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This Week in New York City Government

Mayor:

Mayors of Many US Cities to Convene in New York City at Summit on Implementation of Executive Order on Immigration

Hosted by Mayor de Blasio in Gracie Mansion in New York on December 8th, the summit’s goal is to create a united front with cities that have led the nation in the adoption of common sense policies to welcome and embrace new immigrants.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City is hosting a first-ever summit on December 8th with at least twenty mayors from cities across the country to discuss and lay out a step-by-step implementation plan of an executive order on immigration.

New York City is among tens of cities which have clearly defined a course of action to counter the anti-immigrant policy-making of some US localities. The de Blasio administration already has a track record for welcoming immigrant New Yorkers. From access to federal immigration benefits, from citizenship to U visas application assistance, from deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) to the City’s response to the unaccompanied child migrant crisis  and new Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detainer legislation that will dramatically reduce deportations, the City has led a movement that cements the notion that a city’s prosperity and strength depends upon its new American residents having ample opportunities to reach their fullest potential and contribute to the well-being of our communities.

“The President’s soon-to-be-announced reforms will initiate an economic, political and social transformation of our cities and our country,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “In New York City, I have directed a series of comprehensive initiatives to provide stability to all our immigrants—newly-arrived and those that have lived here for generations—that have already been promoting safer and stronger communities all across the city. This summit will offer a unique opportunity for mayors of many of our nation’s progressive cities to restate our leadership and responsibility on this decisive issue and to come out with an unbeatable master plan that truly prepares our localities for swift implementation of changes and also advocates for further reforms from the municipal level all the way up to Washington.”

“We can’t wait any longer for immigration reform,” said Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. “I’m pleased President Obama is taking action as this reform will have a substantial impact on the people of Portland and Maine as a whole. I’m also pleased to join Mayor de Blasio and the coalition of mayors from around the country that support these efforts. ”
“San Francisco is already a model for the nation in welcoming immigrants and empowering new citizens, but we must do more,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “As the son of immigrant parents, I want others to know, San Francisco will continue its leadership on this issue and will remain a place that welcomes all residents, regardless of where or how they arrived. As a Sanctuary City, San Francisco will continue to work closely with our broad network of community-based organizations, philanthropic foundations, labor, education and City partners to continue to invest in the future of all San Franciscans.”

“Our country has been built on the hard work of generations of immigrants,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Today, one in five residents of my city is foreign-born. Every day, we see the economic contributions of immigrants in our cities. We need to reunite and bring undocumented families out of the shadows, integrating immigrants into our community. I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio and the other mayors who are leading the charge on this issue.”

“As mayors, we know first-hand that alleviating the challenges faced by our most marginalized residents strengthens our community as a whole,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “The City of Atlanta is committed to working with cities across the country to implement President Obama’s Administrative Relief order to provide millions of aspiring citizens the opportunity to rightfully and legally contribute to our nation’s economy and strengthen our cities’ cultural fabric, economic growth and global competitiveness.

The de Blasio Administation Announces $10 Million in Commitments for DNC Bid

The de Blasio Administration announced that it has secured $10 million in commitments from host committee members for the City’s bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention. In August, the City announced that it is preparing to host a $100 million convention, and has since raised 10 percent of that amount with two years left to plan and finance the convention. Once selected as the city to host the convention, the City and Host Committee will immediately convert those commitments into money in the bank to begin to organize the event.

The Administration also announced that it has increased the host committee membership to 101 business, civic and labor leaders, all of whom have pledged their support.

Earlier this month, Chief of Staff Laura Santucci took a temporary leave of absence from her role at City Hall to oversee the City’s operational, financial and strategic planning to secure the bid, and top Democratic fundraiser Liz Lowery came on board to build out the host committee and prepare the way for accelerated fundraising in the event that New York City gets the nod. Later this month, the City will begin to host a series of community meetings with key stakeholders to continue efforts to engage the community from the grassroots up.

The De Blasio Administration Announces Winner of Competition to Replace Payphones with Five-Borough Wi-Fi Network

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Anne Roest announced the selection of CityBridge to develop and operate a first-of-its-kind communications network, LinkNYC, to bring the world’s fastest municipal Wi-Fi to millions of New Yorkers, small businesses and visitors. The five-borough network, if approved by the City’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee (FCRC), would be funded through advertising revenues, built at no-cost to taxpayers and generate more than $500 million in revenue for the City over the next 12 years.

By replacing the aging network of public pay telephones with state-of-the-art connection points called “Links,” the City aims to transform the physical streetscape—and New Yorkers’ access to information—while also creating new local jobs for the development, servicing and maintenance of the structures. Links would offer 24/7 free Internet access up to gigabit speeds, which is over 100 times faster than average public Wi-Fi, as well as a range of other services including free phone calls to anywhere in the U.S., a touchscreen tablet interface to access City services, wayfinding, easy access to 911 and 311 calls, free cell phone charging and digital displays for advertising and public service announcements.

