Workmen’s Circle Appeals to Forest Hills Residents to Reject Distrust

The Workmen’s Circle issued an appeal today to the residents of Forest Hills to “reject distrust and suspicion” and to organize a leadership “that will welcome new neighbors and work together with all neighbors for a better community motivated by understanding and cooperation.” The appeal was issued against the background of continuing opposition in the predominately Jewish community of Forest Hills, Queens, to an 840-unit low income housing project.

The Workmen’s Circle statement warned that events in Forest Hills “must not be allowed to proliferate into an act of community polarization. It is shameful that society must have its poor and it is equally shameful that a community would exclude its poor.” The statement noted that the fear of violence is “understandable” whenever an area is chosen for low-income housing but that “any attempt to exploit it by hysteria rather than true community cooperation with proper police authorities is an anti-social act in itself.”

The statement called upon the city’s Housing Authority to “pledge that proper screening of all tenants will be made for possible violators of law and security” and to augment the new housing “with increased public services to accommodate the population increase.” Finally, the statement called for the creation, not alone in Forest Hills, but wherever middle-income and low-income housing exists side by side, of community based coordinating councils composed of tenant representatives in such housing to work with the proper law enforcement authorities and to provide safeguards and security both for persons and property.

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