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
The US Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD) announced on July 8th that it is establishing tighter reporting regulations which will mandate that local governments overcome barriers to integrated, diverse and affordable housing. The new regulations will require more detailed information on how the local government is addressing impediments to fair housing, as well as greater transparency in the public’s ability to access this data and, finally, a greater willingness on the part of HUD to withhold federal funds such as the Community Development Block Grants (CCBG) when local governments fail to meet the new requirements. Under current HUD regulations, local governments must file a detailed CCBG report every five years to receive funding, with details on what plans are in place to create affordable housing and overcome the impediments to fair housing identified by the local government in its HUD report. HTHC filed a statement with the Town of Huntington in October 2014, as part of the five-year HUD/CCBG reporting requirement, in which we detailed how the Town of Huntington has fallen far short on its plans for creating affordable housing. You can read our report below on this News and Events page as it was posted on October 23, 2014. Unfortunately, these five year CCBG reports to HUD have had minimal if any impact over the years, with little of no substantive follow-through by HUD to insure that local government’s adhere to their own CCBG plans. Rarely if ever are CCBG funds withheld by HUD. While the new regulations are a sign of hope that Huntington will actually be required to fulfill its fair housing obligations, due to the often ferocious local opposition to compliance as we saw at Ruland Road, HTHC remains watchful on this issue. You can read Newsday‘s July 9th coverage of the new regulations.
Mike DeLouise, long-time President of the Melville Chamber of Commerce and a frequent partner with Huntington Township Housing Coalition, bid a hauntingly beautiful farewell to LI in a June edition of the Long Island Business News. Mike is retiring off the Island. His farewell, however, contains an urgent warning that if LI does not provide more affordable housing options, our future is in peril. His warning needs to be taken seriously, very seriously. Read the entire piece at this website