Author Archives: Daniel Weinberg

Office of Rent Administration – online application form to file rent reduction applications based on a decrease of services

The Office of Rent Administration (ORA) has just released an expanded and improved online application form for tenants who want to file rent reduction applications based on a decrease of services in their apartment:

https://www1.dhcr.state.ny.us/ServicesIntake/BuildingSelect.aspx

Tenant can still file applications on paper:

 

  • Tenants who want to report a rent reduction based upon decreased services in their apartment RA-81.
  • Tenants who want to report a building-wide decrease in services outside of their apartment may use form RA-84.

 

We hope you and your constituents will take advantage of this improved application.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Woody Pascal
Deputy Commissioner
Office of Rent Administration
NYS Homes & Community Renewal

The Cooper Square Committee’s Organizing Work & Accomplishments in 2014

Our organizing team was so busy in 2014. We accomplished a ton in this past year… read on about all the ways we’ve been stopping displacement and building community!!

Download the PDF version of this Roundup!Click here to download the PDF version of this Roundup! 

Major Organizing Efforts and Coalitions

  • Through partnering with St. Nick’s alliance and the Urban Justice Center (UJC), Cooper Square Committee (CSC) created a much-needed campaign to reform the Department of Buildings (DOB) in 2014. For well over a year preceding this we had been working with community members to organize and draw attention to the problem of “construction as harassment.” In 2014 we were able to further connect with some of our most steadfast allies (close to 20 organizations) throughout the City to formalize a campaign to reform DOB and work on ending “construction as harassment.” The work we did last year is leading us to a pivotal year in 2015 where we will be looking to create new laws to better support tenants who are dealing with landlords who use the guise of construction to harass.
  • Click on any photo to enlarge. All photos on this page taken by CSC unless otherwise noted.

 

  • CSC’s organizing department was a lead community-group partner with the NYS Attorney General’s (AG) office in their investigation of the “tenant relocator” Michel Pimienta. The organizing we did and information we provided helped the AG wage a precedent-setting investigation which led to the shuttering of Michel’s operations.  UJC and CAAAV were also partners in this effort.

 

  • Photo credit: Zach Williams for The Villager

    Press conference at Mahfar building, 210 Rivington. Photo credit: Zach Williams for The Villager

    Led the organizing to help form the Mahfar Tenants Coalition. Both UJC and CAAAV are also involved with the amazing work happening here. This coalition, which includes half a dozen Samy Mahfar (SMA Equities) owned buildings, is fiercely pushing back against this landlord’s attempt to vacate and renovate Lower East Side (LES) buildings en masse. In 2014 the tenants from these buildings called Mahfar to the table, used city agencies and local politicians to step up enforcement in their buildings, and held a powerful press conference in December 2014 after lead contamination was verified to have occurred in their buildings.  The tenants of the Mahfar Tenants Coalition have proven to be some of the strongest fighters we’ve seen in 2014! Read More

CSC closed early Mon, all day Tues

Tuesday 1/26/2015

Due to the storm, Cooper Square Committee will close at 3pm today (Monday), and will be closed all day on Tuesday. We plan to open at 10am on Wednesday.

The tenant clinic of the Metropolitan Council on Housing WILL NOT meet on Tuesday.

FABnyc is also closed on Tuesday.

Travel safely!

Cerramos a las 3pm hoy (lunes), y todo el día el martes. Esperamos abrir a las 10am el miércoles.
¡Viaje con ciudado!

CSC Holiday Schedule

Our office will close at 3pm on Wednesday, December 24th, and be closed on 12/25 and 12/26.
We will be open 12/29 and 12/30 on an appointment-only basis (please call or email first), and then closed 12/31 through 1/2.
Also, the Met Council on Housing’s weekly clinic WILL NOT meet on the night of Tues 12/30. They WILL meet on Tues 1/6.

