Right to Counsel Leaders Introduce New Legislation to Expand Landmark Tenants’ Rights Law

For Immediate Release: September 12, 2018

Contact: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

City Hall, NY -- Following the historic passage of New York City’s landmark “Right to Counsel” legislation, the law’s lead sponsors City Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson, together with the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition (RTCNYC), are introducing new legislation to strengthen and expand the nation’s first universal eviction legal defense law.

The Council passed Levine and Gibson’s bill, Intro 214, in July of 2017, making New York the first jurisdiction in the country to guarantee legal representation in housing court for tenants. The new law mandated the NYC Office of Civil Justice provide New Yorkers with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line – or $50,200 annually for a family of four – with free legal representation when facing an eviction.

Since implementing, the Right to Counsel law has already had a dramatic impact in protecting tenants from eviction, including:

  • A 24 percent decrease in the number of evictions since 2014;
  • An increase in the number of non-profit legal aid attorneys working with tenants city-wide from 200 to 500, yielding a rise in the number of tenants with legal representation from just 10 to over 27 percent; and,
  • According to Housing Court Answers, zip codes covered by the first year roll out of Right to Counsel showed unprecedented progress. In the Bronx, the borough with the highest evictions, there was a 15% drop in the two zip codes where tenants have a right to an attorney. In Brooklyn, the two covered zips showed a decrease of 18% in evictions over the last two years. In Jamaica, Queens, the covered areas showed a 13% decline in 2017 compared to 2016.

Lastly, reflecting a paradigm shift in the tenant-landlord relationship, the number of eviction cases filed in NYC’s housing courts has already started to drop--down almost 10 percent since 2014--proving that even just having an attorney reduces the number of frivolous cases landlords bring to housing court.

“The passage of our right to counsel law last year was an historic step towards justice in NYC’s housing courts, where for generations the vast majority of tenants faced the threat of eviction without the benefit of legal representation,” said Council Member Levine. “The stakes for implementation couldn’t be higher-- which is why we need to expand and strengthen this law to keep New Yorkers in their homes, off the streets, and out of the shelter system.”

“After just one year, Right to Counsel is proving to be an unprecedented success,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson. “This groundbreaking legislation has kept people in their homes, and out of homeless shelters and housing courts.”

Despite the new law’s extraordinary success, a combination of evolving landlord tactics, implementation issues in the courthouses, and lack of public awareness of the law continue to make it difficult for tenants to receive the legal representation they are now entitled to. To address these issues, Council Members Levine and Gibson, in partnership with RTCNYC Coalition leaders, are advancing new legislation that includes:

Increasing the income threshold to 400% of the federal poverty line

While the majority of tenants in housing court are eligible for the right to counsel under the current 200 percent threshold, a single New Yorker earning a $15 an hour minimum wage is not.

Said Council Member Levine, “The federal poverty level is totally out of whack with the reality in New York City. With the skyrocketing cost of living here, more and more people above 200% of the federal line are in fact facing enormous economic struggles. We need to expand the Right to Counsel law to reflect that.”  

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Council Health Chair Levine to Hold Hearing on Speaker Johnson Bill to Make Birth Certificates More Inclusive to All Gender Identities

**ADVISORY**

WHEN: Wednesday, June 13th, 2018 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: City Hall Main Chamber

Contact: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

City Hall, NY - Tomorrow, New York City Council Member Mark Levine will chair a Health Committee hearing regarding a bill proposed by Council Speaker Corey Johnson requiring the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to amend birth certificates issued in NYC to include a third category to reflect a non-binary gender identity.

Under the proposed law, NYC birth certificates will include male, female and a new, third category of “X” to reflect a non-binary gender identity. The legislation, Int 954, also amends the law so that transgender New Yorkers will no longer need a letter from a physician or an affidavit by a licensed health care provider to change their gender marker. Instead, people born in New York City will be able to submit their own affidavit, which attests that the gender marker change is for the purpose of affirming their gender identity

If you can’t attend the hearing in person, a live stream will be available online here.

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“Right to Counsel” Leaders Call for Expansion of Landmark Tenants’ Rights Law

For Immediate Release: June 8, 2018
Contact: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

City Hall, NY -- Less than a year after the historic passage of New York City’s landmark “Right to Counsel” legislation--and on the heels of San Francisco creating their own tenants’ right to counsel--the bill’s lead sponsors City Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson, together with the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition (RTCNYC), are laying out a new agenda to strengthen and expand the nation’s first universal eviction legal defense law.

