Espinal Legislation Targets Bed Bug Control
City Council Member Rafael Espinal Jr. (Cypress Hills, Bushwick, Oceanhill-Brownsville, East New York) is working on two bills related to tracking and eradicating bedbug infestations in the city.
The measures come as bed bug sightings in city hotels have jumped 44% between 2014 and 2015 and a one time bedbug removal service by a professional exterminator can cost as much as $1,500– a huge burden on families and businesses.
“Everyone hates bed bugs — they prey on human flesh and cause huge expenses,” said Espinal. “Bed bugs are a growing annoyance in NYC that pose serious health risks and high costs to New Yorkers. Tenants, homeowners, and businesses pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars to exterminate an infestation and replace damaged furniture and clothing. We as a city must be proactive in this fight by providing New Yorkers with information on where infestations are prevalent, and city officials should use that information to target efforts for immediate eradication.”
Espinal introduced one of the measures yesterday which would require the city’s Departmnet of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to report annually on the bedbug-related complaints they have received; the notices of violations issued by HPD regarding bed bugs; the average time it takes for bedbug violations to be corrected by property owners; and the steps taken by HPD to remediate bed bug violations that are not corrected by property owners.
Additionally, the measure will require HPD to do a public education campaign to inform tenants and property owners of bed bug prevention and remediation measures and responsibilities; and require the department to publish a map on its website of all bed bug-related complaints and their status, which would be updated quarterly.
The second meausre, currently being dafted regards periodic inspections of bedbugs in hotels.
Hamilton Stands Firm On Immigrant Protection
Central Brooklyn State Sen. Jesse Hamilton yesterday joined a group of state lawmakers in announcing that $250,000 in state funds will go towards legal services for people fighting deportations.
The money comes as the lawmakers and immigration lawyers are increasingly concerned that immigrants will be are under attack once President-elect Donald Trump takes office. The funds will go to the Vera Institute of Justice’s New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, which reps indigent immigrants in court and increases the chances that they won’t be deported.
“In keeping with that spirit, I’m proud to stand with colleagues, advocates, and community partners to further protect New York’s immigrant communities. In proposing increased state funding for the Vera Institute of Justice’s New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP), we help secure critical public defender services and uplift values that have been part of New York for generations,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton also lauded Governor Andrew Cuomo, who last week announced three important steps to help protect immigrant communities in New York. They include creating a state police unit to investigate hate crimes, expanding the state’s human rights law to protect students, and establishing a legal defense fund for immigrants.
“I applaud Governor Cuomo for acting proactively to assure New Yorkers their safety, their rights, and their well-being are our priority. No one should have to face this challenge alone,” said Hamilton.
Schumer, Gillibrand & de Blasio Announce HUD Funding For Homeless Vets
U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio yesterday announced $265,536 in federal funding to provide affordable housing for homeless veterans in the city.
The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program. Specifically, the money will reserve a total of 24 apartments at three new building complexes for homeless veterans.
While two of these budilings are in the Bronx, the third is Edwin’s Place located on Livonia Avenue in Brooklyn’s East New York. Currently under construction, the eight-story building will eventually contain 122 supportive and affordable units reserving eight studios for veterans.
“Our veterans put it all on the line for our country and we should be doing everything possible to make sure they get the assistance they need to live independent and successful lives,” said Schumer. “I am very pleased to announce this federal funding, which will help provide affordable housing options to 24 homeless veterans in New York City and ensure they have a place to call home.”
“These federal funds will help provide veterans access to safe and affordable housing,” said Gillibrand. “No man or woman who has served in our military should be homeless here in New York. These federal funds will help our veterans and their families get the resources and assistance they need so they can have a safe place to call home.”
Colton Demands Justice for People with Disabilities
Assemblyman William “Bill” Colton (Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Bath Beach) tomorrow will call on the Parks Department to make amends to the recent sidewalk repairs done in front of 2020 West 7th Street.
Colton said the repair work smacks of discrimination against people with disabilities and he is demanding justice, along with the proper action to resolve the matter.
“Following the recent repairs, the paved portion of the sidewalk makes it extremely difficult for passer-bys, especially those with walkers. The narrow sidewalk, a mere three and a half feet, serves as a burden for the homeowner and the tree pit serves as a hazard, including the chipped sidewalk and gas covers that are tripping hazards,” said Colton.
Colton will highlight the problem at 1 p.m., tomorrow, Dec. 1 at 2020 West 7th Street in Gravesend.
Hikind Rallies To “Stop the Madness on Ocean Parkway”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind (Borough Park) will host a “Stop the Madness on Ocean Parkway” rally this weekend in an effort to fight traffic changes coming to Ocean Parkway.
The changes, which the state Department of Transporation will implement in the coming weeks, include eliminating right turns onto Avenues J, P, Kings Highway and other avenues heading North and South along Ocean Parkway, forcing motorists to turn one block earlier onto the service road to make the right at the intersection.
“Eliminating the right turn on these avenues will pose a dangerous threat to the safety of both pedestrians and motorists alike, ultimately creating havoc, confusion and frustration for all parties involved,” said Hikind of the DOT’s two-year Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety project that will cost over $15 million in taxpayer dollars. “Ocean Parkway is a major thoroughfare that over 100,000 people use on a daily basis. I agree that safety is a top priority, and while I believe the project has good intentions, I’m not the only one who believes these changes will create havoc and frustration.”
Hikind also took to Twitter to praise City Councilman David Greenfield (Borough Park, MIdwood, Bensonhurst), who suceeded in passing a resolution against the changes in the City Council’s stated meeting yesterday.
The rally is slated for 11 a.m., this Sunday, Dec. 4 on the corner of Ocean Parkway and Avenue J.
Harris Reminds Constituents That HEAP Funds Are Available
Assemblywoman Pamela Harris (Coeny Island, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights) yesterday reminded low-income constituents that the federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is now avaialble to help low-income New Yorkers pay their heating costs this winter.
“Whether you rent or own, HEAP is available for low-income New Yorkers who need assistance. HEAP is a first-come, first-served benefit that bases eligibility on a variety of factors, including household size, primary heating source and the age of household members. In 2015, more than 1.4 million households received help from HEAP,” said Harris.
Enrollment for HEAP is currently open, and anyone who may be eligible can apply by visiting nyc.gov/html/hra/html/services/energy.shtml, calling 800-692-0557 or by reaching out to the closest HEAP field office. Here are a few of them in Brooklyn:
- 503 Clermont Ave., 2nd floor
- 3050 W. 21st St., 3rd Floor
- 88 3rd Ave., 1st Floor
- 1 Metro Tech Center, Lobby
- 1535 Pitkin Ave., Lobby