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10 Smoothie Recipes Sure to Beat the NYC Heat

Fruit smoothies can be an easy way to nourish your body with essential nutrients. The best way to know the exact ingredients in your smoothie is to make them yourself. All you need is a blender, fruit and a base, such as water, milk or yogurt. Making your own smoothies can help prevent fruit from going to waste, while providing benefits that will keep you on the right track towards good health.

Check out these 10 hand-picked recipes that we’ve gathered for you to beat that NYC sun:dreamstime_m_59225596

1. Breakfast Fruit Smoothie

2. Kiwi Mango Lassi Smoothie

3. Mango Apricot Strawberry Smoothie

4. Banana Smoothie

5. Fat-Free Strawberry-Yogurt Smoothie

6. Spinach Mango Smoothie

7. Chocolate Peanut Butter Blast Smoothie

8. Blueberry Smoothie

9. Fruit Smoothie Twister

10. Tropical Smoothie

 

Content provided in partnership with AlphaCare

The ‘NY for Seniors Magazine’ Summer Issue is Here!

As Summer continues to heat up, the New York for Seniors Magazine Summer Edition launches to tackle hot button topics that shape the lives of New York’s senior population.

 

Here’s a preview of what you can find in this issue:

  • Congressman Ed Towns Hosts the Wellness and Resource Series in partnership with AlphaCare
  • Events Calendar for Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx. and Manhattan
  • JASA Celebrates Seniors
  • Parents’ Day Event Celebrates the Chinese Community
  • Bronx “Sip And Chat” Event Encourages Open Conversation About Elder Abuse
  • AlphaCare’s Wellness And Resource Initiative Aims To Keep Seniors Active
  • A Senior’s Guide To Beginners’ Yoga
  • 8 Best Summer Fruits and Veggies

To read the magazine online, go to: http://nyforseniors.com/magazine/summer-2017/

Hard copies are available at Senior Centers throughout NYC. To request magazines be sent to your local Senior Center, fill out this form.

 

Understanding NYC’s Brown Recycle Bins

If you are one of the millions of New Yorkers who received a new brown recycling bin, then you may have a few questions. Here, we break down why these new recycling bins are necessary, how you use them, and tricks and tips on how to properly recycle food and yard waste.

Why Should we Recycle Food and Yard Waste?

New York City alone produces 12 million tons of garbage a day, with a large portion of that waste being uneaten food and yard waste. This creates a lot of problems. Large amounts of trash fill up landfills that produce methane gas, which contributes to global warming. Instead of taking up space, thrown away food and yard scraps can be composted into soil or used as a renewable energy source. This creates less garbage, which helps the earth, the air, and us.

But, what about the personal effects? Recycling a banana peel or a coffee filter may not seem like it’s making much of a difference in our everyday lives, but it will help households become more aware of how much food and money they’re throwing out on a daily basis. We throw away about 25% of the food we purchase, which can cost us well over $1,000 a year. By being aware of how much food we are recycling, we become aware of what we’re wasting and become more inclined to save.

What You Received

If you live in a single family home or a building with nine or less apartments, your family may have received a brown bin with a starter kit for each household living in the premises. If you have not received a kit, check inside the bin where the starter kits are placed. These kits include a kitchen container, a brochure, a coupon for certified compostable trash bags, and a sticker listing all recyclable material and their proper disposal bins.

What to Recycle  

These bins are specifically for food and yard waste. This includes:

Food Scraps. This includes any leftover, spoiled, or unwanted foods. This does not include liquids!

Food Soiled Paper. This includes tea bags, napkins, paper plates, coffee filters, etc. This does not include clean paper products, which are recycled separately.

Yard Waste. Such as leaves, grass trimmings, plants, etc. For Brooklyn and Queens residents, this does not include wood debris or firewood. Call 311 if you need to dispose of either.

No cartons, plastic, metal, glass, clean paper, cardboard, or trash should ever be thrown out in the brown bins.  

How to start

Learning how to properly dispose of food is essential to preventing odors or unsanitary conditions. It’s no secret that certain foods smell, especially when left sitting in a garbage can, and dumping all your scraps into a single area can elevate that odor. Thankfully, there are ways of combating this.

Use compostable trash bags. These bags are the only commercial bags that food waste can be properly recycled in. Because they break down along with the food, it’s completely safe to use them when depositing food into your bins. Many of these bags also combat against odors, just like many regular garbage cans. When purchasing compostable trash bags, always look for this certification logo.  

compostable-bag-logo

If you don’t have compostable trash bags, brown paper bags will also work fine. If your food and yard waste does not fit in your bin, you can leave the yard waste in a brown paper bag or an open container (not including plastic bags) and put it out next to the bin on pickup days.

Use regular plastic bags to store food until properly disposed of. This will help reduce odor when indoors before the food is deposited into the brown bins. Just make sure not to throw away the plastic bag into the brown bin once it comes time to empty it into the trash. Simply deposit the food into the brown bin and throw away the plastic bag separately.

Use common place products to help reduce odor and absorb moisture in the bins. Sprinkling baking soda at the bottom of your bin will help absorb odors, and using newspaper and cardboard as trash liners help absorb excess moisture and odor.

Regularly rinse out your brown bin. This will prevent any leftover orders.

Know your pickup days. You don’t want to leave a bin full of food outside for too long. If you don’t know your block’s pick up days, call 311 or visit http://www1.nyc.gov/apps/311utils/addressinfo.htm to find out.

If you have room, place your smaller recycle bin in the freezer. This will eliminate the odor.

For more information, check out these links:

www1.nyc.gov/assets/dsny/zerowaste/residents/organics-collection-brown-bin

materials.bwprronline.org/system/tdf/organics-collection-general-instruction-brochure-for-once-a-week-pickup

www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/

New York for Seniors Magazine Now Available in Digital 3D

By popular demand, the New York for Seniors Magazine is now available in a digital 3D version!

Currently, the New York for Seniors Magazine is distributed to senior centers, assisted living facilities, churches, and government offices throughout New York City.

For those interested in reading the magazine, but are not located within the distribution network, the new digital 3D feature provides a simple and effective solution.

Benefits of the new Digital 3D Version include:

  • Ability to click on web links in the Magazine
  • Share with family, friends, and colleagues
  • Read on a smart phone, tablet, or laptop
  • Download the entire magazine for offline reading

About New York for Seniors:

Created to keep NYC’s senior citizens updated and knowledgeable on key resources, health options, healthy living tips and lifestyle activities, that impact their lives, ‘New York for Seniors’ is a movement that galvanizes the community toward improving the quality of life for our NYC senior population.

For more information about the New York for Seniors initiative or if you have any questions regarding the new digital 3D version, send an email to info@nyforseniors.com.

Special thanks to AlphaCare for their continued support of New York City’s senior population.

Scott Stringer Calls For Strategic City Planning For Seniors

Recently, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer called on the City to launch an agency-by-agency, neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach to serving its seniors. Unveiling a new a report – entitled Aging with Dignity: A Blueprint for Serving NYC’s Growing Senior Population

Currently, New York City’s seniors face affordability, transit, housing and other obstacles. As the City’s population ages, so too does the urgency for holistic planning:

Important Stats

  • By 2040, city planners expect there will be 1.4 million older adults living in New York City – an increase of hundreds of thousands of people from today.
  • Over 40 percent of senior-headed households depend on government programs for more than half their income
  • Six out of 10 senior renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent – a significantly higher percentage than the general population.

Despite widespread documentation of these challenges, the City is not engaged in a comprehensive planning process for it seniors. As such, today, the Comptroller called for a cohesive, long-term planning process from the City in order to streamline services and develop a holistic strategy.

