Council to Vote on Legislation to Provide Safe Time for Victims of Family Offense Matters and to Enhance Department of Homeless Services Reporting and Practices

Council will also vote to Expand Reporting from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and to Increase Transparency from the Department of Small Business Services

City Hall – Today, the New York City Council will vote on legislation to provide safe time for victims of family offense matters. The Council will also vote to enhance Department of Homeless Services (DHS) reporting and practices, and to expand reporting from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Next, the Council will vote to increase transparency from the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), and to improve construction site safety standards. In addition, the Council will vote to amend the due date of financial disclosure reports required following the submission of nominating petitions, and to establish a Hurricane Sandy Recovery Task Force. The Council will also vote on a resolution to authorize the Speaker to file or join amicus briefs challenging any change to the current state of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Finally, the Council will vote on the rezoning of Lower Concourse North in the South Bronx, and on the re-appointment of Robert L. Cohen, M.D. to the Board of Correction.

Providing Safe Time for Victims of Family Offense Matters

Introduction 1313-A, sponsored by Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, would expand Chapter 8 of title 20 of the code, the Earned Sick Time Act, which would be renamed the “Earned Sick and Safe Time Act.” The law would be expanded to allow victims of family offense matters, such as disorderly conduct and harassment, sexual offenses, such as sexual misconduct, forcible touching and sexual abuse, stalking and human trafficking to use earned “safe” hours in connection with overcoming such abuse.

“Survivors of domestic violence, sexual harassment, or human trafficking should not have to worry about losing their job or income because of the need to take days off to tend to their mental health, medical or legal needs,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. “This bill will ensure that survivors and their family members still receive pay while navigating the legal system or receiving social services. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for his partnership on this proposal and my fellow sponsors- for their commitment to protecting survivors of domestic and sexual violence.”

Enhancing Department of Homeless Services Reporting and Practices

Introduction 622-A, sponsored by Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, would require the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to provide information to all new recipients of shelter on domestic violence. Specifically, the bill would require DHS to provide to homeless persons undergoing intake educational materials, including information on the nature and proper reporting of domestic violence and how information on how to access services.

Introduction 1460-A, sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, would amend the provisions of the Administrative Code enacted by Local Law 51 of 1993 establishing a homeless services Advisory Board and an Interagency Coordinating Council. The legislation would repeal the section establishing the Advisory Board and add a section creating a Continuum of Care Steering Committee responsible for advising DHS on the implementation of the requirements of the federal Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009. The Steering Committee would include at least one member who is currently or formerly homeless and representation from relevant organizations. The bill would also require the DHS Commissioner to meet with the steering committee. The bill would also add representatives from additional City agencies as members of the Interagency Coordinating Council and would require the Council to produce an annual report.

“Continuity of care is an essential feature of a well-functioning system,” said Committee on General Welfare Chair Stephen Levin. “As our most vulnerable move through one essential program to the next, we must make sure our city makes the best possible placement decisions. In addition, we must continually monitor our implementation of federal and local standards. That is where the continuum of care steering committee comes in. Led by local homelessness experts and representatives of relevant organizations, including individuals who are currently or formerly homeless, the committee will provide critical advice for continuous improvement. With this legislation, 1460-A, our city will work towards improving and bolstering its safety net.”

Expanding Reporting from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development

Introduction 336-A, sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander, would require the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to report on the amount and location of affordable housing provided through its inclusionary housing programs (including the mandatory inclusionary housing program). The report would also include certain information about the affordable housing, such as the amount and type of government financial assistance provided for such housing.

“Over the last few years, the NYC Council and de Blasio Administration have made great strides in creating and preserving affordable housing for New Yorkers. But NYC’s affordable housing crisis is far from solved. In order to improve and expand the tools that we have, we need reliable, accessible data on the efficacy and impact of NYC’s inclusionary housing programs,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “HPD’s new Inclusionary Housing Map takes a great step in the right direction.  Intro 336 will ensure that policymakers, organizers and advocates can rely on that map to analyze, assess and even enforce the affordable housing programs already in place – and empower us to do the kind of data-driven policymaking that will generate more affordable units, at lower income levels, to benefit existing residents and communities.”

