MAYOR ADAMS ANNOUNCES OPENING OF SATELLITE ASYLUM SEEKER SITES

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Manuel Castro announced an additional eight Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation sites that will be opened across the five boroughs, in an effort to continue supporting newly arrived individuals and families seeking asylum. Eight community-based organizations have been chosen and granted $2.1 million to run these sites that will build on the ongoing work of the city’s first Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center, operated by Catholic Charities of New York.

“The city’s first Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Centers has served nearly 7,000 individuals since opening a few short months ago, and I’m proud to expand the footprint of this important work across all five boroughs to support the asylum seekers arriving in our city every day,” said Mayor Adams. “In partnership with these eight community-based organizations, these additional centers will help support the more than 26,000 asylum seekers who have arrived here in New York City with a range of services including legal assistance, medical care, and school enrollment. New York City will continue to do all we can to meet our moral and legal mandates and welcome and support asylum seekers arriving here, and these sites will play an important role delivering critical services directly to families and individuals who need them.”

“Throughout the city’s response to the asylum seeker crisis, we have worked in partnership with community-based organizations,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Today’s announcement builds upon that work and offers additional layers of support for individuals and families seeking a new home in New York City. Thank you to our partners who will continue to serve asylum seekers at satellite locations in all five boroughs.”

“New York City has led the nation’s response to the influx of asylum seekers, launching the first Asylum Seeker Navigation Center,” said MOIA Commissioner Castro. “Today, we take another stride forward by announcing several community organizations that will serve as satellite sites across the five boroughs to support our new neighbors. Through this effort, our administration will continue to lead with care and compassion and empower our newest New Yorkers with resources and services.”

The selected organizations will provide individuals and families with in-person support — in Spanish and in other languages — including a variety of supplemental services, comprehensive case management, and immigrant rights workshops:

  • Aid for Aids International
  • African Communities Together (ACT)
  • Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of New York
  • Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services Brooklyn & Queens
  • Coalicion Mexicana
  • La Colmena
  • Mercy Center
  • Mixteca Organization
  • New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE)

The city’s first Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center — located at the American Red Cross of Greater New York headquarters — will continue to operate on weekdays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and provide individuals and families with in-person support. Services at the navigation center and Catholic Charities sites will be available by appointments and walk-ins are accepted in all other locations. Appointments can be made by community-based partners and certain city agencies, including city shelter staff. Since this humanitarian crisis began, the city has — largely on its own — taken fast and urgent action, managing the arrival of a rapidly increasing number of buses across New York City with virtually no coordination from states sending them — opening 57 hotels as emergency shelters and three humanitarian relief centers already.

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No reason for your decision is required. Since we are a global and Caribbean-American publication, our Person of the Year most of the time is someone of Caribbean heritage but this is not a prerequisite.

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Zeldin seeks Caribbean-NY Vote

Congressman Lee Zeldin, who is running for governor of New York, and his running mate Alison Esposito met with representatives of the Caribbean community in New York City. Polls reflect a close race between Governor Kathy Hochul and Zeldin. While acknowledging that most Caribbean voters are Democrats, Zeldin said he hopes to earn their vote. Zeldin and Esposito provided thorough answers to questions. Many attendees asked what a possible Governor Zeldin will do about the “so-called affordable housing” where the monthly rent is $2700-$3100, making it difficult for people who earn $50,000 or less not to qualify. Zeldin said after 20 years of Democrat governors during that time, two resigned in disgrace, “the system is broken; therefore, a new and strong leadership is essential.” Some attendees at the roundtable meeting said they are lifelong Democrats but plan to vote for Zeldin and Esposito because they are frustrated with the breakdown of law and order and the poor leadership exhibited by seasoned Democrats. They urge voters to cast their ballot for Zeldin.

Nine days of Early voting across New York State begins on October 29. Voters are urged to vote during one of the nine days (Oct 29-Nov. 6) rather than waiting until November 8.

 

2nd from L: Candidate for Lt. Governor Alison Esposito.

Head Table-L-R: Joe Pinion, Candidate for the U.S. Senate whose mom is Jamaican, Alison Esposito and Congressman Lee Zedlin.    (Photo Leonard McKenzie)

 

 

NYC Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit hosts send-off celebration for 100+ CUNY interns

CUNY Interns conducted proactive outreach, reaching hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.

