NY Lawmakers on the Move, July 18, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Speaker Adams, CM Lee laud launch of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams
City Council Member Linda Lee

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) and City Council Member Linda Lee (D-Queens), chair of the council’s Mental Health Committee, last Friday lauded the launch of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

In 2020, Congress designated the new 988 dialing code to operate through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The White House then increased funding for the 988 program by $282 million to scale up the program through increased language access and staffing at local call centers.

The 988 number is administered by Vibrant and connects individuals across the country who experience mental health-related distress to accessible care and support. Examples of distress include but not limited to: thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis. 

Upon dialing 988, callers will be connected to a live crisis center trained to identify their needs, offer support, and connect them to nearby services as necessary. The national hotline provides translation in English and Spanish, and local network providers offer services in over 250 languages, depending on the area.

“Supporting New Yorkers with accessible mental health care and support is critical, especially in light of the challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. With the launch of the National 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, individuals experiencing mental health-related distress finally have an easy way to reach the help they need. This new dialing code serves as an alternative to 911 for mental health crises, which will result in a more appropriate response for those seeking assistance. We encourage all New Yorkers to spread the word that if you are struggling with mental health challenges, please call 988 and get connected to the support you need,” the lawmakers said.

Zinerman hosts public forum on equitable housing

Assemblymember Stefani L. Zinerman (D-Brooklyn) last week hosted members of the Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights communities, housing advocates and legal experts to Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza to participate in the first in a series of public forums aimed at solving the housing crisis.

Panelists included: Gregory Anderson, President and CEO of the Bridge Street Development Corporation; Bernell Grier, Executive Director of IMPACCT Brooklyn; Brian Honan, Vice President of Intergovernmental Relations for the New York City Housing Authority; Cathleen McCadden-Benjamin, Chief of Staff of New York State Homes and Community Renewal; Ahmed Tigani, Deputy Commissioner of New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

“Housing is a basic human right and is one of four pillars that hold up families and ensure a good quality of life. This forum is a step in reevaluating housing in New York State and considering our collective needs, quality of life and affordability. It is our job as a community to support one another in ensuring our collective security, especially in our homes,” said Zinerman.

“This forum was about collaborating with our neighbors to generate ideas for practical and holistic solutions. I am interested in fair policies that not only keep our struggling populations in their homes, but also protect the interest of our individual homeowners, protecting them from predatory investors. I look forward to further collaboration with the residents and advocates of the 56th District,” she added.

Workshop sessions included: NYCHA Residents – Blueprint for Change and Public Trust; Tenants – Housing Preservation & Development; Homeowners – State Housing, Housing & Committee Renewal.

In breakout sessions, groups discussed a need for greater protections for all including senior homeowners, specifically in the 56th district who are being targeted by predatory investors and enduring deed theft with the support of corrupt and racist judges disinterested in protecting legacy homeowners and supporting gentrification of Black and Brown neighborhoods. Tenants renting in unregulated buildings and NYCHA participants discussed navigating neglectful landlords and an underfunded public trust, asking for elected officials to be greater and stronger advocates.

The next Public Forum on Equitable Housing focused on protections for tenants and homeowners is slated for 6 p.m., Sept. 7. The location is as yet to be determined.

Maloney applauds House passage of legislation to protect abortion access  

Congressional primary
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn), chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, last week lauded the House passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act and the Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act. 

The measures respond directly to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn the constitutional right to abortion guaranteed in Roe v. Wade:

“I am pleased that the U.S. House of Representatives passed two critical pieces of legislation in response to the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision overturning Roe, and Republicans’ extreme goal of banning and criminalizing abortion care nationwide.  The Women’s Health Protection Act enshrines the right to abortion at the federal level and the Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act stops Republicans from targeting people who travel across state lines to access abortion care,” said Maloney.

“Since last month’s Dobbs decision, House Democrats have been unwavering in our efforts to defend the right to access abortion and the full range of reproductive health care.  I urge the Senate to do whatever it takes to swiftly pass these critical bills to protect access to abortion and push back against Republicans’ draconian and unpopular agenda.  It has never been more crucial for Democrats to loudly, fiercely, and passionately fight for legislation to empower and protect women and all people who can get pregnant.”

Rajkumar brings community together to address suspected hate crime

Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar (D-Queens) tomorrow will host a press conference at the intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue, the site of Saturday’s assault of an MTA bus passenger that is being investigated as a hate crime. 

The assemblywoman will convene community leaders, elected officials, and government representatives to condemn the criminal incident.

“We stand together to condemn hate crimes of any form,” said Rajkumar. “Hate based on someone’s race, religion or ethnic background is Un-American. As New Yorkers, we embrace difference. As Americans, we know that we are all in this together, sharing a collective destiny. No matter your background, you should be safe on the streets and in public transportation.”

The assemblywoman continued: “Tuesday, the community will come together to show that my hometown of Woodhaven is welcoming to everyone. Public safety remains my top priority. I am working with Mayor Eric Adams, our police, and community partners to bring an end to rising crime, including the 100% increase in hate crimes. I call for the perpetrators of this hateful assault to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and thank my friends at the 102nd Precinct for referring this case to the state’s Hate Crimes Task Force.”

The press conference is slated for 10 a.m., Tomorrow, July 19 at the intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven, Queens.