Neighborhood Improvement Plan (NIP) designed
to finally nip community problems in the bud.
The key to any successful plan is communication and education and partnership.
This action plan will be accomplished by ensuring robust and accessible
Addressing the lack of affordable housing and homeownership opportunities that benefit longtime residents of the community
The 42nd Council District is home to renters and homeowners. Recently created new housing still often overlooks many of our existing residents living in older and substandard housing complexes. This prevents them from the opportunity to reside in newer affordable housing buildings that have better functioning infrastructure and services. As the councilmember for the 42nd Council District, I will review the affordable housing lottery process and identify where the system is broken and prevent current residents from accessing new housing opportunities. My office will create a specific lottery information portal supported by comprehensive constituent services that will educate applicants about the lottery process in addition to assisting them with the completion and follow up of their housing applications to ensure that applications are completed accurately. I will partner with and create strong linkages with organizations that can assist residents with identifying and correcting personal situations that often result in not qualifying for local affordable housing opportunities.
My affordable housing plan will include partnering with elected officials at the state and federal level to provide stricter oversight of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development to ensure they are delivering the services to our district’s residents. I will work with my colleagues in government to hold HPD accountable to their mission of promoting quality and affordability in the city's housing, and diversity and strength in the city’s neighborhoods. I will advocate for an increase to the amount of set-asides for local residents giving priorities to residents within the district.
To create the necessary affordable housing stock, I will work to foster partnerships between local CBOs and developers who will prioritize the creation of truly affordable housing opportunities that will prioritize the needs of district residents.
Fighting for and protecting Public Housing (NYCHA)
The 42nd Council District is home to several New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing developments. Many of these developments face a host of issues including, but not limited to backlogged work orders, broken elevators, broken door locks, aging infrastructure and so much more.
The NYCHA Public Housing Preservation Trust proposal is a corrective action to the current federal Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) offered through the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program, doesn’t provide residents the option to opt out of the PACT RAD program. The newly proposed Trust Preservation model, which I support as an alternative to the PACT RAD program, will provide NYCHA residents with more say regarding their homes. As part of my Public Housing Protection Plan, I will work with residents of NYCHA and other colleagues in government to ensure that residents have a say in the decisions being made about their living situations. Centered around robust constituent services, I will create an information portal accessible to all, that will serve as a one stop shop for information and guidance related to the many rules, regulations, and programs that impact the future of the district’s public housing developments.
I will work with colleagues in the State Legislature to develop a corrective action plan that provides relief to residents who haven’t been given the choice to opt out of the PACT RAD PAC program. I will use the power of my office to advocate for hearings on the oversight of NYCHA that will create the space to hear directly from residents what issues face while also creating the space to have developers outline what steps they are taking to address the issues and concerns presented by residents whose quality of life has been adversely impacted by the PACT RAD program.
My Protect Public Housing Protection Plan will serve as a platform that centers the voices of those most directly impacted by the decisions related to the proposed improvement of NYCHA, allowing me to continue fighting and advocating for area residents by using the power of my office to amplify their concerns and identify solutions for their issues and concerns.
Creating a safer community for all by implementing a common-sense Public Safety Plan
Public Safety begins with the Public! Parts of the 42nd Council District have been some of the most over-policed neighborhoods of New York City. While there is a need for police reforms, we must acknowledge that we do need a police force that is truly in our community to protect and serve these communities to which they have been assigned.
My Community Accountable Public Safety Plan (CAPS) Plan will focus on using the community to hold the NYPD accountable to their commitment to protecting and serving the community.
Precinct Councils in many cases have been viewed as cheerleaders for the NYPD whereas the true role of the precinct council should be to hold the NYPD accountable and I will work with the Precinct Councils to have them serve as the primary channel for addressing concerns between the general public and the NYPD so that a system of accountability, trust, partnership, and respect, is the foundation of police community relations. Having served as the President of the 75th Precinct Council, I know first-hand that these councils should receive funding to allow them to actively conduct programming which will promote better relationships between the police department, and the community.
