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Tell Paterson:Hands Off Our District Rent Office! Keep it open!

Tenants will stand with Village of Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall and other elected officials to call on Governor Paterson and the New York State Legislature to keep the Nassau County District Rent Office at 50 Clinton Street, Hempstead open.

Governor Paterson’s executive budget for the state fiscal year that begins April 1 proposes to close the Nassau County District Rent Office, as well as the DROs in Staten Island and Rockland County. The Governor projects an annual savings to New York State of $500,000 in rent and staff reductions.

But for tenants throughout Nassau County, closing the Hempstead office would mean they would have to drive to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal office in Jamaica, Queens, or take the Long Island Rail Road to Jamaica and then endure a long walk to the DHCR office, to get help. This would be a real hardship, financial and physical, for most tenants, especially the elderly.

ADHCR justifies the proposed closing of the Nassau DRO by citing a 25 percent reduction in phone calls and walk-ins – a drop directly attributable to the removal by DHCR two years ago of the only staff member who spoke Spanish. DHCR has ignored repeated requests to assign a Spanish-speaking staff member to this office.

DHCR also fails to acknowledge the fact that the agency is at the beginning of the third year of a ten-year lease for the Hempstead office. In an office building with more and more vacancies (the entire seventh floor is vacant), the landlord is not likely to release DHCR from this lease – which would mean that the state would be paying rent for a closed office for the next eight years. 

This budget proposal is unacceptable! Please join us at this important event to get the message across to Albany:

Hands Off Our District Rent Office! Keep it open!

Between now and April 1, the Governor and Legislature will be engaged in intensive negotiations over the budget for the next fiscal year. We need a large turnout tomorrow to show that the citizens of Nassau County will not tolerate this proposed budget cut.

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