Saturday, January 8, 2022

Senator Biaggi's Week in Review: 1/3/22-1/7/22

Senator Alessandra Biaggi

Dear Community,

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a safe, restful, and enjoyable holiday season. The new year also brings the start of the 2022 legislative session in Albany, when the New York State Legislature reconvenes for the next six months to pass new legislation and determine the future trajectory of our state. 

I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature to pass progressive legislation that will invest in our communities and help New York tackle and recover from this pandemic. This session, I seek to prioritize a number of important issues such as:

  • Pandemic response and recovery
  • Passing a progressive budget that raises revenue in underserved communities
  • Passing transformative housing legislation to ensure that every New Yorker has access to safe and affordable housing 
  • Transforming our system of ethics and oversight to prioritize accountability and transparency
  • Tackling our climate crisis head-on
  • Prioritzing and ensurnig protections are in place for survivors of sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination
  • Passing criminal justice reforms to deliver a racially just system that reduces sentencing and enhances public safety
  • Protecting every New Yorker’s right to an abortion 
  • Transforming the State Budget process to give the Legislature its fair share of bargaining power and center the needs of New Yorkers

I am committed to these goals for this session, and I look forward to and am honored to once again represent District 34 in Albany. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your State Senator– it is one that I am forever grateful for. 

I would also like to remind everyone to continue to get vaccinatedget your booster shotget tested, wear a mask, and practice social distancing, especially given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across our state. I understand that given the recent COVID-19 surge, it has become extremely difficult to find and get tested. My office is well aware of this issue and we are actively working with NYC and Westchester to ensure that testing sites are well distributed. If you live in District 34 and your neighborhood lacks a testing site, please contact my office at or call 718-822-2049. Please see the COVID-19 updates section below for a list of COVID-19 testing sites in District 34 and additional information and resources.

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress Combating COVID-19 - JANUARY 8, 202

 Clinical specimen testing for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) at Wadsworth Laboratory

108,077 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours

154 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday      

 Governor Kathy Hochul today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combating COVID-19.

"There is an answer to this winter surge and it's simple: the vaccine and the booster," Governor Hochul said. "Our vaccination rate among children is still too low. parents and guardians don't delay in getting your children vaccinated and boosted, if eligible. It's safe and widely available. This is the one of the best ways to keep our numbers down, as well as wearing a mask and staying home if sick."

Today's data is summarized briefly below: 

  • Test Results Reported - 425,782
  • Total Positive - 90,132
  • Percent Positive - 21.17%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 22.15%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 11,843 (+295)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 2,144
  • Patients in ICU - 1483 (+34)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 720 (+16)
  • Total Discharges - 241,729 (+1,726)
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 154
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 49,344

The Health Electronic Response Data System is a NYS DOH data source that collects confirmed daily death data as reported by hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities only. 

  • Total deaths reported to and compiled by the CDC - 61,859

This daily COVID-19 provisional death certificate data reported by NYS DOH and NYC to the CDC includes those who died in any location, including hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, at home, in hospice and other settings. 

  • Total vaccine doses administered - 34,297,800
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 108,077
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 556,642
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 89.7% 
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 80.9%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 95.0%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 83.3% 
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 78.6% 
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 70.2% 
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 85.1% 
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 72.3%

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli - Read Fine Print on Your Holiday Gift Cards


New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is urging New Yorkers to spend the gift cards they received this holiday season in a timely fashion. If not, the money could eventually get turned over to the Office of Unclaimed Funds. In the last seven years, the amount returned to DiNapoli’s office in unused gift cards has risen sharply from $5.8 million in 2014 to $16 million in 2021.

Attorney General James Releases Footage From Investigation Into Death of Jason Jones


 New York Attorney General Letitia James today released videos from the Catskill Police Department that the Office of the Attorney General obtained as part of its ongoing investigation into the death of Jason Jones, who died on December 15, 2021, following an encounter with members of the Catskill Police Department on October 30, 2021.  

The release of this footage follows Attorney General James’ directive that videos obtained by her office in the course of investigations conducted by the Office of Special Investigation (OSI) be released to the public in order to increase transparency and strengthen public trust in these matters.

