City Hall, NY – Today, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and members of the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC) held a press conference to celebrate legislation passed during the 2022-2023 session that support Black New Yorkers and other communities of color. The bills, which focus on housing, public health, equitable opportunity, and public safety, have helped expand community-based mental health programs, remove barriers to city housing vouchers, require greater police transparency to increase trust towards improving public safety, banned the use of solitary confinement, established a program to provide doula services and other efforts that confront maternal health disparities, and more.

“Our historic representation as a majority-women and most diverse Council has empowered us to prioritize the people who make up the backbone of our city and sit at the intersection of multiple marginalized communities,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “By centering Black communities and other communities of color, we’ve been able to confront the longstanding inequities facing all New Yorkers, and especially as it relates to affordable housing, public health, public safety, and educational and economic opportunities. We have pursued holistic solutions to promote healthier and safer communities, including an all-of-the-above approach to public safety that recognizes police transparency and accountability are key to community trust. The well-being of all New Yorkers depends on the implementation of these laws, and the Council remains committed to ending the discriminatory practices that harm Black and other communities of color.”

Photos of the press conference can be found here, and video can be found here.

“I am proud of the Council’s work last year to address systemic and ongoing inequalities Black New Yorkers face daily,” said Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “That includes our efforts to support homeownership opportunities, which empower New Yorkers of color to build generational wealth. Last term, I was proud to sponsor Local Law 125, which created the Office of the Homeowner Advocate within Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to provide resources to homeowners. This was part of a larger effort by the Council that included a $90 million property tax rebate for working- and middle-class homeowners, $11 million in HPD programs to support homeowners, and a financial assistance program to reduce the cost of backwater valves. I look forward to working with my colleagues to further expand resources for homeowners in communities like mine—and to making the American Dream more accessible here in the city of New York.”

“As Co-Chair of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus, and as a dedicated advocate for the Black agenda, I am proud to stand alongside my fellow Council Members in highlighting our significant accomplishments for Black communities,” said Council Member Kevin C. Riley. “Our collective efforts have yielded tangible results, addressing the unique needs and concerns of Black residents in our city. From advancing policies that promote equity and justice to championing initiatives that foster economic empowerment, the Council remains steadfast in its commitment to the well-being of Black communities. We celebrate these achievements today, but our work continues as we strive for lasting positive impact and an even brighter future for all.”

“In unity with my fellow council members, I take pride in our collective dedication to advancing legislation that brings about positive change for black communities,” said Council Member Nantasha Williams. “The success of our current initiatives serves as a powerful testament to the unwavering commitment of this council body. By championing impactful measures, we demonstrate our steadfast resolve to support and uplift marginalized communities. As we prepare to unveil our Juneteenth bill package, the achievements thus far fuel our determination to continue making a lasting impact. Together, we stand resolute in our pursuit of a more equitable and empowered future for all.”

“In the BLAC, we are building a foundation that fosters not just academic success but also a sense of belonging and empowerment for our children,” said Council Member Rita Joseph. “I am deeply proud to champion legislation that aligns with our mission of equitable opportunity and support for Black New Yorkers, particularly our youth. The passage of Int. 403 and Int. 857 takes significant strides towards inclusivity and equity. Together, these two pieces of legislation reinforce our unwavering commitment to breaking down systemic barriers creating a city where every Black student has access to the resources they need to thrive.”

“Our City Council, now more diverse than ever, stands at a unique moment in history. We have the opportunity to pass bold legislation that will leave a lasting legacy of equitable pay in the New York City government for Black, Latina, Middle Eastern and Asian Women for decades to come, said Council Member Farah Louis. “With the successful and timely passage of the Pay Equity Package through the support of Speaker Adrienne Adams and the BLAC Caucus, we are focusing both on the vital aspect of filling vacancies in an equitable manner. We are committed to exploring and ultimately addressing the underlying issues that perpetuate these inequalities within our City Government and I look forward to continuing to spearhead these initiatives in our next session with my colleagues.”

“I thank Speaker Adams for her leadership on healthcare issues that matter to so many New Yorkers,” said Council Member Mercedes Narcisse. “Last year, our collaborative efforts positively impacted the health outcomes of countless New Yorkers. We passed into law, bills which confronted the historic racial disparities in the treatment of sickle cell disease, increased availability to blood pressure screening for the over one in four New Yorkers with hypertension and constructed a mental health roadmap to allow for unobstructed access to critical mental health resources. In 2024, now, more than ever, we are committed to building upon this progress as we continue to tackle health disparities and ensure that every New Yorker receives the quality healthcare they deserve.”

