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This Week in New York City Government

Mayor:

Mayor de Blasio tours Improving ‘Renewal School’ in Richmond Hill

Mayor Bill de Blasio met with students and faculty at Richmond Hill High School, one of 94 Renewal Schools where the administration is focusing resources and leadership to raise achievement.

Richmond Hill High School had endured years of instability and declining performance, but key early indicators show the school is changing direction. As a Renewal School, it’s receiving leadership coaching, expanded after-school programs, weekend tutoring, and new tools to monitor and improve student performance. As a result, more students are on track to graduate and the campus has become dramatically safer – with fewer incidents of violence and a significant drop in suspensions.

“We are investing in tools that we know help students catch up and succeed – more learning time, extra tutoring, coaches to help teachers improve instruction. We’re already seeing signs of progress on the ground at places like Richmond Hill High School,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We have a plan to fix long-struggling schools, and we’ll hold ourselves and these schools accountable for results. This is why we’re calling on our colleagues in Albany to work with us to renew Mayoral Control and provide the level of support needed to drive these gains further.”

To read a full transcript of the Mayor’s remarks, please click here.

Mayor de Blasio and NYC & Company Announce ‘Road to Million More Visitors’

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon, and NYC & Company Board of Directors Chairman and President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Emily K. Rafferty announced that New York City is on the ‘Road to 10 Million More Visitors,’ sharing the next tourism forecast of 67 million annual visitors by the end of 2021. The announcement was made during NYC & Company’s Annual Meeting of more than 800 tourism and hospitality industry members at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. NYC & Company previously achieved its goal of 55 million visitors one year ahead of its 2015 schedule by welcoming an all-time record 56.4 million visitors last year.

Each additional million visitors would result in significant economic gains for the City of New York, solidifying the tourism industry as a major engine for the City—including generating more tourism-related jobs and visitor spending.  Of the predicted 67 million visitors expected by the end of 2021, 16 million are forecasted to come from international markets while 51 million would originate from U.S./domestic markets.

In 2014, New York City welcomed 56.4 million visitors to New York City, beating the projection of 55 million visitors by the end of 2015. Visitor spending resulted in an estimated $61.3 billion in economic impact and $3.7 billion in City tax revenues, as well as supported 359,000 tourism related jobs. Total visitor volume for 2015 is projected to rise 3 percent overall to 58.1 million.

Mayor de Blasio Signs into Law Bills to Increase Transparency in Veteran services

Mayor de Blasio signed five pieces of legislation into law – Intro 600-A, 611-A, and 619-A, in relation to increased transparency of Veterans’ services and increasing the size of the Veterans’ Advisory Board; Intro 74-A, in relation to creating a formal process to streamline the removal of downed trees; and Intro 423-A, in relation to several reports from Small Businesses Services and Mayor’s Office of Contract Services relating to the development of worker cooperative businesses.

The first set of bills, Intros 600-A, 611-A, and 619-A, strengthen the transparency of the Veterans’ Advisory Board and of various services provided to veterans by city agencies. Intro. 600-A requires various city agencies to report specific services provided to veterans. Intro. 611-A increases the number of members of the Veterans’ Advisory Board from nine to eleven members, six of whom would be appointed by the Mayor and five of whom would be appointed by the Council Speaker. Intro 611-A also requires each Veterans’ Advisory Board member to create an email exclusively for the purpose of the Board. Intro. 619-A increases the number of mandatory meetings held by the VAB from four to five each year, and requires the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs to maintain and periodically update contact information of veterans’ organizations located within the city. These bills were approved by the City Council at the stated meeting on February 26.

Introductory 74-A requires the Department of Parks and Recreation to develop a formal process for the removal of trees on city property that have been downed or damaged as a result of severe weather conditions. This bill was approved by the City Council at the stated meeting on February 26. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member King, for supporting this legislation.

Introductory 423-A requires the Department of Small Business Services and the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services to report on number and value of contracts awarded to worker cooperatives, which are companies majority owned and controlled by their employees. This bill was approved by the City Council at the stated meeting on February 25. In his remarks, the Mayor thanked the bill’s sponsors, Council Members Rosenthal, Arroyo, and Menchaca, for supporting this legislation.