Some Solutions Proposed by Scott Stringer

  • Freezing rents by automatically enrolling New Yorkers in the Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE): Additional senior renters can more easily remain in their apartments if they are automatically enrolled in the (SCRIE) program, which freezes their rent.
  • Limiting affordability challenges by expanding tax credits through the Senior Citizens Homeowners’ Exemption:To support seniors who own their homes, the City should expand eligibility for the program to cover those with incomes up to $50,000. That would make approximately 29,000 more homeowners eligible for the program and mitigate affordability challenges.
  • Creating tailored, neighborhood action plans by expanding the Age-Friendly Neighborhoods program: In 2010, the City launched the “Age-Friendly Neighborhoods” program, which created neighborhood action plans for over a dozen neighborhoods to better support seniors. To do long-term planning, that program should be expanded significantly so communities can pinpoint their needs in a local way.

Scott Stringer- (212) 669-3916

Office: One Centre Street, New York, NY 10007

Bronx Boro President Ruben Diaz Jr. Brings Gospel Concert To Bronx Seniors

By: Angella Brown

A chilly and overcast April Fools’ Day didn’t prevent scores of Bronx-area seniors from lining up in front of Dreiser Loop Community Center in Co-Op City. The early bird gospel fans were eagerly anticipating the inaugural Bronx Gospel Concert, a free event presented by the Office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. Billed as “Generation Fest: Bridging the Gap with Music,” it was an afternoon of inspirational song, dance and praise, filled with soul-stirring music and energetic performances.

With assistance from his wonderful staff of “Senior Services Divas,” led by Director of Senior Services Larcenia Walton, the borough president himself greeted attendees on line, stopping to pose for pictures and give hugs as he thanked many of them personally for coming out. Diaz’s office received over 850 RSVPs through local senior centers, and the venue seating was nearly at capacity when it was time for the program to begin.

After a welcome by the day’s emcees, Elder Nitisha Moore of Relay for Life, and local radio personality Dr. Bob Lee of WBLS-FM 107.5, Deputy Bronx Borough President, the Honorable Aurelia Greene, led the invocation, a reading of Psalm 145. During his opening remarks, Diaz, a self-described “preacher’s kid,” said: “…one of the best ways to connect with the Lord is through music…we’re gonna have a good time today!” He encouraged every audience member to get up out of their seats and dance, if the spirit of the music hit them. And indeed, the enthusiastic senior crowd did just that, from the time the first act hit the stage!

It felt more like Sunday inside as every act “took ‘em to church.” Performance after performance, the place filled with spiritual sounds by singers like Andrea Brown, Pastor Wilson Mercado and Richard Talbert, Jr. Songstress Shayla Hernandez even sneaked in a secular tune, Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror,” to which the seniors swayed and sang along. Other crowd-pleasing acts included saxophonist Tony Smith, God’s Anointed Praise Dancers, 76-years-young “la cantante” Spanish singer Carmen Sanabria, and Bollywood performer, Bharati S. Kemraj.

During intermission, concert-goers munched on complimentary “goody bag” snacks while they perused the sponsor tables, where they were able to shop for fashions and accessories with Etsy shop Diana’s Tees, and Bronx-based Sasi Designs.  Among the many health care providers in attendance was AlphaCare, a Magellan Health managed long term health care company. Beatrice Morton, AlphaCare Community Outreach Manager, noted: “Today is remarkable! I am overwhelmed at the size of the crowd, but I love gospel music, too, so I know they’re here for an uplifting good time.” She added her appreciation for the recognition AlphaCare received from Ruben Diaz prior to the start of the concert, saying “…this is an impressive first event; AlphaCare looks forward to many more successful partnership opportunities in the Bronx.”

One woman thoroughly enjoying the program was Eva Lazaar, a ReServist (Retired Seniors in Service) outreach specialist for the Parkchester Empowerment Program. Eva learned about the event on Facebook, and knew she wanted to stop by. “Programs here [at Dreiser Community Center] are always nice. There was an interfaith breakfast here not too long ago. I love inspirational music and song, and today’s event brought out the best of the Co-Op City community.”

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Above: Diaz with Aurelia Greene, Deputy Borough President

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Above: Diaz with Carmen Sanabria, Singer

Interview With Assemblyman Felix Ortiz

Originally from Puerto Rico, Felix Ortiz has represented New York’s 51st Assembly District since first elected in 1994. During his tenure, Ortiz has served as chair of several committees and legislative task forces including Veterans Affairs, Mental Health, Food, Farm and Nutrition, among others.

In 2004, Ortiz passed a law to create five eating disorder centers across the state to help those who suffer from illnesses including anorexia and bulimia. His initiatives to counter obesity and diabetes were recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama. As a result, his weight management concepts became part of the Affordable Care Act.

In February 2015, Assemblymember Ortiz was appointed Assistant Speaker of the New York State Assembly; he is the first Hispanic to hold the position. Widely known for his 2000 legislation banning the use of hand-held mobile phones while behind the wheel (which was later passed as law), Ortiz has earned a favorable reputation among his senior constituents, 10,000 of whom live in Sunset Park in Brooklyn, part of Ortiz’s district, along with Red Hook, Greenwood, and parts of Gowanus, Bay Ridge, and Park Slope.

“Many seniors are concerned about affordable senior housing, safety, and health,” says Ortiz, who has worked tirelessly to secure funding for local senior centers. “The senior housing locations are full and have long waiting lists. My staffers assist constituents with many of these housing issues.”

Annually, Ortiz sponsors health fairs that cater to senior residents. The fairs consist of activities including health screenings, exercise demonstrations like Pilates and Zumba, and free information from insurance companies and city agencies.

While not all of the district’s senior population has embraced the Internet and social media, Ortiz relies on alternative ways to communicate with aging residents, like via a mailed newsletter, in addition to community meetings, celebrations and good old-fashioned door-to-door visits. “Whenever, I am back from Albany I like to visit the senior centers located in my district. It’s always fun to catch a game of dominos,” Ortiz said.

District Office
5004 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
718-492-6334

Freezing Rent With The Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE)

What Is DRIE?

Disability Rent Increase Exemption, or DRIE, is a New York City based program that allows people with disabilities who are struggling with rent increases in rent controlled, rent stabilized, or rent regulated hotel apartments to freeze their rent. To qualify, the applicants must:

  • Be over the age of 18
  • “Be named on the lease or the rent order or have been granted succession rights in a rent controlled, rent stabilized, rent regulated hotel apartment or an apartment located in a building where the mortgage was federally insured under Section 213 of the National Housing Act, owned by a Mitchell-Lama Development, Limited Dividend housing company, Redevelopment Company or Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) incorporated under New York State’s Private Housing Finance Law” (Source: X)
  • Have an annual household income of $50,000 or less.
  • Spend more than one-third of their monthly household income on rent.
  • Receive one of the following:
    • Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
    • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Pension or Compensation
    • Disability-related Medicaid if the applicant has received either SSI or SSDI in the past.(X)

How Income is Determined

Monthly income is determined by yearly income, which includes taxable and non-taxable income. This does not include any money received as a gift or through inheritance. While federal, state, local and Social Security taxes are deductible when calculating income, other expenses such as medical costs, Medicare premiums, and capital or business losses are not deductible.

Income is determined by the Department of Finance through documentable proof. Non-taxable incomes can be proven by means such as Social Security, IRA/Annuity, and/or pension statements, as well as IRS Forms 1099 and/or W2. Any financial assistance received from another person must be proved by a letter submitted by the person(s) that specifies the situation and amount given.    

An easier way to see if you qualify is to complete the nyc.gov’s DRIE eligibility quiz, available here: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/rentfreeze/tools/rent-freeze-qualifier-tool.page

How One-Third of Income is Calculated

DRIE follows a formula on how they determine one-third of a person’s income. Once all tax and non-tax documentation is factored in, a household’s yearly income is determined. From there, the household’s monthly income is then established. Finally, it is then determined whether the household’s current rent exceeds one-third of their monthly income.  

For example: If a household’s annual income is $35,000, then their monthly income will be $2,916.67. One-third of their monthly income is $972.22. If their current rent is over $972.22, then they are eligible for DRIE.

