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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

Meeting Minutes of September 3, 2003

Albany Public Library



1.                  CANA Chair Howard Stoller called the meeting to order.


2.                  Introductions


3.                  Minutes of the June 4, 2003 , meeting were approved.


4.                  Guest Speaker:  Executive Director Steve Longo, Albany Housing Authority


The Albany Housing Authority has offered CANA a $3,000 grant to foster the stabilization of existing neighborhood associations and assist in the creation of new neighborhood associations.  AHA has observed that organized individuals and businesses protect the viability and quality of life of Albany 's neighborhoods and promote the organization and cohesiveness of the entire city. 


CANA members shall submit suggestions for the use of the grant monies by using a form that Howard Stoller will forward to each member association.  Completed forms need to be returned to the Executive Committee prior to the next CANA meeting.    Members are asked to consider what they need to help organize their neighborhood and strengthen their neighborhood association. Suggestions included items such as newsletter costs, outreach, websites, housing initiatives, membership expenses, etc.


Additional funds may be available, and it is possible that the AHA will provide this grant annually.


Additionally, Mr. Longo explained the role of the AHA in administering the Section 8 housing program.  The program is no longer an entitlement program and now gives priority to working families and individuals with disabilities and special needs.  Candidates apply for assistance at the AHA and, when they are at the top of the waiting list, submit documentation and are screened for consideration.   Those who have been arrested during the prior five years for offences that include violence, drugs, or a history or pattern of criminal or disruptive behavior are disqualified.  Sex offenders are also disqualified.  The waiting list in Albany for Section 8 consideration is presently 5 years long.  When 1,200 individuals or families are on the list, the AHA stops taking requests.  Those who are accepted receive rent vouchers that cover a portion of their rent.  Their individual contributions toward the rent payments are based upon a sliding scale. 


Once the individuals find housing they are also screened by prospective landlords.  And the Albany Housing Authority inspects potential residences to ensure they meet federal standards.   Support services available to landlords include training programs and a vacancy listing service. 


Recipients are recertified on an annual basis and can lose their Section 8 vouchers if they are arrested, reported to the police or AHA for nuisance violations, commit fraud relevant to their Section 8 status, and/or do not keep the rental property orderly. 


The AHA is not a vehicle for warehousing the homeless and troubled.  It provides counselors and other resources to assist voucher-holders in becoming self-sufficient within five years.   As the family's income increases, the portion of rent they pay goes up and the difference is held in an escrow account.  Section 8 vouchers can be used to make mortgage payments, and through the City's home purchase assistance programs, Albany is the national leader in transforming Section 8 voucher recipients to homeowners.


The Albany Housing Authority is working with several other agencies such as parole, probation, and DSS to set up a resource center to share information about where DSS and AHA voucher holders reside in order to avoid concentration in any one location or neighborhood.  At this time AHA can provide information on the location of Section 8 housing within neighborhoods, but the names and other identifying information are not public records.


The AHA also is one of a consortium of agencies that share and provide resources to the community such as day care, after school programs, and employment counseling.  Some services are provided in AHA facilities, while others are provided through contracts with Boys and Girls clubs, etc.


There is presently a "no growth" mood in Congress as well as a request for cutbacks, so it is unlikely that additional funds will be made available to expand the program in the near future.  The agency has no authorization to rehab or acquire new housing.


A presentation by the Albany County Department of Social Services relative to their voucher housing program is being considered.


The Albany Housing Authority is committed to getting and keeping neighborhood associations vital and looks forward to sending representatives to CANA and neighborhood association meetings.


5.                  Financial Report


CANA 's financial report is included in the meeting agenda.  Presently the Neighborhood Resource Center acts as secretary and treasurer to CANA .  However, with the receipt of the AHA grant, a formal treasurer needs to be appointed.  Harold Rubin will review the by laws and present information on this subject at the October meeting.