To read a full transcript of the Mayor’s remarks, please click here.

Mayor de Blasio Appoints Jon Halpern to Hudson River Park Trust Board of Directors

Mayor de Blasio announced the appointment of Jon Halpern to the Hudson River Park Trust Board of Directors. Halpern represents the Mayor’s third appointment to the Board, following his appointment of Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver last year.

Halpern brings a strong record of hands-on leadership to his new role, with experience spanning more than two decades and four successful businesses in the real estate industry. Halpern founded Halpern Real Estate Ventures (HREV) in 2011. In addition to his professional experience, Halpern is involved with both civic and charitable organizations.

The Hudson River Park Trust is a public benefit corporation with authority over the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the 550 acre Hudson River Park on the west side of Manhattan. The Trust’s Board of Directors consists of 13 Directors. Five are appointed by the Governor, five are appointed by the Mayor, and three are appointed by the Manhattan Borough President. Eight members are required for a quorum and Board approvals.

Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces Second Phase in the Expansion of Pre-K for All: 22,000 Families Apply for Pre-K on First Day

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the second phase in the expansion of Pre-K for All is off to a strong start, with 21,938 families applying for free, full-day, high-quality seats in the first day—up from 6,500 in the first day of applications last year. This year, for the first time, every four-year-old in New York City will have access to this life-changing educational opportunity, with roughly 70,000 children expected to enroll.

Last fall, New York City enrolled more than 53,000 children in full-day pre-K at district schools, charter schools, and NYC Early Childhood Centers. This year’s expansion means more programs, seats and opportunities in every borough and neighborhood, ensuring enough capacity to accommodate every child, regardless of zip code or means. Because of free Pre-K for All programs, the average family saves more than $10,000 each year in childcare costs.

Finding a program and enrolling are easier than ever this year. Families use a single application to apply for and rank up to a dozen choices among both district schools and New York City Early Education Centers. The application will be translated into nine languages, and additional translation services are available over the phone in more than 200 languages. Families will be notified as additional seats become available and are encouraged to check for updates. Families that apply by the deadline will receive offers in early June.

Over the next six weeks, pre-K outreach teams are engaging families across the five boroughs, urging parents to apply and helping pre-K programs market themselves to parents. Enrollment specialists are prepared to counsel families through the application process and find the right program for them. The outreach campaign will also include a launch of advertisements on buses, bus shelters, digital media and the radio which will help direct families to the new streamlined application process. So far this winter, Pre-K for All outreach staff have made nearly 26,000 calls to parents and have held more than 700 information and promotion events.

To read a full transcript of the Mayor’s remarks, please click here.

Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton Launch New Gun Detection Technology

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William J. Bratton announced the deployment of new gunshot detection technology that will decrease officer response times to gunshot incidents and enhance community and public safety. NYPD will pilot the ShotSpotter system in five zones of approximately three square miles each located within various precincts in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The first pilot area to go operational on Monday, March 16, 2015 will be in the Bronx.

Since April 2014, the NYPD has been working with the company ShotSpotter to bring the technological capabilities required for a gunshot alert and analysis system to New York City. Similar systems are already in use in Washington, DC, Newark, NJ, East Orange, NJ, Plainfield, NJ, Atlantic City, NJ, Camden, NJ, and Nassau County, NY.

The ShotSpotter system triangulates the location of a gunshot to within 25 meters of where the shot was fired. The system then forwards a notification to an incident review center where a trained operator reviews the audio file to determine if the sound was that of a gunshot or some other similar-sounding audio incident (e.g. fireworks, engine backfiring, etc.). Once the incident is determined to be a gunshot, an alert is sent to the NYPD via the Domain Awareness System (DAS). This alert includes relevant information such as number of shots fired, location of the gunshot (including map access), if the shooter was moving at the time of the incident (such as in a vehicle), and the direction of the shooter’s movement. Upon receipt of such an alert, the NYPD can dispatch units to the location of the shooting.