The Council passed Levine and Gibson’s bill, Intro 214, in July of 2017, making New York the first jurisdiction in the country to guarantee legal representation in housing court for tenants. The new law mandated the NYC Office of Civil Justice provide New Yorkers with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line – or $50,200 annually for a family of four – with free legal representation when facing an eviction.

As the Right to Counsel law approaches its one year anniversary this July, it has already had a dramatic impact in protecting tenants from eviction, including:

  • A 24 percent decrease in the number of evictions since 2014;
  • An increase in the number of non-profit legal aid attorneys working with tenants city-wide from 200 to 500 has yielded a corresponding rise in the number of tenants with legal representation from just 10 to over 27 percent; and
  • Reflecting a paradigm shift in the tenant-landlord relationship, the number of eviction cases filed in NYC’s housing courts has already started to drop--down almost 10 percent since 2014--proving that even just having an attorney reduces the number of frivolous cases landlords bring to housing court.

“The passage of our right to counsel law last year was an historic step towards justice in NYC’s housing courts, where for generations the vast majority of tenants faced the threat of eviction without the benefit of legal representation,” said Council Member Levine. “The stakes for implementation couldn’t be higher-- which is why we need to expand and strengthen this law to keep New Yorkers in their homes, off the streets, and out of the shelter system.”

“After just one year, Right to Counsel is proving to be an unprecedented success,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson. “This groundbreaking legislation has kept people in their homes, and out of homeless shelters and housing courts. As we begin RTC’s second year and expand its implementation.”

Despite the new law’s extraordinary success, a combination of evolving landlord tactics, implementation issues in the courthouses, and lack of public awareness of the law continue to make it difficult for tenants to receive the legal representation they are now entitled to. To address these issues, Council Members Levine and Gibson, and RTCNYC Coalition leaders are advancing a new agenda that includes:

Increasing the income threshold to 400% of the federal poverty line
While the majority of tenants in housing court are eligible for the right to counsel under the current 200 percent threshold, a single New Yorker earning a $15 an hour minimum wage is not. To remedy this, Council Members Levine and Gibson are drafting legislation to double the qualifying threshold.

Said Council Member Levine, “The federal poverty level is totally out of whack with the reality on the ground in New York City. With the skyrocketing cost of living here, more and more people above 200% of the federal line are in fact facing enormous economic struggles. We need to expand the right to counsel law to reflect that.”  

Expanding the Right to Counsel Outside of Housing Court
While most eviction cases occur in City Housing Courts, several thousand are left to higher courts or administrative hearings, including:

  • HPD administrative hearings for Mitchell-Lama residents;
  • Certain Supreme Court Ejectment cases; and
  • Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) cases.

Though the current law guarantees tenants get an attorney for the entirety of their case, it does not cover appeals. With more tenants than ever being represented and winning their cases, landlords are filing more appeals. Without legal representation to defend their victories, tenants will be left alone when the final, most consequential, decision is made. Council Members Levine and Gibson are drafting legislation that would expand the law to HPD, DHCR, and in Supreme Court Ejectment hearings and appeals.  

Connecting tenants to attorneys before they arrive at court
For the Right to Counsel law to be truly universal, every tenant needs to know about it, understand it, and use it. Neighborhood based groups with histories of tenant organizing and community service are trusted community partners and therefore are best positioned to do the outreach and education work that is critical to the law’s success. In addition to calling on the New York State Chief Judge to amend eviction notices issued in NYC to alert tenants of their right to an attorney, Council Members Levine and Gibson are also pursuing legislation that would fund community based organizations to conduct outreach and engagement to inform tenants of their right to an attorney.

Said Council Member Gibson, “I want to once again thank the many advocates, community groups, and especially the Right to Counsel Coalition and my partner in this effort, Council Member Mark Levine, for their commitment to New York tenants and fairness in housing court. Our historic legislation has laid the groundwork for cities across the country to enact their own right to counsel laws and our movement will help reduce homelessness across America. As the rollout continues, I look forward to working with all stakeholders to improve upon the good work we have done and enact additional legislative reforms that build on our success. Together we protect and preserve tenants rights!”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, “’Right to Counsel’ is one of the strongest tools that we have to prevent evictions, homelessness and displacement. Strengthening this law can help us go even further when it comes to protecting our city’s tenants. I congratulate Council members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson, as well as the entire Right To Counsel NYC Coalition, for their efforts to make this law a reality and to protect New York’s tenants by providing them with counsel in housing court.”

