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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room

Mayor's Office Press Release #273-00

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 19, 2000

Press Contacts:
Sunny Mindel / Curt Ritter (212) 788-2958
Carol Abrams (212) 863-5176 (HPD)
Marilyn Mode (212) 374-4227 (NYPD)

MAYOR GIULIANI ANNOUNCES SAFE AT HOME INITIATIVE WILL
EXPAND TO INCLUDE BUSHWICK SECTION OF BROOKLYN

Campaign is Part of $100 Million Effort To Improve New York City Neighborhoods

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani was joined to day by Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Richard T. Roberts and New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Howard Safir to announce that, following its success in the South Bronx and Bedford Stuyvesant, the City's Safe at Home initiative will be expanded to include the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.

The Mayor first introduced Safe at Home in August of 1998 as part of a three-year plan to improve and strengthen the City's anti-drug initiative and provide new and renovated housing in the South Bronx and Bedford Stuyvesant. The initiative's expansion into Bushwick will provide $12 million to develop 15 vacant City-owned buildings, 13 occupied City-owned buildings, and 27 Partnership homes, which will result in approximately 208 new and rehabilitated units of housing.

"Since 1998 the Safe at Home initiative has successfully helped revitalize neighborhoods in the South Bronx and Bedford Stuyvesant, where heavy drug activity threatened the safety of its residents," said Mayor Giuliani. "The Safe at Home initiative has been an integral part of my Administration's efforts to rid our City's neighborhoods of drugs. Safe at Home brings together the efforts of concerned community members, the City's Housing and Police Departments and community partners to promote the simple idea that long-term drug prevention is best achieved by strong, safe and stable communities.

"The anti-drug component of this initiative, combined with the creation of new housing, has led to dramatic changes in the Morrisania section of the South Bronx and Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn," the Mayor continued. "With the help of HPD, the Anti-Graffiti Task Force and the 83rd Police Precinct, we hope to replicate these successes in Bushwick. Through Safe at Home we are building safer communities, and building stronger more self-reliant individuals who will help preserve their community in the future. This proven and successful initiative is now a model for bringing the renaissance of New York City to every street corner of the City."

The Morrisania section of the South Bronx and Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn were targeted during the first year of Safe at Home. Since then, both communities have seen significant revitalization with the influx of $88 million in new development and the rehabilitation of current housing.

"At HPD, we are pleased with the success of the Safe at Home initiative in the South Bronx and Bedford Stuyvesant," said Commissioner Roberts. "We believe that we can duplicate these results in Bushwick. Building viable, safe neighborhoods is part of HPD's mission, and this initiative is helping us achieve that goal."

As part of this initiative, the City will target delinquent landlords whose negligent actions have led to the deterioration of Bushwick. The City will target more than 195 private buildings that are at risk of tax foreclosure and future abandonment. The City will encourage the owners to pay their taxes and upgrade their buildings by offering training and technical assistance, lower-interest loans and voluntary repair agreements to remove code violations. If the owners refuse, their buildings could be subject to foreclosure actions that would result in the transfer of ownership to new, responsible owners who would be willing to correct the outstanding conditions and manage the properties more responsibly.

"The Safe at Home initiative will play an important role in improving the quality of life in Bushwick," said Police Commissioner Howard Safir. "We look forward to working with area residents to make Bushwick an even safer neighborhood for all to enjoy."

Since 1998, community partners like the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Bridge Street Development Corporation in Bedford Stuyvesant and the Mid-Bronx Desperadoes in the Bronx have played a critical role in the success of the initiative. Neighborhood Partnership HDFC, a national organization that provides resources and support to locally initiated housing programs, will provide support for this initiative in Bushwick. The Foundation will serve as a community-based liaison and work with neighborhood organizations and residents. The Foundation will attend monthly neighborhood meetings with the NYPD and other City agencies to monitor the community's ongoing progress and provide a security consultant who, working in coordination with the NYPD, will provide technical assistance.

"Neighborhood Partnership HDFC is proud to play a key role in bringing the Safe at Home initiative to Bushwick," said William R. Frey, President of Neighborhood Partnership HDFC. "Working on a team such as this, we are confident this is a project that is going to make all of us proud to be New Yorkers."

Assemblyman Vito Lopez said, "I am proud to be a part of a comprehensive strategy to revitalize the Bushwick community. The Safe at Home initiative will provide important housing support programs, as well as anti-crime initiatives that will be very beneficial to our community."




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