Addabbo Denounces Glendale Homeless Shelter Plan

    Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

    State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) denounced the city’s plan to establish a men’s homeless shelter in Glendale yesterday.

    Five years ago, the city planned to convert a long-dormant building located at 78-16 Cooper Avenue into a shelter for homeless families. However, due to strong community opposition the city nixed the proposal in January of this year.

    Then last week, rumors began circulating on a local Facebook group that another proposal had emerged to transform the factory into a homeless shelter for men. A fact later confirmed by City Councilman Robert Holden (D-Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Woodside) on July 27. According to initial reports, the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) is working on a proposal to house up to 200 homeless men at the site.

    “Here we are again, fighting the Mayor’s office on yet another ill-conceived homeless shelter plan in our community. After we thought that the Cooper Avenue site was off the table, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has now apparently brought it back into the discussion and looks to be headed towards trying to open a shelter there,” said Addabbo.

    “I stand with my constituents and am appalled at the Mayor’s complete lack of transparency, not just with the Cooper Avenue site, but also with many sites across Queens — including the Ozone Park shelter proposal. I will make it clear that the Mayor cannot just come into our neighborhoods and plop homeless shelters in inadequate locations and with little to no services to help the homeless transition out of these shelters. This fight has just begun,” added Addabbo.

    Richards Applauds City Effort To Confront Taxi & FHV Service Refusals

    City Council Member Donovan Richards

    City Council member Donovan Richards Jr. (D-Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens) applauded the New York City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement yesterday establishing a new office within the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) aimed at combating equity issues.

    On Tuesday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the Mayor announced The Office of Inclusion. The new office will focus on the development and implementation of anti-discrimination training for drivers, and will expand on its public education campaign, encouraging passengers to file complaints with the TLC when denied service, so that their experience may be investigated, and appropriate actions taken.

    Additionally, the new office will more closely address refusals of service by taxis and For-Hire-Vehicles (FHVs) that affect people of color and outer borough residents in New York.

    The bulk of TLC’s service refusal violations are in response to passenger complaints. TLC’s prosecution unit investigates each complaint thoroughly. While drivers face significant fines if cases are substantiated, and ultimately license revocation if they continue refusing service. Service refusal violations lead to penalties of $500 for the first violation; second violation in 24 months is $1000 and possible 30 day suspension; third violation within 36 months is $1000 and revocation prehearing.

    “Denying someone taxi service because of the color of their skin, their gender or their destination is simply unacceptable and has gone on for far too long in New York City. While we work to improve conditions for drivers, the TLC Office of Inclusion will be working to ensure that all passengers receive the same level of respect and service,” said Donovan.

    Gillibrand Bill Promoting Technical Skills Training Gets Signed Into Law

    U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

    U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced that the bipartisan Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act was signed into law yesterday.

    The legislation includes provisions based on two of Gillibrand’s bipartisan bills that would promote technical skills training and prepare students for high-demand, good-paying jobs in the 21st century economy. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act reauthorizes funding for career and technical education programs.

    Gillibrand’s bipartisan Computer Science Career Education Act would help provide more opportunities for students to learn computer science skills, especially for women, minority, rural, and low-income students across New York State who are underrepresented in STEM careers, in order to prepare them for in-demand careers in computer science. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2024, one in every two STEM jobs will be in computing, and there will be 1.3 million job openings in computing occupations due to growth in the field. However, fewer than 50,000 students graduate each year with bachelor’s degrees in computer science.

    The legislative package also included provisions from Gillibrand’s bipartisan 21st Century Strengthening Hands On Programs that Cultivate Learning Approaches for Successful Students (SHOP CLASS) Act, which would prepare teachers to offer expanded training for students across New York State in advanced manufacturing technologies like 3D printers, laser cutters, and computerized machine tools. Modern manufacturing is increasingly high-tech and creates complex technical jobs that require technical-skill training.

    “Companies across New York have many high-tech jobs available, and these provisions will help train students with the technical and computing skills they need to fill these jobs. This is great news for our state, and I will continue to do everything I can to make sure that our schools have the resources they need to better prepare students for high-quality jobs, no matter where they are in the state,” said Gillibrand.

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