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2 CITY LIMITS Odober 1986
Volume XI Number 8
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development groups, developing and ad-
vocating programs for low and moderate
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Pratt Institute Center for Community and
Environmental Development, a technical
assistance and advocacy office offering
professional planning and architectural
services to low and moderate income
community groups. The Center also
analyzes and monitors government pol-
icy and performance.
Urban Homesteading Assistance Board,
a technical assistance organization pro-
viding assistance to low income tenant
cooperatives i n management and sweat
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City Limits [ISSN 0199-0330)
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Editor: Annette Fuentes
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Contributing Editors: Peter Marcuse,
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Photographers: Beverly Cheuvront, Bill
Copyright 0 1986. All Rights Reserved.
No portion or portions of this journal may
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chitectural Periodicals.
What Goes Around, Comes Around
One of the major paradoxes of work to change this city for the better,
for the majority of those living here, is that it is bound to be fraught
with the most extreme negativity and the most sublime positivism, The
down side involves the necessary and realistic appraisals of just how
bad conditions are, how agonizingly slow the wheels of city bureaucracy
turn and how skewed towards "the haves" policies really are, That is
the task undertaken in a study done by the Community Training and
Resource Center on the exodus of bank offices from city neighborhoods
that don't have enough affluent residents. In one of this issue's feature
articles, "Branch Closings: The New Redlining," Errol Louis describes
the CTRC work, in which he was involved, to document the flight of
banks from poor city neighborhoods to richer suburban pastures. With
the branch offices go needed banking services and the sense of stability
and viability a bank lends to its neighborhood.
The results of the study are certainly disturbing: some communities
have lost over half of their bank offices in the past decade, While the
Community Reinvestment Act offers protection against other bank dis-
investment practices-denying loans and mortgages-this type of cor-
pinate irresponsibility is more slippery and hard to halt. Besides, most
of the damage has already been done, notes the study'S director, Margaret
The up side to work dedicated to a just New York is the hope that
springs eternally in people who wage the good fight, The vision of
something better, of attainable alternatives and the profound belief that
other motives besides profit and greed can direct the course of events.
Lyndon Comstock is such a person, in the unlikely guise of a banker,
who aims to turn the investment and banking world of maximum profits
on its head. A profile of Comstock by Associate Editor Doug Thretsky
shows that, while the headlines focus on unscrupulous investment
bankers trading insider information, there is a growing number like this
Brooklyn resident who are as concerned about the social impact of their
investments as the rate of return. Money that goes to support apartheid
in South Africa or gentrification in New York, can be better spent, accord-
ing to the socially responsible investors, without sacrificing a decent
return on their investments. The bank that Comstock seeks to found
would be an important source of alternative funding for community
revitalization and a model for other such financial institutions in the
service of communities. City Limits applauds this enterprise and the
vision of an alternative to the redlining and bank flight it represents.D

Branch Closings: The New Redlining 10
A new twist on an old practice by banks that deprive
certain ill-fated neighborhoods of needed financial
Hurray for West Hollywood 16
California's newest and most controversial little city
is a strong hold of community, senior and gay rights
From the Editor
What Goes Around, Comes Around ....... 2
Neighborhood Newsstand
Fraud Across America .................. 4
Letters .................................. 5
Short Term Notes
Fair Housing Victory ......... ...... ..... 6
SRO Bill Draws the Lines .... .... ........ 6
City Debtors Still Dealing ............... 7
Neighborhood Notes
Bronx ........ .. .. .. . ... .... .
Brooklyn ............................. 8
Manhattan ... ...... ...... .. .. ......... 9
Queens ......... ........ ..... .. ...... 9
Building Blocks
Exterior Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Program Focus
Recruiting Landlords to House
the Homeless . .. .... . . ........... ..... 22
Lyndon Comstock Banks on
Social Goals .... . .............. .. .. .. 24
Leonard Stern and the Homeless ........ 26
Homeless in America .. ......... .... ... 29
Workshop ............................... 31
Odober 1986 CITY LIMITS 3
RedlininglPage 10
West Hollywood/Page 16
Stern's Shelter/Pa
4 CITY LIMITS Odober 1986
Fraud Across America
Christo-like human chain designed
to fight hunger and homelessness
stretched from coast to coast May 25
and rromised up to $50 million for
relie efforts. The final accounting is
now underway and it turns out the
massively publicized event will fall
far short of its goal. Nearly $30 mil-
lion short, in fact, if the current pro-
jections from the organizers hold
true, perhaps more if they were calcu-
lated with the same rose-colored glas-
ses as the original estimates.
Why? Because the basic idea was
somehow flawed? The execution
inept? The political line incorrect?
No. According to Hands spokes-
people, it's because many of you out
there made pledges and failed to send
them in. Plus there were a bunch of
gate crashers who showed up at the
last minute without filling out forms
and sending in checks first. There
was also some mumbling about insur-
ance costs. But, hey, not to worry, the
event was still a success.
Since Ken Kragan, who is Lionel
Ritchie's manager as well as USA for
Africa and Hands Across America
boss, is already threatening another
event for 1988, which will also no
doubt be successful, let's take a look
at what really happened. It turns out
(and this will gladden the hearts of
cynics everywhere) that the very idea
for the event, the holding hands deal,
was the brainchild of Burson-
Marsteller, one of the largest public
relations firms on the planet. Accord-
ing to a June 17th article in Adweek,
the firm originally had one of their
prime clients, AT&T, in mind for the
hand-holding deal. A sickeningly
soppy sequel to the "reach out and
touch someone" schtick, no doubt.
Then they took it to Ken Kragen, with
the proviso that Coca Cola Co. get
right of first refusal. No wonder it
looked like a soft drink commerical.
But who cares if the entire concept
was a hand-me-down gimmick that
even AT&T found too tacky and so
what if they raised less than half of
what they said they would. This pales
beside the central blunder of Kragen
& company: including President
Reagan as number-one hand holder.
After that, it is questionable whether
any good could come out of an event
that so clearly portrayed the home-
less and hungry as victims of forces
beyond any political control. It would
be a mistake to finger one person as
responsible for the crisis of homeless-
ness and the evaporation of low in-
come housing, but if you had to, Ron
would be at the top of any informed
list. Robert Hayes of the Coalition for
the Homeless called Reagan's partici-
pation a disgrace; given the results of
the effort it might be called a fraud
as well.
You could say that the $15 million
raised is nothing to laugh at. True
enough. Some good organizations
will get funding for a while. But con-
sidering the cause, celebrity support
and the size of the promotional
budget (Coke alone spent $7 million),
it's hard to see how they could have
raised less if Colonel Qaddaffi had
served as chairman.O
providing complete architectural and engineering services to
non-profit developers
o Building Evaluation and Inspection
o Feasibility Studies
o Preliminary Design/Scope of Work Studies
o Complete Construction Drawings & Specifications
o Construction Supervision
Call John Harris RA. for an evaluation of your project's needs
Essential Reading
To the Editor:
This week I started school ' at
Hunter College School of Social
Work, in the community organization
program. I consider City Limits essen-
tial reading, and so am finally sub-
scribing instead of borrowing issues
as I've always done in the past.
I am particularly interested and
concerned about the sexual harrass-
ment of women by landlords, supers
and others who are in a position to
make women's search for safe, afford-
able housing even more of a monu-
mental task than it already is.
Keep up the fantastic work.
Gretel J. LaVieri
Hoboken, NJ
To the Editor:
As a tenant organizer for nine
years, I've heard many stories similar
to those recounted in your recent ar-
ticle on the sexual harassment of
women tenants ("Unreasonable Ac-
cess: Sexual Harassment Comes
Home," June/July 1986). Not only are
many women tenants subjected to
sexual harassment, but they are also
very vulnerable to break-ins, rob-
beries and physical/verbal abuse.
Almost every time I sit down with
a tenant association steering commit-
tee, I am told something like, "I need
repairs but I'm afraid to let them in
my apartment" or "We know it's the
landlord's employees doing the
break-ins but can't prove it."
The fear of harassment is one of the
main obstacles to organizing in our
neighborhoods. Those women who
participate in organizing-efforts de-
spite this fear deserve medals for brav-
I hope the judges in Housing Court
read the article, since the issue of "ac-
cess" is constantly raised by both
landlords and tenants. Landlord at-
torneys are fond of reporting that the
repairs were not done because the
tenant "refused access." And more
and more eviction cases are brought
on the basis of refused access. Women
tenants in Housing Court are forever
bringing up the problems of verbal
abuse, disrespect, drunkeness, etc. on
the part of managing agents, superin-
tendents and repairmen. For the most
part the judges will ignore these
stories, confirming the tenant's sense
of powerlessness. The judges often
imply that this issue is not within the
jurisdiction of Housing Court.
What ever the jurisdiction of the
court, judges need to be more aware
of this issue and to find better ways
of resolving those cases where "ac-
cess" is a problem. I am preparing a
letter to all the judges and will en-
close City Limits in each. The Task
Force on Housing Court may follow
up by requesting a meeting with
Brent Sharman
Neighborhood Stabilization Program
Not Just Bricks
& Mortar
To the Editor:
Your article ("Bushwick's Second
Chance", August/September 1986)
very graphically pojnted out that at
its best public housing is not just a
place to live. It can be an active and
positive force in the community. I was '
further reminded of this when I went
to the graduation ceremonies of a
New York City Housing Authority
program which used Hun monies to
provide job training for young ten-
ants. In the last two years over 200
youths have taken the course. More
than half of the graduates have been
hired by the Authority . . This is not
your usual landlord-tenant relation-
Unfortunately, this training prog-
ram, like public housing itself, is in
danger. Hun has not refunded it. It
is especially important at times like
these when funding for public hous-
ing is in jeopardy and the principle
of public housing itself is under at-
tack, that the citizenry is made aware
of how much public housing has
done and can continue to do. Bricks
and mortar alone do not make a
home. There has to be concern and
involvement between management
and tenant. The New York City Hous-
ing Authority has successfully pro-
mated that concern and involvement
between itself and its tenants for over
fifty years. We all need to work to-
gether to ensure that this opportunity
for better living can be provided for
at least the next fifty years.
Joseph Shuldiner
General Manager
New York City Housing Authority
Editor's note: A direct appeal by
NYCHA Chairman Emanuel
Popolizio to HUD Secretary Samuel
Pierce resulted in the refunding of
the training program.
Spanish at the Taller
"If you think language is for people to communi-
cate, if you think grammar should help you to
understand the language and not alienate you
from it, and if, above all, you thi'lk language
can be fun, informal and even Irreve-
rent . . . then, you must have studied Spanish
at the Taller." - Grace Paley, author
Classes start the week of October
Intensive Classes:
Morning Classes ....... ..... . $175
4 mornings a week/4 weeks/32 hours
Evening Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $150
2 nights a week/4 weeks/24 hours
Once-a-Week Classes: ..... $135
3 hours a week/8 weeks/24 hours
all levels:
beginner, intermediate, advanced
Saturday Classes:
Portugese & Spanish/4 mornings . . . $150
Taller Latinoamericano
(The Latin American Workshop, Inc.)
19 West 21 Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 255-7155
6 CITY LIMITS Odober 1986
The spacious apartment
buildings lining Eastern Parkway
in Crown Heights, Brooklyn,
many of which overlook the
Brooklyn Museum and Botanic
Gardens, have recently become
desirable properties as prices
escalate in nearby Pork Slope.
But to at least one local
realtor/manaaging agent, the
long-time block and Hispanic
residents of the area are on
impediment to this resurgence.
Sophia Nelson, who has lived
at 942 Eastern Parkway since
1969, says her building began
to deteriorate when Jacob
Winter become managing
agent in 1977. "It was a
beautiful building when I moved
in. But after Winter took over the
building went down, down,
down," laments Nelson. Winter,
who refused to return calls to
City Limits is the managing
agent of eight other buildings
along Eastern Parkway in which
a similar pattern emerged.
Services and repairs were cut
and tenants were repeatedly
token to housing court and
challenged with evictions.
It wasn't long before the
tenants began to understand
what was going on. Says
Thomas Palynice, a 17 -year
resident of 796 Eastern
Parkway, "He wonted the
building to be empty. To put in
new people, white people."
Some of the buildings become
enclaves of white tenants and
underwent renovation while the
primarily block and Hispanic
buildings continued to
deteriorate. Says Nelson, "1
asked him, 'Why are you making
this building a slum?' He
answered, ' I like slums.'" In
1982, the tenants, under the
aegis of the Crown Heights
Tenants Union, went to
Bedford-Stuyvesant Community
Legal Services for help.'We hod
a situation that I would suspect
is not unique to the buildings or
the landlords involved," says
Legal Services lawyer Philip
Genty. The agency brought a
discri mination case against
Jacob Winter's real estate oUice:
He wanted a "very special" type of tenant.
Winter arid those listed as discrimination, signed a consent
owners of the properties: decree effective this past June.
Menachem Deitch, Chassia The decree holds Winter and
Pulner, Shlomo Segal and J.c. the four building owners (who
Chasop, Inc. Five other buildings lawyers and tenants have
owned and managed by the reason to believe are just
group in Crown Heights and "fronting" as the title holders)
Fort Greene were also included respansible for undertaking a
in the suit. program of affirmative renting
South Brooklyn Legal to ensure past discrimination is
Services senior stoff attorney corrected and that future rentals
More Cohan says that initially willbe"colorblind."Winteralso
the owners claimed they were agreed to make all repairs
doing the best they could since necessary to bring the buildings
the buildings were rent up to housing code and to pay
regulated and didn't generate cosh awards to the tenants who
much money. But lawyers brought the case to court.
discovered the spacious Tenants still complain, though,
apartments were being that their apartments remain
advertised as loft space in the unrepaired and Polynice says 13
Village Voice and deals were of the 15 apartments in his
being mode in which the new building are unoccupied.
tenants would renovate their Apparently many of the white
apartments and Winter would tenants have also left, disatisfied
pay for materials. Says Genty, with services in their
"He was looking for a very buildings.DD.T.
specific type oftenant. One who
was white, willing to do repairs
and help take the buildings out
of rent stabilization."