This technology will allow the NYPD to dispatch officers to the exact location of a shooting, rather than a general area, which has potential to save valuable time and resources and increase the likelihood that the shooter will be identified and caught, victims will receive aid, and evidence and witnesses will be available. ShotSpotter has the potential to allow police officers to effectively and efficiently respond to gunshot incidents that may otherwise go unreported to the police.

Based on the results of the pilot program, NYPD anticipates incorporating the ShotSpotter alerts in the DAS mobile application, allowing officers to receive alerts directly on their smartphone or tablet devices. The ShotSpotter system gives the NYPD the ability to use technology in an intelligent and strategic way by giving police officers immediate access to the most accurate information available.

To read a full transcript of the Mayor’s remarks, please click here.

Mayor de Blasio Announces Additional Resiliency Investments in Lower Manhattan, Part of Comprehensive Climate Adaption Plan Underway Across City

Mayor de Blasio announced that the City is committing millions of dollars to further resiliency planning and implementation around Lower Manhattan, part of a comprehensive climate adaptation plan underway across the five boroughs.

This includes $6.75 million from the City and State for comprehensive flood protection planning below Montgomery Street and around the tip of Lower Manhattan to the west side, and another $8 million in City capital funds for Battery Park flood protection design and implementation — both aimed at protecting Lower Manhattan residents, businesses, and infrastructure from future extreme weather while enhancing the vitality of the area.

The City’s resiliency plan proposes a significant rethinking of Lower Manhattan using a combination of integrated flood protection measures to control storm surge and prevent flooding. Building on those recommendations, the City will conduct advanced planning for integrated flood protection strategies to prevent and mitigate upland flooding around Lower Manhattan, from Montgomery Street south to the Battery and up to the west side of Manhattan to the northern terminus of Battery Park City at Jay Street.

This will build on the City’s participation in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design competition, and complement the plans for an integrated flood protection system already underway north of Montgomery Street. It also dovetails with measures already underway around Lower Manhattan, including major infrastructure upgrades (such as the storm hardening of utilities), critical funds for post-Sandy economic development and small business recovery, improvement, and resiliency, other short- and longer-term coastal protection projects, and much more.

First Lady Chirlane McCray Profiles Women in Government in Honor of Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, First Lady Chirlane McCray updated her blog, FLO.NYC, with a series of profiles on 20 of the City’s female senior leaders, illustrating the strength and diversity of the women in leadership in the de Blasio administration. This project spotlights some of the most capable and dynamic leaders in city government, and reinforces Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to assemble an administration that reflects New York City’s diversity as well as the City’s continued dedication to gender equality.

“This project aims to show girls and young women that no matter who they are or where they are from, they can have exceptional careers in public service right here in New York City government,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray.

View the profiles here: http://flo.nyc

Citywide and Borough Electeds:

Speaker Mark-Viverito, State and Federal Legislation Committee Chair Koslowitz, Finance Chair Ferreras and Majority Leader Van Bramer Announce State Budget and Legislative Priorities for NYC Council

New York City Council Speaker Melissa-Mark-Viverito, State and Federal Legislation Committee Chair Karen Koslowitz , Finance Committee Chair  Julissa Ferreras and Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer released the New York City Council’s State Budget and Legislative Agenda for the coming year. The priorities range from calling for State support for NYCHA capital funds, increasing youth access to the HPV vaccine, retaining and extending mayoral control of New York City schools, giving New York City the authority to set and enforce labor laws and legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana.

“The New York City Council is dedicated to advocating for policies that will uplift and strengthen all New Yorkers,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.  “Our State Budget and Legislative Agenda reflects the diverse needs of New Yorkers and the Council’s commitment to standing up and fighting for New York City. From calling for State support of NYCHA Capital Funds to supporting paid family leave and advocating for our City’s right to set and enforce labor laws, the priorities outlined in our state agenda will make New York City a more and just place for all who live here.”

“New York City deserves its fair share,” said New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Working with the State Legislature we can address the inequalities that exist and effectively improve the lives of all residents living in our City. Under the State Budget and Legislative Agenda we are looking to implement we will make New York City more affordable, increase wages for workers, and empower more New Yorkers to lift themselves up into the middle class.”