Application and Renewal

To apply, the applicant must fill out the DRIE forms and send it out with copies of necessary documents to the NYC Department of Finance. The exact address is available on the application.

To find out more about DRIE and for more information about other rent-freezing programs, such as the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE), visit here.

Tenant Rights: Resources For Fighting Against Tenant Harassment

Many tenants will often assume that because their landlord owns the property they live in, that their landlord’s word is law. This couldn’t be further truth. The real truth is that there are specific and powerful laws that protect tenants from landlords who are negligent or hostile. Any type of harassment caused by a landlord can be combated. Here, we go over the different types of tenant harassment, what tenants can do to fight against it and different resources that will aid tenants in doing so.  

Types of Tenant Harassment

Tenant harassment includes:

  • Any type of physical or verbal abuse
  • Not offering or refusing leases or renewals
  • Offering a buyout (offering money to move out) under these circumstances:
    • Repeatedly offering to rent-regulated tenants
    • Using threats, immoral language, or intimidation
    • Offering false information
  • Illegal lockouts
  • Unjustified eviction notices or evictions
  • Unfairly rising rents in rent-regulated apartments
  • Failure or refusal to repair essential repairs and utilities
  • Purposely causing construction-related problems, such as working after hours, blocking entrances, or failing to remove excessive dust or debris (x)
  • Intentionally lying or misrepresenting laws to tenants.

Reporting An Issue

Any type of tenant harassment, including any dangerous living conditions or lack of services, can be reported to 311 or to your local housing officials. Through 311, landlords can be subjected to enforced compliance, inspections, and violations. Landlords cannot retaliate or punish tenants for making justified actions or complaints against the landlord. If the harassment continues after the first complaint is issued, tenants are allowed to continue filling following complaints to 311.

For tenants of rent-regulated housing, complaints can also be filed through the Tenant Protection Unit (TPU), a program that investigates landlords accused of harassment and illegal activity. The TPU can be contacted at (718)739-6400, or at TPUinfo@nyshcr.org. Additional contact information is listed at the end of the article.

For more information on reporting issues, visit our article on filing complaints here.

Legal Action

If the issues are still ongoing after complaints are issued, or if the harassment worsens, tenants can take legal action against their landlords in Housing Court. Prior filed complaints and other proof of harassment can be used to testify against a negligent landlord. To learn more about taking legal action in Housing Court, visit the resources below.

NYC Housing Preservation and Development: Housing Court

http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/renters/housing-court.page

New York State Unified Court System: Housing Court Legal and Procedural Information

http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/nyc/housing/procedural_housing.shtml

New York State Unified Court System: Housing Court General Information

http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/nyc/housing/general.shtml  

Housing Court Answers

http://cwtfhc.org/

Additional Contact Information and Resources

Tenant Protection Unit

Phone: (718)739-6400

Email:TPUinfo@nyshcr.org

Adress: NYS Homes & Community Renewal
Tenant Protection Unit
Gertz Plaza
92-31 Union Hall Street
Jamaica NY 11433

Website: www.nyshcr.org/Rent/TenantProtectionUnit

NYC Housing Preservation and Development: Legal Assistance (Includes lists of not-for-profit fair housing organizations)

http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/renters/legal-assistance.page

The Brooklyn Diabetes Awareness Fair on Thursday, May 18th, Launches AlphaCare’s New Wellness and Resource Series

Alphacare has officially announced its launch of its Wellness and Resource Series. The series will consist of a multitude of health fairs held at medical centers, senior centers, malls, and faith-based organizations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Westchester Counties. The fairs are aimed at the senior community and will include informative discussions and the distribution of information regarding safety, housing, healthy cooking and more.

“Our goal is to make the lives of New York City’s seniors as healthy and active as possible,” commented Cindy Lai, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at AlphaCare. “We believe this initiative will provide a great deal of information and resources to the seniors, in a way that is both fun and educational.”

The Brooklyn Diabetes Awareness Fair, which will be the first fair kicking off the series, will be on Thursday, May 18th, at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will feature:

  • Giveaways and games
  • Representatives from community partners
  • Cooking demonstrations  
  • Free blood pressure screenings
  • Inclusion in the next edition of New York For Seniors Magazine

“We are all responsible for our own bodies and that’s why we need to raise awareness around taking control of our health,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, one of the major partners of the Brooklyn Diabetes Awareness Fair. “Through my own experience dealing with Type 2 Diabetes, I learned that the body has an incredible capacity to heal itself with exercise, and nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables and natural products. The Wellness and Resource Series is exactly the kind of community collaboration we should be focused on to help our friends and neighbors take control of their health.”

Other partners include New York For Seniors, the American Diabetes Association, Access A Ride, Brooklyn Sports Club, the Department of Aging, and many more.

The fair is free for all attendants and open to the public. The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration is located at 1368 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY. For further information about the event, email nikkia@jig.media, or call 718-285-9351.

Homeless Prevention Programs and Resources

In the U.S, it is estimated that well over 500,000 people are homeless at any given time, with an estimation of 50% of those people being over the age of fifty. Many senior citizens are at a very high risk of losing their homes, especially those living in New York City. Whether due to eviction, loss of one’s home, high medical costs, physical or mental illness or any other number of causes, no one deserves to be without a home. Here, we list three programs that help seniors, who have either lost their homes or are in danger of losing their homes, find their footing and protect them against homelessness.

DOROT

DOROT’s Homelessness Prevention Program (or HPP) is a transitional residence that is open to any senior over the age of sixty who is homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. The program offers temporary housing where seniors are provided with meals, counseling, and assistance finding permanent housing. Even after seniors are placed in permanent housing, HPP continues to provide services that ensure the person’s wellness and safety.

To qualify for the program, all seniors must first meet with a DOROT social worker before entering into the program.

To learn more about the DOROT program, visit their website here, or call (212) 580–0001.

Eviction Protection

The NYC Human Resources Administration offers free Anti-Eviction Legal Services to low-income households facing eviction. According to the HSA, these services may include:

  • Representation in housing court
  • Negotiations with landlords and/or other advocacy assistance
  • Inquiries into whether a tenant’s rent level is correct, whether there are conditions that require repair and whether these constitute defenses to a proceeding
  • Preparation and filing of required agency and court papers

(Source: http://www1.nyc.gov)

Anti-Eviction Legal Services offices are spread throughout all five boroughs. Visit here for the full list of offices.

Visit www1.nyc.gov/site/dhs/prevention/rent-issues.page to learn more and to find other rent-aid and related programs.

Homeless Prevention Fund

For households earning between $15,000 and $30,00 annually, who are unable to get assistance from other programs and are in danger of displacement due to outstanding payments, may be eligible to receive emergency financial assistance. The Homeless Prevention Fund offers this assistance to households that:

  • Have an eviction petition filed
  • Are able to continue paying rent in the future

For more information on the Homeless Prevention Fund, visit  www1.nyc.gov/site/dhs/prevention/rent-issues.page or contact any of the addresses listed below:

Coalition for the Homeless
129 Fulton Street
New York, NY 10038
Eviction Prevention Hotline: (212) 776-2039

The Bridge Fund
105 East 22nd Street, Suite 621 E
New York, NY 10010
Phone: (212) 674-0812

Community Service Society
105 East 22nd Street, Room 409
New York, NY 10010
Phone: (212) 614-5375

For even more information on housing for seniors, visit the New York City Senior’s Housing Guide found here.

New York for Seniors Magazine Spring 2017 Preview

The New York For Seniors Spring Magazine has finally sprung! Launching May 8th, this season’s edition is brimming with original articles, local event coverage, recipes, and much more, highlighting all the best events, programs, and materials available for the New York City’s Senior community. This edition features articles on senior housing, non-profit organizations, new initiatives from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., free events throughout Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan; and a profile on District 51’s council member, Felix Ortiz.