6.                  Future meetings


The Arbor Hill Neighborhood Plan will be presented and discussed at the October CANA meeting.  The November meeting will be held at the Sematech facility at the corner of Washington Avenue and Fuller Road and will include a tour at 6:00 PM and meeting at 7:00 PM .   CANA 's chairman needs to know in advance of the meeting how many members will be attending so that the Sematech staff can plan accordingly.  Albany 's new superintendent of schools has not responded to CANA 's invitation to speak at a CANA meeting prior to the annual spring presentation on the school budget.  The Chair will delay in pursuing this further, since the superintendent has so recently been appointed and may not be prepared to address CANA .  It was suggested that a representative from the Albany County Department of Social Services be invited to speak.


7.                  CANA Mailing List


Members were reminded to subscribe to the CANA mailing list on ListServe.  Instructions are included in the meeting agenda.


8.                  Committee Reports


    bulletCable Television:  The Albany Common Council Public Service Committee has begun holding meetings to examine the contract with Time Warner Cable which expires next year.  Members of the CANA Cable Television Committee attended the July 27 meeting to suggest appointees, but Mayor Jennings had already appointed a committee.  Dave Torcinello will chair the Albany committee which will hold open meetings.  The August 20 meeting was held without prior public notice.  A representative from the NYS Public Service Commission explained that they provide free assistance to communities in negotiating new cable contracts.  Members of the CANA committee will meet with Bill Petit.


    bulletCommittee on University and Community Relations:  Hudson Valley Community College has joined the Committee.  The next meeting will be held at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, September 10 at the Albany Police Department at 526 Central Avenue .  An update of the "Fall 2003 Thirteen-Point Plan" will be presented as well as an updated "Tavern Owners Advertisement Agreement" list.  The subject of "Is This Approach Working" will be discussed. 


9.                  Announcements


    bulletNeighborhood Works IV will be held on November 22, 2003 , from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the First Lutheran Church .  The topic for the morning session will be the effect of technology on neighborhoods.  The subject of the keynote speech will be "new urbanism."  Workshops discussing planning and historical and cultural resources will be held.


                        The suggestion was made that the NRC consider holding this and future conferences                                   during a season other than late November.  The argument was made that the                                                 conference is held, and then participants have difficulty following up due to holiday                            activities so soon afterward.  The Committee chair agreed to consider other dates for                                  future conferences.


        Information about the status of a law suit initiated by the Center Square Neighborhood Association against the City of Albany Zoning Board was shared.  The court has ruled that Center Square has no standing; yet this was not the case in a previous suit.    CSNA will continue to pursue this ruling.


10.       The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM .



September 3, 2003September  3, 2003

Meeting Attendees





Tom Gebhardt

University at Albany

Henry M. Madej


Daniel VanRiper

Lincoln Park NA

G. Mowbray

Hudson Park

400 Hamilton St

Mary Connair


68 Summit Ave

Helen Black

TB Triangle

39 Ten Broeck Place

Fred Perkins


11 Woodlawn Ave

Elfrieda Textores

South End

70 Third Ave

Jack Consiglio


73 No Allen St

Karen Kunniff


Joyce Rambo

Center Square


PO Kathi Rissberger

APD, Center Station

John Cerrin

Albany Public Library

Donald Wardle

United Tenants

125 Dove St

Aimee Allaud

Melrose NA

85 Melrose Ave.

Betsy Shearer


58B Morris St

Marggie Skiinner


49 Ryckman Ave

Gene Solan

Pine Hills

126 So. Allen St

Harold Rubin

Center Square

156 Chestnut St

John Frederick


305 Hudson Ave

Edward Falterman

Center Square

303 State St

Joanne McElroy Moore

North Albany/Shaker Park


Doninick Calsolaro

Common Council

35 Clare Ave

Tom McPheeters


14 Wilbur St

Julie Elson

New Scotland Woodlawn

510 West Lawrence St

Kathleen Kearney


326 Hudson Avenue

Steven Minchin


240 Hudson Ave