Comptroller Stringer Releases Comprehensive Manual to Expand Immigrants’ Access to City Services

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released an “Immigrant Rights and Services Manual,” a new comprehensive guidebook to City, state and federal services. The 70-page manual, which will initially be translated into Chinese, Korean, Russian and Spanish, outlines the real-life impacts of recent legislation and policy changes, such as IDNYC, the new municipal identification card, and Local Laws 58 and 59, which restrict the City’s cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The manual includes sections on:

  • Language access rights–An overview of how City agencies are required to provide language access under Local Law 73 and Mayor’s Executive Order 120;
  • Public benefits–Information on the wide range of public benefits and programs available to immigrants, including the areas of health care, public schools and housing;
  • Immigrants’ rights and protections–A description of workers’ rights (such as prevailing wages and OSHA regulations), consumer and financial rights, anti-discrimination protections and the dangers of immigration consultant fraud;
  • Voting and civic participation–A summary of how immigrants can become involved in civic life, from filing taxes to attending and joining community boards;
  • Resource directory–A list of government agencies, community organizations and other resources that can help immigrants obtain benefits and services and enforce their rights, and
  • Deportation and detention–An in-depth overview of who can be deported and why, including when New York City does and does not cooperate with ICE, and the legal resources and assistance immigrants can access for these proceedings.

To view the manual, please click here.

Comptroller Stringer Report Shows Barriers to Healthcare for Uninsured Pregnant Women

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released a new report, “Time to Deliver: Pregnancy and the Affordable Care Act,” highlighting the risks facing pregnant women who cannot access prenatal care coverage outside of the official healthcare enrollment period. The Comptroller also announced that he would partner on first-in-the-nation state legislation co-sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly Member Aravella Simotas to expand access to prenatal services by treating pregnancy as a “qualifying event” under the Affordable Care Act.

The Comptroller’s report examines the negative health, financial and societal risks associated with a lack of prenatal healthcare. Without access to insurance, many women are faced with the untenable choice of spending upward of $20,000 out of pocket to secure prenatal and maternity care or proceeding to term without any health care. Babies born to women who received no prenatal care have an infant mortality rate five times that of women who received recommended care, and are three times more likely to be born at low birth weight.

Additional findings of the report include:

  • Health risks are more prominent among black, Hispanic, and Native American women, who are more than twice as likely as white women to receive either late or no prenatal care;
  • Every $1 of counseling and nutrition advice provided to pregnant women can save between $1.77 and $3.33 in medical care for newborns and mothers in the first 60 days after birth. Intensive prenatal care also reduces the likelihood of hospitalization and neo-natal intense care unit admissions, further reducing costs; and
  • Prenatal care also has long-term benefits to mothers. Research has found that women who receive prenatal care are less likely to require long hospitalizations after birth and are more likely to avoid future obesity.

Comptroller Stringer Reports Finds New York is America’s Hardest Working City

Full-time workers in New York City have longer workweeks than those in 29 other major U.S. cities when commuting times are taken into account, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis of workplace trends released by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. The study found that lower-wage workers often endure the most brutal commutes, and the findings suggest a need for workplace policies that help to balance work and family life, in addition to better investment in our mass transit system.

Comptroller Stringer’s study examined microdata from the 1990 and 2000 census and the 2013 American Community Survey to evaluate trends in work and commuting hours. The analysis found that full-time workers in New York City spend slightly more time at work than do workers in the next 29 largest cities, but they also spend about two hours more per week commuting — an average of 6 hours and 18 minutes per week.   The combined work and commuting workweeks of New York City workers averages over 49 hours – three to four hours longer than in some other large cities.

Further findings of the study include:

  • In almost all common occupations, full-time New York City workers have longer combined work-commuting weeks than their counterparts in other large cities. Finance sector workers in New York City top off at 53 hours per week, almost four more hours per week than their counterparts in other cities.
  • Occupations like security guards and home health care workers are heavily burdened by longer work weeks and commutes. While employees in higher paid sectors can afford to live closer to the City’s core in areas well-served by mass transit, lower-wage workers increasingly live in neighborhoods outside the city’s job core–forcing them to spend more time commuting and less time with family.
  • Significantly fewer women with children work in New York City than in other cities across the country.  The Labor Force Participation Rate for New York City women with children is 3 percentage points lower than the average of the other 29 cities in the study and well below that of Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
  • On average, New York City’s full-time workers earned about 16 percent more than workers did in other large cities in 2013.  However, when New Yorkers’ longer work hours and commutes are factored in, that wage advantage plays out in dramatically different ways.  Some higher-income groups, like lawyers and judges, retained an effective wage premium of 15 percent, while others, such as cooks (8 percent) and waiters and waitresses (4 percent) did not benefit as much from their lengthy workweeks.

