Mayor Bill de Blasio announced during a town hall today, alongside Council Member Margaret Chin, a dedicated team of 10 specialists within the Public Engagement Unit to proactively support the NYC Rent Freeze and Homeowner Tax Exemption Programs across the five boroughs. PEU’s new Rent Freeze Team will conduct door to door outreach and make phone calls to eligible New Yorkers, using case management techniques to help them navigate the application process.
In partnership with the Department of Finance, the Department for the Aging and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, the goal is to enroll 10,000 New Yorkers this year into rent freeze and tax benefit programs for seniors and people with disabilities. Last year, 5,800 households were enrolled into the Rent Freeze Program. The Rent Freeze Program, also known as the Senior Citizen and Disability Rent Increase Exemption Programs (SCRIE and DRIE), provide tax credits to landlords that effectively freeze rent for low-income seniors and people with disabilities living in rent-regulated apartments. The Senior Citizen Homeowners (SCHE) and Disabled Homeowners Exemptions (DHE) provide property tax reductions for senior and disabled homeowners.
“Too many New Yorkers living on fixed incomes are feeling the burden of rising costs in our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “But we are fighting every day to make sure they can live, thrive and retire in place. The Public Engagement Unit’s new Rent Freeze Team will provide valuable guidance and information about these programs to renters and homeowners. New York City must remain a place for everyone, or it won’t be a place for anyone.”
“As the Public Engagement Unit knocks thousands doors across the City, we constantly meet New Yorkers who are able to live where they love because of these programs,” said Regina Schwartz, Director of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit. “We are proud to partner with city agencies across the administration to increase our outreach to vulnerable New Yorkers, build new relationship with elected officials, community partners and connect individuals to government.”
New Yorkers participating in SCRIE save an average of $235 in rent per month and in DRIE an average of $135 per month over the lifetime of the benefit.
“We are excited that the Mayor is providing additional resources to help enroll as many eligible seniors and persons with disabilities as possible,” said Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha. “The renters and homeowners exemption programs offer significant relief for many New Yorkers who would be struggling to stay in their homes if not for this benefit. We look forward to introducing many more people to opportunity to take advantage of the City’s money-saving programs.”
“Obtaining affordable housing remains among the greatest need in New York City, especially for older adults with limited incomes,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Donna Corrado. “By proactively promoting the Homeowner Tax Exemption and Freeze Your Rent programs, the City is reaffirming its commitment to helping seniors age in place in their communities.”