City Limits Magazine, February 1993 Issue

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Transcript of City Limits Magazine, February 1993 Issue

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    F ebr ua ry 1 9 93 N ew Y o rk 's C ommun ity A ffa irs N ews M a ga r:in e $2.5

    Officials say there's nowhere else to shelter them.

    A R E A P O L IC Y B O A R D F L IP - F L O P D H IG H W A Y S O R S U B W A Y S ?T H E N E W W A V E O F A N T I -P O V E R T Y P R O G R A M S

    -Thecity is sending hundreds of homeless people with AIDSto sleep on the floors of crowded welfare offices.

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    ei tv Limi tsVolume XVIII Number 2

    City Limits is published ten times per year ,monthly except bi-monthly issues in June/July and August/September, by the City LimitsCommunity Information Service, Inc., a nonprofit organization devoted to disseminatinginformation concerning neighborhoodrevitalization.SponsorsAssociation for Neighborhood andHousing Development, Inc.New York Urban CoalitionPratt Institute Center for Community andEnvironmental DevelopmentUrban Homesteading Assistance BoardBoard of Directors'Eddie Bautista, NYLPIICharter RightsProjectBeverly Cheuvront, former City LimitsEditorErrol Louis, Central Brooklyn PartnershipMary Martinez, Montefiore HospitalRebecca Reich, Turf CompaniesAndrew Reicher, UHABTom Robbins, JournalistJay Small, ANHDWalter Stafford , New York UniversityDoug Turetsky, former City Limits EditorPete Williams, Center for Law and

    Social Justice Affiliations for identification only.

    Subscription rates are : for individuals an dcommunity groups, $20/0ne Year, $30/TwoYears; for businesses , foundations, banks,government agencies and libraries, $35/0neYear, $50/Two Years. Low income,unemployed .$10/0ne Year.City Limits welcomes comments and articlecontributions. Please include a stamped. selfaddressed envelope for return manuscripts .Material in City Limits does not necessarilyreflect the opinion ofthe sponsoring organizations . Send correspondence to: City Limits.40 Prince St.. New York. NY 10012. Postmaster:Send address changes to CityLimits. 40 PrinceSt. . NYC 10012.

    Second class postage paidNew York. NY 10001City Limits (ISSN 0199-0330)(212) 925-9 820FAX (212) 966-3407Editor: Lisa GlazerSenior Editor: Andrew WhiteAssociate Editor: Steve MitraContributing Editors: Peter Marcuse .Margaret MittelbachProduction: Cltip CliffeAdvertising Representative: Faith WigginsOffice Assistant: Seymour GreenIntern: Beth GreenfieldPhotographers: F.M.Kearney. Suzanne TobiasCopyright 1993. All Rights Reserved. Noportion or portions of this journal may bereprinted without the express permission ofthe publishers.City Limits is indexed in the Alternative PressIndex and the Avery Index to ArchitecturalPeriodicalsand is available on microfilm fromUniversity Microfilms International .An n Arbor.MI48106.

    2jFEBRUARY 1993jCITY UMITS

    Webs of CommunityI

    magine a spider in the South Bronx, spinning a delicate web that linksneighborhood residents, tenant organizations, community groups,schools, hospitals and small businesses. This image of connections isone way to describe an important new trend in community development.Instead of focusing on an isolated project like a park or an apartmentrenovation, a number of foundations, government agencies and otherorganizations are now implementing a broader, more inclusive model forchange. At last!The new model has two important aspects. It starts off with a goalneighborhood revitalization-and then proceeds to fund a variety ofprojects that work together to meet that goal. It also mandates substantialinput from people living in the neighborhood itself.In New York alone, there are more than a handful of projects experimenting with variations of this approach: the Comprehensive Community Revitalization Program, Agenda for Children Tomorrow, HealthyStart, the Neighborhood Networks, the Community Building Initiativeand the Bushwick Geographic Targeting Task Force. Across the country

    there are scores of similar projects, most of them still in their infancy.These projects merit attention, enthusiasm-and some questioning.It's important to examine who backs them, how communities participate,where money is targeted-and what finally results.Some projects seem to be relying on the idea that neighborhood-basedgroups should become a bridge connecting community residents withprivate and public resources. This could create mini-versions of theEnterprise Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation,which funnel corporate cash to community groups. This approach has anexcellent track record of accomplishments, but it was created by corporations and foundations an d emphasizes efficiency an d professionalismrather than the time-consuming task of building communities from thebottom up.For comprehensive programs to work, they must have a sincerecommitment to the challenging task of community organizing, an dneighborhood residents should have voting power to help determinehow and where resources are distributed. Without this, these programscould easily become band-aids for social problems instead of a real forcefor social change.