We reopen with normal hours on Monday, January 5, 2015.
We wish you a restorative holiday! ~CSC Staff

MAHFAR TENANTS COALITION DEMANDS PROPER MITIGATION OF LEAD DURING CONSTRUCTION

PETITION: Stand with Mahfar Tenants Coalition: Demand Safe, Lead-Free Homes!
YOUTUBE: Rosie Mendez calls out Mahfar agent

PRESS RELEASE BELOW:

For Immediate Release
DECEMBER 10, 2014
PDF Link here (bit.ly/mahfar210)
Contact:           Brandon Kielbasa
(212) 228-8210    bkielbasa@coopersquare.org

MAHFAR TENANTS COALITION DEMANDS PROPER MITIGATION OF LEAD DURING CONSTRUCTION

Tenants find high lead concentrations in their buildings and speak out against the unsafe construction practices used by LES landlord Samy Mahfar.

WHAT: Press Conference / WHERE: 210 Rivington St. / WHEN: 12:30pm – 1:30pm

mahfar210 Press Conference Banner sm

8-foot banner displayed at press conference – Click to enlarge

Read More

PRESS RELEASE: Lower East Side tenants of Samy Mahfar owned buildings applaud AG investigation into notorious Tenant Relocator

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 29, 2014

Click here for PDF download

CONTACT:   Brandon Kielbasa

Lead Organizer, Cooper Square Committee

(212) 228-8210, ext 4 – bkielbasa@coopersquare.org

Lower East Side tenants of Samy Mahfar owned buildings applaud AG investigation into notorious Tenant Relocator

Tenants speak out against the extensive use of tenant relocator by LES landlord Samy Mahfar.

October 29, New York — Lower East Side tenants of 102 Norfolk St., 210 Rivington St., 22 Spring St., 143 Ludlow St., and 113 Stanton St. applaud the Attorney General’s investigation into “tenant relocator” Michel Pimienta. On Monday, October 27, 2014, AG Eric Schneiderman reached an agreement censuring his relocation efforts. The agreement requires Pimienta to cease all relocation efforts with his company, Misidor LLC, pay a $40,000 fine, and acquire a real estate broker’s license.

This is a huge victory for tenants familiar with Pimienta’s efforts to push out rent-stabilized tenants so their units could be converted into luxury units. The common denominator between these tenants and Pimienta is LES landlord Samy Mahfar, who employed Pimienta extensively in the buildings he owns.

In addition to employing this unlicensed “tenant relocator” known to use unscrupulous tactics, Mahfar has recently caught the watchful eye of numerous elected officials for demolition work at 102 Norfolk St., exposing tenants there to jaw-dropping levels of toxic lead.  Security staff preventing building access to City inspectors and collapsed ceilings in apartments are just a few of the extreme quality-of-life issues that have become commonplace in Mahfar-owned buildings during construction.

“Prior to the demolition work that began in our building, Michel Pimienta approached me on one of two occasions claiming to be a representative of the City of New York looking to update tenant records.  He misrepresented himself to me in order to obtain sensitive information from me and other tenants.  His actions were misleading, inappropriate, and invasive once we learned how he used this simple informational request obtained from other tenants against them,” said a tenant from 102 Norfolk Street who wished to remain anonymous.

Translated quote from Mr. Lam, Kwan Tai from 22 Spring St. Tenant Association, “This is great news. We welcome the Attorney General’s success with making Michel Pimienta pay a fine and give up his ‘relocation’ business. Being that he is no longer in business to harass us is good for tenants everywhere. People like Pimienta are only working for the profit of the landlord.”

“Affordability continues to be one of the Lower East Side’s greatest challenges — unscrupulous ‘tenant relocators’ are a shameful and illegal part of the affordability picture,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for pursuing this investigation, and commend the tenants and the Cooper Square Committee for confronting these unacceptable tactics. I look forward to continuing to work with tenants, advocates, and my elected colleagues to put an end to the pattern of tenant harassment.”

“The fact that Samy Mahfar actually celebrated his use of Michel Pimienta’s ‘invaluable’ relocation services just goes to show why we’re taking action to protect the tenants of 102 Norfolk Street and Mr. Mahfar’s other Lower East Side buildings,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman’s successful effort to put Mr. Pimienta out of business, and I will continue to work with my elected colleagues, Cooper Square Committee and CAAAV to stop Mr. Mahfar from further endangering the welfare of his tenants.”

