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By Mar 18, 2016

Affordable Housing – The Mayor’s affordable housing reforms received several high-profile endorsements this week. With a Council vote on the horizon, momentum is building for bills that will dramatically improve the affordability of housing across the city – and put the administration giant steps closer to fulfilling its goal of creating and preserving 200,000 affordable apartments in a decade.

Department of Health Biohazard Training – The Health Department led an emergency preparedness exercise at Grand Central Terminal aimed at combating a widespread biological threat. With more than 140 workers from 11 government agencies, the exercise successfully tested the Department’s ability to manage a full-scale, multi-agency response at one of New York’s busiest transportation hubs.

Shelter Repair Squad and Rental Assistance Success – Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, now a shelter operator and leading advocate for homeless New Yorkers, penned a opinion piece praising the recent work of the City’s new shelter repair squads. In related news, recently released Department of Homeless Services statistics show significant progress in the City’s efforts to use rental assistance programs to prevent eviction or help transition families out of shelter and into permanent housing. More than 30,000 New Yorkers have been helped by these programs in the last two years, and the City has helped more than 100,000 people avoid homelessness by providing emergency rental or legal assistance.

Tax Cheats Financing Housing – The Mayor and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced this week that the AG’s office will be financing 600 new affordable apartments across the city using nearly $10 million in settlements with property owners who cheated tax incentive, rent regulation, and prevailing wage programs. The apartments will house formerly homeless New Yorkers, low-income families, veterans, seniors and people with mental health and substance misuse challenges.

One Million Potholes – The de Blasio Administration has filled its one-millionth pothole, marking the milestone with a mayoral patch on a formerly pockmarked East Village street last week. The Mayor was joined by Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and DOT workers charged with patching and repaving NYC streets.

Transgender Bathroom Access – With the stroke of a pen, the Mayor has mandated that City agencies ensure that employees and the public are given access to any City-owned single-sex bathroom consistent with their gender identity – and free of any identification or medical documentation requirement. The executive order comes on the heels of a recent Commission on Human Rights legal opinion providing notice that a gender identity-based denial of single-sex bathroom access by employers, housing providers or public accommodations – such as restaurants, banks or hotels – presents a prosecutable violation of the City’s Human Rights Law.

First Lady’s Talk to Your Baby Campaign – First Lady Chirlane McCray’s Talk to Your Baby Campaign made a stop in Flushing this week. The campaign, launched last year, urges parents to talk, read and sing to their babies from birth. The initiative includes major public awareness campaigns aimed at closing the “word gap.” Studies have found that by age four, children in middle and upper-income families hear 30 million more words than their lower-income peers. This disparity puts children born with the fewest advantages even further behind in their development.

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