    Cover photograph by Andrew l ichtenstein.

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    1 I ' ~ f j ' ' i I I FEATURESNo VacancyFor the first time, hundreds of homeless people withAIDS are being sent to dingy, unsafe overnight welfareoffices. 12Making ConnectionsSix South Bronx community groups are taking part in anexperiment in comprehensive funding for neighbor-hood change. 18DEPARTMENTSEditorialWebs of Community ............... ................ ................. 2BriefsYouth Dollars ........................................................... 4Empty Stomachs ......................................................4

    A Taystee Future? .................................................... 4~ 1 u t u a l Distrust ............. ...... ............. ........................ 5ProfileCatalyst for Change .................................................. 6PipelinesThe Politics of Poverty ............................................. 8A Reconstruction Agenda .................................. .... 22City ViewPrescription for Success? ....................................... 24Review

    Teach Your Children Well .................................... 25Job Ads ....................................................................... 27

    Catalyst/Page 6

    No Vacancy/Page 12

    Reconstruction/Page 22

    CITY UMITS/FEBRUARY 1993/3

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    YOUTH DOLLARSA youth-oriented job-trainingprogram that originated in EastHarlem more than 20 years ag owill now be expanded in 10cities nationwide.''YouthBuild'' was born in1979 when a team of localyouths started rehabilitating anabondoned building on EQst119th Street. Now, theYouthBuild Act, introduced byCongressman Major Owensfrom Brooklyn and folded intoan appropriations bill, allocatesa minimum of $17.5 million for14 projects.th e YouthBuild programprovides hands-on experiencein rehabilitation and construction, training for acquiring a

    high school equivalencydiploma, and skills for gettingand keeping a job. In EastHarlem, abOut 55 percent of theyouth who take part are placedin jobs, according to Sonia Buof the Youth Action Program,which runs the local YouthBuildproject.But even as the program hasbeen accepted nationally, it hascome close to extinction in NewYork City. las t year, the YouthAction Program lost 50 rrcentof its funding because 0restrictions impased by thefederal government, continuinga downward spiral that beganin the mid-19S0s.Because of the cuts, the citycould only provide funding forseven months of training insteadof the usual nine to twelvemonths. And the program hadto be limited to 17- to-21-yearolds, instead of extending to 24-year-olds as it had in the past.Instead of training abou t 100youths, only 70 were accepted."Much of the Aexibility of theprogram was lost and, as aresult, it became har der toimplement," Bu adds.The federal appropriationshould brine funds for NewYork and other areas by thesummer. In the meantime, Busays "we're hoping that theprivate donations will continueand that the federal moneycomes soon, or this programwill die."In New York City, YouthBuildprograms are operating inManhattan and the Bronx. Withfederal funding, Congressman4/FEBRUARY 1993/CITY UMITS

    Owens hopes that it will beexpanded to areas likeBrownsville in Brooklyn, whereyouths can rehabilate many ofthe abondoned buildings, saysOwens' spokesman Scott Henry.''YouthBuild has shown real,hard r e s u l ~ and the kids ofBrownsville need a positiveprogram like this," Henry says.o Dwl_ OestrIcher

    EMPTY STOMACHSSoup kitchens are finding itnearly impossible to cope withthe rising tide of.hungry NewYorkers knocking on their doors,according to a survey by an

    advocacy group for emergencyfood programs in the city."We find pearle are in aperpetual state 0 emergency,"says luz Rodriguez, executivedirector of the WashingtonHeights Ecumenical FoOdPantry. "Families must choosebetween paying rent or buyingfood."According to the survey,conducted last September by theNew York City CoolitionAgainst Hunger, 59 percent ofthe 273 city soup kitchens that

    r e s ~ n d e d sent people awayunfed. About two-thirdsreported that they served

    smaller and smaller portions offood during the previous sixmonths. And SO percent saidthey were feeding more peaplethis y e a ~ than last.Most people go to soupkitchens and food pantriesbecause they have exhaustedtheir public benefits like foodstamps and public assistance,according to the survey."Nothing is being done toaddress the causes of hunger,"says Judith Walker, executivedirector of the Coolition, callingthe city's 750 emergency foodproviders a "huge stop-gapsolution."Even with the number ofpeaple on public assistancerising to over one million i