“We have the track record to prove it — establishing the right to counsel in housing court works, reducing evictions and helping correct a gross power imbalance,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “If you’re working full-time at minimum wage, you should qualify for the right-to-counsel program.”

Randy Dillard, a leader of the tenants’ rights group, CASA, said, “A lot of tenants who have this new right, don't know about it. And what's more, being evicted is really frightening and brings a lot of shame, and so just knowing your rights isn't enough to confront the fear and shame that evictions bring, especially in the context of landlords having so much power and your home being on the line. Community based organizing groups, who are trusted members of the community and who have strong ties and relationships with community members need to be the ones doing outreach and organizing to respond to landlord retaliation. Right now RTC funds lawyers but the true cost should cover funding for neighborhood based community groups.”

“Across the country and especially in New York City, low-income tenants need access to comprehensive legal services to thwart unlawful evictions,” said Judith Goldiner, Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “This must include a right to counsel during the housing appeals process where the right to an attorney makes all the difference. Anything else falls short of what is truly needed. The Legal Aid Society stands with Council Member Mark Levine and Council Member Vanessa Gibson in support of RTC 2.0 to strengthen the current law, benefiting our clients and poor New Yorkers.”

Jennie Laurie, Executive Director of Housing Court Answers said, “We need to raise the income threshold for right to counsel. 200% of the federal poverty level – the current threshold - is not a high income in New York City. Today, a single person making the minimum wage working a full-time job at 40 hours a week is over income. Clearly, a tenant at this income level could not afford a private attorney – but would still be a prime target for landlord harassment and displacement. Let’s raise the threshold to 400% - that would allow representation for almost all tenants facing eviction in Housing Court.

"All NYC tenants should be able to fight to defend their homes," said Marika Dias, Director of the Tenant Rights Coalition at Legal Services NYC, "That includes working tenants who can't afford to pay for a lawyer; tenants who are fighting to keep essential housing subsidies so they can pay their rent; and tenants who want to come together in their neighborhoods to stand up for their rights. That’s why expanding our right to counsel law is a critical next step in the struggle to keep our communities together and families in their homes."

“The threat of eviction particularly hits low-income tenants and families the hardest and leaves far too many New Yorker’s stripped unfairly of one of life’s most basic necessities,” said Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “I commend Councilmembers Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson in collaboration with the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition (RTCNYC) for today’s announcement that will strengthen and expand the nation’s first universal eviction legal defense program. We must continue our efforts to guarantee universal access to legal counsel and ensure all tenants facing eviction can have their day in housing court.”

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CM Levine Launches “Languages for All” Campaign to Expand Bilingual Education in City Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 15, 2018

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

City Hall, New York -- Today, Council Member Mark Levine launched a new Languages for All campaign aimed at creating a robust expansion of foreign language education programs in NYC.

Learning a foreign language early in life can be an invaluable asset to a child growing up in the world’s most global city. However, very few of the DOE’s language learning programs reach students during their most formative years. In addition to the obvious economic benefits associated with knowing a second language, studies have proven that language learning benefits students in countless ways, including: higher levels of academic achievement, improved cognitive ability, enhanced decision-making ability, and even staving off the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Council Member Levine is renewing his call for the City to increase the number of elementary students in immersion programs to 20% of all students and to grow the number of languages offered to 20, a goal the City has not yet met despite progress.

The DOE currently offers 245 Dual Language programs across the five boroughs for 11 languages, including: Spanish, Chinese, French, Russian, Polish, Japanese, Arabic, Haitian Creole, Italian, Hebrew, and Korean.

Council Member Levine introduced two pieces of legislation to expand dual languages programs in the City, including:

  • A bill directing the DOE to annually report to the Council on the number and progress of foreign language learning (FLL) programs in the City (Int 762-2018); and
  • A resolution calling on the State to enact A.1154/S. 3641 sponsored by Assemblymember Nily Rozic and State Senator Kevin Parker that would establish incentives for college students to become bilingual-certified teachers (Res 273-2018).


“New York is the most multilingual city in the world, and yet, our City’s public schools are falling behind when it comes to foreign language instruction at an early age,” said Council Member Levine. “As the world becomes ever more connected, multilingualism is an increasingly valuable asset in the job market. Language learning-- especially at a young age--also aids cognitive development and promotes academic achievement in other subjects. For young people to succeed in today’s global world, we need to create a language learning system for the 21st Century, focused on immersion at a young age.”