Pursuant to New York Executive Law Section 70-b, OSI assesses every incident reported to it where a police officer or a peace officer, including a corrections officer, may have caused the death of a person, by an act or omission. Under the law, the officer may be on-duty or off-duty, and the decedent may be armed or unarmed. Also, the decedent may or may not be in custody or incarcerated. If OSI’s assessment indicates an officer caused the death, OSI proceeds to conduct a full investigation of the incident.

The release of this footage is not an expression of any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of any party in a criminal matter or any opinion as to how or whether any individual may be charged with a crime.

Warning: These videos contain images viewers may find disturbing.

Investigation into the Death of Jason Jones

OSI is currently conducting an investigation into the death of Jason Jones, who died after an encounter with members of the Catskill Police Department in October of 2021. OSI released two videos of the police encounter with Mr. Jones.

Video 1

Video 2

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli - Read Fine Print on Your Holiday Gift Cards


New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is urging New Yorkers to spend the gift cards they received this holiday season in a timely fashion. If not, the money could eventually get turned over to the Office of Unclaimed Funds. In the last seven years, the amount returned to DiNapoli’s office in unused gift cards has risen sharply from $5.8 million in 2014 to $16 million in 2021.

NYPD Announces Increased Transit System Deployments


Integrated Approach to Surge NYPD Assets on Trains and Throughout the City’s Subway System

 Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced a set of innovative deployment strategies to reimagine the NYPD’s robust coverage of the city’s subway system across all of its portals, platforms and trains.

The new initiatives redefine the mission for officers and surge their ranks – beyond the additional layers of NYPD presence already in place throughout the transit system. The measures deploy officers to move cohesively through the entire system – particularly on subway cars, to engage with riders and to observe and document all they see to create timely, intelligence-driven responses.

“Safety throughout the subway system remains a top priority for the NYPD,” said Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell. “This comprehensive new approach is centered on having more police officers on train cars talking with riders and listening to them because NYPD officers do not just respond to crime in our city – they prevent it and deter it.”

Under the initiative being rolled out today, hundreds of additional NYPD officers from the Transit Bureau will work in tandem with Patrol Service Bureau officers and other personnel to be present across the subway system, from both their street-side and underground positions. Special units will continue to augment this coverage as well, in each sector, on each tour, every day.

These officers will focus on engaging directly with riders with the mission of driving down crime upticks and also improving the ridership experience.

Department commanders will wield overtime strategically, with an imperative to flood those zones most acutely in need or more uniformed presence. Those commanders will also be directing the patrols from the above-ground precincts to integrate the coverage of transit stations in their areas of responsibility. Officers in some administrative jobs will be flexibly shifted into underground deployments when necessary.

All told, the measures put riders at the forefront of the NYPD efforts and present a new vision of operating in the days and months ahead.

Governor Hochul Announces Nominations to MTA Board

 MTA NYC Subway

Governor Hochul today announced Janno Lieber has been nominated to serve as Chair and CEO of the MTA Board and Elizabeth Velez has been nominated to serve on the MTA Board.

"As Governor, my first duty to New Yorkers is to ensure that those who serve our state are experienced, committed, and ready to tackle the challenges we face," Governor Hochul said. "Janno is leading the MTA forward with expert management and vision, and Elizabeth will bring a wealth of invaluable knowledge and expertise to our challenges together. These are strong, competent leaders who will help steer the MTA through this critical time. We will continue to make appointments that ensure our transit system delivers for riders."

"I am honored and grateful to be nominated by Governor Hochul, who has been a supporter from day one of a smart transit system that serves all New Yorkers. I look forward to working with the governor, her team and our partners in the legislature to ensure that subways, buses and commuter railroads continue to be an engine fueling the region's economic recovery," Janno Lieber said. "Elizabeth Velez has a deep understanding of the value of transportation to New Yorkers, will be an excellent addition to the board and I'm eager to work with her on important issues facing the MTA, including a historic capital program that will modernize and expand the transit network and provide enhanced equity and accessibility to New Yorkers in the years ahead."

"I am thrilled to be nominated by Governor Hochul to the MTA Board," Elizabeth Velez said. "The MTA is a crucial connection point for New Yorkers throughout our city. With the impending influx of infrastructure dollars, the MTA is central to not only improving essential transportation, but also to creating opportunities both in workforce and procurement that affects our communities."

