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Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to Provide Economic Security for More New Yorkers with Disabilities

August 7, 2014

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Rent increase exemption to cover 3,000 new households through expanded benefits

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed legislation into law to raise the maximum income level of disabled New Yorkers eligible for the Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) program to $50,000 a year.

Introductory 422-A expands rent increase exemption benefits for disabled New Yorkers living in rent-regulated housing by raising the maximum income level to $50,000 a year—providing DRIE eligibility to at least 3,000 additional households—and simplifying eligibility determinations by setting a single income limit, regardless of household size. In May 2014, similar legislation was passed to increase the income limit for seniors in the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program to $50,000, and today’s legislation will increase the DRIE income limit to match SCRIE. Intro. 422-A will take effect as of July 1, 2014 and will be in effect for those applying to DRIE for two years. The state legislature recently passed legislation authorizing the City Council to pursue this change, and Governor Cuomo signed this legislation into law on July 22, 2014. The bill was approved by the City Council at the stated meeting on July 24, 2014.

“Every New Yorker deserves to live in safe and affordable housing—no matter how much they earn. Our administration is committed to ensuring disabled New Yorkers are provided the same access and services as every other resident of our city, and this legislation brings us one step closer to this critical goal,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I want to thank the City Council, led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Council Member Helen Rosenthal, for their leadership on this issue—and I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing legislation to help us expand this critical benefit.”

“Bringing parity between Senior Citizen Rent Increase (SCRIE) and Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) is one of the Mayor’s top housing plan priorities for people with disabilities,” said Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. “This parity will enable people with disabilities to maintain their residence, avoid unnecessary institutionalization, and improve their quality of life.”

“This bill is a critical step to maintaining and expanding housing affordability for thousands of disabled New Yorkers across the city,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I’d like to thank Council Member Helen Rosenthal for her sponsorship of this legislation and all of my colleagues for their collaboration. It’s wonderful to have support from the de Blasio administration on this measure, which reflects the Council’s commitment to keeping New York affordable for some of our most vulnerable residents.”

“Today, government is at its best keeping those who are among the most vulnerable in their homes: those who are eligible for disability benefits, living on limited incomes, and incapable of shouldering the burden of ever-rising rent,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “Increasing the rent cap for those people who are eligible for disability benefits, will preserve affordable housing for at least 3,000 additional New Yorkers. I thank Assembly member Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Diane Savino for their leadership in expanding DRIE at the state level.”

“This legislation will deliver help for tenants with disabilities who are struggling to stave off homelessness—including veterans facing significant rent burdens. This is the culmination of tremendous effort, and we thank Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio, along with Assembly members Brian Kavanagh and Helen Rosenthal and Senator Diane Savino, for their invaluable leadership,” said Mary Brosnahan, President and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless.

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