Other exciting pieces to look out for include:

  • Simple Ways to Faster WiFi
  • Senior Center Bill of Rights
  • Healthy Tips and Tricks for National Women’s and Men’s Health Month
  • and much more!

Seniors Come Out for Pre-Easter Luncheon and Hat Pageant – PHOTO GALLERY

Thursday April 13th East New York District Leader Nikki Lucas and US Congressman Hakeem Jeffries Host a Jam-packed Pre-Easter Luncheon and Hat Pageant at Brooklyn Sports Club.

 

The Brooklyn Sports Club in East New York was a great place to be on Thursday for a Pre-Easter Luncheon and Hat Pageant. A huge crowd filled the large space. In fact, there were so many seniors present that more tables and chairs were brought in to accommodate the overflow crowd. Smiles and laughter filled the room for this festive occasion, thanks to District Leader Nikki Lucas and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.

During her remarks, District Leader Lucas stated, “I am excited that I have the relationship that I have with this community.” She talked about how important it is to have relationships with people in order to improve the community. She also stated “Congressman Hakeem Jeffries has been a tremendous friend to me and also to the community.” He was the Keynote Speaker for the day and delivered a very inspiring message. Musical selections and ballet performances also added to the festivities.

There were other notable figures present including Acting District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez, who was excited to be a part of this event. He stated that “seniors are an important part of our community, and I am happy to come out and support them.”

Another highlight of the event was the hat pageant. Three judges viewed the contest including Hon. Robin Sheares, Hon. Shawndya Simpson, and Hon. Carolyn Wade. They sported their own snazzy hats as well and were happy to share stories about their Brooklyn roots and the community they serve. Hon. Carolyn Wade mentioned that some of the seniors asked her: “Are you a real judge?” She replied “yes” and showed them her robe. She stated “the seniors were so impressed that they would use real judges for the contest.”

Some contestants strutted, while others danced down the aisle to an assortment of upbeat music and cheers from the crowd. The first place winner was Sarah Stevens who stated “I have been modeling hats since way back at First Baptist Church of Crown Heights.” The second place winner was Alice Wiley who mentioned that she has made all of her hats and outfits for years. Third place went to Denise Morgan who also modeled a fashionable hat.

The seniors looked fabulous in their Easter hats and stylish outfits, including the ones who were not part of the hat pageant. Many of them danced to the music or sang along to familiar tunes. The atmosphere was festive and lively throughout the event, which turned out to be a memorable one for all participants. It left everyone excited about the next hat pageant.

NYC’s Top 10 Parks for Reflection and Meditation

#1 – Brooklyn Bridge Park

Some city parks were built to replicate rustic fields and preserve serene woodland. Brooklyn Bridge Park, however, was not—and that’s precisely why it has become so popular. The project has transformed a chunk of the Brooklyn waterfront into a nearly 85-acre expanse; several sections house unique attractions such as Jane’s Carousel, a restored 1920s merry-go-round, and riverside esplanades with gorgeous Manhattan views. Pier 5 is complete with sports fields and a playground, and nearby Pier 2 has basketball courts and a skating rink. When summer rolls around, there’s literary readings held in the open air, and outdoor movies play at sundown with one of the best views of the city just behind the screen.

Brooklyn Heights

#2 – Central Park

Central ParkTo feel truly out of the city, head to the 38-acre wilderness area on the west side of the park known as the Ramble. The area has a storied history (as a gay cruising spot dating back to the turn of the last century, among other things), and it was even proposed as a recreational area in the mid-’50s. Thankfully, the winding trails, rocks and streams remain, seemingly waiting to be discovered. If you want plenty of sunshine and more of a social vibe, spread out a blanket at Sheep’s Meadow, where groups playing guitar and frisbee and tanning topless are sprawled out as far as the eye can see.

Central Park

#3 – Flushing Meadows–Corona Park

Flushing Meadows–Corona ParkGive the city’s second-biggest park a day and it’ll show you the world: Its most enduring icon is the Unisphere, the mammoth steel globe created for the 1964 World’s Fair. But there’s also first-rate culture and sports at the New York Hall of Science, Arthur Ashe Stadium and Citi Field (depending on how the Mets are doing). The rolling green fields also encompass a zoo, a boating lake, a skate park, a barbecue area, playfields, and a $66 million aquatic and hockey center. In 2011, wetland plants such as swamp azalea and swamp milkweed were added to better handle the park’s water runoff, improving the catch-and-release fishing in Meadow Lake.

Queens

#4 – Prospect Park

Prospect ParkUrban visionaries Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who most famously designed Central Park, also put their stamp on bucolic Prospect Park. Amenities like the Long Meadow and Nethermead offer plenty of space to pull up on a patch of grass and indulge in some people-watching, and the woodland expanse of the Ravine is a towering forest within bustling Brooklyn. But we also have to give props to Robert Moses: The controversial city planner was behind some of the park’s kid-friendly offerings, including the zoo and Wollman Rink, which throws decade-themed skating parties all summer long.

Prospect Park

#5 – The Hills at Governors Island

The Hills at Governors IslandAs of 2016, the Hills on Governors Island are alive but not necessarily with the sound of music. Instead, you can hear the hum of parkgoers and their bicycles as they tool around the island’s two-plus-mile promenade, the gleeful squeals of folks slithering down one of the four massive slides and the delighted gasps of visitors ogling perfect views of the New York Harbor and Lower Manhattan. While much of the green space’s landscape has changed (and, oh, is it hilly), preexisting features such as Hammock Grove and Picnic Point (which had been closed since 2012) are still major focal points. But this new addition has us counting down the days until the island opens for the warm-weather season in May.

Governors Island

#6 – The High Line

The High LineOpened in 2009, this highly anticipated outdoor park sits on the elevated infrastructure built on Manhattan’s West Side in the 1930s. The final expansion of the park opened in 2014, and today sumptuous gardens and outdoor sculptures (that change with the seasons) adorn this magnificent walkway, which is also an excellent place to enjoy a view of the Hudson River. There’s a food court with ice cream and wine, shallow pools to dip hot summer toes in and coveted lounge chairs to recline in on lazy days.

Chelsea

#7 – McCarren Park

McCarren ParkThis Brooklyn park is popular with area hipsters, and it continues to be a family favorite, too. There are baseball, football and soccer fields; dog runs; tennis courts and more. You’ll also find a playground at Lorimer Street and Driggs Ave. It’s also home to SummerScreen—the alfresco film fest—which shows a grab bag of ’90s nostalgia picks (so Williamsburg, right?).

Greenpoint

#8 – Hudson River Park

Hudson River ParkThis strip of waterfront park stretches from Battery Park to 59th Street, allowing you to walk, bike or skate while gazing at the Hudson River and New Jersey. There are flowers, benches, piers and lots of programs—including youth sports and kayak rides in the river. On Friday evenings, you can spot everything from people at lawnside boot camps to elderly singing groups belting it out next to a waterside piano.

Chelsea

#9 – Fort Greene Park

Fort Greene ParkBoth Brooklyn’s first park and one of it’s loveliest, Fort Greene Park plays host to the Soul Summit house-and-classics get-togethers on summertime Sunday afternoons. Explore the 30-acres designed by Olmstead and Vaux, which comprises open meadows, playgrounds and a designated space for all sorts of recreational activities. If you’re simply looking for a peaceful space to contemplate the meaning of life, you’ll have no problem finding a quiet haven for your thoughts.

Fort Greene

#10 – Inwood Hill Park

Inwood Hill ParkThere’s a unique reward for trekking to the northernmost corner of Manhattan, where you’ll find enormous trees in the island’s last virgin forest. Much of the park has never been developed; due to its comparatively remote location, the land remained rural up until its 1916 purchase by the Parks Department, who decided to leave Inwood as natural as possible. As a result, the area remains very similar to the way the island was 500 years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Time Out NY

Senior Center Bill of Rights

No matter which senior center you attend, every center in New York must follow a certain set of rules and requirements. These requirements are known as the senior center Bill of Rights, which ensure fair treatment of all patrons. These rules are:  

1) Anyone who fits the requirements of the senior center can join and participate in the center.