Janno Lieber will be nominated to serve as Chair and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board. He has been Acting Chair and CEO since July 2021.

In his role at MTA Construction and Development, Mr. Lieber oversaw the agency's $55 billion five-year capital program, including State of Good Repair investments in infrastructure and facilities of New York City Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and MTA Bridges and Tunnels. He is responsible for upgrades to signals and other major systems, system expansions, and mega-projects such as East Side Access, the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway and the Third Track expansion of the Long Island Rail Road main line. He is also responsible for upgrading and professionalizing the MTA's project management capacity and for integrating real estate planning and economic development into MTA infrastructure projects.

From 2003 to 2017, Mr. Lieber served as President of World Trade Center Properties LLC, where he was responsible for managing all aspects of the Silverstein organization's efforts to rebuild the World Trade Center site, including planning, design, and construction issues; business, financing, and legal matters; and public affairs, government, and community relations.

Earlier in his career, he held positions in the administrations of President Bill Clinton and NYC Mayor Ed Koch and worked as an attorney in private practice.

Elizabeth Velez will be nominated to serve on the MTA Board. She is currently the President of the Velez Organization, a second generation construction firm started in

1972 by her father, Andrew Velez. To her credit are hundreds of projects which have come to fruition under her direction, including over 600 units of housing made affordable by State and Federal grants in the Bronx and Harlem, and over ten billion dollars of significant educational, healthcare and large-scale projects throughout New York.

She is a Trustee of Boricua College; an accredited private institution serving primarily Latinas through three campuses in New York. She serves on the advisory boards of numerous New York City and New York State agencies, industry non-profits, and groups supporting mentorship and scholarships for youth. She is a member of the Board for Catholic Charities and the New York City Police Foundation. She is currently serving as a Commissioner of the New York City Property Tax Reform Commission. Following Hurricane Maria's disastrous landfall, Elizabeth was appointed to the NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery & Rebuilding Committee, the NY Memorial Commission for Hurricane Maria, and has spearheaded numerous workforce and economic development programs - including a satellite corporate office in Ponce Puerto Rico. On the international front, Ms. Velez is Co-Chair of Iran 180 - an organization that advocates for human rights and the end to Iran's nuclear threat. She is a contributor to media outlets such as Matter of Fact TV with Soledad O'Brien, Fox News Latino, The Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, El Diario La Prensa, Hispanic Business, ENR, City & State and Crain's New York Business. She is an outspoken advocate for diversity and empowerment of women, and a sought after speaker on women's leadership and work/family balance issues. In addition to numerous awards and recognition, Ms. Velez was recognized by City & State as one of the "Manhattan Power 50".

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli - NYC's Restaurant, Retail and Recreation Sectors Continue to Struggle During Pandemic


New York City’s restaurant, retail and recreation sectors continued to struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic, even before the latest surge in cases, with 169,700 fewer jobs in November than from two years ago, according to a report released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The losses accounted for 41% of total private sector jobs lost in the city during the pandemic.

Permits Filed For 2385 Tiebout Avenue In Fordham, The Bronx


2385 Tiebout Avenue in Fordham, The Bronx 

Permits have been filed for an eight-story residential building at 2385 Tiebout Avenue in Fordham, The Bronx. Located between East 184th and East 187th Streets, the lot is near the Fordham Road subway station, serviced by the B and D trains. Artan Prelaj is listed as the owner behind the applications.

The proposed 75-foot-tall development will yield 23,838 square feet designated for residential space. The building will have 38 residences, most likely rentals based on the average unit scope of 627 square feet. The concrete-based structure will also have a cellar, a 68-foot-long rear yard, and 11 open parking spaces.

Fred Geremia Architects & Planners is listed as the architect of record.

