File #: Int 2081-2020    Version: Name: Enhancing the application for and the transparency of the emergency assistance grant program.
Type: Introduction Status: Enacted
Committee: Committee on General Welfare
On agenda: 9/16/2020
Enactment date: 1/15/2022 Law number: 2022/038
Title: A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to enhancing the application for and the transparency of the emergency assistance grant program
Sponsors: Francisco P. Moya, Ben Kallos, Kalman Yeger , Margaret S. Chin, Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Farah N. Louis, James F. Gennaro, Deborah L. Rose
Council Member Sponsors: 8
Summary: This bill would require the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services (DSS) to enhance the application of emergency assistance grant programs. It would require the Commissioner to post information on emergency assistance grants including rental or utility arrears grants on the HRA website and to enhance applications for such grants, including creating an informational sheet for prospective benefit applicants in plain language. The informational sheet would include which forms and materials an applicant would be required to submit and whether or not an applicant may be required to pay back any benefits, if received. It would also require the Commissioner to improve the administration of emergency assistance grants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to conduct increased outreach on the program. Finally, the bill would require the Commissioner to report quarterly on the administration of emergency assistance grants, including how many applications were newly submitted, how many were accepted and how many were not accepted.
Indexes: Report Required
Attachments: 1. Summary of Int. No. 2081-A, 2. Summary of Int. No. 2081, 3. Int. No. 2081, 4. September 16, 2020 - Stated Meeting Agenda with Links to Files, 5. Hearing Transcript - Stated Meeting 9-16-20, 6. Minutes of the Stated Meeting - September 16, 2020, 7. Committee Report 9/15/21, 8. Hearing Testimony 9/15/21, 9. Hearing Transcript 9/15/21, 10. Proposed Int. No. 2081-A - 12/10/21, 11. Committee Report 12/14/21, 12. Committee Report - Stated Meeting, 13. December 15, 2021 - Stated Meeting Agenda with Links to Files, 14. Int. No. 2081-A (FINAL), 15. Fiscal Impact Statement
Date Ver.Prime SponsorAction ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsMultimedia
1/15/2022AFrancisco P. Moya Administration City Charter Rule Adopted  Action details Meeting details Not available
1/14/2022AFrancisco P. Moya City Council Returned Unsigned by Mayor  Action details Meeting details Not available
12/15/2021AFrancisco P. Moya City Council Sent to Mayor by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
12/15/2021AFrancisco P. Moya City Council Approved by CouncilPass Action details Meeting details Not available
12/14/2021*Francisco P. Moya Committee on General Welfare Hearing Held by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
12/14/2021*Francisco P. Moya Committee on General Welfare Amendment Proposed by Comm  Action details Meeting details Not available
12/14/2021*Francisco P. Moya Committee on General Welfare Amended by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
12/14/2021AFrancisco P. Moya Committee on General Welfare Approved by CommitteePass Action details Meeting details Not available
9/15/2021*Francisco P. Moya Committee on General Welfare Hearing Held by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
9/15/2021*Francisco P. Moya Committee on General Welfare Laid Over by Committee  Action details Meeting details Not available
9/16/2020*Francisco P. Moya City Council Referred to Comm by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
9/16/2020*Francisco P. Moya City Council Introduced by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available

Int. No. 2081-A

 

By Council Members Moya, Kallos, Yeger, Chin, Cornegy, Louis, Gennaro and Rose

 

A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to enhancing the application for and the transparency of the emergency assistance grant program

 

Be it enacted by the Council as follows:

Section 1. Chapter 1 of title 21 of the administrative code of the city of New York is amended by adding a new section 21-150 to read as follows:

§ 21-150 Emergency assistance grants program. a. Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

ACCESS HRA. The term “ACCESS HRA” means the website and mobile application in which individuals obtain information on and apply for some HRA benefits, and HRA clients obtain certain HRA benefits case information.

COVID-19. The term “COVID-19” means the disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Emergency assistance grants. The term “emergency assistance grants” means a grant of financial assistance that HRA provides to households to pay expenses such as rent or utility arrears in which HRA determines eligibility based on New York state laws and regulations.

HRA. The term “HRA” means the human resources administration.

Job center. The term “job center” has the meaning ascribed to such term in section 21-139.

                     b. No more than 30 days after the effective date of the local law that added this section, the commissioner shall post in the rental assistance section of the HRA website and on ACCESS HRA, and update, as appropriate, information on emergency assistance grants. Such information shall include, but need not be limited to, the application process and required documentation.

c. Until such time that a client is able to conduct their interview on demand utilizing updated agency technology, department staff shall conduct two phone calls to an applicant who filed an emergency assistance grant application, during which the staff  provides the phone number established pursuant to section 21-142.2 where the client can be provided information about their application status by a live customer service agent and self-service model, or leaves a voicemail message if an applicant does not answer the phone call with the phone number established pursuant to section 21-142.2 where the client can be provided information about their application status by a live customer service agent and self-service model.

d. No more than 150 days after the effective date of the local law that added this section, the commissioner shall include with application materials for emergency assistance grants, cash assistance and SNAP an information sheet written in plain language to inform prospective applicants which application forms and other materials the applicant must complete to apply for such benefits and whether such applicant may be required to pay back any such benefits if received.

e. Outreach on emergency assistance grants. Beginning no more than 30 days after the effective date of the local law that added this section, the commissioner, in collaboration with relevant agencies, shall conduct culturally appropriate outreach about emergency assistance grants in the designated citywide languages, as defined in section 23-1101, which shall include changes in administration as a result of COVID-19. Such outreach shall include, but need not be limited to, posting information in public spaces and on relevant government websites, including, but not limited to, the rental assistance section on the department website required by subdivision b of this section.

f. HRA shall enhance opportunities for seniors, individuals with disabilities, individuals who lack technology and individuals who lack familiarity with technology, to apply for emergency assistance grants including partnerships with elected officials, community-based organizations and non-profit service providers. This shall also include having sufficient HRA staff to (i) help such individuals apply by telephone if such method of application is authorized or (ii) assist such individuals with the completion of paper applications, including mailing a paper application to such individuals with a self-addressed stamped envelope.

g. Reporting on emergency assistance grants. No later than June 30, 2022, and quarterly thereafter, the commissioner shall submit a report to the mayor and the speaker of the council that shall cover the quarter that began on April 1, 2022 on the administration and utilization of emergency assistance grants for the previous four months, which the commissioner shall post on the HRA website. Subsequent reports shall be posted and submitted no later than 45 days after the end of each quarter thereafter. The report shall include the number and percentage of:

1. New applications submitted solely for an emergency assistance grant;

2. Applications for emergency assistance grants that were accepted; and

3. Applications for emergency assistance grants that were not accepted.

The information reported pursuant to paragraphs 1 through 3 of this subdivision shall be disaggregated by the type of emergency assistance grant, which shall include but need not be limited to, rental arrears and utilities.

§ 2. This local law takes effect immediately.                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NLB/ACK

LS #15915, 16108                     

12/7/21 11:23pm