Assemblyman Boyland Teams Up with Habitat NYC
Bringing Answers to the Problem of Unemployment
New Homeless Shelter Concerns Residents
Summer Youth Employment
Unemployment Benefits Extension Law
Advisory Council Meeting
Services Provided by the Office
Our summer is coming to a close, schools are beginning to open and, in a few months I will be back in Albany analyzing and carefully determining how new initiatives will positively impact the everyday lives of the 55th Assembly District members.
The housing stock in our district has risen substantially since the days of empty lots and debilitated housing. Housing is a basic need so making it more affordable has become one of my primary goals. This is the reason why I have teamed up with Habitat (NYC) for Humanity to be part of the process of making constituents homeowners or members of a cooperative housing venture.
These initiatives could not have happened without your input. It is important for you to voice your opinions and concerns at my monthly advisory board meeting held every second Saturday at my office.
Once again, it’s an honor to serve you as your representative of the New York State Assembly.
William F. Boyland, Jr.
If it takes a village to build an affordable home – then it might take a whole borough to create and populate 100 new, affordable condominiums and co-ops in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Ocean Hill-Brownsville.
This partnership-focused approach guides Habitat-NYC’s recent effort to strengthen collaborations with individuals and institutions in Brooklyn as we embark on our newest initiative to build or renovate 100 homes in these neighborhoods.
With funding from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 and additional support from local individuals, corporations, faith groups and elected officials, Habitat-NYC is renovating stalled, vacant and abandoned condominium and co-op buildings.
This initiative — 100 Homes in Brooklyn — includes creating new, ground-up buildings for affordable homeownership in these communities, which were among the hardest-hit by the recession and foreclosure crisis.
This is where our “Champions” come in. To ensure that eligible families learn about these opportunities, Habitat-NYC is convening faith and community leaders to help us identify prospective low-income homeowners.
Habitat-NYC Executive Director Josh Lockwood says, “We are providing more affordable homeownership opportunities to more families in need than ever before, presenting the exciting challenge of quickly finding many qualified family partner homebuyers. Fortunately, we have a network of incredible supporters who are excited to work with us as ‘Champions.’”
To date, Habitat-NYC has enlisted 12 faith groups, 13 elected official offices and community boards, nine nonprofits and 25 individuals to launch this vital initiative.
These “Champions” have signed on, with promises to host Habitat-NYC homeownership workshops in their community, disseminate 100 Homes in Central Brooklyn marketing information and help identify qualified applicants.
If you or your organization want to become a Habitat-NYC Champion, contact Beverley Hoyte at 212-991-4000, ext. 313.
And if you know someone who might want to become a Habitat-NYC homeowner, encourage them to go to their website, and click on Own a Habitat Home. From the website, they can also subscribe to the blog, 100 Homes in Brooklyn, for updates.
The issue of unemployment has affected the residents of Brownsville dramatically. Assemblyman Boyland has heard the stories of many residents who are faced with the difficult burden of being laid-off or finding jobs that would assist them only in the short-term. Unemployment figures indicate that Brooklyn has the second highest unemployment rate in the State of New York and the Assemblyman has made it a top priority to address this problem. Too many people do not know if their job is even secure and to address this, Assemblyman Boyland has announced a partnership with various workforce development centers located throughout Brooklyn to help people gain the skills necessary to work again.
The relationship between crime and unemployment has been well-documented and this issue is a main concern for the Assemblyman. The partnership with the workforce development centers is part of the Assemblyman’s plan to keep young people involved in activities that give them valuable experience and also allow adults to find work which in the long run will allow them to help themselves and their families. Below are some of the centers that have agreed to partner with Assemblyman Boyland to help put people back to work:
Cypress Hills Local Development Corp.
Brooklyn Workforce Solutions
Single Parent Resource Center
Neighborhood Employment Services
Workforce 1 Manufacturing Career Center
First Source Staffing
Nontraditional Employment for Women
Bushwick Workforce Resource
The New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has announced an agreement for a 202-bed men’s shelter located at 1424 Herkimer Street that would operate under a contract with the Church Avenue Merchants Block Association (CAMBA). Currently, DHS has a facility located at 2402 Atlantic Avenue which provides shelter for 200 men. Community members and civic associations, including the 1400 Herkimer Block Association have expressed concerns about the new shelter, especially those related to safety concerns that arise from a mandate that all residents must vacate the premises during certain hours. The influx of additional homeless residents has brought about fears of increased crime and harassment from Community Board 16 and Assemblyman Boyland who stated, “The opening of another homeless shelter in my district has raised many suspicions from my constituents. There are justified fears that a new shelter will lead to more crime and dangerous conditions, especially for those who live in the general vicinity of the new one. This decision is outrageous and raises fears that again, communities like Brownsville become the dumping grounds for so many social-service programs without concern for the aftereffects that these calculated decisions have on the lives of residents.”
The decision by DHS to go forward with this project is an example of the disrespect that communities like ours faces from people in power who believe that we will not complain or protest as much as other communities. To say this is a slap in the face to the residents of Herkimer Street is an understatement; rather it is a tragedy and injustice. Assemblyman Boyland not only has fought the placement of this shelter, he has voiced his strong opposition to the Commissioner of DHS and is working tirelessly with local elected officials to fight this site by having them voice their disapproval to the Mayor and the Commissioner of DHS.
Despite the anxieties of the residents of the 1400 Herkimer Block Association, DHS is moving forward with the shelter. Instead of additional shelters, the City should be investing in additional affordable housing which will serve in the best interests of stabilizing the community.
One group that has been hard hit by this economic downturn is our youth – young men and women between the ages of 15 to 20. I have fought very hard to restore $15.5 million in the final state budget for the summer youth employment program. This is a step in the right direction, because we are making an investment in young adults by providing them with valuable work experience and a paycheck.
With high unemployment in New York State because of this economic downturn, many individuals and families are struggling make ends meet and to find employment. Extending unemployment benefits is a fundamental step toward strengthening New York’s economy. This new legislation extends unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks and without it, the state would have lost $620 million in federally funded unemployment benefits.
Consequently, $36 million was restored to keep our senior centers open, as we have an obligation to care for all seniors and continue providing the services they need.
Relief can not come soon enough for working families who are struggling to keep afloat amid this tough economy. People who have lost their jobs or who have a job that is just getting them by are making difficult decisions in terms of their budget. They are paying for the essentials such as rent, telephone, and groceries trying to keep extra money in their pocket.
To help with these hard times and to give a shot in the arm to New York’s economic condition, sales tax relief is now a reality that can help out families who have to make these difficult decisions. From April 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012, the State of New York will not collect sales tax on clothing and footwear that costs less than $55.00. Shoppers will now be exempt from the state’s 4% sales tax.
Additionally, New York City residents will save even more since the City of New York does not charge sales tax on clothing and shoes that are less than $110.00, meaning that you will save additionally on these products as well.
The exemption will help to re-energize our economy and keep more dollars in your hands, especially during these hard times. As always, Assemblyman Boyland will continue to explore more ways to ease the burden on your pockets and clear a path for businesses to flourish.