Demolition permits were filed in July 2021. An estimated completion date has not been announced.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Governor Hochul Announces New Guidance on COVID-19 Booster Doses


Booster Shots Now Recommended for 12-15 Year-Olds, Along with Previously Authorized 16+ Age Group    

Announces Plan to Require Health Care Workers Receive COVID-19 Booster Dose Within Two Weeks of Becoming Eligible  

New Nursing Home Visitation Rules to Protect Vulnerable New Yorkers - Negative Tests and Surgical Masks Required

 Governor Kathy Hochul today announced new guidance recommending booster doses for all New Yorkers ages 12 and older. The guidance, following action by the CDC, recommends that people, including the newly authorized 12-15 year-old age group, who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should receive a booster dose at least five months after their second dose; the previous recommended interval was at least six months. In addition, moderately to severely immunocompromised 5-11-year-olds can receive an additional primary dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine 28 days after their second dose. At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children ages 5-11.    

Additionally, the CDC today recommended the same change to a five month booster interval for the Moderna vaccine, which is only authorized for people 18 years and older.

"As we continue to battle this winter surge, I strongly recommend that all New Yorkers ages 12 and older get boosted as soon they are eligible," Governor Hochul said. "With boosters now available for all adolescents, I especially urge parents and guardians to get their children in this age group a booster dose as soon as eligible. A booster dose will provide greater protection against severe outcomes from COVID-19 and help keep our kids healthy, protected, and safe."  

Governor Hochul additionally announced her plan to require that all covered health care workers previously required to receive a COVID-19 vaccination under the Department's August 26th Emergency regulation must also now receive a COVID-19 booster dose within two weeks of becoming eligible, absent a valid medical exemption. Consistent with the August 26th Emergency Regulation, there is no test-out option. Following review and approval by the Public Health and Health Planning Council at their emergency meeting on Tuesday, the emergency regulation will be filed with the Department of State (DOS). Regulations are effective upon the filing with DOS. 

The Governor also announced new rules for nursing home visitations. Starting Wednesday, all visitors must wear "surgical"-type masks and must present upon entry a COVID negative test taken within 24 hours of their visit. Governor Hochul further noted that 952,000 tests and 1.2 million masks are being delivered to nursing homes late this week into next. 

On January 5, 2022, the CDC endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice's (ACIP) recommended expansion of booster dose eligibility for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 to individuals ages 12 through 15. CDC now recommends that all adolescents ages 12 through 17 should receive a booster dose five months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series. This followed the CDC's updated recommendations that severely immunocompromised 5-11 year-olds receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second dose, and that people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series should get a booster dose at least five month after the second dose, instead of six months.   

New York State Department of Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, "Booster doses are a critical tool in our continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am grateful that they are now available for all New Yorkers 12 years of age and older. Data show that people who are vaccinated and boosted are more protected against serious illness from COVID-19, and we continue to urge all those eligible to act now. Do what you can to stay healthy and out of the hospital by getting vaccinated and boosted and wear a mask. If you have questions, talk to your health care provider or vaccine administrator."  

All state mass vaccination sites are now offering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for New Yorkers 12 years of age and older, as well as third doses for immunocompromised people 5 years and older. For more information on boosters and additional doses, see the State's dedicated page here.  

Release of BWC Footage from a Police-Involved Firearm Discharge that occurred November 24th, 2021 in the confines of the 48th Precinct


The NYPD is releasing today body-worn camera footage from an officer-involved shooting that occurred on November 24th, 2021, in the confines of the 48th Precinct.

The video includes available evidence leading up to the incident as well as during the incident. The NYPD is releasing this video for clear viewing of the totality of the incident.

All NYPD patrol officers are equipped with body-worn cameras. The benefits of cameras are clear: transparency into police activity, de-escalation of police encounters and accountability for police officers, through an independent account of interactions between the police and the citizens they serve. Body-worn cameras serve as a vital part of ongoing efforts to increase trust between the police and all New Yorkers.

You can find the video here



 Mayor Eric Adams today nominated Sylvia Hinds-Radix as the City’s Corporation Counsel. She has most recently served as an Associate Justice of the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department — a position she was appointed to in 2012 — and in 2020 was designated a member of the New York State Constitutional Bench. Hinds-Radix will be the first Caribbean-born woman to serve as Corporation Counsel in New York City’s history. As Corporation Counsel, she will lead the Law Department, which is primarily responsible for providing legal representation to the City, the Mayor, other elected officials, and City agencies in all affirmative and defensive civil litigation. Hinds-Radix also conducted the Mayor’s swearing-in ceremony at the Times Square New Year’s Celebration.


