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What's Next for Rivington House? Reimaging Its Return to the Lower East Side!

Community Members Come Together to Re-imagine The Next Phase of Rivington House Campaign for Its Return to The Lower East Side

NEW YORK - March 7, 2017 - s4story -- Neighbors to Save Rivington House will hold a forum to which the public is cordially invited on Sunday afternoon, March 12th from 2 to 4 at Speyer Hall on the second floor of University Settlement, 184 Eldridge Street, New York City.

This meeting will discuss the possible future of Rivington House, a former public school and health care facility currently threatened with conversion into market rate/luxury private housing. At the meeting the coalition will assume the return of Rivington House to the community as the protected care facility it was intended to be, and will look at the future of care in general, needed here and elsewhere.

Speakers will share their thoughts, visions and recommendations, and a panel discussion with experts in public health, care giving, elder services, disability rights, and care workers' needs/rights, as well as personal stories about the impact of Rivington House will also be included. Attendees will also hear from an architect who will explain the significant, publicly-funded, $70 million renovations to Rivington House completed in 1995. Speakers will include:

Debra Jeffreys-Glass, a long-time LES community member will share her story of how the loss of Rivington House affected her, her family and the gardeners of M'Finda Kalunga Garden.

Andrew B. Knox AIA, an architect, will present the architectural history of Rivington House, including innovative, taxpayer-funded technologies incorporated into the building at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

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Susan Scheer, longtime resident of the Lower East Side, was the volunteer President of the Disabilities Network of New York City, head of the Office of Disability Services at Columbia University, and Director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York (CIDNY).

Maria Merced during the past 69 years has lived on the LES, and the enormous changes that she experienced inspired her to become a lifelong community activist; she has worked with Action for Progress, University Settlement, and Pueblo Nuevo.

Ruth Finkelstein translates interdisciplinary scientific knowledge on aging and its societal implications into practice. With over 30 years of experience, she is an expert in health care financing, HIV/AIDS care, and drug policy.

Ashley Anderson, a Bronx native and rights activist for people with disabilities, will speak on the care of caregivers.

Marta Martinez, a caregiver and co-owner of worker-owned Golden Steps Eldercare Co-op based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Hing Lin Sit, LCSW, directs the Chinatown Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NNORC) of Visiting Nurse Service of New York. She has a decade+ of experience in geriatrics, mental health, and home care.

Rosemary Shields, MS, RDN, CDN, specialized in HIV/AIDS Nutrition, worked at Gouverneur Hospital's Leicht Clinic for 14 years and then for 6 at Rivington House, including its final year.

Quoting the Coalition:

"Our goal is to return Rivington House, a rare, lifesaving community resource, to the Lower East Side community. The community was expected to be able to age with dignity in their own neighborhood because of the deed restriction placed on Rivington House when it became a dedicated AIDS medical facility in New York City in 1995. The deed restriction was, in effect, a promise by New York City that the LES would always have this vital healthcare resource. That changed during a secret real estate transaction finalized on February 11, 2016.

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"Our advocacy helped effect change (listed below), but our ultimate goal is to win back this building for the neighborhood and the public. Today's forum is part of our ongoing advocacy – we will never stop fighting until Rivington House is returned to the LES community.

"What we have helped accomplish are:

"Four investigations launched (by the New York City Comptroller's Office, the New York City Department of Investigations, the New York State Attorney General, and the US District Attorney of the Southern District). These investigations are committed to examining what happened and how to rectify this mistake.

"The City Council and the Mayor's Office have passed a strong bill revamping the requirements for deed restriction removals by DCAS. It will prevent another 'Rivington House.'

"NYS Senator Daniel L. Squadron crafted a bill, 'The Rivington Act,' that hopes to ensure greater transparency and accountability requirements for nursing home operators at the State level. He has also introduced the idea that the city and state can use the Fraud Act to bring profiteers to account.

"The Mayor's office moved forward on a long-stalled senior housing project nearby as a way of 'making amends' for any city 'errors'.

"We have built a diverse array of stakeholders from AIDS organizations, elders' organizations, affordable housing groups, homeless advocates and local neighborhood small businesses."

Refreshments will be served – American sign interpretation will be provided.

Media Contact
KWebster.nyc@verizon.net - 212-925-7937

Source: Neighbors to Save Rivington House Coalition

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