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Articles

Governor Cuomo Signs into Law the "Safe Way Home Act"

Dec. 23, 2019

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed into law the "Safe Way Home Act" (S.3966A/A5775). The legislation provides survivors of sexual assault no-cost transportation from medical facilities where they received initial care in the wake of an assault to their home, shelter or other safe location. "Sexual assault is a heinous crime that can have devastating impacts on survivors, especially in the immediate aftermath of the abuse they suffered," Governor Cuomo said. "This measure will provide some peace of mind and security at a time when victims are most vulnerable by helping ensure they get home or to a safe location." This legislation will go into effect after 90 days. Senator Julia Salazar said, "The Safe Way Home Act is an important victory for survivors of sexual violence, and its creation was directly informed by one of our constituents who survived sexual violence. Through this law, we are demonstrating to survivors that ensuring their safety, and the safety of crime victim advocates supporting them, is a top priority. Thank you to the Governor's office and Assemblyman Lentol for partnering with us to make the Safe Way Home Act a reality." Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol said, "The Safe Way Home Act will provide safety and peace of mind by ensuring that survivors will not be burdened with the logistics of or paying for transportation home. This legislation is the perfect example of community activism coming to fruition. I am very proud to work with Deborah Spiroff on this important measure that will aid victims of sexual assault. I thank Senator Salazar for sponsoring this legislation in the Senate and applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this important measure that will go a long way to aid survivors of sexual violence." For more information, eligibility guidelines and to locate a victim assistance program, visit www.ovs.ny.gov or call 1-800-247-8035.

Governor Cuomo Announces Mobile Markets Awards as Part of $1.4 Billion Vital Brooklyn Initiative

