We Have Two Days to Help People with Disabilities Get a Fair Shake

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DisabilityAnyone who cares about the housing insecurity that plagues New Yorkers with disabilities should take a few minutes to read this. 

Two NY State legislators, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and Senator Diane Savino, supported by disabilities rights advocates, have sponsored a bill (A9744/S7640) that will enable more low-income tenants with disabilities to qualify for a partial rent exemption. The proposed bill would raise the income eligibility requirements for the Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) program, which freezes rents for low-income people with disabilities who live in rent-regulated housing and pay one-third or more of their income in rent. Landlords are fully compensated through property tax abatements. Good idea.

What makes this bill a particular no-brainer is the fact that DRIE was designed to be similar to the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program. But right now it’s not – and that’s not fair. While the annual income limit for SCRIE was raised from $29,000 to $50,000 as part of the State’s fiscal year 2014-2015 budget, the income limits for DRIE were left unchanged. This bill remedies that, making the income limit for DRIE eligibility identical to that of SCRIE. This simple measure can prevent vulnerable people with disabilities from facing eviction, becoming even more impoverished by ever-rising rents, or being forced into nursing homes (at much greater cost to taxpayers).

This bill needs to pass the before the legislature adjourns on Thursday, June 19th. I hope you will join with me in calling for prompt passage of this fair-minded legislation. The plight of low-income people with disabilities is comparable in every way to that of their senior counterparts. They both deserve the same opportunity to live affordably and independently.

You can read the full text of the bill here. I urge you to leave a comment and to voice your support to your local representatives. Click here to enter your home address and find your Assemblymember.

Blog Post by Yisroel Schulman
President & Attorney-in-Charge

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