Council also votes on legislation from Mental Health Roadmap, bills to protect New Yorkers against lead, provide pathways to civil service for justice-involved New Yorkers, and preserve access to gender affirming care
City Hall, NY – Today, the New York City Council overwhelmingly voted, 42-8, to override the Mayor’s veto of the Council’s legislation to address record homelessness and the eviction crisis by reforming the CityFHEPS rental assistance voucher program. The four-bill legislative package will not only help New Yorkers move out of shelters, but also prevent evictions of the lowest income New Yorkers most at risk of homelessness from entering the shelter system. At a time of record homelessness and when the number of eviction notices in the City has exceeded 178,000, these bills remove barriers to CityFHEPS vouchers to help low-income New Yorkers facing homelessness and housing insecurity. Fiscal cost analyses from Women in Need (WIN) and the Community Service Society of New York (CSSNY) projected that the bills would save the City over $730 million in costs from homelessness and its various impacts on New Yorkers.
In addition, the Council voted on legislation from the Council’s Mental Health Roadmap, as well as bills to protect New Yorkers against lead exposure, provide pathways to civil service for justice-involved New Yorkers, preserve access to gender affirming care, ensure housing placement transparency for transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary or intersex individuals in Department of Correction (DOC) custody, and to create mile markers in the Rockaways in Queens.
“New York City is in the midst of an intense eviction crisis that risks pushing more people into homelessness,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “These bills are aimed at removing barriers faced by the lowest income New Yorkers to accessing vouchers that can help them avoid losing their homes and becoming unhoused. During a time of record homelessness, it is critical that we respond with the urgency and strength needed to address the scale of this crisis. I am proud of this Council for its commitment to advancing these solutions today, and we will need to do far more to address the housing crisis. New Yorkers and our city need us to do this.”
Overriding Mayoral Veto of CityFHEPS Voucher Legislation
Introduction 878-A, sponsored by Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, would remove shelter stay as a precondition to CityFHEPS eligibility. This would end the 90-day rule, reduce length of stay in the shelter system, and prevent new shelter entrants.
“With homelessness rates experiencing an eighteen percent increase compared to the previous year, accompanied by a record number of individuals and families seeking refuge in our shelter system, and a sharp surge in the cost of living, the City Council has taken a decisive stance to directly tackle these pressing issues. Our objective is to implement solutions that not only alleviate the strain on our shelter system but also facilitate an easier pathway for the most vulnerable members of our society to secure housing,” said Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala. “We have taken significant measures to achieve these goals, including the elimination of the 90-day rule along with its associated work requirements. Additionally, we have ensured that the housing voucher covers the cost of utilities, and expanded the eligibility criteria to encompass individuals and families at risk of eviction. Regrettably, the Mayor has chosen to disregard the best interests of New Yorkers by vetoing our proposed legislation. In adherence to our promise, the City Council has resolved to override the Mayor’s veto and proceed with implementing these vital changes independently. The approach taken by the City Council presents a comprehensive solution that not only proves more cost-effective in the long run but also offers stable, long-term housing for vulnerable residents of New York City. As elected officials, we are duty-bound to address the needs of our constituents in a manner that balances economic prudence with empathy. This legislative package will significantly alleviate the burden on our shelter system while extending crucial support to low-income individuals and vulnerable populations. If the Mayor fails to endorse these collective efforts, it will ultimately be to his own detriment.”
Introduction 893-A, sponsored by Council Member Pierina Sanchez, would remove certain Department of Social Services (DSS)’ criteria that determines eligibility for CityFHEPS and give New Yorkers the ability to demonstrate risk of eviction by presenting a rent demand letter.
Introduction 894-A, sponsored by Council Member Pierina Sanchez, would change the eligibility for a CityFHEPS voucher from 200 percent of the federal poverty level to 50 percent of the area median income and ease work and source of income requirements that make it difficult for individuals to pursue employment and housing concurrently.
“Today’s New York City Council override of Mayoral vetoes of housing voucher legislation is a significant victory for New Yorkers,” said Council Member Pierina Sanchez. “The override affirms our unwavering dedication to addressing the homelessness crisis and prioritizing the most vulnerable New Yorkers. The Council’s message is resolute: we will persist in stabilizing the most vulnerable New Yorkers within their homes, and moving New Yorkers through our shelter system more quickly. I proudly sponsor Int. 893-A, which removes the prior homelessness history requirement, and Int. 894-A, which eases work and income prerequisites for shelter residents. These measures eliminate the homelessness as a precondition for voucher eligibility and transform CityFHEPs into a preventive tool accessible to families, keeping them housed and out of the shelter system.”
Introduction 229-A, sponsored by Council Member Tiffany Cabán, would prohibit the Department of Social Services from deducting a utility allowance from the maximum amount of a CityFHEPS voucher except in limited circumstances.