To ensure that police officers are also properly prepared to serve the community, I will advocate for the implementation of mandatory annual mental health screenings for members of the NYPD. We must acknowledge that members of the NYPD experience very traumatic situations during their duties and statistics have shown that as a result, many officers suffer from a variety of mental health related conditions. Providing officers with access to mental health services will benefit the officers and the community.
I will work with my colleagues in the City Council to strengthen the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) further enhancing the level of accountability between the police and the community. I will establish a regular schedule of meetings with Precinct Commanders to review crime statistics and the performance of the NCOs, using this forum as an opportunity to identify what is working well and where we can adjust the things that aren’t working well.
Fighting poverty through the creation of job readiness, job training and job opportunities
Poverty in our community is fueled by a lack of opportunities. This is especially true for our young people. I aim to combat the cycle of poverty head on by fighting for increased educational and employment opportunities. Union jobs provide stability and security for their workers and have been a demonstrated pathway to economic benefits for workers and their families. I will fight to include the creation of good jobs in development projects, advocating for local hiring thresholds of 60% for development projects. I will use the power of my office to create opportunities by partnering with trade organizations, local workforce development programs, and other community-based organizations to develop a pipeline of local talent that will give area residents the opportunity to work on projects in their own neighborhoods. My office will be committed to identifying the best collaborative efforts to create job opportunities throughout the district via the creation of information sessions and job fairs.
Providing resources for the creation and growth of a thriving small business community
Consistent with the plan to collaborate and create job opportunities, support for the area’s small business community will be a key component to achieve all of the desired job creation opportunities. I will use the convening power of my office to host a regularly scheduled roundtable of local business leaders to not only hear their issues but to partner with them in the development of solutions for those issues which fall under the purview of city agencies.
I will work to create a grant-based program in partnership with Local Development Corporations in the area to support the improvement of local small business operations. This program will be modeled after initiatives that have created micro grant opportunities for small business development. My office will partner with area Local Development Corporations to administer the grant program.
I will use the power of the office for the creation of programs and events that promote our local businesses while educating residents about the goods and services that are available right here in our district. I will also work with area business leaders to help address public safety and sanitation concerns by identifying and promoting resources that will provide security cameras and supplemental sanitation services to help address some concerns faced by our district’s local business owners and patrons.
Providing oversight and passing legislation to strengthen the Fair Share clause in the NYC Charter to stop the proliferation of shelters in our community
Parts of the 42nd Council District have been oversaturated by a proliferation of homeless shelters. I will continue to fight against this trend in addition to fiercely advocating for oversight hearings of the Department of Homeless Services to identify where the Fair Share program has fallen short. I will also work with colleagues in the City Council to draft and pass legislation to amend the Fair Share Clause to stop the continued proliferation of shelters throughout the district. I will work proactively with shelter operators to identify what resources that would be required to break the cycle of homelessness and allow homeless residents to become self-sustaining. I will create a system of accountability by developing a reporting system that measures if a shelter operator is truly providing services to shelter residents that will allow them to graduate from the shelter system.
Fighting for the creation of more affordable and quality mental and medical care options for our community
Parts of the 42nd Council District have some of the City’s worst health indicators which were further exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a community that is predominantly people of color, this tends to further exacerbate other adverse outcomes for our residents. I will advocate for the creation of new health and mental health care facilities as new developments are considered for our district. I will work with both our existing hospital and community health centers to ensure they have the resources to maximize the services they provide to our community. My office will serve as a hub for information sharing that will further assist the community in identifying existing resources where their health and mental healthcare needs can be met.
The lack of mental health services within our district is evident from some of the social problems we see reported daily. I will create a partnership between local medical and mental health providers and local teaching institutions to create internship opportunities that will extend the current mental health safety net. I will also convene mental health leaders throughout the district to brainstorm on the development of “out of the box” ideas like the use of tele-medicine to leverage the district’s existing mental health resources.
