Council also passed bills that support survivors of domestic violence and the city’s elderly population
City Hall, NY – Today, the New York City Council passed legislation that aims to improve health and extend life expectancy for all New Yorkers by requiring the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to develop a 5-year population health agenda that improves public health outcomes, addresses health disparities, and improves quality of and access to health care for New Yorkers.
The Council also enacted legislation that expands safety support services for victims of domestic and gender-based violence, including door and window repair services for their homes and access to a personal emergency response device. Additionally, the Council approved a bill that provides eligible older adults living in Mitchell-Lama apartment buildings with access to prepopulated forms for rent increase exemption applications.
“Today, the Council took comprehensive action to improve health outcomes and extend life expectancy for all New Yorkers,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Our legislation will support our city in its efforts to recover from the lingering effects of the pandemic and help address the pre-existing disparities in health treatment and outcomes that were exacerbated by it. Our efforts to expand support services for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence to be safe are a continuation of this Council prioritizing help for crime victims. Older adults, who have contributed so much to our city, deserve our attention and support, and the Council’s bill to ease the application process for rent increase exemptions for those living in Mitchell-Lama apartments will help them age in place.”
Extending Life Expectancy for New Yorkers
Introduction 0093, sponsored by Council Member Lynn Schulman, would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to develop a 5-year population health agenda to improve public health outcomes, increase overall quality of life, address health disparities, and expand access to health care for New Yorkers. In 2020, New York City experienced a stark drop in life expectancy from 82.6 years old in 2019 to 78 years old. The largest decreases in life expectancy occurred among Black and Latino New Yorkers; the pandemic worsened existing disparities faced by these New Yorkers. This bill seeks to address these ongoing issues and disparities as part of “Healthy NYC,” a campaign to improve and extend the average lifespan of all New Yorkers to 83 years by 2030, which was launched by Council Member Lynn Schulman, Mayor Eric Adams, and DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan on November 1, 2023.
“I am proud that the Council will today be passing Int. 93, which aims to improve public health outcomes, address health disparities, and enhance access to health care, with the ultimate goal of increasing the life expectancy of all New Yorkers to 83 years by 2030”, said Council Member Lynn Schulman. “This bill is uniquely designed to exist beyond any political or government body to ensure maximum success and will construct an accountability mechanism to make sure that City government, alongside community stakeholders, is laser-focused in ensuring that this important health goal is achieved.”
Establishing Support Services for Victims of Domestic and Gender Based Violence
Introduction 0093, sponsored by Council Member Shahana Hanif, would require the Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) to establish a trauma-informed program that connects eligible survivors of domestic or gender based violence to support services, including, but not limited to, door and window repair services for the dwellings of eligible survivors and a personal emergency response device. Evidence suggests that domestic violence is among the leading causes of housing instability, especially for women and children. In 2023, the HOME+ program — a program that provides free security and safety resources to help domestic violence victims stay in their homes instead of going to a shelter or somewhere else — was expanded to provide home security repair services. The bill would require ENDGBV to develop outreach and education materials on these services, and post such materials on its website, to inform residents about the program. It would also require annual reporting on the program to be submitted to the Mayor and Speaker of City Council.
“Too often, domestic violence survivors are unable to make essential security repairs to their homes due to high costs,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif. “This puts their safety at risk or forces them to leave for another location such as a shelter. Intro. 39-A will address this issue by ensuring survivors have access to free lock changes, personal safety alarms, and door and window repairs. These services are critical to keeping survivors safely in their homes. I am grateful to ENDGBV for carrying out this work through the Home+ program, to Speaker Adams and Women & Gender Equity Chair Louis for moving this bill forward, and to advocates and providers like the Asiyah Women’s Center, Sakhi for South Asian Women, Jahajee Sisters, WIN, New Destiny Housing, Safe Horizon, and Womankind, whose insights were integral to this bill.”
Supporting Older Adults in Mitchell-Lama Apartment Buildings
Introduction 0025, sponsored by Council Member Eric Dinowitz, would require the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to provide an application form for the senior citizen rent increase exemption (SCRIE) program to residents in Mitchell-Lama apartment buildings subject to city supervision who appear to be eligible for the SCRIE program with necessary application information pre-filled on the form. This populated form would be provided to potentially eligible residents along with a letter explaining the program’s features and information on how to review the application form and apply for the SCRIE program. Currently, 16.2% of older New Yorkers (residents aged 65 and older) account for the city’s population, with a projected increase of 20% by 2040. This bill seeks to make the SCRIE program more accessible to the City’s growing older adult population.
“Everyone deserves to age with dignity and security,” says Council Member Dinowitz. “When we talk about affordable housing it’s not just about a roof over our heads, it’s about the life-sustaining stability that affordable housing provides. With this bill, we will ensure that our older adults can live independently and with peace of mind. By simplifying the SCRIE process for city-run Mitchell-Lama tenants, we’re not only giving much-needed support to our older neighbors, but also setting a precedent for future measures to enhance the affordable housing stock, especially for vulnerable populations.”
Authorizing legal action to compel implementation of CityFHEPS Reform Laws
Resolution 0004, sponsored by Council Member Diana Ayala, authorizes the Speaker to commence legal action on behalf of the New York City Council to compel the Mayor and his Administration to implement CityFHEPS reform laws: Local Law 99, Local Law 100, Local Law 101, and Local Law 102 of 2023.
2226 Third Avenue – REEC Third Ave LLC seeks a zoning map amendment to rezone the existing R7B to a C4-6, zoning text amendments to designate the site with MIH and amend the East Harlem Corridors special district to include the development site. These actions will facilitate the developmentof a new 10-story life sciences building, in Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala’s district.
Whitestone Lanes Rezoning – Mar Mar Realty LLC seeks a Zoning Map amendment to rezone the existing M1-1 to R7A and Zoning text amendment to amend Appendix F (Inclusionary Housing Designated Areas) of the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York to establish the Project Area as a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH). These actions will facilitate a new 9-story residential building in Council Member Sandra Ung’s district. It will include 415 housing units, approximately 113 permanently affordable units, approximately 14,400 square feet of public access area, to including a range of tree plantings, seating, fitness equipment, table tennis, and 200 parking spaces on the cellar level.
166-11 91st Avenue Special Permit – Amar 16611 91st, LLCseeks to obtaina Special Permit and a Zoning Text amendment to designate a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) area. These actions will provide relief for a height restriction which uniquely impacts the development site within the Special Downtown Jamaica District. It will include a new 13-story mixed use residential and community facility building. It will include 28 housing units, approximately 9 affordable units, along with outdoor recreational areas and several terraces will be provided for the tenants, in Council Member Nantasha Williams’ district.
962 Pacific Street Rezoning – The Council voted on a resolution to disapprove this application, in favor of prioritizing the comprehensive plan that Council Member Crystal Hudson is co-leading with the local community and the Department of City Planning. The comprehensive planning effort underway is anticipated to create over 1,200 affordable homes and provide additional public services and infrastructure. We need to complete this planning process to ensure that the applicant’s project is consistent with the finalized neighborhood plan.