“This is a common-sense, cost-efficient legislative package that will move struggling New Yorkers from the shelter system into permanent housing more efficiently,” said Council Member Tiffany Cabán. “The Mayor’s veto is no surprise, given the rest of his disastrous approach to housing: imposing annual rent hikes via his handpicked board, starving the Department of Housing Preservation and Development of staff through repeated budget cuts, forcing New Yorkers facing eviction to represent themselves in court by allocating less than 5% of what Right To Counsel providers need, and forcibly removing thousands of our homeless neighbors only to place a total of three in permanent housing. The Mayor’s so-called ‘City of Yes,’ appears to be a Yes to big real estate and a big, fat No to working class and low-income New Yorkers. Well, Mr. Mayor: Not this time. Today, the Members of the people’s elected Council are putting our foot down.”
Mental Health Roadmap Legislation
Introduction 1018-A, sponsored by Council Member Linda Lee, would require the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health (OCMH), in conjunction with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), and other agencies, to provide an annual report to the Council with information regarding involuntary removals conducted pursuant to Mental Hygiene Law Sections 9.41 and 9.58.
Introduction 1019-A, sponsored by Council Member Linda Lee, would require OCMH to maintain access to an interactive map of the locations, contact information, and payment information (including type of insurance accepted) of mental health services providers.
“I am proud that the City Council voted to pass 2 pieces of my legislation included in the New York City Council’s Mental Health Roadmap,” said Council Member Linda Lee. “The Mental Health Roadmap remains a holistic, multi-pronged approach that focuses on adequate investments into more effective, preventive, and responsive evidenced-based models. Models that ensure that people are plugged into resources and served as New York City improves the continuum of care and combats the Mental Health Crisis. Intro 1018-A will require the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health (OCMH) to provide an annual report to the Council with information regarding the Mayor’s involuntary transport directive, while Int. 1019-A will require OCMH to create an interactive map of mental health service providers throughout the city. Thank you to my staff, the Council Committee staff, as well as, the dedicated efforts of my colleagues on the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addictions, and the leadership of Speaker Adrienne Adams for helping me bring this legislation to the floor.”
Introduction 1021-A, sponsored by Majority Leader Keith Powers, would require the Mayor to establish four new crisis respite centers to provide individuals with mental illness increased access to community-based, peer-run facilities that are alternatives to hospitalization when such individuals experience psychiatric care.
“Today’s passage of Introduction 1021 represents our enduring commitment to expanding mental health services and helping New Yorkers in need,” said Majority Leader Keith Powers. “This law will double the number of Crisis Respite Centers (CRC) throughout the city, providing peer-based support for people to work through a mental health crisis or prevent it from intensifying. CRCs are a proven alternative to hospitalization and provide us with another tool to tackle our mental health crisis.”
Introduction 1022-A, sponsored by Council Member Kevin Riley, would require the Mayor to establish five new clubhouses for individuals with serious mental illness, which are community-based facilities designed to support such individuals by providing wraparound services and opportunities for social connection, including group activities, peer support, job readiness skills, and transitional employment opportunities.
“New York City Council’s Mental Health Roadmap legislative package, including my prime sponsored bill Int. 1022-A, marks a significant milestone in enhancing infrastructure and implementing policy to address the critical need for mental health support and services in our City,” said Council Member Kevin C. Riley. “Int. 1022-A aims to establish community-based clubhouses specifically designed to uplift and empower individuals facing serious mental illness, providing them with much-needed wrap-around services, including, but not limited to connection to mental and medical healthcare, programming, peer support and employment opportunities. Access to these comprehensive services is vital as they not only offer specialized treatment and therapy but also foster a supportive environment that promotes recovery, reduces stigma, and ensures holistic care for those grappling with mental health challenges. As an strong advocate for mental wellness, I am proud to partner with my colleagues in government, community-based organizations and advocacy groups to strengthen our City’s commitment to addressing our City’s mental health crisis.”
Protecting New Yorkers Against Lead
Introduction 193-A, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, would categorize lead-based paint that is peeling or on a deteriorated subsurface in the common areas of a residential building as an immediately hazardous violation and strengthen inspection requirements for such common areas when children reside within in the building.
“New York City has some of the strongest laws and programs designed to address the ongoing crisis of lead exposure- but without adequate enforcement and comprehensive regulations, our communities are quite literally being left in the dust,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “Despite decades of significant advances, and the fact that childhood lead poisoning is completely preventable, too many children are still exposed to lead, and progress has plateaued. I’m proud to be passing Introduction 193 which will create an immediately hazardous violation for the existence of lead-based paint in any common area of a multiple dwelling where a child under the age of 6 resides if such paint is peeling or is on a deteriorated subsurface. Building common areas allow neighbors to gather and interact, promoting community, support systems, and a sense of belonging, and by addressing lead exposure risk in common areas, we move one step closer to a lead free NYC.”