The following is a quote from Samy Mahfar on Misidor’s recently-taken-offline website endorsing Pimienta and his success in removing rent-regulated tenants from their homes:

 

Samy Mahfar,
SMA Equities
It is a pleasure to work with Mr. Pimienta and his company. The experience that his company has brought to our firm has helped us re-position our properties more than we anticipated, and his insight and intuition have been instrumental in our success. Mr. Pimienta is trustworthy and honest, and we have always had a positive experience working with him. I highly recommend his services to people I know in the industry.”Source:
« http://web.archive.org/web/20131020175100/http://misidor.com/index.php?p=view_misidor_testimonial »

Quote from the Cooper Square Committee, “Samy Mahfar – who, as far as we know, hired and utilized the services of Michel Pimienta more than any other landlord in the Lower East Side – willingly subjected his tenants to Pimienta’s deceitful and unscrupulous practices, all in the name of maximizing his profits.”

 

Quote from CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, “We thank Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for working with us to protect tenants from Michel Pimienta. CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities has been working with Chinatown tenants who live in fear because Pimienta and his Chinese-speaking colleague incessantly call and knock on their doors to drive them out of their homes. Predatory landlords such as SMA Equities and Silvershore Properties hire these ‘tenant relocators’ and have contributed to the loss of thousands of rent-stabilized units. We will continue working with tenants, Cooper Square Committee, and the Attorney General to challenge these landlords in their aggressive harassment and displacement of low-income tenants so that we can protect our critical affordable housing stock.”

The Attorney General’s investigation into Michel Pimienta sends a clear message that tenant relocators who harass tenants will be held accountable. The tenants of Mahfar-owned buildings are sending the message that landlords who hire these relocators will also be held accountable.

###

Tenants of Kushner building at 170-174 E 2nd St speak out about enduring run-amok construction

Media Advisory (DOC file) | Press release (PDF file)

Press:

Village Voicehttp://bit.ly/1qcYLHc
DNAinfo: http://dnain.fo/1rTZ15d
Bedford & Boweryhttp://bit.ly/1s5Jop6

3rd Avenue Festival – 2014

3 av 2014

Visit our table at 10th Street, for info about tenant rights and other events and campaigns in the area, CSC-branded t-shirts and bags, and you can buy a spin on our prize wheel!

All vendor spots have already been sold. If you are a vendor, volunteer, or musician, you have been emailed any relevant information. If you would like to volunteer and have not signed up already, or if there are any issues, email Daniel at danielw@coopersquare.org or visit our table.

2014 RGB Vote

1% and 2.75%

More details here.

Despite a massive turnout of tenants at last night’s Rent Guidelines Board vote, and calls for a rent freeze, the RGB voted for a 1% increase on one-year leases, and 2.75% for two-year leases. While it’s disappointing that the RGB didn’t vote for a rent freeze, the 1% increase for a one-year lease is the lowest ever in the 45 year history of the RGB. The tenants’ movement can take credit for making that happen. Now let’s focus on strengthening the NY State rent laws when they come up for renewal in June of next year. Let’s stay mobilized!

~ Steve Herrick, Executive Director

MHA co-op application process

Dear affordable housing seeker,
The Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association (MHA) is no longer accepting requests for applications. We (CSC) are a separate organization from the MHA. We do not own or manage any housing, and we can not provide any input on the progress of your application. If you have any questions about the process, please contact the MHA at 212-477-5340, www.csmha.org, or csmha59@gmail.com. For more affordable housing opportunities throughout NYC, click here.

Cooper Square Committee’s Transitional Homeless Housing Plan for LGBT Youth Moving Forward

The NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is expected to file the Urban Development Action Area Plan for the Bea Arthur Residence at 222 E. 13th St. with the City Council in the coming weeks. The City Council must pass a resolution designating the project a UDAAP, and authorizing a long term tax exemption, which is a formality since local Councilmember Rosie Mendez is a strong supporter of the project and helped secure $3.3 million for its development. The Cooper Square Committee (CSC) is partnering with the Ali Forney Center (AFC) to renovate a vacant building at 222 E. 13th St. to house 18 homeless LGBT youth ages 18-24. CSC has done the bulk of the pre-development work, and will oversee the renovation, and AFC will rent up and manage the building when it’s completed. Project architects, Magnusson Architecture and Planning are expected to file the approved building plans with the NYC Dept. of Buildings within the next week. “We are hoping to acquire the building by the end of May, and start renovation immediately after that” says CSC Executive Director, Steve Herrick.

 

Experienced out-of-control construction? Take the RTE survey!

rte2014feb-img

We are working on collecting data on what tenants face during mismanaged construction so that we can create new laws and put an end to it.  If this is something you have experienced, please come into the CSC office (61 E 4th St) to pick up and fill out a Real-Time Enforcement Construction survey.  Tenant leaders and CSC organizers can also bring surveys to your building for you and your neighbors to fill out, or you can get help get involved with mass distribution yourself! Email Brandon for more details.

Read More

Real-Time Enforcement (RTE) Information Session Next Wednesday! 2/26

rte2014feb-img

Come learn how to keep your home safe and livable during construction!

Weds 2/26/2014, 7 PM – 8:30 PM 

59-61 E. 4th St., 4th Floor, Manhattan

 (handicapped accessible)

At this session you can:

  • Hear more about the RTE Campaign’s 2014 agenda
  • Get involved with a subcommittee
    (survey distrib., media relations, regulation reform, actions/demonstrations)
  • Take the survey, & distribute to your neighbors
  • General Construction Q & A

Refreshments served!  For more info,  download the flyer, or contact Brandon Kielbasa: (212) 228-8210 ext 4, rte@coopersquare.org

Individual Intake Form

download

Dear New Client,

Welcome to the Cooper Square Committee!

Click here to download our Individual Intake Form.

We prefer that you print it, fill it out, and scan and email back to the staffer who directed you to this page. If you do not have access to a printer or scanner, you may do the following:

      1. Print this Word Document.
      2. Replace applicable checkboxes with an “X”.
      3. Replace the blank next to “Applicant Signature” with your typed name.
      4. E-mail it back to the CSC staffperson who directed you to this page.

Thank you.

 

Finding a Lawyer (free or paid)

Unfortunately, advocacy and organizing is not always enough to stop your landlord from taking you to court. In that case, you will often benefit from a lawyer’s representation in court. See the below links:

Our list of free legal aid organizations for low-income New Yorkers is here. You can only go to them if you are already in court (you have been served court papers).

See Met Council’s page for paid lawyers you can hire if you are not low-income.

For advice on representing yourself in Housing Court, we recommend you speak with Housing Court Answers.

Happy Holidays! Office Closed 12/24-1/1

The Cooper Square Committee office will close at 3pm on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24, 2013, and will reopen on Thursday, January 2, 2014.

If you have an EMERGENCY housing problem while we are closed on December 26, 27, 30 and 31st, you can call University Settlement – Project Home at 212-505-1995 to speak to someone.   

Also, the Clinic of the Metropolitan Council on Housing will not meet on 12/24 or 12/31. They meet again on 1/7. GOLES is also closed til Jan. 2nd.

The Fourth Arts Block office is closed from 12/23 through 1/1, and reopens 1/2.

Guaranteed Inclusionary Zoning Policy would create more affordable housing!

High rises in Greenpoint, where fewer affordable apartments were created than had been projected. Matthew Schuerman, for WNYC

Have you been following the great work that ANHD and City Councilmember Brad Lander have been doing around Guaranteed Inclusionary Zoning? Let’s insist that our electeds adopt this affordable housing policy! See below for press coverage:

WNYC: Report: Bloomberg Housing Policy Falls Short

PIX11: ANHD’s Barika Williams discusses proposal for seperate entrances for rich and poor tenants in luxury UWS condo

NYT: Report Finds a City Incentive Is Not Producing Enough Affordable Housing

U.S. Census Bureau to Hire in the Boroughs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

 

U.S. Census Bureau

New York Regional Office

1-212-584-3440

 

U.S. Census Bureau to Hire in the Boroughs

This fall the U.S. Census Bureau will hire over 500 temporary Field Representatives to conduct the New York City Housing & Vacancy Survey (NYC-HVS). This survey is conducted every three years to comply with the City’s rent regulation laws. The Census Bureau has conducted the survey for the City since 1965.

Applicants who wish to take the Census test for the NYC-HVS must reside within Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan or the Bronx. The pay rate for Field Representatives in these areas is $16.92 per hour. Employment will last about four to six months. Training is paid and employees are reimbursed for travel expenses. All interested applicants must be over the age of 18, pass a background check, be a U.S. Citizen, and pass a written test and two interviews. All applicants outside of Manhattan are required to have a valid driver’s license and regular access to an insured vehicle. To learn more about job requirements and qualifications call us toll free at 1-800-991-2520 (Select option 2 for recruiting) or send an e-mail with your complete address and phone number to: new.york.recruit@census.gov.

