Westchester BOL Chairman Jenkins Urges Astorino to Stop Lies Regarding Housing Settlement


Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 | 914-419-5221 (cell)

Westchester BOL Chairman Jenkins Urges Astorino To Stop Lies Regarding the Housing Settlement

Help municipalities get needed Federal funds instead

White Plains, NY – Fearing that County Executive Rob Astorino’s escalating inflammatory rhetoric regarding the fair and affordable housing settlement will only widen the rift between the County and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and now the court-appointed monitor, James E. Johnson, Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) strongly urged for a more positive approach and a tempering of criticism from the Astorino Administration on this crucial issue “before it’s too late.”

“Instead of race-baiting and issuing false and discriminatory statements regarding the Housing Settlement, County Executive Astorino should be working with all parties to comply with the settlement and lead our communities on a path that ensures fair and affordable housing will be a big component of a strong and prosperous future,” said Jenkins. “Instead of promoting amicable cooperation here, he’s fostering animus and conflict, which can only be detrimental for everyone involved. This unproductive and misleading rhetoric regarding the settlement needs to end today.”

County Executive Astorino continues to allege that HUD, and now the monitor, will be requiring Westchester communities to “far exceed the settlement” in terms of building new fair and affordable housing units, even though HUD recently reiterated otherwise in a letter to Jenkins. The fact that the County should be investing in and building more affordable housing—for seniors, veterans, firefighters, young professionals and healthcare workers—has been mentioned widely, as it emanates from recommendations in a 2004 report conducted by the County. But it is not part of the settlement, which HUD has continued to state. HUD has also noted that it is not interested in “abolishing local zoning,” contrary to Astorino’s repeated accusations as such.

“The Astorino Administration asked for the monitor to review certain items pursuant to the Housing Settlement,” Jenkins remarked. “Meanwhile, the County has moved forward with the fair and affordable housing settlement in so many important ways, as it should, and until recently has worked collaboratively with both HUD and the monitor.”

Continued Jenkins: “The County Executive would be wise to simply endeavor to comply with the stipulations of the settlement agreement, as he promised to do when he took office. Trying to win political points here and characterize this as a Westchester David versus the Federal government Goliath ignores the necessity of building and promoting affordable housing that is right for Westchester—and jeopardizes Federal funding for our communities as well. Fair and affordable housing will be part of Westchester’s shining future, whether the County Executive likes it or not.”


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=Bazzo 06/13/13

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