Council also votes to authorize City support of guaranteed income programs for low-income families, increase enforcement against commercial spaces unlawfully selling marijuana, include financial literacy education in youth programs, and honor New Yorkers through street co-namings and public database of biographies
City Hall, NY – Today, the New York City Council passed several legislative actions from the Council’s previously unveiled mental health roadmap. The Council’s roadmap is an ongoing effort focused on addressing existing challenges in the City’s mental healthcare landscape and strengthening the infrastructure and investments in community-based solutions to improve mental health outcomes for New Yorkers. The roadmap focuses on addressing existing challenges in the City’s mental healthcare landscape and strengthening the infrastructure and investments in evidence-based solutions at the community level to improve mental health outcomes for New Yorkers.
In addition, the Council voted to allow the City to establish or fund one or more unconditional guaranteed income programs for certain eligible low-income families or individuals. It would also set up a framework for those programs to allow participants to access other public benefits and provide data and analysis for future policy. The Council also voted on legislation that would increase enforcement action against commercial spaces selling controlled substances, include financial literacy in youth programs, honor New Yorkers through street co-namings and create memberships for city recreation centers. Finally, the Council voted on several cultural affairs and housing resolutions.
“The Council’s Mental Health Roadmap addresses existing challenges in the City’s mental healthcare landscape and strengthens investments to improve mental health outcomes for New Yorkers,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Our legislative actions represent significant steps to shift the City’s focus on evidence-based solutions at the community level and support for our mental health workforce. I look forward to continuing our work with my Council colleagues, service providers, advocates, and all stakeholders in pursuit of effective solutions that help more New Yorkers access the care they need for their well-being.”
Mental Health Roadmap Legislation
Introduction 706-A, sponsored by Council Member Shaun Abreu, would require the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health to maintain a public, searchable online database of available mental health services in New York City on its website. This would improve access to mental health resources for New Yorkers.
“Every New Yorker is guaranteed low to no-cost mental health care — only many don’t know how to find the services they require in the first place,” said Council Member Shaun Abreu. “Locating information on mental health service providers — whether it’s contacts at specialized clinics, types of resources, or technical details about insurance and payment methods — should not be an added burden to those already seeking treatment. The bill advances our commitment to providing mental health services in a user-friendly and culturally competent manner,” said Council Member Shaun Abreu. “The pandemic not only worsened a burgeoning mental health crisis, it exposed the challenges of accessing care. The OCMH’s website offers a wide-ranging index of mental health resources. This bill ensures that people who need help can access this online portal with the ease and transparency.”
Introduction 1006-A, sponsored by Council Member Erik Bottcher, would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to develop and implement a public awareness campaign and conduct outreach on mental health and behavioral health programs in New York City that provide low-cost and no-cost services, specifically to those who do not qualify for health insurance based on federal guidelines.
“Mental health is just as important as physical health, yet there is still so much stigma associated with seeking help,” said Council Member Erik Bottcher. “That’s one reason why outreach and education campaigns are so critical. We need to break down the stereotypes and misinformation around mental health and encourage people to prioritize their wellbeing. By making information about mental health services more accessible and understandable, we can create a culture where seeking help is not only accepted but encouraged. The Council’s commitment to this effort is not just commendable, it’s necessary for the overall health and wellness of our city.”
Resolution 88, sponsored by Council Member Robert Holden, calls on Congress to pass and the President to sign legislation to fully repeal the Institutions for Mental Diseases Exclusion from the Social Security Act that would allow the use of Medicaid funding for mental health and substance use disorder treatment.
“With the passage of Resolution 0088, the city is speaking with one voice, demanding that the federal government do more to assist the mentally ill,” said Council Member Robert Holden. “Under our current system, too many of our mentally ill are in jail cells, homeless shelters, and on our streets. By freeing up Medicaid funding, states will be incentivized to provide more inpatient psychiatric care. We need to get people off the streets and into hospital beds. I thank the New York City Council for taking swift action and urge the federal government to get this done.”
Resolution 583, sponsored by Council Member Rita Joseph, calls on New York State to subsidize the education and licensing costs of City University of New York (CUNY) students who commit to working in the public sector in the mental health professions, which historically experience high turnover rates and staffing shortages.
“No New Yorker should have to wait months to get the mental health services they desperately need and as the sponsor of Reso 583, I am calling upon the state to put its money where its mouth is,” said Council Member Rita Joseph. “Reso 583 urges the state to subsidize the education and licensing costs of CUNY students who commit to working in the public sector in the mental health professions, which historically experience high turnover rates and staffing shortages. Enough is enough.”
Resolution 587, sponsored by Majority Leader Keith Powers, calls on the New York State Office of Mental Health to expand enforcement of mental health and substance use disorder insurance parity and apply for federal grants to enforce insurance parity, so insurance discrimination is reduced as a barrier to mental healthcare access.
Resolution 588, sponsored by Majority Leader Keith Powers, calls on New York State to collaborate closely with New York City to achieve their shared goal of developing 35,000 units of supportive housing.