“The Law Department plays an indispensable role in providing the legal architecture needed for the administration to carry out its vision. Sylvia Hinds-Radix has not only the brilliant legal mind, but also the emotional intelligence needed to lead the department as our next Corporation Counsel. I congratulate her on her history-making appointment,” said Mayor Eric Adams


“I am honored to have been nominated by Mayor Eric Adams to undertake this tremendous responsibility of representing the people of this great City, as New York City’s Corporation Counsel. At this particular time in our history, with all of the challenges that we are facing, I look forward to ensuring that fairness and justice is carried out for the residents of the City of New York,” said Corporation Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix


Prior to her appointment to the Appellate Division, Hinds-Radix served as Administrative Judge for Civil Matters in the Second Judicial District for three and a half years.  In her capacity as Administrative Judge, she oversaw both the New York State Supreme Court, Civil Term and the New York City Civil Court, which also encompasses the Housing Court of the City of New York. Hinds-Radix was elected to the Supreme Court, Kings County in November of 2004 and served as a New York City Civil Court Judge, from 2002 through 2004, spending her first year in the Criminal Court of Kings County. She began her legal career at District Council 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services. Hinds-Radix earned a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts, a Masters from Long Island University, and a J.D. from Howard University School of Law. She was born in Barbados. 


Under the City Charter, the nominee for Corporation Counsel must be confirmed by the City Council.


Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress Combating COVID-19 - JANUARY 7, 2022

 Clinical specimen testing for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) at Wadsworth Laboratory

106,978 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours    

155 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday

Governor Announces New Daily COVID-19 Hospitalization Data

New Data Shows Number of COVID-19 Positive Hospitalizations Admitted for COVID-19 / COVID-19 Complications vs. Non-COVID-19 Other Reasons

 Governor Kathy Hochul today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combating COVID-19.

"My administration is hard at work making testing, vaccines, boosters and masks more widely available in to fight this winter surge," Governor Hochul said. "While we are prepared to deal with whatever comes our way using the tools we know are effective, it will take a concerted effort on the part of every New Yorker to beat this pandemic and protect our loved ones. Get your vaccine if you haven't yet and the booster if you have, mask up, exercise caution while in indoor public spaces and we'll make it through this - together." 

Today's data is summarized briefly below: 

  • Test Results Reported - 377,160
  • Total Positive - 82,094
  • Percent Positive - 21.77%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 22.36%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 11,548 (+364)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 2,058
  • Patients in ICU - 1449 (+45)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 704 (+9)
  • Total Discharges - 240,003 (+1,661)
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 155
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 49,185

    The Health Electronic Response Data System is a NYS DOH data source that collects confirmed daily death data as reported by hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities only. 
  • Total deaths reported to and compiled by the CDC - 61,859

    This daily COVID-19 provisional death certificate data reported by NYS DOH and NYC to the CDC includes those who died in any location, including hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, at home, in hospice and other settings. 
  • Total vaccine doses administered - 34,189,723
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 106,978
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 538,240
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 89.6% 
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 80.8% 
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 95.0%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 83.2%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 78.5%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 70.2% 
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 84.9% 
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 72.2%



 Governor Kathy Hochul: Good afternoon. It is so wonderful to be here, as we thank you.  As we herald what I call a new era for New York. And I'm delighted to be here with my partner, as we are sure in this new era for New York. And that is our new, incredible, energetic, and many times fun. Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, want to give him a round of applause. I also want to acknowledge some other individuals who are joining us to make some very significant announcements here today. We have a brand-new Commissioner for the New York City Police Department, Commissioner Sewell, who comes with an incredible amount of experience. And as I mentioned, a new era, I'm so excited about partnering the State and the City when it comes to deploying all the resources to make New Yorkers feel safe again, so thank you, Commissioner for being here as well. Someone who I've come to rely on incredibly since our first hours in office. Battling the rages of a hurricane. This is the person you want in the trenches with you and that is our State Operations Director, Kathryn Garcia. Also, we have representatives from the New York City Transit. That is Craig Cipriano. Also, Sarah Meyer, our Customer Service Officer at MTA. There's a lot on her hands. Thank you, Sara. And Pat Warren the Chief of Safety and Security right now at MTA. And of course, we know Jana Lever is our leader.   


