Read at home with A-HOME Summer 06 text version

At Home with A-HOME

From the Executive Director...

Green, the New Black Memorial Day weekend set records for the heat. Suddenly, it was summer. Whether it is global warming, or just warming, the extremes in weather give everyone pause to think about a possible climate crisis. Whatever your view point, the movement toward "green" is very real and, in my opinion, needed. However, as with most important issues, green issues are complex. A-HOME wants to go green. But as Kermit the Frog said, "It's not easy being green." The May 2006 issue of Vanity Fair magazine declares that green is the new black. It is chic to be green. At Kensing House in Chappaqua we made a decision to be as environmentally friendly as possible; the choice of cedar shingles and roof epitomized that choice. In the preliminary plans for the Pound Ridge project, we have tried to continue in that direction. Housing seminars are hot on the green trail, funders give bonus points to "green projects." Vanity Fair inserted a pamphlet into their magaContinued on page 2

Summer 2006

Kensing House Opens in Chappaqua

estchester County Executive Andy Spano, County Legislator and A-HOME President Council member Ursula LaMotte, and New Castle Town Supervisor Janet Wells were on hand on April 21st when A-HOME's Board of Directors and staff gratefully acknowledged the outstanding contributions of Henry V. (Hank) Kensing, Esq. to A-HOME. On that day A-HOME's newest home on Mill River Road in Chappaqua was officially named Kensing House. The large crowd gathered for the ribbon cutting included representatives from Housing

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and Urban Development (HUD), Westchester County, the Chappaqua Interfaith Council, family, friends and Joan P. Arnold, Hank Kensing, Peter Harckham neighbors. Higginbotham, First Hank Kensing's first Congregational Church, experience with blessed the house using A-HOME came many the words of a wonderful years ago when his wife song, Bless this House, Eileen's cousin, an indiwritten in 1927 by Helen vidual living with a disTaylor and May H. ablilty, needed housing. Morgan. It begins: Since that introduction Hank, a lawyer, former Bless this house, O Lord judge and mayor of Mt. we pray, Kisco has generously supMake it safe by night ported A-HOME's goals and day, and mission. Bless these walls so firm Reverend Elice and stout, Keeping want and trouble out, Bless the roof and chimneys tall, Let thy peace lie overall...

Joan P. Arnold, Janet Wells, Ursula LaMotte, Theresa Bainton, Peter Harckham, Andy Spano

From the Executive Director...

Continued from page 1

Joan P. Arnold

zine outlining 50 ways to go green. Some suggestions are hard to contemplate and some have that crunchy granola feeling. For instance: · Rinse no more (dishes): This presumes that you use your dishwasher once a day (not once a week) and that you have a working dishwasher (I don't). · Create a living fence: Grown with plants and hedges but how does that keep Fido and the kids in or out? · Walk or Bike: For A-HOME employees the average commute is 20 miles to work, a very long walk. · Re-use gift wrap: When I married into a New

The A-HOME Mission A-HOME is a not-forprofit community based organization that works to strengthen northern Westchester neighborhoods by providing people safe and affordable places to live ­ the foundation of a stable life.

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England family in the 70's I thought this was extreme thrift. Much like the solitary tea bag that is used and reused and reused. There are, however, simple things that you and I can do to make a difference: · Energy efficient light bulbs and energy star appliances do matter. · Food Miles Matter: Locally grown food uses less fuel than food trucked in from great distances, even internationally. And think organic here. · Go vegetarian one day a week: Growing grains and vegetables actually uses less resources than raising cattle for consumption and besides meat does taste better after some time away. · Avoid disposables: Coffee cups, water bottles, plastic knives and forks: there will be a purge of plastic in the A-HOME kitchen. If you use disposables reuse them. · Buy recycled products: Help create a market for recycled products like paper towels, garbage bags, office paper, and toilet paper. · Barbecuing: This surprised me, burning charcoal is worse for the environment than using gas powered grills. We asked board member, John Sullivan, principal of Sullivan Architecture to help sort out some of

the green debate for the A-HOME coalition. John and his colleague, Michelle Lee, discussed green design and sustainable development. For starters, my concept of energy use was set topsyturvy when John told the group that the major culprit of energy consumption and waste is buildings, not cars. Key to building green and sustainable development is the way we build our buildings. While green materials have merit, sometimes there are hidden costs. For instance: What's better granite (natural) or manufactured kitchen counters? The most affordable granite is mined in South America or India. I've been told that the way this came about is that when trees were stripped from the rain forest, granite was discovered underneath. The granite is harvested and shipped to China for processing and then shipped to the States. Ask: who does the mining and the processing and how are they paid, and how many travel miles does it take to ship granite here? To a neophyte in the business of green, what seems to be most compelling is sustainability and, for A-HOME, sustainable development. According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia: Sustainable development is a process of developing

