LEAF Director Responds To Neighbors Organizing
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – In response to the formation of “Sixth Ward Neighbors United,” LEAF Executive Director Julie Dostal said there are “misconceptions” about the proposed Rehabilitation & Support Services housing development and the 14 units set aside for people in addiction recovery.
“Those people get to move into those units because they have engaged in a treatment or recovery provider to qualify for housing,” she said. “They have already made a life decision toward getting better.”
She added, “People with addictions and going through recovery live in every neighborhood. What’s the difference if they’re living in a housing development or in a house next door?”
Last week, River Street residents and businesspeople met for more than two hours with city, county and state elected officials at the Sixth Ward Athletic Club to discuss strategies to oppose RSS’s housing development at River and Duane streets.
“This is not Section 8 housing,” Dostal said, referring to government-subsidized housing for people earning low to no incomes. “It’s not for transient people. It’s for people who want to be established members of the community.”
However, RSS has not communicated with the city since late last year.
“I have not heard from RSS since they submitted their application for state tax credits in the first week of December,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “To my knowledge, no one in the city has heard anything either.”
County Board Representative Danny Lapin has asked residents to attend the County Board meeting on Wednesday, April 3.
“I encouraged residents to organize and to provide multiple comments on record, and to demand transparency from RSS,” Lapin said. “RSS’s lack of outreach from the beginning was strange and didn’t inspire confidence.”