Federal Stimulus Cash For Boroughs

Published on May 04, 2009, 7:13 pm
FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites 13 mins

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced community development projects and programs that will benefit from more than $48 million of federal stimulus funding received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), signed by President Obama in February. The funding will be directed to nine City programs and projects that are supporting New York City’s households and stabilizing and strengthening neighborhoods in all five boroughs.

Providing support to families and keeping New York City’s communities vibrant is a central part of the City’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan to create jobs for New Yorkers today, implement a vision for long-term economic growth, and build affordable, attractive neighborhoods.“The national economic downturn threatens to weaken communities across New York City, but we’re committed to not letting that happen,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We continue to work aggressively to provide targeted support to New Yorkers and strengthen New York City’s neighborhoods, and this federal stimulus funding provides an enormous opportunity to step up those efforts. We’ll use the more than $48 million to identify and help homeowners at-risk of foreclosure, stabilize homeless adults and transition them to permanent housing, and expand other existing City programs that are keeping New York City’s neighborhoods vibrant. I want to thank New York’s congressional delegation for their leadership on behalf of New Yorkers to help secure this important funding for programs that will reach families and communities throughout the City.”

Community development projects and programs that will benefit from the federal stimulus funding fall into the following categories:

Supporting New Yorkers and New York City Households

Emergency Repair Program – $19.5 million
In conjunction with the Community Development Block Grant, Community Development ARRA funds will assist in paying for the Emergency Repair Program. The Emergency Repair Program corrects hazardous code violations in buildings across the city and is an effective neighborhood stabilization tool. This past winter, the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD ) helped more than 1,100 residential buildings maintain heat and hot water by providing gas or oil fuel. The number of properties needing this type of assistance is rising as the number as foreclosures and property maintenance costs increase, and household incomes stagnate.

Homeless Adult Services – $5.7 million
The Department of Homeless Services’ Adult Services uses several funding sources to provide a continuum of programs for single homeless adults. These programs, which aim to return clients to permanent housing, include Street Outreach, Drop-In Centers, Safe Havens, Temporary Emergency Shelter, and Housing Placement Services. Adult Services operates temporary, emergency shelter and related social services in nearly 50 facilities, with a total of 7,211 beds throughout the City. Four shelters are directly operated by Homeless Services’ Adult Services staff, and the remaining are operated by contracted nonprofit providers. Community Development ARRA funds will cover nonprofit shelter provider contracts for fiscal year 2010.
Stabilizing and Strengthening New York City’s Neighborhoods

Neighborhood Preservation Offices – $4.8 million
In conjunction with the Community Development Block Grant, Community Development ARRA funds will assist in paying for HPD’s Neighborhood Preservation Offices. The offices identify abandoned residential buildings and buildings at risk of abandonment in all five boroughs, and work with a range of interventions designed to improve building conditions. Strategies include counseling owners about their responsibilities, working with utility companies to restore cutoff service, securing financing for needed repairs, providing information about green resources and working with other agencies to deliver related city and state services.

Neighborhood Improvement Program – $1.2 million
The Human Resources Administration  has instituted a pilot program aimed at reducing the effects of the mortgage crisis in fragile neighborhoods while providing valuable work experience and employment services for hard-to-employ cash assistance recipients. Participants conduct minor repairs on foreclosed or abandoned properties, remove rubbish and graffiti, and work with local commercial districts to keep the areas clean. Using Community Development ARRA funds, the Human Resources Administration and the Center for New York City Neighborhoods will provide part-time, transitional jobs to 240 additional participants during fiscal year 2010. Following participants’ completion of the program, the Human Resources Administration will make available post-program job placement services. Participant training will also be made available by a Human Resources Administration-contracted employment vendor.

Emergency Demolition Program – $3.4 million
In conjunction with the Community Development Block Grant, Community Development ARRA funds will assist in paying for the Emergency Demolition Program. The Demolition Unit within HPD’s Division of Maintenance has the authority to perform emergency demolitions when an owner fails to do so pursuant to a Department of Buildings  declaration of emergency, as established by the New York City Administrative Code. The Code requires the treatment of any structure that may become “dangerous or unsafe, structurally or as a fire hazard, or dangerous or detrimental to human life, health, or morals.” Community Development ARRA funds will be used for all full and partial demolition of privately-owned residential and commercial properties, and some City-owned properties.