The lawyers sent white and
minority applicants to see the
apartments and found the white
"testers" were always treated
more favorably. Armed with this
evidence, testimony from block
and Hispanic residents and
reams of maintenance and
violation records from the
Deportment of Housing
Preservation and Development,
the Legal Services attorneys
pressed on. After a four year
battle, Winter, still denying any
Owners of single-room-
occupancy hotels will be able to
buy their way out of the
moratorium on conversions of
such buildings under a new
city-sponsored bill before the
City Council as City Limits goes
to press.
Intro 646, which would
extend a current 18-month-old
prahibition against turning
dwindling SRO rental units into
co-ops, condos or higher priced
rentals, would let owners that
want to convert pay $35,000
for each unit into a fund to
create replacement housing
elsewhere. The majority of SROs
are in Manhattan. A section of
the Intro would also prohibit
warehousing - holding vacant
rooms that are rentable-
beginning January 1, 1987. An
amendment now being
introduced by Council Member
Hilton Clark would exempt all
SROs with 24 or fewer units in
the Harlem community from the
moratorium. The amendment
was formulated at the urging of
the Harlem Tax Payers, a
30-year-old homeowners
Reaction among SRO tenant
advocates to the city bill has
been overwhelmingly negative.
Says Saralee Evans of the West
Side SRO Low Project, "There
will a lot more homeless people
this winter if it is passed. The city
is condoning the emptying of
buildings with this bill." She
questions the ability of the city
to produce replacement
housing with the buyout funds,
which she thinks will be
insufficient to cover site
acquisition and renovations.
"Everyone soys you can't
replace the SROs at $35,000 a
unit. The implications of the bill
are that in rem housing will be
used. Well, the city isn't giving
away in rem housing now; The
ones not being sold are in such
bod condition."
Robert Trobe, deputy
commissioner of Housing
Preservation and Development
and one of the authors of Intra
646, says the buyout amount
was in fact based on the
rehabilitation costs of in rem,
that is tax foreclosed, buildings.
Where the replacement housing
was located would be dictated,
he says, "simply by cost
considerations. Property south
of 96th St. would utilize some of
the buyout money towards land
in a highly marketable area."
Fears that the bill would
create more homelessness
through a wove of conversions
of the roughly 60,000
remaining SRO units are
luy-out on 34th Str t:
OWn.rs of Itot.l, 'ib tit. P.nn Vi.w can buy ,It.ir
way out of tit. SilO moratorium.
unfounded, claims Trobe,
because it would be too
expensive. "Most of the
buildings will not be converted
because of the $35,000
payment. Few will buyout and to
the extent they do, this
mechanism will be in place to
create replacements."
But Evans points out that
developers of many existing
Manhattan SROs could make a
bundle on a conversion-
buyout or not. "ManySROsare
on assemblage lots, on comers.
The Palmer and Pennview
Hotels, for example, include two
porking lots and a garage on
the site. The owners plan to build
two 64-story buildings. It's
incomceivable that they
wouldn't make millions." The two
SROs are in Midtown, at 34th
and Eighth Avenue.
Ann Teicher, diredor of the
East SRO Law Pro jed, has
compiled a list of 12 hotels on
such assemblage sites on highly
valuable East Side real estate.
The Lexington Residence, for
example, is located on 31 st St.
and Third Ave., a comer site that
would lend itself to high rise
development of the 103 SRO
Meanwhile, a last minute
addition by Council Member
Clark is aimed at assuaging
members of Harlem Tax Payers,
who believe the moratorium
hurts their community. ''The bill
impacts on the stability of small
building areas; SROs are
inclusive of many Harlem
brownstones," says Juliet
McGuiness Neslon of the
Harlem group. "Banks woun't
lend to buildings under the
moratorium." She says many
brownstone owners have found
it impossible to get loans to do
building improvements and that
will make it difficult to revitalize
and bring in new people to
Harlem. While she could notsay
how many tenants would be
affeded by an end to a
moratorium of conversions,
McGuiness Nelson claims,
"tenants con stay in place.
October 1986 CITY LIMITS 7
Owners cannot in most places
live in a building with out
tenants. They're expensive to
maintain. In Harlem we don't
suffer fram homeless people.
We suffer from people-less
Two years ago the
Deportment of Housing
Preservation and Development
(HPD) conduded a well-
publicized effort to coiled
outstanding housing code fines
fram notorious landlord Jack
Ferranti. They even seized his
yacht and auctioned it for
$14,000. Despite HPDs efforts,
Ferranti still owes over
$300,000 in fines, according to
the most recent update of HPD's
judgement debtor list. And
Ferranti is not alone. The list
reveals over 3,200 entries,
many with tens of thousands of
dollars in fines.
When a landlord has rocked
up outstanding housing code
violations, HPD will go to
Housing Court to get a fine
imposed. ':A violation doesn't
become a fine until the court
imposes a judgement," explains
Bruce Kromer, director of HPDs
Division of Evaluation and
Compliance. H PO then registers
the fine with the County Clerk
and moves to coiled. But while
the city tries to collect, the
landlord may still be carrying on
business as usual.
Ferranti currently owes fines
on 18 different buildings under
his nome or his corporations,
Fer-Ran and Ran-ti. Kromer says .
the court imposed judgements
are usually entered against the
building - rather than the
individual landlord or
corporation - so that if the
owner tries to sell the property
he or she "has to come and pay
the piper."
But Ferranti didn't seem to run
into any hurrdles when he sold
525 W. 169th Street this post
March. The building, which had
as many as 224 code violations,
has a $75,440 fine under Ran-Ti
and an additional $22,000
judgement under Ferrantis own
mane. He sold the building for
approximately $210,000, more
than doubling his money since
buying the building in .
December, 1979. Ferranti also
sold five other West Harlem
buildings in one busy day lost
May for over $1 million. While
none had judgements, the fod
that he does have numerous
outstanding fines doesn't seem
to impede his freedom to
Blueblood landlord Clinton
W. Blume, Jr., who's family has
been involved in real estate
since the Civil War and is a
former vice president of
Cushman & Wakefield, has also
. sold a building with oustanding
judgements. HPD has fines
entered of $6,170 and $20,110
on 58 E. 129th Street in Blume's
nome. Yet Blume sold the
building in June of 1985 to
Adonis Morfesis, another
notorious landlord with over
$94,000 in outstanding
Bruce Hissom, who made the
Villiage Voice's 10 worst
landlord list this year, played the
city on both ends. While having
oustanding judgements on six
buildings, he gained title to
108-110 W. 111 th Street by
paying off the bock taxes.
The city has an uphill battle in
its attempts to coiled on the
court imposed fines. A brief
study released four years ago
by State Senator Franz leichter's
office indicated HPD colleded
on about 10 percent of its
current fines. Bruce Kramer says
HPD has been trying to coiled
fram Hissom for over a year.
Kramer wouldn't elaborate on
HPDs collection methods,
fearing h e ~ alert the real estate
business to the deportment's
operations. But he says HPD will
sometimes seize the property,
"something we're doing more
and more."
But of the 272 poges worth
of judgements Kramer admits,
"A lot of it is uncolledable, quite
frankly."DMary Breen and
8 CITY LIMITS Odober 1986
The Bronx
Battling the Machine
In the otherwise lazy climate of
Bronx politics this past summer, the
battle for the Assembly seat from Mor-
risania stood out. The contest pitted
incumbent Gloria Davis, the choice
of indictment-riddled Bronx Democ-
ratic machine leader Stanley Fried-
man, against Roberto Ramirez of the
Progressive Activists for Latino Ad-
vancement. Despite the Davis victory
in the primary, Ramirez' candidacy
reinforced the growing strength of
The Progressive Activists have con-
ducted voter registration drives
among blacks and Latinos in an effort
to promote community control over
the selection of political representa-
tives. PALA supported Jose Serrano's
challenge to machine candidate Stan-
ley Simon in last year's borough pres-
ident race.
PALA has also focused on the hous-
ing conditions that affect the poor
and disempowered. Following last
winter's fire at an illegal homeless
shelter that left 60 people with no
place to go, Ramirez advocated for
their immediate relocation and got
the shelter shut down. Ramirez and
PALA have also been involved in settl-
ing the battle between homeowners
who laid out thousands of downpay-
ment dollars in a cIty-sponsored de-
velopment and the developer who
"ran out of money" and refused to
complete the houses. PALA defended
the rights of the homeowners to take
over the houses and forced HPD,
Chemical Bank and developer Ab-
raham Shnay to sit down and re-
The Friedman machine tried ..
number of tacts to break the Ramirez
candidacy, including throwing
another Hispanic candidate, Jose Riv-
era, into the fray and, of course, chal-
lenging the legality of the signatures
on nominating petitions. No success
for the machine. Ramirez collected
over 5,000 signatures (ten times the
required amount) and took the cam-
paign right back where it came
from-the people.
Shelter Wars
Morrisania was also the site of
another battle, this one for the control
of homeless shelter rights on 156th
Street. This fray pits Ramon S. Velez,
$200,000-a-year caretaker of poverty
and housing programs under the
aegis of the Hunts Point Multi-Ser-
vice Program, and Leonard Stern,
owner of the Village Voice and Hartz
Mountain. Stern has proposed turn-
ing the now vacant Prospect Hospital
into a shelter run by the Manhattan-
based Homes for the Homeless.
But local residents complain that
800 units of homeless housing have
already been targeted for the area and
they don't want more. Velez, through
his "frontman" City Councilmember
Rafael Colon, has publicly echoed
community opposition to the Pros-
pect Hospital plan. Velez' opposition,
however, may be based more on bus-
siness than community concern. The
Velez family runs the Ruth Fernandez
Family Shelters three blocks away
from Prospect Hospital. They plan to
double the shelter's capacity, now at
193 families, and there is speculation '
the Velez family wanted the hospital
site for its expansion plans.DAngel
Anti-Eviction Project Cut
After 86-year old Anna Williams
was illegally evicted by her landlord,
she got lucky. She found her way to
South Brooklyn Legal Services, the
home of the Brooklyn Anti-Illegal
Eviction Project. Williams was living
in Fort Greene, one of the project's
target areas. Project staff attorney,
Sheryl Karp, took Williams' case to
After the hearing, Judge Margaret
Cammer wrote, "Just as the '80s has
brought us new cuisine, new music,
it has brought the new eviction." She
labeled the new techniques for ac-
quiring vacancies as "thuggery" and
went on to order the landlord to give
Anna Williams back her home.
Anna Williams is just one of the
hundreds of people in the area who
have turned to the Anti-Illegal Evic-
tion Project for help since its incep-
tion in February of this year. "We have
satisfied all of our statistical commit-
ments for the entire year in the first
. six months of the project, " says Roger
Maldonado, director of South Brook-
lyn Legal Services' housing unit.
The Anti-Illegal Eviction Project
was established on a grant from then-
City Council President Carol Bel-
lamy. The Department of Housing Pre-
servation and Development chose
two sites to house the project: a Bronx
Legal Aide office and Brooklyn Legal
Service Corporation B, South Brook-
lyn. The Brooklyn project is designed
to combat illegal eviction and harass-
ment in Fort Greene and surrounding
areas. There was optimism when the
grant was awarded that the project
would be expanded to more com-
munities if it proved successful in the
first year.
Though there is no question that it
has been a huge success, it will not
be expanded in 1987. In fact , it may
expire all together in February. No
funds have been committed to keep
the Anti-Illegal Eviction Project
going after that.
The problem started when Mayor
Koch turned down HPD's request for
$500,000 to expand the project next
year. Koch suggested the applicants
go back to the original source of the
grant. Bellamy, of course, is no longer
in city government. Her successor,
Andrew Stein, though supportive of
the project, failed to put any money
in his budget for it. Bronx Borough
President Stanley Simon interceded
on behalf of the Bronx project, secur-
ing their funding for ~ n o t h e r year. But
Brooklyn Borough President Howard
Golden declined to play the same role
for SQut}{ Brooklyn's project. City
Councilman Abe Gerges took the
proposal to the City Council but
failed to get it funded.
''In none of our discussions (with
pot ential funding sources) was the
project's merit ever an issue," says a
frustrated Maldonado. He remains
hopeful that somehow money will
come through. Without it tenants like
Anna Williams may just find them-
selves out in the cold.O
David J. Dower
Development Fever
Perhaps no other neighborhood in
the city has been as saturated with
plans for mega-development projects
as Clinton- the place where every-
thing old becomes new again. Still
reeling from the recently approved
Zeckendorf plan that calls for office
and luxury condo towers on the old
Madison Square Garden site, the com-
munity is now gearing up for the
proposed development on the old
Coliseum site. The poorly designed
and now obsolete Coliseum, which
was built on an urban renewal site
originally earmarked for low and
moderate income housing, has been
replaced by the new Convention
Major real-estate developers fell all
over each other in the high-priced
bidding war to buy the Coliseum site
from the city. Morton Zuckerman's
Boston Properties won the auction
rights, with nary a word said about
the housing originally promised for
the site.
Peter Schleissner, a member of
Community Board 4 and the Clinton
Coalition of Concern, characterizes
the Boston Properties proposal as a
"huge, ugly project, the size of two
Port Authorities side-by-side, con-
taining luxury hotels, an atrium, a
shopping mall and some 20 movie
houses. " But Schleissner says the
community has learned some lessons
since its negotiations on the Zecken-
dorf project. The developer got al-
most everything he wanted from the
city while the initial memorandum
of intent negotiated with community
leaders was ultimately forgotten.
The Coliseum project has just
begun to enter the Uniform Land Use
Review Process and will be reviewed
by Community Boards 5 and 7, whose
boundaries converge at the site. The
effects of this project, accordi.ng to
Schleissner, can only mean the area
will continue to be "real-estate specu-
lated to death. "
October 1986 CITY LIMITS 9
And coming down the pipeline are
Gulf & Western's plans to replace the
current Madison Square Garden with
an office tower and build a new Gar-
den near the Convention Center.
