CUOMO ANNOUNCES PLAN TO REVITALIZE CITIES ACROSS NEW YORK
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October 21, 2010 firstname.lastname@example.org
CUOMO ANNOUNCES PLAN TO REVITALIZE CITIES ACROSS NEW YORK
“Urban Agenda” Addresses Problems of Underserved Communities to Fight Poverty, Unemployment and Crime
Programs Includes Job Training and MWBE Investment, Affordable Housing and Community Development Initiatives
Full Policy available at: http://www.andrewcuomo.com/UrbanAgenda
Andrew Cuomo today announced his Urban Agenda, a comprehensive initiative to revitalize cities across New York. Cuomo was joined by leaders representing diverse communities from across New York to discuss the policy and the impact it will have on urban communities.
“The effects of the economic downtown have been severe for all New Yorkers, but particularly communities of color, who face higher rates of unemployment, discrimination in lending practices, a lack of access to capital, and fewer education opportunities. This must change,” Cuomo said. “My Urban Agenda recognizes the need to address the chronic problems of underserved communities so that we can build a new New York. Without strong, vibrant, urban communities, we will fail our neighbors and each other.”
The Urban Agenda initiatives will ensure that minority- and women-owned businesses have a fair chance to compete by building on recently enacted MWBE reforms. The agenda includes anti-poverty measures that utilize educational and workforce training opportunities to equip low-income and minority communities with the skills set needed to compete in a new economy. The plan will also expand on affordable housing and community development initiatives that build stronger, safer neighborhoods and fight the effects of foreclosure, blight and abandonment. Finally, the programs will reform adult reentry and juvenile justice systems.
“Better policies will help us build a better New York. Taking the innovative actions proposed in my Urban Agenda will stop the deterioration of our State and create real opportunity for all New Yorkers,” Cuomo added.
The Urban Agenda includes:
Economic Justice: Expanding MWBE Opportunities
- Aggressively Expand Economic Opportunities for MWBEs. Raise the goal of State contracting done by MWBE firms to 20 percent; standardize and streamline MWBE procurement/contract data to increase MWBE participation in th State contract process; increase access to credit and bonding, which are necessary to level the playing field and maximize fiscal and operational stability of New York’s MWBEs; and, create alternative umbrella insurance to the contractor-owned insurance requirements which are employed in most New York State construction contracts as one mechanism to improve MWBE access to governmental contracting opportunities, as well as to achieve significant project cost savings.
- Create a Green Jobs Corps. Maximize the recently passed Green Jobs bill by creating a New York State Urban Green Collar Jobs Corps to help New Yorkers succeed in the City’s expanding green economy. A Green Collar Jobs Corps would identify and recruit the State’s unemployed and underemployed; develop comprehensive training and education programs to prepare entry-level, incumbent, and transitional workers for permanent green collar employment; involve State’s existing support services, training, and job placement programs.
Expand Affordable Housing and Keep People in their Homes
- Turn Overleveraged Buildings into Affordable Housing. Take advantage of a new law sponsored by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, which allows the State’s Mortgage Insurance Fund to be used to insure refinancing loans, as opposed to just issuing loans for new construction and rehabilitation. The loans will help convert overleveraged condominiums or luxury rentals that were built at the height of the housing boom into affordable housing. The loans can also be used to preserve existing affordable housing projects that are at risk because they were overleveraged during the housing boom.
- New Market Tax Credits to Accelerate Community Development. Promptly pass legislation to enable the State to deploy $60 million of federal New Market Tax Credits for community development projects. This legislation is necessary to access the funding that the federal government allocated to New York.
- Establish Land Banks. Enact legislation to authorize the establishment of land banks to assemble, manage and dispose of vacant land in order to stabilize neighborhoods and encourage reuse or redevelopment of urban property as part of a strategic plan.
- Expand Access to Bank Accounts. Expand the Bank Development District program to maximize the number of communities served and promote program adjustments to place greater emphasis on financial literacy services and community outreach to promote greater bank account enrollment by low-income individuals.
- Lower the Cost of Everyday Essentials. Take comprehensive steps to implement initiatives that lower the cost of everyday essentials including auto insurance, groceries and other goods and services to lower the cost of the living for those in poverty.
- Expand Access to Fresh Food and Revitalize Hunts Point Market. Increase access to fresh food for low income New Yorkers while bolstering the retail food sector as a whole by taking the lead in bringing about the Hunts Point Revitalization project. Creating a modern wholesale farmers market at Hunts Point will not only get more fresh food to low income neighborhoods, it will provide an avenue for local farmers to market their produce directly to the New York City metropolitan region. In addition, we will expand access to fresh food by maximizing the use of SNAP (Food Stamp) and WIC benefits at farmers’ markets.
Expand Access to Health Care
- Meet the Health Care Needs of Underserved Communities. New York State needs to embrace a comprehensive approach to expanding access to care, including enrolling the many low-income New Yorkers who are eligible for coverage but are not now enrolled, expanding the number of providers of primary care by aggressively pursuing federal grants under the $9.5 billion Community Health Center Fund created by Federal Health Reform, and developing a proactive strategy to assist struggling safety net institutions which are providing essential care that could not be effectively replaced if the institution were not to survive.
Criminal Justice: A Commitment to Safe Communities
- Root out Gun Violence. Requiring mandatory microstamping of guns which will greatly improve the likelihood of gun crime identification; establish group violence reduction programming, often called the “Ceasefire Initiative”, which relies on a partnership of law enforcement, community representatives, and social service providers who work directly with violent groups and drug dealers and has produced promising crime reduction outcomes across the nation; increase the penalty for illegally transferring a handgun to a child by making criminal transfer of a firearm to a minor to a violent Class C felony, increasing the mandatory minimum sentence from 1 year to 3.5 years.
- Reform a Broken Juvenile Justice System. Establish an Innovation Accountability Board, imprison only those juveniles who are a risk to public safety, improve the conditions of confinement, and look to merge and reorganize juvenile justice detention centers.
- Reduce Recidivism Through Coordinated Reentry Programs. Require State agencies to establish a unified set of performance-based goals, and establish well-defined and publicly accessible metrics for assessing progress towards those goals; focus on meaningful job and skills training within the prison setting to increase opportunities for self-sufficiency and to decrease recidivism; and commit to matching persons with safe, stable housing opportunities prior to release; concentrate post-release resources on populations at the greatest risk of frequent re-offending and in those communities which have the highest concentrations of formerly incarcerated persons; ensuring that every formerly incarcerated person has the right documentation and benefits in place to enable a transition which ensures medical care, housing, and employment supports upon release; and standardize the State’s graduated sanctions policy to reduce corrections costs as well as overall rates of recidivism.
- Maintain an Emphasis on Environmental Justice. Strengthen the Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant Program and continue to make sure environmental laws and policies are enforced in high-risk urban areas.