News You Can Use
January 18, 2017
From: New York City Mayor’s Office
The Mayor and Schools Chancellor announced the highest-ever number of NYC students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams …this is #StillYourCity – we are delivering affordable housing results on record scale to ensure New Yorkers at every income can find or stay in housing they can afford, in the neighborhoods they love…we mourned the loss of NYPD Detective Steven McDonald…under Vision Zero, New York City had its safest-ever year in 2016 with the fewest traffic fatalities ever recorded…we announced the creation of the Center for Faith and Community Partnerships…we’re increasing diversity in NYC’s theater workforce…NYCEDC and Civic Hall Labs announced the official launch of the NYC BigApps 2017 competition, which has started accepting submissions….a new guide to help New Yorkers navigate the housing application process is available in English and Spanish…the NYC Commission on Human Rights announced charges against large landlords and brokers who repeatedly discriminated against tenants. The Commission also continues its media outreach and education efforts on legal protections for vulnerable communities who continue to express fear and concern following an increase in bias incidents and attacks …. NYC Health + Hospitals launched upgraded websites for its health system and 21 patient care centers… the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that 2,640 additional acres of City-owned property were opened for recreation in 2016…a $1 billion nitrogen reduction project is improving the health of the East River and Long Island Sound… the Health Department unveiled an online emoji ad campaign to encourage screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)… work will begin this month on a $34 million dredging and wetland expansion project to clean up Flushing Bay and improve the quality of life for the residents of northern Queens…the Health Department, Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) and the ASPCA established a temporary quarantine shelter in Queens to care for hundreds of cats…and the Department of Small Business Services announced a new training pathway for immigrant New Yorkers to enter the healthcare field.
What We’re Sharing:
#GetCoveredNYC: We’re calling on all New Yorkers who don’t have health insurance to sign up for the Affordable Care Act before the enrollment period ends on January 31, 2017. New Yorkers can connect with free in-person GetCoveredNYC enrollment assistance near them through calling 311 or texting CoveredNYC to 877-877.
Oh Christmas Tree: Christmas tree pickup has been extended. There’s still time to put your tree out. Pick-up is ongoing.
The Mayoral Photography Office’s stunning Pictures of the Week: January 7 – 13, 2017
Highest-Ever Number Of NYC Students Taking And Passing Advanced Placement Exams: Mayor de Blasio and the Schools Chancellor announced record numbers of New York City students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams in 2016. The number of students taking at least one Advanced Placement exam in 2016 rose 8.4 percent, from 41,419 students to a record 44,906 students compared to the year prior. The number of students passing at least one Advanced Placement exam rose 8.2 percent, keeping pace with the increase in participation. Participation and performance gains were largest for Black and Hispanic students: specifically, 14.1 percent more Black students and 9.9 percent more Hispanic students took at least one AP exam in 2016 than in the previous year. Performance gains outpaced these groups’ increases in participation: specifically, 18.0 percent more Black students and 10.8 percent more Hispanic students passed at least one AP exam in 2016 than in the previous year.
#StillYourCity – Affordable Housing in 2016 Hits 25-Year High: Mayor de Blasio announced that his Administration financed more affordable housing in 2016 than in any time in the past 25 years. Three years in, his team has extended affordability for decades to come at 41,600 homes and spurred construction of 20,800 new affordable apartments. There are apartments to serve everyone from seniors on fixed incomes, to formerly homeless families, to the nurses, teachers and first responders that make New York City run, and rents are generally set at about one-third of the income of incoming tenants. Apply for affordable housing at nyc.gov/housingconnect or by calling 311.
Remembering NYPD Detective Steven McDonald: The Mayor joined Police Commissioner James O’Neill, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and thousands of mourners to honor NYPD Detective Steven McDonald in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where he shared the following: “Today there is a unity in our city, a unity of sorrow at the passing of this great man, but also a unity of celebration of a man who was with us on this Earth who had lived a life so well. Here among us, a living example – everything that we aspire to be as a people and a city embodied in one man, Steven McDonald. We feel pain, and we feel joy that we knew him. We learn from him. We learn the right way to live from him. Directly, he touched thousands of lives – tens of thousands – but in a greater way millions were moved by his example because he became the greatest embodiment of what it means to be a member of the NYPD. He was synonymous with all that is great about our Police Department and our city.”
