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June/July 1992 New York's Community Affairs News Magazine $2.

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City Limits
Volume XVII Number 6
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---- - - - - --
The Looting of Hope
et's get straight to the point: President George Bush's nonresponse
to the Los Angeles riots is an insult to the people who live in South
Central L.A. and inner-city neighborhoods across the country.
For a moment, it looked like the outrage in California might grab
the short attention span of Washington's powerbrokers-and make them
look seriously at the needs of low income communities. This illusion
passed all too quickly. When 100,000 Americans and many mayors
recently marched on Washington, proclaiming, "Save Our Cities, Save
Our Children," the administration didn't even nod its head. Marlin
Fitzwater, the president's public relations flak, proffered no comment to
the New York Times, except to say, "I don't know anything about it. We
have marches every weekend."
Fitzwater's statement exemplifies the Bush administration's complete
absence from the urban policy arena. While administration officials may
want to frame the Los Angeles riots as a law and order issue, the real crime
is being perpetrated on inner-city communities by Washington. It's the
crime of neglect, the violence of ignorance, the looting of all hope for
There's little reason to debate the relative merits and demerits of the
pathetic little programs that Washington is handing down to South
Central L.A., or the tired old ideas to "greenline" the inner-cities with tax
incentive programs for businesses. Did any of the unemployed teenagers
or overburdened mothers get up and shout: "We want business enterprise
zones!" Of course not-the zones are the brainchild of conservative social
policy preppies, not inner-city residents. Local people have more tan-
gible solutions: Jobs, Housing, Health Care .
Washington should take a look at what's happening in New York,
where the undoable-spending significant sums of government money to
rebuild communities-is being done. Yes, the city's 10-year housing plan
has serious flaws. But get the president and his deputies to the South
Bronx, where entire blocks have been rebuilt by nonprofit developers,
transforming burnt-out shells into fledgling communities.
It's time for the government to seriously consider the work of commu-
nity development corporations. Their achievements, challenges and
turmoils should be setting the stage for social policy decisions. And there
needs to be a new commitment to the merits of community organizing,
which channels frustration and rage into tangible social change.
All of this could still happen. But it requires something in very short
supply in Washington. First, recognition that solutions exist. Next,
* * *
City Limits is pleased to announce that we've received still another
professional plaudit. Lisa Glazer's April 1991 article about racial steering
at the housing authority, "World's Apart," received an honorable men-
tion prize from the 1991 Citizens Housing and Planning Council journal-
ism contest.
* * *
Those of you who subscribe to City Limits should expect some extra
mail soon from us-we're in the midst of a campaign to bring in new
subscribers. Here's the deal: buy a subscription for a friend or colleague-
or get them to subscribe-and we'll give you a three month extension on
your subscription. Sign up two or more friends and we'll give you an extra
six months on your subscription-free!
For those of you who borrow City Limits from friends, see it occasion-
ally at bookstores or pick it up for free at your office, this subscriber
campaign is also for you. A yearly subscription is a real bargain-just $20
for news you won't find anywhere else. 0
Cover photograph by Barbara M. Bachman.
1 I ' ~ ' j " 1 1 I
Empty Promises
Welfare reform was meant to move women off welfare
and into the work force. It isn't happening. 12
The Looting of Hope ................................................ 2
Senegalese Activists ....... ...... ... ....... ............. ...... ..... . 4
TIL About-Face ............ ......... ............. ..... ......... ........ 4
New Jersey Shelter Baron ........................................ 5
The Dynamic Duo .................................................... 6
AIDS Crossroads ...................................................... 8
Failure of Democracy ............................................. 16
The Jekyll and Hyde Housing Program .... ............. 19
Comprehensive Planning-Not! .. ........ .................. 22
Read It and Weep ............. ... ........................ .... ..... .. 23
Letters ........................................................................ 24
Job Ads ....................................................................... 27
Dynamic/Page 6
~ - - - - - - ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Crossroads/Page 8
Empty Promises/Page 12
Senegalese street peddlers
living in a midtown single room
occupancy hotel are bOttling for
better living conditions from
their landlord----and thl!)"ve
overcome the potentiallY disas-
trous effects ot a that took
place this spring.
After the March 29 fire took
place at the Mansfield Hall
Hotel, the owners closed down
about a quarter of the building's
1 98 rooms and tried to stop
tenants from moving into empty
apartments elsewhere in the
building-effectively forcing the
tenants onto the streets.
However, an inspection by
the city's housing department
and a 12-hour protest by the
tenants forced the landlord to
allow them back in. The city is
now pursuing litigation to force
the landlord to make repairs at
the tired-looking brick building
at 226 West 50th Street. ''The
law is the law. Justice is for
everyone," says Moustapha
Sow, a tenant leader, explain-
ing the motivation behind the
tenants' fight against the land-
Since 1990, Sow and the
other tenants at the Mansfield
Hall have been to court twice
and staged several protests
against the Goldley
tion, which they accuse of trying
to force them out in order to
renovate the building and rede-
velop it as office space. Warren
Estes, a lawyer for the owner,
denies these charges.
The Mansfield Hall is an
eight-Roor building sitting in the
shadow of the some of the city's
prime luxury office and condo-
minium space, just across the
street from William Zeckendorf's
Worldwide plaza.
In 1990, after most tenants
refused a management buyout
offer, and some 50 of the hotel's
rooms were emptied and
boorded up, tenants a
harassment campaign began.
After several months with inter-
mittent heat and hot water and
deteriorating living conditions,
the housing department in-
spected the building and found
more than 300 housing code
violations, including collapsing
ceilings, foiling plaster, water
leaks in the public bathrooms
A sudden abaut-face by the
city's housing department has
left a of low-income
Brook!}'n tenants feeling be-
trayed after the agency told
them they could take control of
their city-owned building. Hous-
ing adVocates say the incident
highlights the lack of coordina-
tion between offices within the
Department of Housing Preser-
vation and Development (HPD),
and may reRect a shift in city
Eight months ago, the immi-
grant Chinese tenants of 604
East 17th Street in Brooklyn
were elated to learn that they
had been placed in the Tenant
Interim Lease (TIL) program,
which prepares tenants in city-
owned properties to become
:....--------11<1 shareholders in low-income
T .... nt AcIIoII: Moustapha Sow. a tenant at the Mansfield Hall Hotel.
says. "Justice is for everyone." Sow and other tenants are fighting for cooperatives. The city took
repairs following Q fire this spring. control of the property from
landlord Peter lee in the spring
of 1 990 because he failed to
pay $23,356 in taxes.
and rat and rooch infestation.
After city officials requested
in housing court that an outside
caretaker take charge of the
building, the landlord agreed to
make repairs. Together with
organizers from the West Side
SRO Law Project, the tenants
began negotiating with the
landlord and by the beQinning
of March many repairs had
been made. But then came the
Officials from the Fire
Department have not yet deter-
mined the cause of the blaze.
Meanwhile, Sow and two other
tenant leaders, Chiekh Dia and
Ousmane Sone, and a group of
about 200 tenants from Senegal
and other parts of West Africa,
keep pushing for their rights.
With rents between $65 and
$80 a week for a five foot by
nine foot room and a shared
bathroom, it is the best afford-
able housing the peddlers can
manage. As Sow says, "Before
you go out to sell, you need a
place to live." 0 Amy R .... lck
But early this spring the
tenants received a letter from
.the city, telling them that lee
wants the building back-and
that HPD is willing to give it to
him in exchange for the unpaid
taxes. Now, it's up to a little-
known panel called the In-Rem
Redemption Boord to accept or
reject HPD's proposal. Created
under the 1989 revision of the
City Charter, the boord is com-
posed of one representative
Families in the NYC Shelter System
and Where They Stay

Number of families In
each type of shelter, 4192:
Prime Rooms [llor 2',' 3,298
2,000 :I
IIlI DonnHorles [llor 1'" 339
HoIeIs 1,135
1I]0Iher 386
Total F.... 5,158
8189 4190 1:1190 8191 4192
Source: NYC Human Resources Administration.
from each borough president's
office, the City Council
speaker's office, the M.ayor's
Corporation Counsel and the
Commissioner of Finance. They
will hold a hearing and decide
the matter later this year.
The building's tenants sent a
letter to the housing department
protesting its decision. They are
also lobbying for support from
Borough President Howard
Golden. But they speak little
English, and they don't know
what to make of the contradic-
tory messages from HPD. "We
don't know what we're sup-
posed to do now," says Helen
Chu, president of the tenants
She says that Lee was a
troublesome landlord who failed
to make necessary repairs,
provide consistent heat and hot
water, or keep the building
clean. City Limits was unable to
reach Lee for comment. But
Jenny Rios of the Flatbush De-
velopment Corporation confirms
that the building needed major
repairs after the city took pos-
session two years ago. Her
organization is managing a
weatherization project for the
Under the usual housing
department guidelines, an
owner of property taken by the
city has four months to pay
overdue taxes and reclaim the
building. After that, there is a
20-month period when the
landlord can petition the city to
reclaim the property, but the city
has discretion over whether or
not to accept the request. Lee
filed such a petition two months
into that discretionary period;
about one year later the city
placed the building in the TIL
In a letter to the tenants, Joan
Wallstein of HPD's Division of
Alternative Management says
that department policy is to
allow owners the chance to
redeem property during the 20-
month discretionary period as
long as there are not "compel-
ling reasons" for denial. "HPD is
not aware of any such reasons
in this case," she wrote.
But long time housing advo-
cates who have followed the TIL
program from its inception say
the move by HPD is sUI"Rrising,
and signals a policy' shift. In the
past, they say, the aepartment
Hills. "You're perceived as
making money off the poor,
taking advontage of the
situation. But I'm not the cause
of the problem."
Berger suffered a scare last
February, when the Essex
County Prosecutor unsealed an
indictment charging Berger with
submitting fraudulent motel bills
that amounted to $310,000.
':""";....:...JIL--I"'I The indictment was subsequently
thrown out in April, however,
after the prosecutor decided that
the billing irregularities were the
result of clerical mistakes and
$pNIdnI Out Bahein Allah (with sign) and 300 other tenants of Fort
Greene's housing projects attended a town meeting in May to oppose
the city's plan to site an incinerator in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, next
to their homes (See City Limits, April 1992).
has not allowed landlords to
redeem properties once they
were placed in an alternative
management program like TIL.
Now, they fecir the city is seek-
ing to maximize tax revenue at
all costs.
Jackie Wilson of the United
TIL Coalition of Harlem, which
works with tenants in city-owned
buildings, says she can't under-
stand why the city put the I?rop-
erty into the TIL program after
the owner had tiled redemption
papers. "This incident is typical
of problems in the program,"
she says. "There is no uniformity
of policy dealing with these
buildings. "
The housing department
refuses to respond to the criti-
cism, explaining that the matter
is in the hands of the redemp-
tion board.