2) Any senior citizen who qualifies to be a member cannot be refused membership or program/activity participation, so long as the center has the space and can afford it.


3) No member can be discriminated against for their race, religion, gender, disability, age, sexuality, citizen status, etc.


4) Everyone must be treated equally with respect and courtesy.


5) Every member has the right to know which centers are handicap accessible.


6) Each member’s personal information (address, phone number, etc.) is private and cannot be distributed or disclosed.

  • The only exception to this is the center’s funding source, which information may be shared with.

7) Every member can submit complaints to the senior center about the senior center or center-related issue without fear of penalty or punishment. Complaints can be issued to the center staff, board of directors or executive committees.

  • Complaints may also be made without penalty outside the senior center to elected and government officials.


9) All centers that provide regular meals must ensure that the meals are nutritious and well-balanced.


10) All seniors must be offered meals, even if they do not regularly partake in the meal program.


11) All centers must have a senior advisory council composed of seniors who are members of the center that aid in communicating senior needs to the center’s management.


12) All attendees have the right and opportunity to make anonymous financial contributions to the center. All contributions must be made by choice, and seniors cannot be harassed into giving any money. All donations must only be used for the betterment of the senior center and the center’s member’s experiences.

To find the official Bill of Rights, visit here

JASA Seniors Give Back To The Community

JASA, a New York City-serving senior agency, celebrated over 500 senior volunteers at their Volunteer Recognition Day on November 10, 2016. The event focused on the hundreds of volunteers, all from varying senior centers throughout NYC, and their impressive work through the JASA’s Give Back to the Community Program, a program which focuses on helping seniors stay active through helping their community. Of these volunteers, those over the age of 90 were honored with a special ceremony, with 4 of the 37 honorees being over 100 years old.

“Giving back is not work, it’s a pleasure,” said two-time president and treasurer of her local JASA Senior Center, Frieda Selowsky, 93. As a Holocaust survivor, Selowsky finds JASA’s volunteer work to indispensable. “After living through the tragedies of my youth, I became stronger and committed to enjoying life everyday. I like getting to know other people, talking to them and making them happier.”

JASA’s volunteers help numerous facilities and people through their work, including distributing toiletries to homeless shelters, knitting caps for cancer patients and preemies, running clothing and toy drives, teaching senior classes, meal delivery, fundraising, and so much more. Volunteers are all connected through the many JASA senior centers, which are located throughout Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Long Island. Each center serves as a multicultural community social hub, mixing wellness and entertainment with community and activities.

“Everyone was someone before they came to a senior center,” comments Elaine Rockoff, Director of Community Based Programs at JASA. “Everyone did something before. And just because now they’re no longer doing what they were doing before, they’re still vital individuals who have a lot to offer, and this gives them an opportunity to do that.”

The event, which took place at JASA’s Dreiser Senior Center in the Bronx, included festivities such as live music and entertainment, open floor dancing, and catered lunch. The celebration is a yearly affair, with more volunteers joining to program every day. Although senior oriented, the program allows older adults of any age to join the program. Those interested in Jasa’s volunteer programs can learn more at JASA.org or by calling their Volunteer Services Department at (212)-273-5353. To learn about JASA’s centers and other programs, such as their affordable housing, elder abuse prevention and intervention, mental health programs, home care, legal services, and much more, call (212)-273-5200 or visit JASA.org.

Section 202 and Mitchell-Lama Housing Programs

Section 202

Section 202, Supportive Housing for the Elderly is a program that provides housing for low- to moderate-income and disabled seniors. The program works through private and nonprofit sponsors, who provide the costs for the senior housing developments. These housing facilities can include meals, transportation, housekeeping, and other various services. But, not every facility includes services. However, each facility is subsidized, with rent averaging 30% of the household income.  

Those eligible for Section 202 must be 62 years or older, or have, at least, one household member who is over 62 years old.

Sources

For more information on Section 202 housing, visit:

https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/mfh/progdesc/eld202

http://community-wealth.org/strategies/policy-guide/hud_section-202.html

For a complete list of Section 202 housing facilities, visit the alternative senior housing PDF links at the end of the article.

Mitchell-Lama program

Mitchell-Lama developments are rentals and co-ops available for moderate- to middle-income households. While the program is open to anybody, there are senior-only Mitchell-Lama housing. The developments are either overseen by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) or the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR).

Applications are done through the development, with each development requiring a separate application. Applicants are then added to a waiting list, with acceptances based on a lottery system. You may apply to as many developments as you’d like.

Each development has its own unique requirements, but the general requirements depend on income, household size, and apartment size. For a complete list of income limits, visit here.

Sources

For open waitlists for Mitchell-Lama developments, visit: www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdf/renters-mitchell-lama/ML-waiting-Lists-Status.pdf

For short waitlists for Mitchell-Lama developments, visit:

www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdf/renters-mitchell-lama/Short-waiting-Lists.pdf

For more information on Mitchell-Lama developments, visit:

www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/renters/mitchell-lama-rentals.page

For a complete list of alternative senior housing, as well as lists of available Section 202 and Mitchell-Lama senior developments, visit the links below.

Alternatives in Senior Housing PDF: Bronx

Alternatives in Senior Housing PDF: Manhattan

Alternatives in Senior Housing PDF: Brooklyn

Alternatives in Senior Housing PDF: Queens

Alternatives in Senior Housing PDF: Staten Island

For more information on senior housing, visit:

www.nyc.gov/html/dfta/html/benefits/housing.shtml

New York for Seniors Magazine Winter 2017 Preview

New York For Seniors is excited to announce the completion of our Winter 2017 Edition magazine launching on Monday, February 13th! Bringing together seniors from all over New York, this edition highlights some incredible programs and people whose generosity shined over the holiday season. Along with the features, the magazine is filled with informational articles that answer commonly asked questions, as well as enough events to keep you busy for the rest of the winter season.

Some great articles to look out for are:

  • The Elder Abuse Public Education Campaign
  • Reverend Dr. Waterman and First Lady Lola Waterman, Esq. of Antioch Baptist Church’s Outreach to Brooklyn Seniors
  • Winter Greenmarket Tips and Tricks
  • JASA And R.A.I.N Events Recognizing Outstanding New York Senior Volunteers
  • R.A.I.N’s Bronx Bound Mobile Food Kitchen
  • Lowering Your Energy Costs With HEAP
  • The Difference Between Generic And Name-Brand Medications

And so much more!

Public Housing: How To Apply

What Is Public Housing?

Public housing are apartments owned by the New York City Housing Authority that are rented to people with low to moderate incomes. These apartments’ rents are 30% of the household’s total income, which allows each household to pay what they can afford. The NYCHA owns, approximately, 328 public house developments in NYC that house over 400,000 people. Because of the high demand of these apartments, the waiting list is extremely long, with over 250,000 applicants. Applicants who are chosen are those who are deemed higher priority than others, such as those who live or work in New York, have disabilities, currently live in shelters, have small children, are victims of domestic violence, etc.

Public housing is not the same as the Section 8 Program. Section 8 deals with privately owned apartments and landlords. The majority of housing developments include gas and electric with the rent. For the few developments that don’t, a utility allowance will be deducted from the rent each month in order to help residents pay

Senior Public Housing

People who are 62 or older have the option to choose to live in a partially or exclusively senior facility. To qualify for senior housing, the head or co-head of the household must be 62 or older, as well as all other members of the household.

While the public housing application process does not allow for applicants to choose their preferred resident, those who qualify for senior housing may respond yes when asked on the application if they would like to be considered for senior housing.

