Jewish Poor Hit by Cutback

Jerome Becker, president of the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty (MNYCCJP) issued a sharp condemnation last night of Human Resources Administration (HRA) Commissioner James R. Dumpson over his recommended cut in funding of programs for poor Jewish and other white ethnic groups.

The slash would amount to $261,250 (or 55 percent) of the current $475,000 now being allocated by the HRA for the city’s 400,000 Jewish poor. The HRA money, which consists of matching federal and city funds, is used by the MNYCCJP for funding, staffing and directing local Jewish community councils that provide services to the Jewish poor in 10 neighborhoods in New York City.

During a meeting last night for program leaders that serve various poor white ethnic groups, Becker announced that a demonstration would be held Thursday morning in front of the HRA offices to protest the cutback.

Dumpson told the JTA that in view of the city’s economic crisis the reduction in funds for the ethnic programs would have less drastic effects than had the cuts been made in other programs in his department. These include staff salaries, day care and senior citizen centers.

SUIT AGAINST CAP

At last night’s meeting Becker also announced that a suit would be brought against the New York City Council Against Poverty (CAP), a channeling group that distributes federal and state funds for poverty areas. He charged that CAP has “systematically excluded” the Jewish poor by the use of certain criteria for establishing poverty areas that receive funding. He said that the use of these criteria, such as the number of live births and the incidence of juvenile delinquency are unfair to the Jewish poor, who are mainly elderly.

Becker noted that CAP, of whose $42 million budget only eight-tenths of one percent goes to the Jewish poor, was given only a 10-15 percent cut while his group received a 55 percent slash. “Programs for the white ethnic poor cannot be dismembered while CAP-funded projects are allowed to absorb only minimal cuts.” Becker said. Dumpson said, however, that the mayor had “earmarked” $912,000 for CAP and that he had no choice as to whom it was given. Dumpson also said he saw no evidence of any discrimination in CAP’s funding.

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