Mayor de Blasio, Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Pierre-Louis and Housing Authority Chair Olatoye Mark First Day of Work for City’s First Ever Public Housing Domestic Violence Response 10-Member Team

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, and New York City Housing Authority Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye announced the official first day of work of NYCHA Domestic Violence Response Team (NYCHA DVRT), an initiative of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence to dedicate a new 10-member team to focus on domestic violence issues at NYCHA developments and directly link resident survivors to appropriate services. The first model of its kind in the city, this $800,000 initiative will initially focus on the 15 housing developments that are part of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety to reduce crime.

Starting on November 17th, OCDV will deploy NYCHA DVRT staff to conduct extensive grassroots outreach throughout the 15 targeted developments and surrounding communities, provide information about how to obtain domestic violence services, and directly connect residents to the dedicated NYCHA DVRT specialists in OCDV’s Family Justice Centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens (Staten Island Center will open in 2015). NYCHA DVRT staff will also coordinate services for high risk victims at NYCHA, working with NYCHA, key City agencies and community partners to collaboratively strengthen the safety net for victims.  Located in and operated by OCDV, the FJCs provide comprehensive services to victims of intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and sex trafficking in 25 languages with additional telephonic interpretation in over 150 languages.

De Blasio Administration Launches Major Manufacturing Expansion at Brooklyn Navy Yard

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a major investment to transform the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Building 77 into a modern manufacturing facility generating 3,000 good-paying jobs.

The $140 million investment from the City, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, Brooklyn Borough President and City Council will be used to renovate the vacant industrial building, significantly expanding a project begun under the previous administration and doubling the projected number of good jobs at the facility. The project will upgrade all aspects of the one-million square foot building, including the installation of windows on the existing windowless floors to convert underutilized warehouse space into open spaces for active manufacturing and technology-based businesses. When completed, Building 77 will increase employment at the Navy Yard by more than 40 percent.

Mayor de Blasio also announced that the City and Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation will expand the yard’s highly successful Employment Center, which recruits, screens and trains area residents for jobs created in the industrial park.

Citywide and Borough Electeds:

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and NYC Council Announce Comprehensive Platform to Reinvigorate NYC’s Industrial and Manufacturing Sectors

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the New York City Council issued a comprehensive report detailing the state of New York City’s industrial sector and proposed new approaches to reinvigorating New York’s manufacturing districts as engines of economic opportunity.

The report identifies new zoning and land use tools that can help New York City support and nurture growth in both the manufacturing sector and the growing “creative” sector industries. These tools include “industrial employment districts”, “creative economy districts”, and new kinds of zoning to more effectively support mixed-use industrial, residential, and commercial neighborhoods.

Industrial companies currently employ approximately nearly 350,000 New Yorkers—approximately 10% of the city’s private sector workforce. In Brooklyn and Queens, jobs in manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation, warehousing, and utilities pay an average salary of $51,000 annually — more than double the average salary of service sector jobs. Not only do these jobs serve as a conduit into the middle class for many first-generation immigrants, but they also grow the local economy; according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, every dollar in the final sale of manufactured goods generates $1.33 in additional output.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and NYC & Company Foundation Announce Grants to Support Cultural Institutions and Tourism in New York

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and the NYC & Company Foundation have announced this year’s Manhattan recipients of the Borough Cultural Tourism Development Grant Program.

This program is designed to promote tourism in all parts of the borough and raise awareness of domestic and international travelers of the wide range of cultural opportunities available in Manhattan. The grants will fund the cultural organizations’ development of programming and production of marketing material to reach new audiences.

“These groups each represent a single facet of Manhattan’s vast cultural diversity,” said Borough President Brewer. “From egg creams to poetry slams, from Afro-Latin jazz to Native American drums, these events are unique to us and add to our attractiveness as a tourist destination. The groups my office has selected offer the full range of underappreciated Manhattan attractions.”

“Culture is an enormous part of New York City’s appeal to visitors,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company. “Investing in culture supports New York City’s vitality as well as the visitor spending and job creation essential to the City’s economy.”

This year’s recipients are:

  • Afro Latin Jazz Alliance – Grant will support marketing and promotion of the Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra season at Symphony Space.
  • Big Apple Greeter – Grant will support an upgrade of Big Apple Greeter’s website.
  • Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corp. – Grant will help fund the printing and distribution of Map Through Chinatown’s History and Culture Campaign.
  • Harlem Week, Inc. – Grant will provide support for the marketing and promotion of Harlem Week event.
  • Lotus Music and Dance – Grant will support the marketing and promotion of Drums along the Hudson: A Native American Festival and Multicultural Celebration.
  • Museum at Eldridge Street – Grant will provide funding of marketing and promotional materials for Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival.
  • New York Scandia Symphony – Grant will support marketing and promotional materials for the Scandinavian Music Festival.
  • Nuyorican Poets Café, Inc. – Grant will support marketing and promotion of Nuyorican Poets Café’s Poetry Slam.
  • NY African Ensemble – Grant will support development, production and distribution of the marketing materials for the Harlem and the Heights Tourism Project.
  • Pan American Musical Art Research – Grant will support promotion and publicity expenses for the Latin American Cultural Week.

