Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples A message from
Crystal D.

Summer 2005

Dear 141st District Family,

First of all I want to thank each and every one of you who worked so hard to keep an on-time budget on the front burner of government here in Albany. You told us you wanted an on-time budget this year – we listened. Your advocacy fueled the fire that spurred and supported the reforms we made in our processes and on March 31, 2005, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed the first on-time budget in 21 years. I applaud you all and I thank you.

The budget we passed means more for our children – ensuring our schools and teachers have the resources they need to provide a quality education. It means a college education will stay within reach for working families and that quality, affordable health care for our families and most vulnerable citizens will be preserved.

My colleagues and I in both the Assembly and Senate worked diligently to fashion a responsible budget that protects families in New York. We rejected Governor Pataki’s cuts that would have had a devastating impact on families and we passed a responsible budget that put people first. Our courage and determination is what left Governor Pataki no choice but to ratify our budget with minimal change.

In closing, let me say it has been a tremendous 3 years. My presence here has allowed me to be a part of many history-making government improvements. I co-sponsored the Rockefeller Drug Law reform bill and played an integral role in refinancing the Superfund. I am a co-sponsor on the bill which led to the rules and legislative reform of our budget process and now, for the first time in years, members must remain in chambers to vote. These reforms have resulted in a more effective and honest process. I experienced the legislative override of the Governor’s budget in 2003, as well as being a part of the on-time budget in 2005. I am enjoying my job here and I am looking forward to my continued servant leadership to the residents of the 141st district. It is both an honor and a privilege to serve you. Thank you.

Crystal D. Peoples

Taking Control of Your Child’s Educational Future

Assemblymember Peoples And The 2005
Buffalo Boys & Girls Club “Youth of the Year,” Lonzell Wiley


On Saturday, August 20, 2005, New York State Senator Byron Brown and I are hosting a conference for parents with school age children entitled “Parent Power!” This event will take place from 10 am-2 pm at the Delavan-Grider Community Center located at 877 E. Delavan Street.

Parents of students in public, charter or private school at every educational level are encouraged to attend. The mission of the conference will be to strengthen parent involvement in your child’s educational process and provide information and assistance in different areas of importance. Workshops will be conducted on “Homework Assistance,” “Communicating with Your Child,” “Empowerment for Parents” and “Preparing for College.” Local family support groups, representatives from the Department of Social Services, and various youth groups will be on hand to provide parents with literature about after school programs and other information pertaining to your child’s education. Lunch is free and will be provided for all participants.

To RSVP or for more information on how you can get involved, contact our office at (716) 897-9714. You can email me to reserve your seat at the conference at Remember, information is power. Don’t miss this opportunity to “Take Control of your Child’s Educational Future.” Join Senator Brown and I on August 20, 2005 for “PARENT POWER!”

Urge Congress To Protect Social Security

This nation’s Social Security program has provided retirement benefits to millions of hardworking Americans and their children for 70 years. In addition, the program has been expanded to provide assistance to surviving spouses and dependent children in the event of the death of their primary supporter. Approximately 3,035,697 New Yorkers receive Social Security benefits totaling more than $2.62 billion each month.

While Social Security has been reviewed and reformed many times, it has always maintained its basic structure as an insurance program and not an investment program. I believe working class Americans should continue to have access to the income protections afforded under the Social Security Act, and privatizing its operation compromises its original intent.

The Congressional Budget Office has stated that if no changes are made to the current system, Social Security will be able to rely on its trust funds for nearly four more decades. This is a lot different from the doom and gloom messages that have been broadcast across national media.

Congress is considering President Bush’s proposal to privatize Social Security. I believe other, more sensible adjustments can be made in the administration of the Social Security program that will ensure its fiscal viability. I also believe that any attempts to privatize Social Security now could add trillions of dollars to the national debt and would require a reduction in current and future benefits. This is a dangerous move and the risk is simply not worth taking

I realize how important Social Security benefits are for so many New York families and I believe you do, too. That’s why I am urging you to contact your Congressional representative and let them know you want Social Security protected NOT privatized.

(Congressional contact info: Congresswoman Louise Slaughter – 853-5813; Congressman Brian Higgins – 852-3501; Senator Hillary Clinton – 854-9725; Senator Charles Schumer – 846-4111).


Keeping The Dream Alive

A Half Million Dollars For MLK Park

In January 2005, I had the distinct pleasure of securing a half-million dollar grant for the enhancement of Martin Luther King Park. These dollars are to be utilized to improve lighting and pathways throughout the park which will make it a safer place for our children to play and to host the many summer festivals that call MLK Park home. The above picture is from the check presentation ceremony to the leadership of the Olmsted Conservancy and the Martin Luther King Park Board of Directors.

Home Ownership – Taking the Leap from Renter to Owner

I have dedicated a large portion of this newsletter to home ownership. It is a valuable tool in building personal wealth and should be an enjoyable experience. There are many programs and bank mortgage plans available that can be helpful in making the transition from renter to homeowner a smooth and pleasant one. The following programs and bank services can help provide important information that will help you improve your credit rating and achieve financial security.

The Fannie Mae Foundation — Great resource for information. The Fannie Mae Foundation Homeownership Education program holds excellent local community events on home-buying that are targeted to help new Americans, Native Americans, and buyers of color. Fannie Mae offers the Home Keeper Mortgage Program, Flexible 97 and Flexible 100 mortgages and an Expanded approval with Timely Payment Awards Program. To learn more about these different mortgage options, call Fannie Mae’s Consumer Resource Center at 1-800-7FANNIE.

The $1 Homes Program — Started May 1, 2000, allows certain HUD homes to be sold to low and moderate-income residents of the community and works as a community revitalization program. Houses can be bought for $1 plus closing costs. Contact your local real estate agent for an updated list of HUD homes for sale.

The Bethel Community Development Corporation — Offers affordable mortgages as low as $600 a month. The most recent development is a single family home located in the Historic Cold Springs neighborhood of Buffalo. For more information contact Keith Barnes 861-2727 or 866-1650 ext. 221 or Bethel Community Development Corporation, 1525 Michigan Ave. Buffalo, NY 14209.

Home Ownership Center Home Front Inc. — Home Ownership Center of Home Front Inc., offers a variety of financial planning and homeownership services. Home Front, Inc. is located at 361 Delaware Avenue, Suite 308, Buffalo, NY 14202, (716) 856-2952 or online at

Citibank, CitiMortgage offers the Opportunities Within Neighborhoods (OWN) Program to help qualified families purchase their first homes. Their motto is “No Matter what your situation, we have a solution.” Call 1-888-CITIMTG for more information.

KEY BANK — Community Home Assist offers to low-to-moderate income borrowers looking to purchase homes in targeted low-to-moderate income census tract areas. Financing available for up to 100% of purchase price, no mortgage insurance is required, rehabilitation options are available and there are less stringent conventional appraisals, among other incentives. For more information on Key Bank’s Home Assist Program contact John Whiting at 838-8732.

First Home Club, SHOP Program — HSBC offers FHA Loans which are government-guaranteed loans through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). No out-of-pocket closing costs. For more information, or to apply, contact an HSBC mortgage consultant at 1-800-62APPLY. HSBC also offers First Home Club to first time home buyers. You can earn up to $5,000 toward your home purchase. For more info about First Home Club call 1-888-313-7247. Additionally, HSBC, in partnership with Freddie Mac and West Side NHS, administers the Buffalo Special Home Ownership Program (SHOP). Assists potential homebuyers with purchases within the City of Buffalo. For more information contact Kathleen Kinney 885-2344, ext. 11, at West Side NHS.

M&T-Get Started Mortgage — Reduces the cash down payment minimum to only 1% of the total cost. You can finance the remaining 2% in a variety of ways, and you can also finance most of your closing costs. This program dramatically reduces the cash you need to buy a home. Contact Susan Keaton at 848-4848 or call 1-800-724-7575 to find out more about this offer.

The following are a few of the many programs available to New Yorkers through the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA). Supply of the following information is in no way an endorsement of any specific program. The intent is to provide basic information. Interested parties should use contact information provided to attain complete information. The Buffalo SONYMA Office is located at 107 Delaware Avenue, Suite 620, Buffalo, New York 14202. The phone number is (716) 853-1548 or 1-800-382-HOME.

SONYMA - Achieving the Dream Mortgage Program — Assists low-income first time homebuyers. Offers very low fixed interest mortgage. Borrowers must be first-time homebuyers and must meet the household income limits of the program. Borrowers must complete a homebuyer education course prior to final loan application approval.

The SONYMA Remodel New York Program — Provides low interest rate financing to first-time homebuyers for purchase and/or renovation of properties. M&T Mortgage Corporation is the sole lender making these loans available through this pilot program.

SONYMA Low Interest Rate Mortgage Program — Provides qualified low-to-moderate income first-time homebuyers with low down payment mortgage financing on one- to four-family dwellings at fixed interest rates.

SONYMA Construction Incentive Program has been specifically created in an effort to stimulate new construction of one- and two-family homes. The program features 100% financing, a special two-step interest rate, and a longer rate lock period.

Assemblymember Peoples holds an “off the floor” meeting with her colleagues to discuss her ideas and concerns regarding TANF dollars and the Governor’s proposal to move this money to a Block Grant.


The American Cancer Society has engaged in several activities to raise awareness of the importance of colon cancer screening. The latest statistics show that fewer than 50 percent of adults get detection tests for cancer as recommended. While the life-saving benefits of early detection for breast cancer are widely known, leading to very high percentages of women receiving annual mammograms, colon cancer screening, which can actually prevent cancer, occurs in significantly lower percentages among men and women.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among African American men and women combined, and the second leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic men and women combined. African Americans have the highest death rate from colon cancer of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. When detected at the earliest stage, the five-year survival rate for colon cancer is 90%. When polyps are discovered and removed colon cancer is preventable.

Many people are unaware of the facts about colon cancer and how to prevent it. For more information on colon cancer and the American Cancer Society’s screening guidelines, please contact Michael Bopp, New York Director of Advocacy (518) 449-5438 x11 or

Breast Cancer Support Groups

Breast Cancer is a traumatizing experience. It can bring feelings of shock, confusion, fear, sadness, anger and uncertainty – all normal things that can accompany this kind of diagnosis. Support groups can help you come to terms with your diagnosis and give you a place to share your feelings with others in a similar situation. Survivors can give and receive emotional and practical support and exchange important information. The following support groups located in Buffalo, New York, could be helpful if you have received a breast cancer diagnosis. My intent here is merely to give access to organizations that may help enhance the quality of your life as a cancer survivor.

Gilda’s Club Breast Cancer Networking Group (716) 332-5900

Bosom Buddies of WNYmeets monthly on 1st Saturday (716) 652-1930

Pregnant with Cancer Networkdesigned for pregnant women with cancer (800) 743-4471

Shelter from the Stormfor children 5 to 18 yrs old and their caregivers (716) 836-6460

WNY Breast Resource Centerprovides books, videos, wigs, hats, catalogues and referrals to local and national support and advocacy agencies (716) 845-4432

After Breast Cancer Treatment Support Groupfor women who have recently completed breast cancer treatment. Call for appointment. (716) 845-4432

Free Mammograms, Breast Exams, Pap Tests and Colon Cancer Screening.
Call for information 886-9201.

Harvest House Lends a Helping Hand

Harvest House Baby and Children’s Ministry was founded in 1993 by Gary and Linda Tatu. It is located at 1782 Seneca Street in South Buffalo, New York, and is the largest provider of free baby items in the tri-county area. Harvest House Baby and Children’s Ministry helps families referred to them by over 200 agencies (including hospitals, crisis centers, clinics, doctors, churches, child protection and social service agencies, etc.). It gives away anything to do with a baby or child, i.e. cribs, car seats, swings, strollers, clothing, bottles, blankets and toys. In 2003, 2,852 children received items from Harvest House. Every item is free and all are donated by youth groups, private individuals, corporations, etc.

