SOCIAL SERVICES

Government has to serve the people and I will make sure that the city government has a strong social safety net for the most vulnerable and most neglected New Yorkers.

 

I pledge to:

Expand Access to Food

  • I am pleased that Assemblymember Reyes’s bill to enter New York State into the Restaurant Meals Program for SNAP, which will allow beneficiaries to use their EBT cards to purchase prepared or hot meals from participating restaurants, delis, and supermarkets. Once Governor Cuomo signs the bill, I will use my bully pulpit to get people to catch on. If the Governor does not sign it, I will lobby him to change course.

  • Many SNAP benefits currently cannot be used to purchase essential items like diapers and tampons, which only ends up harming our most vulnerable New Yorkers. I will work with my partners in Albany and Washington to educate them on why SNAP subsidies have to be expanded and the exclusion of items like toiletries and other household supplies is unreasonable and fight to have those policies changed. Locally, I will work to provide supplemental subsidies to groceries and farmers’ markets that provide discounts to those paying with EBT cards.

  • The Key Foods on 5th Avenue in Park Slope is slated to close and be turned into luxury condos which will, effectively, turn that area into a food desert. I will work with my community to find vacant storefronts that can be turned into new grocery stores.

  • Recently, I had the distinct honor to visit Camp Friendship Food Pantry and I have been trying to connect them with colleagues at the UFT, which also runs social programs. Expanding on this, I want to provide line items in the City Budget for creating food pantries within schools for students and the surrounding neighborhoods, modeled after what was done at City College. Building on that, I want students to have access to bags of food home that they can take home to their families for the evenings and weekends.

Make Our City More Accessible

  • New York City, unfortunately, has the reputation of being one of the most inaccessible cities in the country. In 2017, then-Public Advocate Letitia James announced that 89% of curbs along Broadway in Manhattan lack curb cuts. Needless to say, this issue is city-wide. In the City Council, I will fight for more funds in the Department of Transportation’s budget to pour the concrete necessary to make more of our sidewalks accessible to wheelchair users.

  • Too many of our city-owned buildings are not ADA-compliant. We cannot avail ourselves to the most vulnerable New Yorkers if they cannot even get into the building. I will work with the Departments of Citywide Administrative Services and Buildings to get an accurate listing of which city government buildings are still not accessible, an itemized budget and timeline to get the buildings into compliance with federal law no later than 2030, and negotiate with my partners in the Council to make it a budget priority.

  • Many agency reports are still posted online in PDF formats which are unreadable by screen readers, are not mobile-responsive, and are hard to update. I help revive the Charter-mandated Commission on Public Information and Communication to enforce that all government documents are published in plain and simple HTML format with proper descriptive text and semantic elements so that all New Yorkers will be able to read what their government is doing. If the COPIC will not force the issue or continues to not meet, I will introduce legislation to force 508 compliance on all city websites and social media accounts.

  • Most government agency meetings do not have ASL and CART services available and I will make sure the Council holds hearings with representatives from the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities as to why those services are not standard for all public meetings - everything from community board meetings to State of the City addresses.

  • The pilot program of having Access-A-Ride partner with e-hail services has been effective and I will meet with the MTA and secure the funds they need to expand it.
     

Put My Constituents First

  • The number one duty of a council member is to provide assistance for their constituents. As a candidate, I have already been doing that by writing to the Department of Parks and Recreation after a neighbor’s son broke his arm after using a poorly-designed skate ramp in Washington Park. I advocated for students at the New York Harbor School by calling attention to how the school lacks a diving program. Finally, after learning at a Community Board 6 meeting what is happening to residents of 70 Prospect Park West, I have used my platform as a candidate to publicly shame Greenbrook Partners. I promise to bring that same passion to my friends and neighbors’ concerns and issues.

  • I know I will not always have solutions at the ready to every constituent concern but to help remedy this, I pledge to hire a social worker to be on staff to help my neighbors solve issues and navigate the city bureaucracy.

  • I enjoy talking to people and the only way to understand how to be a better representative is by speaking to them where they are. I will go old school with my constituent outreach and spend weekends on a street corner with an old-fashioned folding table and some folding chairs so that people can come and talk with me about what is on their minds.