NY Lawmakers on the Move, March 21, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Adams Signs Exec Order Strengthening Fire Safety Enforcement

Mayor Eric Adams

New York City Mayor Eric Adams yesterday signed Executive Order 12 to strengthen fire safety enforcement and outreach in the aftermath of the tragic Twin Parks apartment fire in January. 

The executive order will increase coordination between Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) inspectors to identify safety violations earlier and increase fire safety compliance. FDNY and HPD will also launch a broad campaign to educate New Yorkers on fire safety.

“We must work towards equipping every New Yorker and every building in this city with the tools to avoid an unspeakable tragedy like the one we saw two months ago,” said Adams. “As we continue providing critical support for the families affected by the fire, we are working closely with Borough President Gibson, Councilmember Feliz, and our partners across and beyond government to fix this problem upstream. Today’s actions are an essential step towards the goal of preventing this kind of tragedy from ever occurring again.”

Brooks-Powers Makes Eighth Stop On Transportation Listening Tour

City Council Member Selvena N. Brooks-Powers

City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers (D-Queens), chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, yesterday embarked on the eighth stop on a citywide transportation listening tour as a part of her First 100 Day Tour, meeting with elected officials and citywide stakeholders to better understand both infrastructure and transportation needs in communities across the city.

Brooks-Powers joined City Council Member Sandy Nurse (D-Brooklyn) to tour Broadway Junction train station, viewing five intersecting trains as well as the LIRR East New York, only blocks away. 

The Council District 37 tour then visited the Brownsville bus depot and the tour will culminate at the Knickerbocker Avenue M Train line, located at the intersection of Harman Street and Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn.

Following tours in all 50 City Council districts, Brooks-Powers will conclude with listening sessions with each Borough Delegation. Listening sessions will be open to the public and take place virtually to discuss borough-wide issues regarding accessible transportation options, bus routes, train, and commuter line rail issues, for-hire-vehicle rights, and availability, as well as a myriad of issues affecting residents of the five boroughs.

Clarke Co-Leads Legislation Providing Resources To Support Moms Suffering From Mental Health and Substance Abuse issues

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke

U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-Brooklyn) joined with Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA) last week to introduce the bipartisan, bicameral Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act of 2022, legislation to reauthorize and expand a grant program to screen and treat maternal mental health and substance use disorders. 

The reauthorization would create, improve, and/or enhance state programs for better screening and treatment. This federal program was originally created through Clark’s Bringing Postpartum Depression Out of the Shadows Act, which was signed into law in 2016.  

“For the sacred gift of life that it brings, pregnancy can be a precious and blessed time in the lives of mothers who are experiencing it. Tragically though, pregnancy also carries countless dangers to both mothers and their children that can persist long past birth,” said Clarke. “This legislation is not only a necessary step towards providing new and expecting mothers and their children with the resources they need to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, but it reaffirms our commitment to support mothers through whatever difficulties they may face. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in this noble pursuit.”

Kavanagh, Cymbrowitz Spearhead Rally to Call for Housing Voucher Program To Be Included in NYS Budget 

State Senator Brian P. Kavanagh (source: nysenate.gov)
State Senator Brian P. Kavanagh
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz

State Sen. Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) and Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), chairs of the Senate and Assembly Housing Committees, tomorrow will be joined by elected colleagues and housing advocates to call for the State budget, to include $250 million in funding for the Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP), proposed in bill S2804B/A3701, authored and first introduced by Kavanagh and Cymbrowitz in 2020. 

The funding was included in both the Senate and Assembly budget resolutions passed on March 14th. Three-way negotiations are now underway among the Governor, the Senate, and the Assembly toward adopting a final budget by March 31st.

In January, Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled her record-setting budget proposal, calling it a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” for the state. The homelessness and eviction crises have represented a profound failure in New York’s efforts to provide for people’s most basic needs for decades now. Creating a new, comprehensive, statewide rental assistance program would truly be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to end homelessness in the state of New York. The initial funding would house about 20,000 households in the first year of the program.

The rally is slated for 10:30 a.m., tomorrow, March 22, 2022 on the Million Dollar Staircase, NYS Capitol, in Albany.

Gillibrand Pushes for $4 Billion In Funding for Homeless Assistance Grants

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) last week partnered with fellow senators to call on President Joe Biden to increase funding for shelters and services for unhoused people in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. 

While many state and city governments have stepped up to meet the homeless crisis, the $4 billion Gillibrand is requesting for the Homeless Assistance Grants (HAG) program would bolster and assist with funding many of the programs that are addressing and helping combat homelessness the issue. Despite the fact that many cities and states have been able to increase the number of available shelter beds, as well as find short-term solutions with COVID relief funding, many of those resources are dwindling.

“Finding solutions means working together at the federal, state and local level to deliver resources to prevent vulnerable families from falling into homelessness, and helping those who already have,” said Gillibrand. “These partnerships are essential to aiding those who have fallen through the safety net and to getting at the root of this stubborn problem.”

New York City has been greatly impacted by the homelessness crisis, with approximately 80,000 people currently experiencing homelessness throughout the five boroughs, including over 20,000 children. These individuals and families, who are the most visible face of homelessness, populate the City’s vast and complex shelter systems, where the average stay lasts more than a year. These families also comprise those who are unsheltered and living on the streets or the MTA subway system, a group that often also deals with high rates of health and mental health concerns.

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