Graffiti-Free NYC – $2.9 million, and Graffiti Removal in Parks and Playgrounds – $388,000
Graffiti-Free NYC will use Community Development ARRA funds to provide graffiti removal for affected privately-owned industrial, commercial, and residential properties citywide. There is no cost to property owners. The program employs state-of-the-art spray painting equipment that paints 10 times the area of traditional methods at a substantially reduced cost. This equipment is placed on small trucks, which provide the mobility to more easily reach areas marred by graffiti. The trucks are also outfitted with pressure-washing equipment when painting is not appropriate, such as on natural stone surfaces.

The Department of Parks and Recreation  cleans graffiti in playgrounds and parks. Community Development ARRA funds will be used to increase graffiti removal activities in low- and moderate-income areas throughout the City, with a particular emphasis on the areas of the South Bronx, East New York in Brooklyn, and Jamaica in Queens. Funds will cover the staffing, supplies, equipment, and vehicles necessary to increase services in these areas.

Code Violation Removal in Schools – $10.0 million
Community Development ARRA funds will be used by the Department of Education  to prevent or remove code violations in New York City schools. The activities may include the installation, repair, or replacement of emergency lighting, elevator guards, corridor doors, door closers, fire rated doors and hardware, panic hardware, fire alarm systems, fire suppression systems, fire extinguishers, sprinklers/standpipes, radiator shields, potable water systems, sewage systems, kitchen ventilation/exhaust systems, and heating/cooling/refrigeration systems; flame-proofing curtains; building elevator and sidewalk elevator upgrades; and the repair of bleachers, retaining walls, interior masonry, plaster, damaged flooring, ceilings, electrical fixtures, and wiring.

Charlton Garden Retaining Wall Restoration – $500,000
Charlton Garden, located at East 164th Street between Cauldwell Avenue and Boston Road in the Bronx, is a neighborhood park that serves the predominantly low- and moderate-income area of the South Bronx. In conjunction with a capital renovation of the park, Community Development ARRA funds will be used to rebuild the retaining wall at the south end of the park, which leans outward and presents a potential hazard to the surrounding community.

To maintain accountability and transparency in the City’s use of stimulus funding, all such funding allocated to New York City can be closely tracked at www.nyc.gov/stimulustracker. ARRA dollars can be tracked from initial allocation through project completion. In addition, the public can track key performance measures – such as jobs created – showing how these projects and programs benefit the City.

The Bloomberg Administration’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan is a comprehensive strategy to bring New York City through the current economic downturn as fast as possible. It focuses on three major areas: creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city’s economy, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. Taken together, the initiatives that the City has launched to achieve these goals will generate thousands of jobs and put New York City on a path to economic recovery and growth. To learn more about the plan, visit nyc.gov. Recently, the City has announced:

– Federal stimulus Housing Authority projects that will create jobs for 3,255 New Yorkers.
– The start of construction of 103 units of affordable housing in Brownsville.
– A plan to protect area character and expand commercial opportunities in Sunset Park.
– The opening of Home Depot in the South Bronx creating 200 new permanent jobs.
– Legislation that will green buildings and create 19,000 construction jobs;
– The latest round of training funds to help small businesses train their employees.
– The final tally of 1,673 additional jobs created at the new Yankee Stadium.
– The placement of 50 laid-off New Yorkers into positions at entrepreneurial companies.
– New York City achieved a record 5,000 job placements through the first quarter of 2009
– Help for a beer distributor to create 55 permanent and 30 construction jobs in the Bronx.
– Green projects at the Brooklyn Navy Yard are creating more than 1,700 permanent jobs;
– Comprehensive initiatives to support the nonprofit sector and its 490,000 jobs;
– Federal stimulus transportation projects that will create or preserve 32,000 jobs.
– New automated water meter readers that could help businesses retain or create 550 jobs;
– New programs to provide training and resources for City’s future entrepreneurs.
– Steps the City is taking to help small businesses adapt to conditions and avoid layoffs.
– More than 50,000 New Yorkers claimed the City’s Child Care Tax Credit in its first year.
– 11 new initiatives to support the financial services sector and promote entrepreneurship.
– A plan for Coney Island that will create 6,000 permanent and 25,000 construction jobs.
– A plan to create 400,000 jobs over the next six years in the 2009 State of the City speech.

Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | Bronx.com - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.