Nov. 13, 2019

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that nearly $250,000 was awarded to support three additional mobile farmers' markets and food pantries through the second round of the Mobile Markets Grant Program, which was launched last year as part of the Governor's $1.4 billion Vital Brooklyn initiative. The program funds mobile farmers' markets and food pantries that supply fresh produce and other quality foods, increasing food access and addressing chronic food insecurity for residents in Central Brooklyn communities. "Through the Vital Brooklyn initiative and the Mobile Markets Grant program, we have increased access to fresh produce and other quality foods for our Central Brooklyn residents," Governor Cuomo said. "Not only is this initiative ensuring that we reach underserved neighborhoods, we are also providing our farmers with new markets to sell their products and grow their businesses." Mobile food access units are an important means for reaching those most in need of fresh, healthy food. Establishing mobile markets is more flexible and less expensive than constructing and operating full-scale grocery stores or new food pantries. They serve multiple neighborhoods and better reach people with limited mobility. The following projects were awarded: -The Doe Fund- Good Food Works Mobile Market Expansion- $28,675 The Good Food Works Mobile Market will expand a unique mobile market model that includes healthy prepared meals in addition to groceries. Products will be SNAP-eligible, locally sourced and sold from a fleet of refrigerated, mobile vending carts in Central Brooklyn. Services will reach Brownsville, Bushwick and Bedford Stuyvesant. -Interfaith Medical Center- Central Brooklyn Farmacy Mobile Market- $118,599 The Central Brooklyn Farmacy Mobile Market will transport locally grown produce to be sold weekly at affordable prices in front of five Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) sites located in Central Brooklyn. Services will reach Brownsville, Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Flatbush and East New York. Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty- Mobile Pantry Project- $127,530The Mobile Pantry Project will increase access to healthy, fresh, locally sourced food for underserved residents of Central Brooklyn. Services will reach Crown Heights, Canarsie, East Flatbush and East New York. The second round of the Mobile Markets Grant program builds on the success of the awardees announced in the first round. In 2018, five organizations were collectively awarded approximately $500,000 in funding to expand on existing or implement new mobile market programs to serve Central Brooklyn neighborhoods. All organizations funded in the first round of the program are currently serving Central Brooklyn residents. Currently, eight of the ten community districts facing the highest rates of food insecurity in Brooklyn and the fastest growing rates of food insecurity in the city are in Central Brooklyn. Analysis has shown that low income residents in Brooklyn may travel three times farther to access groceries than higher income residents. Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Through the Governor's Vital Brooklyn initiative, we can make a significant impact on the Central Brooklyn community by ensuring its residents are able to easily purchase healthy foods at convenient locations year round." Senator Velmanette Montgomery said, "We are pleased to announce these Vital Brooklyn grants which will allow for the expansion of our mobile markets. This means that more high-quality fresh foods and prepared foods will be within reach for residents throughout Central Brooklyn. Proper nutrition is critical to our seniors' health, the school performance of our children and the quality of life for all of our residents. This program will make it easier for families in Central Brooklyn to access foods they need to put wholesome food on the table." Senator Kevin Parker said, "We are excited that these three mobile markets will be able to bring more fresh and nutritious foods to our families in Central Brooklyn. We know that nutrition is essential for learning and having access to more fresh ingredients and wholesome prepared meals will be a game changer for our community. Today we further ensure that we meet the basic needs of our children so they can focus on school to develop into the leaders that we know they can be." Sen. Roxanne Persaud said, "The meals we consume throughout the day sets the tone for how productive we are at work, school and other important endeavors. Greater access to healthy foods not only helps our community members get the nutrition they need to stay healthy, but assists them in keeping on track as they go about their daily lives. I commend Governor Cuomo for securing funding for another round of the Mobile Markets Grant Program, which helps local farmers thrive and our neighbors eat well." Senator Julia Salazar said, "We thank the Governor for funding this important initiative to make healthier food options available to families in our Brooklyn communities. Access to fresh produce and nutritious foods plays a valuable role in addressing public health concerns and making our communities more vibrant." Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte said, "The Mobile Markets is a great way to support access to healthy food. Creating healthy eating habits takes a while, but with increased access surrounding us, we stand a greater chance of maintaining those healthy habits. We need to break the cycle of consuming unhealthy processed foods so our next generation can develop and have access to good options." Assembly Member Maritza Davila, "Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for awarding nearly $250,000 for the support of three additional mobile farmers' markets and food pantries for the Central Brooklyn community. Programs such as the Vital Brooklyn Initiative, has been a leading role in ensuring that fitness and health remains the forefront for many underserved communities. Many of our residents suffer from health issues, such as diabetes, that are the result of a diet with inaccessibility to fresh and healthy foods. The support for our mobile farmers' markets and food pantries will benefit our residents greatly. It's the first step towards attaining a healthier lifestyle and will also keep our local businesses economically stabled." Assembly Member Erik Dilan, "The Vital Brooklyn Initiative continues to improve the lives of residents all across Brooklyn. With more funding for the Mobile Market's Grant Program, Governor Cuomo has created greater access to fresh produce at affordable prices in Central Brooklyn than ever before. I commend the Governor for prioritizing healthy living for every New Yorker." Assembly Member Mosley said, "Access to fresh produce and foods is becoming more difficult to obtain as we continue to lose our local markets. Thanks to the Vital Brooklyn Initiative and the Mobile Markets Grant program our seniors and children now have access to the nutrition that they need. We must do all that we can to support and maintain this program so that those most in need can continue to build a better and stronger Brooklyn. That is why I am proud to support the Governor's Vital Brooklyn Initiative and the Mobile Markets Grant program and look forward to expanding it even more." Assembly Member Nick Perry, "The Governor's Vital Brooklyn program has provided the Governor a great opportunity to champion a vital need of Brooklyn's most vulnerable communities. This second round of funding will sustain a critical program that is bringing healthy foods to the children and adults that need it most. The Mobile Markets program is a great success and I am glad to see it funded even further." Assembly Member Latrice Walker said, "I applaud the Governor for announcing the awardees for the second round of the Vital Brooklyn initiative's Mobile Markets Grants. I hope to see these three organizations work with local partners to provide quality, nutritious meals to our communities and schools. This is a step in the right direction to increase access to healthy food options and putting an end to food deserts in the Brownsville, East New York, and East Flatbush communities." Assembly Member Jaime Williams said, "Mobile Market farms provide tools and innovative solutions that allow the enjoyment and sustenance that comes from eating healthy fresh foods and enjoying nature's bounty. The need to have healthy fresh alternatives should not be a privilege but a right and thanks to the Governor's Vital Brooklyn Initiative; residents of Brooklyn can enjoy this bountiful assorted fresh foods and vegetables. Farming and agriculture are a cornerstone and backbone of New York State's economy. The introduction of new markets allows for our farming industry to once again begin to grow. The Governor's Vital Brooklyn Program and Mobile Market's Grant protects this most important industry and those invested in it such as our NY State Farmers." Assembly Member Tremaine Wright, "It has been a high priority for Gov. Cuomo, myself and several of my colleague in State government to increase access to fresh, nutritious foods for our residents in Central Brooklyn. I'm proud and pleased to announce the award of these funds, which will expand our mobile markets and improve the lives of many seniors, children and families. We know that everything from health to school performance can be affected by the quality and quantity of food that we eat. These mobile markets make a real difference by delivering meals and fresh products to help our residents, of all ages, enjoy improved health and enhanced quality of life." The Governor's Vital Brooklyn Initiative is a new holistic initiative that focuses on eight integrated areas of improvement, including healthy food. Vital Brooklyn serves the following Central Brooklyn neighborhoods: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, Crown Heights, Cypress Hills/Ocean Hill, East Flatbush, East New York, Prospect Heights, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Since the launch of Vital Brooklyn, New York State has invested nearly $2 million in new programs and initiatives to increase access to nutritious food in Central Brooklyn. These programs include the mobile markets program, food insecurity screening for seniors, youth run farmers' markets, community gardens, and a food distribution hub siting study.