Borough Cultural Tourism Development Grants are privately funded by donations to the NYC & Company Foundation, whose mission is to support tourism and economic development in all five boroughs by promoting local cultural events and institutions. The grant program is administered by the Borough President’s Office, and cultural groups are invited to apply for funding annually. Recipients are selected by the Borough President based on the merit of the program.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz Renders Her Office Available Mon-Thu to Assist Residents with Home Energy Assistance Program

With the first cold snap of the season sending shivers throughout the city, Borough President Melinda Katz announced that residents in need of financial assistance to help heat their homes this winter are encouraged to come to her office at Queens Borough Hall to apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).

“Queens has already felt some bitter cold this season and I am sure much more chilly weather can be expected this winter,” Borough President Katz said. “Such conditions may be uncomfortable for most, but they can be harmful and even deadly to the elderly and to other vulnerable people in our borough.  Fortunately, those who have trouble affording the cost of heating their homes can apply to the HEAP program for valuable and potentially life-saving financial assistance.  HEAP is an important program that can help the families in the World’s Borough with their heating bills, and I encourage those who are eligible to apply.”

HEAP is a federally funded grant program that helps low-income homeowners and renters defray the cost of heating fuel.  Eligible recipients can receive up to several hundred dollars per year to offset their fuel bills.

HEAP application assistance is available Monday-Thursday from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM in the Office of Borough President Melinda Katz at Queens Borough Hall (Room 225), 120-55 Queens Boulevard.  Walk-ins only will be served on a first-come first-serve basis.  Representatives from the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) will be available to directly assist people with applications.  Multi-language assistance is available.  U.S. citizens and qualified immigrants can get HEAP assistance if they meet eligibility requirements.

 Agencies:

City Housing Agencies Announce New Affordable Housing Programs and Changes to Current Programs that Deliver on Key Commitments

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been and New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Gary Rodney announced new affordable housing programs and significant changes to a number of existing programs that will align them with the priorities of Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York plan. The guidelines of the new programs and changes are reflected in the agency’s term sheets, which are documents that define the parameters, qualifications, and scope of specific affordable housing programs. Combined with three new affordable housing programs, key changes to term sheets of existing programs will help to stretch public subsidy, encourage mixed-income development, and help address the homeless crisis and provide housing for those with special needs.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough, 10-Year Housing Planaims to create and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next ten years. 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.

Stretching Public Subsidy Housing Dollars

Housing New York pledged to re-evaluate HPD and HDC programs to stretch city subsidy housing dollars further. By tying city subsidies to the priorities Housing New York set forth, the changes aim to increase the effectiveness of HPD and HDC programs, better leverage private financing sources, and ensure that no more public subsidy is provided than is necessary to ensure quality production.

  • Adjusting terms to leverage additional private financing: Offering developers financing that is payable at the end of the loan term, instead of throughout the term of the loan allows the developer more flexibility to leverage additional private financing and reduces the amount of public subsidy needed on a project.
  • Reduce public subsidy when the developer is also getting tax exemptions or zoning bonuses: In an affordable housing project, the City may reduce the amount of subsidy provided when the developer is already getting other public benefits, unless the developer agrees to provide deeper or broader affordability than already is required for those pubic benefits.
  • Containing costs and finding efficiencies: The City will prioritize proposals that demonstrate proficient cost containment measures that reduce the need for public subsidy, such as: using less than the maximum subsidy available, offering private land at below-market costs, plans for efficient construction timelines, etc.  

The Department of City Planning will launch a study of western Flushing in Queens for Possible Upzoning

The following article was authored by Crain’s reporter Joe Anuta

The Department of City Planning will launch a study of western Flushing in Queens to explore the potential for increased residential development there, a city official announced Monday. The largely industrial area, most of which sits along Flushing Creek, has long been eyed by planners, including a group of them who received a $1.5 million grant several years ago to study development opportunities there.

The new study will be part of the administration’s citywide effort to identify neighborhoods—such as East New York, Brooklyn or the Cromwell-Jerome neighborhood in the Bronx—that could be rezoned to allow for greater residential development, with the caveat that any new construction would have to include affordable apartments.

At the core of the plan is expanding the capacity of housing in the five boroughs,” said City Planning Commission Chair Carl Weisbrod

The downtown Flushing area has long been a hotbed for development, and boasts one of the busiest pedestrian intersections and subway stops in the entire city. A sprawling condo development called Sky View Parc already sits near the western edge of the neighborhood, and its units have sold well.

 

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