War on Warehousing
Real-estate speculation has also in-
tensified the warehousing of empty
apartments and buildings in Clinton
and other communities. The Clinton
Coalition of Concern recently or-
g a n i ~ e d an anti-warehousing coali-
tion to lobby for state legislation. As-
semblyman Richard Gottfried will re-
introduce a bill he sponsored in the
last session of the Assembly.
The Gottfried bill seeks to limit the
number of apartments held vacant in
a building to 5 percent of all units
and includes penalities if "good
faith" efforts to rent are not made. The
bill would allow tenants, community
groups, HPD or DHCR to begin pro-
ceedings for the appointment of a 7a
administrator if too many apartments
are empty-including vacant build-
The Anti-Warehousing Coalition
says city data indicates that the vac-
ancy rate in Clinton is approximately
9.5 percent. But residents familiar
with local housing dynamics believe
the figure may be as high as 14 per-
cent. OMary Breen
St. Albans 'Thnants On Strike
On Monday, August 25, members
of the St. Albans Garden Apartment
Tenant Association voted at the
group's general meeting to go on a
rent strike.
Association president Cornell
Leach opened the meeting, to which
many community leaders had been
invited, proclaiming, "People have
suffered too long and this is the end
of it." Residents Colleen Simmons
and Collins Bentham read a long list
of building problems and manage-
ment issues, all too familiar to New
York City tenants. It started with heat
and hot water problems that persist
despite a new boiler bought in 1983
for which tenants now pay Major Cap-
ital Improvements rent increases, and
went on to name painting, playground
area repairs, laundry rooms, garbage
removal, grounds upkeep and the
need for a licensed superintendent on
the premises.
The garden aprutments comprise
an 80-unit complex located OR 169th
and 170th Streets between Foch
Boulevard and 116th Avenue. The
John B. Swift Management Company
is responsible for managing the build-
Speakers at the general meeting in-
cluded local politicians and candi-
dates and three tenant leaders from
other communities to help inspire
and support the St. Albans tenants.
Bernice Segal of the Glen Oaks Tenant
Association spoke of the need for
unity and perseverance in the fight
to maintain decent affordable hous-
ing in the wake of garden apartment
conversions. She warned that the cur-
rent conditions at the St. Albans com-
plex could be foreshadowing future
harassment designed to vacate the
buildings. Jean Jones-Williams, pres-
ident of the 166th Street Block Associ-
ation, spoke on the need to organize
and encouraged the association in
their decision to strike. She also
warned tenants to look into over-
charges and security deposit prob-
lems. Catherine Hardison, a Jamaica
tenant, gave a rousing call to arms,
urging the St. Albans tenants, "Never
give up!"
Creative Harassment
A short tale of landlord insanity:
Tenants have been illegally locked
out, but illegally locked in? That's
what happened to Mr. Giddons at
105-22 Merrick Boulevard when his
landlord, Hillard L. Grays retaliated
against Giddons' action against him
in Housing Court. Although Giddons,
fed up with lack of services, agreed
to move by the end of July, his land-
lord took the battle one step further.
On June 4, he removed Giddons stove
and on two occasions locked an entr-
ance gate that had to be opened by a
key from the inside. Police had to be
called to let tenants out of the buid-
ing. What next?OIrma Rodriguez
10 CITY LIMITS Odober 1986
Branch Closings:
The New Redlining
ather John Kennington had good
cause to be worried when Man-
ufacturers Hanover '!rust closed
its branch on Avenue B and Third
Street. For years, Kennington's
church, the Most Holy Redeemer,
sent a secretary around the corner to
deposit money from various parish
functions, like Sunday collection and
Thesday night Bingo.
But when the branch closed in May,
1984, getting to a bank meant sending
the church's modest proceeds a long
way through a tough neighborhood.
"The secretary is a big lady," Ken-
nington jokes. "She would scare them
away." More seriously, he adds, the
nearest other bank branch was about
15 blocks away. "You're going to go all
the way to Delancy and Essex
Streets," he says. "That's dangerous."
And Kennington noticed that mem-
bers of the church, as well as other
Lower Eastsiders - mostly people of
low and moderate income - had
similar problems after Manufacturers
Hanover left. "If you live in the pro-
jects, you really have a long hike" to
find a bank, he says. "The older
people that were using the bank-
they don't talk about it, but they had
to start squirreling money in their
apartments," he says.
Such problems are not confined to
the Lower East Side. According to a
study recently published by the Com-
munity Training and Resource Center
(CTRC), banks and savings and loans
that operate within New York City
shut down 130 branches between
1977 and 1984. The study, which
began in 1985, was funded by the
Fund for the City of New York, New
York Community '!rust, the city's De-
partment of Housing Preservation
and Development, Office of
Economic Development and Man-
ufacturers Hanover '!rust. CTRC took
up the subject at the request of com-
munity gro.ups around the city that
ank closings are wreaking havoc in New
York's low income neighborhoods as a
new, insidious form of redlining that is tak-
'ing bank services from the poor and heap-
ing them on the rich.
were complaining about branch clos-
ings. At the time, no one - not even
the government agencies charged
with overseeing bank behavior-
could say how many branches had
been closed or how these closings af-
fected a community.
CTRC found that Chase Manhattan
had the most closings, 39, between
1977 and 1984. Manufacturers
Hanover '!rust shut down 25 offices
in those same years. These two banks,
together with Citibank (22 closings)
and Bankers '!rust (19), account for
more than three-quarters of the clos-
ings recorded by CTRC.
"The main issue is that many, many
communities have been left totally be-
reft of services, or on the verge of los-
ing them," says Margaret Stix, a
former director of CTRC who en-
gineered the study. "In a couple of
communities - East New York in par-
ticular - people have to travel a
couple of miles to the nearest branch
as a result of the closing of branches. "
All told New York City lost about
6.5 percent of its commercial
branches between 1977 and 1984-
while the suburban counties of Nas-
sau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland,
Bergen and Putnam saw the number
of branches increase by 8 percent.
After this wave of closings, the city
now averages one bank branch for
every 6,435 people. In the suburbs
that ratio of b ~ s to people is nearly
three times better: one branch for
every 2,421 people.
"The Bronx has lost 14 percent of
its total commercial branches" notes
Stix. "There are community boards
that have lost more than half their
The study found a correlation be-
tween banking services and the racial
and economic characteristics of the
areas examined. Median household
income in New York, where the
branches closed, is $13,855, while
the median income in the suburbs is
$23,853. While New York is 49 per-
cent black, Asian and Latino, the sub-
urbs are only on the average 10 per-
cent non-white. If you are wealthy,
white, and live in the suburbs, the
findings suggest, access to banking
services isn't a problem. If you are
poor, minority and living in the city,
getting a check cashed or a loan ap-
proved is harder than it used to be.
In other words, redlining is alive
and well - and speeding the decline
of low and moderate income neigh-
borhoods of New York.
New 1\vist to an Old Practice
"Redlining" is the name given to
discriminatory bank lending prac-
tices - typically, the refusal to ex-
tend loans to people in low income
areas. The term first became widely
known in the 1970s when community
activists revealed that urban bankers
October 1986 CITY LIMITS 11
Another .huHered bonk bronch:
O"'y two ba"k bra"eI,e. serve a long stretch of Brookly,,'. Fihh Ave"ue.
all across the country were in the
habit of drawing lines on city maps,
circling blighted areas. Neighbor-
hoods that fell on the wrong side of
the boundary - too poor, perhaps, or
too black and Latino - were con-
demned to financial neglect.
Mortgage loans and other bank ser-
vices were virtually impossible to
come by, starving residents in the
marked-off areas of badly-needed cre-
Redlining was explicitly outlawed
by Congress with the Community
Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977. The
law states that banks have an affirma-
tive duty to reinvest funds in the
neighborhoods in which they oper-
ate. All state and federally chartered
institutions are given CRA ratings, in
which a regulatory agency examines
12 different factors, including rein-
vestment patterns and "the bank's re-
cord of opening and closing offices
and providing services at offices."
The old redlining was a matter of
refusing loans to people who needed
them. With today's redlining, the
branch simply shuts - there isn't
even a place to go to ask about a loan.
When a bank shuts down a branch,
say, in midtown Manhattan, there is
relatively little impact on the neigh-
borhood, since there are many more
banks available to pick up the slack.
But when a branch is closed in a de-
pressed or borderline outer borough
area, the departure can be devastat-
In 1984, a state senate task force on
branch closings heard testimony
about elderly Brooklyn residents
who lost places to cash their Social
Security checks when the banks
pulled out. News stories have de-
tailed the long, often dangerous treks
the elderly must make when local
branches disappear.
"We're seeing a lot of bank branch
closings here in the South Bronx,"
says Getz Obstfeld, executive director
of the Banana Kelly Community Im-
provement Association. "It's just
another expression of how they're
cutting back services that people here
need most."
Without a branch, small merchants
have a harder time performing
routine functions like getting change
or making nightly deposits. The local
business strip is also denied the
economic "magnet" effect of a bank,
which draws residents when they are
ready to go shopping.
There are also psychological effects
of a closing. "It sends a signal to the
community that it's going downhill,"
says Rev. Arthur Bolden, a consultant
to the Church-Utica Merchant's As-
sociation in the Rugby section of
Brooklyn. Bolden, who last year
fought unsuccessfully to stop Repub-
lic National Bank from closing a
branch near the intersection of
Church and Utica Avenues, says the
bank building now houses a store that
carries inexpensive household uten-
sils - "just selling junk, really," he
!E says.


Redistributing the Wealth
The closings are actually a redis-
tribution of bank resources. While
closing 39 branches between 1977
and 1984, for instance, Chase also
opened 21 branches. What concerns
community groups, however, is that
the tendency is to open doors in weal-
thy suburban neighborhoods while
closing them in poor areas, most of
which desperately need bank ser-
Banks insist the branch closings are
a necessity, a claim requiring a bit of
background on how the financial sys-
tem works. Some institutions, like
Citibank and Chase Manhattan, are
chartered. by the federal government,
which oversees their operations;
others, like Manufacturers Hanover
and Chemical, are chartered and gov-
erned by New York State.
Between 1980 and 1984, both types
of banks persuaded Congress and the
state legislature to change existing
laws so that banks could raise the
amount of interest they pay custom-
ers. The banks sought the right to pay
more in order to compete with other
financial institutions, the so-called
"non-bank banks" like Sears
Roebuck, which for the first time
'began offering checkwriting, money-
market accounts and other attractive
12 CITY LIMITS October 1986
bank-like services - all the result of
deregulation, a general relaxing of
business restraints that has been
spearheaded by the Reagan Adminis-
As competition heated up in the
early 1980s, "a lot of institutions be-
came aware that these brick and mor-
tar branches were costing them
money," says Richard Riley, a spokes-
man for the State Banking Depart-
ment, a watchdog over state-char-
tered banks. "We can't ask the institu-
tions to keep throwing good money
after bad," he says.
"What spurred most of (the clos-
ings) would come under the heading
of deregulation," agrees Michael
O'Neill, a vice president at Manufac-
turers Hanover, noting that banks
under deregulation began paying
higher interest rates on certain de-
posits - in some cases, going from
5-1/4 percent up to 10 percent.


The closer attention banks have
been giving their bottom lines forced
them to re-examine their entire struc-
tures. Branches that aren't seen as
profitable enough by bank executives
are being shut down; in fact, in 1983,
banks closed more branches in New

Margaret Stix. former CTRC director:
"Tlte main iuue is tltat many, many communities Itave been 'eft totally bereft
of services."
The Banana Kelly Study
Bank AmoontDeposited in Amount lent back in same
:y. bank's South Bronx areas as mortgages for 1-6
, hranches in 1984 family dwellings in 1984
Manufocturers $98.5 million $5.000 (one loan)
"ChaM MaDhaUOn .$fi4.2miWon $0
Citibonk $76.4 millioD $2.8 mil/ion (810ans)
Chemical Ba.nk $0
Banco Popular
de Puerto Rico
$30.4mlllion $0
Banco De Ponce

SiUmUJjon $49,000 (one loan)
*Banco Central $$.8 million $0
de New York
*DolJarSavinp $lZ0.i million $0
"Marine Midland $tZmiUion $0
* North'ide Savings $l1.5milllon $0
Bnsign Bank It2.3 million SO
New York Notional $38.4miUlon $0
..... n alteri.k mellns du;: bank approved no mort8a811s fall to 6 family structure. in the South Bronx
itt 1982. J983 or 1984. The South Bronx was defined for the stuny as the borough's Community
Boord. J.2 011 ... d 3 .. Wl!iJe the OQ.nh almast certainlt ma.de Born. e auto loons and personal loans.
mottso,. dil4t I, Iy foeUI infotmolion that by low be made pUblic; it Is considered 0
sl8fJlficonl iAdero In on urt61 ar!l(l.
York City than they opened, "for the
first time in recent memory," accord-
ing to one Federal Reserve official.
As a rule, banks don't release data
on the cost of running any single
branch, so it isn't clear to outsiders
whether a closed branch was truly
losing money, or merely failing to
turn the kind of profits the bank
wanted. Also, a bank's profitability
partly depends on the way records
are kept: if a bank approves all loans
from a central office in Manhattan,
for instance, the branch in, say, Bed-
ford-Stuyvesant, where the loan was
first requested, may not be credited
with bringing fn the resulting profit.
Capital Exodus
But the true scandal of this new
redlining is that banks often aren't
even returning to the community a
minimal share of what gets deposited
in the local branches, a fact de-
monstrated in a 1985 study con-
ducted by Banana Kelly.
