Join us to March for Justice on Saturday, August 23rd, in memory of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, Eric Garner in Staten Island, and others who have died unjust and wrongful deaths at the hands of local police. We’ll be marching with 1199SEIU and others to demand police accountability, an end to discrimination and the killing of unarmed people of color, and respect for the civil rights of all citizens and residents. March starts at 12 noon near the Ferry Terminal at Bay Street and Victory Boulevard, the site of Eric Garner’s death. Sign up and all information here.
Affordable housing is a topic near and dear to most New Yorkers, and has been one of Mayor de Blasio’s top priorities since taking office. He has promised to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years.
Recently the New York Times reported on two new proposed rent subsidy programs aimed at helping families with children move from homeless shelters into permanent housing. They include rental assistance for families who have been homeless for two years or more, and rent subsidies for victims of domestic violence with children.
Despite these efforts, many New Yorkers continue to get priced out of their neighborhoods. In response to this epidemic, the Real Affordability for All coalition will march this Wednesday, August 20th, in support of preserving real affordability in private developments and in public housing, and ensuring that all new housing remains permanently affordable to people living in those neighborhoods. RSVP HERE. The starting point will be 1912 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (at 116th St). map
New York’s rent laws are set to expire next year, and opponents of rent stabilization will be doing everything in their power to undo the rent regulations that we’ve fought so hard for. We need to make our voices heard so that elected officials know they must do everything they can to preserve and strengthen our rent laws! For more information on the fight over rent regulation, check out Real Rent Reform, a coalition of community groups working together for safe, stable, and affordable housing for New Yorkers.
Climate change has been getting a lot of notice lately. From the highly acclaimed Years of Living Dangerously series on Showtime to the EPA’s recent moves to restrict carbon emissions from power plants, we’re making progress. But it’s not enough. We need to get serious about cutting greenhouse gas emissions and moving aggressively to a clean and sustainable energy future.
This year, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is organizing a “climate summit” to prepare world leaders ahead of the next round of climate negotiations scheduled for 2015 in Paris. Climate change activist organizations from around the country and across the globe see this as an opportunity to weigh in and tell our leaders it’s finally time to take concrete actions to curb the effects of global warming. The People’s Climate March is the result.
You can do three things:
- Mark Sept. 21 on your calendar and join thousands from around the world in marching for definitive action on climate change.
- If you’re a member of an organization or group, join the growing list oforganizations supporting the March, including Greater NYC for Change.
- Get out the word. Come join 350NYC this Saturday, Aug. 9, to spread the word to other New Yorkers to join the March next month.
“As rents steadily rose and low-income wages stagnated, chronically poor families like Dasani’s found themselves stuck in a shelter system with fewer exits” - Andrea Elliott, “Invisible Child: Dasani’s Homeless Life” The New York Times, 12/19/13
Every night in New York City more than 60,000 people, including over 23,000 children, go to sleep homeless. The number of New Yorkers living in shelters has risen by 75% since 2002 while wealth has concentrated disproportionately, according to the Coalition for the Homeless.
On July 9th, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Greater NYC for Change hosted a panel discussion on homelessness. The focus what has changed in the six months since Elliott’s inspiring series brought Dasani and thousands of children like her into focus. Panelists addressed the urgency of the situation, Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, and ways that average citizens can fight back against the deepening crisis of homelessness. The moderator was Ben Max of Gotham Gazette, and our panelists were James Dill, Executive Director of Housing & Services, Inc., Lisa Lombardi, Deputy Executive Director of Urban Pathways, and Heidi Schmidt, Department of Homeless Services‘ (DHS) Office of Government and Special Events Coordinator. Our co-sponsors were Village Independent Democrats (VID), Manhattan Young Democrats, Democracy for NYC, and Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing.