(land, cities, business, communities, etc.) that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (Brundtland Report, 1987, United Nations). One of the factors which it (sustainable development) must overcome is environmental degradation but it must do so while not forgoing the needs of economic development as well as social equity and justice. Several United Nations texts, most recently the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, refer to the `interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars' of sustainable development as economic development, social development, and environmental protection." A-HOME has to evaluate what is sustainable as we develop housing that meshes with the community. We can take simple steps to insure that buildings are well insulated, windows and electric outlets are sealed and we can use energy efficient appliances and lighting fixtures. We need to take small steps ­ to insure that a step towards green is not a gross imbalance when it comes to economic development or social justice issues. It isn't easy being green. But the cost of not being green is increasingly frightening.

Activism

Affordable/Moderate Income Housing: Not Just for the Poor

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-HOME Board member Neil J. Alexander is a partner in the law firm Cuddy & Feder. Neil concentrates his practice in the areas of real estate development, zoning, environmental law and related litigation. He is a New York State Certified Real Estate Instructor and lectures on topics related to his practice area, including smart growth. The following is an except from a lecture, Smart Growth and Sustainable Development: An Investigation of the Legal and Infrastructional Impediments.

The term Affordable Housing carries with it a pejorative connotation. Most people associate it with blighted areas and occupants living on public assistance near the poverty line with "friends" who engage in all kinds of illicit and illegal activity. In fact, they think of Director Daniel Petrie's 1981 movie Fort Apache, the Bronx starring Paul Newman. While these desperate and impoverished conditions may exist in pockets within the

Hudson Valley, that is not the current face of Affordable and Moderate Income Housing. There should be no stigma associated with the term affordable housing. This is not a problem only of low-wage earners. Affordable housing is a problem for thousands of hard-working middleincome residents of the Hudson Valley. Fifty-four percent of Hudson Valley households cannot afford the median monthly costs of ownership with a mortgage in their county. The Census Bureau defines paying 30% or more of income for housing as a burden, and paying 50% or more as a critical housing burden. Seventy-eight percent of Hudson Valley households could not qualify for a conventional 90% mortgage to purchase the median priced house in their county in the second quarter of 2002. This is no longer a federal or state issue. Each community must tackle it. Ultimately, the fabric and diversity of our communities are at stake. Diversity of household types and ages is limited

by the economic realities. While the expansion of affordable housing must be balanced by the needs to contain sprawl, conserve environmentally-significant land, optimize land use, and restore older, deteriorating areas, it must be remembered that investment in diverse housing production leads to economic and social vibrancy in a community. The damages from the lack of affordable housing extend beyond the homeless and the poor. The shortage of affordable housing is harmful to families and communities as well as local businesses and overall economic prosperity. It requires

families to have more than one wage-earner or family members who work more than one job or spend too much time and money commuting. It deprives children of their parents' involvement with schoolwork and extracurricular activities. It robs aging parents of familial care as well as service organizations of volunteers. It creates hardships for local communities in attracting and retaining police, firefighters, teachers, nurses and other emergency/essential workers. It also impedes local companies in attracting and retaining the labor forces they need to grow and prosper.

End of Fiscal Year June 30

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Upon request, a copy of the most recent annual report may be obtained from A-HOME at 185 Kisco Avenue, Suite 4, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549 or the Attorney General at New York Charities Bureau, NYS Department of Law, 120 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10271.

ease remember that we're coming to the end of A-HOME's fiscal year. As we wrap things up and reflect on this year's accomplishments; Kensing House in Chappaqua is now home to three older adults, we've purchased property in Pound Ridge to build senior apartments; we look ahead to a year faced with many challenges - providing affordable housing in an area where the median price of houses continues to climb, maintaining the best possible mix of services to our residents to help them be as independent as possible and keeping true to A-HOME's mission of providing people safe and affordable places to live. We ask, and are grateful for, your continued support.

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Deep Roots/New Growth Spring Benefit

he Mount Kisco Country Club was the scene of A-HOME's Spring Benefit on May 5th. Committee members planned a wonderful evening and guests enjoyed a cocktail hour, dancing to music by the Lowry Hamner Band and the fun of silent and live auctions. Auction items ran the gamut from an afternoon of falconry with Zander Abranowicz to Behind the Scene Tours at the International Center for Photography and Christie's to a week in a rustic French villa. Auctioneers John Lloyd and David Gernert encouraged the lively bidding helping to make the evening a financial success.

