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PR- 448-06
December 24, 2006


The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, December 24, 2006

"Good Morning.  This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

"This is a special time of year for New York City.  No other place in the world can match the excitement on our streets or the holiday festivities in all five boroughs.  And this holiday season, we have a lot to celebrate: Our economy is surging ahead… our schools are getting better… and we're continuing to drive crime to historic lows.

"Yet, despite these gains, too many New Yorkers - many of them hard-working people - are still struggling to make ends meet.  And tragically, some people in our city will be spending the holidays in a homeless shelter or even out on the streets.

"There was a time in New York's history when people thought it was impossible to do anything about poverty and homelessness.  But over the last few years, we've made real progress on both fronts…and during this past week, we've taken three more key steps.

"First, we've committed more than $150 million in public and private money to fund over 30 initiatives to help our fellow New Yorkers move out of poverty and have the opportunity to realize the American Dream. $100 million of that money will be put in a special "Innovation Fund." The Innovation Fund will pay for the implementation of strategies recommended earlier in the year by our Commission for Economic Opportunity.  And it will also fund some experimental approaches to reducing poverty that have never before been tried in this country. 

"We know that just throwing money at the problem won't work.  That's why the Innovation Fund will be run the way they do it in the business world:  If we find that a certain initiative isn't producing measurable results, we will terminate its funding and redirect the money to where it can do the most good.

"The second step we took last week was to establish a Citywide Office of Financial Empowerment under the Department of Consumer Affairs.  This office will make New York the first major city to institutionalize the critical mission of educating, empowering, and protecting workers with low incomes so they can make the best use of their financial resources.  It will help low-income individuals and families to save hundreds of dollars a year by taking such simple steps as opening a low- or no-fee bank account through a credit union.  And it will also help to safeguard New Yorkers against the predatory lenders who target people with lower incomes.

"Our third step - one that will immediately benefit New Yorkers - is something we're calling "Project Welcome Home."  Over the next 100 days, the Department of Homeless Services will be welcoming 100 homeless veterans to their new homes.  We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude.  And to ensure that those who risked their lives for "peace of earth" …can find peace themselves, we are collaborating with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on an ambitious campaign to end veteran homeless in New York City once and for all.

'A few months from now, 100 formerly-homeless veterans will be enjoying the stability and dignity that comes with waking up in their own beds…in their own homes.  And by this time next year, more of our lowest-paid workers will have the skills they need to get better jobs… while some low-income families will find that they have a little more money in the bank.  That's what we're working to achieve to keep New York the greatest city in the world.  

"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.  Thanks for listening and Happy Holidays to all."


Stu Loeser   (212) 788-2958

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