The report found that deposits in
13 different banks serving the South
Bronx totaled $1.5 billion between
1982 and 1984 - a 15 percent in-
crease during those years. At the
same time, however, half of the banks
refused to approve even a single
mortgage for would-be small hom.e-
owners (see sidebar). A pattern
emerges of banks siphoning off mil-
lions out of the South Bronx.
"They're not aggressively seeking
to make the kinds of loans we need, "
says Banana Kelly director Obstfeld.
"They want to make downtown office
buildings and Latin America loans."
Money for home improvements is
scarce; Obstfeld says South Bronx
homeowners are encouraged by the
banks to take out personal loans, auto
loans, vacation loans - anything but
money to repair housing.
The Banana Kelly study was part
of an ongoing battle waged by a hand-
ful of concerned activists, one that
has heated up again in 1986 with the
release of the CTRC findings. So far,
the banks have been winning handily,
closing dozens of branches in every
borough of the city in the last few
years with only occasional interfer-
ence from regulators, politicians and
affected residents.
One interesting exception was the
Lower East Side. At first, a group of
'-' -activist.s, led by Catholic priest John
Kennington, fought unsuccessfully to
halt the closing of a Manufacturers
Hanover Trust branch on the north-
east corner of Avenue B and Third
Street. Pleading with Manufacturers
not to shut .down the only bank of
any sort within 100 square blocks
didn't work; in May, 1984, the com-
munity was left with no banking
facilities, and one more boarded-up
storefront on the block.
The fight turned bitter, with Lower
Eastsiders staging demonstrations
outside Manufacturers' midtown
headquarters. Finally, in 1985 -after
protests led to negotiations with the
bank - the area's Joint Planning
Council and other neighborhood
groups got Manufacturers Hanover to
give them the Avenue B site, which
has been renovated and converted
into a "people's bank," a community-
owned and operated credit union (see
City Limits, Dec. 1985).
The vast majority of loans by the
Lower East Side People's Federal Cre-
dit Union will be made to neighbor-
hood residents. As local organizer Val
Orselli pointed out at the credit
union's charter meeting, that's the
Odober 1986 CITY LIMITS 13
When a bank branch closes, it has a psychological effect too;
it sends out a signal to the community that it is going down hill.
biggest advantage of community-
owned financial institutions over the
big banks. "The money doesn' t go to
South Africa, and it doesn't go to
Scarsdale," he said. "It stays right
here with us."
In theory, there are a number of reg-
ulatory institutions - most notably,
the Comptroller of the Currency, the
Federal Reserve, the State Banking
Department and the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation - that are
charged with preventing banks from
redlining under the Community Rein-
vestment Act. But the Community
Training and Resource Center found
that regulators have consistently
downplayed or ignored bank clos-
When the State Banking Depart-
ment last fall published ratings of the
community reinvestment activity of
all state-chartered banks that narrow
focus was evident. On a scale of 1 to
5, with 1 being the best, virtually all
state banks got ratings of 2 - even
though some of the same institutions
had closed branches throughout poor
Banking on Credit Unions
In light of such behavior, those con-
cerned about the exodus of dollars
and the closing of branches in their
neighborhoods are realizing they will
have to develop their own alterna-
GUARDIAN-Activist Tool
"While sitting and
waiting for hours in
housing court, what
better paper to read
than the
helps put tenant
organizing in its
fullest perspective.
Ted Finklestein
Queens League of United Tenants
Try four weeks of the Guardian,
an independent radical newsweekly.
FREE (US only)
Name ____________________________________ __
Address __________________________ ----------
City/State/Zip ______________ _
The Guardian, 33 West 17th St., New York, N. Y. 10011
14 CITY LIMITS Odober 1986
Some Community Boards in the city have lost over half of their
bank branch offices.
tives to banks. "A major resurgence
of anti-redlining activity is really in
the works," says Clifford Rosenthal,
executive director of the National
Federation of Community Develop-
ment Credit Unions. ''A lot of con-
structive alternative-building has
been taking place."
Community development credit
unions (CDCUs) seem to be the lead-
ing long-term alternative. A credit
union is staffed by local volunteers
and run by elected officers (each cre-
dit union depositor gets one vote).
Personal loans as small as $50 are not
unheard of, since lending policies are
set by the elected directors and, most
importantly, money deposited is rein-
vested in the community.
"Credit unions potentially have a
tremendous appeal" in communities
mistreated by big banks, says Rosent-
hal. "They strike a really responsive
chord." The Northwest Bronx Com-
munity and Clergy Coalition likes the
idea and has already gathered hun-
dreds of written pledges from resi-
dents who have agreed to deposit
money in a credit union.
In Cambria Heights, Queens, Storm
Russell, a student working on a mas-
ter's in city planning at Columbia
University, has held half a dozen
meetings on the possibility of starting
a credit union. Russell has already
designed a survey that will be ad-
ministered to determine whether a
neighborhood-owned financial
center can sustain itself in the area.
Father John Kennington (left) at prayer vigil:
He tried to prevent do.ing of the only banlc wit"in 100 square bloch on tIl.
Lower East Side ...
The Manhattan-based Foundation
for the Community of Artists recently
got hundreds of favorable responses
from its members when it floated the
idea of setting up a credit union. (Like
other poor people, independent art-
ists are often considered bad credit
risks by the banks.)
Other anti-redlining activity raises
the possibility that the problem of
branch closings will soon be on the
agenda of national efforts to get banks
to respond to the needs of neighbor-
hoods. Last July, members of the As-
sociation of Community Organiza-
tions for Reform Now (ACORN) took
time out from their national conven-
tion in Washington, D.C., to occupy
the headquarters of the American
Bankers Association - part of a
nationwide campaign to force banks
to stop charging high fees to de-
positors, many of whom cannot meet
the $500 and $1,000 minimum de-
posits that banks increasingly de-
This call for basic banking services
has been taken up by the Brooklyn
chapter of ACORN in its battle against
Banco de Ponce, which recently ac-
quired a branch of the East New York
Savings Bank in Brownsville. Accord-
ing to ACORN, what was formerly a
bank where depositors could open an
account for $50 has become a place
where it costs 40 cents per check,
plus a $1.50 maintenance charge, if
the account has less than $200 in it.
Brooklyn ACORN is issuing a for-
mal CRA challenge to Banco de
Ponce, which prevents the bank from
opening any new branches until its
record of community service is re-
viewed. As the general topic of bank
policies toward low and moderate in-
come people is brought into the spot-
light, discussion of branch closings
may follow.
"The onus is on the community to
pressure the regulators into taking ac-
tion," notes Stix. "Unless the commu-
nity is active, regulators really have
no impetus. Their attitude seems to
be, 'If nobody cares about the issue,
then why should we?'"
But for now, branch closings are an
accomplished fact. "I think it has
. peaked," says the Banking Depart-
ment's Riley. "The bulk of closings
that are going to take place have taken
place." Rosenthal and other commu-
nity activists agree. "There may be
another round of closings, but the
damage has really been done," says
CTRC's Stix. "So many communities
are so devastated that it would prob-
ably make little difference."
At the same time, some see the
banks' behavior as an ironic godsend,
a neglect that forces communities to
set up their own institutions as re-
placements. ''A credit union serves
more purposes than the financial,"
says Russell. "It's a matter of organiz-
ing the community and raising their
consciousness and exercising some
control. "0
Errol T. Louis is a graduate student
at Yale University and co-author of
the CTRC report on bank-branch clos-
October 1986 CITY LIMITS 15
Exterior Paints
painted surfaces require considerable
attention to the surface to be painted,
preparation, skill and method of ap-
plication and type and quality of the
paint. Local climate and weather con-
ditions will also affect durability of
paint. If all factors are given proper
attention, a paint job can last ten
Most paint manufacturers formu-
late their paint products specifically
for climate conditions in different re-
gions of the country. In the northeast,
flexible paint films are designed to
stretch and breathe to conform to the
expansion and contraction caused by
extreme seasonal temperatures. Cli-
mate conditions have gradually
changed in the northeast to colder
winters and hotter summers.
Easy to care for painted surfaces
should be freed of problem areas to
prevent paint failure. Inspect the
building'S exterior before starting sur-
face preparation for application of
new paint. Check the paint surface
for peeling, blistering, cross-grain
cracking, excessive chalking, wrinkl-
ing and mildew.
Common Problems
Blistering occurs if the paint film
has lost its bond with the wood in-
terior, usually because of moisture.
In time the. blister will crack and peel.
The moisture could be coming from
kitchens, bathrooms and laundry
areas where an interior moisture bar-
rier does not exist. Correct before
painting. The moisture could also be
from faulty gutters or flashing, cracks
in the siding or loose caulking.
Another kind of blister is formed be-
tween layers of paint and is usually
the result of applying paint to a very
hot surface in hot sunlight.
Wrinkling - ridges and furrows-
is the result of too thick an applica-
tion or paint applied to a cold surface.
Uneven drying from the outside in
causes the film to wrinkle. Latex type
paint should not be applied when it
is below 50 F and alkyd type below
40 F. Cross-grain cracking is an indi-
cation of too many layers of paint.
Removal of the old coatings is usually
the only solution. Cracking and craz-
ing with curling of the paint edges
can be caused by moisture, an uneven
paint application, the use of inferior
coatings or improper mixing. Chalk-
ing and streaking are common prob-
lems. Some paints are formulated to
chalk and to be "self-cleaning."
Chalking, however, can be caused by
poor quality paint, badly weathered
or dirty surfaces or by inadequate
priming of the surface. To prevent
streaking onto masonry walls it is
best not to use paints that will chalk
above the masonry wall.
Peeling on masonry surfaces is usu-
ally caused by moisture. Efflores-
cence is the result of chemical reac-
tion of water, which leaches the salts
from the mortar and deposits them
on the surface as the moisture evapo-
rates. These salts should be removed
for good paint adhesion. Mildew
thrives on moisture and warm tem-
peratures. It appears as dark, un-
sightly spots. Mildew can grow on
any type of surface if the conditions
are right. Mildew will damage
painted surfaces and should be re-
moved as soon as possible by using
a solution of one quart of household
bleach, two-thirds cup of powdered
general cleaning detergent and one-
half cup of borax (optional) mixed
with three quarts of warm water.
Scrub the solution on with mop or
brush, then rinse with clean water.
Almost any exterior surface gets
dirty from ordinary dust and grime.
Also salt from the ocean air forms on
surfaces for up to 25 miles inland.
One or more wash-downs a year with
a hose will clean the paint surface
and retard deterioration. Surfaces
under roof overhangs and porches not
reached by the rain should receive
special attention.
Paint Stripping
Paint should be removed only if ab-
solutely necessary. The stripping pro-
cess is slow, laborious and usually
expensive. If the paint has excessive
peeling, cracking or alligatoring, or if
there is no longer a good base for the
new paint, then consider its removal.
The safest mechanical removal is
flameless heat. Use an electric heat
plate for flat surfaces and the heat
gun for intricate surfaces. Chemical
removers can also be used. They are
expensive and can be harmful to the
user as well as the environment. 1\vo
common categories of chemical re-
movers are alkaline and methylene
Brick masonry should probably not
be stripped as the bricks may be soft
and porous and need the paint for
protection. Also the paint may be cov-
ering patches or unmatched brick.
Never sandblast brick. Use chemical
removers if necessary. Masonry
silicone sealers are generally undesir-
able under a paint film.
Select exterior coatings for their
durability and low maintenance. Use
sealers, primers and top coats that are
compatible. A second finish coat can
almost double the life of a paint job.
Consider the newer pigmented wood
stains for new and stripped wood
since they soak into the wood and
won't peel or blister. Select the best
paint that can be afforded as price
usually reflects quality. Latex and oil!
alkyd base paints are the most com-
mon types of paint. They are of almost
equal durability and quality. Latex
has some advantages: It is breathable,
easy to clean-up, workable in slightly
damp weather and on damp surfaces
and fast drying. In most cases alkyd
paint should be used over surfaces
previously painted with alkyd. They
are non-breathable but washable and
durable. Select a finish of either semi-
gloss or high-gloss paint to repel dirt
and to ease cleaning.
Application of the paint can be by
brush, roller or spray. The best adhe-
sion and uniform coverage is
achieved with the brush. A clean, dur-
able exterior finish provides protec-
tion for the real estate investment and
pride for the tenants and owners.D
For a fact sheet on selecting exterior
paints send a self-addressed,
stamped envelope to HANDNAN,
280 Broadway, Room 701, New York,
NY 10007. Mention CITY LIMITS Au-
gust/September 1986.
16 CITY LIMITS October 1986
West Hollywood!
BY GILDA HAAS situation. Council member Alan Vit-
erbi, a 22-year-old Orthodox Jew,
right TV lights flash on as Mayor adds that heterosexual couples who
Valerie Terrigno, an avowed les- have eschewed traditional marriage
hian, calls to order a meeting in favor of alternative relationships
of the West Hollywood City Council could also benefit from "domestic
on February 7, 1986 in the makeshift partner" status. With the votes of
Council Chambers of West Hol- Councilmembers John Heilman and
lywood Park auditorium. Item #1 on Stephan Schulte, both gay me!)., the
hat happens when gay rights
activists, senior citizens, rent
. control advocates and grassroots organiz-
ers join forces in the middle of Los
Angeles? Behold West Hollywood, the
two-year-old city built on civil rights,
planning for people and Jeffersonian
the agenda proposes that "domestic
partnership" -an exclusive relation-
ship between unmarried persons
who are bound by a mutual concern
for each other's welfare - will have a
legally recognized status in the City.
Gay and lesbian men and women de-
scribe painful experiences in their
public testimony, such as being re-
fused the right to visit a lover in the
hospital, simply because their re-
lationships cannot be described
within the confines of the traditional
family structure.
Seventy-three-year-old Council-
member Helen Albert says growing
numbers of older people who have..,
teamed up in the City's apartmeIj"S
to share social security checks,livirig
quarters, and lives are in a similar
ordinance passes unanimously to
thunderous applause.