Contributors to Auction Abranowicz Family Aer Yoga Annie B. Jewelry Asiatique BaklaJava Barclays Classic Bellizzi The Blue Dolphin Ristorante Jeffrey and Marjorie Burdick Centennial Golf Club Charles Department Store Christie's Consider the Cook Denise and Lauren Desires by Mikolay Theodore Donson and Marvel Grieppe Echo Farm Evergreen Nursery Fine Lines of Katonah Bill and Sue Groner Rich and Martha Handler Peter and Janet Harckham The Hilltop Art Center

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Sue and Jim Hoffman Phil and Dina Hoffmann Barbara Howard International Center for Photography Patti and Rob Ivry Jacob Burns Film Center Katonah Bedford Veterinary Center Nancy and Herbert Kaufmann Angela and Scott Lowman Jeanne Markel Mavis Discount Tire Jim and Hope Mazzola Blake and Kelly Miller Mt. Kisco Sports Eileen Piker Mauri Pioppo Jewelry Laurence Relin and Nick Davis Maria and George Roach Clark and Marysue Robson The Rugged Bear Peter and Lynn Russell Sgaglio's Gayle Serle Design, Inc. Robert Siegel Architects Small Joys Squires Dave and Pam Waill Weinstein Pharmacy Westchester Chamber Orchestra Willy Nick's Café Wolf Conservation Center Women for Fitness Corporate Sponsors Astoria Federal Savings Capurro Contracting, Inc. Citibank The Community Preservation Corporation ERE, LLP Forbes Insurance Agency, Inc. Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate Howe & Sibley Real Estate Lasberg Construction Associates Onsite Computer Services Petruccelli Engineering

Saccardi and Schiff, Inc. Smith Barney, Mount Kisco Branch Smith Barney HomeLoan Program at CitiMortgage Statewide Abstract Corporation Washington Mutual Benefit Committee Chairs Marjorie and Jeffrey Burdick Janet and Peter Harckham Vice Chairs Martha and Richard Handler Pamela and David Waill Committee Members Holly and Neil Alexander Joan P. Arnold Suzanne and Philip Bowers Barbara Japhe-Cervasio and Andrew Cervasio Dierdra Gray Clark and Timothy Clark Melanie and John Danza Janet McDermott and John David Susan and Larry Ruzzo Maryanne and Joe Galea Nancy Geary Nisa Geller and Jeffrey Tannenbaum

Jane and Charlie Gordy Joan and Alan Guthrie Susan and James Hoffman Nancy E. and Herbert J. Kaufmann Lonna Kelly Elizabeth and John Kilgallon Marianne Klamer and Eric Wolbrom Kate and Lee Lasberg Ran and Charles LaPolla Angela and Scott Lowman Erika Malmgren Jeanne Markel and Chris Wedge Hope and Jim Mazzola Victoria and Gerald McGrath Kelly and Blake Miller Vickie and Steve Morris Kathleen and Sean O'Connor Edward Odom, Citibank Eileen Piker and Whitney Palache Mauri and Peter Pioppo Andrea Raisfeld and William Abranowicz Maria and George Roach Janet and David Rothfeld CD Schell Morgan and Rich Walsh Stacey and Karl Zuk

Tom Lineman, Marie Moreno, Evan Echenthal, Liz Poma

Marykay and Brad Barton, Janet and John David, Jane Hotchkiss Gordy

Beverley Streeter, Phyllis and Ed Lashins Eileen McFadden, Lynn Russell, Ona Cohn, Drew McFadden

Marysue Robson, Marion Sinek, Fran Osborne

Dick Lawrence, County Legislator Ursula LaMotte, Assemblyman Adam Bradley, State Senator Vincent Leibell 5

What really is the need?

n April 2006 Westchester County posted the new HUD rent and income statistics for the county on its website. Reproduced here it shows the median income for a one-person household in Westchester is $67,550. The median income for A-HOME seniors living in shared housing is $8052 and for disabled individuals $7912. Single parent families fall far below the median income for families with a median income of $16,291. Most of the older adults living at A-HOME residences have worked their entire lives only to find themselves, at the time many can comfortably retire, in a very difficult situation - some no longer able to afford to live in the community they have lived in for many years and all facing uncertain futures as their income shrinks and their options diminish. Individuals living with disabilities face many of the same issues. Employment can be difficult and many struggle to maintain their independence. Often seniors and disabled individuals have been homeless, and many have run out of hope before coming to A-HOME. Whatever their situation, it is greatly improved once they are welcomed and have a safe roof over their heads. Single parent families struggle even after moving to A-HOME. When a family is barely able to pay the rent and put food on the table, an unexpected car repair bill or medical expense can force the parent to make very difficult choices. Bills and rent can go unpaid forcing a family deeper and deeper into debt. Families existing on a single salary face great challenges with the parent often unable to provide more than the barest necessities. The following statistics give an at-a-glance look at A-HOME residents. A-HOME's Senior Residents Seniors: 40 individuals Female: 45% Male: 55% Median Age: 69 years Median Income: $8,052 Veterans: 2 Physically Disabled: 21 Oldest resident: 91 years Longest current residency: 14 years Sisters Employment: 5 employed in occupations such as server in coffee shop, part-time real estate office, bookkeeper for landscaper, day care, church maintenance