Harvest House accepts donations of new and gently used clothing and baby and children’s items. Children’s clothing from newborn up to size 14 is accepted. The greatest needs are cribs and newborn clothing and sleepers. Used clothing should be in good condition that is not torn, stained or have worn spots. Harvest House does not give away diapers, food or formula.

Store hours for clients by referral only are as follows: Monday 1 pm – 4 pm; Tuesday 9 am – 12 Noon; Closed Wednesday; Thursday 1 pm – 4 pm; Closed Friday; Saturday 9 am – 12 Noon. Donations are accepted Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm and Saturday, 9 am to noon.

If you have items to donate, please contact Guadalupe Marranco at 824-7818. If you are in need of baby items and cannot afford to purchase them, contact any local human service agency for a referral. Congratulations to Gary and Linda Tatu on the success of their baby ministry.

“Touch Lives — Be a Nurse”

D’Youville College has implemented a wonderful new nursing program. “Touch Lives - Be A Nurse” seeks to introduce minority youth to nursing during elementary school. The program will maintain an ongoing, supportive and enriching relationship with the students and their parents and then follow-up in high school with mentoring and educational programs to help them be successful in attaining professional goals in the field of medicine, specifically nursing. The program is funded by the O’Shei Foundation.

In the past six years, D’Youville has enrolled only 30 African-American students and three Hispanic s tudents in their undergraduate Bachelor of Nursing program. A major concern in nursing today is that the professional workforce is not diverse and thus perpetuates long-standing problems in health care associated with the perceived lack of sensitivity of nurses and other health care providers who lack cultural competence. Hispanic/Latino people are the fastest growing segment of our nation’s populace. Hispanic nurses are the most underrepresented component of the nursing profession, comprising less than two percent of all nurses in the United States.

“Touch Lives – Be A Nurse” provides an excellent mentoring opportunity and encourages our youth to think about employment in terms of a career rather than just a job. If you’d like to learn more about the “Touch Lives – Be A Nurse” Program, contact Ms. Yvette Chaves, D’Youville College Learning Center Program Liason at (716) 829-8397.

Congratulations D’Youville College, and thank you for your commitment to career building through visionary leadership.


Access to quality health care is one of the most important rights we have. Unfortunately, all of us don’t have health care insurance. The clinics listed below provide quality care to people who are without insurance and are not Medicaid or Family Health Plus eligible. Good Neighbors Health Center also offers eye exams and screenings.

Good Neighbors Health Center
175 Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14210
Fridays from 1:30 to 4:30 pm ONLY,
(716) 856-2400.

Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic
1609 Genesee Street, Buffalo, NY 14211
Wednesday 6 to 8 pm ONLY, 892-9214.

Lighthouse Chiropractic Free Clinic
Monday & Friday 9 am to 1 pm, 685-9631.


Buffalo, Rochester and New York City are the only school districts in the state exempt from Article 19 of the Education Law, which mandates the provision of school nurses. The reason these cities were exempt from the law is because they were actually already providing that service through their respective City Health Departments. When Buffalo’s health department went countywide, Erie County became the provider of school health nurses for Buffalo schools and has funded that service ever since. Unfortunately, due to Erie County’s fiscal crisis, funding for school health nurses was eliminated, leaving our children medically vulnerable without access to health services in their school buildings during the school year.

In response to this medical access crisis in Buffalo and Rochester, New York, public schools, Assemblyman David Gantt (Rochester) and I sponsored Bill number A8546 that mandates the City of Rochester and City of Buffalo Public School Districts to provide school health services. Bill Number A8546 further allows these school districts to access BOCES services and aid to provide such services. In addition, I sponsored A8777 which advances the Buffalo City School District to receive an advance of $1.4 million dollars from their lottery appropriation to help pay for school nurses in the Buffalo Public School System.

These two bills have already passed in both houses of the State Legislature. At the present time, all we are waiting for is Governor Pataki to sign the bills into law.

