Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move March 16, 2017

News Site Brooklyn

Harris Praises Assembly Budget For Affordable Housing Programs

Assembly Member Pamela Harris

Assemblymember Pamela Harris (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights) announced yesterday she helped pass the Assembly’s 2017-18 state budget proposal, which makes critical investments to address New York’s ongoing affordable housing crisis and help keep people in their homes.

The Assembly’s spending plan provides increased funding for supportive and affordable housing programs and strengthens tenant protections.

“The Assembly’s budget proposal reflects our commitment to ensuring that the hardworking families who helped build our communities can afford to stay and enjoy them,” Harris said. “Affordable and safe housing is the most important building block, and I’ll keep fighting to make sure Brooklyn families have just that.”

The Assembly’s proposed budget increased Gov. Cuomo’s $152.3 billion executive budget by adding $400 million for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The Assembly’s proposal also mandates that the funding go directly to NYCHA to avoid bureaucratic gridlock and provides $1.2 million for NYCHA’s Tenant Watch Program.

Additionally, the Assembly’s plan provides $6.5 million – $2 million over the executive budget – for the Tenant Protection Unit, which helps ensure safe housing. It also allocates $100 million for Mitchell-Lama preservation programs to expand access to privately-owned housing developments, including rentals and co-ops, for middle-class New Yorkers.

In keeping with its commitment to helping seniors, the Assembly’s budget proposal provides $1 million for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) and $1 million to Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NNORCs), which provide on-site services to help seniors live active and healthy lives and stay in their homes. Harris has long been supportive of these initiatives and has fought to increase funding for them.

Cymbrowitz Praises Assembly Budget For Inclusion Of Millionaires Tax To Help Seniors

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach) yesterday hailed the Assembly’s one-house budget proposal for State Fiscal Year 2017-18 for providing $2.5 billion in funding for supportive and affordable housing and a new rental assistance program for low-income seniors in New York City funded by a 2.5 percent tax on multi-million dollar real estate transactions.

Cymbrowitz, togther with Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the 2.5 percent “Millionaires tax” proposal last week to combat the rising unaffordability of housing in the City for older adults. The additional revenue stream would pay for among other things, a new Elder Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) that would provide rental assistance to eligible seniors, including SCRIE recipients, whose household income is less than 80 percent of the area median income (AMI).

Additionally, the Multifamily New Construction Program would receive $476 million under the one-house proposal and $125 million would fund an affordable senior housing program for individuals age 55 and over. The senior housing proposal includes language to ensure that 75 percent of funding goes to seniors who earn up to 60 percent of the AMI.

“The severe shortage of affordable housing for low-income families and seniors has compromised thousands of households,” said Cymbrowitz. “Rents are rising too quickly and stagnant wages and fixed incomes are leaving New Yorkers with few options to remain in their homes and communities. This budget advances several initiatives that will stem the flow of families into homelessness and alleviates the burden of foregoing basic necessities just to afford rent.”

Squadron Praises Assembly’s Inclusion Of “Kalief’s Law”

Sen. Daniel Squadron

State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Northern Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan) yesterday hailed the Assembly’s inclusion of ‘Kalief’s Law’ (S.1998A-Squadron/Aubry), to fix New York’s broken speedy trial law in their one-house budget:

The law is named for Kalief Browder, a then-16-year-old who was accused of stealing a backpack and who spent three years on Rikers Island, because his family could not afford bail. Browder eventually had his case dismissed, but not before he literally spent years awaiting trial, with permanent damage done to his psyche and body. In 2015, he committed suicide as a result of his ongoing depression from his experience on Rikers.

“The right to a speedy trial is guaranteed by the Constitution, but far too often the state fails to meet that obligation. That’s unacceptable. We can fix it with Kalief’s Law, which passed the Assembly unanimously and is included in its one-house budget proposal,” said Squadron.

“The system’s failures against Kalief have become a national beacon of the glaring need for criminal justice reform. However, in New York, the speedy trial process that failed Kalief is unchanged. How many others like Kalief are waiting in a state of trial purgatory, while Albany fails to act?

“The Assembly has yet again recognized the urgency of fixing our state’s broken speedy trial law. The Governor included speedy trial reform in his State of the State, and the Senate Democratic Conference supports reform in the budget. Yet again, the Senate Majority remains silent and stands in the way of basic rights for New Yorkers. I urge the Senate Majority to include speedy trial reform in the final budget.”

Schumer, Gillibrand, Velazquez Voice Frustration With HUD Funding Cuts To NYCHA

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand along with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan) yesterday voiced their frustration with and opposition to the recently-announced federal HUD funding cuts that hit the City’s Housing Authority (NYCHA).

Specifically, $48 million has been cut from NYCHA, and nearly $8 million from NYCHA’s Section 8 program under a change in the proration rate of reimbursement. The lawmakers blasted the cuts as “sudden, ill-advised and unjustified” and called on the new HUD Secretary Ben Carson to promptly review and reverse the proration rate adjustment and undo the cuts, which were made before he assumed control of the agency. And because, during hearings, he pledged to “advocate for the HUD budget.”

“HUD Secretary Ben Carson needs to promptly review and rescind these sudden and unjustified cuts to NYCHA’s budget. They are unjustified, not based on the reality of challenges NYCHA faces and will directly and negatively impact the organization’s ability to provide quality housing for countless working families and seniors,” said Schumer. “Access to affordable housing options, like NYCHA, is essential for the health of our families and the economic strength of our communities. With hundreds of thousands of housing-needy people in New York City alone, we need to do all we can to provide families and children with safe and affordable housing options and that’s why I will fight tooth and nail against any cuts to NYCHA.”

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

“These cuts proposed by HUD will hurt families in communities across the city,” said Gillibrand. “Over 400,000 New Yorkers depend on NYCHA, and these cuts will disproportionately hurt families most in need and cause further delays in critical repairs and inspections. I will continue to vigorously oppose these cuts and will keep fighting to protect resources to help ensure New York families have safe places to call home.”

“These cuts would inflict significant hardship on working families, seniors and other NYCHA residents. We must be united in opposing these steps backwards and pushing the Administration to budget sufficient resources for NYCHA and all public housing facilities,” said Velazquez.

The three federal lawmakers also wrote Carson explaining specifically how the reductions would hurt New Yorkers and to get sufficient information and details to explain why the announced cuts were necessary.

Hamilton Holds 3rd Annual Shirley Chisholm Women of Excellence Awards

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn) on Friday will hold his 3rd Annual Shirley Chisholm Women of Excellence Awards.

The award Recipients include Anne Rabe, Campaign Coordinator, NYS Defender Services; Melinda Alexis-Hayes, Special Counsel for Public Engagement Company, District Attorney, Kings County; Allegra L. Fishel, Founder and Executive Director, Gender Equality Law Center; Kimberly Maier, Executive Director, Old Stone House & Washington Park; Haney Ho, Vice President, Brooklyn Chinese-American Association; Pamela Lindsay, Trinbago Express Shipping; Nicole Brown-Jones, Manager, Healthcare Solutions, EmblemHealth; Shemene Monique Minter, Tenant Association Vice President, Elliott Graham Development; and Tahanie Aboushi, Founding Partner, Aboushi Law Firm.

The event is slated for 6:30 p.m., Friday, March 17 at St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf, 260 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. Please Click here to RSVP.