Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Nov. 17, 2015

News Site Brooklyn

Velázquez Bill Helps Superstorm Sandy Small Businesses

Northern Brooklyn Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez Monday saw Congress approve a bill she authored that would allow small businesses harmed by Hurricane Sandy to seen be able to reapply for assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The legislation, H.R. 208, would allow many small firms in New York and throughout the country to seek emergency loans from the SBA given the agency’s slow response following Sandy in 2012.

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

“The fact is the SBA was caught flatfooted when Sandy came ashore and small businesses seeking relief suffered because of the agency’s slow response,” Velázquez said.  “This new law will mean entrepreneurs in New York and up and down the East Coast will get another chance to apply and be made whole through the SBA’s loan process.”

Following Hurricane Sandy, Velázquez, who is the top Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, helped document problems in the SBA’s disaster loan assistance program.

Among other issues, her analyses demonstrated that small businesses waited 46 days to get their application processed by SBA, a three-fold increase over previous Atlantic storms.  Many businesses withdrew their loan applications out of frustration, while others never filed a loan after seeing other entrepreneurs in their community encounter significant red tape.

In addition to reopening the disaster loan program, H.R. 208 would make needed reforms to the SBA’s disaster lending functions, so the initiatives operate more efficiently in the wake of future disasters.  SBA will be required to provide upfront notification to borrowers on necessary documentation, as well as establish clear written policies for loan officers.

“Helping our small businesses after natural disasters should not be a partisan issue,” Velázquez noted. “I am pleased Congress was able to work together to pass this measure and look forward to seeing the President sign it into law shortly.”

Hikind Reminds New Yorkers HEAP is Available

NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind
NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind

Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind is reminding New Yorkers that assistance is available for eligible households who need help with the cost of heating their homes this winter.

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) opened Monday, November 16 for the winter. HEAP is a federally funded program and overseen by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. It offers a one-time award to eligible low-income and elderly homeowners or tenants toward their heating or electric bills. HEAP also offers an emergency benefit for households in a heat or heat related energy emergency beginning January 4, 2016.

“The approach of the winter weather brings with it increased heating costs. I strongly encourage those eligible households to apply for HEAP. This is a life-saving resource for seniors on a fixed income and working families struggling to make ends meet. Anyone can call my office or visit to receive assistance,” said Hikind.

Those who received a regular, non-emergency, HEAP benefit last year will be mailed an application for this year’s program. To receive a new application or assistance with filling it out, visit Hikind’s office at 1310 48th Street, 2nd Floor or call 718-853-9616.

Applications can also be obtained online by visiting or by calling the HEAP Hotline at 1-800-342-3009 or 311.

Squadron Hosts Town Halls on MTA Buses, Neighborhood Issues

Sen. Daniel Squadron
Sen. Daniel Squadron

Northern Brooklyn/Southern Manhattan State Sen. Daniel Squadron will hold two town halls to address concerns that came up at his annual Community Convention held this past April.

The first town Hall will address MTA Bus service. It is slated for  6:30 p.m., tonight at the Manny Cantor Center, 6th floor, 197 East Broadway (between Jefferson & Clinton streets in Manhattan’s Chinatown.

The second town hall concerns Brooklyn Neighborhood Issues. It is slated for 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 2 at Brooklyn Law School, 250 Joralemon Street (between Boerum Pl & Court St). Issues for discussion on the agenda include parks, healthcare, schools and overdevelopment.

Lander Holds Forums For Seniors & Their Caregivers

City Council Member Brad Lander
City Council Member Brad Lander

Park Slope City Council Member Brad Lander announced a series of forums addressing the needs of seniors on fixed incomes facing hard decisions about care giving needs such as finding enough money to pay rent and medical bills, and the policies and programs available to help.

On Thursday, Lander is holding two senior focused informative events to help ensure seniors and/or their family and caregivers know how to take part in these programs and get the highest level of care possible.

The first is a Medicare Open Enrollment Event slated for 12:45-1:45 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19 at the Park Slope Center for Successful Aging, 463a 7th Street. This short presentation from the Medicare Rights Center will help seniors and caregivers looking to learn about Medicare benefits, the Fall Open Enrollment Period, and programs that help pay Medicare costs.

The second event is a Care Giving 101 Workshop from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19 also at at the Park Slope Center for Successful Aging, 463a 7th Street. Heights and Hills, in conjunction with Park Slope Parents, All Saints Church, Lander and Assemblymember Jim Brennan are teaming up to help make sure you and your loved ones have the knowledge you need to care for an aging loved one. This seminar will help you to assess your situation and take the first steps towards making a decision about how to care for your loved one. Please RSVP to: