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NY close to approving $2.4B rent relief bill — but its rollout will be the real test

first_imgCarl Heastie, Andrew Cuomo and Andrea Stewart-Cousins. (Getty)Landlord and tenant groups say the state’s plan for disbursing more than $2 billion in rent relief is a step in the right direction, though both have concerns about its rollout. The plan, spelled out in a newly printed bill, would bar evictions and rent increases for one year in cases where landlords accept aid. Both property owners and tenants can apply, but the program does not mandate that landlords accept the money — a point of concern for tenant groups.The bill does, however, require the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to repeatedly try to get an eligible landlord to cooperate. It gives property owners 180 days to accept before directing the funds to someone else.It also provides some protection against landlords who would rather drag tenants to court rather than accept federal aid. The measure states that a landlord who refuses to accept relief within 12 months has waived the unpaid rent and can’t pursue a monetary action or judgement. Tenants are also able to use a landlord’s lack of cooperation as a defense in court.The measure allows tenants to self-attest to their eligibility, though language in the bill was vague. As of Tuesday, it indicated that federal and state regulations would determine what is permissible.Aid can cover 12 months of rent arrears accrued on or after March 13, 2020, with an additional three months available only for rent-burdened households, i.e. those who dedicate 30 percent or more of their monthly income toward rent.Cea Weaver, who leads the Housing Justice for All coalition, said the bill includes many of her organization’s priorities, including protections against evictions and explicit coverage for undocumented tenants.“But the devil is where it always is — in the details,” she added. “Without a clear mandate for landlords to accept rent relief money, and until the program is up and rolling, it remains to be seen if it can meet the scale of the crisis.”The program applies to households that have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic, whether directly or indirectly. It first prioritizes tenants who make at or below 50 percent of the area median income. Those with pending eviction cases, who live in mobile homes, who reside in a community disproportionately affected by the pandemic, are determined to be part of a vulnerable population (including victims of domestic violence and veterans), or who live in a building with 20 or fewer units are also given preferential consideration.The measure also creates an initial 30-day window with its own hierarchy of priorities. For example, those making at or less than 50 percent of the AMI who also belong to another priority group are given a first crack at funding. Further down the list are those earning 80 percent of the AMI and those who belong to another priority group.The program’s implementation will largely depend on rules and regulations issued by the OTDA. The previous state-run rent relief program was criticized for its slow rollout and failure to distribute all of the funds available. Of the $100 million available, the state only distributed $47 million. The remaining $53 million will be incorporated in the state’s budget, according to Gothamist. A representative for the office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.The bar on evictions applies to holdover cases and instances where a lease has expired, although there is an exception for owners of properties with four or fewer units. They can opt to not renew a lease if they plan to personally occupy an apartment in the immediate future.Frank Ricci, executive vice president of the Rent Stabilization Association, said the bill doesn’t specify if landlords can pursue evictions against tenants who are a nuisance in the building. His organization is also concerned by the bar on rent increases, especially in stabilized apartments. He said it is too early to tell if these provisions would drive property owners to court instead of the state, but noted legal action isn’t often their first choice.“Owners don’t want to go to court,” he said. “They want to get paid.”Contact Kathryn Brenzel CoronavirusPoliticsRent RegulationsRental Market Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlink Message*center_img Full Name* Tags Email Address*last_img read more

See It’s Only a Play’s New Stars Getting Into Character!

first_img Related Shows It’s Only a Play View Comments Martin Short, Katie Finneran and Maulik Pancholy officially joined the star-packed cast of It’s Only a Play on January 7, and by the looks of these backstage shots of the new players in costume, they’re fitting right in with their new co-stars! The trio joins original cast members Matthew Broderick, F. Murray Abraham, Stockard Channing and Micah Stock in this wacky play-within-a-play by Terrence McNally. Check out these photos of the cast with McNally, producer Tom Kirdahy and director Jack O’Brien, then see the hijinks at the Schoenfeld Theatre through January 18, and at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre from January 23 through March 29. Show Closed This production ended its run on June 7, 2015 Star Files Maulik Pancholylast_img read more

1 person killed in New Berlin car crash

first_imgPolice say a vehicle travelling northbound on State Highway 8 crossed into the opposite lane of traffic and struck a vehicle head-on. The driver of the vehicle travelling southbound died at the scene. NEW BERLIN, N.Y. (WBNG) — New York State Police responded to a report of a two-car crash on State Highway 8 Tuesday afternoon. The driver travelling northbound has been transported to Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. Police have not released the identity of the victim as the investigation is ongoing. Both drivers were the only occupants in each vehicle at the time of the crash. State Highway 8 remained closed for several hours but is now reopen. This is a developing story. Stay with 12 News for future updates.last_img

