Starrett City MOU Announcement

MONDAY, JUNE 02, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, today I am pleased to join Senator (Chuck) Schumer and Governor (David) Paterson to announce a direct, clear, detailed blueprint for evaluating any potential sale of Starrett City. The guidelines in this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) show that it is the intent of all levels of government to maintain affordable housing at Starrett City for the long-term. The MOU outlines our expectations and requirements.

As a result, this MOU will eliminate any ambiguity for potential buyers. Those who want to buy Starrett City now know exactly what must happen for the sale to be approved.

This MOU also demonstrates to the residents that all parties are working to maintain Starrett City as affordable housing. Let's face it, with all the speculation and rumor and headlines over the last couple of years, many residents understandably worry about the future of Starrett City. So they should know that we are committed to Starrett City, the largest federally subsidized development in the United States. This MOU makes that manifest. The MOU provides the framework to ensure that Starrett City remains a much needed affordable housing resource for the City of New York on a long-term basis. We want residents to know that Starrett City isn't going away. Affordable housing isn't going to be eliminated here. Rather, it will continue to thrive. Families with lower or middle incomes, elderly residents, and residents confronting a disability will not be priced out or told to move on.

To the residents, I want you to know that Starrett City will continue to be your home. There are not going to be any shady midnight deals or surprising changes. Your homes will not be sold out from under you. You have made Starrett City an attractive, safe, wonderful place to live. You show New York and the nation what is possible when residents create a united, loving, and safe community.

Protecting the residents and preserving this affordable housing resource at Starrett City has been an on-going effort, now in its second year. Last year, Representative (Ed) Towns contacted HUD and expressed his concerns about an effort to buy Starrett City that would change its situation and affordability. He briefed us and asked Secretary Alphonso Jackson to come to Starrett City and see it for himself and to hear from residents. Secretary Jackson did that, and those of us involved at HUD were greatly troubled at the potential loss of this affordable housing. As a result, HUD did not approve the sale. That was the right decision. I know we owe a great debt of gratitude to Representative Towns for his vigilance and commitment to the residents of Starrett City.

And right there, every step of the way, day in and day out, was Senator Schumer. He has worked tirelessly to save Starrett City. Senator Schumer, I know Starrett City has been a top priority for you. You have been determined to defend the residents here. Thank you for your timely, eloquent, and courageous efforts. And thank you for helping to create a productive, bipartisan partnership.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the other governmental agencies for their efforts and assistance. Governor Paterson, thank you, and thank you for coming today. Your leadership on this issue is greatly appreciated.

I also want to thank the Mayor and his staff for all their efforts.

Ladies and gentlemen, with this MOU we effectively demonstrate that our partnership will continue. There is solid agreement on these guidelines. We want commitment, transparency, and accountability in discussions about the future of Starrett City.

Starrett City deserves our best efforts. It is a strong, viable, mixed-income community. We are not going to let future buyers change the economic or cultural composition of Starrett City. We are going to preserve this neighborhood. It is a community that thrives, works well together, and provides a wonderful place to raise a family. The City and the Nation should be proud of Starrett City and its residents. This is a place where people live together, worship together, raise families together, conduct business together, and grow up and grow old together. And we are determined to keep it that way.

Thank you.


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