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.
Harry Bubbins, head of the Friends of Brook Park, lays out his position on why the city’s financial support of FreshDirect taking over a chunk of the south Bronx’s waterfront has gotta go.. He calls on Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. to get back to his previous positions and on Mayor de Blasio to follow his current ones.
Beginning last night, Bronx Times broke a story that Montefiore is merging with Yeshiva University’s Einstein College of Medicine. Montefiore announced it today, the paper just reported.
Do you want the Citi Bike program up and running — uh, biking — in the Bronx?
Think the Bronx is, or was ever, in tough shape? It certainly was, especially in the 70s and 80s, but that seems like nothing compared to what Detroit is going through now. What do you think?
Anyone with kids in city schools knows how limited or completely absent sports and phys ed are in public schools. Jim Dwyer focuses on this issue in the Bronx.
Norwood News reports on the 52nd Precinct cracking down on barbecuing in local parks. Community orgs are doing the same.
Arthur Avenue, the Bronx’s (better) Little Italy, is now home to a new Latin fusion joint, reports Bronx News 12.
Good morning! As some of you may have noticed, Morning Matters is not an everyday thing at this point. I do it whenever I have time in the morning. Here, though, are some interesting nuggets you probably won’t find with a routine “Bronx” Google search.
As Bob Kappstatter reported on Bronx Matters in a previous post, Luis Sepulveda is ramping up a campaign to fill Peter Rivera’s Assembly seat when he becomes state Labor commissioner. Sepulveda now has a one-page website up, with a letter that addresses readers as “constituents,” (a little premature since they won’t be actually be his constituents unless his elected to represent them in the state legislature). The rest of the web site appears to be under construction but a tab titled “To NYS Assembly page” inexplicably leads to the website of Queens Assemblyman Fernando Moya.
The Center for Working Families has released a report on the campaign contributions of former State Senator Pedro Espada, who is currently on trial for allegedly stealing money from the Soundview Healthcare Network, which he founded and managed. Among the report’s findings are that Espada’s fundraising increased sixfold when he became chairman of the Housing Committee and that only 3(!) of those contributions came from within his district.
Daniel Beekman drills down a bit into Census data to find that many more Manhattanites have moved to the Bronx in the last decade, but that may not at all signal gentrification, as many of those intra-city migrants were at or near the poverty level. For more on the controversy concerning whether the south Bronx is gentrifying, which was a hot topic on Bronx Matters last week, click here.
The Riverdale Press reports that the top offender on Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s “worst landlord” list is Riverdale resident Josh Neustein, who owns several violation-plagued buildings. Neustein said his “estranged sister,” Amy Neustein made false reports to the city’s housing agency and its Department of Investigation. But she says she is backed up by tenants complaints and the city’s own work examining those complaints. Earlier this month, Amy Neustein wrote this piece for City Limits explaining why she was shining the light on her brother’s work as a landlord.