We're here today to address an issue that is on the minds of so many New York residents. And that is the issue of homelessness. So, we're going to talk about homelessness and public safety. And I want to talk about the fact that, as I mentioned in my State of the State yesterday, this truly is a humanitarian crisis. It's hard for people to walk past someone in need of help on our city sidewalks, whether they're coming to a subway station, a train station, or just walking to work. And roughly 4,000 people, our fellow citizens are homeless on the streets. These are the New Yorkers for whom the system has failed. And failure is not an option for us in government.  


So, we're going to go back, we're going to assess the problem. And know that no New Yorkers should ever have to experience life on the streets. And in our state, we're going to deploy the tools that we have available to team up with the Mayor and tackle this issue head on, because our ultimate goal is to make sure that every New Yorker has a roof over their head and that they are safe. Again, New York City, new Era, new opportunity. And New York City is one of three cities where there actually is a guaranteed right to shelter. What does that mean? It is not a safe shelter to go to.   


So yesterday, I announced a major initiative. The first time we're going to create teams of trained professionals, who will be embedded here, who develop relationships, develop trust, and allow us to face the issue of chronic street homelessness with a plan. We're going to get them the support they need, get them into shelter, and ultimately into housing. So, we're going to have what we call our State funded SOS teams, Safe Options Support. What does that mean? These are individuals who work hand in hand with New York City outreach teams, this is what has to happen. This is where you don't need to be siloed or have turf battles, you're teamed together. That's how it works. That's what's been missing. And today, to address this, I'm announcing that I'm signing an RFP to go out immediately to develop these teams to step up initial five batch of teams right now, each team what is this eight to 10 people are part of a team. These are medical professionals, their social workers, outreach people, socialists who understand the very deep human needs that lead people to need more help than they're getting. Because, as I said yesterday, I believe we can and will do better. It's that simple. We have no choice but to act. At the same time, I also mentioned that street homelessness only accounts for a fraction of people are housing insecure. Many people do live in shelters. Shelters can be a scary place for someone, especially during COVID and we tell people not to be in congregate settings. We're worried about that as they are as well.   


So, we also need to talk about another issue and how to make sure that our streets and subways are safer. And I'm so glad that we're going to talk about a plan to do just that. But I mentioned we're just talking about the tip of the iceberg here. And that's why in conjunction with launching a very hands-on strategic approach to dealing with the people on the streets, I want them to have an option to go somewhere else that is safe and worthy of them. And that means we're going to continue focusing on what I announced yesterday 100,000, new affordable housing units, but not just affordable housing. This recognizes that people are homeless because they have unmet needs, unmet mental health needs, substance abuse issues, PTSD, if these are our veterans, they need our help. So, we'll also add 100,000 supportive housing units. And I have been to so many ribbon cuttings, at these types of facilities, and other times, and they are, it's like walking people home again, and saying this is your new life. It's beautiful how government can provide that to a human being. It's powerful. And it's what we must continue to do. We're going to focus on also the most vulnerable populations, whether it's our runaway young people, LGBTQ youth who have nowhere to go, and formerly incarcerated individuals. And you heard me announced yesterday a bold plan to welcome them back into society and some might need to transition back because they've been out of the community for so long. Transitional helping to help them get on the feet, their feet as well. We also announced eviction prevention, legal assistance to help low-income individuals at risk of being evicted as well. So today, we turn yesterday's rhetoric into action. And it starts here right now, with an incredible partner, that I am so enthusiastic, and so ready to roll up our sleeves and get the job done for all New Yorkers. And with that, I'm proud to introduce the Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams.  