New York The Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU) held a celebratory send-off event for the more than 100 CUNY Career Launch interns who spent their summers conducting outreach about critical governmental benefits with their team. Interns gained practical skills as they implemented PEU’s innovative and grassroots outreach strategies, including targeted phone calls, peer-to-peer text messaging, and door-to-door canvassing. This outreach was designed to identify New Yorkers in need and connect them to critical City, State, and Federal resources.

CUNY interns share an informational flier with a passerby while canvassing at PEU and Univision’s Contigo A Salvo event in Astoria Park. Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU).

 

After an intensive three-day training program, interns jumped right in, distributing information and resources to more than 50,000 NYers on a range of topics, from tenants rights to health insurance enrollment to MetroCard discounts. During their time at PEU, interns attended over 40 tabling and outreach events, canvassed alongside Mayor Adams, appeared on television promoting NYC’s Fair Fares program, and used social media to get the word out about various benefits. They hit the pavement to promote GetCoveredNYC, NYC Care, Univision Nueva York’s Contigo A Salvo campaign, and more. Interns also offered free benefits screening to New Yorkers across the City using the ACCESS NYC screening tool.

 

 

CUNY interns alongside Mayor Eric Adams PEU’s Access to Care Week of Action, hosted with NYC CARE. Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU).

 

 

CUNY intern poses with her Certificate of Completion during the closing ceremony. Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU).

Last week, as the students left their posts to return to school, PEU held a goodbye celebration with speakers, a photobooth, and presentations. Interns reflected on their favorite memories during their internship and shared their testimonials of how they were able to make an impact in different communities.

One of those interns was Nate, an incoming first year student at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Reflecting on his time with PEU, Nate shared, “[The internship] helped me to be more open to people, it also helped me to build my confidence.” Nate canvassed across New York City and found that New Yorkers were excited to hear about the many resources he and his fellow interns were sharing information about. “At the end of the day,” he said, “I always wanted to help people.” As he prepares to start his first semester, Nate’s excited to begin taking theater classes for his major, during which, he said, he’ll be applying what he learned in his internship. “When we’re out canvassing, you’re the center of [attention] and you have to be bold. I’ll take that with me into my acting classes as well.”

Another intern, Jen, reflected on her time canvassing with that Mayor, spreading information with New Yorkers about tenants rights and NYC’s rent freeze programs. They canvassed together in her home borough of the Bronx. “As he shook my hand,” she said, “I was inspired.” A medical student at Hunter College, Jen noted how important it was to learn about tenants rights and programs like rent freeze, which contribute to the collective well-being of communities like hers. She closed by saying, “As a community, we should come together and stay together, and that’s what I learned from being part of the Mayor’s PEU team.”

 

 

CUNY intern, Jen, shakes hands with Mayor Eric Adams during their Rent Freeze canvass in the Bronx. Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU).

As New York continues to recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in both outreach connecting New Yorkers to City services and the futures of young people is key to ensure that our city gets back on its feet, better than ever.

“Through this program, CUNY interns are harnessing the real education. You are getting a peak into the lives of everyday New Yorkers,” said NYC Mayor Eric Adams. “There’s nothing more difficult than engaging with a stranger. But when you’re doing outreach like this for the City, you’re not only engaging with a stranger, you are also giving them the resources they need to thrive.”

“Proactively meeting people in their communities is a key component of PEU’s mission to connect New Yorkers to city services,” said Adrienne Lever, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU), “we’re delighted to have partnered with the CUNY Career Launch program in order to expand our outreach capacity, while supporting talented CUNY students launch their careers. We are sad to see them go but are so proud of the work we did together, and cannot wait to see what the future holds for these bright New Yorkers.”

“Paid internships put our students on the pathway to careers, helping them gain experience and make connections while making money they need. Internships also help our students secure jobs upon graduation, which is why I was thrilled to partner with Mayor Adams to launch CUNY Career Launch,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “The 100 interns in the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit continue CUNY’s long history of civic engagement and I know that what they learned will benefit them for years to come. I’m proud we have a Mayor who has faith in our CUNY students to make a difference and who continues to find ways to engage them in meaningful work-oriented opportunities.”