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Enacting Sweeping Protections for Homeowners

Aug. 14, 2019

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed three measures enacting a package of sweeping homeowner protections. The legislation includes enhancing consumer protection measures and closing loopholes to prevent deed fraud and mortgage scams (A.5615/S.1688); requiring banks to continue paying homeowner's association fees on zombie properties that are part of a co-op (S.4182/A.1800); and safeguarding homeowners by reforming the obligations of banks and financial institutions during sale of a mortgage (A.92A/S.5017A). "These measures enact sweeping protections for homeowners and close loopholes in order to level the playing field and preserve the American Dream for New Yorkers in every part of this great state," Governor Cuomo said. "With these new protections, we take one more step toward a fairer, stronger New York for all." Preventing Deed Fraud and Mortgage Scams (A.5615/S.1688) This law provides better protections for homeowners whose homes are either in default or in foreclosure. It closes loopholes to prevent deed fraud and mortgage scams, increasing the likelihood that a victim will have the opportunity to seek recovery in court. Senator Velmanette Montgomery said, "Passing the Deed Theft Bill is a major step forward in addressing one of the most pressing issues among homeowners, especially in communities of color. Thieves target our most vulnerable homeowners and snatch generations of wealth from our families. For every one that thinks to call their elected officials or speak out, a dozen more do not know where to turn. I thank the Governor for signing this legislation. It will have a tremendous impact on homeowners in my district and throughout New York State." Assembly Member Helene Weinstein said, "The bill has a simple point. A District Attorney can bring an action and find fraud, but there's not been a way to get the homeowner's home back. This allows the DA to get into court and have the illegal deed thrown out, and have the house restored to the owner. As it stands now there's no simple way to get it back. While it's clearly good to lock somebody up, this voids the illegal transfer and allows the owner to get their home back." Requiring Payment of Homeowners' Association Fees (S.4182/A.1800) This measure requires banks or mortgage holders of vacant and abandoned residential properties to continue paying homeowners' association fees or cooperative fees as needed to maintain a property when it has been abandoned during the foreclosure process. This will help to ensure properties do not become dilapidated before the foreclosure is finalized. Senator Julia Salazar said, "Vacant and abandoned residential buildings contribute to a multitude of problems facing communities across our state. Too often banks and mortgage holders bear no responsibility to the property's neighborhood during the foreclosure process. This law ensures that co-ops and homes within HOA's are also protected from the physical or economic damage that zombie homes can incur. In turn, this protects the neighbors living among abandoned properties from the collateral consequences of housing falling into disrepair. I appreciate that Governor Cuomo is signing this legislation that will positively benefit our communities." Assembly Member William B. Magnarelli said, "For too many New Yorkers, 'Zombie' properties place an undue financial burden on HOA's and co-op's who must maintain the abandoned property to prevent damage or deterioration to other properties in the association. But under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, residential properties are finally getting the protections they deserve. I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and look forward to working with him to strengthen protections for New York homeowners moving forward." Reforming Bank Obligations During Sale of Mortgage (A.92A/S.5017A) Consumers who are looking at loan modification options are often in difficult financial situations and are acting to save their homes from foreclosure. The process can be stressful and complicated, and sales or transfers of their loans in the midst of this process can be confusing and additionally stressful. This bill will provide consumers with certain protections if their loan is sold or transferred during the modification process. First, if the loan is transferred during the application process for a loan modification, the original holder of the loan must provide the consumer with a list of all the application documents provided to the buyer or transferee. Second, the bill ensures that that if the loan is sold or transferred after a homeowner has been approved for a modification of their mortgage that the subsequent mortgage servicer honors the terms and conditions of the approval. Senator Kevin Parker said, "By assisting New York homeowners with protections if their loan is sold or transferred during the modification process, we are relieving taxpayers of the stressful and complicated burden that is loan modification. I commend Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation and for his continued support of taxpayers in every corner of this state." Assembly Member Nick Perry said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing a package of bills which will protect what will most likely be the largest investment most New Yorkers will ever make. A.92A, which I sponsored in the Assembly, will ensure that homeowners are protected during the modification process when financial institutions pull the trick of selling your mortgage, requiring the homeowner to restart the process; this delay often leads to foreclosure. By signing this bill into law, the Governor ensures that the process continues and the homeowner's does not lose time getting the modification approved, giving them the ability to save their home and hold onto their investment."