“People experiencing homelessness are increasingly criminalized across the country and New York City is no exception. With the majority of illegal evictions and high rates of homelessness concentrated in Black and Brown communities, ending homelessness is a matter of racial justice,” said Council Member Sandy Nurse. “In light of this, it is imperative that we invest in proven housing solutions while putting a stop to counterproductive practices like homeless sweeps. Once enacted into law, Intro 1153 will finally shine a light on homeless removals, including where and how often they happen, who is affected, and how much they cost. By requiring data on homeless removals, we will be better equipped to fight back against these harmful actions and finally secure housing for all. I once again thank the advocates who helped craft and get this bill across the finish line, as well as Council Member Hanif and Speaker Adams for their collaboration.”

Improving Public and Mental Health:

  • Passed 11-bill legislative package to address persistent disparities in maternal and birthing health that disproportionately impacts the health and safety of Black and Latina women and birthing people (2022).
  • Passed a bill to confront the historic racial disparities in treatment of sickle cell disease that primarily affects people of African descent and other health equity issues (2023).
  • Enacted legislation to increase access to blood pressure machines by requiring DOHMH to post on its website where blood pressure machines in NYC are located, make at-home blood pressure machines available at no cost to the public at federally qualified health centers in 5 high-need areas (2023).
  • Released the Mental Health Roadmap, first in May, to address existing challenges in the City’s mental healthcare landscape and strengthen the infrastructure and investments in evidence-based solutions to improve mental health outcomes for New Yorkers (2023).
  • Passed several bills to address pollution and improve clean air, with a focus on Environmental Justice communities.
    • Passed legislation to expedite the phase out of oil grade No. 4, the most harmful heating oil still used in city buildings, to create cleaner air and reduce negative health outcomes that are especially felt in environmental justice communities (2023).
    • Enacted legislation to require the city’s first redesign of its truck route network in over four decades, with the goals of improving safety and health outcomes, increasing visibility, and reducing traffic congestion (2023).
  • Passed legislative package that expand education on and access to menstrual products in city facilities and change terminology to be gender inclusive with the goal of making the city safer, healthier, and more just for every New Yorker who menstruates (2023).

Addressing the Housing and Homelessness Crisis:

  • Passed Speaker Adams’ Fair Housing Framework Legislation, establishing targeted housing production goals for each Community District to help hold every neighborhood accountable for their role in equitably addressing the city’s housing crisis, with a focus on affordable housing.
  • Passed legislation to create the Office of the Homeowner Advocate within the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to support homeowners through City services, resources, and information (2023).
  • Passed historic legislation to confront child, family, and youth homelessness by removing barriers to rental assistance programs:
    • Passed CityFHEPS bill package that removes barriers to the rental assistance program that helps move people out of the shelter system more expeditiously and prevent evictions to keep people in their homes during eviction and homelessness crises (2023).
    • Passed legislation requiring the Department of Homeless Services to report on families with children living in shelters, providing data on types of shelter, average length of stay, number of families exiting shelter for permanent housing, and metrics on school enrollment and attendance (2023).
  • Passed legislation to promote housing stability for older adults and increase transparency on encampment sweeps

Advancing Public Safety for New Yorkers:

  • Passed the “Support Survivors” package during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, two pieces of legislation requiring city agencies to establish a housing stability grant assistance program for crime survivors and create an online portal and resource guide for survivors (2022).
  • Created a new Speaker’s Initiative of $5.1 million in Council funding – Community Safety and Crime Victims Services Initiative – to provide each Council district with $100,000 to expand crime victim services and community safety programs (Began in 2022).
  • Established New York State’s first four Trauma Recovery Centers in New York City to support underserved victims of crime and stop cycles of crime in neighborhoods experiencing high rates of violence (Began in 2022).
  • Passed seven police transparency laws, including the How Many Stops Act, that provide more complete data, facilitate increased community trust, and enhance accountability to improve public safety (2023).
  • Passed the Fair Chance for Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of criminal history in New York City (2023).
  • Enacted transparency measures for homeless encampment sweeps and mandated reporting on services offered to individuals forcibly removed from encampments (2023).
  • Approved several pieces of legislation addressinggun violence, examining the flow of illegal firearms, requiring City training, evaluations, and operational support for violence prevention programs in the Crisis Management System, and evaluation of criminal justice programs (2022).
  • Passed legislation that would ban solitary confinement in city jails and require that all people in city custody have at least 14 hours of out-of-cell time in shared space (2023).
  • Approved several bills with the goal of safely reducing the population of individuals detained on Rikers Island, ensuring people make it to court so lengths of stay aren’t inflated, protecting TGNCNBI detainees, and increasing transparency and access to programming (2023).

Expanding Equitable Opportunities: