On September 14, 2023 the City Council approved Int. 1080-A. The bill, sponsored by City Council Member Linda Lee, focuses on the distribution and publication of information about emergency food programs, food benefit programs, and senior centers available through the ACCESS HRA website.
This bill will require the Department of Social Services to make information on emergency feeding programs, food benefit programs, and senior centers available on the department’s website and through the Access HRA application allowing the user of the website to search for an emergency feeding program, or a senior center by zip code, hours of operation, status as a senior citizen or any other relevant category.
Additionally, the bill will require the Department of Social Services to work with the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to include a link to the information on other online platforms through which the City disseminates information on social services and benefits. The bill will also require the Department of Social Services, along with the Department for the Aging, to make same information available in writing at job centers, senior centers, SNAP centers, and any other location to be determined by the commissioner.
The bill will require that the subsequent information be made available in English and designated citywide languages for maximum accessibility. The bill will go into effect 120 days after the law was approved.
The full fiscal impact is anticipated first in 2025. Impacts on funding are not anticipated because the agencies will utilize existing resources to comply with the legislation.
Council Member Lee stated, “According to the most recent data, an estimated 1.2 million New York City residents are listed as food insecure. This 15 percent of our City are our neighbors, friends, and family. As a former social worker who ran a Meals on Wheels program and two senior centers, I’ve seen firsthand how our seniors can be especially impacted. Despite the challenging and uncertain times our City is facing, New Yorkers should never have to worry about where they can obtain their next meal. With Intro 1080, the City Council will be mandating the Department of Social Services to make information on nearby emergency feeding programs, food benefit programs, and senior centers accessible and searchable through its website and the Access HRA application. This format will allow folks to input their zip code, hours of operation, status as a senior citizen, or any other relevant category.”
By: Kristina Kane (Kristina is a New York Law School student, Class of 2025.)