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Long IslandNassau

United Way awarded management of poverty grant in Hempstead

Earlene Hooper, Deputy Speaker NYS Assembly, speaks during

Earlene Hooper, Deputy Speaker NYS Assembly, speaks during a Town Hall meeting in the Hempstead Public Library, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. Credit: Jeff Bachner

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance has recommended the United Way manage a $1.5 million poverty grant given to Hempstead Village.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative awarded the village the grant last year to reduce the number of homes in poverty.

Assembly Deputy Speaker Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead) asked last month that the funds be withheld until a review was completed for what agency would manage the grant. Hooper wrote in a letter to the OTDA, which manages statewide low-income programs, that the money be withheld “until the vetting and approval process was completed.”

Hooper argued that the funds should not be handled by the United Way of Long Island and instead lobbied that the money be managed by the Economic Opportunity Commission of Nassau County.

The OTDA released a statement late Thursday that the poverty grant should be managed by The United Way, which the agency noted had been used by other communities to coordinate poverty grants.

“OTDA conducted a full and comprehensive review and found the selection of the United Way of Long Island as the local coordinator for the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative in Hempstead appropriate,” the agency said in a statement.

Hooper’s representatives did not return requests for comment Friday on the agency’s findings.

Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall Sr. was given the authority by the state to choose a partner to manage the grant. The funding was included in the 2016-17 budget and Hall selected the United Way to form an antipoverty task force to develop recommendations for poverty intervention.

Village officials did not have a timetable as to when the funds would be available or be distributed following the OTDA’s decision.

“The Village of Hempstead selected the United Way because of its vast experience helping communities create solutions to strengthen education and enhance quality of life for residents,” Hall said in a statement. “We are proud to partner with the United Way in the fight against poverty and boost our Village’s economy.”


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