Introduction 942-A, sponsored by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, would require HPD to provide housing development project information in a non-proprietary format that permits automated processing. Additionally, this legislation requires HPD to report to the Council on the completion dates, location, developer information, and the source, type and value of all city financial assistance and other financial assistance provided by the city for housing development projects.

“As the number of affordable housing developments increases around the city we must be transparent about where our tax dollars are going,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “Creating and preserving affordable housing helps stabilize the lives of some of our hardest working low-income and middle class New Yorkers. Our fight for expanding much needed affordable housing will continue, but we must ensure the developers receiving these benefits are good actors. Developers will continue playing important roll as we continue to build more affordable housing and expect that the good ones will support this bill too.”

When developers are subject to the affordability requirements of the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program, they have the option to contribute to an affordable housing fund in lieu of building affordable units. The Zoning Resolution already requires reporting on expenditures from this fund.

Introduction 1645-A, sponsored by Council Member Donovan Richards, would require HPD to annually report on contributions to the affordable housing fund.

“While the in-lieu payment was included in the final plan to avoid financial hardship claims, we want to keep track of the developers who are not contributing affordable units to the solution for the most pressing issue we face today,” said Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises Chair Donovan Richards. “When we lose out on affordable units during development, we must keep track of these funds to ensure that the money is used in the communities and boroughs that it was meant for. Ultimately, this bill is about transparency. It’s about keeping the public informed with online tracking of the investments in their community.”

Increasing Transparency from the Department of Small Business Services

Introduction 1509-A, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, would require the Commissioner of Small Business Services to post on the City’s website online business tools and resources, such as accounting, recordkeeping, and bookkeeping services.

Introduction 1510-A, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, would require the Commissioner of Small Business Services to create a comprehensive workforce development plan based, to the extent practicable, on the results of the state of small business survey. The plan would be due no later than June 1, 2019 and include: strategies for addressing the hiring needs of small businesses, information on addressing workforce development needs, identifying and addressing issues small businesses experience such as barriers to growth, and information on tools and resources that may assist small businesses.

Introduction 1511-A, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, would require the Commissioner of Small Business Services to prepare and disseminate a state of small business survey by September 1, 2018, which would collect information from small businesses, including but not limited to, hiring needs, workforce development needs, barriers to growth, and the need for additional tools and resources.

“Building capacity amongst our small businesses is vitally important to the strength of our economy,” said Committee on Small Business Chair Robert Cornegy. “We know there is a need for training programs for small business workers to fill existing small business jobs. These bills will allow us to quantify this need and ensure we are connecting potential employees with the training they need in order to save small business owners time and money on having to train workers themselves.”

Improving Construction Site Safety Standards

Introduction 1404-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams, would increase the minimum civil penalties and fines for violations of the site safety provisions of the New York City Building Code and the Administrative Code of the City of New York. Immediately hazardous violations for site safety are being increased from $1000 to $2000, and major violations are being increased from no minimum to $1,000.

“Too often, those at the top view the penalties for code violations as simply ‘the cost of doing business,’” said Committee on Housing and Buildings Chair Jumaane Williams. “But as we have seen, these violations can lead to a tragic, human cost in injury and even death. Correcting this dangerous ambivalence toward violations requires making penalties more severe- this bill double the fines for immediately hazardous violations and creates a minimum for major violations. This key piece of the Construction Safety Act will help to change the eroded culture of safety in the construction industry, and I thank both Speaker Mark-Viverito and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for their leadership in the continuing effort to keep our workers safe.”

Introduction 1429-A, sponsored by Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, would require that workers at construction sites that require a site safety manager, site safety coordinator, or a construction superintendent, receive pre-shift instructions, including a discussion of safety concerns regarding the tasks and activities to be performed during that shift.