Vision Zero – 2016 Saw Fewest Fatalities Ever on New York City Streets: Under the Vision Zero plan, New York City had its safest-ever year in 2016 with the fewest traffic fatalities ever recorded: 229, improving on the record of 234 set in 2015. Traffic fatalities have declined for three consecutive years, and are down 23 percent overall since before Vision Zero began. With national trends showing traffic fatalities increasing over the last two years, there were several other positive trends in New York City in 2016, including the success of street redesigns and a record-low number of fatalities among school-age children.
New Center For Faith And Community Partnerships: Mayor de Blasio announced the creation of the Center for Faith and Community Partnerships to transform the way in which faith organizations and other community organizations access City services. The Center for Faith and Community Partnerships will serve as a direct line to City Hall, connecting local and citywide coalitions of leaders to services that increase equity and inspire civic engagement throughout our neighborhoods. The Center for Faith and Community Partnerships will be housed within the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit and led by Jonathan Soto. The office will hire new staff members, including borough coordinators.
Increasing Diversity in NYC’s Theater Workforce: The City’s Theater Subdistrict Council (TSC) announced over $2 million in funding for 11 local nonprofit theater organizations with the aim of establishing a more diverse pipeline of paid training and mentorship opportunities in the Theater Subdistrict and throughout New York City. The organizations receiving funding through TSC’s Round 5 grant initiative will help New York City’s theater community to cultivate a more inclusive and dynamic workforce, connect with new audiences, and promote a theater sector that is open and accessible to all New Yorkers. Driven by the stated goals of the TSC, as well as the recommendations of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs’ 2016 report on diversity in the cultural workforce, Round 5 grant funding promises to have a substantial, long-term impact on both the Theater Subdistrict and the broader NYC theater community from which the Subdistrict draws its talent.
NYC BigApps 2017 Competition Now Open: NYCEDC and Civic Hall Labs announced the official launch of the NYC BigApps 2017 competition, which has started accepting submissions. This is the seventh offering of NYC BigApps, the City’s premier civic technology competition that has awarded close to a half-million dollars in prize money and generated more than $10 million in seed funding for tech projects that help and support New Yorkers. This year’s winners will receive cash awards, marketing and promotion, acceptance into a civic accelerator program, and will be eligible to be piloted on hundreds of LinkNYC kiosks across all five boroughs. To get regular updates and enter a submission to the NYC BigApps 2017 competition, visit www.bigapps.nyc.
Improving Access To Affordable Housing: DCA and HPD announced the release of a study, Improving Access to Affordable Housing Opportunities, that explores the experience of affordable housing applicants and recommends ways to further support applicants through an outreach and education strategy that incorporates financial empowerment services. Based on the initial findings of the study, the agencies also released a new guide, Ready, Set, Apply: Getting Ready for Affordable Housing in NYC, to help New Yorkers best prepare for and navigate the housing application process. The guide is available in English and Spanish.
Fighting Housing Discrimination and Protecting Vulnerable New Yorkers: The NYC Commission on Human Rights announced five complaints filed against large landlords and brokerage firms for repeatedly discriminating against prospective tenants who have government assistance housing vouchers, such as Section 8 and LINC, a violation of the NYC Human Rights Law. The complaints, which the Commission filed on behalf of the City, followed investigations proactively conducted by the Commission and were the results of tips from prospective tenants and the Commission’s testing program. The Commission, which has significantly increased enforcement with more than 200 open investigations in this area, can fine landlords and brokers up to $250,000 and order mandated trainings on the NYC Human Rights Law in order to avoid future violations. The Commission also continues its strengthened public and media outreach efforts to inform New Yorkers of legal protections against discrimination based on religion, discriminatory harassment, and gender identity following increase in bias incidents over the last year as well as to address concerns from vulnerable communities.
Website Overhaul Improves User Experience: NYC Health + Hospitals has launched upgraded websites for its health system and 21 patient care centers. The websites’ responsive design will improve the visitor experience from any device and make it easier for New Yorkers to access physicians in their communities and learn more about the array of health services available in every borough. The upgraded websites unveil new photography showcasing the health system’s patients and employees, and are focused on wellness and helping New Yorkers live their healthiest life. A live social media stream on the homepage makes it easier to share news about the health system on Twitter and Facebook.