“I learned that a lot of New Yorkers don’t know about these programs being offered and getting to help them made me happy,” said CUNY Career Launch Intern Noely Guzman. “I became more outspoken. Talking to strangers is scary and challenging but it was a good experience to get out of my comfort zone.”

 

 

CUNY intern Noely Guzman poses with her Certificate of Completion. Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU).

 

About the Public Engagement Unit

The NYC Public Engagement Unit (PEU) was created to develop a new model for government outreach, using community organizing principles to re-envision how the City provides services to its most vulnerable communities. Rather than expecting constituents to navigate a complex City bureaucracy to get the help they need, PEU adopts grassroots tactics to meet residents where they are — at their doors and on their phones, in their social media feeds and in their communities. PEU combines this proactive outreach with comprehensive case management, and in doing so, combats disillusionment and builds long-term relationships between New Yorkers and their government.

About CUNY Career Launch

Career Launch provides 2,000 CUNY students with an opportunity for valuable paid work experience that connects to their major and career goals, as well as the opportunity to grow their professional networks. CUNY Career Launch is part of the City’s broader summer 2022 youth employment campaign.

About The City University of New York

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving over 260,000 undergraduate and graduate students and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.

 

 

PEU staff and CUNY interns pose together at PEU’s Access to Care Week of Action, hosted with NYC CARE. Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU).

FACTS IN CARIBBEAN-AMERICAN HISTORY

FACTS IN CARIBBEAN-AMERICAN HISTORY

1697: The British Caribbean is more valuable to Britain than her North American colonies – Barbados trade is more than Carolina, New England, New York and Pennsylvania combined.

1751: George Washington and his brother Lawrence visit Barbados to recuperate. (The only place outside the 13 American colonies Washington visited.)

1827: A Jamaican, John B. Russwurm, together with Rev. Cornish, a Presbyterian pastor, establishes African American newspaper, Freedom Journal.

1942: Hugh Mulzac who was born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines becomes the first black to captain a ship in the U.S. Merchant Marine.

1974: Mervyn Dymally, Trinidad & Tobago born and raised becomes one of the first two blacks elected as Lieutenant Governor since the Reconstruction era. Dymally was elected in California.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

African History – Black History Month Quiz

Can you name the five former Caribbean and African colonies that won their independence or became nations during January and February?

HAITI

On January 1, 1804, the French colony of Saint Domingue declared itself an independent nation. The colony restored the name the Taino Indians called their beautiful island Ayiti (Haiti). By then Toussaint Louverture who led successful slave revolts was imprisoned in the French Alps by Napoleon Bonaparte. But Jean Jacques Dessalines and Grenada-born Henri Christophe continued the struggle climaxing with Jean Jacques Dessalines’ proclamation of independence. Yes, the slaves of Haiti established the first black nation in the Americas. Although Toussaint Louverture and others were inspired by the 13 American colonies unilateral declaration of independence, the U.S. did not support the new nation. The nation was obligated to pay France 150 million gold francs as compensation for its flourishing sugar colony. The final amount was paid in 1947.

REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA

On February 18, 1965, a British colony in West Africa, Gambia, achieved independence from England. The nation is officially called The Republic of The Gambia. All the people who lost their lives in the Bronx, NY, fire in January 2022 were immigrants from The Gambia.

GRENADA

On February 7, 1974, Premier Eric Gairy led Grenada – the islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique – into independence. In late 1973, two delegations from Grenada went to England to discuss independence. A delegation consisting of leaders opposed to Gairy also visited London for the constitutional conference. Members of the anti-Gairy delegation included Maurice Bishop and Bernard Coard who overthrew Gairy in 1979. Bishop, H.A. Blaize, Coard and others informed the British Government that they were in favor independence but not under Gairy. Nevertheless, the British granted the spice island colony its independence. Unlike Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados, Grenadians achieved independence under tense conditions. There was no electricity, supporters of the opposition boycotted independence ceremonies and most radical leaders such as Maurice Bishop were arrested during the impendence days.