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you, Governor, as you move through the state with your swagger, you know, your thoughtfulness and thoughtfulness of how we must really have the partnership and people miss the fact that the coordination that's taking place in Albany and New York is allowing us to just get stuff done. And the communication we had even around the school openings, and how we talked about getting our children back into schools and moving supplies, you helped us get a million test kits, two million test kits down to the city so that we can deploy and get them into school. And all of those things are happening behind the scene. This is a homecoming for me. I was a transit cop in this station of almost 30 years ago. And I remember this station and I remember the challenges before they rebuilt the location. I remember riding these trains, I remember during the high crime period of high crime time when people were afraid to utilize our system. Graffiti was everywhere. And there was just a feeling that the system was out of control. Today, we are saying we are not going back there. But not only are we not going back, but we're going to utilize our police to do public safety and our mental health professionals to give people the services that they need. And so, this historical moment that many people may miss, but I acknowledged how important it is. Safe Option Support team plan is going to do just that. And as I look at Dr. Ashwin, who's here, how he talked about this so much during his work in the organization, he was affiliated with the group, went out and dealt with street homeless all the times and he understood it. And that was one of the leading reasons, we brought him on our team, the Deputy Mayor and I. Our city can take two of the biggest challenges I believe, and solve them. Helping and fight in homelessness that many of our brothers and sister New Yorkers are experiencing and public safety.   


I said it over and over again that public safety and justice, is the prerequisite to prosperity. And I've seen it from both sides, both living on the verge of homelessness as a child and right in theses subways to protect everyday New Yorkers as they went to and from their place of employment. I know what life was like in the system as a transit cop, and how important it is to give the perception of safety with the actual safety. But also know that New Yorkers care about the people that use the system, it breaks their hearts to walk past people that are living on a train, or experiencing a level of homelessness in the city.  These new Safe Options Support teams will do just that by helping homeless New Yorkers access the services they need. Far too often, those critical periods when people have lost their jobs, lost their homes or, going through some form of health care crisis, if you don't reach them at that critical period, it will take a longer investment to turn their lives around. And we want to do so at that critical period with proven methods and research. That's the team we're building. They understand this line of work, they are committed to getting it right and we're going to do that. This new plan also frees up our police officers to focus on crime and not be the street sweepers of sweeping men and women who are homeless of our system. Nowhere is that more important than the transit system.   


Over the last year, New Yorkers have heard this for me again, and again, I talked about what the issue is in our subway system. Actual crime and the perception of crime and a perception of disorder leads to the crisis we are facing. But also, we can do a better job by addressing the public safety aspect. And we need to be clear here, we will not allow our police officers to have unnecessary engagement with homelessness individuals and those petty issues that will cause a negative encounters with our police officers and riders of the public. We want serious criminals, like the one that stabbed the individual the other day, yesterday, on the subway system, that is our focus, public safety. So, we are going to sustain and ensure that we don't continue to see a decline in ridership. We want to reduce the amount of people who no longer want to take our trains or invest in our city. We want to ensure that tourists and others are safe on our subway system, and that's why this important partner of assuring that our transit system is safe. So as we head into the new year with this recovery, we must restore public trust in our transportation system, and I will say it over and over again, that trust comes with public safety. We are going to add hundreds of daily visual inspections from existing police manpower. That's the goal, how do we better utilize our police force.  


And those existing men and women on patrol will have an additional responsibility to go into the subway system and do visual inspections. Omnipresence brings about the level of security and safety. So, those precinct level offices, they will park, they will go into the subway system, and they will inspect the stations to determine if there are any law problems or any public safety problems that existed. And we're going to also have officers that are behind the desk. I said this on the command – on the campaign trail, too many officers who were hired for public safety are sitting behind the desk. We gave them that bulletproof vests, that badge, and that firearm to go on patrol and protect the public, not to protect computer screens. We want them on patrol where they're supposed to be, and by getting officers from behind the desk, we're going to beef up our manpower in a real way. In addition, transit officers on patrol will now do this, they're going to ride the trains. When the last time you saw an officer walk through the train, to see him there and engage with passengers. How are you? How was your day to rebuild that trust? That's the omnipresence that I knew as a rookie top. When you walk through that train and the public sees you, they feel the level of confidence that the system is a safe place to be. Subway riders will see our officers on that patrol and ready to respond if needed. And so I am really pleased with this moment, Governor, with your additional resources is going to allow us to get – receive the mental health professionals to help us on the ground and be proactive. And part of the role our police officers will play if they identify a homeless condition, they're going to communicate with our outreach workers so they can respond, not to have the offices engage, unless there is some criminal activity taking place that needs immediate attention. This is not a partnership where officers are going to be engaging, but mental health professionals building trust, giving people the resources they need, and giving them the dignity and respect they deserve to ensure they could have permanent housing or permanent resources.  


