new york city council

affordable housing, Policy

NYC skyline

Photo via Flickr

Under legislation approved by the New York City Council on Thursday, the value of rental assistance vouchers provided to homeless New Yorkers will increase, a major step in moving people out of shelters into permanent housing. Sponsored by Council Member Stephen Levin, the bill raises the city’s rental subsidy, called CityFHEPS, from a maximum of $1,580/month to $2,217/month for a two-bedroom apartment for a family of three. Homeless advocates say this could help thousands more homeless families find permanent housing each year.

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City Living, Policy

Photo looking south on open West End Avenue, taken by 6sqft on 5.16.20

The popular program that closed streets to cars for pedestrian use will be made permanent under legislation passed by the New York City Council on Thursday. The “Open Streets” initiative first launched last spring as a way to make social distancing easier and to reduce crowds at parks during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in the city. The bill, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera, would provide some funding and resources to the largely volunteer-led program while ensuring the open streets are fairly allocated among communities.

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Flushing, Policy

Rendering: FWRA LLC

Plans to rezone parts of the Flushing waterfront to make way for a 13-tower mixed-use development were approved by the New York City Council on Thursday. The approval of the zoning changes and the project, which calls for 1,725 units of housing, a hotel, offices, and retail space across 29 acres, came after elected officials reached an agreement this week with union groups SEIU 32BJ and the Hotels Trade Council to provide good-paying jobs for service workers, as well as hire public housing residents in the area.

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Policy, Restaurants

Photo by Patrick Connor Klopf on Unsplash

The New York City Council on Thursday voted to extend the cap on commissions that restaurants are charged by third-party delivery services. The legislation, first enacted in May, restricts fees services like Grubhub and Uber Eats can charge to 20 percent per order during a state of emergency. The cap will now be in effect until restaurants are able to resume indoor dining at maximum occupancy and 90 days following. There is still no plan to bring back indoor dining, despite the city meeting the state’s coronavirus metrics.

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Policy

Gem Spa in the East Village permanently closed in May; Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr

Small businesses in New York City are struggling to stay afloat, especially those still unable to reopen because of the coronavirus pandemic. A survey from the Hospitality Alliance found that only 19 percent of city businesses paid June rent and only 26 percent of landlords waived rent. Council Member Keith Powers on Monday released a report detailing ways to save small businesses and prepare for a post-COVID-19 world by providing emergency rent relief using federal funds, waiving the commercial rent tax, making outdoor dining permanent, and other measures.

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Policy, Transportation

NYC will legalize e-bikes and e-scooters

By Devin Gannon, Fri, June 26, 2020

Photo by Thomas Loizeau on Unsplash

The New York City Council voted on Thursday to legalize electric bikes and scooters citywide and create a pilot program that would bring a shared e-scooter program to neighborhoods underserved by public transit. State lawmakers approved the legalization of e-bikes and e-scooters statewide in April, leaving the decision to local officials on how to regulate the vehicles.

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Policy, Restaurants

Photo by Patrick Connor Klopf on Unsplash

The New York City Council on Wednesday passed legislation that temporarily caps the commission third-party delivery services are allowed to charge restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill sponsored by Council Member Francisco Moya restricts commission fees charged by apps like Grubhub and Uber Eats at 20 percent during any state of emergency and 90 days following. The legislation comes as the city’s restaurants struggle to survive during COVID-19, with the state’s “pause order” forcing businesses to rely on take-out and delivery orders.

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Events, Policy

corey johnson, pride, lgbtq

Speaker Corey Johnson and the New York City Council March in the 2019 Pride Parade. Photo by John McCarten via Flickr, courtesy of New York City Council.

In honor of a World Pride weekend that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has announced $19 million in funding for LGBT support programs, which nearly doubles the funding in support of the city’s gay community, the Daily News reports. The budget includes $2.3 million for Trans Equity Programs, $3.7 million for LGBT community services and $800,000 for LGBT inclusive curriculum in public schools. Johnson said, “Acceptance is not enough. Our local government must fund programs that support the LBGTQ community, particularly transgender people.”

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