Applying To Public Housing

Eligibility

Eligible applicants must:

  • Be 18 or over or be an emancipated minor
  • Have at least one household member who is a US citizen or a non-citizen with eligible immigration status
  • Have a household income equal or below the incomes listed on the NYCHA website, found here.  

Applicants do not have to have children, an income, or be a New York residents to apply, but, those who live or work in NYC are prioritized. You can apply for public housing even if you are already on the waiting list for Section 8, and vice versa. But, if you receive an apartment through one program, your application for the other will be greatly reduced in priority.

Filing The Application

Public housing applications can be done online at www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/eligibility/apply.page or in person at a NYCHA walk-in-center, which can be found here. When applying, the applicant will be able to choose their first and second borough choice, but cannot apply for a specific development. You will be required to provide your total household income, family makeup, and current living situation.

Applications do not require any personal documentation. All official information will be verified afterwards. You should never pay to fill out a public housing application. Those applications are scams and should be reported to the NYCHA’s inspector general at (212) 306-3355.

Application Status

Once you apply, you should receive a letter within 2 weeks that tells you of your assigned housing priority. If, after 2 weeks, you have not received the letter, call the NYCHA customer care center at (718) 707-7771 (Open Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm).

After submitting the application, you may be called for an eligibility interview, though there is no estimation as to when you may be called. After the interview, you may be selected to be preliminarily eligible for public housing and will be put on a borough or development waiting list. When an apartment opens, you and everyone in your household over the age of 16 will have criminal background checks. If all is well, you will receive the apartment. If anyone does not pass the admittance requirements, then you will not receive the apartment, and you will receive a letter instructing you on how to proceed from there.

Applicants who are listed as the head of household can register at the NYCHA Self-Service Portal (selfserve.nycha.info) to keep track of their application. Application information, like phone numbers, emails, and prefered boroughs can be updated through the site. To add or remove an income or family member, you must complete a new application.

To remain on the waiting list, applicants must reapply every 24 months.

Workplace Ageism: How To Identify Discrimination and Fight Back

What is Ageism?

Ageism is the act of discrimination against an older person. This primarily affects people over the age of 60, and is unfortunately experienced by many seniors on a near daily basis. Ageism can come in many forms, including:

  • Stereotypes that depict older people as invalids, forgetful, stupid, or slow.
  • Jokes aimed towards senior stereotypes.
  • People using patronizing language when talking to seniors (especially prevalent in doctors and healthcare professionals).
  • Experiencing work discrimination due to a person’s age.
  • Experiencing verbal or physical harassment due to a person’s age.

While not all types of ageism are directly harmful, age discrimination that occurs in the workplace and discrimination that turns into direct harassment are illegal. Here we go over the types of workplace ageism and what actions can be taken against it.

Workplace Ageism

Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), people over the age of 40 are protected from age discrimination in the workplace. Types of discrimination can include:

  • Being fired due to a person’s age (especially if before the official termination, negative comments were made by the supervisor about the person’s age)
  • Being fired because the company no longer wishes to pay your salary
  • Being passed up for a promotion by a younger, less experienced worker (often done in order to get ‘ a fresh perspective’ or ‘new blood’)
  • Layoffs that affected mostly, if not all, older workers.
  • Negative evaluations that focus on a person’s age (often, evaluations will use certain language to convey this, using terms such as ‘old school’, ‘inflexible’, or ‘out of date’)

Ageism can also be combined with gender, race, or disability discrimination.

While the ADEA covers workers who work at a workplace that regularly employs 20 or more workers, In New York, the workplace only has to have 4 or more employees in order for a worker to file for discrimination. Workplaces do include state and local government jobs, as well as labor unions and employment agencies.

It is illegal for workplaces to:

  • Fire someone in order to stop paying for their pension benefits and or health insurance
  • Force someone into retirement (in most cases)
  • Unlawfully requesting applicants’ age or date of birth
  • Employers making specific age requests for positions (in most cases)

There are exceptions to many ageism claims, especially if age was not not the only factor for an employer’s decision or action. When filing for age discrimination, the individual must be able to prove that the discrimination was an intentional action based on the individual’s age. For this reason, many people have a hard time proving age discrimination.

In New York State, discrimination cases can be filed through the New York Division of Human Rights (DHR) (website found here), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (website here), and the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CHR) (website here) for those who live in New York City. To find out more about filing an age discrimination case, visit here.

For more information on age discrimination in the workplace, visit the resources below.

http://www.workplacefairness.org/age-discrimination#1

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/age.cfm

Edison Home Health Care: Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program

What Is CDPAP?

CDPAP, or the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, is a Medicaid-based program that allows individuals to be in control of their personal home assistant. Unlike other programs, CDPAP allows for the recipient to choose and hire their own health care assistant. The program allows the recipient to feel both in control of their care, as well as feel comfortable with who they choose to hire as their personal assistant.

Who Is Eligible To Become A Personal Assistant?

Almost anyone who is legally allowed to work can become a personal assistant, including members of the recipient’s family. The only relatives who cannot become personal assistants are the recipient’s parents or spouse.

No certificate or license is required to become a personal assistant. The personal assistant must be able to perform custodial and skilled services. These can include cleaning, dispensing medication or insulin shots, and wound care.

Who Administers CDPAP?

While CDPAP focuses on the consumer’s independence, the program is administered through a New York State certified fiscal intermediary. Fiscal intermediaries are private companies that provide payroll for the personal assistant.

How to Enroll

Edison Home Health Care is a NY State certified home care agency that provides CDPAP throughout New York State. Through the agency, the consumer can easily enroll in CDPAP. All the necessary paperwork is given through the agency, and professional assistance is available to help consumers during any part of the CDPAP process.

If you’re interested in enrolling in CDPAP, visit www.edisonhhc.com/cdpap/.

If you want to find out if you are eligible, call the Edison Home Health Care line at 718-489-2955 for a CDPAP specialist.

To learn more about Edison Home Health Care’s involvement in CDPAP, watch the video below.

Tenant Rights: How to File a Complaint

Housing Complaints

The Housing Preservation and Development NYC Program allows for tenants to file complaints against neglectful landlords. When a landlord fails to provide basic services for tenants, then the tenant is justified in filing a complaint. These issues can include, but are not limited to:

  • Heat and hot water violations (check out our heat violations article here)
  • Use of lead-based paint
  • Broken or no window guards
  • Broken or no carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  • Pests and bedbugs
  • Mold
  • Illegal Basement and Cellar Conversions

If a tenant’s landlord neglects or refuses to provide or fix any basic services, then the HPD can issue violations, administer emergency repairs, or move to Housing Court.

Filing a Complaint

Before filing a complaint, tenants should always contact their landlord to try to resolve the issue. Only if the landlord does not respond or refuses to resolve the issue should tenants file a complaint.  

Tenants can file a complaint by:

  • Calling 311 or TTY (212) 504-4115
  • Using the 311 website (311ONLINE)
  • Using the 311 mobile app (311MOBILE)

Once the complaint is finalized, tenants will receive a service request number, which will allow them to check the status of their complaint through either 311ONLINE, HDPONLINE, or through 311MOBILE, only if they filed through the app.  

Process


After filing the complaint, the HPD (Housing Preservation & Development) will try to contact the building’s managing agent in order to make sure the complaint is corrected. The HPD will contact the tenant to see if the complaint was corrected.  If the complaint is corrected, then the case will close. If the issue is not corrected, or if the HDP cannot contact the tenant, then an inspector will be sent out.

When a Code Enforcement inspector is sent, the building’s managing agent is not notified of the inspection date. The inspector will look into the complaint that was filed while also checking:

  • Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Lead-based paint if there are children under 6 in the apartments
  • Window guards if there are children under 11 in the apartment
  • Double cylinder locks (locks that require a key from the inside)
  • Bars on the fire escape windows

(Sourse: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/renters/report-an-issue-faqs.page)

If the tenant is not home when the inspector comes, then they will either check another apartment if the issue is building-wide (i.e heat, hot water, etc.) or the inspectors will leave a card with the number that the tenant can call to schedule the next inspection.

