By STANLEY JORDAN
New York City Council voted to pass two bills sponsored by Council Member and Deputy Leader Jumaane D. Williams. The two bills included a Domestic Violence Housing Discrimination Ban, Intro 832 and a Green Construction bill, Intro 721.
Intro 832-A prohibits discrimination in housing accommodations on the basis of an individual’s status as a victim of domestic violence. Victims of intimate partner violence frequently struggle with housing discrimination, including denial of new leases, refusal to renew leases, refusal of housing vouchers, evictions and being unable to temporarily leave their home to escape domestic violence.
“Domestic violence continues to threaten the safety and lives of too many New Yorkers,” said Council Member Williams. “Too often, victims of domestic violence are evicted or prevented from renting apartments simply because they have been abused – this is not only wrong, it’s horrifying. Today, I am proud to stand with my colleagues as we pass intro 832 to make housing discrimination against victims of intimate partner violence illegal.”
New York City already has the strongest Human Rights laws in the United States. With the passage of this legislation, the New York City Council is expanding the law to protect domestic violence victims against housing discrimination. Between 2001 and 2012, there were 864 domestic violence homicides in New York City, eighty percent of which were women. The current administration is doing substantial outreach and domestic violence incidents, including homicides, are decreasing. But, domestic violence remains a serious problem. In 2014 alone, there were over 280,000 domestic incident reports.
Victims of intimate partner violence often struggle to find safe and affordable housing because landlords are quick to discriminate by denying new rental applications and evicting tenants. Nationally, 11 percent of evictions involved discrimination against domestic violence victims.
Intro 721-A, updates and strengthens the green building standards for certain city capital projects. The bill will increase the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, green building rating which certain capital projects are required to achieve.
“As climate change worsens, the amount of new construction in New York City continues to increase. We have an obligation to ensure that new buildings constructed by the city are environmentally friendly,” said Council Member Williams. “Intro 721, which I am proud to sponsor, requires city-owned buildings to meet stricter, expanded green building standards.”
Under current law, most city capital projects are required to achieve a LEED version 3 rating level of Certified or Silver, depending on building type. Intro 721-A would require that such city capital projects achieve the more stringent LEED version 4 rating level of Gold. Additionally, the bill also renews and strengthens reporting requirements and expands the LEED certification requirements.
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