I would like to thank all the students and parents who helped me keep this issue in the forefront of our legislative body. Special thanks to the students of Futures Academy, Nancy Rodriguez, John Constantine and the members of PUSH (Parents United for School Safety & Health) for their focus and commitment to fighting for the health of our children.

The Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and
Women-Owned Business Enterprises

Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples Appointed Sub-Committee Chair

I am proud to announce that New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has selected me to chair the newly created Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (MWBE), under the jurisdiction of the Standing Committee on Governmental Operations.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver stated, “by establishing a subcommittee structure, the Assembly is seeking to promote more deliberative and long-term discussions and solutions to challenges that can be complicated and far-reaching.” Each subcommittee will operate under an existing standing committee.

Assemblywoman RoAnn M. Destito (D-Utica), Chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Governmental Operations, stated, “The creation of the Subcommittee on the Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) is much needed as hearings across the State have indicated that the program is mismanaged and not reaching the constituency for which it was created. The appointment of Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples to chair the subcommittee is an excellent choice.”

I believe Article 15-A is an invaluable resource for minority and women-owned businesses because it gives them access to government contracts. Enforcement of Article 15-A and protecting the rights guaranteed under this law is not an option. It is a priceless wealth-building tool for communities of color. I am extremely pleased with my appointment by Speaker Silver to chair this subcommittee and I’m deeply committed to its success.”


On Thursday, May 19th, 2005, New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (Kings County, Brooklyn, New York) and I conducted a public forum focusing on the needs and rights of men and women transitioning from prison back to community life. The forum was held at the Pucho Olivencia Center located at 261 Swan Street from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

“Home Again” was very well attended. Those present gave testimony outlining specific obstacles they encountered which complicated their ability to stabilize themselves upon release from prison. We also heard testimony from friends and families of those incarcerated who were anticipating release of their loved ones and wanted help with issues like employment, medical and mental health care, GED programs, access to college tuition dollars and Certificates of Relief of Disabilities, which restore a convicted person’s rights.

Senator Montgomery and I have co-sponsred a bill in the State Legislature that establishes the New York State Justice Reinvestment Fund. The bill designates 10 million dollars to be used for re-entry support services by not-for-profit and community based organizations. What prompted our crafting of this bill was the fact that while the number of people who are going to prison is decreasing, the number of people of color who are released and go back to prison is not.

Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples and Vice Chancellor Adelaide H. Sanford in Albany, NY. Vice Chancellor Sanford is a leading national advocate for the education of under-served populations. She developed the concept of a Board for the Education of People of African Ancestry and was instrumental in its development and growth. The programs emanating from the entity have received nation-wide recognition. Vice Chancellor Sanford’s professional career spanned the primary grades through the college graduate school level.

Assemblymember Peoples with Hazel Dukes, NYS NAACP President and Frank Mesiah, Buffalo Chapter NAACP President

Buffalo Attends the 34th Annual Black, Puerto Rican,
Latino & Asian Caucus Weekend in Big Numbers

Left to Right: Yoseff Johnson, D. Land Construction, NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery, John Elmore, Honorable Crystal D. Peoples, and NYS Senator Byron W. Brown at the Criminal Justice Workshop.

Western New Yorkers showed up in big numbers at the February 2005 Association weekend. Assemblywoman Peoples conducted three (3) workshops; 2005 Budget, Social Security Reform and Criminal Justice. Buffalo’s own John Elmore was one of the panelists on Criminal Justice. He highlighted his book “Fighting for your life-Survival Guide.” He was well received and was successful in selling many copies of his book. Also in attendance were the principals in D. Land Construction Co., Inc., young Buffalo based general contractors, Dadon Land, President and Yoseff Johnson. The Social Security workshop was also well attended and included U. S. Congressman Gregory Meeks, Bertha Lewis of the Working Families Party and Ceylone Meyers of Citizen Action. The 2005 Budget workshop analyzed different aspects of the budget, discussed both positive and negative impacts of the budget and suggested appropriate reform.