Resolution 589, sponsored by Majority Leader Keith Powers, calls on the Federal Government to ensure that calls to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline program are routed based on geolocation rather than area code, so people are routed to appropriate services based on their current geographic location rather than simply the area code of their phone.
“Today, we are passing legislation as part of the City Council’s Mental Health Roadmap, including my resolutions demanding more efficient supportive housing development, true insurance parity for mental health services, and improvements to the 988 crisis hotline system,” said Majority Leader Keith Powers. “People experiencing mental health crises can no longer wait for urgently-needed assistance from all levels of government. Congratulations to my colleagues passing other important items on mental health today, and I look forward to taking the additional steps outlined in the roadmap that will put our city on stronger footing.”
Resolution 592, sponsored by Council Member Lynn Schulman, calls on the New York State and Federal governments to expand the availability of mental health professionals for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates for behavioral health services.
“New York City is experiencing a mental health crisis which requires a comprehensive approach along with substantive resources to help those in need,” said Council Member Lynn Schulman. “Resolution 592 calls upon the Federal and State government to increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for behavioral health which will ensure every New Yorker has access to affordable and equitable mental health services. I want to thank my colleagues, particularly Council Member Linda Lee, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction, as well as Speaker Adrienne E. Adams for their leadership on this issue.”
Authorizing Unconditional, Guaranteed Income Program Support
Introduction 561-B, sponsored by Council Member Crystal Hudson and Council Member Carlina Rivera, would allow the City to establish one or more pilot programs to support unconditional, guaranteed income programs for eligible, low-income families and individuals.
Since 2020, a number of cities like Chicago, Atlanta and Phoenix have funded programs that study the effectiveness of unconditional guaranteed income program as an alternative or supplement to traditional, conditions-based public benefits. These programs are intended to help low-income individuals use those benefits in a way that best meets their and their families’ needs without burdensome red tape. Recipients may need to preserve access to other public benefits that they are receiving or may be eligible to receive.
Specifically, this bill will:
- Authorize the city to establish its own pilot program, or to contract with a provider to conduct a pilot program, to study the effectiveness of unconditional guarantee income;
- Require that participants qualify as low-income under federal standards;
- Ensure that participants in any pilot program receive counseling and give their informed consent as to how participating in the pilot program could affect their access to benefits;
- Require the city and contracted providers, report on the impacts of unconditional guaranteed income; how city funds were allocated within the pilot program; analyze and provide recommendations on best practices and areas for further research on this pilot program; and
- Preserve participants’ access to city-administered public benefits that they would otherwise qualify for and require the Commissioner of Social Services assist in securing the same protections for state and federal benefits.
“Across the country, cities of all sizes––from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Atlanta to Gary, Indiana, Evanston, Illinois, and Paterson, New Jersey––have adopted unconditional guarantee income programs as tangible policy solutions to combat poverty, stimulate growth in their local economies, reduce income inequality, and offer their vulnerable constituencies a lifeline that affords them greater economic and social freedom,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson. “With the passage of Int. 561, New York is joining these cities, taking a critical step toward offering all New Yorkers unconditional income support. And with the pilot programs established through this bill, we’ll see our communities in need benefit first-hand from direct, unconditional cash payments, and reap the city-wide effects that programs like these offer our neighborhoods: safety, stability, and dignity. Int. 561 is central to my Black Agenda for NYC, and I look forward to continuing the necessary work that will see this pilot program expanded and become permanent. I thank Speaker Adams for her leadership and the countless advocates for their continued fight to ensure this bill becomes law in our city.”
Increasing Effective Enforcement of Unlawful Marijuana Stores
Introduction 1001-B, sponsored by Council Member Lynn Schulman, would allow enforcement agencies to fine owners of commercial properties who lease to unlicensed sellers of marijuana or tobacco products.
“Illegal weed shops have been proliferating in NYC, putting our communities at risk,” said Council Member Lynn Schulman. “The products they are selling have been found to be adulterated and these shops prevent licensed sellers from opening legitimate businesses. The legislation being passed today will be a game changer in addressing this problem and keeping our neighborhoods safe.”
Including Financial Literacy Education in Youth Programs
Introduction 54-A, sponsored by Council Member Farah Louis, requires the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) to include financial empowerment components in their youth employment and runaway and homeless youth programs.
“I am proud that Int. No. 54, my financial literacy education bill for the Department of Youth and Community Development, has been passed today. This bill is a step in the right direction to end intergenerational poverty to build a more inclusive economy—providing real economic opportunities for all, which requires collaboration and intentionality,” said Council Member Farah Louis. “The City is overdue in focusing on the fiscal and financial tool kits our youth can utilize to be productive citizens, and my bill will create courses and programs that provide the skill-building our youth needs for economic stability and success.”
Honoring New Yorkers through Street Co-Namings
Introduction 1102-A, sponsored by Council Member Shekar Krishnan, co-names 112 streets, thoroughfares, and public places. Of the 112 street co-namings, 16 are revisions to street signs that were already installed.
