Mount Vernon Receives $618K from CitiesRISE

Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard is happy to announce that Attorney General Letitia James awarded the City of Mount Vernon a $618,000 grant award as part of the Cities for Responsible Investment and Strategic Enforcement (“Cities RISE”). Mount Vernon will use this grant to launch innovative programs related to housing and hire strategic code enforcers. Additionally, the money will be used to bring Mount Vernon up to speed following the scathing report that listed Mount Vernon as one of the worst in the state when it came to code enforcement. The program aims to innovatively address and transform blighted, vacant, or poorly maintained problem properties using housing and community data from various state agencies. New York State Attorney General James said, “In the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis, New Yorkers are continuing to struggle to find and maintain quality affordable housing options,”. “Cities RISE provides a thoughtful approach to how municipalities revitalize its communities and ensure that housing issues are addressed. My office will continue to proudly use the funds secured from settlements with banks to combat New York’s housing crisis.” Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard said, “First and foremost, I would like to thank NYS Attorney General Letitia James for her continued support in the fight against urban blight. Mount Vernon was designated as one of the worst cities in the State when it came to code enforcement. Mount Vernon has been plagued by predatory property owners and slumlords that have been taking advantage of our communities most vulnerable citizens, the poor and elderly. Due to our city lacking the capacity to enforce our housing & fire codes and standards they have not been checked. This grant which includes housing rights, partnerships, community involvement and legal resources, combined with increased support from our proposed 2020 budget will go a long way in rectifying this issue. I look forward to working closely with NYS Attorney General Letitia James, Harvard University, and Cities RISE as we move Mount Vernon towards a brighter future. City Council President Lisa A Copeland said, “I had the opportunity to attend the Cities RISE Leadership conference at Harvard University and I am excited to see that Mount Vernon was chosen for this transformative project. I’ve worked with Attorney General in different capacities over 20 years and it is great to know that we will continue to work together to benefit the residents of Mount Vernon. Deputy Commissioner of Planning and Community Development Marlon Molina said, The Cities RISE program from Enterprise Community Partners and the NYS Attorney General’s Office has enabled the City of Mount Vernon to examine and improve its housing code enforcement process and how residents are impacted by housing code enforcement. With the support from the Phase 3 Innovation Grant, the City will also work with Mount Vernon United Tenants to raise tenant rights awareness through the Mount Vernon Tenant Bill of Rights initiative to deliver on the promise of improved housing code enforcement for our most vulnerable populations – Seniors, low- income families, recent immigrants and undocumented residents will have greater access to code enforcement services

For detailed information on the Cities Rise Program visit their website here

View the video of the announcement here