Public Advocate James Calls on City and State Leaders to Address Impact of Fare Hikes

Ahead of Sunday’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) fare increase, Public Advocate Letitia James called on city and state lawmakers to address the impact of the fare hikes on New Yorkers, particularly low-income and working individuals and families. Standing with transit riders, Community Service Society, Rider’s Alliance, the Straphangers Campaign and 32BJ, Public Advocate James stressed the importance of a fully funded transit system, and called for restoring the commuter tax for those who work in New York City, but do not live here, to help fund this effort.

This month, Seattle introduced a reduced-fare program for individuals with household incomes at or below 200 percent of the poverty line. San Francisco also offers a reduced fare based on household income as do some smaller cities in the U.S.

According to data from the Community Service Society’s Unheard Third poll, 31 percent of the city’s working poor and a quarter of workers in households with incomes below twice the federal poverty level reported frequently being unable to buy a MetroCard. The same survey found that a majority of New Yorkers, across income levels and party affiliations, favor offering half-priced fares to low-wage workers.

The Public Advocate said that a fully funded transit system must be a priority and suggested that the state legislature reinstate the commuter tax. The New York City Independent Budget Office estimated in 2013 that if the State Legislature restored it at it’s former rates effective on July 1, 2013, $802 million would have been raised in 2014. This tax rate is a minimal burden for commuters given the fact that 2011 Census data indicates that among those working full-time in the city, the median earnings of commuters was $78,000, compared with $43,800 for city residents.

Senator Jeff Klein, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation Announce Nearly $500,000 in Small Business Loans Now Available to Bronx Businesses & Entrepeneurs

Bronx-based small businesses and local entrepreneurs will receive a boost of nearly a half million dollars, State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC) President Marlene Cintron announced. The Bronx Revolving Loan Fund, a new small business lending program administered by BOEDC, has nearly $500,000 in loans available to local small businesses — of all sizes and sectors — across The Bronx. The loans, ranging from $2,000 to $50,000, can be used as working capital, for the purchase of machinery or equipment, inventory and accounts receivable.

In 2014, Senator Klein secured $500,000 in state funding to jump start the availability of loans to Bronx-based business owners and entrepreneurs. With credit availability continuing to top the list of concerns for small businesses in The Bronx and across New York City, The Bronx Revolving Loan Fund aims to simplify the process and provide quick and easy access to capital.

The new lending program marks the first economic development initiative administered by BOEDC that does not place eligibility requirements like size or location on the condition of the loan. Eligible candidates consist of businesses registered in The Bronx for two or more years, including small retail businesses, construction companies, restaurants, technology firms, healthcare providers and more.

Bronx Borough President Diaz Honors Women of Distinction at Annual Celebration

On Thursday, March 19, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. honored leading women of distinction who continue to contribute to the community while sharing their knowledge and experience on a daily basis at his annual Women’s History Celebration at the Pelham Bay and Split Rock Golf Courses in Throggs Neck.

“Women make up 53 percent of The Bronx and they are the backbone to leading organizations and businesses in various fields. Without the women in our community we would not be able to achieve all that we can,” said Borough President Diaz.

“I encouraged the young ladies of today to always be prepared to take the lead because the day will come that people will look up to you to share your ways and culture like individuals around me did. I am thankful for this honor,” said Sonia Manzano, author and star of the hit children’s television show Sesame Street.

“In accepting this award I remember where I started and where I have come. I want all of the young girls to know that you are beautiful and anything is possible. I am proud to be here today,” said Verona Greenland, Founder, President and CEO of the Morris Heights Health Center, who also announced at the event that she will be retiring come June 2015.