So I'm proud of this moment, I'm proud of what the Governor has done for the City of New York, our largest transportation system, we receive hundreds of thousands of people that utilize this system every day, and if rebuild the trust, if we rebuild the reliability, and we rebuild the belief that our system is safe, people will utilize the system again, and we – it will become part of our overall recovery for the city. So, again, Governor, thank you so much, and if I could have the opportunity to introduce my amazing Police Commissioner and her real vision outlook for the City of New York, not only below ground, but above ground, and it's the coordination in partnership that we're looking forward to. Police Commissioner? 

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell: Good afternoon, everyone. It is my honor and privilege to stand here today with Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams, members of the Command Staff and our partners today to speak about the important work we're doing in the nation's largest subway system. It's an exciting day. Communities take many shapes and forms throughout New York City and not all of them are above ground. We see our subway station in lines as not just necessary rapid transit, but as neighborhoods themselves, and it's easy to understand why. In in each station on each platform, in each train car there are people, people who are going to work, to school, to their tourist destinations, and to home. These are all people who make New York City great by keeping it connected, one ride at a time. In fact, if you want to get a quick idea of just how diverse the most diverse city in the country actually is, ride the train. If you want to travel a dozen cultures and traditions and under 20 minutes, ride the train. If you want to see how people get the work of New York City done, ride the train. We know that these millions of riders take a deep sense of ownership in their line, in their station, because for the length of that ride, that's their neighborhood, and their fellows riders – excuse me – their fellow riders are their community. And just as they do above ground, they depend every single day on the NYPD and the MTA to keep them safe.  


We take great pride in the part we do and our public safety partners play to keep this system running, and we're always looking for ways to improve what we do. As with everything else we do across the city when something works, we enhance. When something needs fixing, we fix it. These new NYPD measures mean that officers will be on targeted patrol in the subway system throughout each day, to reinforce what the mayor and the governor have said this plan. This vision for the subway system means that additional NYPD officers from the Transit Bureau, from Patrol Services Bureau, and from other special units will be will be reinvigorated to work in tandem for the same goal to deter crime and getting the assistance people need to them as quickly as possible. There will be hundreds of new visual inspections on the trains throughout each day and night. New Yorkers will witness uniformed officers presence in the transit system, both on platforms, in and out of trains, riding the trains to cover as much ground as possible.  


So, today with our Governor and our Mayor, we're introducing our plan to make the system safer for everybody every day. We will have additional laser focused targeted trained deployments on the lines in subway stations that need them the most with innovative transportation initiatives. They will direct patrols from above ground precincts to integrate coverage of the transit station in their sectors on each tour every day. This will ensure more uniformed NYPD officers in stations and platforms system wide. We will use all of our Transit Bureau's available resources to deter and prevent crime before it happens, and to bring swift justice to victims when and if it does. We will accomplish this by being present, alert, uniform, in uniform, and by proactively seeing all of those we serve. As the Mayor said, we're going to talk to them, say good morning, say, how are you? How's your day going? And actually listening for the answer and responding. If we see passengers sleeping in transit, for example, we will engage them because we know that sleeping passengers are among the most vulnerable victims in the subways. When we see those in need, we will make sure we make real time referrals to get them the social services and the mental health professionals that can assist them. This subway system is for everyone. It is the lifeblood of this city. It must be and it will be safe. That's our job, and we're getting it done. I'll turn it back over to the Governor.  

Governor Hochul: Like I said, it's a whole new day New York. You just heard from our Commissioner who speaks with great confidence, and I'm looking forward to working with her as well as embedding her with our State forces as well. So we have a dynamic opportunity here to make a difference, and I do want to thank the Mayor for responding and delivering on something that we've talked about. I've been on the job 135 days, but early on, I also knew that we needed more of a visible presence in our subways and not up on the streets, not on the platforms, but in the subways. And I've had these conversations before, and now you've delivered on what we've been wanting to see happen to give people that confidence that when you get on our trains, you will safely get to your destination, and that our police will be deployed to do the rightful job of they have which is to protect the public, but also managing a situation again, I call it a humanitarian crisis, we need to take care of the people involved. So I want to thank everyone for participating.