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Howie Hawkins News Conference on Housing and Corruption Issues

Howie Hawkins News Conference on Housing and Corruption Issues

When: Friday, May 4, April 25, 11:00 am
Where: Site of the former Kennedy Square public housing project on S. Crouse Ave. between E. Water and E. Fayette streets
Who: Howie Hawkins and former Kennedy Square residents

Howie Hawkins will lay out his case for a massive expansion of public housing as the only way to make low-to-middle income rents in the larger rental market affordable. He will explain how that centerpiece of his housing policy complements his other housing policies, including rent regulations, inclusionary zoning, and fair housing enforcement.

Hawkins will criticize Governor Cuomo’s 10-year, $20-billion affordable housing program for being fiscally wasteful and an invitation to pay-to-play corruption because it conveys public money to private developers and landlords whose first allegiance is to their private interests, not the public interest.

Hawkins will speak at the site of the former Kennedy Square 400-unit public housing project, which was torn down in 2013 in a no-bid, no-money-down deal that turned Kennedy Square over to a joint venture owned 75% by COR Development and 25% by SUNY Upstate Medical University. Six people involved in that deal — David Smith, Alain Kaloyeros, Steven Aiello, Joseph Gerardi, Todd Howe, Joseph Percoco — are now answering for various pay-to-play crimes, including padding a state salary, bribery, honest-services fraud, wire fraud, or other crimes.

Nothing has been built at the Kennedy Square site. No affordable housing units were built in Syracuse to replace the 400 units lost. The site is now the parking, equipment, and materials staging area for construction across E. Fayette St. for an upscale apartment complex with rents ranging from $1,400 to $2,500 per unit.

Hawkins will also address the reconstruction of public housing proposed by the Syracuse Housing Authority for the Pioneer Homes/Central Village area and how that kind of mixed-income, mixed-use public housing design should be extended into the land that will become available if the Community Grid option, which Hawkins supports, is chosen for I-81 reconstruction.

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