Meanwhile, the tenants are
not looking forward to Lee's
return as their landlord. "He
doesn't do anything for us,"
says Chu. "The apartments will
be freezing in winter." 0
Albert Nick ......
Welfare hotels reminiscent of
the worst New York City had to
offer in the late 1980s are still
scattered across northern New
where homeless children
and their families negotiate
hallways lined with drug deal-
ers, prostitutes, and the occa-
sional dead body. One man, a
former operator of Manhattan's
notorious Holland Hotel on
West 42nd Street, is reaping
most of the profits.
The Gorden State's homeless
population now approaches
30,000. Faced with a chronic
lack of alternatives, human
service agencies have turned to
hotels, an arrangement that has
produced astonishing profits for
39-year-old Miles Berger, prin-
cipal owner of motels in New-
ark, East Orange, Jersey City
and City.
Essex County, which shoul-
ders 40 percent of the state's
homeless caseload, relies almost
exclusively on Berger to provide
shelter to the homeless. He has
turned homelessness into a
virtual cottage industry, convert-
ing five of his properties into
transitional housing and charg-
ing state and local welfare
agencies $78 a night per room.
Tfie arrangement has helped
make him a millionaire many
times over.
Authorities won't say exactly
how much money Berger has
made off the state, but some
quick math provides a good
estimate. He operates 646
roams for homeless people, and
all his motels have been at full
capacity since 1989, by his own
account. At $78 per roam per
night, that comes to approxi-
mately $18 million annually.
That amounts to a large ?!rcent-
age of the money available for
such services in Essex County
and Newark, where the com-
bined shelter budget is $28
million. Berger says insurance
costs and upkeep at the motels
are "astronomically high" but
does not deny that homelessness
is good business.
"I've received lots of criticism
for housing the homeless," says
Berger, who lives in the exclu-
sive Newark suburb of Short
not outright fraud.
The vast majority of peaple
entering Berger's motels are
welfare clients referred by Essex
County and the Cit}' of Newark.
Berger is known to be a close
personal friend of Newark
Mayor Sharpe James, and is a
campaign contributor to Essex
County Executive Tom
D' Alessio. James would not
comment on the city's relation-
ship with Berger; D' Alessio,
meanwhile, maintains that there
is no quid pro quo. "We're not
proud of these motels,"
D' Alessio says.
But the city and county
continue to use them, despite
reports of bad conditions,
inadequate security, drug use
and violence. At the same time,
officials have dragged their
feet in developing alternatives.
Since 1987, Essex County has
created just 350 shelter beds to
offset the motel placements,
according to the head of the
county welfare department.
The fUnding for motel stays
comes primarily from state and
federal sources, although local
agencies decide how the money
is spent.
Berger has also had
extensive dealings with New
York City's Human Resources
Administration. During the
mid-1980s, HRA sent many of
its clients across the river to
Berger's motels, a situation
that provoked local outrage
over "homeless dumping" and
embarrassed Mayor James.
Berger also ran tf.e Holland
Hotel near Times Square while
it was going through foreclosure
proceedings in the late 1980s,
before the city closed it down
and began converting it into
permanent housing fOr homeless
singles.O .............
By Robert Hirschfield
The Dynamic Duo
Sherletta McCaskill and Grace Sefman are
a formidable advocacy team in the shelter system.
Our members of the Homeless
Clients Advisory Committee sit
scattered around an enormous
table in the Coalition for the
Homeless conference room, where
Sherletta McCaskill is thinking out
loud about the riots in Los Angeles,
and what they mean for homeless
people in New York.
"Social issues are
back on the front
burner," she says, pro-
posing another march in
New York City for hous-
ing-but with a new
twist. "Usually, the ad-
vocates organize, and
homeless people get be-
hind them. We want
homeless people to or-
ganize this rall y , and the
advocates to get behind
shelters, and they plan to organize at
eight more shelters across the city.
McCaskill, 33, is the first homeless
person to be hired as a staff organizer
by the Coalition for the Homeless.
The daughter of black Baptist minister
and civil rights activist Frank
McCaskill Jr., she came to New York
The other partici-
pants at the meeting-
Al J. and Jim Gellert,
two homeless men-
agree. This small group
is the core of the Home-
less Clients Advisory
Committee (HCAC),
New SIIIIIIIr AdhIIb: Sherletta McCaskill (left) and Grace Sefman.
which has been brought back to life by
two extraordinary women, Sherletta
McCaskill and Grace Sefman.
The two learned about HCAC when
an organizer came around to their
temporary home, the women's shelter
at 68th Street and Lexington Avenue,
and told them about the group. The
organizer said HCAC was formed by
homeless people who wanted to ad-
vocate for themselves, but she also
said it was falling apart. So Sefman
and McCaskill set out to revive it.
Flagrant Abuses
Founded in 1986 by homeless men
living at the large East Third Street
shelter, HCAC was originally led by
Glenn Thomas and Lucious Conway,
who monitored widespread and
flagrant abuses of the homeless by
shelter guards. Following in their
footsteps, the women have organized
client advisory boards at the Fort
Washington, Sumner and 51st Street
from Fort Lauderdale with the hope of
getting into the entertainment business
(she had been a music major at Mercer
College in Georgia). She wound up
doing telemarketing, but lost her job
when she fell ill with hepatitis and
couldn't return to work. Ultimately,
she couldn't pay her rent, and she
ended up at 68 Lex, as the shelter is
known to its residents.
"I was never homeless before,"
recounts McCaskill. "My first impres-
sion was that shelters were horror
houses, you were at the mercy of
administrators. They considered you
a nonentity, a number."
Sefman, 27, grew up with low
income families on Manhattan's
Upper West Side, and saw many of
them become homeless in the 1980s
as a result of drugs and gentrification.
She herself became homeless when
family problems forced her to leave
her home and she couldn't afford an
apartment on her own.
Sefman's mother was a volunteer
for the legal services division of
Mobilization for Youth, one of the
original anti -poverty organizations, so
both women come from activist
backgrounds. They met in 1990 and
decided to run for the top spots on the
client advisory board of 68 Lex.
Previously, Sefman recalls, "Those
that headed the client advisory board
advocated for themsleves, not for the
population. "
Bad Food
Bad food and the periodic abuses
of clients by shelter guards were the
women's campaign issues, and they
won easily. Thanks to
their organizing efforts,
the meals at the shelter
are more balanced
because salads are some-
times served, easing the
reliance on cold cuts and
cereal. There are still
abuses by shelter guards,
but Sefman and McCas-
kill say they have
decreased since they be-
gan distributing com-
plaint forms to shelter
residents. The women
have also succeeded in
lengthening the hours
!Ii! that shelter residents can
~ use showers, a godsend
~ for homeless people who
work or stay outside at
night and want a shower
when they return in the
early hours of the morning.
Looking to broaden their base, the
two have linked up with the Housing
Solidarity Network, which last
December brought together squatters,
tenants and the homeless for an anti-
eviction rally in Union Square. They
maintain contacts with the Union of
City Tenants in the Bronx and belong
to Homeless Organizations Working,
a coalition of homeless advocates.
American Bantustans
Coalition building beyond the
shelters walls is one way the women
want to expose the city to the hidden
reality of shelter life. "The world of
the shelters is a sealed-off world,"
says McCaskill. "The shelters are
American bantustans. They are cut off
from the city and from the community
at large."
She speaks of how frustrating it can
be trying to build political awareness
at the Brooklyn Women's Shelter. "It's
oq.t in the middle of nowhere, near an
abandoned warehouse. How can you
expect people to participate in their
self-determination when they are so
isolated?" she asks. But she's seen it
happen. "What's exciting is watching
"Trying to
organize 8,000
homeless singles
when there are
just two of you is
daunting. "
lightbulbs go on over people's heads
when they realize that information is
The shelter reality has taught them
flexibility. "Everyone in the shelter
has a complaint, " says Sefman. "So
when we work together, one of us has
to listen to all the complaints, while
the other goes on with the organiz-
Pooling their particular strengths
has been a necessity. "Trying to
organize 8,000 homeleS6 singles when
there are just two of you is daunting, "
points out McCaskill. Sefman' s
bulldog tenacity will prod McCaskill
to haul herself to a shelter even when
she may not feel like going. But in
matters of social interaction,
McCaskill describes herself as "more
of a diplomat. "
The women are not easily deterred.
They stood up to Andrew Cuomo at
hearings held by the Mayor's
Commission on the Homeless ,
bringing a petition signed by 3,500
homeless people, demanding that the
homeless be given 50 percent
representation on city policy commit-
tees dealing with homelessness.
Plugging Away
"Homeless leaders come and go
like shooting stars," says Larry Wood,
a housing advocate who helped set up
the Housing Now! march on
Washington. But [McCaskill and
Sefman] have been consistent. They
keep plugging away, they keep
organizing. Their self-empowermen.t
message and their demand that the
voice of the homeless be heard can't
be emphasized enough. " Kristin Morse
from the Coalition for the Homeless
goes even further, "What they are
doing sends a clear message to the city
that homeless people themselves are
a force to be reckoned with."
Despite these strong endorsements,
McCaskill's voice remains soft, even
when addressing the tasks ahead of
her. A whole new face has to be put on
the issue of homelessness, she says.
"We are dealing with need. Housing
is a basic human right. But low income
housing alone will not solve the
problem: We need community-we
need to take control of our neighbor-
hoods." 0
Robert Hirschfield is a freelance writer
living in New York.
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Could Bhopal Happen Here?
A conference on
Toxic Air Pollution and Accident Risks in New York City
Tuesday, June 16,1992,9 AM to 5 PM
for public officials, policymakers, and interested citizens
New York Urban Coalition. 99 Hudson Street. Manhattan
(A.2.3 lines to Chambers St . 1 line to Franklin St.)
Sponsored by Consumers Union/Consumer Policy Institute
NYC Department of Environmental Protection
To reserve a place at the conference. please call Greg Williamson. 914-378-2455.
Conference registration: $10.00 per person. Lunch will be provided.
By Andrew White
AIDS Crossroads
State officials have a new plan to improve AIDS care
in inner-city neighborhoods. Some community
leaders say they're making all the wrong moves.
ith all the screaming head-
lines in city tabloids and
scalding rhetoric in the New
York City Council in recent
weeks, it's easy to believe that black
and Latino groups are at war with gay
organizations over the distribution of
government AIDS fund-
ing. There definitely is an
AIDS funding fight going
on, but it's not the one the
headlines and politicians
are talking about, and
sexual preference isn't
part of the debate.