Item #2 consists of reports from
various ad hoc citizens committees
that were created to help the Council
out as they started to build a city gov-
ernment without benefit of staff,
facilities or predecessors to give them
advice. After hearing a report from
the Committee on Comparable Worth,
the Council votes to hire a consultant
to help develop salary scales to better
reflect the actual value of work-
especially work traditionally per-
formed by women - than many other
municipal personnel systems do. As
the TV crews pack up and leave, the
Council works on the nuts and bolts
of starting a city. They vote to apply
for a city franchise with the gas com-
pany and discuss a strategy for impro-
ving the appearance of the dilapi-
dated median strip which extends
the entire length of the city's main
drag, Santa Monica Boulevard.
Item #7 is an ordinance that would
forbid gay bars and nightclubs in the
city from requiring as many as three
picture I.D.'s at the door-a practice
commonly used to deny women and
minorities entrance to certain esta-
blishments. The Council had passed
an ordinance forbidding discrimina-
tion against homosexuals almost im-
mediately after taking office, and this
ordinance signaled that the new city
would neither tolerate discrimina-
tion by gays nor against gays.
Councilmembers Hei lman and Albert :
Overnight reside nts won rights people can't get
in any other city.
Held over to the end of the agenda,
Item #4 generates one of many dis-
cussions the Council will have that
year about the city's hottest issue-
rent control. It was rent control that
was foremost on the minds of those
who worked to wrest West Hol-
lywood's independence from the vast
County of Los Angeles, and foremost
on the minds of those who opposed
the formation of West Hollywood. To
understand how a city dedicated to
civil rights for all people could be
born at the height of the Reagan ad-
ministration, you have to look back
October 1986 CITY LIMITS 17
at the beginning, at the seven-year
fight for rent control in West Hol-
lywood, and the role played by the
Coalition for Economic Survival
(CES). Once characterized as rabble-
rousing troublemakers by the L. A.
County Board of Supervisors, . those
community activists are. considered
by many today as the power brokers
behind L.A. County's newest and
most controversial city.
Birth of a Movement
CES began its work to bring poor
and working class Los Angeles com-
munities together around eCJnomic
issues in 1973. Deeply grounded in
the principle that racial unity is es-
sential to the fight for economic jus-
tice, its organizers tried to overcome
the geographic segregation of Los
Angeles by building separate chap-
ters in different communities and
then bringing them together as a polit-
ical force.
With minimal resources and an am-
bitious agenda, CES cut its teeth on
successful campaigns to combat milk
and utility price hikes until the mid
1970's when the organization was
consumed by the fight for tenants'
rights. Rent control was taken up by
CES, "only because people screamed
for it," says former CES organizer,
Kimberly Kyle. An unprecedented
real estate boom in L.A. was a bust
for tenants, who were hit with re-
peated and substantial rent increases
and faced two options - payor move.
' ~ s I was canvassing neighborhoods,
people were handing me $20, just be-
cause I said that I worked for an or-
ganization that was trying to do some-
thing about this," says Kyle.
And CES was doing something
about it. In 1976 and 1977 organizers
set up a tenant hot line and trained
volunteer counselors and tenant or-
ganizers. They formed hundreds of
tenant unions in the city, and CES
members did the rounds in City Hall,
lobbying Councilmembers to intro-
duce a rent control law. But "rent con-
trol was still not talked about as a
really acceptable alternative. It was
still considered a pretty radical no-
tion," says Kyle.
Then in 1978, Propositi'on 13-the
statewide property tax relief ballot in-
itiative-won by two to one. Al-
though proponents of the measure
had actively courted tenant support
by claiming that "lower property
taxes mean lower rents," not only did
most landlords fail to pass on their
Prop 13 windfall tax savings to their
tenants, but the trend for substantial
rent increases continued unabated.
Organizers capitalized on tenant fury
to galvanize the rent control move-
ment, and the Los Angeles City Coun-
cil was finally forced to respond. Fol-
lowing a six-month rent freeze, the
Council adopted a rent control law
in May of 1979. .
By Popular Demand
But the victory in the City of Los
Angeles only sharpened awareness of
the problems in West Hollywood, an
unincorporated portion of the
County where renters still had no pro-
tection. Unlike most of the other 76
unincorporated County areas which
tend to be located in L.A. 's sprawling
suburbs, West Hollywood's 1.9 square
miles is smack in the center of urban
Los Angeles, and densely packed
with 35,000 people-85 percent of
whom are renters.
CES phones were "ringing off the
hook" with calls from terrified West
Hollywood seniors-28 percent of
the population-whose repeated
rent increases began to exceed the
means of meager pensions and Social
Security checks. A small West Hol-
lywood CES chapter, mostly com-
prised of seniors, took up the call for
tenants' rights, and quickly learned
that West Hollywood residents had
virtually no political representation.
With a population of 7.5 million and
a $4 billion plus budget, the County
Board of Supervisors has only five
members. While most County resi-
dents have another forum for political
representation in one of the 83 munic-
ipal governments within the County,
West Hollywood and other unincor-
porated area residents are entirely
under the jurisdiction of the Super-
visors-puny constituencies in dis-
tricts which contain 1.6 million
In 1979, CES's strategy to win rent
control was to muster enough pre-
sence in the Board of Supervisors
meetings to pressure liberal Super-
visor Ed Edelman, whose district in-
cluded West Hollywood, into intro-
ducing a law for a vote. Aided by CES
organizers, West Hollywood seniors
18 CITY LIMITS Odober 1986
decided to reach out to the commu-
nity by holding a rally on rent control.
They were startled by the response.
A thousand people showed up. "The
City was stunned!" says Kyle. "There
had never been a rally in Los Angeles
with a thousand people on an issue
like that." Boosted by their success
and national press coverage, the
seniors picked up the momentum
and leafleted the community every
weekend to get tenants to corne down
to the Board of Supervisors. As the
pressure increased, Edelman finally
caved in and introduced a rent con-
trol law. But the Supervisors kept
postponing the vote.
"These seniors would go down
there on the bus, every single Thesday,
and they would be told that they
weren't going to take the vote that
day," tells Kyle. Finally, the seniors
decided they weren't going to take it
any more-if the Supervisors were
not going to vote on rent control, then
they were not going to vote on any-
thing else, either. Chanting, "We
won't move! We want rent control!"
Coolition for Economic Survival leader Larry Groll:
Kicking off the cityhood campaign in Plummer Park.
the seniors ignored pleas and de-
mands to be quiet and took over the
Board room. "So then finally the
Board of Supervisors had to ad-
journ," says Kyle. "They couldn't be-
lieve that all these old people were
keeping them from doing their busi-
Realizing that a growing consti-
tuency supported rent control, Edle-
man conceeded to the pressure for a
vote the following week. This time
the Supervisors were prepared for a
full-blown communist invasion.
"When we came back the next week,"
explains Kyle, " there were at least
50 policemen in riot gear waiting at
the doors ... and standing all over the
room the day the vote was taken. And
this was for old people! The average
age was seventy years old. Some of
them are eighty-five."
Rent control was enacted by the
Board of Supervisors in June, 1979 to
the cheers of a jubilant crowd. But
the law was weak - permitting 9 per-
cent increases annually and lasted
only a year. Every year, CES members
had to redouble their efforts to renew
the law. Then, when the Board's com-
position changed to a vehement anti-
rent control majority, a final two-year
ordinance was adopted that would
completely phase out all rent control
on December 31, 1984. But if CES had
lost its political leverage on the Board
of Supervisors, its West Hollywood
chapter had swelled to 2,000 mem-
bers. Younger members , including
progressive gays, joined CES seniors
in fighting for rent control.
Birth of a City
West Hollywood had always been
a haven for the Los Angeles homosex-
ual community - owed to the percep-
tion that County sheriffs were less
vigilant than the L. A. Police Depart-
ment about harassing gays and roust-
ing entertainment spots. By 1984, gay
people were almost 30 percent of the
CES decided to fight the rent con-
trol phase-out with Proposition M, a
ballot initiative - the county's
fi'rst-for county-wide rent control.
By the tail end of the Prop M cam-
paign in October, 1983, Ron Stone, a
soft-spoken, gay management consul-
tant with a history of political ac-
tivism and a commitment to princi-
ples of Jeffersonian democracy, began
to organize around the notion of city-
hood. .
As West Hollywood lore has it,
Stone's interest in West Hollywood's
autonomy started when he tried to
extend the hours of the swimming
pool at West Hollywood Park, and
was told that the County did not have
insurance to cover swimming at
night. Changing the policy would re-
quire that an insurance policy be
written up for the entire County. To
Stone, it was.just one of many exam-
ples of the County's inability to serve .
his community's needs. When Prop
M lost, CES director and veteran or-
ganizer Larry Gross gave Stone a call,
eager to examine any options as the
clock was running out on the County
rent control law.
By this time, Stone and a handful
of like-minded neighbors had done
some homework. They had obtained
a preliminary report from the Local
Area Formation Commission
(LAFCO), the body that reviews and
validates all bids for incorporation.
The report showed that West Hol-
lywood could be a financially viable
city-a basic LAFCO requirement.
Stone presented his findings to CES
and met with an enthusiastic re-
sponse. CES selected three represen-
tatives to join Stone's group, one of
whom co-chaired the West Hol-
lywood Incorporation Committee
with Stone.
Jumping back into its Prop M cam-
paign mode, CES took responsibility
for obtaining the required signatures
of 25 percent of the area's registered
voters. Pushing to make the
November 1984 ballot in order to beat
the phase out date for rent control,
CES set a County record by signing
up 27 percent of voters in only 52
days. In May, LAFCO passed a favor-
able verdict on the petition for city-
hood. Nervous landlord and real es-
tate organizations tried to keep the
initiative off the ballot-first with a
failed law suit, then by sponsoring a
last minute campaign to extend the
County's weak rent control law. But
the Board of Supervisors, after several
October 1986 CITY LIMITS 19
The seniors took over a Board of Supervisors meeting, chanting,
"We won't move! We want rent control." The next week the
Board was ready for a full-blown communist invasion.
Big Real Estate!
Some City Council candidates
who claim to be for rent
by Big Real Estate.
Don't gamble with
From CES' cam.,aign literature:
Tlte City's first Council meefing slapped a freeze on renfs, e.,ictions, den/op- .
menf, and condo con.,ersions.
postponements, finally voted to place
the item on the November ballot.
The incorporation process requires
voters to choose their first five Coun-
cilmembers on the same ballot as the
Cityhood initiative. Due to the late
date of the Supervisors decision and
campaign filing regulations, conten-
ders only had just three days in which
to file their candidacy. But that did
not seem to hold West Hollywood
hopefuls back. Forty candidates filed
and ran for office.
CES looked for candidates that
could pull together a coalition of gay,
senior, and tenant constituencies.
Three CES members were selected
who were considered progressive, ac-
countable to the organization and
who held a strong commitment to ten-
ant and gay rights: John Heilman, a
27-year-old gay lawyer with a back-
ground in gay and civil rights poli-
tics; Helen Albert, a 73-year-old re-
tired kindergarten teacher; and Doug
Routh, 42, a CES tenant activist who
worked for the County Personnel De-
partment. After the campaign was
under way, CES endorsed candidates
Alan Viterbi and Valerie Terrigno in
exchange for their promise to support
a strong rent control law.
The election was unlike any L.A.
had ever seen. West Hollywood mail
carriers were weighed down with lit-
erature from the 40 candidates. Cam-
paign platforms that would have
meant political suicide in almost any
other, race were de rigueur in West
Hollywood with everyone espousing
strong support for rent control and
gay rights. People-power garnered
more votes than money, another ano-
maly in Los Angeles. Several losing
candidates spent as much as $60,000
on their campaigns - exceeding the
entire cost of CES's five member slate.
On November 6, 1984 cityhood and
all but one of CES's candidates were
voted in by the electorate. Doug
Routh came in sixth, just behind
Steve Schulte, a charismatic and
popular gay activist. Awed by their
collective achievement, West Hol-
20 CITY LIMITS October 1986
lywood residents set campaign rival-
ries aside and celebrated the creation
of the new city. The atmosphere at
the City Council's first meeting in
Plummer Park was electric: 650
people who couldn't get into the jam-
med auditorium watched a big screen
TV outdoors, while those who man-
aged to squeeze past the fire marshals
rose in a standing ovation as Valerie
Terrigno was unanimously elected
the nation's first lesbian mayor.
. Brave New City
That night, the Council unani-
mously passed an ordinance pro-
hibiting sexual discrimination on ac-
count of sexual orientation. "Over-
night, the City gave people rights that
they can't get in any other city," says
Barbara Grover, co-manager of CES's
campaign, and later one of the City'S
first staff members. They also passed
a series of laws that temporarily froze
rents, evictions, demolitions, de-
velopment, and condominium con-
versions until the Council could
thoughtfully draft its own rent con-
trol, planning, and , zoning-. ordi-
nances. "It was a really brave thing
to do," says Kimberly Kyle. "They just
said, 'We're new leadership and we
don't pretend to know about these
things, so we're just going to slap this
moratorium on and take the time to
learn about it.'"
cil's second year has been spent on
developing the city's first general
plan with broad citizen involvement.
This September, the city's Housing
Task Force followed-up the rent con-
trollaw with recommendations for an
affordable housing production prog-
ram which is expected to be adopted
by the Council.
Almost two years have passed since
the incorporation. Recipients of short
terms in a system that requires
staggered Council elections, CES
members John Heilman and Helen
Albert have already been re-elected
for second terms. Valerie Terrigno, in
the tradition of much more estab-
lished cities and mayorships, was in-
dicted for embezzling federal funds
from her former job as director of a
social service agency and forced to
resign from the Council. CES, once
wary of electoral politics as a means
to empower people, is moving into
its third election in less than two
years: dtyhood, the re-election cam-
paign, and now CES member Abbe
Land's race for Terrigno's vacant seat
this November. Land, President of the
West Hollywood Planning Commis-
sion, has gained broad-based support
in the community. While CES is con-
fident of her victory, they are not com-
placent. "You just have to keep fight-
ing to defend your victories, because
once you get in office, everyone's
going to try to knock you off the hill,
especially if your opponents have lots
of money, " insists Larry Gross. Land's
opponent is Gene La Pietra, a mil-
lionaire night-club owner and a major
financial contributor to gay and les-
bian causes. La Pietra has let it be
known that he will spend $250,000,
if necessary, to win.
