Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D–Flatbush) on Monday held a rally on the steps of City Hall calling on the Administration to move forward with Intro 0722, a bill that would amend the minimum temperature to be maintained in residential dwellings overnight.
Williams, who is Deputy Leader and Chairman of the Housing and Buildings Committee, said the bill would also remove the outside day time and night time temperature trigger, which normally prompts when inside heating should kick in.
Williams, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, was joined by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Sen. Bill Perkins, the Flatbush Tenant Coalition, Housing and Family Services of Greater New York, and impacted New Yorkers from Midwood Senior Center.
“Most people don’t realize how cold it has to be outside to legally be able to get heat,” Williams said. “We focused on what we have the ability to focus on, which was the nighttime temperature.
“Right now, in order to get heat, it has to be 40 degrees outside, and inside it has to be 55 degrees, which is not a comfortable temperature,” Williams added. “There are a lot of seniors and young people who cannot deal with 55 degrees. It’s very confusing for tenants who think they’re supposed to receive additional heat.”
“We’ve spent nine months trying to get information on when the environmental study will start, and that’s unacceptable,” he continued. “I’m appreciative that the administration has verbally committed to this study, however, words without action mean nothing.”
In order for Intro. 0722 to move forward, Williams said the Administration must conduct an environmental impact study.
“As we enter the full-fledged winter season, thousands of New Yorkers struggle to stay warm. Tenants have a right to adequate heat from October 1 to May 31, yet the current heat mandates are not sufficient enough for a number of residents, who still complain they grapple to keep warm,” Williams said. “Intro 0722 is essential to remedying this problem by raising the inside temperature to 62 degrees (up from 55) between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am.”
“Under this bill, the outside temperature trigger of 40 degrees would be removed, thus allowing for a minimum temperature of 62 degrees at all times, regardless of outside temperature,” he added.
Brewer said: “Winter is here, and too many New Yorkers are cold in their homes when they don’t have to be.”
“Our bill would increase temperature minimums, and make heat enforcement simpler and fairer,” she said. “New Yorkers have been waiting more than eight months for the impact study needed before we pass this bill, and we don’t even have a timeline yet. The administration shouldn’t keep New Yorkers waiting in the cold.”
Lenox Hudson, Vice President of Midwood Senior Center, said it is “important that seniors have the right temperature, because they are the ones suffering, and it lead to other kinds of health issues.
“No one should have to live like this and so, it is my hope that this bill gets passed as soon as possible,” he said.
Patricia George, Tenant Leader for Flatbush Tenants Coalition, said she feared for long-term tenants, “who have been here for many years.
“There is no reason why we should have to complain about getting adequate heat,” she said. “It should be our right.”