Instead, neighborhood-
based groups are battling
the state in a dispute over
how best to provide AIDS
care to inner-city resi-
dents. The state has
money and a plan to do
just that-but neighbor-
hood groups say the plan
won't address their needs.
munities of color. But many of the
groups say that victory has proven
hollow, because officials at the state
health department's AIDS Institute
plan to give the money to hospitals,
clinics and other large agencies in an
effort to imitate the Community Ser-
more efficient than the networks of
small organizations. And besides, they
say, there are other sources of money
to help the HIV networks continue
their work.
Cases Soaring
The number of cases of AIDS in the
city's black and Latino neighborhoods
is soaring. During the 18 months prior
to March, 1992, AIDS cases in
Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant and
Crown Heights increased by about 43
percent. In Tremont, Morrisania and
High Bridge in the Bronx, the rate was
about 41 percent. Meanwhile, on
Manhattan's mostly white west side,
where the disease still
affects a higher propor-
tion of the population
than anywhere else, the
growth rate during the
same period was less than
30 percent.
Officials admit that
government money for
AIDS services has been
slow to move into the
city's Latino and black
neighborhoods. The
health department's new
plan is meant to change
that. The plan is based on
a system established in
the mid-1980s that still
dominates state funding
for AIDS programs. At
that time, the AIDS
Institute created six large,
state-chartered service
Two-thirds of state
funding for community-
based AIDS services goes
to seven large, institu-
tional organizations
known as Community
Service Programs, all but
one of them created by
the state health depart-
ment in the mid-1980s.
But smaller groups in the
city' s poorest neighbor-
hoods also provide all
:I: organizations modeled
1 after the successful Gay
Men's Health Crisis
(GMHC), the multi-
L--______ ____ million dollar organiza-
Stnaed Old: Miguelina Maldonado of the Hispanic AIDS Forum says
current funding doesn't allow her to hire sufficient administrative staff. tion that pioneered the
coordination and man-
kinds of services to a speedily grow-
ing population of AIDS and HIV-af-
fected people. In the past three years
many of the groups have joined to-
gether with minimal private and fed-
eral support to form "HIV networks"
in East New York, Bedford-
Stu yvesant, the South Bronx, East and
Central Harlem, Jamaica and Staten
After an explosive budget battle in
Albany in March, the neighborhood
groups believed they had won a major
victory when the Black and Latino
Legislative Caucus pushed through a
measure allocating $3.9 million in
additional funds for AIDS care in com-
vice Program model in inner-city
neighborhoods. The neighborhood
groups say the money would be better
spent shoring up their own inadequate
staffs and improving their services.
"It's the philosophy of community
empowerment versus the philosophy
of outside contro!," eXflains Debra
Murphy, coordinator 0 the Central
Harlem HIV Network. "The state's
model is incongruous with the model
that exists in Harlem. The concept is
basically flawed."
But state officials and their sup-
porters see it differently. They argue
that the new, large community-con-
trolled AIDS service centers will be
agement of a wide range
of AIDS services.
Originally, these six state-chartered
Community Service Programs (CSPs)
were designed to coordinate services
for AIDS and HIV-related clients
across wide swaths of the city. Two of
them covered Manhattan along with
GMHC; the other four each covered an
entire borough.
But times have changed, and more
than 36,400 city residents now suffer
or have died from AIDS. The seven
CSPs, which include the Brooklyn,
Bronx, Staten Island and Upper
Manhattan AIDS task forces, and the
AIDS service centers of Lower
Manhattan and Queens County, share
Increase in number AIDS cases per able form of care
a total of more 100 000 d Its
than $13 million of AIDS cases ,a u for the sick and
in state funding. are more adept at
But even they (between September, 1990 and March 1992) (as of March 1992) negotiating local
institutions and
agree that they 40%
cannot provide 2,000 neighborhood
adequate services streets. They also
to every type of 30 I,. provide a base for
HIV-affected education and
population across 1,200 prevention.
their districts. 20 Fully five
Mea n w h il e , percent ofrecent
neighborhood- 10 New York City
based nonprofit AIDS patients
groups must com- lived in Central
pete for small HarlemasofSep-
grants that mostly Sources: Heaffh Systems Agency, NYC Department of Heaffh Source: NYC Department of Heaffh t e m be r 1 990 ,
range from about according to the
$50,000 to All E __ Paape: Black and Latino neighborhoods are seeing a rapid increase in AIDS cases, Health Systems
$85,000 each. but Manhattan's west side is still home to the largest number o/people with AIDS. Agency. Since
Those grants are then, more than
targeted for specific services and don't the things they need to absorb the 500 neighborhood residents have de-
cover many administrative costs, money that's out there," including veloped AIDS symptoms. Yet funds
while the multi-million dollar CSPs $35 million in federal aid about to be are so scarce in the neighborhood that
get money for administrative staffers distributed by the city. "They need there isn't a single emergency food
like grantwriters and program more help than I'm always able to program in the area, Murphy says.
managers. give." And there is no home health care
That difference has stirred Still, the community organizations agency that is certified or funded to
resentment of the CSPs among are emphatic that they should be the work with homebound AIDS patients.
neighborhood-based organizations. front line in the AIDS fight in "You've got a situation here that's
Besides, says Joanna Omi, director of communities of color. "The most getting ready to blow up," says Debra
Mayor David Dinkins' HIV Planning disenfranchised populations, they Fraser-Howze of the Black Leader-
Council, the "CSPs are creatures of historically do not return to hospitals ship Coalition on AIDS. "If we don't
the state. They were not created by a and huge conglomerates for follow- have the means to deal with it, we're
community recognizing a need and up," says Murphy from Central saying our people are dispensable."
dealing with it. They always will be Harlem. "They are more likely to use
seen as brought in from outside." smaller, less intimidating agencies that The Paradox
are more user friendly. People here
HIV Networking can speak their language, they are
The state's new $3.9 million plan is
based on the CSP concept rather than
the HIV Network model, says John
Egan from the state's AIDS Institute.
The Institute expects to divide most
of the money between six to 12 minor-
ity-controlled organizations around
As the crisis mounted during the closer to the problem. " In a community
last three years, foundation grants and where homelessness and illiteracy are
federal money moved in to the poorest rampant and fear of authority is com-
neighborhoods to fill the growing gap mon, she says, community-based
in services by creating a counterpoint organizations provide a more person-
to the CSP model: the neighborhood-
based networks that coordinate AIDS
and HIV programs. The networks
quickly improved the efficiency of
services and helped small organiza-
tions raise money. In East New York,
for instance, the network has inter-
twined two primary care clinics with
a legal services agency, food programs,
a drug treatment program and two
mental health facilities. Referrals
between the organizations are virtually
immediate, says Philip Reed, the
network's director, because everyone
participating knows one another.
But Reed hasn't got the time or the
resources to help the community
organizations in his network raise as
much money as they need. He says
the groups lack resources for "admin-
istration, reporting, bookkeeping, all
Services to Relocated Families
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The American Red Cross in Greater New York
Monday, June 15,1992
Please call (212) 875-2293 to enquire.
This conference will provide an opportunity for agencies to
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problems. We look forward to seeing you!
em UMRS/JUNE/JULY 1992/1
the state by next September. The orga-
nizations will use the money to create
new "multi-service" agencies in their
neighborhoods. As more money flows
in during the next few years, the agen-
cies will undertake everything from
counseling and HIV testing to case
management, policy analysis, com-
munity organizing, education and, in
some cases, primary care.
The new agencies could substan-
tially change the way AIDS and HIV
services are provided in minority
neighborhoods, critics say, moving
resources away from existing com-
munity service agencies and into the
ones that win the new grants. After
the first year, funding for the multi-
service agencies is planned to continue
and possibly increase, officials say.
Egan denies that the new program
will divert resources, but he agrees
that very few existing organizations
have the track record and capacity to
qualify for the new funding, and some
of those are hospitals. Still, he de-
fends the plan, saying that it is de-
signed to complement other programs.
He notes that the health department is
trying to provide more administrative
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718 636-3709 Fax
money for smaller community groups
through its regular program grants.
But his own colleague, Vince Marone,
deputy policy director at the AIDS
"All communities
should determine
for themselves
what they need.
That's what's
missing. "
Institute, says the standard grant is so
small that "it doesn't leave much room
for infrastructure."
The argument that there are other
funding sources that can solve the
immediate needs of community-based
organizations is met with disbelief by
Miguelina Maldonado, director of the
Hispanic AIDS Forum, a community-
based nonprofit serving Jackson
Heights and Mott Haven. She juggles
grants from five different government
sources along with foundation and
corporate money, for a total of $1.1
million. Yet none of the funders allow
her to hire basic administrative staff.
"I don't even have funding for a full-
time fiscal officer," she says.
The state's approach is a Catch-22,
says John Hatchette of the People With
AIDS Coalition. "The argument is that
you can't transfer funds to the com-
munity-based organizations because
they can't provide services with any
consistency or reliability. So then we
turn around and don't give them the
funds they need to build their infra-
structure and provide those services"
consistently and reliably. "All com-
munities should determine for them-
selves what they need," he says.
"That's what's missing from the whole
The community organizations
won't disappear, though, says Debra
Murphy. "The clients will continue to
be underserved. And service provid-
ers are really getting fed up, to the
point that there will be more overt
criticism of the state, more political
advocacy from the communities," she
says. "1 think it's unavoidable." 0
em UMIfS/]UNE/JUL Y 1992/11
Welfare reform was meant to move women off welfare
and into the work force. It isn't happening.
n the wall out-
side Room 401
in the South
Bronx welfare
office on Rider
Avenue is a large, framed
illustration of a
Monopoly board with a
difference. The squares
on the board have names
like Education Avenue,
Independence Place and
Employment Avenue.
And one corner of the
board is home to a large
pair of smiling red lips
accompanied by a
single, tantalizing word:
"Paycheck. "
reform funds. "I don't
know whether it is a
timing thing... I don't
know whether it is the
recession, I don't know
exactly why. But I am
very concerned."
False Stereotypes
While Zall-and wel-
fare reform supporters
may blame start-up
glitches and the down-
turn in the economy for
the dismal job placement
rate, welfare rights advo-
cates point to serious
problems in the way the
program was conceived
and enacted. They say
the program was created
But it's very doubtful
that the women waiting
on hard blue plastic
chairs inside the welfare
office will end up as
smiling recipients of a
paycheck. They're part
of a historic social ex-
periment called welfare
reform-and it already
appears to be failing in
New York.
~ from false stereotypes
~ that women on welfare
~ are lazy, and fails to ad-
~ dress the underlying
~ need forlong-term, high-
~ quality adult education
~ and job-training pro-
m grams.