Although the gay community
feared backlash from Terrigno's in-
dictment, it never really appeared.
In its first year, the Council met
past midnight approving contracts
for city services, setting up city de-
partments, hiring staff and appoint-
ing members to citizen Boards, Com-
mittees, Commissions, and Task
Forces to address virtually every issue
of importance to the city. At the same
time the Council focused on drafting
its rent control law. "It took a year to
implement the law," says Barbara
Grover, "because it was such a demo-
cratic process." The Council broke
the law down into discrete issues,
each of which were opened up to pub-
lic testimony. CES members de-
veloped a parallel educational pro-
cess within their own organization,
working closely with their represen-
tatives Heilman and Albert. The pro-
cess was new to CES - its first pro-ac-
tive role in a city government after Council members Heilman and Albert and gay activist Morris Knight:
over 10 years of direct action organiz-. -e"emight re.iJent. won right. peopl. can't get in any oth.r city.
ing in Los Angeles. Much ofthe Co un- .
Odobe, 1986 CITY LIMITS 21
CES set a record by signing up 27 percent of voters for the
cityhood initiative in just 52 days, making landlords and real
estate interests nervous.
CES West Hollywood Steering CommiHe meeting: .
The coo/Won brought togetlier gay, senior citizen and tenon' activists.
Gross explains that most people
today are so cynical about politicians
in general that "it's John (Heilman)
and Helen (Albert) who are looked
upon as abnormal. Because they are
just regular people and because
people have access to them and be-
cause they come from and represent
the community."
Albert and Heilman admit that
being on the City Council has drasti-
cally changed their lives. Heilman,
for example, has had to reduce his
law practice to half-time to keep on
top of the demands of starting a new
city. But they feel that cityhood has
also changed the lives of almost
everyone in West Hollywood. "City-
hood has really brought different
people together to work on issues.
Even if its just a neighborhood watch.
We had a meeting here last weekend,
with some of the older people from
my building and some gay guys froOm
a building down the street-and
there's never any tension. Because
we're all here for a common purpose
and that's to make the community bet-
ter. I think everyone feels that. I think
there are a lot more opportunities
now for interaction, and the more we
bring people together, the more pow-
erful it's going to be."
Heilman also thinks that West Hol-
lywood offers an important lesson
about the power of local mganizing.
"When you bring people together at
a local level and empower them by
getting them involved, that's where
real change is going to occur and
that's where things that really matter
to people are going to happen. It
would be nice if we had the support
of the federal government in what
we're trying to do in the area of hous-
ing or civil rights or even crime pre-
vention. But unfortunately, the fed-
eral government at the current time
is more committed to funding the
contras than they are to funding
crime prevention in communities.
I'm hoping that other people at the
grassroots level will empower them-
selves and that the momentum will
lead to some change on the national
level. "0- .
Gilda Haas is an urban planner in
Los Angeles and has been involved
with CES since 1978 as activist, staff
and board member. She worked as an
aid to Councilmember John Heilman
and now works for an L.A; City Coun-
22 CITY LIMITS October 1986
Recruiting Landlords
August 1, 1986, $231,000 was spent
to rehouse 155 families in apartments
that were already in move-in condi-
to House the Homeless Lack of Enthusiams
housing Program (EARP) is a joint ef-
fort of the Department of Housing Pre-
servation and Development and the
Human Resources Administration.
Aimed at alleviating the substantial
long-run costs of providing tempo-
, rary shelter for the homeless, EARP
offers landlords a bonus incentive
plus the maximum public assistance
shelter allowance to lease an apart-
ment to a homeless family. The apart-
ment can be located anywhere in the
five boroughs and must be in accept-
able living condition, though HRA's
EARP director, Larry Pearlman, says,
"No structures are free of housing
code violations."
At $2,500 per family member, the
incentive is meant to go towards
maintenance and upkeep of the apart-
ment over the course of the 32-month
lease. The funds come from the same
city, state and federal aid used for
sheltering the homeless in hotels. Ac-
cording to HPD spokesman Bruce
Gould, payment is made in two in-
stallments. The landlord signs an ag- .
reement to bring in a housing inspec-
tor three months after the family as-
sumes occupancy, to satisfy a stipula-
tion that no housing code violations
exist before the second installment is
paid. To assure that previous tenants
haven't been evicted by a landlord
seeking easy money, a landlord must
first show an affidavit that explains
the circumstances surrounding the
apartment's vacancy. Landlords also
have the final say in the selection of
tenants, though their choice is li-
mited to families meeting certain
criteria, i.e. the length of duration of
a family's stay in a hotel or pregnancy
in a single parent family.
Now in its fourth year, EARP is
more promising than ever; but prog-
ress is slow where it should be gain-
ing momentum, judging from the
number of apartments accepted into
the program. And Gould says that
there were problems in the initial
phase of EARP in 1983 with landlords
that didn't correct violations before
their second payment was due.
In an attempt to improve the prog-
ram, the city introduced the "En-
hanced 7 A EARP," a supplement "to
the original program, on March 24,
1986. Through Enhanced 7 A EARP,
the city aims to increase the number
of acceptable apartments by provid-
ing 7 A loans to court-appointed 7 A
administrators for the renovation of
buildings not in move-in condition.
In the 7 A program as in the landlord
program, money for renovation
comes from the same funds as money
for providing temporary shelter for
the homeless.
Before March 24, 1986, the bonus
incentive was less than half of the
current figure-$l,OOO per family
member. The raise was approved be-
cause EARP wasn't adequately fulfil-
ling its purpose, spokespersons at
both the HRA and HPD agree. Larry
Pearlman notes that, "before April 1,
1986, $1.2 million was paid out to the
private sector for leasing apartments
to 437 families. All apartments were
in move-in condition. From April to
An assessment of Enhanced 7 A's
progress for this same period indi-
cates an active enthusiasm on the part
of housing advocates and 7 A ad-
ministrators, but this is an en-
thusiasm not being matched by HRA.
Pearlman reflects, "I know I'm a hard
guy to reach; people tell me all the
time they can never catch me in my
office." Pearlman's inacessibility was
cited by several advocates as a prob-
lem that holds back the program. A
housing consultant from the Commu-
nity Law Office in Brooklyn explains,
"We have a contract with HRA and
need Pearlman's approval for some
7 A renovation; but we've been trying
for two months to get in touch with
him, and we can't."
In four months, only $108,000 was
paid for 7 A renovation. This money
went to just 21 apartments out of a
total of 67 that were offered and were
not in move-in condition. Just one
family had been rehoused by way of
the Enhanced 7 A program as of last
The 7 A loan itself is often not
enough to effectively serve its func-
tion. Denise Myatt is a 7 A adminis-
trator who would like to see two
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853 Broadway, #418. NY. NY 10003 212-533-0008
buildings under her supervision re-
novated but, "How would I finance
roof repairs and new boilers in these
two buildings, which would receive
only $8,000 each? We're talking about
extensive repairs , and $8,000 isn't
going to cover them all ." Yet, between
these two. buildings alone, ten
families could be rehoused.
Thus, the city is criticized for mak-
ing empty promises by those seeking
its help, especially where sufficiently
financing the supplementary project
is concerned. More disturbing, how-
ever, is another common complaint
from tenants and 7 A administrators.
They criticize HPD and HRA housing
inspectors for not looking for housing
code violations when they do come
to a building. "They never inspect.
Once in awhile they come in and look
at a fire alarm - usually they meet
the landlord out in the street. I wish
they would inspect. They should give
landlords the violations they de-
serve, " said one Brooklyn tenant
who'd been rehoused through the
EARP project.
Alan Rosner, an attorney with Legal
Aid's Homeless Families Assistance
Project, says that, "In one case we ob-
served, lead-based paint was found
throughout an apartment." The sec-
ond payment to the landlord had al-
ready been made, and the discovery
was made only because, Rosner says,
"We checked it out ourselves." When
confronted with this fact, Pearlman's
explanation was, "I believe it's impos-
sible to remove lead-based paint. I be-
Women and Environments
ArtICles, notes, reviews, abstracts,
events with a feminist perspective on
natural and b u i ~ environments
Women and Enwonments
Centre for Urban and Community StudIeS
455 Spadlna Avenue
o,===", Toronto, Ontario MSS 2G8
October 1986 CITY LIMITS 23
Heve they'd paint over it. The building
inspector has the power to remove
housing code violations."
Since the requirement for receiving
the second half of the bonus incentive
is that the apartment pass inspection
after three months of occupancy, over-
sights such as this have caused dis-
satisfaction with the program; yet this
kind of negligence isn't limited to
EARP. These complaints from tenants
and 7 A administrators form a general
consensus that housing inspectors
fail to do a thorough job.
Despite its shortcomings, EARP
could be a viable alternative to the
homeless shelter system by providing
long-term housing for the unshel-
tered. Time will tell how workable
this strategy can be in enticing private
housing owners into renting to home-
less families and maintaining decent,
safe living conditions.o
Bettina Cohen is a freelance writer
with an interest in housing and labor
You're invited.
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J.M. Kaplan Center for New York
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Martin Gallent, former Vp, New York
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Sally Goodgold, Pres., City Club of
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The Homele .. In New Yorkl
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Robert M. Hayes, Counsel ,
Coalition for the Homeless
Hou.lng In New 'brk/NY 335
Willa Appel, Executive Director,
Citizens Housing Planning Council
Neighborhood Revltallzatlonl
NY 338
Richard Manson, Program Director,
Local Initiatives Support Corp.
Obtaining Government Gl'llntsl
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Arnold Falleder, program develop- I
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Funding and Marketing for
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For a free Fall Brochure, call
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The New School
A New York phenomenon.
66 West 12th Street, NYC 10011
24 CITY LIMITS October 1986
Lyndon COll1stocle
Sanies on Social Goals
dressed in a pinstripe suit, brief case
in hand, riding the rush-hour IRT,
you'd probably guess he's just another
financier on the way to work. And
you'd be right. But this 36-year-old
banker's got more in mind than
maximizing profits. Mixing corpo-
rate priorities with social concerns,
Comstock has spent the last nine
months laying the groundwork for the
creation of a bank that would buck
many banking traditions.
One of the key ideas behind the
formation of the bank-tentatively
called the Bank for Socially Responsi-
ble Lending - is to tap a growing mar-
ket known as socially responsible in-
vestors. These investors, explains
Comstock, use "social goals as well
as financial goals when choosing an
investment." According to the Social
Investment Forum, a trade associa-
tion for this new breed of investment
advisors, there are some $80 billion
invested in this country based on
some sort of social criteria. Comstock
describes it bluntly as "a form of put-
ting your money where your mouth
The bank Comstock is building
would offer many of the same ser-
vices as a traditional bank. But there'd
be one crucial difference: business
and home loans would be targeted to
low and moderate income com-
munities underserved by exisiting
banks. "There are a lot of credit-
worthy businesses in these types of
markets that are being ignored by the
banks," explains Comstock. The
BSRL would, in effect, redistribute
some of the city's wealth by erasing
the red lines drawn by the major com-
mercial lenders.
Corporate Quixote?
Chicago's South Shore Bank was
formed in 1973 to serve a redlined
neighborhood. With over $100 mil-
lion in assets, the bank is now operat-
ing profitably while making loans
that other institutions would con-
sider "hiJili risk." Working Assets and
the Carvert Social Investment
Fund-which are mutual funds, not
banks - offer money market ac-
counts geared to attract the deposits
of socially responsible investors.
These funds are governed by a set of
criteria that screen out investments
in areas generally considered socially
destructive or negative. So investors
know that their money will not be
used to finance weapons develop-
ment, nuclear plants, companies that
do business in South Africa or
businesses with poor environmental
or labor relations records. Both funds
have grown rapidly. In just two years,
Working Assets has accumulated $70
million in assets and Calvert, over
five years, has accrued $100 million
in its two funds.
The success of these models are evi-
dence that Comstock is not just tilting
at windmills. But the creation of a
bank, any bank, is a formidable task.
One that requires a lot of cash just to
get off the ground. While the inves-
tors and potential depositors are not
yet flooding Comstock with checks,
he remains optimistic. "I think the
market is extremely ready for this,"
he says. ''I've talked to many people
who'd be ready to make the switch
today, who don't need any other kind
of persuasion, who don't need to
think about it for a year or two."
Robert Schwartz, an investment
executive at Shearson-American Ex-
press and a leading social investment
advisor, also believes the BSRL is not
just a pipe dream. "It can be done,"
he says, cautioning it will demand a
good deal of banking knowledge and
ability, "not just a desire to do good." There is something undeniably
quixotic in the idea of creating a so-
cially c o n ~ c i o u s bank to serve New Banker's Blood
York, the corporate headquarters of If banking experience could be
some of the world's largest financi&}, ' transferred through genes, Comstock
institutions. It's a longshot, but nd! would be half way home. "I come
one without precedent. from a banking family," he declares,
Sociolly responsible bonker lyndon Comstock:
Hi, bank would be built on a commitment to com-
munity reinvestment.
noting that five of six immediate fam-
ily members are in the banking busi-
ness. His father, who is serving as the
bank's management consultant, has
37 years of banking experience, in-
cluding 17 years as chief executive
officer of a commercial bank.
Lyndon Comstock's own road into
the banking world, like the bank he
wants to form, is something less than
traditional. His introduction to busi-
ness came from working in food and
low income housing co-ops in Ber-
keley, California, during the 1970's.
