Hear Our Voices: CVH June 2012 Update

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JUNE 2012                                                                      HEAR OUR VOICES!
* 2011 Annual report now available
* CVH on the frontlines around the country
* participatory budgeting gets boost from 'good government' group

** Ongoing: Campaign & chapter meetings are ongoing. Contact CVH's campaign organizers

** June 7: Town hall meeting about rent regulations. Manhattan, 6:30pm.  Contact Carmen@CVHaction.org

** June 14: Getting Participatory Budgeting into NYC public hosuing funding. East Harlem, evening.  Contact Carmen@CVHaction.org

** June 16: Statewide leaders meeting to plan for coming months. East Harlem, 11am.  Contact Jenny@CVHaction.org

** Week of June 18: Strategy meeting around NYC's 2013 elections. East Harlem, evening.  Contact Henry@CVHaction.org

** June 23: Vacant Building & Housing Action. Poughkeepsie, 11am.  Contact Jenny@CVHaction.org

** June 28: Community meeting with Mayor Mike Spano. Yonkers, evening. Contact Juanita@CVHaction.org










2011 annual report now available

"For fifteen years now, CVH has made the impossible, possible - creating a grassroots movement among the most disenfranchised New Yorkers and empowering them to become a voice to be reckoned with. We started as an organization by women, for women - fighting the welfare reform policies that threatened the very existence of our families...

"In 2011, much of CVH’s statewide activity centered on our work with coalition partners in the progressive taxation fight in New York State. Our formative work around the state-level Millionaire’s Tax paved the way for even broader statewide work -- amplified by the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement -- that ultimately won $2 billion in additional state revenue.

"We are also changing the very way our public structures function. Through Participatory Budgeting, we are bringing to New York City an innovative model that puts the communities usually pushed furthest to the margins right at the table to identify how public funds should be invested. We are leading this at a scale not before seen in North America."

Read the full 2011 CVH Annual Report in the new 'Resources' section of our website. While you're there, check out some recent news coverage and reports!



Throughout May, CVH leaders participated in some of the country's most high-profile actions.

Leaders that strategically bought shares of stock in Bank of America participated in their annual shareholder meeting, actually going into the meeting and speaking directly to the CEO of the bank. They were joined by over a dozen members and staff that travelled to Charlotte, North Carolina to join in the action (including 9 year old Alex, pictured here).

A contingent of members joined the annual National People's Action conference in Washington, DC, where we delivered a message right to the front door of U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and participated in a panel with Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

Also this month, a CVH leader joined Grassroots Global Justice in Chicago to protest outside NATO's meeting.

Check out pictures from Bank of America and from the NPA conference on Facebook, and see a write-up about NPA!



Mayor Bloomberg in New York City has proposed to cut $25 million from the paid transitional jobs program that CVH helped to champion nearly a decade ago.  We are fighting to get funding back into the program and ensure the city doesn't "convert" 2,000 paid Transitional Jobs Participants into what could be nearly 10,000 unpaid Work Experience Program, a program with a long history of problems.

The Mayor, though, was recently overruled by Governor Cuomo when the Governor said New Yorkers applying for food stamp should not have to be fingerprinted.  The Mayor has argued loudly in support of fingerprinting.  Ann Valdez, a leader with the Building the Workforce Campaign, released this statement in response to the Governor's decision:

“CVH is thrilled that Governor Cuomo is making sure that New Yorkers should not be finger printed just because they are low-income and need help with food.  The Governor’s decision prohibits Mayor Bloomberg from continuing to finger-image people because they are applying for food stamps. As he ended it for food stamps applicants, we hope Governor Cuomo will bring an end to forced fingerprinting for people applying for public assistance, and that money saved by ending these unnecessary hurdles will support providing people with a real pay check through the expansion of transitional jobs programs, such as the Park Opportunity Program.”

Visit our Take Action page to help defend Transitional Jobs in the New York City budget, and you can read the statement from Ann Valdez in our Press Room.

Contact Jennifer@CVHaction.org for more info.



The NYC Housing Authority has a backlog of repairs that would take years and hundreds of millions of dollars to fix.  Investment in the housing stock has slowed to a trickle and for a resident submitting a repair request today, they are likely to get an appointment schedled for December 2013 -- almost a year and a half away!

We all know it: THAT AIN'T RIGHT!

To show the huge need there is for investment, we are starting to collect pictures of those NYCHA apartments and buildings that need repairs.  We look to collect pictures of repairs needed from around the city and use them to push the City and the Housing Authority on increased investment in the housing stock.

You can see some of the pictures submitted so far at Fix Our Homes! on Tumblr and then submit your own pictures to FixOurHomes@CVHaction.org.  Contact Kflu@CVHaction.org for more info.


Participatory budgeting gets boost from 'good government' group

On May 1, The Citizens Union of the City of New York, a leading government reform group, released a report that lifted up the importance of pilot projects such as Participatory Budgeting NYC.  They said it is innovative projects like PBNYC that will help to address some of the inequalities that are reflected through the city's budgeting process.

In response, we release this statement:

"As the lead community engagement partner in the Participatory Budgeting (PB) effort in NYC, Community Voices Heard was excited that Citizens Union noted its support today for innovative pilot programs such as Participatory Budgeting.

"Over the past year, the Participatory Budgeting pilot project saw more than 6,000 New Yorkers propose, review and vote on millions of dollars of investments that would be made in their communities. Low-income New Yorkers made up a larger portion of the PB voter turnout than traditional city elections, showing the desire for these communities to directly engage in the decisions that impact their community.

Read the full statement in our Press Releases section of the website, and contact Vincent@CVHaction.org for more info.