Biaggi Charges City Agencies Neglect Jewish Poor

Congressman Mario Biaggi (D/R/C-NY) today charged city agencies are treating the “Jewish poor as second class citizens and have neglected their need for too long.” This situation, he noted, has been brought into focus “by congressional testimony which indicates widespread discrimination against members of the Jewish faith and other ethnic groups in the poverty areas.”

At the same time, Biaggi said he supported “continued and enlarged funding” for the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty, an organization created to insure services for the Jewish poor.

Biaggi, who is one of four candidates running in the New York Mayoral Primary, asserted that if elected “I would rely on the Jewish community to help my administration develop data and services to help needy Jews in our city.” Part of this effort, he said, would be funding for additional Jewish community action programs such as those developed on the Lower East Side and on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

Among other proposals for helping the Jewish poor, Biaggi called for: additional senior citizen centers within communities where poverty prevails – and expansion of government rent subsidies and social service programs; expansion of existing Day Care Centers to meet the needs of the Jewish poor; and restructuring of the Community Action Program, now administered by the Council Against Poverty through the Community Development Agency.

“As presently structured, the Community Action Program is obviously designed to care for the needs of selected poor people to the exclusion of other poor persons,” Biaggi said. “I would end the policy of designating poverty areas –and seek to provide community offices for everyone, concentrating locations in areas of greatest need. This would eliminate present government requirements facing poor people who live outside designated poverty areas.”

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