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Deputy Mayor Agrees There Must Be Proportionate Jewish Representation on Anti-poverty Agency Boards

Deputy Mayor Richard Aurelio agrees that there must be proportionate Jewish representation on the boards of locally-elected anti-poverty agencies in designated poverty areas in New York City where there are Jewish poor, S. Elly Rosen, director of the Jewish Anti-Poverty Workers Association reported. The association has charged that Jewish poor in New York City are victims of discrimination in anti-poverty programs and that the Jewish poor are not represented on boards of Community Corporations, the local poverty agencies, in some 15 of the city’s 26 designated poverty areas.

Rosen said Aurelio’s agreement emerged from a meeting last Thursday at City Hall, attended also by Dr. Marvin Schick, assistant to the Mayor for Intergroup Relations; Rabbi Samuel Schrage, director of the Mayor’s Neighborhood Action Program; and Gordon Davis, an assistant to the mayor in poverty programs. The meeting was an outgrowth of a campaign waged by the Jewish Anti-Poverty Workers Association, which led to investigations by the federal Office of Economic Opportunity and the New York City Human Resources Administration. The HRA is the city’s superagency for welfare and poverty programs. Reports by the OEO and the HRA earlier this month substantiated many of Rosen’s charges.

Rosen said that Aurelio also agreed that the community corporations must be made by comply with federal guidelines on adequate representation of all minority poverty groups. Rosen said that to accomplish that objective without stirring new ethnic conflicts, the Deputy Mayor said the city administration would work with the HRA and the Association to obtain such representation. Currently only two community corporations–those of Williamsburg and Crown Heights–have substantial Jewish representation on their boards.

$1.5 M GRANT SCHEDULED FOR JASA

The Association also has urged city-wide grass roots funding. Rosen reported that Aurelio said he would look into existing Jewish-sponsored poverty programs such as those of the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged, an affiliate of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies. JASA is scheduled to receive a $1.5 million grant, mainly from state and city funds for its programs. That grant is awaiting approval from the State Department of Social Services. It will be transmitted to JASA by HRA.

Rosen told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that his Association was opposed to poverty funds going to JASA if that agency lacked Jewish grass roots community representation. Dr. Schick told the JTA that the JASA program was helping thousands of elderly and poor Jewish residents and that the city intended to stick by that program with funds. He said that if any other group had a program to help such Jews, the city would welcome such proposals. Dr. Schick said it was a “sad day” when Jewish groups, instead of offering concrete proposals to help Jews in need, merely opposed the activities of other Jewish groups.

Dr. Schick said that JASA officials came to Mayor Lindsay’s Office for the Aging a year ago with a small pilot program, involving some $100,000 to help Jewish elderly residents. He said he told the JASA officials that he felt the sum was too small and the program too limited and that he urged the JASA officials to return with a larger and more adequate program, which, he said, that agency did. That is the program for which the $1.5 million appropriation now awaits state approval.

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