City Hall, NY – The Council today passed several resolutions in favor of pending state legislation related to pay equity, waste reduction, and victim services, as well as several finance and land use items.
Resolution 24, sponsored by Council Member Crystal Hudson, calls for the New York State Legislature to pass, and Governor Kathy Hochul to sign, the Fair Pay for Home Care Act. The state legislation would provide a fair wage to these workers by raising home care wages to 150 percent of the minimum wage, allowing workers to earn at least $35,000 a year on average.
New York has a larger need for home care than ever before and is at the center of a national home care workforce crisis. Individuals are going without services or becoming institutionalized because of a home care worker shortage. Over the next ten years, the Public Health Institute estimates that home care, including consumer-directed personal assistance, should add more new jobs than any other occupation in the state. It is also estimated that despite this rapid growth potential, the State will face a shortage of at least 80,000 home care workers by 2025. The primary reason is that home care aids are among the lowest paid workers in the state, averaging just $22,000 annual earnings. The New York State Senate (NYS) Aging Committee issued a report that found that more than 1 in 7 low wage workers in New York City is a home care worker, 1 in 4 home care workers live below the federal poverty level, and over half rely on public assistance.
A recent study by the City University of New York School of Labor and Urban Studies and funded by the NYS Office for the Aging found that if wages were increased at the scale outlined in the legislation, and funded appropriately, the home care workforce shortage could be solved in less than five years.
“Home care workers serve on the frontlines of the care economy, providing critical services for seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Yet, this essential workforce is paid poverty wages and continues to struggle to afford to live in the City where they live and work. To address this urgent staffing crisis and ensure that we can attract new workers to meet the growing demand, New York State should enact the Fair Pay for Home Care Act and deliver the wages that our workers deserve.”
“I’m honored that the Council passed the first resolution I introduced as a member of the New York City Council, which calls on the Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign the Fair Pay for Home Care Act,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson, the resolution’s prime sponsor. “Our state’s home care workers have dedicated their lives to providing best-in-class care for our loved ones. Now it’s our time to do the same for them. This resolution shows that the New York City Council firmly believes that home care workers deserve to earn a living wage and understands the urgency of this bill given the pressing need to address our state’s nation-leading home care worker shortage. I’d like to thank Chair De La Rosa for her work in ensuring this bill received a hearing ahead of the state budget deadline. But our fight is not over – we must urge Governor Hochul to include this in the state budget ahead of the April 1 deadline. We have a real chance in getting this bill into the budget, and I will work with my colleagues to do everything we can to make that happen.”
The Council also passed Resolution 55-A, sponsored by Speaker Adams and Council Member Nurse, which would call on the Governor and State Legislature to establish an Extended Producer Responsibility system for packaging and printed paper. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach in which producers, brand owners and importers, are responsible for the management of post-consumer products and packaging, ensuring that the companies producing such materials help bear the costs of recycling. Making producers responsible for their packaging and paper products would help incentivize such producers to, among other things, reduce packaging waste, make it easier to recycle the materials they generate, and design products that can be more easily recycled. In the proposed 2022-23 NYS Executive Budget, Governor Hochul included funding to establish an EPR system for consumer packaging and printed paper that would require producers to reimburse municipalities for recycling the packaging and printed paper they produce.
“Today, the Council passed Resolution 55-A, in support of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation at the State level. EPR is a huge step toward ending the ongoing public subsidy for corporations who take no responsibility for the end-cycle of their products,” said Council Member Sandy Nurse, the resolution’s co-prime sponsor. “Over the past few years, driven especially by an increase in delivery-based services such as Amazon, NYC has seen a major increase in packaging, plastics, and paper waste. This increased waste is creating additional barriers on our pathway to Zero Waste, as well as added stress on our aging and inequitable waste infrastructure. We urge the State to ensure that there is increased environmental justice accountability—and that the new system effectively incentivizes waste reduction, rejects false solutions like chemical recycling, and requires removal of toxic chemicals from packaging materials. This is just one of many steps we need to move toward an equitable and sustainable waste management system.”
Additionally, the Council voted to pass Resolution 25, sponsored by Council Members Narcisse and Cabán, which calls on the State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, A.8619/S.7573, which would expand eligibility for victims and survivors of crime to access victim compensation funds. Enacting this state legislation would remove many of the barriers to crime victims accessing the program, particularly in communities that experience the highest levels of violence.