Addressing the education gap faced by our community’s students
Our youth are our future, and an educated community means greatly improved life outcomes as they get older. To accomplish the most robust educational opportunities for the youth in our district, we need as many successful educational models as possible. I will fight to create an educational safety net by advocating for more educational options throughout the district for students.
I will create a regularly scheduled roundtable forum with principals, parents, caregivers, and early education providers from throughout the district to learn their issues and create a conduit for the sharing of information related to funding and other resources that can help to improve the education safety net for students within the 42nd Council District.
Increasing funding for programs that serve seniors and youth
Our seniors have paved the way allowing us to build on the foundation that they have created for our youth to build the future of our community. Both groups are essential components to building the best district we can build.
I have always realized the importance of providing support for our seniors and I have always realized that providing programs where seniors can interact with each other in a supportive social setting is a very important part of their daily lives. As the next councilmember, I will dedicate staff in my office to focus on surveying seniors in our district and identifying their top areas of concern. In the past, the New York City Council has created programs such as the Age Friendly Neighborhood Initiative focused on making communities more accommodating to seniors. Whether providing more senior centers, benches along commercial corridors where seniors can take a break while going about their daily routines, or creating discount programs at stores our seniors patronize, I will fight to bring back funding and programming that will enhance the lives of our seniors. I will work with senior centers to reimagine how they look and enhance the programming they provide. I will advocate for healthy meals and dietary options for our seniors at the centers they visit. My office will work to identify those seniors who can benefit from the programs in our district tailored specifically to the needs of our senior residents, while also surveying senior centers and identifying ways to increase participation. I will convene a roundtable with the senior center operators to determine what challenges they face and how these challenges can be addressed. I will use the power of my office to conduct oversight of Access-A-Ride, a program for which I have fielded many complaints. I will support and fight for funding for programs that will provide our seniors with learning opportunities related to the use of technology. I will work with area schools and organizations that can create intergenerational programming. This will help to bridge the age gap and provide opportunities for our young people to meet seniors where they are and assist them with learning about technology.
I will also support and advocate for programs that allow our most vulnerable seniors living on fixed incomes to receive benefits from programs designed to save them money such as fighting for funding for the City’s GetCool Program that provides air conditioners to seniors who are either over the age of 65, or suffer from qualifying underlying health conditions.
For our youth, my office will identify partnerships with local businesses and organizations to provide programming and training for youth. Through the creation of a District Youth Council, I will create the space for young people to share their concerns and educate me and my staff on the things that are important to them, but mission from our district. This Council will directly inform where in the district we can create new programming such as workforce training and sports programs to keep our young people engaged in productive activities that will enhance their lives.
My office will build partnerships with local organizations to provide trade opportunities for local youth. I will work with local labor organizations to further develop pathways to good paying jobs. Given the existing opportunities for employment within City government, my office will identify training opportunities that will target the youth in our district to provide them with the best opportunity to be prepared for job opportunities within City government.
Fighting food insecurity by increasing funding for local food pantries and addressing issues created by our area’s food deserts and the lack of available and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables
A healthy community is a safer and more productive community. The 42nd Council District has many food deserts within its boundaries which take away from our community’s safety and productivity. I will create a conduit for private entities to give back to the community in the form of funding programs that work to combat food insecurity. I will work with my colleagues at the State level to create a new local FRESH initiative to help sustain the creation of supermarkets providing quality food options to traditionally underserved communities such as many of the communities within our district. If successful, this initiative will not only help to address our area’s food insecurity challenges but will also create opportunities for jobs and the hiring of local residents. I will also explore the creation of a local food Co-op that would work with the support of the community to provide low-cost fresh food options for area residents. I will also pursue partnerships with local minority urban farmers to help establish sustainable partnerships that will benefit these farmers and our community.