Later he formed a remodelling com-
pany. By 1978, he was looking to com-
bine his business experience with a
concern for social issues, putting his
energy into a project with broader im-
plications than a local food co-op. So
he turned to the "family business"
and decided to become a progressive
banker. "The only way to do that was
by getting an MBA," he recalls. "So
that's what 1 did. I went to Berkeley
and got my MBA."
The day after graduation he started
work in Wells Fargo Bank's commer-
ciallending department, transferring
in 1982 to First Chicago's New York
corporate office. By late in 1985 he
felt "the learning curve was slowing
down" and decided it was time to go
to work for a bank like South Shore.
"I really thought there'd be more of
these kinds of banks up and running.
There's 14,000 banks in this country
Odober 1986 CITY LIMITS 25
but rea11y very few with any sort of
social orientation." So on the first day
of 1986, Comstock left his job to begin
work on the Bank for Socially Re-
sponsible Lending. .
Comstock believes the deposit side
of the bank's operations will grow
much faster than its lending. But the
lending is the key to what makes the
bank "socially responsible. " While
the current plan for the BSRL calls
for just one branch, the bank would
make loans throughout the city. The
loan policy would emphasize com-
munity economic development.
Target businesses would include low
and moderate income housing de-
velopers, manufacturing and service
businesses and community develop-
ment credit unions. These credit
unions are often one of the few finan-
cial institutions operating in low in-
come communities and would playa
key role in helping the BSRL identify
potential borrowers. The BSRL
would provide correspondent bank-
ing services to the credit unions,
helping them serve their members
much like banks while keeping local
dollars within the community.
Clean Capitalism
Despite the bank's emphasis on so-
cial objectives, making money is also
a primary goal. Socially responsible
investors are willing to sacrifice some
of the potential profit from thei r
money-but they're not out to give
it away. "Our goal is to earn an
adequate return as opposed to a
maximum return," explains Com-
stock. So the BSRL will bank on the
growing number of people willing to
earn a little less in order to know their
money is doing good.
Such sacrifice is anathema to trad-
i tional banking policy. Comstock says
the typical bank will only lend
money when there is a high level of
potential profit. Rather than looking
for investments with the biggest
profit factor, the BSRL would focus
its resources on making loans to
businesses and residents of poor and
moderate income communities, an
unlikely source of big money returns.
But the bank would not take undue
risks - it's supposed to be a for-profit
institution-and borrowers would
face the same sort of application pro-
cess as at other banks.
The Bank for Socially Responsible
Lending is still just a carefully crafted
idea on paper. Comstock is the only
one working on the project full time,
although there is an ll-member ad-
visory board helping to make the
bank a reality. All of the advisory
board members are in banking or re-
lated fields. Fred Cooper, a senior pro-
ject manager for the city's Financial
Services Corporation and a BSRL ad-
visor, describes the board as "a well-
experienced team."
Relaxing in his Brooklyn Heights
apartment in a pair of Birkenstock
sandals and chinos, Comstock looks
more like a social activist than
banker. But as he reels off figures for
the development of the banks equity
capital, his attire underscores the two
worlds he's trying to bring together.
Rochelle Korman, an attorney for
Baer, Marks & Upham and another
BSRL advisor, believes Comstock can
do it. "He has really done his home-
work, " she says. And Korman has an
excellent vantage point from which
to judge the BSRL's progress - she's
also on the board of directors of the
Illinois Neighborhood Development
Company, the holding company for
South Shore.
The key to the bank's future is
money. Seed money to get the project
rolling and then raising the money
for capitalization (approximately $5
million, most of which would come
from private investors). For Com-
stock, money has become an im-
mediate need. Having spent his per-
sonal savings, he says, "I'm going into
a borrowing mode." So he's spending
much of his time making contacts,
trying to get the initial dollars in
place. Says Cooper, "Lyndon is a real
driver. He has a quiet approach but
he has touched base with a lot of dif-
ferent people. I'm always running
into people who say he's talked to
Unless that talk can translate into
dollars, the Bank for Socially Respon-
sible Lending will remain little more
than an idea on paper. Despite the
odds against it, Lyndon Comstock is
a long way from throwing in the
Some people think so. They believe
They're called CI1y Limits Sustalners. and for $100 o Year .. clMtsodaV ;.youOOUldbeone "
of them.
o Sign me up as a CITY LIMITS sustainer.
Enclosed is: 0 $100, or 0 $25 (bHI me quarter ..
Iy). And send me my free CITY LIMITS t shin.
424 West 33rd Street. New York, NY 10001
26 CITY LIMITS October 1986
Leonard Stern Builds a Shelter
lives the charmed life of a 48-year-old
rich divorcee. The driving force be-
hind the Hartz Mountain pet food em-
pire and owner of the Village Voice,
Stern is one of this country's 400
wealthiest men. His personal fortune
is estimated at between $500 million
and $1 billion. Home for Stern means
either a Fifth Avenue mansion, a ski
lodge in Aspen or his Bridgehampton
Stern's climb to the top has not
been without its stumbling blocks, in-
cluding a dozen anti-trust suits
against Hartz and union troubles
with a United Auto Workers local rep-
resenting some of his employees dur-
ing a union organizing drive in 1978.
And it was sheer grit and determina-
tion on his part that turned 1,000
acres of New Jersey swampland into
the Meadowlands industrial com-
plex, headquarters to IT&T and
Panasonic with hi-rise condos, a
shopping center, hotel and marina.
Characterized as crafty and shrewd
by business associates, Stern once ex-
pressed his philosophy as follows: "A
salesman should be able to sell horse
apples. You just have to can the son-
of-a-bitch. "
But if Stern has fought and scrap-
ped for all he has, he also feels his
ample, good fortune should be shared
and has always been a philanthropist.
His diverse interests have led him to
fund a variety of projects, from a Ms.
magazine film on incest to remedial
speech classes in public schools to
New York University, his alma mater.
Since September, 1984, however,
another issue has dominated Stern's
charitable attentions: homelessness.
As he tells it, while driving past City
Hall with a friend from California, he
was shocked to see people sleeping
on park benches. When he ap-
proached a police officer to find out
why this was going on he was told,
"Look, these people are safer here
than in the shelters. It's a nice even-
ing. We're watching them. I don't have
the heart to drive them away."
Neither did Stern. Instead, he
began visiting congregate shelters
BUlinellman Leonard Stern:
Dedicating millions to tlte "ome/ess.
and welfare hotels. "I can only de-
scribe it as Auschwitz with plenty of
food, changed linen and no work,"
he recalls. In December, he gave the
Legal Aid Society $75,000 to begin a
Homeless Family Rights Project. One
year later, he gave the Project $1 mil-
lion-the largest grant ever received
by the 112-year-old organization. The
grant earned him their 1985 Man of
the Year Award.
With Hartz Mountain and his de-
velopment projects flourishing, Stern
can afford to devote much of his atten-
tion to the homeless population of
New York City, working with a group
that grew out of the Interfaith Assem-
bly on Housing and Homelessness.
Although those involved are not sure
how the wheels began turning, they
say Stern called Dean Morton of the
Cathedral of St. John the Divine-
homebase of the Assembly-and
proposed doing something to provide
both temporary and permanent hous-
ing for homeless families. That was
in late 1985. By February, 1986,
Homes for the Homeless was in oper-
ation. '
The group now owns Pros pect Hos-
pital, a proprietary facility that went
bankrupt about a year ago. Stern
bought the Bronx hospital for $3.8
million and proposes to turn it into
an Interfaith Family Inn to house 82
homeless families. Homes for the
Homeless will run the site very diffe-
rently from existing city-operated
shelters. According to the group's di-
rector, Sister Joan Kirby, "There will
be one social worker for every 15
families - as opposed to one per 60
families in welfare hotels - youth
workers and other family support ser-
vices." Security and support services
will be provided 24 hours a day. Child
care will be available 10 hours a day.
The Inn will be reimbursed forallstaf-
fing costs by city, state and federal
funding sources; $65 per day will be
The Inn is expected to open in early
October, once cribs, tables and chairs,
windowguards and small re-
frigerators for each room are purch-
ased. Residents will not be limited in
their stays at the Inn although Kirby
hopes that six months will be enough
time for a family to get on its feet and
move into permanent housing.
Homes for the Homeless is acutely
aware of the shortage of affordable,
permanent housing. That is why, in
addition to planning five Inns for the
temporary sheltering of the home-
less, Phase II of the project involves
the creation of permanent units.
The Urban Homesteading Assist-
ance Board (UHAB) will coordinate
this part of the effort. UHAB is al-
ready looking for vacant units in
otherwise occupied buildings for re-
habbing. Money for the renovations
will come from the Emergency Assist-
ance Housing Program (see article p.
22), which includes funds from the
city (25 percent), state (25 percent)
and federal governments (50 per-
cent). Andy Reicher, executive direc-
tor of UHAB, says they are looking
for units in city-owned, community-
managed and privately-owned build-
ings but are most interested in fixing
units in tax foreclosed properties.
"We meet with the management of
the tenant association or co-op, ar-
chitects, contractors and/or the
owner. We see to the rehabbing of the
unit and will help the co-op select
an eligible family to move in," he ex-
plains. The goal of Phase II is to reno-
October 1986 CITY LIMITS 27
Bronx Community Board 2 Mana".r Pet.r Cantilla:
H. thinks St.m should turn the Prosp.ct Hospital into permanent housing, not
.h.lt.r for th. hom.I .
vate 1,000 apartments in three years.
Their first apartment, on the Lower
East Side of Manhattan, should be
ready by winter.
Leonard Stern is intimately in-
volved in this part of the project.
Since EARP money is paid out ex-
tremely slowly, Stern has put up the
cash needed to proceed with the reno-
vations. He will be reimbursed when
the funds are received. "He covers the
cash flow," says Reicher. "He's an ag-
gressive private developer who isn't
used to dealing with slow, frustrating,
drawn out processes."
Although Phase II has begun,
Reicher acknowledges that it is
wrought with problems. "It's easy to
build a whole building of several
hundred units at a time," he notes.
"We want to do 1,000 units, but this
might be at 700 different sites. It's a
major administrative problem."
As tricky as those problems may
be, they're nothing compared to the
hassles and controversy greeting
-Phase I-the creation of a temporary
Inn in each of the five boroughs. Even
before buying Prospect Hospital,
Homes for the Homeless was met
with rancor by Community Board 2,
the area's historic association and the
South Bronx's leading political
power players.
Longwood, as the neighborhood is
known, already has the Ruth Fernan-
dez Family Residence (formerly the
Fox st. shelter). Its three buildings ac-
como date 124 families and it is pre-
sently under construction for 102 ad-
ditional units. Seventy more units, to
be run by the New York City Housing
Authority, were just approved. Nine
tax-fore'dosed buildings are slated for
renovation for the exclusive use of
homeless families. Some Longwood
residents think their community is
saturated with low income and home-
less people.
"We've done more for the homeless
than any other community. We're get-
ting abused," complains Peter Can-
tillo, district manager of Community
Board 2. To him, the Inn is an intru-
sion of undesireable newcomers into
the community. "We want some com-
mitment to converting Prospect Hos-
pital into permanent housing. Stern
has said that the hospital doesn't lend
itself to such a conversion. Stern, the
guy who bought swampland. That
didn't lend itself to development
either. But he did it. We just don't
want a transient population to add to
the problems of our overburdened
community. "
Furthermore, he continues, "the
area surrounding Prospect Hospital
is a landmark district. Historically,
there's been a conflict between the
shelter population and the homeown-
ers. The homeowners say the shelter
rei dents are responsible for burglaries
and drugs in the community." This
puts current plans to renovate and re-
sell 10 vacant brownstones on shaky
ground, Cantillo believes. "Will
people buy a brownstone for
$100,000 when there is a shelter
nearby?" he queries.
Looking at the demographics of the
area, one can see why the Community
28 CITY LIMITS October 1986
Board is rushing economic diversifi-
cation: 0 the 34,307 people listed as
part of the neighborhood in the 1980
Census, 52 percent receive public as-
sistance. The median income is
$7,252 a year. 1Wenty-six percent of
the land is vacant.
These facts and arguments not
withstanding, some members of the
community think other reasons fi-
gure into the organized opposition to
the Homes for the Homeless plan.
They think toes were stepped on
when Stern bid on the building with-
out first discussing the plan with the
Community Board. Others believe
Ramon Velez, chair of the Hunts Point
Multi-Service Center and key politi-
cal force in the South Bronx, lobbied
heavily against the shelter plan. Velez
has reasons to oppose the Inn. He is
the administrator of the Ruth Fernan-
dez shelter, just blocks from Prospect
Hospital, and a new homeless facility
would compete with his for homeless
assistance funds. And then there is
the fact that Leonard Stern owns the
Village Voice, which has published
numerous articles attacking Velez.
There's also the South East Bronx
Community Organization (SEBCO), a
major nonprofit developer in the area,
which plans to build $65,000 homes
in Longwood. Father Louis Gigante,
director of SEBCO says that Stern's
shelter, "doesn't fit into what we
hoped would restore a strong, middle
income neighborhood." As a member
of Community Board 2, Gigante
shares Peter Cantillo's vision of a
neighborhood transformed by more
affluence, not more of the city's dis-
If you've HYed In.n oportment.
hoUM or room for at .... t
30 atnIght cloy., you hove to be
glYen IegoI _. before being
evicted. limply locking you
out ... crime, e"en If you owe
the lendlorcl money.
If you .re lliegelly loCked out.
go to the police _Inct In your
.... _rlght ... y.
".k the police to go INIck to your
home with you and .,r t the
landlord, aoent or superintendent
if you .r. not let Nck in
a. firm. Illegal k)ck outs .r. a
crime, but it's up to you to make
sur. the "W Is enforced.
.,.0212 ... _.
""pos .... is.,....,...IIIy .. CItf .... T ... Fwoeon ........... c-t .... ........ _____ .. ____ ... _,,_
Another key Bronx politician, City
Councilmember Rafael Casteneira
Colon, has threatened to chain him-
self to the hospital door to prevent
the Inn from opening.
