NYC program allows senior citizens to freeze rents

Charmaine DaCosta.
Photo by Farran Powell

Rising costs and perpetual inflationary increases in living expenses affect almost everyone. However, Americans reliant on a fixed income are often a silent majority quietly struggling to stay above the fray.

Reports of elders resorting to eating pet foods, many more losing their dwellings and having to live in shelters or suffer the stigma of being called homeless has become a recurring story and far less a news item.

In order to provide assistance to qualified elders, The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE, also known as the NYC Rent Freeze Program) freezes the rent for head-of-household seniors 62 and older who live in rent-regulated apartments.

On Dec. 11 at the Park Slope Library, 431 Sixth Ave. at 9th St., The Good Neighbors of Park Slope will host a community outreach event.

Beginning at 11 am, the informative session aimed at anyone over 62 years of age will enlighten NYC residents who may qualify for the NYC rent Freeze Program aka SCRIE.

Held in partnership with the Community Service Society, the Friday event may attract eligible candidates and families in need of a stable rent adjustment

Pertinent information will be readily available to interested individuals and representatives will be present to lend assistance to applicants in need of help.

The program has been in effect for many years and many beneficiaries claim relief from the anxiety of meeting annual increases and pending elevations in their monthly carrying costs.

One of the key qualifications to applying is that if the application made prior to July 1, 2014, the senior’s household income must be $29,000 or less.

Due to a change, after that date, the senior’s household income must be $50,000 or less.

Landlords are given a property tax abatement credit applied to their property tax bill in the same amount as the increase that the tenant is exempted from paying.

You can get more information about SCRIE, including:

•Eligibility for SCRIE if you are a senior residing in a rent stabilized building

•Eligibility for SCRIE if you are a senior residing in a Mitchell-Lama or any other (non-rent stabilized) government-regulated development

•Tips on how to apply

•Check on the status of an application

•How to renew SCRIE benefits

•How to transfer from SCRIE to DRIE (Disability Rent Increase Exemption)

•How to make an appeal if you believe you were wrongly denied SCRIE benefits

•How to fill out a Portability Form if you are a SCRIE recipient and you are moving to a different rent-regulated apartment

•How to report that the building is under new ownership or management, if you are the landlord

•How to report to the SCRIE program that a SCRIE tenant has moved or died

•How to correct or update information on your SCRIE record

•How to request an adjustment of legal rent based on the Casado v. Markus court action

Senior Centers that provide case assistance can also help with starting the application process.

Anyone that recently submitted an application should know that it could take up to 4 weeks from the mailing date for the application to be processed and for the status to be available.

FORMER ALL-GIRL REGGAE BANDMEMBER HITS SOUR NOTE

Let it be said that Charmaine DaCosta, former Worl-A-Girl singer is neither unsung or among the one-hit wonders that fade into obscurity after broaching international acclaim.

The 54-year-old Jamaican singer who first commanded a spotlight in 1990 — when along with Brooklynite Linda Scott, London transplant Sophia Wilks, and Trinidad & Tobago’s Sabrina Cohen, united as Worl-A-Girls — is now front and center of her very own business venture.

Throughout the group’s heydays, she helped provide a cool sound, girl power and infused a breath of fresh air to the predominant testosterone-driven reggae genre.

Unfortunately after a brief stint on the circuit, airplay on numerous radio stations, tours throughout the diaspora and Africa, the whirl stopped.

But DaCosta did not fizzle into obscurity, after years of rebranding herself as a caterer and emerging the brains behind Crude Food, she also transformed herself from secular music artist to singing gospel artist. Simultaneously she also tended to domestic duties raising a family and in the process completed basic educational requirements by earning a four-year college degree.

Now she has hit a sour note.

Not exactly one that resonates with high pitch aural discord but with enterprising dedication to a business she launched known as Limation Limeade drink.

“I very quickly realized that I wanted to get into the manufactured food space and, having an affinity for limeade, I decided to coin the name Limation and put out my version of Jamaican Limeade.”

Targeted to the Caribbean community, DaCosta said the product is already available to New Yorkers desirous of a cool and refreshing beverage.

Sold in outlets that carry Caribbean products, Limeade is among the choice items to sample.

“Our audience is the quality-conscious consumer who wants a better alternative to the typical soft drinks.”

Available in four flavors, the success of the original lime flavor motivated the enterprising businesswoman to add: Passion Fruit, Lavender and Watermelon.

DaCosta said she plans to introduce a tea cooler that might be named Ghograjan.

Initially she said that the launch could be as early as next month.

And while her latest outing puts her solely out front as the leader, fans of Worl-A-Girls are still curious about why the talented females went their separate ways.

“The group didn’t split; I had a baby and decided I wanted to spend time with her. I also thought that I was too old at the time for the dancehall scene and it was best to do music in a different way,” she recently explained.

DaCosta and members of the seminal all-girl group made inroads touring with recently Grammy-nominated family group Morgan Heritage during reggae’s boom years during the 1990’s. Recording on a CBS subsidiary known as Chaos Records the lucrative arrangement with the label ended with the Girls going the way of many reggae groups of the era that were signed to commercial record labels.

She is now the proud mother of two daughters, gospel singer and associate pastor in a Harlem church.

DaCosta no longer records secular music preferring instead to record inspirational songs.

Among the gospel she has released are:” A Prayer and Love,” and “Joy, Hope, Peace.”

Catch You On The Inside!

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