T1cMt til Nowhere: Catherine ZalJ, who oversees welfare reform, says, "We're
not getting anyplace." Only one percent of BEGIN participants who are in
programs reporting back to the city are getting jobs.
More than 60 percent
of the city's BEGIN par-
ticipants are enrolled in
either literacy classes or schools that teach English as a
second language, but most of these programs last less than
a few months-which is nowhere near enough time to
learn the skills that form the foundation for all other
learning. Across the city, literacy, adult education and
job-training programs are underfunded, uncoordinated
and sometimes poorly run.
Begun in October 1990, welfare refol'm is part of a
national effort to get welfare mothers off public assistance
and into the workforce. New York City's version of the
program, optimistically named Begin Employment Gain
Independence Now (BEGIN), has signed up thousands of
women for 20 hours of basic education or job training a
week-but almost none have landed jobs.
According to a recent Mayor's Management Report,
about 18,000 welfare recipients took part in BEGIN last
year. About two-thirds of the women participate in
programs that report back to the city. Those programs are
reporting a job placement rate of only one percent,
according to Catherine Zall, the Human Resources
Administration official who is overseeing the city's welfare
reform efforts.
"Right now we are not getting anyplace. Our efforts are
not resulting in any measurable impact on employment,"
concedes the well-respected administrator, who supervises
the spending of $15 million annually in federal welfare
12/JUNE/JULY 1992/CITY UM,...
Nonetheless, Zall says, "I think we are doing a good job
as far as really investing in and expanding the educational
side." But many advocates say just the opposite: that
welfare reform relies on a haphazard array of literacy and
basic education programs in dire need of fundamental
"We're burning our bridges at both ends," says Liz
Krueger, a member of the Welfare Reform Network. which
is monitoring welfare reform. Besides frittering away
money on ineffective training efforts. she argues that
welfare reform shatters the hopes of women who believed
that BEGIN would be their ticket to a job.
"If they want to tell us this is what you have to do. then
~ I

~ J
it should be construc-
tive, " says Laura
White, a 36-year-old
mother of three who
attends a BEGIN job-
training program with
just eight hours a week
of instruction in read-
ing and basic math
skills, even though a
number of the students
are barely literate. "A
person reading at
fourth or fifth grade
level, give them school
just two days a week,
are they going to make
something out of that?
No! " says White.
still a good idea for
women to get training
and education so that
when the economy
picks up they can ap-
ply for and get those
And, he continues,
"There's some logic in
saying if you want to
change the culture of
welfare, then people
have to do something
in return [for their
welfare check], even if
it doesn't lead imme-
~ diately to a job."
~ Others disagree
~ vehemently. "This is
~ F.....a.tIon: Welfare reform participants have to sign up for job training or
Warning Signs education-but the city's adult education and training network is overburdened
really one of the cruel-
est hoaxes ever placed
on a large group of Despite all the warn- and underfunded.
ing signs that welfare
reform is bombing out, the program is moving forward at
a furious pace. That's because the city has to meet welfare
reform participation quotas to keep receiving federal wel-
fare dollars. About 240,000 single mothers receive Aid to
Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the main
welfare grant, and by 1995, 20 percent of welfare mothers
with children older than three who are eligible are meant
to take part in welfare reform. Eligibility is determined by
a number of factors, including the availability of day care
and the health of the woman and her children.
Enrolling all those women in training programs is going
to be an uphill battle, according to Zall. She says that even
meeting next year's quota-which requires participation
by 11 percent of those who are eligible-is going to be
Charting the progress of welfare reform may be even
tougher. Because of budget slashing, the Human Resources
Administration has cut back on statisticians. Asked for
information on how many women have taken part in
welfare reform since its inception-and how many have
received jobs-Zall is unable to provide an answer.
"I'm just trying to survive," says the former management
consultant. Two years ago, when she began implementing
welfare reform, Zall seemed upbeat, with a take charge
attitude to a program many advocates described as
untenable. Now she seems weary, besieged by budget cuts
and the enormity of the task ahead of her.
While welfare reform is off to a halting start in New
York, it's turning into an urban policy mantra for Democrats
and Republicans across the country. The original welfare
reform bill, the Family Support Act of 1988, was steered
through government by New York Senator Daniel Patrick
Moynihan, and he remains a staunch advocate, supporting
a boost in welfare reform funding nationally to $4.5 billion
from $1.5 billion.
"Our position is that this program will take time, we
need more money, we have to evaluate it," says Paul
Offner, a legislative aide to Moynihan. "What we're trying
to do is change a whole generation's attitude about going
to work." ,
Asked about the low job placement rate in New York, he
responds, "We're in the middle of a recession. But is It not
women," says Theresa
Funiciello, a former welfare recipient who now runs a
consulting firm, Social Agenda. "It's just one hurdle after
another, it's very destructive. It says there's something
wrong with you by definition, that you need fixing."
Welfare reform supports the notion that even menial
jobs will hel p women by bringing them into the mainstream
of American life-but the ground level reality looks very
different, according to a recent study by the Community
Food Resource Center. A mother with two children receives
$9,444 annually from welfare, and is able to stay home and
raise her children herself. A mother earning the minimum
wage and food stamps makes just $800 more-$10,244-
and she has to leave her children in day care.
Haphazard Array
The overburdened core of the welfare reform system is
the city's remedial adult education system, a haphazard
amalgam of quick-fix, underfunded programs that do little
for those who need the most help. While some women
involved in welfare reform will take advantage of child
care money and attend a community college or a voca-
tional program, about half of the city's welfare recipients
lack a high school degree-which means they have to
attend basic education, literacy or English as a second
language classes before they can go on to potentially more
substantive training and education.
But in the world of education, adult basic education is
a stepchild, with limited oversight and scarce resources.
And while welfare reform has funnelled an increasing
number of people into that already-marginal educational
system, it has not directed much more money into the
literacy and English language programs that are its foun-
"We have always been scrambling for funds in adult
education," says Helen Weinberg, who directs adult pro-
grams for the city's public schools. Garrett Murphy, who
coordinates literacy programs for the state's education
department, adds that because of limited funding, "We
tend to have small programs, some organized rather quickly,
others long-standing, but using old or excess buildings or
coming in after hours to use buildings that others have
Finding, training and keeping good teachers is a ex-
tremely difficult. Statistics aren't available for New York
City teachers, but a recent national survey of 2 ,800 literacy
programs at 24,000 sites showed that only 1,900 of the
teacher were full-time. "One of the things we are very
committed to is teacher training, but when a third of your
staff turns over every year and people are there part-time
or connected to three programs it is very hard," says Kay
Sardo, who oversees community-based literacy programs
funded by the city's Community Development Agency.
"Overall, instruction is not nearly as good as it should
be," in adult education programs, adds John Garvey, who
works in the adult education division of the City Univer-
sity of New York. "It is all too often not very different than
instruction provided in elementary schools. At least for
those students who come back having not done very well
the first time around, to come back and get more of the
same is not necessarily sufficient."
Women taking part in welfare reform-and other adults
in New York who need basic education--<:an follow four
routes for literacy training or adult education. The first
path-the most common by far-involves the multitudes
of literacy and education programs jointly funded by the
the city, the state and the federal government and admin-
istered by the City University of New York, the New York
City Board of Education and a network of community-
based organizations. The second-much smaller-path
includes programs run by the Department of Employment
and funded by the federal government's Job Training and
Partnership Act. There's also the for-profit trade school
route, which has been well-tainted by scandal because
numerous people have saddled themselves with federal
student loans, only to receive low-quality training. And in
the past few years, a few new programs have been set up
specifically for welfare reform participants by the Human
Resources Administration. This path combines basic edu-
cation with work-skills training and "job clubs" where
participants actively search for jobs.
All of these paths focus primarily on a short-term
approach that can be a trap for poor people and the
programs that are meant to serve them. "Train them and
get them out" to jobs is the prevalent attitude, according to
Weinberg. According to this thinking, she says, "If you
don't train them and get them out there, then the program
is a failure and that just proves that people are lazy." But
this ignores the lack of jobs that exist in a recession-and
the basic fact that many people need much more in-depth
training before they can move on to a job that's worth
taking, one that offers more than a poverty-level existence.
Just like programs for homeless families and unem-
ployed youths, adult education programs often end up
"creaming" off the people who are easiest to help, giving
them the most Meanwhile, those with the
greatest needs are left behind.
In an attempt to counter this trend, the city's Depart-
ment of Employment is establishing several programs
with federal Job Training and Partnership Act (JTP A)
funding that will attempt to give basic skills instruction
and job training to those with the most need. But with less
than 4,000 slotsinJTPA programs city-wi de-and with 40
percent of them going to welfare recipients-it is a tiny
resource in a city where over a million people are eligible
for JTP A programs.
Without programs that meet the substantive needs of
adults, it's common for people to move endlessly between
an array of inadequate programs. Loray, a 30-year-old
mother of three, ended up taking four literacy programs
before she finally passed her general equivalency diploma
(GED). She's still convinced she needs more education. "I
can read, but to understand behind the reading ... " Her
voice trails off softly. "I don't want my children to grow up
on welfare," she says. "I want them to have a better life."
Solutions Hardly A Mystery
If government officials are serious about helping women
on welfare move towards a better life, the types ofliteracy
and job training programs that are required are hardly a
mystery. Advocates and policy analysts agree that com-
prehensive programs, with one-on-one interaction be-
tween students and teachers, and programs that provide a
range of counseling, training, education and follow-up
services, are necessary.
These programs do exist-but they're extremely expen-
sive to run and in very short supply. Only about five
percent of adults in Board of Education literacy programs
attend comprehensive learning centers. The Board of
Education also has a highly-regarded program that teaches
refrigerator repair skills-but only one of three people
who apply can get in. Other highly thought-of programs
include those run by the Federation of Employment Guid-
ance Services, but these are only a drop in the basic
education bucket.
On a pragmatic level, it's extremely difficult for the city
to move in this direction. Administrators say they simply
don't have the time or the money to analyze what, if
anything, can be done effectively and cheaply.
"It is a very complex sort of combination of factors that
we really haven't had enough time to sort out," explains
Zall. "Of course we would like to see everyone make
tremendous progress in their educational component ... but
realistically that is not going to happen." She says that her
greatest hope is to give women a good, solid start in the job
With this clearly not happening, advocates say it's time
to rethink the underpinnings of the educational compo-
nent, if not the entire program. Garvey from CUNY insists
that it's possible to create an adult education system to
meet the needs of women on welfare and others who have
been left behind by the educational system. "What I think
we need to do is move toward articulation of a new kind
of institution and credential, a place for all those people
whether they are 16-year-olds or 42-year-olds who did not
complete a traditional high school education with some
genuine accomplishment," he says. People could go to the
schools for a few months or up to two years and could
prepare for a variety of opportunities--<:ollege, or job
training, or work. They would get a "fairly rigorous course
of study that would not be a recapitulation of a traditional
high school curriculum" but one appropriate for adults.