The U.S. Census Bureau is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.

-X-

U.S. Census Bureau – New York Regional Office

Partnership and Data Services: 212-584-3440

Senior Activities in July

COOPER SQUARE COMMITTEE/ MUTUAL HOUSING ASSOCIATION
Senior Health, Advocacy, and Recreation Program (SHARP)
FREE Neighborhood Activities

The Cooper Square Committee/Mutual Housing Association SHARP Program has created this newsletter to inform you of free activities in the neighborhood for your enjoyment and enrichment.

These activities are being offered at the following locations. Scroll down for a calendar.

Tompkins Square Library

331 East 10th Street, near Avenue B

212-228-4747. www.nypl.org

Third Street Music School Settlement

235 East 11th Street, near Second Avenue

212-777-3240. www.thirdstreetmusicschool.org

University Settlement: Project Home

189 Allen St, South of Houston St.

(212) 505-1995

We recommend that you call or email these sites before visiting to confirm that the event listed has not been changed or cancelled.  We hope you will take advantage of these rich neighborhood services. We would enjoy your feedback and hope you will tell us of other activities you would like to see added.  When you visit one of these locations you will learn about more activities and others sites that are not listed here.  We will continue to expand this list as we learn of more offers.  Please email Joyce Ravitz at Cooper Square Committee with your questions or comments, or call 212-228-8210.

 

JULY EVENTS
FREE                                     FREE                                                  FREE

MONDAY tuesday wednesday Thursday Saturday
July 1 July 2
1:00 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement.Creative Sculpture Workshop
July 3
4:30 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement. Adult Movie Night: “Friends with Kids”
July 4 July 6
July 8 July 9
1:00 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement.Creative Sculpture Workshop
July 10
4:30 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement. Adult Movie Night: “Equilibrium”
July 11
12:30 p.m.
ThirdStreetMusicSchool. Settlement Players at AbeLebewohlPark
July 13
1:00 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement. New York Opera Forum presents Rossini’s “La Cenerentola”
July 15
4:30-5:30p.m.
Project Home
Yoga Class, all levels welcome
July 16
1:00 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement.Creative Sculpture Workshop
July 17
4:30 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement. Adult Movie Night: “Shall We Dance”
July 18
12:30 p.m.
ThirdStreetMusicSchool.David Moreno Odd Morning Quartet at AbeLebewohlPark
July 20
July 22
4:30-5:30p.m.
Project Home
Yoga Class, all levels welcome
July 23
1:00 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement.Creative Sculpture Workshop
July 24
4:30 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement. Adult Movie Night: “The Bourne Legacy”
July 25
12:30 p.m.
ThirdStreetMusicSchool.Gypsy Jazz Caravan at AbeLebewohlPark
July 27
July 29 July 30 July 31
4:30 p.m.
Tompkins Square Library, basement. Adult Movie Night: “One Day”
 

Our Annual 3rd Avenue Festival is tomorrow!

2013 flyer

  • Shopping (including artisans from the MHA buildings!)
  • Food
  • Live Music (The Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Kim Kalesti, Bill Popp & the Tapes, Más Allá, The Fine Machines, and The JewelTones)
  • And we will have a table at 11th St, with information on tenants rights, Save the Lower East Side and CSC T-Shirts, and more.

Join us!!

Questions, call 212-228-8210 or email Steve.

NYCHA Infill Plan

Succession And NYCHA
Telephone: 347-903-8428 (90evictNYCHA)
Fax: 415-873-1754
Email: Contact.SuccessionAndNYCHA@gmail.com@gmail.com
Twitter: 
@NYCHAsuccession
Facebook: 
SuccessionAtNYCHA
Mailing List: http://groups.google.com/group/evictnycha

Senior Activities in June

COOPER SQUARE COMMITTEE/ MUTUAL HOUSING ASSOCIATION
Senior Health, Advocacy, and Recreation Program (SHARP)
FREE Neighborhood Activities

The Cooper Square Committee/Mutual Housing Association SHARP Program has created this newsletter to inform you of free activities in the neighborhood for your enjoyment and enrichment.

These activities are being offered at the following locations. Scroll down for a calendar.

1. Ottendorfer Library

135 Second Avenue, north of 8th Street

212-674-0947. www.nypl.org

Here are descriptions of activities on the table at this site. They are marked with:

*        Knitting Circle. (Got knitting Skills?  If not, want to learn? Everyone is required  to bring their own yarn and simple knitting needles.)

**      Open Lab Computer Class (An introduction to the Internet, including getting a connected, using a web browser and navigating web pages.)

2. Tompkins Square Library

331 East 10th Street, near Avenue B

212-228-4747. www.nypl.org

3. Third Street Music School Settlement

235 East 11th Street, near Second Avenue

212-777-3240. www.thirdstreetmusicschool.org

And, at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, 2nd  Avenue and 10th Street
http://stmarksbowery.org/calendar.html

We recommend that you call or email these sites before visiting to confirm that the event listed has not been changed or cancelled.  We hope you will take advantage of these rich neighborhood services. We would enjoy your feedback and hope you will tell us of other activities you would like to see added.  When you visit one of these locations you will learn about more activities and others sites that are not listed here.  We will continue to expand this list as we learn of more offers.  Please email Joyce Ravitz at Cooper Square Committee with your questions or comments, or call 212-228-8210.

JUNE EVENTS

FREE                                                FREE                                            FREE

Tuesday Thursday Saturday
June 1 10:00 a.m.3rdStreetMusicSchool“String ‘Stravaganza” (at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery)2:00 p.m.

Ottendorfer Library

Knitting Circle*

June 4  11:00 a.m3rdStreetMusicSchoolNew Horizons Band Concert (at 3rdStreetMusicSchool) June 6 11:00 a.m.Ottendorfer LibraryOpen Lab Computer Class**12:30 pm

Mike Freeman ZonaVibe (at St. Mark’s Church-in-the Bowery)

 

June 8 1:00 p.m.Three Orchestras Concert (at St. Mark’s Church-in-the- Bowery)2:00 p.m.Ottendorfer Library

Knitting Circle*

June 11 June 13 11:00 a.m.Ottendorfer LibraryOpen Lab Computer Class**12:30 pm

Arturo O’Farrell Latin Jazz Group (at St. Mark’s Church-in-the Bowery

June 15 1:00 p.m.Tompkins Square LibraryNew York Opera Forum presents Handel’s Alcina 2:00 p.m.

Ottendorfer Library

Knitting Circle*

June 18 June 20 11:00 a.m.Ottendorfer LibraryOpen Lab Computer Class**12:30 p.m.

3rdStreetMusicSchool

Eve Sicular and Metropolitan Klezmer (at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery)

June 22 2:00 p.m.Ottendorfer LibraryKnitting Circle*
June 25 June 27 11:00 a.m.Ottendorfer LibraryOpen Lab Computer Class** June 29 2:00 p.m.Ottendorfer LibraryKnitting Circle*

How To Apply for Public Benefits

How To Apply for Public Benefits (from City Limits)

Our How To NYC series continues with a look at help available for everything from food to heat to medical care.

By Jack Curran | Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Public benefits are meant to provide assistance to low-income individuals and families. Benefits come in the form of cash grants, food assistance programs, tax credits and subsidized health insurance.

Food, cash and heat

For families without a sufficient amount of food, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance offers several nutrition assistance programs. The largest of these programs is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides families with electronic benefits that can be used to purchase food at authorized stores. SNAP is the new name for the Food Stamp Program. You can apply for SNAP online on the New York public benefits website.

Eligibility for SNAP is based on income, family size and whether or not there is an elderly or disabled member of the household. The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance provides an outline of maximum income amounts to help determine if you are eligible to receive SNAP benefits. If you are still unsure, there is a prescreening process for all state assistance programs.

In addition to SNAP, the School Meals program allows children from low-income households to receive free or reduced priced breakfasts and lunches from participating schools. Participating schools provide applications for the School Meals Program. Applications can be submitted to the school at any time during the school year. Families receiving SNAP benefits only need to submit a certification letter from the state or local department of social services to the school to receive benefits.

