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Charge Made City Welfare Dep’t. Paves Way for Block-busting Jewish Sections

The Association of Jewish Anti-Poverty Workers charged today that the city’s Welfare Department has leased homes in the heart of Jewish neighborhoods “and dumped multiple fatherless families into those houses,” thus allegedly paving the way for block-busting in the Jewish sections. Elly Rosen, Association executive director, said the alleged dumping practices by Jules Sugarman, head of the Human Resources Administration and who is also Commissioner of Social Services, was unfair both to the Jewish communities and to the welfare families who “are greeted with anger in those communities because the residents know that in their wake comes the block-buster.” He noted that Mrs. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city Human Rights Commissioner, recently directed hearings on block-busting in the Jewish sections of Laurelton and Rockaway in Queens, and in East Flat bush in Brooklyn. Block-busting is a practice of unscrupulous realtors who sell a home on a white block to a Black family and then offer to buy homes from the other white families on the block at deflated prices caused by the panic the realtors seek to create. The realtors then sell the homes to Black families at inflated prices.

Noting that Mrs. Holmes had deplored the practice and promised to do everything possible to curb it, Rosen said: “I suggest that the good commissioner start her work right within her own administration and order fellow-commissioner Jules Sugarman to cease and desist from destroying our neighborhoods by this nefarious practice.” He charged also that city housing authorities lease or purchase such homes in Jewish neighborhoods and make them available to the Welfare Department. He asserted that the welfare department places families “in these homes they would not admit into city housing projects.” Rosen said Jewish neighborhoods were the easiest to bust,” because “unlike other communities, Jewish communities do not protect their rights with guns and cross burnings.” He said the Association would seek legislation when the New York Legislature convenes in the fall “to stop city government agencies from undermining stable neighborhoods by the practice of dumping welfare clients.” He said he had sent a letter to Sugarman, asking for a meeting to discuss the block-busting and other matters affecting Jews in New York City. Sugarman, currently on vacation, was not available for comment. Sugarman’s office declined comment on the charge.

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