Following the panel, the assembled broke out into groups, and discussed actions to take. Group shared ideas and a resources list was developed:
Breakout Groups Actions
1. More transparency from the administration about city-owned property. Residential buildings should be listed and counted, then made available for housing the homeless (Refer to HPD)
2. Tax incentives/requirements for developers to include housing for homeless individuals. (Refer to HPD Low Income Housing Tax Credits)
3. Require property owners with vacant buildings make them available for homeless housing units.
4. Push for stronger rent regulations. Questions: Could we pay people directly to rent their own apartments for less? How do we educate people about what homelessness really looks like? Which programs work and how can we replicate? (Refer to DHS Temporary Housing Assistance)
5. Re: getting people legal help for housing court, the New York County Lawyers’ Association has a pro-bono program where attorneys give free advice to walk-ins (see Resources).
6. Taxing vacant lots/units. Identifying where system fails. Promote inter-agency collaboration.
7. Stronger workforce development with homeless, and children, with better coordination between agencies. Community outreach teams to homeless or create a number/office that people can call other than the police (see resources, 311). Provide better training to NYPD.
8. Give community boards the right to petition for legal representation and immediate court dates for community members facing eviction or similar due to backlog in housing court scheduling. Raise awareness that eviction and resulting homelessness hurt communities as well as individuals and families.
Call 311 for outreach to homeless individuals.
Download the 311 app:
NYC DHS Homebase map of Homeless Prevention Network:
Met Council on Housing Nonprofit tenant’s rights org. Resources for tenants, including legal: http://metcouncilonhousing.org/help_and_answers
Walk-in clinic: http://metcouncilonhousing.org/tenants_rights_walk_in_clinic
New York County Lawyer’s Association http://www.nycla.org/
CLARO NYC Civil Legal Advice and Resource Office provides limited legal advice to low-income New Yorkers being sued by debt collectors.
New Alternatives Outreach to LGBT homeless youth:
NYC Councilman (7, West Harlem) Mark Levine’s “Right to Counsel” Bill:
A Recent Post from Bronx Defenders on the proposed legislation:
NYC Nonprofit providers of supportive housing:
Housing and Services, Inc http://www.hsi-ny.org/
Urban Pathways http://www.urbanpathways.org/
Panelist Jim Dill of HSI-NY provided the following additional resources:
Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten Year Plan
An ambitious, weighty tome of principles and guidelines. The Mayor’s plan acknowledges that the current homelessness crisis is a subset of the affordable housing crisis. We all eagerly await further details. Specifics addressing homelessness begin in Ch 4, p 78:
NYC Homeless/Permanent Supportive Housing Advocacy Groups:
Supportive Housing Network of New York www.shnny.org
United to End Homelessness NYC www.endhomelessnessnyc.org
Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing & Services www.nynycampaign.org
As of April 17, approximately 8 million Americans have enrolled in an affordable healthcare plan through the first ACA Open Enrollment period. As many as 5.6 million more, however, will remain uninsured because 24 states have failed to participate in the Medicaid Expansion available under the law.
Fortunately, New York is one of the states with a robust and expanded Medicaid program. This means that while the Federal deadline to enroll for 2014 coverage through the health marketplace has passed, thousands of economically challenged New Yorkers may still have options to access healthcare they need.
Free Coverage for Low-Income New Yorkers
Individuals and families with qualifying incomes (up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level) can sign up to get free coverage under Medicaid, and children can be enrolled under CHIP at ANY TIME during the year.
Special Enrollment Periods
Also, any individuals who don’t meet the income requirements for Medicaid but experience a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) are eligible to apply for comprehensive private plans with rates that are 53% lower than pre-ACA rates in New York State. Examples of QLEs include, but are not limited to:
- Job loss or change in income
- Recent loss of health coverage (i.e. your employer dropped your insurance)
- Marriage, birth, death, adoption, divorce, or similar change in family status
To receive coverage because of a QLE, the application must be started within 60 days of the event.For more information on applying for Medicaid or a Special Enrollment period, please check out this helpful link How Can I Get Coverage Outside of Open Enrollment or contact New York State of Health.
Volunteer to Spread the Word!
GNYCfC has helped GetCoveredNY enroll over 4,000 New Yorkers in free or affordable coverage. We continue to play an active role in the outreach to help insure the uninsured so as to improve health outcomes across many communities.If you would like to volunteer with us to raise awareness about the options for affordable care, please contact Linda Ricci at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see you this summer!
Tasha Williams for GNYCfC