Department of Environmental Protection Opened More than 2,600 Additional Acres for Recreation in 2016: The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that 2,640 additional acres of City-owned property across the watershed were opened for recreation in 2016. With the addition of these new lands, DEP has opened a total of 133,000 acres of land and water for fishing, hiking, and other low-impact activities in the watershed. More than half of these areas can be enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts without the requirement of a DEP Access Permit. To find these places to explore, try DEP’s new interactive RecMapper tool. It highlights and provides information about all the recreation areas at www.nyc.gov/dep/recmap.
$1 Billion Nitrogen Reduction Project Improves the Health of the East River and Long Island Sound: Following a $1 billion investment in upgrades at four wastewater treatment plants, DEP has seen a 60 percent reduction in the amount of nitrogen being discharged into the Upper East River. The capital investments include: $277 million at the Hunts Point Wastewater Treatment Plant; $388 million at the Wards Island Wastewater Treatment Plant; $209 million at the Tallman Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, and $161 million at the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant. Nitrogen is not a pathogen and poses no threat to human health; however, recent scientific research has found that high levels of nitrogen can degrade the overall ecology of a waterway. The introduction of nitrogen removal technology, which converts the organic nitrogen present in wastewater into inert nitrogen gas that is released harmlessly into the atmosphere, required significant upgrades to much of the plants’ supporting infrastructure.
Emoji STD Campaign: The Health Department unveiled an online emoji ad campaign to encourage screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young women, young men who have sex with men (MSM) and adolescents aged 15 to 19. The campaign will run for four weeks on social media as well as dating apps primarily used by MSM, and is part of the de Blasio administration’s effort to expand and improve the City’s STD clinics. Adolescents and young adults are disproportionately at risk for STIs, including HIV. The enhancements to the City Health Department STD clinics are included under the NYC Plan to End the AIDS Epidemic, which includes a $23 million investment in Fiscal Year 2017 to increase HIV prevention and health care programming that will benefit nearly 200,000 New Yorkers per year when fully implemented. The plan aims to reduce the annual number of new HIV infections in New York City to no more than 600 by 2020, a target that would reduce HIV to below epidemic levels. As part of this plan, the Health Department announced an increase in City STD clinic hours and sexual health services last year as well as several other innovative programs supporting HIV prevention and care through partnerships with community providers.
$34 Million Environmental Dredging of Flushing Bay Will Reduce Nuisance Odors: Work will begin this month on a $34 million project to dredge portions of Flushing Bay in the vicinity of the World’s Fair Marina in order to improve the health of the waterway and significantly reduce nuisance odors. The work will also include enhancement of existing wetlands and the removal of deteriorated timber piles, an abandoned pier and non-native trees to improve views of the Bay. Equipment is being mobilized this week with preparatory work to begin thereafter. The dredging is anticipated to be completed in 2017, while the wetland expansion and planting will continue over the next several years.
Cat Quarantine: The Health Department announced a coordinated effort with Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) and the ASPCA to establish a temporary quarantine shelter in Queens to care for hundreds of cats exposed to the avian flu virus, H7N2. Last week, more than 450 cats from ACC shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island were transported to the temporary shelter by ACC and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. The cats will be quarantined at the facility until ongoing lab tests show they are healthy and no longer contagious – likely 45 to 90 days. ASPCA responders as well as volunteers from other agencies are providing ongoing daily care while veterinary experts closely monitor the cats during the quarantine period.
Career Pathways for Immigrant New Yorkers: The Department of Small Business Services announced that its New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare launched the Bilingual Medical Assistant Training program. The program provides English as a Second Language courses and technical training to prepare immigrant New Yorkers for quality, career-track positions in the healthcare field. There are 44 participants in the pilot program hailing from over a dozen different countries. After completing the program, participants will be ready to obtain full-time employment as medical assistants in the City’s community health centers, hospital-based clinics, and private physician practices. The program is run out of SBS’s Workforce1 Career Center in Washington Heights and was developed in partnership with LaGuardia Community College.
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