Adams, Hamilton, Cumbo, Richardson Hold Tenants Workshop
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams in conjunction with Central Brooklyn State Senator Jesse Hamilton, Assembly Member Diana Richardson (Crown Heights, Lefferts Gradens) and City Council Member Laurie Cumbo (Crown Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill) are hosting a free “Tenants: Know Your Rights” workshop tonight.
Tenants will have the ability to speak in English or Spanish with advocates and lawyers from Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A (Brooklyn A) about their rights under federal, state, and local laws to protection from unfair practices by landlords.
Adams said the is an extension of his continued efforts to support neighborhoods that are experiencing an increasing risk for tenant harassment. According to data compiled by MNS Real Estate, the cost of the average market-rate rental in Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens rose almost eight percent in the last year.
“With the continued increase in rents, the lack of quality affordable housing has contributed to a crisis in which families in many parts of Brooklyn are threatened with forced displacement from their homes,” said Adams. “We will not allow illegal tenant harassment undermine the rights of anyone in our community. We stand as One Brooklyn that will protect the rights of families and older adults to remain in their homes here in our borough.”
“Too many tenants face being pushed to the margins in neighborhoods they have called home for decades, and too many tenants face harassment from unscrupulous landlords trying to make a quick buck,” said Hamilton. “That is why it is critical to present this ‘Tenants: Know Your Rights clinic — to connect tenants with the advice they need.”
“Very few tenants understand what they are entitled to in the state of New York. It is extremely important that we have programs like the ‘Tenants: Know Your Rights’ clinic available to put power back into the hands of everyday working class people,” said Richardson. “We have seen hard-working tenants with families pushed out of their homes, and it is imperative that we leave very little room for relentless tactics often carried out by landlords.”
“From exorbitant rent increases to poor maintenance, some landlords have used illegal tactics to force longtime residents out of their homes and communities. Through the ‘Tenants: Know Your Rights’ clinic, we can ensure that all tenants are well-informed about their rights to protect themselves against displacement,” said Cumbo.
Last summer, Adams held a series of hearings in Downtown Brooklyn, East Flatbush, and Williamsburg that identified scores of constituent cases with the potential for civil or criminal liability, which his office is currently reviewing alongside legal advocates.
Additionally, he held a tenant harassment legal clinic in December with Brooklyn Legal Services and the Legal Aid Society targeting residents of Brownsville, Cypress Hills, and East New York. In the coming months, he plans to bring similar outreach efforts to other Brooklyn neighborhoods.
The Tenants Rights Workshop is slated from 6-8 p.m., tonight at Grace Reform Church, at 1800 Bedford Avenue in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.
Cymbrowitz hails State Money For Senior Housing
Sheepshead Bay Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz this week hailed the Assembly’s one-house budget proposal which includes includes a multiyear $150 million plan for a new affordable housing program for seniors.
“By 2030, older adults are expected to make up nearly 25 percent of New York State’s entire population. It is critical that we have affordable housing resources in place to meet both the current and long-term needs of low-income elderly New Yorkers,” said Cymbrowitz, Chair of the Aging Committee.
The Assembly’s proposed program, the Developing Affordable Senior Housing program, sets aside $30 million each year for the next five years to encourage the development of affordable rental housing for low-income older adults. The proposal would allow municipalities, not-for-profits, and/or private developers to apply to the Housing Trust Fund Corporation for assistance of up to $75,000 per apartment. The rent would be limited to no more than 30 percent of the senior’s household income.
The timing of this proposal is critical given the federal government’s withdrawal of funding for support of senior housing under the department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 program, Cymbrowitz said.
The federal Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly program, established in 1959, provides housing with supportive services and rental assistance for low-income elderly. The federal government has not provided funding in recent years to develop new Section 202 units.
“This is not a time for essential senior housing programs to be cut but rather to be expanded. Too many seniors live in poverty and face daily struggles trying to pay for essentials such as medications, food and rent within the constraints of a fixed income,” he said. “I’m pleased that the Assembly’s budget proposal is stepping in to fulfill its commitment to this vulnerable constituency.”
Parker Hosts Intersolar Summit
State Senator Kevin Parker (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Ditmas Park, Kensington, Windsor Terrace, and Park Slope) this morning will host the Intersolar Summit USA East.
This year’s summit will focus on energy storage capacity and funding available for solar energy projects in New York State. In light of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) goal to have renewable energy sources constitute 50% of New York’s energy consumption by 2030, Intersolar Summit USA East remains a timely and essential conference that will ensure New York stays on course to meet its energy objectives.
Partners include: NYSERDA, Con Edison of New York, Sustainable CUNY and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
The event is slated for 9:30 a.m. this morning at the New York Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
Velázquez Ushers In House Small Business Measures
Northern and Central Brooklyn Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, the Ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Small Business, yesterday announced the committee approved two pieces of legislation aimed at helping entrepreneurs to succeed.
The measures would strengthen and reform federal Entrepreneurial Development (ED) programs, which target training and technical counseling to business owners and prospective entrepreneurs. A second bill would reform the Small Business Innovation Reform (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which bring R&D funding to small businesses.
“Small businesses are the engine of our economy and the programs we reformed today provide them important assistance,” Velázquez noted. “By ensuring these initiatives are operating at full speed, we can foster entrepreneurship and bolster job creation.”
Velázquez is the author of H.R. 207, the “Developing the Next Generation of Small Businesses Act.” The measure would reform ED programs run by the Small Business Administration (SBA) such as Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and SCORE (formerly the Service Corps of Retired Executives).
Among other changes, the bill would implement uniform accountability standards for local service providers, so entrepreneurs everywhere would receive the same quality of counseling and training. Last year, the SBA resource partners that administer ED training provided over 600,000 individuals with 1 million hours of training.
“Entrepreneurial Development initiatives can help new businesses launch and existing ventures grow. By investing in and improving these programs, we are strengthening our broader economy,” she said.
Donovan Announces Congressional Art Competition
Southern Brooklyn/Staten Island Congressman Dan Donovan yesterday today announced the 2016 Congressional Art Competition.
Open to high school students around the country, the competition is an opportunity for Staten Island and South Brooklyn students to showcase their artistic talents. One winning submission from each Congressional district will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year. Participants may submit original paintings, drawings, collages, photographs, computer-generated art, or a combination thereof.
“I’m excited to be blown away by what Staten Island and South Brooklyn students create. A word of warning, though: I’ll be walking past the winning artwork every day on my way through the Capitol, and I don’t want another reminder of how much hair I’m losing – so no pictures of me,” said Donovan.
Students interested in participating in the competition must register online by April 5 atdonovan.house.gov/art-competition. Submissions are due by the evening of May 5, when Congressman Donovan will host an art show with participants and their families at a local venue. The competition judges will review submissions at the art show and determine a winner by the end of the evening.
Interested students may contact Donovan’s district office at (718) 351-1062 with questions.