're willing to forgo community input.
The NRDC has taken a very paternalistic
[attitude] .... They seem to think they are
advocating on behalf of the grassroots.
But the rules they promote only apply to
other people, not themselves, because
they have been very antagonistic. They
never felt the responsibility toward the
South Bronx community. They believe
because they are the NRDC, they should-
n't have to. That's not an acceptable posi-
tion for us .... The average person on the
street does not know what's going on.
These are back room deals to which the
community is not privy. So for [Banana
Kelly and NRDC] to say that there's com-
munity support is pure bullshit."
As for Hershkowitz's red herring
regarding Community Board 1, I did what
any responsible journalist would do. I
called Board 1 and requested to get the
board's response to the de-inking mill (not
the board chair's). Crespo returned my
call, and he was speaking on behalf of the
board-which is what district managers
are paid to do-when he said: "We have
not done any research, we have not taken
any action concerning this particular pro-
ject." If Rodriguez has given uncondition-
al support to this project without doing
any research, then he will have some
explaining to do to the community.
I went into the interview at NRDC's
offices with an open mind, looking for
hard data about the de-inking plant and
nothing more. Hershkowitz, on the other
hand, immediately perceived me to be
the enemy (as he concedes in his letter's
opening paragraph), and was hostile,
antagonistic and obnoxious, disregarding
most of my questions and waxing indig-
nant when I dared to raise any of the con-
cerns community activists had voiced
about the mill. When I had the unthink-
able gall to question whether any sludge
would be landfill ed-something the
company directly said it was going to do
in the FEIS, you know, that document I'm
so ignorant of-both Hershkowitz and his
colleague Vernice Miller became out-
raged. At least Hershkowitz managed to
remain in his seat; Miller shouted
obscenities at me, stormed out of the
room, then returned moments later to
throw a copy of City Limits at me. A class
act. The entire interview was an embar-
rassing and degrading experience, through
and through.
Why all this hostility? Because of an
article I wrote for City Limits last May
that was critical of the city's recycling
program. I thought that piece was a sepa-
rate matter and wholly irrelevant to this
issue. Not Hershkowitz. "We all took that
[article] as a real slap in the face," he told
me. "You spurned our advice." So that's
it. Never mind that NRDC was not men-
tioned once in that article, or that the
NRDC person I interviewed for the piece,
Mark Izeman, was also harshly critical of
the city's recycling program. No matter.
To Hershkowitz, if you criticize the city's
recycling program, you criticize him.
This is the level of hubris we're dealing
with when we talk about Allen
Hershkowitz, and this is exactly the type
of institutional arrogance my article
sought to report. 0
WHAT YOU DON'T
KNOW CAN HURT
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1 STEUBEN PLACE ALBANY, NY 12207 FAX 518 • 433 - 0689
PROFESSIONAL DIRECTORY
RESG provides non-profits and managing agents with
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Call (718) 892-5996
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SPECIALIZING IN REAL ESTATE
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KOURAKOS & KOURAKOS
Bronx,N.Y.
(718) 585-3187
Attorneys at Law
New York, N.Y.
(212) 682-8981
LAWRENCE H. McGAUGHEY
Attorney at Law
Meeting the challenges of affordable housing for 20 years.
Providing legal services in the areas of General Real Estate,
Business, Trust & Estates, and Elder Law.
217 Broadway, Suite 610
New York, NY 10007
(212) 513-0981
William .Jacobs
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77 Quaker Ridge Road. Suite 215
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CITY LIMITS/DECEMBER 1994/29
JOB ADS
EMPlOYMENT MANAGER. To supervise job placement and pre-employment
training program. Ability to manage people, administer government con-
tracts, develop new employment programs and analyze new city and state
programs/policies. Must be sensitive to needs of low-income people. Strong
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DEVB.OPMENT SPECIALIST. Responsible for all aspects of Minority Business
Development including writing business plans, counseling new program
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Spanish speaking a plus. BID DIS1WICT MANAGER. Responsible for holiday
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ability to work independently. Positions also available in Industrial
Development, BID Development, Entrepreneurship Training and
Employment. Send cover letter and resume to: Nancy Lasher, Director of
Economic Development, St. Nicks Neighborhood Preservation Corporation,
11-29 Catherine Street, Brooklyn NY 11211. Or fax to: (718) 963-1905.
ASSISTANT TO THE EX£CUllVE DIRECTOR. Growing Brooklyn nonprofit housing
and youth services agency seeks an energetic self-starter for position with
diverse responsibilities including assisting Executive Director in agency oper-
ations, producing agency newsletter, media relations, assisting in project
development and fund raising, organizing special events, maintaining data-
bases, and special projects. BA degree, 2 years related experience and
strong writing, interpersonal and organizational skills required. Salary to
$30,000 commensurate with experience. Mail/fax resumes to: Executive
Director, East New York Urban Youth Corps, 539 Alabama Avenue,
Brooklyn NY 11207, Fax (718) 922-1171.
COMPTROlLER AND LENDER. Organization which provides loans and advisory
services to nonprofits has two openings: one as Comptroller and another in
lending. The Comptroller position requires 2-4 years experience in a financial
capacity, preferably in a nonprofit setting, and degree in accounting or relat-
ed field. The lending job is a new pOSition for a growing $6.5 million loan fund
and requires experience or training in lending and credit analysiS, as well as
knowledge of NYC nonprofit community. Resume and letter to: Associate
Director, Nonprofit Facilities Fund, 12 West 31st Street, 2nd Floor, NYC
10001. Minorities encouraged to apply.
PROGRAM SUPERVISOR. MSW or equivalent degree in human services field,
experience with persons with developmental disabilities preferred, to super-
vise community residential program in Upper West Side operated by voluntary
nonprofit CBO. Oversee development of individualized service plans. Salary
commensurate with experience. Contact: Myrta Cuadra. Tel: (212) 666-1300
Fax: (212) 749-5021.
SECRETARYICRA ASSISTANT. East New York Savings Bank is currently seeking
a secretary/CRA assistant to assist the Community Development Officer in
developing and implementing the bank's community reinvestment program.
Requirements: Strong typing and computer skills, including extensive knowl-
edge of MS Windows, Word and Excel. Experience and interest in working with
community development corporations. Bachelor's degree required. Mid to
high $20s, excellent benefits, limited evening work required. Send cover letter
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PlANNER. Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental
Development (PICCED) seeks an experienced Urban Planner to provide com-
prehensive neighborhood planning assistance, as well as project-specific
technical assistance to nonprofit community-based development organiza-
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community-based developers. M.S. and 5 years experience in hands-on low
income community development and related issues (or equivalent combina-
tion of education and experience) and facility with planning and development
computer applications (e.g. Lotus, Dbase, Wordperfect, Maplnfo, etc.)
required. Spanish speaking a plus. Salary to $35,000 plus benefits for this
grant-funded position. Review of resumes to begin immediately. Please send
to: Department UP, 379 DeKalb Ave., 2nd floor, Brooklyn, NY 11205. An
AA/EOE. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.
COMMUNnY ORGANIZER. Organize tenant associations, community cam-
paigns, cooperatives and other projects for neighborhood-based. minority-
controlled, nonprofit CDC in East New York, Brooklyn. Creative person with
background in community based organizing, bilingual in Spanish/ English,
salary high $20s. Contact C. Porter, East New York Urban Youth Corps,
539 Alabama Ave., Basement, Brooklyn NY 11207.
PROFESSIONAL DIRECTORY
1'1,1I1IIill:! alld \ I'l'hill'l11I1'l' 10l'!lIl' '\oll-l'l'otil ( 01ll1l1l1llil\
Specializing in
Feasibility Studies, Zoning Analysis & Design of
Housing, Health Care and Educational Projects
Magnus Magnusson, AlA
MAGNUSSON. ARCIDTECTS
10 East 40th Street, 39th Floor, New York, NY 10016
Facsimile 212 481 3768 Telephone 212 683 5977
DEBRA BECHTEL - Attorney
Concentrating in Real Estate & Non-Profit Law
Title and loan closings 0 All city housing programs
Mutual housing associations 0 Cooperative conversions
Advice to low income co-op boards of directors
100 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201, (718) 624-6850
30/DECEMBER 1994/elTY LIMITS
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a project of the lawyers Alliance for New York, a n o n p r o ~ t organization
Real Estate. Corporate and Tax Legal Representation to Organizations
• Tax Syndications • Mutual Housing Associations
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• HDFCs • Not-For-profit corporations
• Community Development Credit Unions and Loan Funds
99 Hudson Street, 14th Fir., NYC, 10013 (212) 219-1800
JOB ADS
Director of Co-op Education and Activities
Educate! Stimulate! Cooperate!
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT. The New York office of the Low Income Housing
Fund is seeking a half-time (20 hours/week) administrative assistant. The AA
will be responsible for office reception duties, answering telephones, secre-
tarial and clerical tasks and office administration. Job may develop into a full-
time position after one year. Minority candidates strongly urged to apply.
Please send resumes to: Low Income Housing Fund, 29 John Street, Room
803, NYC 10038. No phone inquiries please.
One of the most unique and historic
cooperative communities in the United States seeks
Director to oversee a diverse program of
cooperative education and community activities.
Candidates must possess a strong
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be able to generate a sense of cooperation
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able to work effectively in an environment that
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possess writing and editing skills;
support the activities of a wide range of volunteer
community groups and organizations;
experience working with volunteer boards and
as part of an organizational team.
Interested candidates should submit a resume
and letter of application to:
Amalgamated Housing Corporation
98 Van Cortlandt Park So., Bronx, NY 10463
Attn: Manager's Office Fax: 718543-5743
PROJECT DlR£CTOR. LEAP, Inc. seeks project director to design and coordi-
nate community development projects and provide strategic and financial
technical assistance to small businesses that benefit low income NYC neigh-
borhoods. Position requires extensive experience in the areas of business
development, capital raising or community development finance. Send
resume and cover letter to Lyndon Comstock, LEAP, Inc. 111 Livingston
Street, Brooklyn NY 11201 (no calls, please).
CASE MANAGERS. Responsibilities: client intake, evaluation of family hous-
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plan to prevent evictions, maintain client case records. Qualifications: famil-
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ing or welfare advocacy, tenant rights, or eviction prevention services
desired. Good verbal and organizational skills. Ability to learn basic
computer programs. Salary: $26,000. SOCIAL SEJMC£ CASE SPECIALIST.
Responsibilities: Evaluate non·housing related risks of homelessness,
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issues, etc. Qualifications: AT least three years direct experience in social
service case management. Strong interpersonal and counseling skills.
Familiarity with word processing. BSW or MSW encouraged but not required,
all candidates with relevant work experience should apply. Salary: $35,000.
Community Food Resource Center strongly encourages applications from
people of color, women and bilingual people. Anticipated start date:
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Washington Street, 27th floor, New York, NY 10006.
LET US DO A FREE EVALUATION
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(212) 279-8300 FAX 714-2161 Ask for: Bola Ramanathan
CITY LIMITS/DECEMBER 1994/31
B A S I C D E V E L O P M E N T f I N A N C E
L ocation: S yracuse L ocation: S yracuse
D ates: D ecember 6 &. 7
D ates: February 6 &. 7
L ocation: N ew York C ity
L ocation: N ew York C ity
D ates: D ecember 13 &. 14
D ates: February 21 &. 22
A D V A N C E D f I N A N C E & L E G A L I S S U E S
L ocation: S yracuse
L ocation: S yracuse
D ates: January 10
D ates: M arch 6
L ocation: B uf f alo
L ocation: B uf f alo
D ates: January 12
D ates: M arch 7
L ocation: N ew York C ity
L ocation: A lbany
D ates: January 24
D ates: M arch 13
L ocation: A lbany
L ocation: N ew York C ity
D ates: January 26
D ates: M arch 14
D E S I G N & C O N S T R U C T I O N
._
I
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O C C U P A N C Y
I
For more information and to register for the seminar series
please call: 212·397·4139 or Fax: 212·397·1558.
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