PathStone: Mario Cuomo’s Commitment to Investing In Poverty Was Unparalleled

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – January 6, 2014 – Stuart J. Mitchell, President/CEO of PathStone Corporation issued the following statement:

On behalf of our board members and staff of PathStone Corporation (formerly Rural Opportunities, Inc.), I offer our condolences and extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Gov. Mario Cuomo. Among the legion of tributes from across the state I would like to highlight the governor’s unparalleled commitment to investing significant state resources to address the pervasive poverty and lack of economic development that has plagued communities throughout rural New York for generations.

In 1986 I presented the governor with our “Rural Housing Leadership Award.” We were able to make this presentation during a visit by the governor to the city of Geneva where he presented a check in the amount of $1,760,000 as the state’s contribution toward moving route 5 and 20 away from the shoreline to free up space for development. Today it is impressive to view the results of the governor’s vision for this upstate community.
No previous governor in the history of New York had directed more state resources toward increasing rural New York’s housing stock. Previously, as Lieutenant Governor, Mr. Cuomo personally made many trips to rural advocacy organizations and rural communities in order to better understand the economic and social problems facing rural New Yorkers.

Under Gov. Mario Cuomo, the Office of Rural Development was created within the Division of Housing and Community Renewal. For the first time rural housing concerns and issues were given a voice at the table as state resources were being allocated throughout the state.

In 1981 state funds were allocated to establish Rural Preservation Companies (RPCs). PathStone Corporation (formerly Rural Opportunities, Inc.), has been a recipient of these funds since 1981. These resources have been critical to our success in developing 530 units of rental housing and assisting over 1,200 first time home buyers in rural areas of the Finger Lakes Region.

Under Gov. Mario Cuomo the Rural Area Revitalization Program and the Rural Rental Assistance Program were created. The governor’s leadership in this arena has resulted in significant revitalization of rural communities throughout New York State.

Gov. Mario Cuomo created, under the New York State Department of Social Services, the Homeless Housing Assistance Program. This program has been widely used by rural housing development organizations including PathStone Corporation Under Gov. Mario Cuomo’s leadership the resources committed by New York State leveraged significant federal funds for rural housing initiatives.

In addition to the governor’s commitment to the improvement of housing for rural New Yorkers I had the privilege of participating on a very unique council that he established within the New York State Department of Labor. The Farmworker Minimum Wage Advisory Council was comprised of equal representation from the farmworker advocacy and the agricultural community. Throughout the governor’s three term tenure this committee worked diligently to find common ground to improve wages hours and working conditions of the critically important farm labor force. I have several signed legislative certificates that document the governor’s commitment to improving the living and working conditions of farmworkers throughout New York State. PathStone continues to advocate for this underrepresented yet critically important backbone of the agricultural industry.

The governor was a passionate and effective advocate for rural New York and our organization. PathStone Corporation is proud of our partnership with the governor and remains committed to carrying on his legacy. As we celebrate the life of Gov. Mario Cuomo we are particularly grateful for his visionary leadership in the arena of rural community and economic development.


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