Introduction 227-A, sponsored by Council Member Gale Brewer, requires the publication on the City’s website of biographical information of any person or entity for whom a street, park, playground, or facility owned by the City is named.
“When you look up at street sign with a co-naming, unless you’re as well informed as some of my colleagues, you really don’t know who that amazing person is, and certainly neither do schoolkids or tourists,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “Most street co-namings are every day heroes, not famous New Yorkers. We want to celebrate our local leaders and learn about their civic achievements. People want to know the history of their neighborhood.”
Codifying Free Youth Memberships for City Recreation Centers
Introduction 7-A, sponsored by Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, codifies into law free memberships for youth, ages 18 to 24, for the City’s 36 Recreation Centers operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation.
“The benefits of allowing our youth between the ages of 18 – 24 free admission speaks for itself,” said Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala. “It benefits low-income families by making it accessible; encourages our youth to engage in athletic activities and promotes healthy habits; and it provides an outlet for our young adults that are navigating themselves through difficult times.” I am proud to pass Intro 7 today and I thank my colleagues for joining me in expanding recreational access for our younger New Yorkers.”
Cultural Affairs Resolutions
Resolution 199, sponsored by Council Member Crystal Hudson, declaring June Caribbean Heritage Month.
“The Caribbean diaspora in New York City is strong. It is bold. And it is vibrant,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson. “Marking June as Caribbean Heritage Month is a recognition of the vast, varied, and storied contributions of our Caribbean neighbors. And in Brooklyn—with Caribbean immigrants finding a home in the borough for more than fifty years—Caribbean heritage runs deep. New York has long been a haven and home for all, and celebrating the histories that underlie our rich diversity is a special nod to those that have indelibly shaped our communities.”
Resolution 285-A, sponsored by Council Member Charles Barron, calling upon the United States Congress and President to end the Cuban embargo and Cuban travel ban and to remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list due to the unjust harm it causes to the Cuban people.
“It is critically important that the New York City Council joins with other City Councils, National and Local Organizations across this country in calling upon the United States President and Congress to end the cruel and inhumane Cuban economic embargo, travel ban and the insidious placement of Cuba on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism,” said Council Member Charles Barron. “It is time that our legislative body join with 185 countries from around the world who yearly at the United Nations General Assembly condemn the United States’ actions as violations of international human rights.”
Resolution 623, sponsored by Council Member Chi Ossé, designating May 21 annually as Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace Day in the City of New York and recognizing his contributions to the cultural landscape of his home borough of Brooklyn and to Hip Hop worldwide.
“Designating May 21 as Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace Day recognizes Biggie’s enormous and immortal contributions to the cultural landscape of Brooklyn and the broader world of music,” said Council Member Chi Ossé. “We are culturally richer and more vibrant city for the life he lived and the work he created.”
Resolution 624, sponsored by Council Member Chi Ossé, designating July 8 annually as Reggie “Combat Jack” Ossé Day in the City of New York and honoring his multifaceted contributions to the Hip Hop industry as a lawyer, executive, editor, and podcaster.
“There is no person of whom I am more proud than Reggie Ossé, known to the world as ‘Combat Jack’ and known to me as ‘Dad.’”, said Council Member Chi Ossé. “His work made New York’s unique and explosive music scene accessible far beyond the confines of the five boroughs, cementing our position as the Cultural Capital of the World. He makes me proud to be a Brooklynite and proud to be his son. I look forward to observing his birthday each year alongside my fellow New Yorkers as Combat Jack Day.”
Resolution 645-A, sponsored by Council Member Kevin Riley, designating June as Fatherhood Recognition Month annually in the City of New York to honor and support the contributions of fathers to family and community life.
A Fair Area Median Income for New York City
Resolution 80, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, calls on the U.S Congress and President to sign legislation to increase the supply and affordability of certain housing, and to adjust how area median income is calculated.
“Affordable housing availability in our city needs to reflect our real income ranges and cost of living,” said Council Member Justin Brannan. “It doesn’t make sense to base our pace of development and subsidy levels on statistics that lump the five boroughs in with other, less expensive state counties. We need to be all hands on deck in addressing our housing crisis, and I am proud to fight for changes that will make housing affordable and accessible to more and more New Yorkers.”
- Introduction 1051-B, sponsored by Council Member Justin Brannan, which would authorize the expansion of the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) programs to qualifying tenants in Battery Park City and select former Mitchell-Lama buildings
- Four pre-considered resolutions setting the interest rates for the non-payment of property taxes.
- Two pre-considered resolutions to authorize Article XI exemptions for eight buildings in Council Members Rafael Salamanca and Althea Stevens’ districts.
- A pre-considered resolution to authorize an Article XI exemption for one building in Council Member Amanda Farías’ district.
- A pre-considered resolution to authorize an Article XI exemption for one building in Council Member Pierina Sanchez’s district.
- A pre-considered resolution to authorize an Article XI exemption for fifty-nine buildings in Council Member Farah Louis’ district.