[Hpn] HUD played politics with NYC homeless funds? In whose interests? FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sat, 09 Sep 2000 01:34:50 -0700 (PDT)

To Reply To ALL listmembers of Homeless People's Network (HPN),

Who is "playing politics" in the controversy cited below over
HUD funds for New York City homeless people?
Is anyone is this controversy _not_ "playing politics"?
In whose interests do HUD and its Republican critics operate?
Who can homeless people depend on to operate in _our_ interests?

FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Sep 06, 2000


     Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Federal housing officials had no grounds for
bypassing New York agencies in distributing millions of dollars for
homeless people, a congressional report said.

The tussle over homeless funds first arose in the heat of the
New York Senate contest between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mayor
Rudolph Giuliani, who later abandoned the race. Housing Secretary
Andrew Cuomo, a Clinton supporter, said he yanked the money because
a federal judge ruled the city improperly withheld it from one of
the mayor's critics, a group called Housing Works.

On Wednesday, Missouri Sen. Christopher Bond, a Republican,
accused the Department of Housing and Urban Development of
deliberately hiding key information in the lawsuit at the heart of
the funding dispute, and said he is notifying the U.S. attorney and
New York Bar Association of his findings.

``HUD violated the rules of fundamental fairness,'' said Bond,
who issued a 143-page report calling for sanctions and reforms in
the agency. ``Whether the motive was personal or politics or
something else, it is simply wrong, and I intend to make sure HUD
is not distracted again from its core mission of helping Americans
in need.''

Bond's report met with a barrage of protest from three New York
congressmen as well as from HUD and homeless groups involved in the
case. The city's commissioner for the Department of Homeless
Services, Martin Oesterreich, said: ``The report speaks for

HUD fired back that the report was timed to camouflage the
city's recent decisions to fully fund Housing Works, pay $90,000 in
the group's attorney fees and the city's creation of a new
application process for homeless funds.

``A federal judge said New York City broke the law in giving out
federal funds and was guilty of political retaliation,'' HUD
spokeswoman Lisa MacSpadden said. ``In response, HUD acted
aggressively to protect homeless service providers and we have seen

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said HUD had a responsibility to
act: HUD did the right thing for the right reasons and produced the
right result.''

New York Democratic Reps. Major Owens and Gregory Meeks accused
the senator and Giuliani of playing politics rather than admitting
New York City should improve relations with homeless service

Bond responded: ``This is a fundamental abuse of process. I
don't know anything about New York politics; frankly, I've got all
I can do with Missouri politics.''

Charles King, executive director of Housing Works, said he had
provided Bond's staff with reams of documentation about the city's
misconduct. But none of it appears in the report, King said, in
particular a preliminary injunction spelling out why the judge
found retaliation from the city.

``What we had here was a constitutional violation of our first
amendment rights,'' King said.

The report does detail the August 1999 lawsuit filed by Housing
Works, an outgrowth of the vocal advocacy group ACT-UP. The group
has staged various demonstrations, from City Hall protests to
disrupting city meetings to building and bridge takeovers.

The U.S. District Court in New York's southern district issued a
preliminary injunction, saying Housing Works had demonstrated the
city's intent to retaliate against its protests. The court left the
injunction in place but ultimately declined to rule on the case's

The senator says HUD withheld crucial information by not telling
the court it had already decided to provide additional funding for
Homeless Works, which Bond said would make the court case moot.

HUD officials, in turn, say Senate investigators misunderstood
e-mails among agency attorneys concerned they were not at liberty
to discuss funding decisions that were not yet public. Besides, the
judge by that time had dismissed HUD as a defendant because the
agency agreed to abide by court rulings.

AP-ES-09-06-00 1916EDT
Received  Id AP100250278052F3 on Sep 06 2000 18:16


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