Mutual Aid NYC Newsletter
Happy bike to work day!
May 20th, 2022
Some of what you’ll find below:
ocal News section is focused on rent but we have some good news articles in On the Upside
Check out what’s new in the Community Resource Library
Some awesome events and volunteer opportunities in Brooklyn and Queens
Local News: A Focus on Rent
Powerful NYC Panel Recommends Up to 6% Rent Hikes for Rent Stabilized Apartments
The NYC Rent Guidelines Board, a panel of nine mayor-appointed members tasked with setting rent adjustments for the city’s rent stabilized apartments, recommended the highest rent increases since 2013 in a recent preliminary vote. According to The City, the board voted five to four in favor of a proposal that would increase rent between 2% and 4% for one-year leases and between 4% and 6% for two-year leases of rent stabilized apartments. The increases would affect about one million apartments.
The City reported that two landlord board members voted against the proposed increases because they thought that they were too low. On the other side, the board’s two tenant members voted against the bill because they believe that increasing the rent will hurt renters who are already struggling. In addition, housing advocates have spoken out against the proposed rent increases. Housing Justice for All Campaign Coordinator Cea Weaver called the vote “a slap in the face to New Yorkers who are still recovering from the pandemic and barely making ends meet.”
The final Rent Guidelines Board vote will happen in June. Before the vote, New Yorkers can give testimony on how the Board should set the guidelines at two hearings. The first hearing is scheduled for Monday, June 13 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, located at 152-10 Jamaica Ave. in Queens. The second hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 15 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Hostos Community College, located at 450 Grand Concourse in The Bronx. The hearings will be streamed on YouTube at the Rent Guidelines Board’s channel. Community members must attend in person if they want to participate directly in the hearings. Anyone who wants to provide testimony but cannot go to the hearings in person can submit their testimony in advance by email, video or audio recording, or telephone at (929) 256-5472. Instructions on how to provide a video or audio recording are available on the Rent Guidelines’ Board website.
Study Finds that NYC Median Rent is Double What the Average Household Can Afford
In a recent survey of rent prices in 2021, the NYC Department of Housing Prevention and Development found that the average rent in the city, $2,750, is twice what the median-income household can afford. The survey also found that 4.54% of all New York apartments are vacant. State law defines a “housing emergency” as an apartment vacancy rate below 5%.
In addition, the survey has information about maintenance issues in NYC apartments. Rent-regulated, market-rate, and public housing apartments all experienced a decrease in quality and upkeep, with tenants in The Bronx reporting the most problems. For additional information, a recent article by The City describes the survey’s findings in more detail.
According to AMNY, the Department of Housing Prevention and Development plans to release more information from the 2021 survey so that the NYC can use the survey to decide if NYC still has a housing emergency and if NYC still needs rent stabilization laws. The survey comes at a time of landlord group attacks against the current rent stabilization laws. There are two recent lawsuits against New York that claim that the Housing Stability Tenant Protection Act of 2019, which strengthened rent control and added other tenant protections, is unconstitutional.
On the Upside: Check out these articles for some good news!
The Education Equity Action Plan Coalition held its first Black Media Salon last week to speak to Black press members about the importance of New York City’s new Kindergarten through 12th grade Black Studies curriculum, which was announced last year as part of the $10 million Education Equity Action Plan.
Brooklyn’s District 33’s new, community-specific climate action roadmap is the first of its kind in the city. Some of the plan’s goals are to reduce local building and vehicle emissions, expand green space and infrastructure, build protections against flooding from storms, and reach zero waste.
New York City will give a total of $6.5 million to 65,300 kids this year as part of the Save for College Program. The program automatically gives kindergarteners in New York City public and participating charter schools $100 to invest in a savings account for higher education costs.
The New York City Department of Education’s Comfort Dog Program is helping students have fun and feel more comfortable in schools. Currently, there are 52 schools throughout the city that participate in the program. Kirsten Kinsella, the leader of the program, said that she hopes the program will expand, even though this will take a lot of work.
The New York Appellate Court ruled that law enforcement agencies cannot use a state DNA database to search for possible family members of a person whose DNA the agency collected. Legal advocates have criticized this practice for unfairly targeting people of color, whose DNA make up a disproportionately large percentage of the DNA in the database.
Resources of the Week
Check out some new additions to our Community Resource Library:
Resource: Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center
What is it: Services include sterile injecting equipment; safer sex supplies; Narcan/Naloxone overdose prevention meds; HIV and hepatitis C testing; medical and mental health care, counseling, and referrals; and case management
Call 212-645-0875, x100 to make an appointment
Resource: GMHC Hotline
What is it: They provide information about topics such as HIV/AIDS, STDs, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), sexual health, and resources such as testing, healthcare, benefits, and counseling.
Call 1-800-243-7692 for a safe space to discuss a wide range of concerns
Resource: For the Gworls Financial Support for Black Transgender People
What is it: A Black, trans-led collective that curates parties to fundraise money to help Black transgender people pay for their rent, gender-affirming surgeries, smaller co-pays for medicines/doctor’s visits, and travel assistance.
Visit the website to view available applications and to apply for assistance
Resource: Reproductive Justice Legal Hotline
What is it: Free, confidential legal information or advice about self-managed abortion, young people's access to abortion or judicial bypass, and referrals to local resources
Call 844-868-2812 or submit a query online
Resource: Helpline for Families with Children who have Disabilities
What is it: Services include providing access to education, family advocacy, employment, and assistance in gaining independent living status for families with children or young adults with disabilities from 0-26 years of age
Check out the link for numbers to call/text in your preferred language
Volunteer Opportunities and Events
May 21 @ 10am-5pm: Food and Essential Goods Distribution with Bushwick Ayuda Mutua
Bushwick Ayuda Mutua is looking for volunteers to help with their distribution. If interested, DM their Instagram here
May 21 @ 10:30am: Market Day with Gowanus Mutual Aid
Where: Bond St & Douglass St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Gowanus Mutual Aid is giving out food, diapers, personal care, cleaning supplies, and PPE while supplies lasts. Tickets will be given out Saturday at 9am
May 21 @ 1pm: Food & Essentials Distribution with Caribbean Equality Project
Where: Parkside Plaza, Ocean Ave & Parkside Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11226
Caribbean Equality Project is giving away free groceries, produce, PPE, Sexual Health Products, COVID-19 tests, and vaccination resources in Parkside Plaza. First come, first serve. Please bring a cart
May 28 @ 12-4pm: Community Party and Giveaway with Crown Heights Mutual Aid
Where: Historic First Church of God in Christ, 221 Kingston Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213
Crown Heights Mutual Aid will be providing groceries, grilling food, sharing information on tenants rights, collecting and distributing resources for the community. Please bring what you can such as coats, books, children’s clothing and other essentials
May 21 @ 12-1pm: Relaunching the Community Fridge and Pack the Fridge with Southside Action Pact
Where: 132-06 Liberty Ave, Jamaica, NY 11419
Join Southside Action Pact and Dave’s Barbershop to celebrate the power of mutual aid and two years of their community fridge! Feel free to bring donations such as food for the fridge or books for the library.
MANYC Self Promo
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