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A-HOME's Disabled Residents Total number: 20 individuals Female: 45% Male: 55% Median Age: 50 years Median Income: $7,912. Veterans: 1 Physically Disabled: 3 Longest current residency: 21 years Employment: 5 employed by employers such as A&P, Pepsico, Westchester County Airport, Putnam County Mental Health Advocate. A-HOME's Single Parent Families Total number: 11 families Head of household: Female 100% Median Age: 41 years Number of Children: 17 total Six families: 1 child Four families: 2 children One family: 3 children Median Household Income: $16,291 Education: 1 no high school diploma 2 high school graduates 6 some college 2 college graduates 2 currently attending school 1 studying for civil service exam Employment: 7 employed in occupations such as day care worker, teachers aide, receptionist, human services, NYS employee, 4 living with disabilities HUD Rent and Income Limits

Incomes* 100% AMI 80% AMI 60% AMI** 50% AMI 40% AMI 30% AMI 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person Household Household Household Household $67,550 $54,050 $40,560 $33,800 $27,000 $20,250 $77,200 $61,750 $46,320 $38,600 $30,900 $23,150 $86,850 $69,500 $52,140 $43,450 $34,750 $26,050 $96,500 $77,200 $57,900 $48,250 $38,600 $28,950

Returning home from work

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*(UPDATED 4/6/06) note: numbers have been rounded to the nearest $50; ** the 60% incomes have been rounded as per HUD calculations AMI ­ Area Median Income

Volunteer Corner

oard Member John P. Sullivan, and Michelle Lee, both of Sullivan Architecture were guest speakers at the spring Coalition meeting on April 17th. Sustainable development and green architecture were the topics. Energy efficiency in buildings was stressed because, as John pointed out, buildings, not cars, are the major consumers of energy. Simple improvements such as double pane windows and insulation behind switch plates and electric outlets can help improve a houses' energy efficiency. The use of renewable building materials, Energy Star rated windows and appliances and minimal reliance on non-renewable, energy intensive building materials are good steps toward more efficient energy use. Mitzvah Day volunteers from Temple Beth El, Chappaqua, along with Chappaqua Garden

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Club members, were busy at Arnold House, Chappaqua, in April planting hostas and rhododendrons and sprucing up the yard for spring. The First Presbyterian Church of Katonah pitched in at the Hamilton Property, Bedford Hills. Joyce and Ralph Dupee brought volunteers to plant pachysandra in hard-tomow areas. The Presbyterian Church of Pleasantville used A-HOME's Lammers and Diversified Houses, Thornwood, as a site for training their youth group for a more intensive building project in Tennessee. In early May the teens were busy mixing and pouring cement, measuring, cutting and hammering wood and learning the skills they would need to repair homes through the Appalachian Service Project. Every year Grafflin

Temple Beth El Mitzvah Day volunteers

Elementary School in Chappaqua creates a Garden of Wishes, simple volunteer activities that the young students can pick. It was a great match

when the children visited Arnold House and planted flowers, played chess, and provided musical entertainment.

Rev. Diane Fenton Fitch, Parish Associate, First Presbyterian Church of Katonah helps with the planting

Greeley Garden of Wishes volunteers

John Sullivan and Michelle Lee of Sullivan Architecture lead discussion 7

Lammers House and Diversified Cottage

olunteers from the Presbyterian Church of Pleasantville tackled some big jobs at Lammers House and Diversified Cottage in Thornwood. Adult supervisors were coaching teens in the skills they will need when they travel to Tennessee in July to repair homes as part of the Appalachian Service Project. The volunteers mixed cement and repaired a ramp, made needed carpentry repairs on a porch and renovated a bathroom.

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At Home with A-HOME

e-mail: [email protected] www.a-homehousing.org telephone: 914-666-0740 facsimile: 914-666-0221

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Summer 2006

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