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Health Chair Levine Introduces Lead Testing Legislation for City Parks

CM Levine also Endorsed Two Bills Aimed at Curbing the Rat Scourge in Manhattan Valley

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

City Hall, NY – Today, New York City Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Health Committee, introduced legislation that requires the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to annually test lead levels in City parks.

Council Member Levine’s bill is part of a package of bills introduced to the City Council today to eliminate childhood lead poisoning in the five boroughs by strengthening the city’s lead laws. In 2016 alone, over 5,000 children tested positive for high levels of lead, or about 1.65% of the one to two year olds tested annually as required by state law. Though the number is down from 12.5% in 2005, this package of bills will require the city to conduct more thorough investigations when children test positive for high lead blood levels - including in the exposed child’s day care, preschool, and parks and play areas. The package will lower the threshold for what counts as elevated blood lead to 5 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL), which matches the Centers for Disease Control standard. The city’s current level - which is the standard used to instigate a mandatory investigation - is three times higher.

Currently, the City does not test for lead in parks or the many thousands of water fountains in them. Council Member Levine’s new legislation will require DOHMH to annually test lead levels in City owned and operated parks, including water fountains and in the soil of playgrounds, and if lead levels are unacceptably high, the Department will be required to remediate those levels immediately.

Council Health Chair Mark Levine said, “While our city has made great strides in the battle against lead poisoning, far too many of our children continue to test positive for dangerously high levels of lead in their blood. We must attack this challenge everywhere that children are at risk: in our homes, in our schools, and in our parks. This sweeping package of legislation will put New York City at the forefront nationally in this vital public health fight, and as a former Chair of the Parks Committee, I’m especially proud to be introducing legislation that will make our parks and playgrounds safer and healthier for New York families.”

Council Member Levine Backs Legislation to Curb Rat Scourge in Manhattan Valley

Today, Council Member Levine also sponsored two bills, Intro 658 and Intro 659, which aim to address the prevailing issue of rats in DOHMH designated “rat reservoirs,” which include large swaths of Manhattan Valley and Morningside Heights.

Intro 658, sponsored by Public Advocate Letitia James, would make abating rodents a requirement for the issuance of construction permits in any rat reservoir. Intro 659, sponsored by Council Member Antonio Reynoso would require the City to publicly report on its progress in lowering rodent populations.

"The prevailing issue of rats has plagued New York City, and particularly Upper Manhattan for decades," said Council Health Chair Mark Levine. "Rats are not only a detriment to quality of life, but also to public health and safety. In the past few years my office has held several Rat Academies in partnership with the Departments of Health and Sanitation to demonstrate safe and effective ways buildings and homeowners can control rodent issues, and I look forward to doing even more in the coming months. I am also working directly with the Health Department to bring in new rodent resistant trash bins and to increase abatement measures in NYCHA buildings such as the Douglass and Grant Houses.”

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Manhattan Council Members Propose Residential Parking Permit Program

Transportation Alternatives Lauds Idea as Decongestion Tool

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 25, 2018

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

Manhattan, New York -- Today, City Council Members Mark Levine & Helen Rosenthal, co-chairs of the Manhattan Delegation, and Council Members Keith Powers & Diana Ayala, will introduce legislation that would require the City Department of Transportation (DOT) to create and implement a residential parking permit (RPP) system in Northern Manhattan, covering all areas north of 60th Street through Inwood. Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Transportation Committee, also introduced legislation to create a citywide RPP.  

Neighborhoods in the northern half of Manhattan increasingly face the crowding and congestion of suburban commuters leaving their cars on local streets in order to transfer to the subway--a problem that would be severely exacerbated should congestion pricing ever be implemented.

The bill, Int. 848-2018, as introduced by Council Members Levine, Rosenthal, Powers, and Ayala  would address this problem by requiring DOT to designate specific areas and neighborhoods where a residential parking permit (RPP) system would be implemented, and to determine the days and times when permit requirements would be in effect. Under the proposed law, DOT would be able to reserve up to 80% parking spaces on designated residential blocks for people who live in the neighborhood, leaving the remaining spots for non-residents. The legislation also specifies that no RRP zone would be implemented on streets zoned for commercial or retail use.

