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NYSA Groups Protest for Jobs and Needed Services at Gov.'s State of the State

Outside Gov. Cuomo's Speech, New Yorkers Offered "New Year's Resolutions" that would Create Jobs and Raise Revenues
NEW YORK, NY (01/06/2011)-- On January 5, at the state capitol's convention center in Albany, 35 individuals and VOCAL Members Say NY Needs Jobs--Make Wall St Payorganizations from around the state gathered to offer Governor Andrew Cuomo "New Year's Resolutions" that would bring reinvestment into communities, would create jobs for the unemployed and underemployed, and would offer ways to get the economy back on track.
Donning New Years Eve party attire, they pushed the Governor to raise new and badly-needed revenues for the state by extending the existing tax on the richest New Yorkers that is set to expire. If it expires, demonstrators said, the state will lose $1 billion in revenues this year and another $4 billion next year.
"We can't afford to pay for tax cuts for the rich by shutting down hospitals and eliminating social services, but that's what letting the fair share tax expire would do," said Robert Tolbert, a leader in VOCAL New York, formerly known as the NYC AIDS Housing Network (NYCAHN), a statewide organization.
The protesters said the Governor needs to help New Yorkers get back to work by creating jobs immediately and fighting for communities and small businesses, not just Fortune 500 companies.
"Wall Street caused the financial crisis and needs to help fix it," Tolbert said. "Balancing the budget on the backs of working and disabled New Yorkers while giving a free pass to Wall Street Banks will just make our state's economy worse. We can't cut our way out of this crisis - Albany should be asking everyone pay their fair share."
Another demonstrator, Rodney Rainey, from the Western New York group People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH), discussed the models they are using to create quality jobs.
"We're building a green economy in Buffalo that creates employment opportunities for real people through neighborhood investment and green jobs pathways," Rainey proclaimed.
"Over the past year, I've been trained and employed by PUSH in green construction along with other youth," said Rainey, before turning his sights once again on the new governor. "Now we're asking the incoming Governor to multiply these efforts to create quality jobs that can be filled by another million New Yorkers in need of employment."
The Resolutions offered by the groups and individuals for Governor Cuomo to adopt included:
1. Halve the Unemployment Rate by 2012.
2. Exercise More Often.
3. Reinvest in Communities & Improve Quality of Life.
4. Provide Job Training for Out of Work New Yorkers.
5. Eat Healthier.
6. Strengthen the Safety Net for the Vulnerable.
7. Provide Support for Public Goods We All Rely On.

By NYSA on Thursday, January 06, 2011 at 5:09 PM

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NOAH, PUSH and VOICE Gain Commitments for WNY

On October 14, more than 500 members of NOAH, PUSH-Buffalo, and VOICE packed Holy Cross Catholic Church on Buffalo's Lower West Side to demand their public officials stand up for the changes needed in their communities.

Accomplishments of the meeting included:

1) Commitment of Erie County Executive's Office to appoint a VOICE and NOAH leader to Niagara Erie Regional Coalition (NERC) Board - the body that enacts the framework for regional growth.

2) Commitment to meet with Family Service Commissioner Carol Dankert in regards to appointing a person from the administration to the Women and Children's Task Force to prioritize Day Care Funding.

3) Smart Growth Bill signed by the Governor.

4) Elimination of Fare Zones on Public Transit.

5) Public Commitment from Senator Antoine Thompson to encourage Public Service Commission Chairman Garry Brown to hold a Public Forum on reforming National Fuel's conservation program.

6) Delivered over 300 signed public comments to the Public Service Commission asking that National Fuel's conservation initiative be reformed, and that a Public Hearing be held in Buffalo.

7) United over 20 Community Groups and over 100 community members around PUSH's National Fuel Campaign and rallied and marched to the Public Meeting.

8) Commitment from Mayor Paul Dyster from Niagara County to hold a joint meeting with NOAH and craft a local hiring agreement for development projects in Niagara Falls.  The Mayor will bring the developer to the table and create jobs for community residents of Niagara Falls.