If the tenant is home when the inspector comes, they should confirm that the inspector has an HPD identification card and that they are dressed in an HPD uniform. If you are a tenant, always ask to see the card before allowing the inspector to enter your apartment. If they do not have a card or if they are not in uniform, contact your borough’s Division of Code Enforcement. Find your local DCE contact information here.

If violations are found, then the owner will be given a set amount of time within to fix the problem. Tenants can find out if violations have been issued by checking HDPONLINE. Violations will be classified as either Class A, B, or C. Depending on the issue, building owners are given a specific time period to fix them.

If emergency issues are not immediately fixed by the landlord (i.e hot water or heat), then the HPD will contact the tenant and have the issues repaired, if necessary. The landlord will be charged.  

If all other issues are fixed, then the tenant will be notified and the case will close after 70 days. If the issue is not fixed, then the tenant can take legal action through Housing Court. If the issue is not fixed but the tenant is notified that the issue was fixed, then the tenant can request a re-inspection. If the re-inspection finds the issue still unresolved, the case remains open and can move onto Housing Court.  

For more information, visit here.

For information about Housing Court, visit here.

Knowing Your Tenant Rights: Heat

Tenant’s Rights to Heat

Every tenant, in both private and publicly-owned buildings, must have heat between October 1st and May 31st. During the day, between the hours of 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, every tenant’s apartment must be heated to at least 68° fahrenheit if the temperature outside is below 55°F. At night, between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am, each apartment must be heated to at least 55°F if the outside temperature is below 40°F.

Landlords must heat your apartment according to these standards by law. If your landlord is giving you trouble, or has not yet turned on your heat, there are several steps you can take.

Before you take any type of action, contact your landlord first. This could either resolve the problem or give you proof if your landlord continues to neglect your requests. According to the NYC Housing Preservation and Development, one must:

1) Contact the property owner, managing agent or building superintendent regarding the repairs.

2) If the property owner, managing agent or superintendent does not respond, write a letter that describes the problems in your apartment and asks for the repairs to be made by a certain date. You should send the letter to the owner and management company by certified mail and keep a copy for your records. If you do not have address information for the property owner or managing agent, you can obtain this information on HPD’s website, as the property owner is required to file this information annually. (Which you can find here

3)If you do not receive a response to your letter, you should try to contact the owner in person or by phone. Let him or her know that if the repairs are not completed, you will have to file a complaint. Keep a record of all of your attempts to get the landlord to make repairs, as this will be useful in court.

(Source: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/renters/tenants-rights.page#faq3)

Having physical proof is essential, and will make taking further actions possible.

Once you have acquired the appropriate proof, there are several options you can choose from:

File a Housing Complaint

When filing a complaint, the HPD (Housing Preservation & Development) will try to contact the building’s managing agent in order to make sure the complaint is corrected. If the complaint is still not corrected, further action will be taken. To file a complaint either:

Call 311 or TTY (212) 504-4115
Use the 311 website (311ONLINE) or the 311 mobile app (311MOBILE)

To find out more about Housing Complaints here.

Housing Court

Housing court cases can be brought upon owners who refuse to provide essential services to tenants, called an HP case. These cases do not require a lawyer, and are usually handled by judges. To start a case, visit or contact your local Housing Court’s Clerk’s Office, which you can find here. find out more about Housing Court, visit their website here.

If you live in a rent controlled or rent stabilized apartment, you can also file a complaint with the Homes and Community Renewal in addition to the other options. Complaint forms can be found here.

If you live in an HPD-owned building, call 212-491-4229 or 311 for assistance with maintenance issues .

If you live in a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) building, call the NYCHA Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771 for assistance with maintenance issues.  

 

Access-A-Ride: Requesting Trips

What Is It?

Access-a-Ride is an MTA run program that allows eligible people to be picked up and dropped off by Access-a-Ride vehicles. These rides cover everywhere that mass transit is available, including parts of Nassau and Westchester Counties. The service is always available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How Do I Request A Pickup?

If you use the area codes 212, 347, 516, 631,646, 718, 845, 914, or 929, the Access-a-Ride number is 877-337-2017. If you live outside any of the given area codes, then the Access-a-Ride number is 718-393-4999.

When requesting a pickup, you can either request a pickup time or an appointment time, but not both. A pickup time is the time you wish to be picked up. This time will not always be definite, and Access-a-Ride may offer a pickup time that is either up to an hour earlier or later from your requested time. Appointment time is the time you wish to arrive at your destination.

When planning to use Access-a-Ride, always plan based on maximum travel times. Because Access-a-Ride is a public service that also makes other pickups, it’s travel time is much longer than that of a normal car or transit ride. The maximum travel times are:

Miles                                     Maximum Ride Time
0 to                                        350 minutes
3 to 6                                     1 hour 5 minutes
6 to 9                                     1 hour 35 minutes
9 to 12                                   1 hour 55 minutes
12 to 14                                 2 hours 15 minutes
Greater than 14 miles       2 hours 35 minutes

When canceling same-day trips, you must call two hours in advance and cancel with Travel Services. If you are canceling a reserved trip one or two days in advance, cancel with Reservations. When canceling a two-way trip, you must make it clear that you are canceling both trips. If you cancel trips last minute or do not show up, you will be penalized.

What To Do If They’re Late

In the event that no Access-a-Rides are available to pick you up, taxi/car service authorization and reimbursements are available. When this occurs, a CCA will give you an authorization number. This number is necessary in receiving your reimbursement . It is your responsibility to call the taxi/car service and pay the fare, any tolls, and tip. You must receive a receipt. Afterwards, you have up to three months to send for a reimbursement on the trip. To learn how, visit here.


If your Access-a-Ride is more than 30 minutes late, then you can call
Travel Services and ask the Customer Care Associate (CCA) for a trip status, which will include the current location of the car, the driver’s name and the car’s number. If, for any reason, your car is unable to make it, the CCA will either send another Access-a-Ride or send a taxi/car service authorization.

Violations And Suspensions

Access-a-Rides are allowed to wait five minutes before leaving. If you do not show up to for your scheduled ride, or you cancel less than two hours before, those are considered violations. If you do not show up to seven or more pickups in a month or you late cancel rides 30% or more of your scheduled trip in a month, you can face suspension.

Suspension lengths are based on how many suspensions you have prior. The lengths are:

1st suspension                       1-week period
2nd suspension                      2-week period
3rd suspension                       3-week period
4th suspension                       4-week period
5th  and beyond                      4-week period

For more information about violations and suspensions, visit here.

Having Troubles With Your Heating Bill? HEAP Can Help

What Is HEAP?

HEAP, or the Home Energy Assistance Program, is a New York State program that helps low-income New Yorkers to afford their heating bills. HEAP benefits are seasonal, and can be applied for come mid-November. According to ny.gov, to be eligible for HEAP, you and your household must:

  • All be U.S. citizens, U.S. non-citizen nationals, or qualified aliens
  • Provide a valid Social Security number for each household member
  • Receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Temporary Assistance or Supplemental Security Income
  • Have a monthly household income that is at or below the HEAP income guidelines

Even if your heat is paid for as part of your rent, you own your own home, or you have money in the bank, stocks, bonds or other resources (x), you can be eligible for HEAP. The program is available for homes heated with electricity, natural gas, oil, coal, propane, wood or wood pellets, kerosene, or corn.

For emergency situations, such as having your utilities shut down or if you are running out of fuel, you can apply for an emergency HEAP benefit, which can be applied for anytime.

How to Apply

To apply for HEAP, visit here.

To apply for regular HEAP, you can apply online at mybenefits.ny.gov by logging in or making an account or you can print out an application and follow the instructions on the form. Applications take 30 days to be reviewed. For more information, visit here.

To apply for emergency HEAP benefits, applications must be done through your local Department of Social Services, which you can find here.

