Contractor Threatens to Evict Homeless Families as City Cuts Pay for Criticized Homeless Program

1 Jul

Mayor de Blasio is no fan of cluster site housing for the homeless – where companies rent apartments, loan them to those needing housing and technically help those temporary tenants find jobs and regular housing. Since 2004, when Bloomberg launched this program (following a similar program of Giuliani’s) the city has been paying twice as much rent for the homeless than it would otherwise cost. If rent goes for $1,500 on average, apartments for the homeless cost the city about $3,000.

So, as reported in the New York Times yesterday, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, is cutting down what the city is going to pay these companies, some of them nonprofits, to do what they’ve been doing. And one of them, Aguila Inc., is threatening evict homeless tenants they’re responsible for, outraging Barrios-Paoli.

I covered this issue, including Aguila, extensively for the Bronx Bureau of City Limits a year ago and in April. Almost no “homeless” tenant I interviewed said the cluster site process was helping them find work, or secure other regular apartments. De Blasio can’t get rid of cluster site all at once but it other efforts may follow. Meanwhile, whether this administration is able to find other companies who will take less money for the same role – while doing it all better – remains to be seen.

Even though this isn’t front-page news now, and elected officials have had little or anything to say about it (both of these things should be occurring), how the city’s efforts to diminish the cluster-site program is very Bronx relevant. It’s the second smallest borough, but it has about 135 of the 230 — more than half — cluster-site buildings in the city.

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13th C.D. Debate with Adriano Espaillat and Rev. Michael Walrond; Rangel Doesn’t Show

17 Jun

Bronx Pre-Summer Sun in Norwood Mist

16 Jun

 

Mosh library

At the after-school time of about 4:20 p.m. today, Bronx Norwoodians (whose nabe is just north of Mosholu Parkway) young and old enjoyed a hydrant’s brisk water blast in front of Mosholu Library. (Photo by me, J. Moss)

Some Bronx Matters for Today 6.16.14

16 Jun
Roosevelt Dime was one of many bands at NYBG yesterday. Photo by J. Moss

Roosevelt Dime was one of many bands at NYBG yesterday. Photo by J. Moss

Happy post-Father’s Day to all Bronx dads. (OK, not just Bronx dads.) If you did anything in the Bronx for Father’s Day and have a good pic, please share (bronxmatters@gmail.com), and I’ll try to post some. My wife and daughter took me to the NY Botanical Garden for it’s Big Backyard BBQ and Music Festival (photo of great band, Roosevelt Dime, above).

As stated in my last post, debate on Democratic Congressional race in District 13 is on TV tonight at 9 p.m. Charlie Rangel didn’t show up for it.

Speaking of which, here’s two pics of Rangel’s most recent campaign mailing. On the second page, it has four attacks on Espaillat’s record, one with a footnote no. 4, but there is no actual footnote for “4” listed below. And accusing him for failing to pass the DREAM Act, something Espaillat supports, ignores arguments that the Independent Democratic Conference (led by state Senator Jeffrey Klein) put it to a quick vote before it could secure sufficient Republican support to pass it. Espaillat did, however, take part (as did Klein) in the highly unpopular repeal of a tax for commuters to NYC and told the Daily News that he regrets it .

Congressman Charlie Rangel's latest campaign mailing attacks his main competitor, Adriano Espaillat, on several issues. Photos by J. Moss

Congressman Charlie Rangel’s latest campaign mailing attacks his main competitor, Adriano Espaillat, on several issues. Photos by J. Moss

rangel mailing 2

Rangel Absent at Bronx Debate

13 Jun
Adriano Espaillat campaigned outside the D-train station on East 196th Street and the Grand Concourse last month. Longtime congressman Charlie Rangel didn't accompany him at the BronxTalk debate today.

Adriano Espaillat campaigned outside the D-train station on East 196th Street and the Grand Concourse last month. Longtime congressman Charlie Rangel didn’t accompany him at the BronxTalk debate today. Photo by J. Moss

Congressman Charlie Rangel didn’t participate in today’s Bronx debate with challengers Adriano Espaillat, a state senator, and Rev. Michael Walrond, according to BronxTalk host Gary Axelbank and the Daily News. The debate will be broadcast this Monday, June 16 at 9 p.m. on Cablevision channel 67 and Verizon channel 33. The 13th Congressional District began including Kingsbridge, Riverdale, Norwood and Bedford Park, in January 2013 after Rangel defeated Espaillat in the 2012 Democratic primary.

Is Kingsbridge Armory Ice Plan in Danger of Melting?

7 Jun
How problematic is a legal battle between Kingsbridge Armory ice palace partners? Photo by J. Moss

How problematic is a legal battle between Kingsbridge Armory ice palace partners?
Photo by J. Moss

Transforming the Kingsbridge Armory into the world’s largest ice skating Mecca is under fire as its key developer, Kevin Parker,  is engaged in a legal battle with partners, DNAinfo has reported. The Norwood News had a bit to add to the story. If you’re interested in a longer background (like 17 years) leading up to the deal community activists made with Kingsbridge National Ice Center, check out my story from August in City Limits’ Bronx Bureau.

—Jordan Moss

Bronx Credit Resource Fair

3 Jun

A Credit Resource Fair will be held on Wed., June 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Refuge House, 2715 Bainbridge Ave. University Neighborhood Housing Program is the sponsor and, along with The Financial Clinic, Apple Bank, and The Parodneck Foundation, will provide free credit reports, information on secure credit cards, and on how credit can impact housing, jobs and retirement. The event and all information is free, but space is limited. Call UNHP at 718-933-2539 to reserve your spot.

Working Families Party Endorses Koppell

2 Jun

The Working Families Party endorsed Oliver Koppell yesterday in his bid to unseat State Senator Jeffrey Klein in the Bronx’s District 34. Even though this election is significant statewide, there was virtually no coverage of WFP’s support of the political veteran — who recently left the Council after 12 years due to term limits (he also had been a 20-year Assemblyman, and a brief state attorney general).

Klein is co-founder of the Independent Democratic Conference, which often partners with Republicans on critical issues. Usually, the state Senate leader, the Assembly speaker and the governor control state political power, but Klein was added to the leadership when IDC partnered with the Republican side of the Senate. Essentially, Klein and Republican Dean Skelos are Senate c0-leaders.

Local races like this are rarely relevant for the entire Empire State, but if Koppell defeats Klein (still a tough uphill pursuit), that may help WFP disable IDC depending how each party fares in other key races. The primary is in September.

Aside from a brief mention of the endorsement (WFP’s support of Cuomo, following a party battle, dominated coverage) in Capital New York, there doesn’t appear to be another news source that covered it today.

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