Some of the press coverage:

- PUSH Buffalo's National Fuel Campaign Continues

- Groups meet to review collective effort

- Good Morning, Buffalo

By NYSA on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 4:35 PM

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NYC Housing Authority Creates Few Jobs with Recovery Funds

On October 20, Community Voices Heard's public housing campaign released a new report highlighting, the  $423 million in Recovery Act funds that the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) received to make capital improvements, such as replacing elevators, roofs, boilers, and making buildings more energy efficient. The report focused on NYCHA's responsibility under federal "Section 3" regulations to provide job opportunities for public housing residents and community members with these types of federal funds. 

The report, "Bad Arithmetic: The Failure of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Recovery Funds to Create Jobs for Local Residents," shows that too few jobs were created for residents with the Recovery Act funding. 

CVH also conducted a survey to better understand how familiar NYCHA residents are with the housing authority's responsibilities to create jobs.  Through the collection of over 300 surveys from housing developments around New York City, CVH found that the vast majority of NYCHA residents surveyed were not informed about job opportunities, nor did they see stimulus work being done in their development. When NYCHA has received similar funding in the past, work had not been completed, contractors performed sub-standard work that required more repairs within a short amount of time, and money disappeared or had been diverted elsewhere.

Roxanne Reid, CVH member and Tenant Association President of Castle Hill Houses in the Bronx, said while participating in the release of the report that she has sent over 30 residents to NYCHA Resident Employment Services to receive training, but that NYCHA, "was telling Castle Hill folks the classes were filled. This was good but unfortunately, many of these people who received training now say to me 'Ms. Reed, when can I get a job?' It's not easy telling them, there is none."

CVH members called on NYCHA to ensure that 30% of the hours worked on projects funded with federal money are by public housing residents, not the current, weaker standard that permits just 30% of new hires to be residents or community members. They also called for expanded transparency at NYCHA and that the authority set aside a portion of the capital budget for residents to allocate through a participatory budget process.

Read the full report here, the press release, or coverage in The Epoch Times here.


By NYSA on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 11:32 AM

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Time for another WPA?

NYSA member PUSH-Buffalo was featured in article on October 18 that outlined the many ways the New Deal's Works Progress Administration positively impacted the Buffalo region.  PUSH director Aaron Bartley reminded Buffalo News readers that, "What the '30s show us is that often times the most pressing human needs are best met in times of crisis."
You can read the article right here.

Continue reading »

By NYSA on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 11:25 AM

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New Report Details Recovery Act in NYS

October 13, 2010: The Kirwan Institute and NYSA jointly released a report today entitled, "Where's the Stimulus: State and Regional profiles of the Recovery Act Investment in New York State."  The report highlights the allocation of federal Recovery Act investments statewide, identifying geographic distribution of funds as well as specific populations that have benefited. The report finds that Recovery Act funding has been of critical importance to help New York weather the economic storm by maintaining services and getting many New Yorkers back to work. Read the full report here, see highlights and color maps below, or read the press release here.
A few key facts and findings emerged from the study:
     - The State of New York will receive $29.4 billion in Federal Stimulus funds which will be allocated for use by the end of fiscal year 2011.
     - As of June 30, 2010, recipients reported on $9.7 billion of these funds, which resulted in the creation of 170,018 jobs, according to  This is the sum of four quarterly reports and not a cumulative total.  Due to the methodology used, some ongoing jobs may be re-reported.
     - One of every five dollars that came to New York State came in the form of direct payments to individuals, such as unemployment payments of Pell Grants.
Several populations such as Native American- and White-owned businesses are deriving an especially high benefit from federal contract work to be performed in New York State while others, such as Latino-owned and Black-owned business, are deriving a disproportionately low benefit.
     - While Native Americans comprise less than 1 percent of business owners in New York state, they received over 11 percent of all stimulus contracts in the state, and nearly 9 percent of the contract dollars. Most of these contracts were for construction work at Fort Drum in Jefferson County, awarded by the Department of Defense.
     - A disproportionately large majority of business contracts, in terms of both number of contracts and the value of contracts, went to white-owned businesses - both statewide and in the city of New York. White-owned businesses represent 76.3 percent of New York businesses but they received over 85 percent of the Recovery Act contract dollars for work conducted in the state.
     - Conversely, Black- and Latino- and Asian-owned businesses received a disproportionately low share of these contracts and contract dollars.  Statewide, black- and Latino-owned and Asian-owned businesses each represent about 10 percent of business owners.  But they received no more than 5 percent of the Recovery Act contracts and no more than 4 percent of the contract dollars.
Of the $29.4 billion in stimulus funds flowing into the state, $9.3 billion is expected to flow to New York City targets.  Chief uses of the funds New York City receives between 2009 and 2011 will include:
     - $3.3 billion to stabilize local government and school district budgets
     - $2.9 billion to individuals as food stamps, unemployment benefits and Pell grant
     - $689 million to public infrastructure projects
     - $2.3 billion to other investments such as homelessness prevention.
Read the full report: "Where's the Stimulus: State and Regional profiles of the Recovery Act Investment in New York State."