Women and young children in need of supplemental nutrition are also eligible for the WIC program. WIC provides food, nutrition education and breastfeeding support to low-income pregnant or postpartum women and infants and children up to age five. You must apply for WIC in person at your local WIC providing agency.

Along with nutritional support, there are also assistance programs to help with heating costs. The Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income New Yorkers cover the cost of heating their homes. HEAP assists with the monthly cost of home heating, and the cost of replacing heating equipment. Eligibility and benefits are based on household income, size and primary fuel source. You can apply for HEAP online along with SNAP.

A more general assistance program is Temporary Assistance, which provides cash payments to help pay for everyday living expenses. Temporary Family Assistance is a benefit program for families with minor children funded by Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Family Assistance benefits can be received for a total of 60 non-consecutive months. Temporary Assistance is also offered to individuals and families who are not eligible for other benefit programs. Safety Net Assistance provides benefits to single adults, childless couples and families not eligible for Family Assistance. Cash benefits can be received for two years, after which benefits will be offered in non-cash forms such as two party checks. To apply for either form of Temporary Assistance, you should fill out an application, and file it with your local department of Social Services.

Tax credits

The city, state and federal governments also offer tax credits for low-income workers. The Earned Income Tax Credits are tax benefits meant to provide incentive for working and lower the tax burden on low-income workers. If you are eligible for the EITCs then you can get money back on both your federal and state tax returns. To be eligible for the tax credits, you must have worked either full or part time at some point during the year. You must also make below a certain amount, which changes each year. To receive the New York City EITC you must also be a resident of the city, claim the federal EITC and file a New York State tax return.

In addition to the EITCs, working parents may also be able to claim the Federal and State Child Tax Credits. The Federal Child Tax Credit is offered to workers with dependent children under the age of 18. The CTC is worth $1,000 per child, and is used to reduce the family’s income tax liability. After a certain income level, the $1000 per child benefit is reduced. Families eligible for the Federal CTC may also receive the state CTC. Parents who meet certain income thresholds and have qualifying children can receive up to $100 per child, or 33 percent of their allowed federal credit.

New York State also offers an income tax credit for non-custodial parents. To be eligible for this tax credit, you must be a noncustodial parent, have a child support order through New York State for at least half of the year, and have paid the current amount of child support owed for the given year. The credit is equal to either 2.5 times the federal EITC if you had no children, or 20% of the federal EITC for parents with one child.

Insurance

New York State offers several programs to help residents pay for medical care. The most widely known insurance program is Medicaid. If you meet certain financial requirements or have particularly high medical expenses, then you may apply for Medicaid. The New York State department of Health offers a guide to help you figure out if you are eligible for Medicaid, or any other state health benefits.

Families with children under the age of 19 have a choice between children’s Medicaid and Child Health Plus, a low-cost insurance for children provided by the state. Children not eligible for Medicaid can enroll in Child Health Plus, which offers varying premiums based on income and family size.

Adults between the ages of 19 and 64 who are not eligible for Medicaid can apply for Family Health Plus. Family Health Plus is available to single adults, couples without children and parents in New York State. Like Child Health Plus, this program provides coverage with low premiums and co-payments.

To apply for Medicaid, Child Health Plus or Family Health Plus, you must fill out the Access New York Health Care Application. Applications can then be submitted to your local department of social services. Hard copies of applications can be obtained by calling New York Health Options at (855) 693-6765.

In addition to health coverage, New York State offers several programs to help cover the
cost of prescriptions. New York Prescription Saver is a pharmacy discount card that lowers the cost of prescriptions by up to 60% on generics, and 30% on name brands. If you are between the ages of 50 and 65, make less than $35,000 and do not receive Medicaid, then you are eligible for NYPS. You can apply for NYPS by filing out an online application or calling 1-800-788-6917. If your application is approved, then you will receive your discount card within two weeks.

Residents above the age of 65 making less than $35,000 may be eligible for Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage. This program helps cover the cost of prescription drugs for low-income residents who receive Medicare part D benefits.

To apply for EPIC, you can print out an application and send it to EPIC, P.O. Box 15018, Albany, NY, 12212-5018. You can also call 1-800-332-3742 for application assistance.

The Community Service Society of New York offers several tools for accessing public benefits. They can be found here.