SAINT LUCIA

On February 22, 1979, John Compton who was born on neighboring Canouan Island in 1925, a part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and who spent most of his adult life in Saint Lucia, led the Associated State into independence. During direct British rule, Compton was Chief Minister (1964-1967) and when England initiated the process of preparing its colonies for independence, Compton became Saint Lucia’s first premier when Associated Statehood was granted on March 1, 1967. Saint Lucia celebrates its 43rd anniversary of independence on February 22 where Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state. But will the nation transition into a republican system of government by February 22, 2023?

 

Lisa Flores – Risk Management Boss

MAYOR-ELECT ADAMS APPOINTS LISA FLORES AS DIRECTOR OF MAYOR’S OFFICE OF CONTRACT SERVICES, MARJORIE LANDA AS DIRECTOR OF NEWLY-CREATED MAYOR’S OFFICE OF RISK MANAGEMENT AND COMPLIANCE

Today, Mayor-elect Eric Adams announced his appointments of Lisa Flores as director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) and Marjorie Landa as director of the newly-created Mayor’s Office of Risk Management and Compliance. These offices, which he described as central to his vision for delivering an accountable, efficient, and transparent government to New Yorkers, will report to his chief counsel Brendan R. McGuire, a former Chief of Public Corruption in the Southern District of New York. Mayor-elect Adams highlighted the track record of these accomplished public servants, both of whom have most recently served in the New York City Comptroller’s office, as affirmation of his longstanding commitment to building a team of proven leaders committed to good government.

“Rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in our agencies will help our City deliver for those who need it most, and these new appointees will serve as watchdogs for our city and make sure taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately,” said Mayor-elect Adams. “I pledged to both create a more efficient City government as mayor and finally reverse the inequalities that keep so many in our city from thriving. Inefficiency leads to inequality, and when government is spending irresponsibly and agencies are working in conflict with each other, everyday New Yorkers suffer. This is about holding our government to the highest standard of ethics and ensuring it delivers for everyday New Yorkers — because if you don’t inspect what you expect, it’s all suspect. Good government begins with accountability, efficiency, and transparency; that’s exactly what I’m committed to as mayor, working with these impressive public servants.”

Council Votes to Ban Gas Usage in New Buildings

City Hall, NY – In its last Stated Meeting of the year and the term, the Council today will cap off its legacy of working towards bold climate and environmental justice by voting on three relevant bills and a resolution. First, to help New York City reach carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner, the Council will vote on groundbreaking legislation to significantly reduce building emissions and instead promote energy efficiency and electrification. The bill would prohibit the combustion of substances with certain emissions profiles in new buildings within New York City and direct the Commissioner of Buildings to deny construction documents and permits for new buildings that would require these fuels, with some exceptions where electrification might not yet be a feasible substitute.

To avoid unnecessary energy usage from leaving lights on in offices or other spaces at night, the Council will vote on a bill that would require the installation of occupancy sensors to limit illumination in buildings owned by New York City. This requirement would apply to spaces in at least 25% of City-owned buildings by 2023, at least 40% of such buildings by 2025, at least 75% of such buildings by 2027, and all such buildings by 2030.

Similar legislation pertaining to lighting would also help prevent the unnecessary death of migratory birds in New York City. The Council will vote on a bill that would require all non-essential outdoor lighting in buildings owned by the City, or in leased buildings where the City is the only tenant, to be turned off between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. during peak migration periods for birds. The legislation would also require the City to use its best efforts to include provisions in lease negotiations to require these same requirements for buildings where the City shares the building with other tenants.

The Council will also vote on a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to pass and the President to sign the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, which would commit up to $180 billion over a decade to rehabilitate, upgrade, and transition 1.2 million public housing units across the nation in a way that addresses energy efficiency and workforce development.

Pertaining to New Yorkers’ health, the Council will vote on legislation in relation to requiring added sugar notifications in chain restaurants. Specifically, the bill would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to issue a rule designating an icon to be clearly displayed next to listed prepackaged food items on menus or menu boards, and on prepackaged food items on display that exceed a specified level of added sugars, including, but not limited to, 100 percent or more of the daily value for added sugars. It would also provide a factual warning statement about high added sugars intake. A year after the issuance of the rule, chain restaurants in New York City will be required to follow such rule or face financial penalties of $200-$500. This bill would also require DOHMH to conduct public outreach to educate restaurants about these requirements.