Garvey insists there's a choice. And that choice means
taking seriously the mostly poor, largely black and His-
panic adults who need literacy education the most. As he
wrote recently, "We must create ambitious educational
programs with high expectations for all. Instead of
remediation, which no matter its refinements, sets sights
at minimums, we will have to re-imagine a curriculum
which allows all students, even those least well prepared,
to learn important things and to learn them well." 0
Decent housing. Small business development. Worth
fighting for. That's why Brooklyn Union Gas started the Area
Development Fund three years ago. We committed $5 million to
create a revolving fund and to attract others to the cause.
In this good fight, we use equity investments; below-market
loans for site acquisition, pre-development costs, construction
and business expansion; bridge financing; letters of credit and
venture capital
1b date the Fund has contributed $8 million for housing,
small business development, and capital projects for cultural
institutions. We've gained dedicated allies among several '
private and public organizations. Their help has enabled the
Fund to leverage $8 million to $267 million.
Come, join us in fighting the good fight.. . shining armor
supplied. Thlk to Jan Childress at (718) 403-2583. You'll find him
working for you at Brooklyn Union Gas, naturally.
Union Gas
By Josh Kurtz
Failure of Democracy
Area Policy Boards were designed to foster
community control in the fight against poverty. They
haven't succeeded-and now they may lose power.
na stuffy South Bronx office that
stinks of stale cigarette smoke,
Simon and Garfunkel's "America"
blasts from a radio. Julio Munoz,
the chairman of Area Policy Board
Six, dusts a table at the front of the
room, then plugs in the coffeemaker
and begins to brew. Within minutes
on this spring evening, the room fills
to capacity. One by one, in a sort of
sociable group therapy, residents of
East Tremont vent their feelings about
what's wrong with the neighborhood
and what needs to be done. Then a
rail-thin clergyman-one of the few
white people in the room-rises.
"We suffer from paralysis of
analysis," says Brother Patrick
Lochrane, director of the Tremont
Community Council, a leading service
provider in the neighborhood that is
affiliated with St. Joseph's Roman
Catholic Church. "Can we come up
with a strategic plan, a comprehen-
sive plan" to deal with all these woes?
he asks.
neighborhoods get money for com-
munity-based organizations. If that
happens, the Dinkins administration
may eliminate Area Policy Boards in
Gladys Carrion, commissioner of
the Community Development Agency
(CDA) and a 40-year-old lifelong Bronx
resident, is the driving force behind
the likely reforms of the boards. A
one-time legal aid lawyer and counsel
to the state Workers Compensation
Board, Carrion says she was struck by
the "parochial interests" the boards
seem to represent when she took office
18 months ago. "There was a lot of
wheeling and dealing," she says.
"Certain factions in the community
tended to take over a board and fund
their favorite programs."
Unlike his neighbors, Brother
Patrick is steering the conversation
toward the heart of what the policy
board is all about: government money
and how to use it. His remarks put the
meeting back on track. Munoz, whose
job it is to moderate the discussion,
reminds the people that they are there
to talk about funding priorities for
community groups. the Shots: Commissioner Gladys Carrion may centralize decision-making about anti-
poverty funding.
Rituals like this take place regularly
in the city's 33 poorest neighborhoods,
as Area Policy Boards decide what
organizations should get federal anti-
poverty money. The boards distribute
a total of $13 million citywide to youth
service programs, anti-drug clinics,
housing agencies, and senior citizens
But the hearings this year are taking
on a different kind of dynamic for the
boards and the agencies they fund:
without providing many details, city
officials have vowed to restructure
the Area Policy Boards, drastically
reducing their powers. At the same
time, officials intend to overhaul the
formula they use to decide what
18/JUNE/JULY 1992/crrY UMII'S
neighborhoods that became gentrified
in the 1980s, and send their anti-
poverty money to other communities.
The changes are not coming out of
the blue-some people think they
should have been made long ago. Since
their inception in 1979, Area Policy
Boards (APBs) have been the source
of a boatload of controversy about
how they operate and who they fund.
The boards were set up to boost
community involvement in decisions
about anti-poverty funding and
decrease the influence of. "poverty
pimps"-politically connected
individuals who control the distribu-
tion of social service dollars in their
neighborhoods, lining their pockets
in the process. However, the almost
complete obscurity of the boards has
allowed them to be taken over by the
very same forces they were meant to
eliminate, critics say.
Optimistic Origins. Grim Reality
The administration of Mayor
Edward Koch created Area Policy
Boards in a flurry of optimism just a
dozen years ago. With more than $40
million in federal community block
grants to distribute at the time, the
administration sought to limit the
influence of corrupt neighborhood
The mayor divided control of the
money between the CDA and the 33
newly-created anti-poverty boards,
which consisted of as many as 21
members: five local elected officials
or their representatives, two repre-
sentatives of community institutions
like hospitals and merchants' groups,
and the rest elected by area voters
every four years. The boards decided
which neighborhood agencies to fund,
while CDA oversaw the organizations'
performance. The idea, according to
the boards' grandly worded by-laws,
was to "provide services and activities
which will produce the maximum
impact on the causes of poverty in the
communities," while ensuring "a
dynamic, evolving and substantive
process of community participation."
But participation in the elections
has been less than dynamic, to say the
least. The last time they were held, in
the spring of 1987,0.5 percent of the
voters came to the polls. The election
cost CDA about $700,000.
And in district after district,
patronage, mismanagement and
political infighting have marred the
policy boards' performance:
In the early 1980s, South Bronx
poverty Czar Ramon Velez installed
his allies-including his son, Ramon
Jr.-on different South Bronx policy
boards, and helped steer money to
friendly organizations, including an
employment referral center run by his
wife Caroline. Velez, his wife, and his
son pulled in salaries and fees worth
half a million dollars from govern-
ment-funded programs in one 18-
month period in 1987 and 1988, the
Daily News reported.
In the mid -1980s, state Attorney
General Robert Abrams investigated
two community organizations funded
by APB Three on the Lower East Side
of Manhattan, and CDA was ultimately
forced to overturn a series of the
board's funding decisions. At the time,
local poverty baron Roberto Napo-
leon controlled the majority of votes
on the policy board, and Abrams'
investigation found that Napoleon's
own organization, the Puerto Rican
Council, misused government money.
The chairwoman of APB 14 in
Queens, Bertha Thomas, was removed
by CDA in 1990 after she was charged
with soliciting a bribe from a commu-
nity service organization in the
Rockaways to fix a CDA contract. Last
year, Thomas pleaded guilty to a
misdemeanor in connection with
those accusations.
For years, Curtis Johnson was
chairman of APB Three in the
Morrisania section of the Bronx. He
was also president of School Board
Nine. In 1990, Johnson pleaded guilty
to taking $18,000 in kickbacks from
suppliers of school materials.
Carmelo Saez, who was recently
suspended as president of that same
school board by schools Chancellor
Joseph Fernandez, headed an organi-
zation called the United Nautical Ca-
dets, which has long received money
from local Area Policy Boards and
CDA. The Cadets run the New York
Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps, a
popular local entertainment group,
from an office in a neighborhood
school. Saez was forced to resign from
the Cadets a ,ear ago after CDA
accused him 0 seeking government
reimbursement for $1,051 spent on
musical instruments purchased from
a company he owns. And Fernandez
removed Saez from the school board
because Saez used school district
The last time
elections were
held, 0.5 percent
of the voters came
to the polls.
funds to make a promotional video-
tape for the Lancers. Despite all these
crackdowns, Saez' brother-in-law now
runs the Cadets, and the group
continues to receive close to $100,000
from two Bronx policy boards, and
more than $300,000 from CDA anti-
poverty programs.
Operating in Obscurity
Even when they're not mired in
corruption, many policy boards
operate in such obscurity that they
infuriate political leaders and
community activists. Last year, City
Councilwoman Ronnie Eldridge
called CDA in frustration when one of
the Area Policy Boards in her
Manhattan district refused to give her
a list ofits members.
"People are unaware of the Area
Policy Boards," says Matthew Lee,
director of Community on the Move, a
South Bronx homesteaders' group,
who monitors the official goings-on
in his community. "This whole policy
of local control is supposed to make
things grassroots and accountable, but
nobody knows of their existence."
A good example is the Bronx's APB
Six in East Tremont. While 40 people
attended the board's spring budget
hearing-a good turnout by any
standards-it quickly became appar-
ent that the turnout did not reflect
widespread public participation. At
least half of the 20 people who spoke,
including half a dozen teenagers, were
staffmembers or volunteers or clients
of the Tremont Community Council,
Brother Lochrane's organization. Of
the seven other community groups
funded by APB Six, only one, the
Bronx River Arts Center, sent a repre-
sentative to testify.
Not surprisingly, Lochrane's
community council gets $105,000 a
year from APB Six, nearly one-third
of the $331,639 the board doled out
this year. Lochrane is also chairman
of Community Board Six, and the
community council's chairman,
Thomas Murray, is a member of that
board. The circles of political action
and community service in the neigh-
borhood are small indeed.
Canceled Elections
Carrion agrees that the policy
boards are often not accountable to
their communities. So her department
has taken a few preliminary steps
toward restructuring the system. For
starters, Carrion canceled elections
for new board members, already a
year overdue. CDA extended the
funding for community organizations,
due to run out at the end of the fiscal
year this June 30, for another six
months. Normally at this time of year,
area policy boards would be debating
funding for a new fiscal year; instead,
members will decide what programs
get money beginning in January.
Beyond that, Carrion is not yet sure
how to proceed. Her statements
indicate that she feels CDA and the
boards should almost reverse roles,
with CDA deciding what social service
groups get funding and policy board
members acting as the agency's
watchdog in the community. She has
already taken to calling them
"community advisory councils" and
envisions the boards taking on a purely
advisory role, with one or two
members from each district serving
on a citywide board to help CDA
decide which local agencies to fund.
Some board members around the
city are applauding the commis-
sioner's moves. Carole Johnson,
chairwoman of APB Five in the East
New York section of Brooklyn for the
last decade, agrees that local people
could do a better job than CDA of
keeping track of the agencies that get
em UM .... /JUNE/JULy 1992117
But other board members are less
sanguine. Many of the local agencies
and the volunteers who put in long
hours on the boards fear that the
changes could threaten a grassroots
system of support for community
groups and the people they serve.
Sonia Dueno, chairwoman of APB 12
in Manhattan's Washington Heights
and Inwood, complains that the
commissioner's reforms are ill-timed.