Introduction 200-A, sponsored by Council Member Rafael Salamanca, would require DOHMH to submit to the Mayor and the Speaker of the Council, and make publicly available on DOHMH’s website, a semiannual report on the number of objections filed by multiple dwelling owners to DOHMH lead abatement orders. The report would be required to include the number of objections filed by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and to specify the reasons why any objections are found to have merit, including faulty testing or paint sampling, or an exemption based on the dwelling’s construction date.
“I am very thankful to Speaker Adrienne Adams and my City Council colleagues for their support on passing Intro 200 – my bill that will ensure that all lead abatement order appeals are thoroughly vetted,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca. “Lead in paint has been proven over and over again to cause serious adverse health effects, so it is unconscionable that corners are still being cut to allow its presence in New York City housing units. With this new law, we can ensure our residents, especially those most vulnerable, will be protected from the harmful consequences of lead poisoning.”
Providing Pathways to Civil Service for Justice Involved New Yorkers
Introduction 645-B, sponsored by Speaker Adrienne Adams, would strengthen the pathway to civil service for justice involved New Yorkers by requiring Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to administer civil service exams in the City’s forthcoming borough-based jails, authorizing DCAS to waive the civil service exam fee for justice involved individuals, and requiring the City to provide information about the civil service exam system to them.
“It is critical that we continue to expand equitable access to opportunities for all New Yorkers to enter our city’s workforce,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “This legislation will strengthen the pathway to civil service for justice-involved New Yorkers and provide information to those who wish to learn more about the exam process. I first introduced this legislation in my State of the City last year, and I am proud that the Council is passing it today.”
Preserving Access to Gender Affirming Care
Introduction 1074-A, sponsored by Council Member Crystal Hudson, would prohibit the use of city resources to detain any person for seeking, obtaining, providing, or facilitating gender-affirming care in the state of New York, or outside the state of New York in circumstances where such conduct would have been lawful had it occurred in the state of New York. The bill further prohibits the use of city resources to cooperate with an investigation of a person on grounds that such person is known or believed to have sought, obtained, provided, or facilitated gender-affirming care outside the state of New York under circumstances where their conduct would have been lawful had it occurred in the State of New York.
“Protecting the right of all people to seek, receive, and provide necessary and vital medical treatment is a prerequisite to preserving civil liberties in our country,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson. “Against the backdrop of a national surge in anti-TGNCBI legislation, enshrining our City’s commitment to serve as a safe haven for gender-affirming care by passing Int. 1074 is crucial and timely. Nearly 50% of trans youth reside in states where they have lost or are at risk of losing access to crucial gender-affirming health care due to discriminatory legislation. As New Yorkers, taking this stance is a tangible demonstration of our resolve to serve as a beacon of hope and create an environment where all people can live freely as they are with the dignity, respect, and care we all deserve.”
Ensuring Housing Placement Transparency for Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, Non-Binary or Intersex in Department of Correction (DOC) Custody
Introduction 887-B, sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, would require the DOC to report quarterly about the housing placements of transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary or intersex within DOC’s custody.
“In a space that is dangerous for people on both sides of the bars, transgender and gender non-conforming people face even greater threats and challenges,” said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “This legislation is designed to help ensure that TGNCNBI people are receiving the services and accommodations they are entitled to, and provide a metric for accountability when those needs are not met. TGNCNBI people deserve the same respect and dignity as their cisgender peers, and this is not negated when they are incarcerated. We have seen the tragic results of a failure to recognize and address this, and until DOC makes changes to ensure that city jails are safe for everyone, we will continue to lose valuable members of our communities.”
Creating Mile Markers in the Rockaways
Introduction 853-A, sponsored by Council Member Joann Ariola, would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install mile markers along designated sections of Cross Bay Boulevard, Beach Channel Drive, and Rockaway Point Boulevard, which will help motorists who are stranded and need to communicate their location to support services.
- 1656 West 10th Street Rezoning – Allstar Homecare Agency, Inc seeks a Map Amendment to change an existing R5B zoning district to R6A, and a related Zoning Text Amendment to map the rezoning area as a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) area in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn.These actionswill facilitate a new six-story residential building with ground-floor community facility space. It will include 24 housing units, approximately 6 affordable units under MIH Option 1, and 10 accessory off-street parking spaces, in Council Member Kalman Yeger’s district.
- 189-10 Northern Blvd. Commercial Overlay – As a result of the applicant having withdrawn this application, in Council Member Vickie Paladino’s district. The Council will be voting to file this Land use item to remove it from our calendar.
- 43rd Avenue Demapping – An application for demapping and disposing a portion of 43rd Avenue with an existing encroachment, in Council Member Vickie Paladino’s district. The Council will be voting on a resolution to disapprove this application.