Revolutionary New Ambulance Dispatcher App Helps You Stay In Control During Medical Emergencies

A new method for requesting an emergency ambulance with 21st century technology has been established right here in Brooklyn. SmartEMS is a free application that can be downloaded on any smart phone and computer. When registering, you enter your medical demographics such as your medical history, allergies, medications, insurance information, emergency contacts, and even the hospital(s) you would prefer to be taken. This data is kept encrypted and secured, with all HIPAA regulations met.

When you need an ambulance, you just press on the big red button on your phone app and our Dispatch / Call Center in Canarsie, Brooklyn will immediately assign the closest appropriate unit to your location. Your emergency contacts (spouse, child, caretaker, physician, etc.) will be notified by text and e-mail that you have requested an ambulance, when the ambulance arrives, and when you arrive at your destination with the facility name and phone number. Like this your loved ones will know where you are and where to call. The patient will also see on their smart phone the GPS layout of the ambulance responding, with updated Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA’s) every 30 seconds. If the patient is too weak to type in their chief complaint, they have the option to press a different button and be connected by phone to our Call Receiving Center where an operator can assist and dispatch an ambulance.

The responding ambulance crew will receive your medical information which you provided in your registration, so that they can concentrate on your medical care instead of wasting time asking about your history, medications, and insurance information. They are required to verify and confirm the information to ensure accuracy. The crew will also receive immediate GPS directions on their phone to expedite their response.

This service will also take you to the hospital of your choice, unless you are in such a serious condition that you require to first be stabilized at the closest facility or if you meet the criteria for a Specialty Referral Center such as for a burn or trauma. Otherwise, you can choose a facility within the 5 boroughs, or a neighboring hospital if you are on the NYC border.

This app streamlines the entire EMS response process, reduces the amount of time spent on the scene with the patient, and takes the patient to a facility where their physician has privileges so they can continue in the patient’s care. This app brings emergency medical services to the 21st century! It took 2 years of developing and field testing before they felt it was ready to launch.

Director Jack Finkelstein has over 37 years of EMS experience and is an Instructor for the Department of Health and the American Heart Association as well as a Certified Emergency Manager. “I am so proud to be able to launch this service that I know will help NYC and provide the medical care in an expeditious and efficient manner. Even if a client does not have a smart phone, they can register on a computer and just call our Emergency Hotline at 1-888-804-SMART (7627).”

For more information or to register, you can go to www.SmartEMSapp.com or call their Hotline for assistance.

Access-A-Ride: Who’s Eligible and How to Apply

What is Access-a-Ride?

Access-a-Ride is an MTA funded transportation program that lets vehicles pick up and drop off those who are unable to use mass transit due to disability or age. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you use the area code 212, 347, 516, 631,646, 718, 845, 914, or 929, the Access-a-Ride number is 877-337-2017. If you live outside any of the given area codes, then the Access-a-Ride number is 718-393-4999.

Who is eligible ?  

Access-a-Ride determines if you are eligible based on your applications. Those whose applications are accepted are separated into four categories:

Full – Allowed full access to Access-a-Ride & must reapply every five years.

Continual – Do not have to reapply due to permanent conditions.

Conditional – Allowed access to Access a Ride under certain conditions.

Temporary – Are either full or conditional for under five years.

For those who with conditional access, can only use AAR when the conditions listed on their AAR MetroCard/ ID apply. These conditions can include:

Stairs Restricted – Subway station is inaccessible.

Extreme Cold – Temperature is forecast to be 39°F or below on the day of travel.

Extreme Heat – Temperature is forecast to be 90°F or above on the day of travel.

Extreme Cold & Stairs Restricted

Extreme Heat & Stairs Restricted

Weather-related or Environmental Barriers (such as humidity, snow and icy streets)

Unfamiliar Places – Customer’s with a cognitive or visual impairment who are unfamiliar with bus and/or subway routes to the trip destination.

Distance – Subway station or bus stop is further away than they are able to travel.

How to Apply

To apply to Access-a-Ride, call and speak with Eligibility to schedule an appointment with your local assessment center, which they will inform you on the location. Once you make an appointment, AAR will send you an application in the mail within five days. The application will include information on how to set up an Access-a-Ride to get to and from the appointment. Accommodations such as receiving large print, braille, or recorded application, the need of a sign interpreter, the need for another person to travel with you, or interpretation services are all available.    

Visit the Access-A-Ride website here.

How to Know if You’re Living in a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community

What is NORC?

NORC-SSP’s are naturally occurring retirement communities supportive service program. These communities are housing complexes or apartment buildings with a high population of seniors. They offer specialty health and social services for communities elderly population. NORC’s are not strictly inhabited by seniors, nor were they purposely developed to be senior-only communities; Instead, communities become NORC’s once more than 50% of the residents are elderly or when 2,500 residents are over the age of 65. To be a NORC, buildings or complexes must:

  • Be an apartment building or housing complex that was constructed with government assistance (x).
  • Have a majority of the residents receiving low to moderate incomes (x).

What is NNORC?

NNORC’s are neighborhood naturally occurring retirement communities. While similar to NORC, NNORC’s are neighborhoods instead of buildings or complexes. According to the Office for Aging website, to be an NNORC, a neighborhood must:

  • Contain residential buildings or complexes that are in a geographically-defined neighborhood.
  • Have no more than 2,000 people 60 or older reside in, at least, 40% of the neighborhood units.
  • Be made up of low-rise buildings, six stories or less in height, single- or multi-family homes that were not originally built for elderly persons.
  • Be open to all people, not just the elderly population.

(source:aging.ny.gov/NYSOFA/Programs/CommunityBased/NORC-NNORC )

Progams

NORC and NNORC’s programs and services can include:

  • Service coordination
  • Case assistance
  • Case management
  • Counseling
  • Health assessment and monitoring
  • Home delivered meals
  • Transportation
  • Socialization activities
  • Homecare facilitation and monitoring

Currently, NORC and NNORC programs are helping over 19,000 seniors in New York. To find out whether or not your community is a NORC or NNORC, visit here. To learn more about NORCs and NNORC’s, visit here.

 

NYC’s Free Meal-Delivery Service Programs

Everyone deserves to have access to healthy, filling meals, regardless of their income. Here we list three different meal-service programs for low-income seniors that provide healthy foods and meals to those who need it most.

CSFP

Commodity Supplemental Food Program, or CSFP, is a New York-based nutritional program that supplies people over the age of 60 with free foods. The program provides healthy basic foods, which include:

  • Breakfast cereals
  • Canned vegetables and fruits
  • Canned meats and fish
  • Cheese
  • Fruit juices
  • Peanut butter, dried beans
  • Rice, spaghetti, macaroni, whole grain rotini
  • UHT and nonfat dry milk

For a full list of available foods, visit here.

CSFP also provides cooking and meal demonstrations, nutrition and health advice from nutritionists, referrals to other food, health, and social services.

To be eligible for CSFP, seniors must be over the age of 60 and must have an income equal or below the incomes guidelines given by the SFP Program Income Eligibility Guidelines for Elderly, found here.

For more information on how to apply for CSFP, visit the Department of Health website here.

Home-Delivered Meals

For low-income seniors who cannot cook or prepare foods for themselves, the Department of Aging (DFTA) funds a free home-delivery services. Seniors have the option to have hot meals delivered daily or have pre-made frozen meals delivered twice a week.

Eligibility is determined on a case by case basis done by a case management service. These services are free, and case management agencies are available in each borough. To find out more about the case management process, visit here. And to find the closest case management agency to you, visit here.

To learn more about home-delivered meals, visit here or call 311.

God’s Love We Deliver

God’s Love We Deliver is a free meal-delivery service for low-income people suffering from life-altering illnesses (such as HIV/AIDS , cancer, alzheimers, etc). God’s Love customizes its meals to fit the person’s dietary restrictions. To learn more, visit their website www.glwd.org/clients/become.