She and many others say that the
sordid activities of some policy boards
is a thing of the past, and reform from
within has taken hold. "We work well
together" now, she says. "We know
what the needs of the community are.
Our participation enriches the process.
It's not the same if we're just advisory."
Regardless of the outcry, changes
are expected by 1993. Carrion has
commissioned a study from the New
School of Social Research, which will
help CDA decide how members of
newly-constituted boards are to be
Equally significant, some boards
may soon lose their funding entirely.
Currently, CDA is still relying on
formulas that were drawn up in the
late 1970s, based on the number of
public assistance recipients in each
community and their percentage of
the neighborhood's total population.
Due to
some neighbor-
hoods are likely to
lose anti-poverty
Due to gentrification and other shifts
in the city' s population, some
neighborhoods are likely to lose anti-
poverty money under this funding
formula. These include the Baychester
and Bedford Park sections of the
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Bronx, the Boerum Hill section of
Brooklyn, and Chelsea and part of the
Upper West Side in Manhattan.
Service providers in these commu-
nities are pleading with Carrion to
fmd some way to keep their programs
going. "The poor or the needy are not
just those who are taking entitle-
ments," says Eileen Eberts, an official
at the Bedford Park Senior Citizens
Center, which receives CDA funding.
Carrion says she is considering
revising CDA's funding formula to
take into account crime statistics,
school drop-out rates, senior citizen
populations, and homeless popula-
tions-but she hasn' t given any
indication that she aims to retain
funding for gentrified areas. She's
recently been holding public hearings
around the city to inform community
leaders of her plans and to get their
input. It is a nervous time for policy
boards and service providers. While
admitting that some agencies may lose
their funding, Carrion is determined
to press ahead, arguing that changes
will lead to a more streamlined and
efficient way of providing aid to the
groups that need it.
Still, the collapse of the policy
boards is to be mourned, says
Councilwoman Eldridge, echoing the
sentiments of many activists and social
service providers who have followed
their unhappy course through the
Like the school boards that have
been marred by scandal, the demise of
the Area Policy Boards offers a bracing
lesson for those who promote
community control of government
resources. In what many would
describe as an understatement,
Eldridge says, "The lack of participa-
tion in these local democracies that
we try to set up is a very sad commen-
tary on what goes on." 0
Josh Kurtz is on the editorial staff of
the New York Times.
City Limits has a limited supply
of "Women's Perspectives on
Neighborhood Development," a
booklet by the Women's Housing
Coalition, available for $5. Send
a check to City Limits, 40 Prince
Street, New York, NY 10012.
By Jill Weiner
The Jekyll and Hyde
Housing Program
The Emergency Assistance Rehousing Program
receives mixed reviews from advocates and
homeless families.
have never met. But they share
a past of poverty and home-
lessness and the hope of a new
life offered by a housing program that
gives hefty cash bonuses to landlords
who rent apartments to the homeless.
For Brown, that hope is gaining
ground. After six months in her new
apartment, her kids are registered in
the local schools and she is working
part-time while studying to become a
secretary. Her living room is deco-
rated in comfortable shades of beige.
increase the program by about 50 per-
cent to provide housing for 1,500
homeless families next year. And it's
cited as a potential model for a rental
voucher program that's promoted in
more than 100 homeless families in
EARP apartments in the past year and
a half. "There needs to be more moni-
toring and enforcement of landlords
not making repairs," he adds.
Roger Muney, the director of the
Division of Rehousing at the Human
Resources Administration, counters
that EARP is the next best thing to
building affordable housing and it
offers many families the opportunity
to live in neighborhoods they nor-
mally couldn't afford. While acknowl-
edging that the program has a rocky
past, he says it's grown and improved
dramatically and now provides "safe,
decent housing."
Even advocates find it difficult to
argue passionately against the pro-
But the last thing on Joann Lynch's
mind is a color scheme. A few months
ago, she received papers informing
her that a bank was on the verge of
taking control of her apartment
because the landlord had stopped
paying the mortgage. This topped off
a winter without adequate heat, peel-
ing paint from her living room ceiling
and a front door that perennially jams.
For all this, her landlady is more than
$7,000 richer because she chose to
rent the apartment to a homeless fam-
Brown and Lynch both received
their apartment through the Emer-
gency Assistance Rehousing Program
(EARP), which has placed more than
5,000 homeless families in private
apartments since 1983 and has a
reputation as the Jekyll and Hyde of
city housing programs.
On .... 8Itnk? Joann Lynch and her two daughters outside their apartment, where they recently
learned the landlady hadn't been paying off the mortgage.
In many instances, the program
offers excellent apartments in safe
neighborhoods where homeless
families can start to turn their life
around. But in other cases, apartments
are barely livable, with buckled floors,
leaky ceilings and sparse heat and hot
water. Though significant modifica-
tions have improved the program, a
basic flaw remains, according to
tenants and their advocates: there's
always the possibility of a return to
the shelter system once the 32-month
lease runs out.
Nonetheless, the city plans to
the recent report of the Mayor's Com-
mission on the Homeless.
Meanwhile, many other homeless
housing programs that produce per-
manently affordable apartments have
been cut back, leaving families from
the shelter system with few choices.
An EARP landlord bonus is far less
expensive than a complete renova-
tion of a city-owned apartment-or
the city's cost of sheltering a family-
which explains its attraction inside
government. But advocates say the
program is only a partial solution to
homelessness, and some have mixed
feelings about the expansion plans.
"The landlord gets an incredible
cash bonus and these families are at
risk again," says Bill Groth from the
American Red Cross, which has placed
gram. As Anne Pasmanick from the
Community Training and Resource
Center explains, "It's not an easy issue
to do battle against. You need the
A Quick Escape
The way the EARP program works
is simple: a landlord offers the city an
apartment for a family in the shelters.
The city runs a credit check and some
other background reviews on the
property owner and the apartment. If
the owner is approved, he or she signs
a homeless family to a 32-month
lease-and the city pays the landlord
approximately $2,300 for every
member of that family.
The EARP program has a number
of positive aspects for homeless
CITY UMn'S/]UNE/JULY 1992/1.
families. Usually a family has to spend
nine months in the shelter system
before qualifying for subsidized hous-
ing, but it only takes three months to
qualify for EARP. And families can
look at as many EARP apartments as
they wish before choosing which one
they want to live in-a vast improve-
ment on the policy for families look-
ing to move into apartments owned
by the city or the housing authority,
where they have a very limited num-
ber of choices.
The EARP program has gone
through a number of changes since its
inception. Originally, the city pur-
posely sought out landlords with
troubled buildings and the financial
bonus was meant to cover some of the
costs for repairs. City officials admit
that this approach failed miserably,
and they now look for buildings that
pass federal housing standards.
An equally glaring problem in the
early days of EARP was the phenom-
enon of families returning to the
shelter system once their lease ran
out. In response to this dilemma, city
officials modified EARP in 1989,
combining the initial bonus money
with a federal Section 8 housing
subsidy that remains available beyond
32 months. The federal subsidy makes
it lucrative for a landlord to keep
renting to a family; the family pays
about 30 percent of its income for
rent, then Section 8 makes up the
difference between that amount and
the federally-designated market rate.
In the original program, the city's
Department of Housing Preservation
and Development monitored land-
lords, but now that the Section 8
subsidy is part of the program, the
~ e w York City Housing Authority
Inspects apartments.
But this hasn't solved all of the
glitches within the program and has
even created some new ones. Some
advocates speak of apartments with
There's always the
possibility of a
return to the
shelter system
once the lease
runs out.
hazardous conditions passing in-
spections while others fail for trivial
reasons. Others say that housing
authority inspections simply aren't
thorough enough.
"The 1989 changes reall y promised
to turn EARP into a workable subsidy
program," says Steven Banks, the
director of the Homeless Families
Rights Project at the Legal Aid Society.
"But the problem in the last year is
there is not enough attention paid to
ensuring that units rented to families
meet code standards. "
Still, almost everyone agrees that
the current problems aren't as bad as
the ones with the original EARP
program-which many tenants are
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Lily Drollinger or Dorothy Lindley (212) 227-7770
still living with. This November
Elizabeth Santiago fell through t h ~
basement floor in her apartment where
heat and hot water are as absent as her
landlord. "I stepped down and my
whole leg fell in and my body
collapsed," says Santiago. "That lady
got all that money and never did
anything. " The landlady-Saheeda
Allie-vanished even as the city
moved to serve her with court papers
for failing to maintain the building.
Scoundrel Landlords
Besides Santiago's landlady, there
are some other scoundrels who have
received city money through EARP,
including Barry Glasser, Pritipall
Sabherwahl and Moishe Bodner, who
have all been written about in "Shame
of the City," City Limits' annual tally
of terrible landlords. According to
records obtained from the Human
Resources Administration, Sabher-
wahl, Bodner and Glasser have each
rented out at least one apartment
through the EARP program, reaping
thousands of dollars from the govern-
ment-even though the city's own
housing department has fought battles
in court against Bodner and
One reason these landlords may
have slipped through the cracks of the
city's monitoring system is that EARP
incorporates the efforts of three
separate agencies-the New York City
Housing Authority, the Department
of Housing Preservation and Devel-
opment and the Human Resources
Administration, with the latter in
charge. This amalgam of bureaucra-
cies creates layers of time-consuming
"When you have a problem with a
tenant in a bad building they pass the
buck a lot. You get bounced around, "
says Barbara Robb, a housing special-
ist from the American Red Cross.
The Section 8 inspection process
has also caused problems. Before a
tenant moves in,--' housing authority
inspectors check the apartment, and
they return a year later to reinspect.
When a landlord fails a re-inspection,
the Section 8 subsidy is sometimes
cut off, which is meant to be an
incentive for the landlord to make
repairs and win back the subsidy. But
this approach can backfire; landlords
can decide not to make repairs and the
tenants end up homeless again because
they can't afford the rent.
But the most vulnerable EARP
tenants are those living in small
buildings that are exempt from rent
control and rent stabilization. In these
buildings, landlords can raise the rent
as high as they want once the 32-
month lease is up. "We made a
decision to avoid referring families to
non-stabilized rental housing, says
Scott Auwarter of the homeless
families project at the Citizens Advice
Bureau in the Bronx.
No Follow-Up
Yet city officials defend the program
resolutely. Muney says that the
housing authority inspection process
is adequate and extra checks for
building code violations or delinquent
mortgage payments by the landlord
are unnecessary. Michael Handy, the
program's former director, notes that
last year 2,100 landlords offered apart-
ments but only 861 passed all the
reviews, and that the city sometimes
punishes landlords that let buildings
lapse into disrepair by forcing them to
pay back their bonus money. Still, it's
not clear whether EARP works as a
long-termmodelfor helping homeless
families because the Human Resources
Administration has no follow-up
procedure to check how families are
In fact, the task of evaluating EARP
has fallen on one of the nonprofit
organizations that place families in
the program-the American Red
Cross. Staff from the Red Cross are
currently surveying about 100 families
they've placed in EARP apartments to
find out whether or not they've held
on to their new homes.