The state’s victim compensation program, administered by the Office of Victim Services (OVS), provides direct financial assistance and reimbursement to victims and survivors of violence. This can include medical costs; funeral and burial costs; mental health counseling; and lost wages or loss of support. However, many victims and survivors of violence often lack access to support from the program, due to a variety of barriers in the application process. In the U.S., less than 3% of all victims receive any victim compensation due to restrictive eligibility requirements that make it inaccessible for many in communities of color, the LGBTQI+ community, working class people, young people, those with disabilities, and immigrants. While Black men under the age of 35 living in urban areas with annual incomes below $25,000 are more likely to be victimized than any other group, they are least likely to receive victim compensation.
“We need to make sure that support for crime victims in communities that experience violence the most is a priority,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “One of the ways we do that is by removing barriers to accessing the state’s victim compensation program. I thank Council Member Narcisse and Council Member Cabán for their work on this resolution.”
“When a system is broken, as elected officials it is our duty to fix it,” said Council Member Mercedes Narcisse, the resolution’s co-prime sponsor. “Far too many victims in marginalized communities do not report crimes against them to the police. The law enforcement reporting requirement for victim compensation adversely impacts Black and Brown, LGBTQIA+ and the immigrant communities, who are traditionally less likely than other groups to report their harm to law enforcement. There is no doubt that accessing crime victim compensation is part of a broken system. It is my hope that City Council Resolution 0025-2022 can be a catalyst for change and urge the New York State legislature to pass A.8619A (Meeks)/S.7573 (Myrie) to expand eligibility for victims and survivors of crime to access victim compensation funds and bring further equity to the compensation process.”
“We know that many survivors go without the services they need and deserve, and that this is especially true of those on the losing side of various hierarchies and double standards: lower-income survivors, survivors of color, undocumented survivors, unhoused survivors, disabled survivors, survivors doing criminalized survival work, and more,” said Council Member Tiffany Cabán, the resolution’s co- prime sponsor. “Furthermore, we know that the barrier standing between many of these groups and the services they are entitled to is the imperative to file a police report. We must do all we can to remove that and other barriers, so that survivors may heal, grow, and build a life free from fear for their safety. A first step is passing this resolution in support of state legislation introduced by Assembly Member Meeks and Senator Myrie.”
The Council also voted on the following:
CASTLE III: 107-111 EAST 123rd Street – New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) seeks an Urban Development Action Area (UDAA) designation and approval of an Urban Development Action Area Project (UDAAP), disposition of city-owned property, and a special permit pursuant to ZR 74-903 to modify ZR 24-111, to increase the allowable FAR from 3.44 to 6.5 for certain Use Group 3 community facilities. These actions would facilitate the construction of a 15-story non-profit institution with sleeping accommodations. It will include a laundry facility, teaching kitchen, meeting rooms, bike storage room, landscaped front and rear yards. and approximately 81 housing units, of which 58 units will be for supportive housing, and the rest of the units will be permanently affordable, in Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan’s district.
East New York I Urban Renewal Plan 5th Amendment – New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), seeks amendment to the Fourth Amended East New York I Urban Renewal Plan to permit residential uses on Site 122 of the Plan. According to HPD, this site was planned as part of a residential scattered site development package going back at least to 1995 but was mistakenly designated for use as open space in the 2013 and 2019 amendments to the Urban Renewal Plan. In April 2021, the site was approved by the Council as part of an accelerated UDAAP for the “New Penn” scattered site development under the “Neighborhood Construction Program”. This will facilitate a three-story building with four units to match the scale of the surrounding block, in Council Member Charles Barron’s district.
Belmont Cove – This application, submitted by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, requests a technical amendment to Council Resolution 753 for the year 2019, related to the disposition of City owned property located at Block 2945, Lots 65 and 66, in Bronx Community District 6, to indicate that such disposition was approved pursuant to Section 576-a(2) of the New York State Private Housing Finance Law, in Land Use Chair Rafael Salamanca Jr.’s district.
The Council voted to pass Preconsidered Resolution 79, which would set an April 7th hearing on a local law that would accomplish the proposed expansion and renaming of the Sutphin Boulevard BID, which is in Council Member Williams and Gennaro’s districts.
The Council also passed Preconsidered Resolution 100, which would provide the Southern & Willis affordable housing project, consisting of five buildings clustered in Council Member Ayala’s district, a full 40-year Article XI tax exemption to preserve the deep affordability of 76 residential units, with AMIs ranging from 50 percent to 90 percent.