August 22, 2012

New York City Accused of Improper Use of Earmarked Funds for Homeless Toward Tech Campus Project

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New York City is using funds earmarked for housing the homeless to help fund relocation costs associated with Cornell’s tech campus, according to documents and emails from housing officials obtained by the New York Daily News.

The newspaper alleges that money from the program — known as the Supportive Housing Program — is instead being used to relocate patients from the Coler-Goldwater long-term care facility, which sits on the future site of CornellNYC Tech on Roosevelt Island.

The city will build three new buildings to house some 700 disabled patients that are being displaced by the move, with the projects costing taxpayers an estimated $330 million.

Documents and emails show that one of those buildings, a $51 million low-income rental building in the city’s East Harlem neighborhood, will receive a loan from the Supportive Housing Program.

City officials denied the charge, saying that no money from the program will be used for relocation costs associated with the tech campus.

“Since the project is being closed through the Division of Special Needs Housing, the funds will be moving through a budget line within that division,” said City Hall spokesperson Frank Barry. “So the funds for this project will flow through the Supportive Housing budget, but they are not supportive housing funds.”

East Harlem community leaders, however, aren’t convinced. They say city officials have kept them in the dark while they have proceeded with plans for the new buildings. The leaders also question whether the city deliberately classified the project under Special Housing in order to evade legal requirements that give preference to East Harlem residents for 50 percent of all new low-income housing units.

See the New York Daily News’ full article here.

Original Author: David Marten