By NYSA on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 9:37 AM

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Western NY Town Hall Hosted by PUSH, VOICE & NOAH

On Thursday, August 26th, PUSH Buffalo, Voice Buffalo, and Niagara's NOAH hosted a town hall-style meeting to hold our elected officials accountable in making sure that our stimulus money reaches our neighborhoods where it is badly needed.  The meeting was attended and supported by Community Voices Heard, Common Cause NY and the New York Stimulus Alliance.
Groups focused on ways to improve transportation and weatherization funding in the region, while also celebrating recent victories that secured millions of dollars in childcare subsidies for working families in Buffalo and maintained broad eligibility in the face of steep cuts.  VOICE-Buffalo spearheaded this effort, which you can read about here.
The Buffalo News (PDF) had an informative piece on the town hall itself, which includes audio from PUSH's Eric Walker discussing the recovery.  You can hear that by clicking the play button here:



By NYSA on Monday, August 30, 2010 at 11:48 AM

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Common Cause Hosts 'Plugging the Budget Gap' Town Hall

On Thursday, August 5, 2010 Common Cause /NY and the New York State Stimulus Alliance along with Community Voices Heard (CVH), NYC AIDS Housing Network (NYCAHN), The Drum Major Institute, Center for Working Families, and Good Jobs New York hosted a town hall meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall entitled "Plugging the Budget Gap: The Recovery Act and Beyond in New York State." 
We were joined by State Senators Daniel Squadron and Velmanette Montgomery as well as Council Members Brad Lander and Letitia James and representatives from the Department of Labor and the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA).

Common Cause/NY set the framework to look at the current crisis as a national issue, not state specific and the need for a national response and Federal dollars. NYCAHN and Community Voices Heard talked about the impact of the stimulus on public housing and housing for the homeless and how more must be done to address these long-term community needs. The Drum Major Institute highlighted the importance of targeting future stimulus aid through city and local governments rather than primarily through state governments.
Common Cause's presentation on the current economic situation in New York State is below (download it here).

By NYSA on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 10:19 AM

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CVH Hosts 4 City Recovery Act Tour

On July 29, members of Community Voices Heard led a tour from New York City to Poughkeepsie, stopping in Yonkers and Newburgh along the way, to show their neighbors and officials the impact public investments under the federal stimulus funding have had on their communities.  CVH members discussed investments in public housing, transitional jobs, funds made available under the Community Development Block Grant program, a range of other issues.
Click 'Continue reading' to see more PRESS COVERAGE, download the PRESS RELEASE, and find JOBS MAPS displaying locations of Recovery Act-funded jobs in each of those cities.

Other economic recovery events are being planned around the state by other NYSA members, so be sure to check back for upcoming events!

Hit the PLAY button below to see the news coverage from YNN in Newburgh.

Continue reading »

By NYSA on Friday, July 30, 2010 at 4:19 PM

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