"In the meantime," says Sister
Joan, "the human crisis is so extreme
it is absolutely essential that anyone
who can, go in and do something."
Assuming that.community opposi-
tion is stymied and the Bronx Inn is
opened, Homes for the Homeless in-
tends to acquire the Saratoga Inn, an
ailing hotel on Rockaway Boulevard
in Jamaica, Queens as that boroughs
shelter. Stern hopes to purchase the
bankrupt property for a hefty $10.2
million. That will bring his up-front
contributions to nearly $16 million
for homeless shelters. He has also
pledged to try to raise an additional
$100 million from private sources to
provide furniture for families moving
into the permanent Phase II housing,
upgrade common areas of Phase II
buildings and provide additional so-
cial services and other "frills."
A dead serious, high-rolling entrep-
reneur who has a soft spot for people
who cannot go home to Fifth Avenue,
Leonard Stern appears to be a bundle
of contradictions. But his cohorts in
anti-homeless efforts trust his in-
stincts and believe he is genuinely
According to one newspaper pro-
file, Stern used to have a sign .up in
his office that read: "Once you've got
them by the balls, their hearts and
minds will follow." Could it be that
the homeless got Stern?D
Subscribe to CITY LIMITS
Just $ 15 brings you the best coverage
anywhere of the other New York. And
you '0 save $5 off the cover price.
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City IJmits/424 W 33rd St/N_ York, NY 10001

Odober 1986 CITY LIMITS 29
Homeless in America
pool of migrant labar. Those left
homeless after the post-Warld War II
boom years tended to be older, debili-
tated and frequently alcohalic. Housing the Homeless edited by Jon
Erickson and Charles Wilhelm,
Center for Urban Policy Research/Rut-
gers University, 1986, 430 pages,
sing the Homeless, Jon Erickson and
Charles Wilhelm promise that the 31
articles, reports and case studies in-
cluded represent a diversity of views
which illustrate the complexity of the
hameless prablem. "In fact," they
state, "hamelessness is nat Qne prob-
lem but is the result af many separate
and distinguishable sacial paramet-
ers." .
They deliver on their promise.
. The 430-page text , publishe9 by
the Center for Urban Policy Research
of Rutgers University, is divided into
six sectians including "Images of the
.. . - . "
- .... -." ....... 11 :.:. "
Homeless," "Backgraund and Poli-
tics," "The Importance of Numbers, "
"Who Are the Homeless and Why?"
"Solutions to the Prablem," and "Re-
Since each unit is generally a
whole unto. itself, some material is
repeated throughout the book,
though not to a fault . The text can be
read one part at a time and much can
from each entry.
The contributors who touch on the
history and cau!1es of hamelessness
agree in large measure. Throughaut
the 19th and early 20th centuries
hamelessness was tied to. emplay-
ment. The major hameless graup,
acrass the country, consisted of itiner-
ant laborers who. built the railraads,
fallowed the harvests and lived an
the "main stem" or skid row in cheap
lodging houses.
Industrialization and mechaniza-
tian reduced the need for such a large
In the past 30 years another signifi-
cant addition to. the hameless popula-
tian has been some 500,000
deinstitutionalized mental patients,
left without the fulfillment of prom-
ises to develap community-based
mental health facilities . Add to this
the never-institutianalized mentally
ill and some estimates hald that 20
to. 50 percent of homeless people
need same therapy, treatment, drugs
or institutional living.
The more recent cause af homeless-
ness is the "hausing crisis," which
includes lass af rental housing
thraugh canversions to ca-aps and
candas or abandonment, SRO conver-
sions, mortgage foreclosures, nan-
payment evictions, and affardability.
A point of interest in this develop-
ment"is that the early homeless wark-
ers were hameless insafar as they had
no permanent address but they were
30 CITY LIMITS October 1986
sheltered. The economy of the day
provided the bare minimum housing
for survival. Today, the homeless are
too poor or too debilitated to be use-
ful in our economy and many had no
shelter at all until the landmark 1979
case CaIIahan v. Carey, which re-
sulted in a consent decree forcing the
city to provide emergency shelter.
The four entries in the section,
"The Importance of Numbers," dis-
cuss and debate recent attempts to
quantify the actual number of home-
less people in the United States.
Though somewhat dry, the numbers
are important in the development of
federal and local homeless policy.
The history and causes of home-
lessness help in understanding the
problem and make for interesting
reading, but for many readers of City
Limits, the solutions presented in
Housing the Homeless may be the
more important and useful sections
of the book.
One article summarizes various
theories and proposals for solutions.
Written by Nancy K. Kaufman, de-
puty director of the Governor's Office
of Human Resources in Boston, Mas-
sachusetts, "Homelessness: A Com-
prehensive Policy Approach" out-
lines three phases along a continuum
of services for those in need. The first
phase, Emergency Response, consists
of providing food and shelter. Next is
the Transitional Phase, which in-
cludes shelter and assistance with so-
cial and mental health services, em-
ployment and the search for
adequate, affordable housing.
Phase three, Stabilization, pro-
vides an individual "service pack-
age." For a single mother, Kaufman
notes, the package may include train-
ing and day care while for a chronic,
mentally-ill person it may mean some
supervised living arrangements.
The book is too lengthy and diverse
to discuss piece by piece but one
entry demands comment. "The
Homeless of New York" by Thomas J.
Main of the Smith Richardson Found-
ation begins informatively to review
the current high profile of the home-
less problem and to describe and
analyze Callahan v. Carey. He credits
the case with causing the marked im-
provement in both the quantity and
quality of shelters. Shelters, he finds ,
are "rather rough and ready," but "not
such bad places to stay."
This is in stark contrast to the ear-
lier portraits of homelessness and
city responses to it by Tom Robbins,
Marcia Z. Nelson and John R. Col-
eman, who spent 10 days on the
Most disturbing is Main's insis-
tence on "individual responsibility"
as the standard for dealing with a
rather high proportion of the home-
less. Only the "truly needy" should
be served, he believes. '
Clearly, individual responsibility
is of extreme importance to activists

and organizers. How otherwise could
tenants run buildings, co-op ven-
tures, businesses and the like? People
who stake their claim in the future of
their neighborhoods are perhaps
more responsible than most. But
when so many "individuals" have be-
come homeless, the nature of the
problem is called into question, as is
the responsibility of the system itself.
Nancy Kaufman refers to an unpub-
lished response to the Main article
by Kim Hopper and Ellen Baxter in
her policy piece. Its ' absence in the
book is felt.
Other entries in "Solutions" and
"Resources" relate success stories,
shelter construction and operational
costs, model zoning and codes as
well as strategies for positive commu-
nity relations.
Housing the Homeless succeeds in
its intention to provide an introduc-
tion to the issue. It draws on a variety
of well researched sources. One arti-
cle alone, "Skid Row as an Urban
Neighborhood, 1880-1960" by John C.
Schneider, is followed by 55 notes.
Hopefully, Housing the Homeless
will be able to deliver on another in-
troductory note. The editors call for
" ... more mature and sophisticated
research and policy interven-
tions ... " They conclude, "Perhaps
this volume will inspire such efforts."
It's a good beginning.O
Lois Harr is a writer and community
activist in the Bronx.
.?' i If!
Since 1980, the Housing Energy Alliance for Tenants Cooperative Corp. (H.E.A.T. COOP) has provided low
cost home heating oil and energy use reduction services .
'It'l l
!; . I, .-,
The H.E.A.T. Coop has targeted for services the largely minority low and middle income neighborhoods of the
Bronx, Brooklyn. Manhattan and Queens. H.E.A.T.'s general purpose is to provide assistance and services that lead
to neighborhood stability.
As a proponent of economic empowerment for revitalization of the City's communities, H.E.A. T. remains committed
to assisting newly emerging managers and owners of buildings with the reduction of energy costs (long recognized as
the single most expensive area of building management). H.E.A.T. has presented tangible opportunities for tenant
associations. housing coops, churches, community organizations. homeowners and small businesses to garner
substantial savings and lower the costs of building operation.
Through the primary service of providing low cost horne heating oil, various heating plant services and
energy management services, H.E.A.T. members have collectivefy saved over 1.5 million dollars.
W>rking collaboratively with other community service organizations with similar goals, and working to establish its
viability as a business entity. H.E.A. T. has committed its revenue generating capacity and potential to providing
services that work for and lead to stable. productive communities.
If you are interested in learning more about H.E.A.T. or if you are interested in becoming a H.E.A.T. member. call
or write the H.E.A.T. office.
Housing Energy Alliance for Tenants Coop Corp.
853 Broadway. Suite 414, New York. NY. 10003, [212) 505-0286
TENANT ORGANIZER. Accion Latina. Full time position, 35 hrs;
responsible for organizing new tenant assoc. and providing on-
going technical assistance to existing assoc. Will conduct work-
shops on tenants legal rights and organizing. Work closely with
housing specialist to channel tenant associations into alternative
management and ownership programs. Miscellaneous duties.
Bilingual, English/Spanish. Salary: Negotiable. Contact: Julio
Martinez, (718) 643-1811.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. Senior staff person for housing preser-
vation and development organization serving community of small
landmark homes in the S. Bronx. Duties: Coordinate develop-
ment of new construction and gut rehabilitation projects; manage
revolving loan program providing below market loans to home-
owners; manage facade and street improvement contract; super-
vise staff; fundraise; oversee fiscal operation of organization;
coordinate community organizing and education projects; main-
tain liaison with Board of Directors. Qualifications: BA, three
years related experience, knowledge of housing programs, rehab
and finance. Excellent writing and speaking abilities. Good fiscal
manager. Salary: Negotiable. Send resumes immediately to:
Chair, Longwood Historic District Community Association, 965
Longwood Ave., Room 214, Bronx, NY 10459.
HOUSING SPECIALIST. Community Law Offices (Volunteer Di-
vision) of the Legal Aid Society seeks committed, energetic per-
son to assist tenant associations represented by Housing De-
velopment Unit. HDU does work in upper Manhattan north of
96th St. Its staff consists of 4 attorneys, 4 housing specialists
and 1 organizer. Responsibilities: Building management train-
ing and assistance to tenant managed buildings; accounting
assistance to tenant associations during rent strikes; litigation
preparation and assistance; and housing advice to walk-in
clients. Night meetings a must, Spanish helpful but not required.
Salary: Up to $19,880 including overtime and benefits, as per
1199 union contract. Send resume to: Housing Development
Unit, Community Law Offices, 230 E. 106th St. , New York, NY
10029. No calls.
TENANT ORGANIZER. Extensive field work, advise tenants of
rights, assist them in housing court and before city and state
agencies, help develop tenants' associations, conduct training
sessions on SRO housing issues, attend Community Board
meetings and partiCipate in city-wide coalitions on SRO issues.
Person should be assertive, experienced in tenant or community
organizing, excellent bilingual skills, capable of developing and
implementing strategies dealing with complex situations, able to
deal effectively with all types of people, knowledgeable about
housing laws and regulations and housing court procedures.
SOCIAL WORKER/PARALEGAL. Work with project attorneys
and organizers in providing services to clients in hotels and
rooming houses. Responsibilities: Evalating client problems
relating to public assistance and social security, advocacy with
social or governmental agencies, representation at administra-
tive hearings; referral of clients for social assessment, atten-
dance at group meetings, tenant outreach/organizing, preparing
letters and requesting documents to prepare clients' cases. Qual-
ified candidate has MSW and/or relevant experience and Spanish
language. Salary: $19,000 for each position, plus excellent be-
nefits as per collective bargaining agreement. Both temporary
but will be extended if lines refunded. Send resume to: Ann R.
Teicher, Eastside SRO Legal Services Project, MFY Legal Ser-
vices, 223 Grand St., New York, NY 10013; (212) 966-7410.
Odober 1986 CITY LIMITS
HOUSING ORGANIZER. Lower East Side Anti-Displacement
Project is seeking a commited, energetic person to organize,
advocate for and provide technical assistance to tenants. Re-
sponsibilities: Organizing tenant associations and rent strikes,
aSSisting staff attorney in housing court actions, assisting project
director in implementing seminars on tenant's rights and develop-
ing working relationships with local organizations and govern-
ment agencies. Qualifications: Prior organizing experience,
able to work independently, good oral/written skills, knowledge
state rent regulations and city code enforcement laws, ability to
work with local housing groups, bilingual English/Spanish. Sal-
ary: $18,000 and benefits. Send resume to: Rev. Bea Blair, c/o
LESAC, 519 E. 11th St. , New York, NY 10009.
PROJECT DIRECTOR. To administrate and implement the Lower
East Side Anti-Displacement Project. Responsibilities: Work
closely with Advisory Committee to develop policy and first year
goals in providing technical assistance and advocacy to tenants
threatened with displacement. Organizing seminars and work-
shops on tenants rights, supervision of student organizers, assist-
ing pro bono attorneys, fund raising, staff training and lobbying.
Qualifications: Strong verbal/written skills, substantial housing,
community background, knowledge of rent regulations and city
building code-compliance process; a conscientious self-starter
with primary interest in preserving housing on the Lower East
Side. College background preferred. Salary: $25,000 and be-
nefits. Send resume to: Rev. Bea Blair, LESAC, 519 E. 11th St. ,
New York, NY 10009.
The Tenant Movement in New York City, 1904-1984
Ronald Lawson, editor, with Mark Naison
300 pp. Illustrated. Paper, S15.00; Cloth, S35.00
This first history of the tenant movement in New York
City places tenant movements at the center of the history
of housing, urban government, and urban social move-
ments. The contributors examine the social bases of the
movement, and describe the context of the movement at
the grass roots level. They also analyze the movement 's
changing constituency, leaders, levels of mobilizati on
and strategy, and explore the role of different ethnic and
political groups, classes. and women in the movement.
Includes over 30 photographs spanning the entire era.
Rutgers University Press
109 Church Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
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I City Limits, 424 W. 33rd St., NY,NY 1 0001 I
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