Additionally, the Council will vote on a bill that would require DOHMH to track and issue a report on New Yorkers’ mental health during the COVID-19 public health emergency. With about one third of all adult New Yorkers reporting symptoms of anxiety and/or depression at a rate more than triple self-reported pre-pandemic rates, the City needs more comprehensive data to better provide mental health services in response. The report would be published every six months and would include: the number of 311 and 911 calls relating to mental health, related emergencies, and substance misuse or overdoses; the number of calls received by any mental health hotline maintained by the department or by another agency; the number of hospital admissions for overdoses or that were substance use-related; and any other relevant information the Commissioner of Health deems appropriate. The data required would be disaggregated by age, race, gender, zip code, and any other demographic category that the department deems relevant, to the extent such demographic information is available. Additionally, on an annual basis, the report would include a description of any trends in adverse mental health of New Yorkers during the COVID-19 public health emergency and any steps taken by DOHMH to address them.

The Council will also vote on a health-related resolution, calling on the New York State Department of Health to create stand-alone, self-contained isolation centers or units for the treatment of patients with infectious disease due to epidemic, including highly contagious and airborne diseases.

To improve workforce equity and hiring transparency, the Council will vote on legislation that would make it an unlawful discriminatory practice to not include in job listings the minimum and maximum salary offered for any position located within New York City.

Two bills will also address specific gender-based harassment and violence experiences. First, one piece of legislation would require the establishment of a street harassment prevention advisory board to advise the Mayor and the Council on the prevalence of the issue, and recommend prevention measures. The board would study the occurrence of street harassment, identify those most at risk, and develop and recommend programming and educational materials for city agencies, public awareness and prevention, support and resources for victims, and information on non-criminalization responses.

Another bill would require the Police Department to train officers on responding to incidents involving domestic violence, sexual crimes, and human trafficking. The training would be delivered to all new recruits and every two years thereafter to all members of service who regularly interact with crime victims. The training would be developed from recommendations made by an interdisciplinary, interagency committee consisting of representatives of the NYPD, the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-based Violence, and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, as well as domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking service providers.

A related resolution before the Council would call on the Department of Education to provide training for school administrators, teachers, and building staff on human trafficking prevention strategies.

The Council will also be voting on legislation to ensure that the annual Voter Guide published by the City’s Campaign Finance Board reaches as many New Yorkers as possible. Specifically, the bill would require the Voter Guide to be published in six additional languages—meaning it would be available each of the top eleven languages spoken throughout the City. In addition, the bill would require the online version of the Voter Guide to include a video statement from each candidate and with each video including captioning in eleven languages and translation in American Sign Language. Finally, the bill would require the Voter Guide to be made available in a format that is accessible to New Yorkers with print and vision disabilities.

The Council will also vote on a bill to expand accessibility for people with hearing disabilities in movie theaters. The bill would require that movie theaters provide open captions for at least one quarter of all showings of each movie they show. At least half of the open captioned showings would be during peak attendance hours.

A September 2019 New York Times article exposed that the Department of Buildings’ enforcement of Construction Codes often resulted in penalties that disproportionately affected owners of one- to four-family homes. These smaller property owners were often unaware that certain conditions violated the Construction Codes, and after being issued an initial notice of violation, they found themselves in a cycle of re-inspection and issuance of new violations for the same condition, even while trying to pull a permit to correct the condition. DOB agrees that the sites that pose true safety concerns are, with some exceptions, construction sites, therefore it is not beneficial to continue this complicated enforcement cycle with small property owners. With that in mind, the Council will vote on a bill that would limit DOB penalties for failure to certify correction and re-inspection requirements to construction sites only, and specifically create an exception for one- to four-family homes from these two requirements. This bill would also allow that, for one- to two-family homes, DOB can issue a request to correct in lieu of a notice of violation, as long as that property had not received a DOB violation in the previous five years and the violating condition is not an illegal conversion or an immediately hazardous violation that led to death or serious injury. This bill would allow DOB to refocus its enforcement efforts from small properties to the construction sites that pose true safety risks.