Bronx Borough President Diaz: The Bronx Tourism Council Launches a New Comprehensive Visitors Guide

The Bronx Tourism Council and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced the launch of the first annual Bronx Visitors Guide.

The launch took place at Port Morris Distillery, one of the borough’s newest tourist destinations, and featured remarks from Borough President Diaz, Olga Luz Tirado, executive director of The Bronx Tourism Council; and Marlene Cintron, President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC).  The Bronx Tourism Council is a subsidiary of BOEDC.

The publication, printed in part with the support of NYC & Company, the City’s official destination marketing organization, is available as a 44-page booklet to be distributed through Manhattan and Bronx-based visitor’s centers, institutions, and top-tier hotels.

In addition to the book, a digital mobile-enabled version is also available online on www.ilovethebronx.com, as most tourists prefer to access information on the go using hand-held devices. The digital version is equipped with finger-swipe technology and all links are active for easy access to specific attractions.

City Agencies:

Health Department Reports Historic Low in New York City Tuberculosis Cases

In advance of World TB Day on March 24th, the Health Department released data showing the number of TB cases in NYC reached a new, historic low of 585 cases in 2014, and TB incidence decreased 10 percent to a rate of 7.2 cases per 100,000 people. TB continues to disproportionately affect foreign-born New Yorkers, with 85 percent of total TB cases among individuals born outside the United States. China was the most common country of birth for TB cases in 2014, exceeding the number of cases born in the United States. The Health Department also released a new report exploring this disparate burden of TB among China-born New Yorkers.

The Health Department is one of the leading health care providers of TB services in NYC. Health care practitioners at the four chest centers around the city perform an array of medical/clinical services, and the Health Department also offers expert medical consultation for patients being treated by other providers. In 2014, the Health Department expanded the use of video conferencing technology to monitor treatment of TB patients, allowing for a more efficient and less intrusive process for observing patients while they ingest their medication. Treatment for TB can be long, generally requiring ingestion of four antibiotics for six to nine months and ideally while supervised by a community health worker. The Health Department is also offering a new, once-weekly, regimen for TB infection, which patients can complete in 12 weeks instead of the previous nine months daily regimen. Patients should discuss their eligibility for the once-weekly regimen with their physician or medical provider.

Although there have been great strides in reducing TB, New York City has the highest number of TB cases of any city in the nation and more than twice the 2014 national rate of 3.0 per 100,000. According to the 2014 data, Queens continued to have the highest burden of TB in 2014 with 36 percent of the city’s cases, at a rate of 9.2 per 100,000. The neighborhood with the highest rate of TB is Sunset Park in Brooklyn, with a rate of 23.1 per 100,000, which is more than three times the citywide rate. The Health Department continues to work with healthcare providers and communities to promote TB screening as well as to introduce new technology for more efficient and effective treatment regimens.

Health Department Unveils Enhanced Child Care Services Website

The Health Department announced the launch of NYC Child Care Connect, a new online portal that includes an updated Child Care Program Directory and a new, free child care messaging service for parents and caregivers. The revamped Child Care Program Directory will allow parents and caregivers to both search for child care centers and summer camps in their area and compare information about a particular center to others across the city. And for the first time, our Program Directory will allow people to search for child care centers that are City-funded or that accept vouchers from the NYC Administration of Children’s Services. These enhancements empower parents and caregivers to stay informed and make sure their children are in a stimulating, nurturing, and safe environment.

NYC Child Care Connect offers clearer and more user-friendly online navigation. Previously, the child care search feature on the Health Department’s website offered a list of centers and their recent inspection reports. The new Program Directory provides the same information, as well as a three-year performance summary to show additional information about the center and its staff. Each child care center’s staff turnover rate and their percent of annual inspections with violations are compared to the citywide average.

The free text and email messaging service will allow parents to sign up for updates about a particular center, and about changes in child care regulations and resources. The service will alert parents and caregivers to recent inspection reports, newly permitted programs in their area, tips on selecting a child care center that meets the needs of their child, and other public health announcements.

