Cuomo: If it’s cold, take in homeless

By: The Associated Press January 4, 2016 0

NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed an order requiring communities statewide to take homeless people from the streets to shelters when temperatures reach freezing, saying he was ready for a legal challenge from anyone who believes “people have a civil right to sleep on the street and freeze to death.”

Cuomo said the executive order, which takes effect Tuesday, will protect the state’s growing homeless population.

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NYC Mayor Expands Outreach to Street Homeless


NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday he is launching a sweeping initiative to combat the persistent problem of homelessness in New York City, ordering teams to do a daily canvass of every block of an 8-mile stretch in Manhattan to reach out to those living on the street.

The new program, announced at a high-profile speech to a major New York business group, is the latest in a series of moves by City Hall meant to show that it is urgently combatting the homelessness crisis after taking months of criticism that it was slow to address the problem.

The new Home-Stat program will deploy teams from the city’s Department of Homeless Services to walk every block from Canal Street to 145th Street, a prime stretch of Manhattan where most of the estimated 3,000 to 4,000 street homeless are found. They will be tasked with engaging the homeless to offer services and urge them to seek shelter.

“The truth is that no city in this nation has cracked the code and figured out how to solve this crisis,” the mayor said in a speech to the Association for a Better New York. “But Home-Stat will be the most comprehensive street homelessness outreach effort ever deployed in a major American city.”

De Blasio has made clear he believes the problem predates him and says that a shrinking amount of affordable housing is largely to blame for the rise in homelessness. Beyond those on the street, another 58,000 people live in the city’s shelters, near a record-high.


Manchester Town Justice Edwin Williams censured

Manchester Town Justice Edwin Williams censured

A state disciplinary agency has censured a town justice in Ontario County over his handling of two eviction cases.

The Commission on Judicial Conduct said Friday that Manchester Town Court Justice Edwin R. Williams failed to properly hear defenses from tenants or to properly review documents involved in summary eviction proceedings, which he heard in 2012 and 2013.

Williams agreed to the censure.

His attorney, John Tyo, said Friday that Williams has been a town justice since 1971 and has no other disciplinary history. Williams appeared to have properly handled 20 other eviction proceedings in the same period, according to the commission’s determination, which described his missteps as “isolated.”

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Cuomo Planning Discrimination Protections for Transgender New Yorkers

Taking action on a political issue that has long been stalled in Albany, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday announced executive action intended to protect transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and other areas.

The governor, addressing the crowd at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, said he would direct the State Division of Human Rights to issue regulations that extend protections against discrimination found in a 1945 law to cover gender identity, transgender status and gender dysphoria.

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Water crisis in Flint declared public health emergency

Last Updated Oct 2, 2015 1:47 PM EDT

A public health emergency has been declared in cash-strapped Flint, Michigan, after tests showed the city’s water supply is causing elevated levels of lead in children, following months of complaints about the smell and taste.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced Friday that the state will spend $1 million to buy water filters and immediately test water in public schools in Flint. He also announced expanded health exposure testing, continued free water testing, and quicker steps to ensure that water from the Flint River is effectively treated.

The problems arose after the city broke away from Detroit’s water system in 2014 and began taking water from the Flint River to save money, pending the completion of a new regional pipeline in 2016.

On Thursday, the Genesee County health department declared a public health emergency, recommending that people not drink the water unless it has been filtered and tested to rule out elevated levels of lead. More steps will be announced Friday.


Rochester To Receive Nearly $3.7 Million For Lead Abatement

Rochester To Receive Nearly $3.7 Million For Lead Abatement


Rochester is getting nearly $3.7 million in federal funding to help combat lead poisoning.  That according to New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand who say the money will help the city address lead hazards in 235 housing units, providing safer homes for low income families with children.  Federal grant money will also provide assessments of health and safety in 100 units.  The funding will help spur collaboration between the Rochester Housing Authority and the Monroe County Health Department to prevent lead poisoning accidents.  The National Institutes of Health says that  lead is much more harmful to children than adults because it can affect children’s developing nerves and brains.



Empire Justice report details how the increase in mortgage lending between 2011 and 2013 did little to help communities of color participate more fully in the American Dream.

Empire Justice report details how the increase in mortgage lending between 2011 and 2013 did little to help communities of color participate more fully in the American Dream.

(Rochester, NY) Today, at a community forum at the Telesca Center for Justice, Empire Justice Center released its most recent report, “The River Runs Dry II: The Persistent Mortgage Drought in Rochester’s Communities of Color,” analyzing home purchase lending in the Rochester metro area and the City of Rochester.

