Addabbo Addresses Needs Of Seniors, Disabled
City Council Member Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. announced that he has cosponsored two pieces of legislation in the Council aimed at aiding senior citizens and individuals with disabilities in his district as well as in the city.
The first piece of legislation cosponsored by Addabbo would establish a comprehensive heat emergency assistance program for low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities. Under the Program, which the City Department of Environmental Protection will administer, any eligible senior citizens and any eligible person with a disability may apply to receive financial assistance to pay up to twenty-five percent of his or her electric bill for the month during which a heat emergency exists. “I believe we must explore any minimal financial help the government can give to seniors and those with disabilities.” Addabbo stated.
The second bill cosponsored by Addabbo which would provide a rent increase exemption for persons with disabilities has recently been signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Advocates of the disabled community have been lobbying for such legislation for decades, and the City Council has supported the expansion of this benefit to members of the disabled community, most recently passing a Resolution in November 2004 which called on the Legislature to provide rent increase exemptions to qualified disabled heads of households.
“Having access to a rent exemption will help alleviate the challenges of securing affordable and accessible housing,” said Addabbo, adding, “Securing affordable housing is especially difficult for those living on a fixed income.”
The councilman said that the availability of accessible housing for disabled persons is limited, noting that only one in five dwellings are accessible to wheelchair users. Furthermore, individuals who are hearing impaired may require special intercom systems and individuals who are visually impaired may need to be closer to public transportation. These specific requirements limit the housing options available, further decreasing the chances of securing affordable housing.
“For many members of the disabled community the rent increase exemption will allow individuals to remain in their homes rather then enter nursing homes or homeless shelters when their rent becomes too much of a burden,” said Addabbo.