What else could you do with $1.2 billion in community development block grants besides building a connector tunnel to JFK for the well-todo businessmen who work in Lower Manhattan? Lots say community advocates. Everything from creating thousands of new public sector jobs to giving public housing residents a chance to buy their own homes to helping launch worker-owned businesses.
The Labor Community Advocacy Network would use the remaining CDBG money to put people back to work through the public service sector. LCAN would focus on providing community services for residents of the community. In turn, it would create and estimated 60,000 new jobs. For example, building parks and recreation centers would benefit the community and put people to work. In addition, it would give money to local organizations and non-profits to extend their services to the community. For example, extending language services and job training would create jobs at the organization and provide services to people who can then join the work force.
The Liberty Jobs Proposal is endorsed by sixty labor unions, non-profits, community groups, arts, groups and urban planning organizations.
Tenement Empowerment Act
The Tenement Association backs a proposal by Lower East Side Council Member Alan Gerson. Hundreds of government subsidized Section 8 housing contracts end this year and next. Council Member Gerson proposed a plan to use CDBG money to allow tenants to buy their building if the landlord chooses to opt-out of Section 8 housing when the contracts expire. This would allow the tenants to own their home as low income housing is becoming scarce.
The Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York plans to launch a worker-owned restaurant in Tribeca this fall. It would be run by former employees of Windows on the World, the legendary restaurant that was located on the top floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. So far, LMDC hasn’t provided a dime.
Chinatown and Lower East Side Residential Grant Program
The National Mobilization Against SweatShops (NMASS) and the Chinese Staff and Workers Association would like benefits already dispersed to be expanded. For instance, they say the Residential Grant Program – a housing subsidy – should extend up to14th Street
. (It stops atDelancey Street
) and increase the family grant to $1,500 per month to the East Side of Lower Manhattan. (Currently the residents in the direct vicinity of Ground Zero receive $1,500 per month. Some East Side residents receive $750 per month). And they’d like the Residential Grant Program to be reopened to review some applicants.