Chancellor Fariña Announces Sharp Increase in Parent Participation in CEC Elections, Second Phase of Process Starts This Week

Chancellor Fariña announced that 1,290 parents have submitted applications to run for Citywide and Community Education Councils, up from 729 in 2013, 511 in 2011, and 576 in 2009.  The second step of the election process kicks off with the first of 46 candidate forums over the next month taking place across the five boroughs in every school district.

Parents from every borough applied to play an active role in public education and represent their children and school communities. Of the 1,290 total parents who applied, 873 applied for their community school district’s CEC – 290 in Brooklyn, 191 in Queens, 185 in the Bronx, 180 in Manhattan and 27 in Staten Island. In addition, 417 parents applied for four Citywide Councils.

The DOE launched a multi-lingual ad campaign in subway and ethnic and community publications across the five boroughs to increase parent and community engagement, encouraging parents to “Raise Your Hand” for the City’s children. In addition, over 100 presentations and information sessions were conducted, including nine in collaboration with the offices of the five Borough Presidents.

As a result, there has been a 77% increase in parent participation compared to 2013, when 729 parents applied, a 152% jump in comparison to 2011, when 511 parents applied, and a 124% rise in comparison to 2009, when 576 parents applied.

HPD, HDC, Alembic, SUS and Partners Announce the Start of Construction on a New supportive Housing Development in Ocean Hill, Brooklyn

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) joined Alembic Community Development, Services for the UnderServed (SUS), and project partners to celebrate the start of construction on Henry Apartments, a two-building, 134-unit supportive housing development in the Ocean Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. Of the total 134 units of affordable housing, 78 units will be set aside for formerly homeless families and individuals. The remaining units will serve extremely low- and low-income individuals and families earning anywhere from $29,400 to $50,340 annually. Residents will have access to on-site supportive services through Services for the UnderServed.

The development of this long vacant land into affordable housing will be financed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-Year Housing Plan. The plan aims to create and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing. The most comprehensive affordable housing plan in the City’s history and largest municipal housing plan in the nation, its goal is to help address New York City’s  affordability crisis by reaching more than half a million New Yorkers ranging from those with very low incomes to those in the middle class, all of whom face ever-rising rents.

Landmarks Preservation Commission Seeking Public Input to Address Backlog of Properties

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission is seeking public input on its need to address the backlog of properties that have been heard in public hearings but have not been designated or acted upon.

The Commission’s backlog includes 95 properties that were placed on the Commission’s calendar prior to 2010 and are currently inactive, of which 80 were calendared 20 or more years ago.

The Commission requests that interested parties submit ideas and suggestions for addressing the backlog of calendared properties. Specifically, the Commission seeks practical proposals for addressing the backlog in a timely fashion, including the articulation of standards for identifying which properties should be issued No Action Letters. No Action Letters remove items without reference to merit and do not prevent the Commission from re-calendaring the building or site in the future.

The Commission would like to provide the opportunity for stakeholders to contribute to our analysis. We request that any interested party submit ideas by close of business day on May 1, 2015.

Please submit suggestions to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission by mail to: 1 Centre Street, 9th Floor North, New York, NY 10007, or by e-mail to comments@lpc.nyc.gov.

Real Estate Board of New York: Analysis of Projected 421-A Housing Production

The 421-a partial tax exemption program is set to expire in June 2015. While some have called for the termination of the program, the negative effect on housing production would be significant if the 421-a program were not renewed. New York City would likely experience a sharp drop off in the production of new housing units, a major loss of middle income and other affordable housing construction, a continued skewing of the market toward condominium units rather than rental production, and further increase in housing costs.

To demonstrate the importance of the 421-a program to the creation of multi-family rental housing—and particularly to the affordable units that many of these projects include—REBNY has analyzed a sampling of some of the larger projects furthest along in the development pipeline. While it is not intended as a comprehensive look at all of the projects that are relying on the renewal of 421-a, this analysis begins to tally some of the market-rate and affordable rental units that would likely not be created if the 421-a program were not renewed this June—a full accounting of the units in jeopardy would likely be considerably higher. These preliminary findings indicate that over 5,484 affordable rental units would likely never be built, along with the 13,801 market rate rental units associated with the same projects.

To download the full analysis, click here.

 

 

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