The Council will also vote on legislation that would complete the most recent revision cycle to the New York City Fire Code, with amendments based on the 2015 edition of the International Fire Code, and additional provisions that reflect New York City’s unique environment. The Fire Code amendments include a comprehensive revision to energy storage system requirements, with the goal of establishing a regulatory framework that opens the door to lithium-ion and other new battery technologies to power buildings and building systems—all while assuring appropriate building fire safety. The bill would also establish a regulatory framework for New York City’s emerging distilled spirits industry, authorize the use of hydrogen fuel cells to further the City’s clean energy efforts, and include hundreds of other substantive and technical amendments to improve fire safety in the city.

To improve stove safety, the Council will vote on a bill that would amend the Housing Maintenance Code by requiring owners of units in multiple dwellings to provide to tenants with either permanent stove safety knobs with integrated locking mechanisms or stove knob covers for each knob located on the front of each gas-powered stove at the tenant’s option. This bill would also require unit owners to keep a record of tenant outreach regarding the installation of these permanent stove safety knobs or stove knob covers.

Additionally, the Council will vote on legislation to better enforce Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program requirements citywide. MIH, a zoning tool developed by the Department of City Planning and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, was implemented through a 2016 New York City Zoning Resolution amendment. It requires that when an area is rezoned to allow for more housing development, a certain proportion of affordable housing must also be included to create more economically diverse communities across New York City and ensure that a share of new housing in growing communities is affordable. Because enforcement mechanisms are necessary to ensure housing development compliance with MIH’s eligibility requirements, this bill would authorize HPD to enforce the affordable housing provisions placed within the department’s responsibility in accordance with the Zoning Resolution. The bill would establish the ways HPD is empowered to enforce the provisions and allows HPD to act through proceedings in the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, civil judicial proceedings, HPD investigations, appointing an authorized monitor, or other special remedies. This bill would also require HPD to create rules that specifically prohibit: occupancy of an affordable housing unit by anyone other than a qualifying household; unlawful configuration, distribution, sizing, or use of an affordable housing unit; charging unlawful monthly rent or fees for an affordable housing unit; filing a certification of correction of a violation or a statement that an unlawful use or condition has been corrected or did not exist that contains material misstatements of fact; failing to comply with an order issued by HPD under its Inclusionary Housing Program enforcement authority; charging of any unlawful sale prices or fees for an affordable housing unit; failing to comply with primary residence requirements; and unlawful restriction of access to the premises.

Anticipating the needs of a changing economic landscape and a soon expiring eviction moratorium in New York City, the Council will vote on a bill to make the Human Resources Administration’s emergency assistance grant program more accessible and transparent. These grants can be used to pay for rental arrears and utilities, assisting New Yorkers who are unable to meet an expense due to unforeseen situations or events such as homelessness, eviction or dispossession, utility disconnection or a pending shut off, disasters, domestic violence, or circumstances that affect people’s health and safety. This bill would require the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services to enhance the program process by posting information about the grants on the HRA website and enhancing applications by creating an informational sheet for prospective applicants in plain language. The informational sheet would include which forms and materials an applicant would need to submit and whether an applicant may be required to pay back any benefits, if received. It would also require the Commissioner to improve the administration of the grants in response to the increased need due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to conduct increased outreach on the program.

Related to evictions, the Council will also vote on a resolution calling on the New York State legislature to enact and the Governor to sign A.5573/S.3082, which would limit circumstances in which a landlord could recover possession of a rental unit, or fail to renew a lease to specific “good cause” grounds for removal including failure to pay a rent that has not been unreasonably increased, violation of a substantial obligation under the lease, use of the property for illegal activity, or unreasonably refusing access to make necessary repairs.

To continue looking out for the City’s homeowners, the Council will also vote on legislation that would extend the J-51 tax exemption and abatement program through June 30, 2022. The J-51 Tax Incentive program is an as-of-right property tax exemption and abatement program that provides benefits to owners of multi-family residential buildings who undertake certain conversions, alterations, or capital improvements on their properties. The tax exemption provides temporary relief from an increase in real estate taxes that would otherwise result from the increase in assessed value of the property due to such eligible work, while the tax abatement reduces or eliminates existing real estate taxes based on a percentage of the cost of the work that was performed. For this State authorization to continue, the City Council must extend the program via local law, for which the State has since enacted legislation authorizing the Council to do so.

