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Brooklyn Daily Eagle


Velázquez Offers Help for Residents of Public Housing

By Brooklyn Eagle

July 31, 2009

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez of Brooklyn offered help this week to residents of NYC Housing Authority buildings.

She heard testimony from federal, state and city housing officials, and advocates during a field hearing at City Hall of the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, of which she is chair.

The key challenges facing public housing residents — employment opportunities and health care access for senior residents — were the focus of the hearing, which was organized following the release of new joblessness numbers showing unemployment in the city has skyrocketed to 9.5 percent, according to Velázquez.

“With New York City home to the largest public housing authority in the nation, it is critical that efforts to improve affordable housing take into account the needs and priorities of the local community,” she said. “Today’s hearing provided a venue to discuss the difficulties residents face in securing employment and accessing health care options.”

In New York, the average family income for public housing residents is just $22,728, underscoring the need to provide job placement and training in these communities.

“Career training is essential to lifting families out of poverty,” Velázquez said. “By expanding these programs we can strengthen our communities and provide greater opportunity for all New Yorkers.”

Since 2003, Velázquez has promoted legislation that would connect low-income New Yorkers with training to carry out federal contracting projects in their own communities. The initiative would strengthen “Section 3” Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements that are meant to guarantee that those living in HUD facilities are given some of the work for federal HUD contracts. Velázquez has also worked on a proposal to train residents in home health care, which would both create job opportunities and offer care to the aging population living in federally assisted housing developments.