Tuesday, May 12, 2020

TLC Launches Resource Center Offering Legal, Financial and other Services to Hard Hit Drivers, Owners

  The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) launched its Driver Resource Center (https://portal.driverresourcecenter.tlc.nyc.govMay 12, offering a wide range of services to all TLC-licensed drivers and medallion owner-drivers.

Among the services available to licensees are legal services, financial counseling, health and mental health referrals, and public benefits application support.

  • Medallion owner-drivers can work with a legal professional to review loan agreements, renegotiate relevant financing agreements, challenge debt collections or judgments and much more.

  • Drivers can schedule a free, one-on-one appointment over the phone with a financial counselor to manage money and create a spending plan, develop a strategy to minimize debt, draft letters to creditors to lower payments or temporarily suspend payments due to hardship, keep personal and business finances separate, access local, state and federal emergency resources, and much more.

  • Licensees can receive assistance signing up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Cash Assistance, and Medicaid renewal applications. 

  • The Center will provide referrals to mental health programming and help licensees sign up for health insurance.

“TLC Licensees, Medallion Owners/Drivers and For-Hire Vehicle Drivers, are among the most vulnerable workers in our city amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They deserve all that we can give them to stay healthy and support their families.” said TLC Commissioner and Chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk. “The Resource Center will connect drivers to all the services New York has to offer. The Center will be a transformative tool in the fight to get through this crisis and emerge from it a better, fairer city.”

The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) played a key role in ensuring the Center’s launch.

“We commend the TLC for launching remotely and helping drivers navigate through this difficult time. Drivers are struggling now more than ever, and the City is here to support them,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “We’re proud to be able to be a part of the TLC Driver Resource Center and provide free, confidential, one-on-one financial counseling through our Office of Financial Empowerment. A phone appointment with a financial counselor can help drivers manage funds, reduce debt, draft letters to creditors and much more.”

The Center was conceived by City Council Members as a space where drivers could receive financial and mental health referrals as well as referrals to non-profit organizations for other advisory needs, and became a reality when Local Law 220 of 2018 was enacted on December 15 of that year. While working aggressively toward the Center’s creation, the TLC was able to expand on the Center’s planned scope with such resources as legal services and advocacy for those owner/drivers seeking to have lenders right-size their loans.

"The Council is deeply proud of our efforts to help for-hire vehicle drivers, which are becoming more important by the day as this industry is among the hardest hit by this awful virus,” said New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.  “We heard directly from the people hurt by turmoil in this business that they needed access to resources ranging from mental health services to financial counseling, and this Resource Center will give drivers and medallion owners the help they need and deserve. We will keep working to help drivers get through this pandemic and continue to succeed in a post-coronavirus New York City."

“The city’s for-hire vehicle drivers need support now more than ever. Our response team, that is part of the first of its kind Mental Health program designed for drivers, has been helping thousands of drivers navigate this crisis,” said Brendan Sexton, Executive Director of the Independent Drivers Guild.  “Having the TLC’s Driver Resource Center available to join us in assisting drivers as they negotiate with leasing companies, lenders and creditors will be huge. Thanks to Commissioner Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk, the TLC and the entire interdepartmental City team for building this much-needed resource.”

“NYLAG is proud to be a part of the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s new Driver Resource Center.” said Beth Goldman, President & Attorney-in-Charge of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG). “We look forward to providing much-needed legal services to medallion owner-drivers who are facing debt and other civil legal issues stemming from ownership of these medallions. We applaud the Mayor and the City Council for recognizing the critical need for legal services in addressing this crisis.”

"Neighborhood Trust's financial counseling services are designed to help vulnerable workers in a moment of crisis, and our phone-based model is particularly effective at meeting the unique challenges of today," said Justine Zinkin, CEO, Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners. "We're proud to be called upon to offer our financial counseling services alongside legal and health services and help give drivers the support they deserve. "

Financial counseling and legal assistance services at the Driver Resource Center are operated by DCWP’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) and are offered in partnership with Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners and New York Legal Assistance Group.

TLC-licensed drivers, and taxi medallion owner-drivers will be able to access these services by visiting directly at https://portal.driverresourcecenter.tlc.nyc.gov, or through the TLC’s web site at www.nyc.gov/tlc.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission was created in 1972 by Charter mandate and is the nation’s largest and most active regulator of taxicabs and for-hire vehicle

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