Given the affordability crisis our City continues to face, the Council will vote on a bill to create a Task Force studying the feasibility of converting both vacant and commercially unviable office space to different uses, including but not limited to affordable housing development. Under this legislation, the Task Force would be required to consider factors like potential effects on health and welfare, and economic implications of such conversions.

The Council will also vote on two technology related bills. With automated decision systems and artificial intelligence being used more frequently to assist with evaluating financial, physical, and mental well-being, the Council will vote on legislation to keep tabs on algorithm usage in City agencies. The bill would require an annual report by agencies to the Mayor’s Office of Operations on automated decision systems they used at least once in the prior year, except when such a disclosure would endanger public safety. Such disclosure would include the commercial name and a brief description of the algorithmic tool, its purpose, and the type of data it collected and analyzed. The Mayor’s Office of Operations would be required to compile the information disclosed by agencies and submit a report to the Mayor and the Speaker of the Council every year.

The second technology bill would require the Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications to designate an employee to serve as the Chief Geospatial Information Officer. The Officer would oversee a geospatial information system (GIS) that manages, analyzes, and maps several types of data in support of responding to emergency crises like floods, storms, and hurricanes.

To confront the ongoing crisis of gun violence in New York City, the Council will be voting on Legislation to establish a new Office for Neighborhood Safety and the Prevention of Gun Violence. Building on the work of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence, this new Office would address gun violence and public safety holistically, using an approach that considers socioeconomic and public health factors. Among other things, the Office would administer the City’s Crisis Management System, which uses a “cure violence” approach to stop neighborhood violence at its source. Launched in 2014, the CMS grew out of a proposal from the Council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence. By enshrining this and other related programs in the City’s Charter, this bill would ensure that such programs become a permanent fixture of the City’s government.

Relatedly, because of the benefits of peaceful conflict resolution, the Council will vote on a resolution that calls on the DOE as well as the New York State and federal governments to include instruction in peaceful conflict resolution as part of the required curriculum in all schools, starting in elementary schools.

FORMERLY INCARCERATED INDIVIDUALS CAN OBTAIN IDNYC CARDS

     NEW YORK—The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Raquel Batista, NYC Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Steven Banks, and NYC Department of Correction Commissioner (DOC) Vincent Schiraldi today announced reforms to help formerly incarcerated individuals to obtain identification.  

      To obtain an IDNYC, the City’s free municipal identification card, applicants must prove their identity by showing several forms of ID. Today, the City is expanding its list of acceptable documents to include ID information and photos maintained by DOC. The information already maintained by DOC as part of the detention process will serve as one point of identification, easing the steps to get an IDNYC card for formerly incarcerated individuals. 

      “At the Department of Social Services, our top priority has been improving social services delivery through a range of reforms that make it easier for New Yorkers in need to access the resources to which they are entitled,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “With basic proof of identification needed to apply for and access many government services and supports, the IDNYC program has given more than a million New Yorkers an effective form of ID and made our City fairer and more inclusive – but we knew we could take that progress further. This common-sense reform will help us better support more New Yorkers, regardless of background, which includes addressing the unique needs of individuals who’ve experienced criminal legal system involvement, who deserve the same access to opportunity and services as other New Yorkers.” 

       “Formerly incarcerated individuals are often left vulnerable due to the transient nature and varied circumstances when released from DOC custody,” said Raquel Batista, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “This effort will allow the procurement of necessary identity documents after their release so they can experience a safe integration back to society and experience IDNYC’s wide variety of benefits.” 

      “A core part of our mission is to help people return to their communities with tools that will allow them to thrive,” said Vincent Schiraldi, Commissioner of the Department of Correction. “This is a common-sense effort that will make people’s lives better.”  

      Individuals leaving DOC custody often do not have photo identification, which impedes their ability to reintegrate into the community and access critical assistance programs and benefits. This new effort will help facilitate reentry for formerly incarcerated individuals by allowing them to use documentation produced in connection with their detention as proof of identity in obtaining IDNYC.  