One of the saddest ironies of the
program is that poor families
sometimes end up competing for new
housing with homeless families.
Andrea Lloyd was happy in her EARP
apartment until last year-but then
the buildJng changed hands and the
building started to slide into disrepair.
Officials from Section 8 intervened
and stopped the subsidy, and at first
her new landlord made some repairs-
but not for long. Lloyd is still living in
her EARP apartment but she's looking
for someplace new. "Section 8 says
they'll give me [a subsidy for] a new
apartment, but I tried that before I
went to the shelter system and nobody
wanted to rent to me, " says Lloyd.
"They'd rather rent apartments to the
homeless and get the lump of
money." 0
Jill Weiner writes regularly for the
Village Voice.
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ern UMITS/]UNE/]UL Y 1992/21
.,' 1'1,"
Planning Not!
s it possible to imagine the city of
New York putting down on paper
how it plans to solve its housing
problems? Congress thought so
and mandated a Comprehensive
Housing Affordability Strategy for
New York City.
The CHAS is
the most recent
in a long line of
plans required
of cities by
Congress; none
of them led to
much, except
the federal
money for
whose receipt
they were a re-
quirement. You
can lead a city
to subsidies,
but you can't make it plan.
Awkward Situation
New York City, like most other
places, doesn't want to plan for its
housing--certainly not in public. If
government officials plan openly, then
they have to let the public in on the
process; that gives bureaucrats and
politicians less freedom to do what
they want. People can question their
decisions and make life uncomfort-
able. And if the plan is published,
people might even read it and later
ask why what was promised didn't
get done. That's an awkward situation
that city officials prefer to avoid.
Yet the federal government requires
a Comprehensive Housing Afford-
ability Strategy. So the city's answer
is simple: comply fully with the formal
requirements, fill out the forms, but
let the result include as little planning,
as few commitments as possible. Thus
the New York City CHAS becomes a
respectable compilation of data and
programs, but it sets no real priorities
and commits the city to nothing other
than to spend whatever money it
City View is a forum for opinion
and does not necessarily reflect
the views of City Limits.
receives. Some of my students and I
did a detailed review of the CHAS and
found several key problems:
It doesn't tackle the hard ques-
tion of the resources really needed to
deal with New York City's housing
problems. Our analysis of the CHAS's
figures (it never pulls them together
itself) suggests a need for some 700,000
units of additional subsidized units
in the city. The programs the CHAS
lists add up at most to 114,250 units.
So there is a shortfall of 587,750 units.
Not a word is written about how that
need can be met.
It doesn't list priorities. The
CHAS includes a table of the housing
needed by different groups of New
Yorkers. There are 70 different groups
and the city labels the vast majority of
them "first priority." So there is no
real planning to serve people in accor-
dance with their needs.
It doesn't say anything about the
location of new or rehabilitated
housing: will it be placed in comfort-
able, middle-class neighborhoods or
clustered into areas that are already
home to very low income housing and
shelters? Will housing be used to
promote integration or further
segregation? The CHAS devotes less
than 20 words to these issues: "The
city attempts in every way possible to
promote ... integration ... throughout the
But is all this worth fighting about?
After all, this is just a federal form and
most official plans just end up gather-
ing dust on some bureaucrat's shelves
anyway. The answeris yes, itisworth
the fight-because a real plan could
chart us in the direction we need to
A real plan would begin with a
statement of goals and a definition of
needs. Then there would be an expla-
nation of the problems creating the
needs and a discussion of the best
ways to solve those problems. There
would be a section devoted to the
resources that are available, a pro-
posal (with alternatives) to use them,
and a feedback method to see if they're
working. If currently available re-
sources aren't adequate to meet the
needs, the plan would propose ways
of adding resources or, at the very
least, expose the magnitude of the
shortfall and its consequences. Then
we would know where we're at, where
we're going-and whether we can get
Push the Bush Administration
In the current climate of budget
shortfalls and crisis-driven govern-
ment, real planning like this might be
too much to hope for. But the CHAS
process as it exists still presents some
opportunities. The city could spell
out real priorities, explaining what it
expects to do with federal money and
why it absolutely needs more money.
An honest statement of what' s needed,
what's available and what the shortfall
is could serve as the basis of a
campaign to get the resources. A far-
from-stodgy plan could drive the Bush
administration to admit that much
more needs to be done than simply
passing an underfunded housing bill.
Finally, and most importantly, the
CHAS includes federal requirements
for public participation. New York
City had to compile the first plan
within an incredibly short deadline,
so there wasn't time for lengthy
hearings. The CHAS has to be updated
annually and this year public partici-
pation could be pushed to promote
true community input. Community
hearings could serve as a forum for
discussing the implications of the
city's housing plans in each neighbor-
hood. And they could help with the
most important task of all: organizing
people and achieving a unity of goals
at the community level that will
ultimately be the decisive factor in
whether or not New York's housing
problems are solved. 0
A more detailed analysis of last
year's CRAS is available from the
The public review period for the
next CRAS is expected to extend
between August 31 and October 31.
For information about hearing dates,
call Irene Fanos at the Department of
City Planning at 720-3314.
Advertise in
(212) 925-9820
By Eric Weinstock
Read It and Weep
"America: What Went Wrong?" by
Donald L. Bartlett and James B. Steele,
Andrews and McMeel, 1992, 235
pages, $6.95, paperback.
his is a pop quiz on the 1980s.
Sharpen your #2 pencil and
clear your desk of all precon-
1. 72percentofthebenefitsofaCapital
Gains Tax Cut would go to:
A) 50 percent of all U.S. tax filers
B) 25 percent of all U.S. tax filers
C) 1 percent of all U.S. tax filers
D) 10 percent of all U.S. tax filers
2. In 1959, the top four percent of
American workers had wages equal to
the bottom 35 percent. In 1989, the
top four percent earned as much as:
A) the bottom 30 percent
B) the bottom 40 percent
C) the bottom 51 percent
D) the bottom 70 percent
3. From the 1950s to the 1980s taxes
paid by corporations increased by 264
percent while tax payments by
individuals increased by:
A) 200 percent
B) 300 percent
C) 1,041 percent
D) 500 percent
4. From 1984 to 1987 the revenue of
Japanese corporations in the United
States increased by 64 percent. Their
tax bill on this revenue:
A) rose 64 percent
B) rose 34 percent
C) decreased 14 percent
D) remained even
5. Who made the following speech
after the Motor Carrier Act, deregu-
lating the trucking industry, was
adopted in 1980?
This act is a "significant victory" in
the "ongoing battle to ... reform and
reduce needless federal regulation of
business .. .It means less government
interference with industry ... and more
freedom for individual firms to
conduct their business in the way
they think best."
A) Ronald Reagan
B) Jack Kemp
C) Ted Kennedy
D) Michael Milken
Put down your pencils. The correct
answer for all five questions is C.
Amazing, isn't it?
Throughout the 1980s advocates
complained, struggled and fought
against the lurch to the right of the
federal government and its sell-out to
special interests. Even after the multi-
billion dollar savings and loan
disaster, rising unemployment and
skyrocketing federal deficits, the
general public didn't have easy access
to the information necessary to reverse
Wake up from
your television
induced slumber!
the nation's course. In 1992 anti-
incumbent fever is rising. After
reading, "America: What Went
Wrong?" even the staunchest GOP or
Democratic party advocate will want
to vote the rascals out.
"America: What Went Wrong?"
started as a series of articles in the
Philadelphia Inquirer. The authors
sought to provide readers with an in-
depth, but accessible, analysis of the
causes of our current economic woes.
The series created a firestorm of public
response-over 20,000 requests for
reprints were received.
"America: What Went Wrong,"
seeks to reform the myriad ways that
businesses have re-written the federal
rulebook to favor themselves and
blocked reforms which protect the
general public. The book is full of
stark statistics and moving personal
histories on health insurance, the
S&L scandal, bankruptcy rules, junk
bonds, pension fund rules, deregula-
tion, foreign competition and the
selling out of the American worker.
These subjects, formerly written about
only by economists and for econo-
mists, have had a direct impact on the
quality of life of all Americans and
will have an even greater impact on
our children's lives. Although the
average citizen may have sensed that
Reagan's economic policies were
wrong, until now most of us have not
had access to such complete infor-
mation explaining why the policies
were misguided.
Sometimes Too Arcane
"America: What Went Wrong?" is
not without flaws. Trying to commu-.
nicate complex economic data to a
broad audience is not an easy task. At
times the writing is too simplified,
and at other times too arcane. The
authors are clearly trying to make a
point and they choose only the
statistics that support their case. The
book includes many pictographs and
charts to underline their basic data.
By definition, graphics distort the
underlying data to some degree.
However, they are the only way to
communicate statistics effectively,
and the basic patterns of the
underlying trends are not arguable.
Among the ideas for reform
identified by the author are tax-free
municipal bonds. This is one reform
I'd take exception to. The authors
correctly assert that these bonds are
used by the wealthy to avoid taxes,
but they are also used by local and
state governments to raise money at
low interest costs. If you tax the
wealthy on their municipal bond
profits, that simply increases the costs
of borrowing to local government. This
attack on tax-free bonds seems to come
out of a different sphere than the rest
of "America: What Went Wrong?"-
tax-free bonds are the frequent target
of conservatives who want to restrict
government access to capital that will
be used for social spending.
In the era of the sound bite, the
public's understanding of complex
economic lhenomena has steadily
diminishe . Television weakened the
powerful political machines but also
led to declining voter turnout.
Politicians are now beholden to the
special interests that give them enough
money to buy ad time. But some
insurgent candidates have shown
signs of success as the weakened
economy forces the American public
to awake from its television-induced
slumber. "America: What Went
Wrong?" is a clarion call to rise and
take political action by proving to the
average citizen that what happens in
Washington has immediate and
drastic effects on their lives. 0
Eric Weinstock is an economist and
former city housing official.
The Touchstone
To the Editor:
As the first organizer and director
of the Banana Kelly Community
Improvement Association, I read the
May 1992 article, "Beyond Bricks and
Mortar," with avid interest. The
changes that have occurred at Banana
Kelly are nothing short ofmonumen-
The subject of the article-Banana
Kelly's new "values clarification"
approach and the lease rider that
requires tenants to participate in this
process-go to the heart and soul of
what was once a "self-help" housing
movement. It is a touchstone for
defining the rationale of and for
community-based development. It is
my hope that what appears below will
add in a positive way to the ongoing
At the outset, I would state that I
understand what is happening only
as an outsider, even though I still live
on Kelly Street-directly across the
street from where Banana Kelly has
its offices. I'd like to take license with
my understanding of the new "values
clarification" model at Banana Kelly
and compare it with the "self-help"
model that I helped promote in the
I would posit that Banana Kelly in
1992 believes that values clarification
is required because:
Residents lack values or have
misplaced values and this is exacer-
bated by a lack of discipline.