The program is designed to give local residents priority for on-street parking in residential areas and to discourage park-and-ride commuters. New York is one of the only major cities in America that does not have some version of an RPP.

In addition to this legislation, the bill’s sponsors are calling for the following protections to be implemented in the rules-making process, including requirements that DOT:

  • Hold public hearings with community boards before implementing RPP in a neighborhood;
  • Ensure permits are only issued to individuals holding a New York State driver's license;
  • Ensure permits are attached to specific license plate numbers; and
  • Limit the number of permits issued to one per licensed driver.

“For too long suburban commuters have taken advantage of free street parking in Northern Manhattan and crowded out the people who actually live in our neighborhoods,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “Whether you live in Washington Heights or the Upper East Side, parking in our borough is an incredible challenge for so many who live here. Manhattan is already facing a suffocating congestion crisis that is hurting our economy, threatening the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, and poses a danger to our environment. We can’t afford to continue as one of the only big cities in America that doesn’t have a residential parking permit system--this policy is long overdue.

“Residential permit parking is a great step toward a more sensible street policy. There’s a reason that nearly every other major city in the country has implemented such a system—it makes good sense to discourage folks from driving to neighborhoods like the Upper West Side and to make life a little easier for existing residents. I am proud to work with Council Members Levine and Powers on this issue,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal who represents the Upper West Side.

“Traffic congestion is an ongoing economic, health, and safety crisis, and the city must begin to equitably tackle this street congestion using the most powerful tool they have at their disposal: authority over the more than 6,000 miles of streets across the city,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director, Transportation Alternatives. “Reforming parking policies and making better use of curbside space besides free, unlimited long-term private car storage will disincentivize unnecessary driving and reduce congestion by cutting down on the number of drivers circling for a parking spot, making our streets safer and our city greener.”

“This bill provides an opportunity for neighborhoods in Manhattan to evaluate residential parking permits,” said Council Member Keith Powers who represents parts of the Upper East Side. “As the city continues to debate issues like congestion pricing, this provides surrounding neighborhoods a chance to explore resident parking. Thank you to Council Member Levine for introducing the bill and my colleagues for engaging in a conversation about traffic and parking.”

“Too often, residents of Northern Manhattan find themselves circling their blocks for hours on end to secure parking because of crowding caused by suburban park-and-ride commuters. New York City could mitigate this hassle by joining other major cities around the country and establishing a residential parking permit system that would prioritize our residents first,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, who represents East Harlem.

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Following MTA Bus Action Plan Announcement, CM Levine Calls on City to Step Up on Transit Signal Implementation

Manhattan, NY -- “New Yorkers have a right to a reliable transit system, but millions who rely on buses are suffering because of slower speeds and longer travel times," said Council Member Mark Levine. "Today’s announcement is welcome news for the 2.5 million New Yorkers who rely on buses to get to work and take their kids to school. I’m especially excited that the MTA plans to equip every one of its 5,700 buses with transit signal priority (TSP) technology by 2020.”

“In a city where buses spend an average of 21% of their time stuck at red lights on congested routes, TSP has proven to be a quick and cost effective fix to make our bus system faster, reducing bus travel times by an average of 14%. But now the City needs to do its part to dramatically accelerate the pace of installation of advanced signal control on bus routes across the five boroughs—as is called for in my legislation calling on DOT to roll out this technology on at least 10 bus routes a year. Unlike the subway system, major pieces of bus infrastructure are controlled by the City, and we need to take advantage of that.”

 

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Transit Advocates to Join CM Levine, Sen. Benjamin to Protest Lack of Accessibility Increases at Northern Manhattan MTA Stations

**ADVISORY for April 9, 2018**

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

Manhattan, NY – On Monday April 9th, the MTA will begin renovating several Northern Manhattan subway stations as part of the agency’s Enhanced Station Initiative, meaning the 72nd, 86th, and 110th Street stops along the B/C line will all be shuttered through the fall. 

Council Member Levine, State Senator Brian Benjamin, and TransitCenter will be protesting the lack of increased accessibility at the stations receiving renovations. They'll​ ​call on the MTA to create a plan for system-wide accessibility that is reflected in the next capital program and beyond, to make ADA access central to any major station overhaul​,​ ​and to ​immediately and dramatically improve poor elevator performance​.

