Getting the Neighborhood’s Voice Heard in Washington and on Wall Street
The success of the Green Development Zone on Buffalo’s West Side depends a lot on how those in power behave – especially in Washington and on Wall Street.
To make sure these politicians, program directors, regulators, and bankers prioritize the needs of people living in urban neighborhoods, PUSH has partnered with two national organizations whose goals aline with those of the GDZ: National People’s Action (NPA) and Green for All. PUSH activists have traveled to Washington and New York City regularly to demonstrate in the halls of power and get their message heard.
As a result, PUSH and NPA have convened meetings with officials of President Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD has laudably embraced the idea of “Sustainable Communities,” but its focus is largely on offering cities incentives for regional cooperation plans.
PUSH and NPA continue to “push” for federal programs that will assist community-based developers that are pursuing democratically-conceived comprehensive plans for their neighborhoods and beyond.
In addition, PUSH, NPA and Green for All have put pressure on bank regulators at the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to review the rules of the all-important Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).
The CRA encourages banks to make “affirmative efforts” to invest in neighborhoods where they have rarely given out loans. The plan PUSH supports would expand the CRA to encourage banks to invest in green jobs training programs similar to those PUSH runs in the Zone.
To put this plan into action, PUSH convened a public forum in 2009 with the Buffalo office of the Federal Reserve Bank, as well as meetings with federal regulators and seven banks with a large market share in Western New York.