Personal problems are solvable
by individuals andJoals are achiev-
able by the individu with discipline,
guided motivation and proper
That inability to achieve goals is
a personal deficiency and such
deficiencies lead to a lack of self-
This lack of self esteem leads to
anti-social and self-destructive
behavior that hurts the indi vidual and
the community.
Through an incentive process
that holds back the delivery of a basic
need-housing-it's possible to get
people to define goals, plan to achieve
them and apply the discipline
necessary to make this happen.
This leads to self-esteem and, in
the process, generates a "good citizen."
Finally, to avoid "backsliding," there's
a need to give the rromise the force of
law (by contract whereby housing
may be taken away if the community
values aren't met.
I would state that Banana Kelly in
1976 followed a self-help model that
People have common motiva-
tions and those motivations are
activated when their circumstances
allow for a positive outcome.
People lack self-esteem but this
is due to a lack of livable wage
employment opportunities, poor
housing and community services, and
a feeling of powerlessness over
external circumstances.
People are constrained primarily
by external circumstances including
racism, economic marginalization,
political weakness and an inability to
understand how the "system" works.
Self-help is a way for people to
take charge of those circumstances
which are within their control-the
dirty street, the garbage-strewn lot,
Large property in the South Bronx, newly rehabbed
building requires a manager who will supervise a rent-
up of 550+ units and maintain the property. Able to
administer, delegate and control all aspects of your
property. Familiarity with HPD procedures a plus,
challenging and rewarding position for an experienced
manager. Send resume and salary requirement to
NPM, PO Box 903, Madison Square Station, NY, NY
the abandoned building scheduled for
Local efforts that create transfer-
able skills, well-paying jobs and good
housing lead to self esteem.
Self esteem plus increased
political sophistication leads to a
platform for community empower-
The organization of this effort
through a local institution-Banana
Kelly-leads to comprehensive
community development and is the
The changes that
have occurred at
Banana Kelly are
nothing short of
basis for ongoing, participatory control
over circumstances which were once
entirely externally generated.
Though there are some similarities
between the models, they rest on
assumptions that are diametrically
opposed. For example, under the
values clarification model, the local
institution is the generator of the
values and the monitor of compliance
with those values. Of necessity, the
institution exists apart from the
community. Under the self-help
model, there is no distinction between
the community and the institution.
Basic values are assumed to be held in
common and the failure of their
expression is the failure of the local
institution to provide the basis and
forum for their realization.
As such, by this analysis, Banana
Kelly has turned a potential failure of
its own-the failure to realize and
express common values through its
operations and programs-into a
pathology of those it now serves as its
clientele. It then seeks to help its
clients by conditioning delivery of
the service upon agreement to recog-
nize and address the self-generated
In closing, I would like to express
my appreciation to both Lisa Glazer of
City Limits and Yolanda Rivera of
Banana Kelly. City Limits wrote about
a subject which has to be discussed
and Yolanda Rivera was open to
sharing the current operating
philosophy of one of the city's most
important community-based organi-
zation. Her candor serves to facilitate
the public debate on this very impor-
tant issue.
Harold DeRienzo
Vice President and CEO
Consumer Farmer Foundation
Tell Us the Secret!
To the Editor:
With great interest I read Michele
Herman's March 1992 article, "The
Rio Grand," on the Rio permanent
residence for formerly homeless men
and women. Part of what Ellen Baxter
does is no mystery to me, but part
leaves me with a number of questions.
To start with, she treats all tenants
with the utmost respect. That is a
primary necessity. Next, applicants
are screened carefully. Using existing
tenants to screen applicants is a
wonderful idea, but ultimately
somebody-anybody-is picking and
In your February 1992 issue, the
"CityView" column debates the need
for screening rules. At one point,
though, Elizabeth Baker asserts that it
shouldn' t be done at all . That's
unrealistic for a building of primarily
independent, unsupervised homeless
placements, access to social services
What I don't understand is how
Ellen Baxter arranged for full-time
social service providers in the build-
ing. Who pays for this? Please tell us
readers her secret!
The last question is for all of us. As
the article states, applicants are
accepted at the Rio "as long as they
can assume the responsibility of a
lease. " So the Rio, a service-intensive
building, is a model for well-screened
tenants. What model works for those
who can't assume the responsibilities
of a lease?
Andrew Cohen
Sicherman Management Corp.
City Limits asked Ellen Baxter to
respond to Cohen's Jetter. The follow-
ing is her response:
The social service component at
The Rio and at our four other buildings
is sponsored by Columbia University
Community Services, an agency which
is under contract with the New York
City Department of Mental Health to
assist mentally disabled homeless
people. A community organizing ap-
proach coupled with case manage-
ment assistance guides CUCS' work.
While the significance of CUCS'
presence cannot be underestimated, I
would disagree with Cohen's charac-
terization of The Rio as "service-
intensive." The service needs of
tenants can vary greatly and often
change over time. We have found that
on-site services in housing are
important to navigate the paperwork
of public entitlements and to advocate
through the city's maze of medical,
mental health and substance abuse
treatment systems. Needs for services
appear to be more reflective of the
failures of basic community resources
than individual shortcomings.
It is our experience that individu-
als who are destructive as tenants and
who cannot uphold the responsibili-
ties of a lease are nearly always driven
by a substance abuse problem. Peer
support, such as Alcoholics Anony-
mous and Narcotics Anonymous meet-
ings' can be helpful. The Rio houses
many men and women in recovery
from substance abuse and their lead-
ership in identifying and confronting
abusive tenants is invaluable. In addi-
tion, unrelenting and vigilant man-
agement and social service attention
is directed at problems related to sub-
stance abuse. Herman's portrayal of
The Rio's success does not examine in
any depth the obstacles management,
the service team and tenants all face
in protecting the building and its oc-
cupants from the insidious forces of
poverty. The fact that the tenants,
management and service team join
forces is basically the key to our
strength. 0
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em UMIfS/]UNE/JULY 1992/25
Barry K. Mallin
Attorney At Law
A decade of service representing
community development organizations
and low income cooperatives.
72 Spring Street, Suite 1201
New York, N.Y. 10012
Telephone 2121334-9393
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
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at most what we save you with postal discounts.
Interested? Call us.
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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
Over 20 Yllrs experience. Specl.llzlnllin nonprofit houslnll &
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914-133-5115 FAX-914-133-5097
Building Management/Consultants
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community organizations and co-op
boards of directors
329 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217
Rebecca Reich
718/857 -0468
a project of !he Alliance lor New Yark, a nonprofit organization
Real Estate, Corporate and Tax Legal Representation to Organizations
Tax Syndications Mutual Housing Associations
Homeless Housing Economic Development
HDFCs Not-For-profit corporations
Community Development Credit Unions and loan Funds
99 Hudson Street, 14th Fir" NYC, 10013 (212) 219-1800
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COMMUNITY ORGANIZER. East Harlem Organizing Project, spon-
sored by Catholic parishes of East Harlem, seeks experienced
organizer to: identify/strengthen local leaders, activate richness
of parishes, affect social issues. Some fundraising. Bilingual
(Span/Eng). Possible part-time to start (flexible). Salary: high
20's depending on experience. Benefits. Resumes to Search
Committee: Fr. Martin Curtin, Our Lady Queen of Angels, 226
E. 113th St. , NY, NY 10029
social advocacy org. seeks dedicated professional to assist low/
mid income tenant associations to purchase, rehab and co-op
their privately owned buildings. Organizing tenants. Real estate
packaging and development. Exp. in organizing low income
housing req. Knowledge of Lotus 1-2-3. Send cover letter &
resume to Personnel, Community Service Society, 105 E. 22nd
St., NYC 10010. EOE.
seeking experienced candidates for several management and
administrative job opportunities at a new Tier Two Residence
for homeless families, located in the Southwest Bronx. The
facility will provide transitional housing, child care, and a range
of social services to 80 families. Salaries highly competitive,
commensurate with experience. Exc. benefit package. We are
seeking a Residence Director, Assistant Director for Opera-
tions, Director for Social Services, Coordinator of Child Care,
Director of Security Services, and an Administrative Assistant.
All resumes should be sentto CAB, 2054 Morris Avenue, Bronx,
NY 10453. Att: James Mulligan.
advocacy organization. Responsibilities: fiscal oversight, news-
letter production, fundraising assistance and research, grant
reporting. 15-20 hrslweek. Qualifications: some administration
experience, knowledge of foundations and NYC housing policy
a plus. Excellent writing, organizational skills a must. Salary:
Commensurate with experience, health benefits. Send resume
to: Jay Small, Executive Director, ANHD, 236 W. 27th St., NYC
10001. FAX (212) 463-9606.
PROGRAM COORDINATOR. Staff the membership project of com-
munity-based nonprofit housing developers and managers.
Work with membership and Executive Director in developing
policy and programmatic priorities to further housing opportuni-
ties for low income New Yorkers. Researching and writing
responsibilities. Negotiate with city and state public officials.
Must have extensive knowledge of NYC low and moderate
income housing issues, programs and policies. Excellent writ-
ing and communication skills. Actively seeking female and
minority candidates. Salary: Commensurate with experience.
Good benefits. Send resume and writing sample to: Jay Small,
Executive Director, ANHD, 236 W. 27th St., NYC 10001. FAX
(212) 463-9606.
Advertise your job opening in
(212) 925-9820
Community Development Group
A resource for the non ... profit
development community
Gary Hattem, Vice President
280 Park Avenue, 19 West New York, New York 10017
Tel: 212A54,3487 FAX 454,2380
" W E A R E
A Forum on Com m unity-Based Housing Managem ent
Thursday, June 25th, 9:30 am
Com m unity Service Society
105 East 22nd Street, Conference Room 4A
A workshop and forum for community ..based organizations
and resident groups involved in housing management to
respond to working findings of a CSS study of community ..
based housing management conducted by Doug Turetsky.
Other agencies and organizations concerned with the
influence of management ..related policies and practice on
the viability of assisted housing are welcome to attend.
The workshop will also address directions for the future.
To register, call Migdalia Molina at CSS
(212) 614 ..5497.
Co ..sponsored by
Com m unity Service Society
Association for Neighborhood Housing & Developm ent
Urban Hom esteading Assistance Board