Council Member Levine will also be calling on the MTA to implement temporary measures that would ease the burden on Northern Manhattan residents who are facing subway closures, including shuttle bus service, increase M10 bus frequency, and a commitment to issue monthly reports on the progress of each station renovation. A petition the Council Member launched on April 5th has already collected several hundred signatures from community members affected by the shutdown.

Who: New York City Council Member Mark Levine; State Senator Brian Benjamin; TransitCenter; Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell; disability advocates; and dozens of community members affected by the shutdown

Where: Northwest Corner of Frederick Douglass Circle on 110th Street

When: Monday, April 9th at 10:30 am

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Council Member Levine Launches Petition to MTA over B/C Subway Closures

**ADVISORY for April 9, 2018**

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

Manhattan, NY – Council Member Mark Levine, TransitCenter, and dozens of community activists will be rallying this Monday over the MTA’s shutdown of several stations in Northern Manhattan as part of the agency’s Enhanced Station Initiative. 

Council Member Levine also launched an online petition to MTA Chair Joseph Lhota over the renovations.

The rally will be protesting the lack of accessibility at the stations receiving renovations. Council Member Levine and TransitCenter will ​call on the MTA to create a plan for system wide accessibility that is reflected in the next capital program and beyond, to make ADA access central to any major station overhaul​,​ ​and to ​immediately and dramatically improve poor elevator performance​.

Council Member Levine will also be calling on the MTA to implement temporary measures that would ease the burden on Northern Manhattan residents who are facing subway closures, including shuttle bus service, increase M10 bus frequency, and a commitment to issue monthly reports on the progress of each station renovation.

Who: New York City Council Member Mark Levine; TransitCenter; disability and dozens of community members affected by the shutdown

Where: Northwest Corner of Frederick Douglass Circle on 110th Street

When: Monday, April 9th at 10:30 am

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CM Levine Prepares to Kick off Participatory Budgeting Vote Week

Northern Manhattan residents to vote on how to spend $1 million

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 516-946-5253 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

Northern Manhattan, NY – City Council Member Mark Levine will hold a Kick-Off Event for the 4th Annual Participatory Budgeting (PB) Vote Week this Saturday, April 7th from 12 to 2 pm. PB empowers local residents to vote for project proposals developed by community stakeholders that they would like to see funded. Voters will be able to choose their top 5 selections out of 11 project proposals to decide how to spend $1 million of public money.

“Participatory budgeting engages our community in the governing process by giving residents the ability to decide what improvements they want to see in their neighborhood. Many of the creative project proposals on the ballot would not have come to light without input from the community. I’m proud to offer District 7 residents the opportunity to directly decide what they’d like to see funded by their own tax dollars,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “This is always an exciting time of year. In just a few short months, the Grant Houses playground which our community voted to fund in 2015, will be completed in time for summer. I can’t wait to cut that ribbon. It’s truly amazing to see how our community comes together to get things done through this process.”

This year, eligible voters only need to be 11 years old and live in the 7th Council District to take part in participatory budgeting. Residents will be able to vote online starting this Saturday. The full list of ballot proposals, along with voting locations, is available on Council Member Levine’s website, and below:

 

CM Levine's District Office

500 West 141st St.

 

4/9 through 4/13

9:30am to 5:30pm

George Bruce Library

518 West 125th St.

 

4/9 through 4/14, 2:30pm to 4:30pm

Bloomingdale Library

150 West 100th St.

 

4/9 through 4/14

3pm to 5pm

 

2018 Project

Modernizing Neighborhood Libraries

  • $200,000 for new computers, printers, Wi-Fi, projectors, and audio systems in 7th District public libraries

Upgrading Community Parks

  • $570,000 to rebuild the handball court at the Alexander Hamilton Playground
  • $450,000 to repair the Morningside Park playground at 110th Street, including new equipment for children of all ages
  • $500,000 for new playground turf at PS 125

Investing in our Schools

  • $200,000 for technology upgrades at MS 54, the Booker T. Washington Middle School (103 West 107th St)
  • $200,000 for technology upgrades at PS 36 Margaret Douglas School (123 Morningside Drive)
  • $450,000 for to upgrade the gym at PS 165, the Roberts E. Simon School (234 West 109th St)

Building Stronger NYCHA Communities

  • $500,000 to upgrade the playground and basketball courts at Frederick Douglass Houses
  • $500,000 for external lighting at Grant Houses
  • $200,000 for an emergency readiness kiosk at Manhattanville Houses

Improving Commutes

  • $60,000 for Bus Countdown Clocks along Broadway

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