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The Monroe County Department of Public Health’s most recent data on testing children for elevated blood lead levels (EBLL) indicates that Monroe County and the City of Rochester are making significant progress in the campaign to end childhood lead poisoning. The encouraging statistics regarding testing data for children under the age of six shows that the number of children diagnosed with EBLLs above 10μg/dL (micrograms per deciliter) has decreased from 900 in 2004 to 139 in 2014. Although no amount of lead in the body is normal, blood lead levels of 5-9μg/dL or higher are now considered ‘elevated’.

Two years ago, the Monroe County Department of Public Health began tracking elevated blood lead levels between 5-9μg/dL. In 2014, 470 children were reported with elevated blood lead levels between 5-9μg/dL making a total of 609 children in Monroe County considered “lead poisoned.”

“The effort to eradicate lead poisoning in our community has truly been a collaborative effort and we have made enormous progress,” said Dr. Jeremy Cushman, Interim Commissioner of Health, Monroe County Department of Public Health. “Since 2004, we have reduced the number of children reported with lead poisoning by 85 percent.” Cushman continued, “While we are very proud of this achievement, there is still work ahead of us. We must continue to develop and implement innovative methods to protect all children from this preventable health risk.”

“Our community is a role model for demonstrating unity in the fight against lead poisoning,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “The unparalleled cooperation between the City, the County Health Department, the University of Rochester, the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning, community agencies, and property owners over the past ten years has spared more than 5,600 children from the terrible effects of this public health hazard. These efforts are creating safer and more vibrant neighborhoods, more jobs and better educational opportunities for our children.

While we cannot rest until we have completely eradicated lead poisoning in Rochester, we are moving in a right direction.” “We have made great progress over the past ten years since the implementation of the Rochester’s Lead Law in 2005, however we still have a lot of work to do to finish the job,” stated Mel Callan, a family nurse practitioner at Highland Family Medicine and co-chair of the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning. Callan continued, “In the past year, 609 Rochester area children had unacceptably high blood lead levels—enough to fill more than 30 kindergarten classrooms. Children are particularly susceptible to the irreversible and devastating effects of lead poisoning. We must raise the awareness of families to get their homes tested for lead hazards and get their children tested at ages one and again at two to avoid any possible developmental damage.”

The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning wants to remind everyone that lead poisoning, although completely preventable, can inflict permanent damage to the most vulnerable members of the community—our children. Information on getting your home and children tested for lead hazards, how to get EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) certified in accordance with federal law, and to request FREE educational materials in multiple languages can be found at the Coalition web site or by calling (585) 224-3125.

County lead poisoning diagnoses down 85 percent

David Riley, Staff writer

The number of children under 6 newly diagnosed with elevated levels of lead in their blood has dropped 85 percent in Monroe County over the past decade, the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning announced Thursday.

The coalition, along with city and Monroe County officials, celebrated that progress at a Thursday news conference, crediting cooperation among different government agencies, community organizations and citizens.

“These numbers are a shining example of what a community can do by coming together and putting children first,” City Council President Loretta Scott said at the Northeast Neighborhood Service Center on Norton Street.

However, speakers emphasized that the job is not done.

In 2004, 900 out of 13,746 children screened were found to have elevated lead levels in their blood. Last year, 139 out of 14,518 children screened had such levels in their blood, the lowest number in 10 years.

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Growing concern over lead poisoning prevention budget cuts

Growing concern over lead poisoning prevention budget cuts

Allison Norlian

Rochester, NY (WROC) – In the last 15 years, great strides have been made preventing lead poisoning deaths in Rochester. Local experts credit outreach and education about repairing homes with lead paint.

Now there’s concern funding cuts could put kids at risk.

Congress is considering a bill that would cut $35 million from the office of lead hazard control. Experts say that would have a huge impact locally, potentially reversing the headway they’ve made combatting lead poisoning in Rochester.

Experts say most are poisoned by deteriorating paint used on homes built prior to 1978. The proposed cut in the budget would force a cut to important programs in Rochester, and some predict, that could lead to another spike in local poisoning cases.

“I ultimately think its going to hamper the ability for local communities to address the issues through funding efforts to reduce hazards in properties,” explains Joel Kunkler of the Housing Council. “Its also going to reduce our efforts significantly to be able to educate folks and that is probably one of the most important vehicles we have.”

The budget cuts are included in the HUD Bill, and despite protest, the bill is expected to pass the U.S. House this week.
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