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OCT 21- OCT 28, 2014

Cowart to Stay On at Housing Authority Classy Housing Director of Low Income Tenants gets $130 K Per Year

October 21, 2014

Stephanie Cowart will remain as ED of the Housing Authority at $130,000 per year.

Niagara Falls Housing Authority Executive Director Stephanie W. Cowart is probably one of the most cultured and sophisticated women of Niagara Falls.

She exudes class out of every inch of her being.

Yet by a quirk of fate she illustrates what the Niagara Falls Reporter has long harped upon: The poverty industry is beset with a severe contradiction.

It is an industry. It makes its money out of people being poor.

In Cowart’s case, she just got a two-year extension of her lucrative employment contract for “helping” the poor. 

The authority’s board of commissioners voted 6-0 to extend Cowart’s $130,000 per year salary until Nov. 30, 2018.

Cowart’s job is attracting, developing, and managing subsidized housing and bringing low income tenants to Niagara Falls, and  trying to make their lives better.

Under its terms, Cowart's new deal would be extended for one-year periods after Nov. 30, 2018, unless the board or Cowart gives 60 days notice to terminate.

Ironically, while she tends to the poor, Cowart’s salary is among the highest publicly-funded salaries in Niagara Falls - and almost double the mayor's salary.

That's the nature of the poverty industry.

Cowart has worked for the Niagara Falls Housing Authority since 1983 and has been executive director since 1997. 

During that time, while the city population dropped, she has fulfilled her job description admirably. She expanded the Authority’s low income housing, attracted low income and welfare recipients to Niagara Falls from other communities and, admittedly, gave them better housing than they probably ever had before, which attracted even more low income tenants, and she aided developers in building mammoth taxpayer-subsidized projects. 

In 2005, for instance, the Niagara Falls Housing Authority proposed the Hope VI housing project. The 282-unit project cost $80 million, meaning that each housing unit cost $250,000, most of it paid for by taxpayers - about double what an upscale single family home costs in the city. And yet comparatively speaking, the place provides a better environment, safer, cleaner, than most of the places the residents who came there from -- ghettos in New York City --used to call home.

The Niagara Falls Housing Authority presently owns or manages the low income, subsidized Harry S. Jordan Gardens on Highland Avenue, 100 units; Packard Court, Pine Avenue, 166 units; Anthony Spallino Towers, Tenth Street, 182 units; Henry E. Wrobel Towers, Niagara Avenue, 250 units; Beloved Community, Calumet Avenue, 215 units.

No one can say Cowart has not done a brilliant job.

But, and this is just our opinion, it is in conflict with free enterprise and those who oppose the nanny state.

No one can blame Cowart.

She probably truly believes in helping the poor and perhaps does not believe that the Poverty Industry does more to enable the poor to remain poor - caught in the gilded cages of government giving them food, deluxe medical insurance, and fine shelter. 

Allowing them to fail to develop the skills they need to rise to prosperity.

As Cowart did.

Stephanie Cowart is refined, educated, diplomatic and frankly could probably go anywhere and make what she is making here.

Or more.

Too bad she is not in the prosperity industry.





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©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina