Council will also vote to extend rent stabilization requirements

City Hall – Today the City Council will vote on legislation requiring the Department of Consumer affairs to engage in outreach and education efforts on issues that impact individuals aged 16-24. The Council will also vote on legislation extending current rent stabilization laws. Additionally, the Council will vote on legislation requiring the Department of Education to disclose data related to the provision of special education services in city schools.

Consumer Protection Outreach

Introduction 458-A, sponsored by Council Member Mark Treyger, would require the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to engage in outreach and education efforts targeting individuals between the ages of 16 and 24, and focusing on the consumer issues most likely to impact them. The educational material would cover topics such as credit cards, student loans and car loans. This material would be available on DCA’s website in English as well as the six other languages most commonly spoken in New York City; Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean, French Creole and Italian. Additionally, all educational materials would be shared with the Chancellors of the Department of Education and the City University of New York for potential use by their respective institutions.

This legislation would take effect immediately, with educational material being provided by September of 2015.

“In their late teens and early twenties, young people with very little experience managing personal finances find themselves making major decisions with long-lasting implications when they take out student loans, buy a car, or get their first credit card,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This bill will help empower young New Yorkers who are striving for financial independence and security, and it will reach young people in all communities across our city.”

“This legislation will help ensure that our young adults have the knowledge needed to make sound financial decisions and avoid the pitfalls that lead to serious consequences down the road,” said Council Member Mark Treyger. “As a public school teacher, I saw firsthand how students are aggressively targeted by credit card companies and other financial institutions, often without understanding the long term implications of their decisions. This leads to countless young Americans finding themselves in debt early in life, even before they have attended college or purchased a home. This bill will begin to combat that movement by empowering our young people to make sound financial decisions that will protect their financial security. This is the start of a very serious conversation as we work to attack this national issue on a local level. I thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Chair Espinal and my colleagues for supporting this measure.”

Rent Stabilization

Under the New York City Administrative Code, rent stabilization is set to expire on April 1st, 2015. Introduction 685, sponsored by Council Members Corey Johnson, Jumaane Williams, and Helen Rosenthal would extend the provisions of the Rent Stabilization Law through April 1st, 2018.

This legislation would take effect immediately.

“New York City must remain a home for the middle class, and rent stabilization is a crucial part of keeping this city affordable for them,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “It is essential that we protect our stock of affordable and stabilized housing for those who currently live in stabilized housing, and the many others who are looking for relief from rising rents across the city.”

“Year after year, New York City residents continue to face a housing crisis,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “Many are priced out of their homes by inequitable and harassing policies created and sanctioned by the State Legislature. I am proud to be the prime sponsor of the legislation that recognizes this continuing housing emergency and will extend rent-stabilization laws in NYC another 3 years. To further demonstrate the importance of strengthening these existent laws, I will be traveling to Albany this session to demand change from legislators at the state level. Simply too many people have been priced out of their communities – we can do better for New Yorkers.”

“The recently published Housing Vacancy Survey revealed that New York City’s vacancy rate is at 3.45%. Combine that with steadily increasing rents and widespread income stagnation– it’s clear that our City is currently in a housing crisis,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. “In order to ensure thousands of New Yorkers do not see their rent go up or their protection against arbitrary evictions lost, we must enact stronger tenant protections to further develop the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Plan, which intends to create and preserve 200,000 units over the next decade. Strengthening our rent laws is the only option I consider a win in Albany, because simply renewing them would be a major loss for all tenants. It’s my hope that with this legislation passed, our state legislators hear the Council’s recommendations loud and clear, and will further develop a plan that not only complements the Mayor’s Plan, but gives immediate relief to our poor and working class citizens who need it most.”

“Rent-controlled tenants face rent increases of roughly 7.5% annually– while their income is going down,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “I am proud to co-sponsor this Resolution in support of Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal’s bill, which provides rent relief to the over 27,000 people who depend on rent control to stay in their homes.”

Special Education Data Reporting

Introduction 435-A, sponsored by Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm, would require the Department of Education (DOE) to submit to the City Council and post on DOE’s website an annual report that contains comprehensive data regarding the provision of special education services in city schools. Among other things, this data will be useful in determining how quickly and effectively individualized education plans are being implemented for students in the city’s public schools.

This legislation would take effect sixty days after enactment.

“Transparency and accountability regarding special education has long been a goal of mine,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “Finally, working with education advocates and the Department of Education, we put together legislation that will create both. Intro 435-A will require reporting on how long it takes from the time of an initial special education referral to the time a child actually receives service. It will also require reporting on how reevaluations for service are conducted, among other things. This will help us to determine what changes are necessary to create better, more responsive special education services and ultimately, benefit many thousands of students.”