“After a surge in construction worker deaths in our City, guaranteeing the safety of construction workers is a top priority for this Council,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. “By requiring mandatory safety meetings before any kind of construction or demolition work is set to begin, we ensure that every worker has the information needed to remain safe in the workplace. Eight construction workers have died this year; let’s make sure no one else dies because they lack proper information about safety precautions.”

Introduction 1437-A, sponsored by Council Member Carlos Menchaca, would double the civil penalties for construction sites with excessive violations.

Introduction 1444-A, sponsored by Council Member Mark Treyger, would expand the requirement that workers at construction sites that require a site safety manager, site safety coordinator, or a construction superintendent, receive site-specific safety orientations and periodic refreshers to all construction sites.

“Requiring on-site and accessible safety orientation for construction site workers is a common sense move that will reduce worker injuries and deaths, while limiting the risk of danger to both workers and the public,” said Council Member Mark Treyger. “I thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for leading the push to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.”

Amending the Due Date of Financial Disclosure Reports Following Nominating Petitions

Introduction 1517-A, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, would amend the date on which candidate financial disclosure reports are due to 25 days after the last day for filing a designating or independent nominating petition. It would similarly provide a 25-day filing period for write-in candidates in primary elections and a 20-day filing period for candidates designated to fill a vacancy.

Establishing a Hurricane Sandy Recovery Task Force

Introduction 1720-A, sponsored by Council Member Mark Treyger, would establish a Hurricane Sandy Recovery Task Force to analyze the recovery efforts in New York City in response to Hurricane Sandy and make specific recommendations for preparing the City for future recovery efforts.

“As we continue to send thoughts and prayers to Americans – from Texas, Florida and the Gulf Coast  to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands – suffering in the aftermath of extreme weather events, we have an opportunity to reflect on our city’s own recovery process and the valuable insights we have gained in the five years since Sandy,” said Committee on Recovery and Resiliency Chair Mark Treyger. “The task force this legislation would create will develop a holistic understanding of the recovery process and a blue print that we and other communities across the nation can use to be better prepared and more resilient the next time we face an extreme weather event.”

The City Council will also vote on the following resolution…

Resolution 1675-2017, sponsored by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, authorizing the Speaker to file or join amicus briefs on behalf of the Council in litigation challenging the rescission or modification of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“Changing DACA without a legislated alternative puts the futures of hundreds of thousands of young people in jeopardy and sends a dangerous message to DREAMers that their lives and contributions are of little concern to the current administration,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “In New York City, experience has shown the opposite to be true – immigrants and their families are the success story of the five boroughs, and it has been their efforts that have created so much of the history that makes this city great. The New York City Council remains committed to protecting undocumented youth – here and across the country – and will continue to do so with every resource available to us.”

The City Council will also vote on the rezoning of the following location…

Lower Concourse North in the Bronx

Currently the site of vacant land, the proposed Lower Concourse North rezoning would allow for development of the parcel through a collaboration involving City agencies and outside organizations. After a thorough ULURP process, which considered the needs of advocates and stakeholders, the plan is projected to bring the following to the South Bronx:

  • 600 affordable units of housing, with 70% of units at or below 80% AMI in Phase 1;
  • a 570+ seat school for Bronx Community School District 7;
  • community facility space to house the Universal Hip Hop Museum and local non-profit Bronxworks;
  • and approximately 2.6 acres of open space – including a waterfront esplanade, an extension of Mill Pond Park, and a public plaza along Exterior Street.

“The Lower Concourse North project will achieve multiple goals both on site and in the neighboring community,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Along with local advocates, I have worked hard to ensure that this project will deliver quality open space for surrounding residents, including a public walkway on the Harlem River waterfront, community facility and cultural space, and much needed affordable housing for the South Bronx. I am so proud of the commitment shown by the developing teams in engaging community stakeholders in the planning process, and I thank NYC EDC, Community Board 4, and the Departments of Parks and Recreation and Housing Preservation and Development for their hard work on this project.”

The City Council will also vote on the following re-appointment…

  • Robert L. Cohen, M.D. to the Board of Correction

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