      To apply for IDNYC, applicants will need a total of four points from documents proving identity and NYC residency.  

      For more information about documents accepted by IDNYC and to book an appointment, please visit nyc.gov/idnyc or call 311 and say “IDNYC.” 

      “IDNYC has provided millions of New Yorkers from various backgrounds with the necessary identification to access vital services in our city regardless of their immigration status. With this new announcement, formally incarcerated New Yorkers will also now be able to benefit from this program and have one less barrier to reintegrating back into society. I want to thank the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the NYC Department of Social Services, and the NYC Department of Correction for their support and collaboration on this important initiative,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson. 

      “Now more than ever, we need to ensure all New Yorkers can have access to critical government services, including health and vaccine access, to combat the new COVID19 Omicron variant. And having identification is key to unlocking these services. The new IDNYC initiative with the Department of Corrections that ensures formerly incarcerated can prove their identity through DOC records is the right step to help these New Yorkers get back on their feet,” said Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration. “As the lead sponsor of the IDNYC legislation, I envisioned a program that made it easier, but securely, for vulnerable New Yorkers regardless of their immigration or economic status to get their municipal ID. MOIA’s new initiative with DOC gets us closer to a vision of justice.” 

      “To justly support formerly incarcerated individuals’ reentry to our communities and the workforce, the city needs to eliminate the barriers that hinder this process. The reforms by the City’s agencies will facilitate getting the identification these individuals need not only for their reentry but to also access critical resources. This is how we advance racial justice,” said Council Member Francisco Moya. 

       “For formerly incarcerated individuals, lack of photo identification often acts as a barrier to reintegration into their communities. Today, New York City is taking action to change that by reducing the points of identification that formerly incarcerated individuals must actively provide, easing the process to get an IDNYC card. I commend the de Blasio administration for taking this step, and I will continue to fight for more reintegration resources and supportive services for the formerly incarcerated,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso 

       “Formerly incarcerated individuals face enough challenges accessing housing, employment, benefits, and other programs as they return home,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “Making the process easier for individuals to obtain an IDNYC card will go a long way. I applaud the inter-agency collaboration by MOIA, DSS, and DOC to make this reform happen.” 

Mayor-Elect Adams Brooklyn’s Inauguration

Mayor-elect Eric Adams announced that the historic Kings Theatre in Flatbush will be the site of his inauguration ceremony, which will be held in conjunction with the ceremonies for Comptroller-elect Brad Lander and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. The event will take place on the evening of Saturday, January 1st to support New Yorkers who observe the Sabbath. It will be in Brooklyn, instead of the traditional location of City Hall, as a tribute to the election of three citywide leaders from the borough.

“It is symbolically impactful for me to be inaugurated as New York City’s 110th mayor in the heart of Flatbush, on behalf of this working-class community and communities like it across the five boroughs who have elected one of their own to lead our recovery. Kings Theatre has made so many wonderful memories over its storied history, and on January 1st we will make even more history there together,” said Mayor-elect Eric Adams.

“I am deeply humbled to begin my first full term as public advocate, and gratified that New Yorkers have appreciated and affirmed the work of our office for the last two years. On January 1st, New York begins a new era with new citywide leadership, and I am eager to partner with my fellow citywide elected officials to work on behalf of and for the betterment of New Yorkers,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

“The oath we will take on January 1st is a promise — a promise to work in partnership and in accordance with our mandates to secure a better future for New Yorkers. I look forward to making that public promise alongside Eric Adams and Jumaane Williams, and to working every day to build a more just and resilient city,” said Comptroller-Elect Brad Lander.

Kings Theatre, formerly Loew’s Kings Theatre, is a live performance venue opened by Loew’s Theatres as a movie palace in 1929 and closed in 1977. The theater sat empty for decades until a complete renovation began in 2010; it reopened in 2015 after an authentic restoration of the original 1929 design and new state-of-the-art building systems.

The theater has a seating capacity of 3,000 people. Non-transferrable invitations will be sent out to attendees, which will include family members, community leaders, and a diverse group of New Yorkers excited for these newly-elected citywide leaders. Attendance will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination status.