Improving public transportation and creating a safe environment for transit workers
As a lifelong resident of East New York, I realize the importance of our community’s need for a robust and reliable public transportation infrastructure. I will fight to ensure the community is represented at any discussions related to changes in our bus routes to avoid some of the adversity created in other communities due to a lack of input. I also realize that our transportation workforce must have a safe work environment to deliver great service to the public and will be sure to advocate for the strongest legislative protections that will prevent these workers from harm and unsafe conditions. Through my plan for robust constituent services, I will ensure that the public has open lines of communication regarding experiences with the public transportation system to ensure that we are collaboratively developing community based solutions to improve the systems that allow our residents to travel to work, school, and other activities.
Improving quality of life by addressing sanitation and solicitation issues
A good quality of life sets a mental tone for a community. Unfortunately, there are parts of our district suffering from a variety of quality-of-life issues that include but are not limited to solicitation, open air drug and alcohol use, and illegal dumping of trash. My office will partner with local social service agencies and organizations to create an action plan to provide services to those conducting illegal activities. I will convene a quality-of-life sanitation roundtable to evaluate the sanitation concerns of the community and develop community centered solutions to address illegal dumping and other sanitation concerns. I will also help to improve the aesthetic of our district by holding block beautification competitions and initiatives that will foster pride in our district.
Climate Change and Resilience
When most people think of District 42, climate change and climate resilience are not often the primary issues that come to mind. However, we must realize that if we don’t take care of our environment, we will face catastrophic consequences. As the district includes some of the neighborhoods that have borne the brunt of policies that have promoted environmental racism, we must identify bold solutions for the well being or our district’s residents where climate change and resiliency are concerned, otherwise we will pay a significant price ultimately sacrificing our future existence. As a district with some of the most underserved residents who are majority people of color, the district faces many challenges that only fuel the negative outcomes from climate change. Notably, parts of the district such as Canarsie, are in fact identified as a flood zone while other parts of the district are separated from Jamaica Bay by wetlands and parklands, most notably, Shirley Chisholm State Park, that must be protected at all costs.
I will leverage existing relationships with members of our state and federal legislatures to partner on policies that bring true resilience to the community using resources at the state, federal, and city levels.
I will advocate for climate policy that not only protects our life and property, but also provides the opportunity to create employment opportunities for our residents. I will fight to advance legislation that pushes for a cleaner environment that fosters the increased use of sustainable energy technologies such as solar and other technology that will create energy efficiencies in our community’s future development projects including innovations such as the installation of green roofs. I will partner with minority owned small businesses that are focused on bringing energy efficient solutions to NYCHA properties throughout the district.
As a district with limited green spaces which are also critically important to helping sustain communities deal with climate change, I will support the protection of our green spaces through the creation of partnerships that will ensure they remain maintained, providing the benefits we need to help address climate change. This includes clean up initiatives to protect these green spaces from falling into disrepair and underutilization while also addressing issues created by improper trash disposal and illegal dumping which further exacerbate our existing environmental challenges.
As the City makes progress with the implementation of composting organic waste, I will use my office as a hub for information about the program while advocating for prioritizing communities within the 42nd Council District that would stand to benefit most from the CIty’s composting initiative.
I will advocate for legislation that strategically and responsibly creates additional charging stations for Electric Vehicles as we move toward greener transportation options.
Providing robust and effective constituent services to address community needs
As mentioned previously, communication is the key to any successful plan, and having great communicators is key to ensuring that concerns are heard, understood, and addressed. A cornerstone of every aspect of my Neighborhood Improvement Plan will be to hire an effective and dedicated staff, all of which will be well versed in constituent services. I plan to execute a district wide approach to constituent services that will include streetcorner based constituent services and town halls, monthly roundtables where members of the community can express their concerns and ensuring that the constituent services staff is well trained and invested in addressing the concerns of residents. I will create a system of addressing constituent concerns that will include email, voicemail, and texting to name a few. As a community organizer I have prided myself on being accessible and available to those in need and I will continue to address your concerns as your councilmember.