A September 6th, 2015 New York Times editorial titled, “The Architecture of Segregation,” observed that, almost 50 years after the federal Fair Housing Act was enacted, “minorities find themselves trapped in high poverty neighborhoods without decent housing, schools or jobs, and with few avenues of escape” because, in part, “federally subsidized housing for low-income citizens … is disproportionately built in poor areas….” This pattern of confining low-income residents to communities with significant minority populations – like Huntington Station – while denying them a chance to live in ” high opportunity” communities – like Dix Hills – has been encouraged by programs such as New York State’s administration of the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits program. According to ERASE Racism, “families living in ‘affordable housing’ subsidized by Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) are excluded from opportunity and have to accept failing schools, high concentrations of poverty and racial segregation. This is because New York State’s scoring system that is used to determine which projects will be funded, places scant emphasis on projects that are located in high-opportunity neighborhoods.” To counter this policy, HTHC supports ERASE Racism’s petition calling on New York State to grant LIHTC subsidies for affordable housing in high opportunity neighborhoods. Please sign the petition at: http://www.eraseracismny.org/get-involved/sign-a-petition
The Huntington Township hosing Coalition will host a meet and greet for the Huntington and Melville Chambers of Commerce “Young Professionals” on Tuesday, September 29th, 7:00-9:00 PM at Quetzalcoatl Restaurant, 296 Main Street. The event is titled: “Huntington’s Rental Housing Shortage: Your Experiences … Possible Solutions.” The program will engage young professionals in a conversation around the difficulties they are having obtaining affordable rental housing in Huntington as well as what can be done to increase the stock of this housing. Appetizers and sangria will be provided. There is no charge. Please RSVP by September 25th to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is the flier with details: YHTHC young professionals flyer
The widely acclaimed six hour HBO series that began Sunday, August 16th to run for three consecutive Sundays at 8PM, documents the ferocious political and legal battle in the late 1980s over a court order requiring the City of Yonkers to disperse low income and affordable housing from the segregated African American section of town to the all white, working class and middle class parts of Yonkers. This series is a must see for all people concerned about affordable housing because it documents the fears, hatred and pain on all sides of the issue. Some of the scenes of angry anti-housing opponents storming the City Council meetings appear to be out of the South during the protests against Jim Crow 20 years earlier, yet they took place just a few miles from Huntington. Interestingly, there is a moment early on in the HBO show when the new mayor decides not to appeal the judge’s decision because his attorneys advised him Yonkers would surely lose the case. This may very well have been due to the 1988 decision by the US Supreme Court ordering Huntington to stop placing all its low income and affordable housing in Huntington Station. You can read a 1988 New York Times analysis of both the Huntington and Yonkers cases here. If you missed the first episode of this excellent HBO series, you can see it On Demand.
Last month, the HTHC Steering Committee agreed to provide testimony to the NYS Wage Board in support of $15 an hour minimum wage for fast-food workers. We fully understand that even $15 an hour is not enough to pay for the typical one bedroom ($1300+) or two-bedroom ($1700+) rental in Huntington, but still much better than the current $8.75 NYS minimum wage. After waiting five hours to speak at the June 18th Nassau Community College Wage Board hearing, Joan Penrose Borum presented our testimony, which we posted on our website on July 7th. Yesterday, the Wage Board announced that it unanimously supports the $15 wage hike, phased in over several years, which Governor Cuomo will surely implement in the coming weeks. Our hope is that this action will prompt the State Senate to support a hike in the minimum wage for all New Yorkers. You can read about the Wage Board’s decision in the July 23rd lead story of the New York Times here:$15 an hour
On July 12th, The New York Times editorialized that the new HUD regulations are a major step toward closing loopholes used by local municipalities to avoid compliance with the federal Fair Housing Act. We are hopeful that progress can finally be made toward creating ore racially, ethnically and income diverse communities in Huntington. Many studies have shown that diversity benefits the entire community – especially children, regardless of their social class or race. You can read the editorial here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/opinion/the-end-of-federally-financed-ghettos.html