Justin Timberlake Proves Streaming Isn’t A Death Sentence For Music Sales

first_imgTags:#digital music#spotify#streaming music 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App john paul titlow Related Posts Do music subscription services threaten music sales? Not if you ask Justin Timberlake.The rise of all-you-can-stream services like Spotify have made some artists nervous about the model’s potential impact on music sales. It’s why bands like Coldplay have delayed the arrival of new albums on Spotify and others, like the Beatles and AC/DC, are holding out all together. Logically, it makes sense: If you make your music available to stream for free, people are less likely to buy it.Right? Not always.Ahead of its release on March 19, Justin Timberlake’s new album The 20/20 Experiencewas streaming in its entirety not just on Spotify and Rdio, but at the iTunes store itself. Anybody who wanted to could quickly and legally access the album for a week. Then it was released. And it became the most pre-ordered album in iTunes history, surging past his record label’s sales expectations by 63%.  It’s good news not just for Timberlake himself, but for the music subscription model that he plans to embrace when MySpace — of which he is part owner — launches its own service later this year.  MySpace will join Google, Amazon, Beats and God knows who else in entering the digital music subscription market in 2013. Timberlake’s experience would seem to debunk the thesis that streaming can’t support artists and thus isn’t in their best interests. Indeed, his success will likely make him a poster child for the music subscription revolution as the industry marches toward a future in which music is rented more than it’s owned. Music Subscription Services: Not a Silver BulletBut hold on a second. For one thing, we’re not all Justin Timberlake. The pop megastar released his first solo album over a decade ago, after years of global success as a member of a massively popular boy band. In the same way that Radiohead’s 2007 experiment in “pay-what-you-want” record sales didn’t create a new model that worked for everybody, artists can’t necessarily look to Timberlake for cues about where their careers might be headed. It’s also worth noting that streaming alone wasn’t enough to constitute “success” in this case: Selling individual copies is still the ticket to revenue and publicity for artists. Timberlake’s new album quickly became one of the most streamed records on Spotify, but that’s not what everybody’s talking about. It’s the sales numbers. That’s where the lion’s share of the revenue for this record is going to come from. What The 20/20 Experience launch does show is that subscription services, while not ready to replace paid downloads as a revenue stream for the industry, can be a critical tool for marketing and ultimately driving sales. In time, the revenue available to streaming services may reach more sustainable levels. In the meantime, it’s nice to know the artists who embrace them aren’t shooting themselves in the foot by doing so. Streaming may have promise, but it’s no silver bullet. The music market’s digital future is going to be a hybrid of approaches, some of which will work better than others in particular circumstances. Timberlake’s success is interesting — meaningful, even — but the way forward still isn’t a simple one.Photo via Flickr user Edward Kustoff, CC 2.0center_img 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

Taylor Swift Donates 25000 Scholastic Books To New York City Schools

first_imgToday, singer, songwriter Taylor Swift and Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, announced a donation of 25,000 new, age-appropriate books from the Scholastic Possible Fund to 25 New York City schools in need of more books for their students.Twenty-five schools will each receive 1,000 new children’s books through the Scholastic Possible Fund as a result of Taylor’s support of the Company’s “Open a World of Possible,” initiative, designed to promote independent reading among all children. As a long-time literacy advocate, Taylor hosted a webcast for classrooms during which she shared how books, reading and writing have influenced her and opened her world. Since it first aired in October 2014, the webcast has been viewed by more than 4.5 million students from around the country and is available here.The importance of increasing access to books in schools was highlighted in the most recent Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report which found that children ages 6-17 from lower-income households are more likely to read books for fun in school and far less likely to read books outside of school than their higher-income peers. Further, having a selection of texts for independent reading can be a powerful tool to encourage kids to pick up a book. The same report revealed that nine in ten kids agree their favorite books – and the ones they are the most likely to finish – are the ones they pick out themselves.“Scholastic is honored to join with Taylor Swift who continues to show a passion for literacy and a commitment to spreading the message of how influential books can be in a child’s life,” said Greg Worrell, President, Scholastic Education. “Through this donation, we aim to encourage independent reading which inspires a love of learning and to ‘Open a World of Possible’ for more New York City students by making sure they have access to the very best children’s books.”“We are really looking forward to receiving these books and incorporating them into our school’s library so that all students in our building can have access to them,” said Principal Nova Xiomara, of PS 132, Juan Pablo Duarte School in Manhattan, NY.last_img read more