As the summer season unfolds, we are excited to share the latest updates and developments at NMIC. As we reflect on the past month, we are reminded of hurdles we have overcome and the ongoing obstacles that lie ahead. In this dynamic journey, your support has served as a guiding force, driving our mission forward with unwavering momentum. We are incredibly grateful for your dedication and commitment to our work in the community.
The Recent Price Hike in Rent-Stabilized Homes
At NMIC, we are deeply committed to uplifting our community members and promoting housing security, recognizing that housing is a fundamental human right. Over the years, rent-stabilized apartments have played a crucial role in enabling families to continue residing in our city. In fact, approximately a quarter of New York City’s total population, which accounts for roughly two million people, currently call rent-stabilized apartments their homes.
On June 21st, the Rent Guidelines Board reached a decision to raise the rent. By a close margin of 5 to 4, the board voted to raise rents on one-year leases by 3%, while two-year leases will experience an increase of 2.75% in the first year and 3.2% in the second year. These changes will apply to leases effective on October 1, 2023, to September 30, 2024. We are concerned about the consequences these rent increases will have for our community. It is disheartening to know that these rent increases will lead to heightened financial burdens, placing residents at risk of eviction.
Moving forward, we remain steadfast in our commitment to advocate for the well-being and housing security for all New Yorkers. Safe and affordable housing is a basic right that many of our clients do not have access to. NMIC’s free legal, development, organizing, and weatherization assistance help the members of our community remove the obstacles that keep them from enjoying housing security.
The Future of Promise NYC
Promise NYC, a childcare assistance pilot program initiated by ACS, has been a beacon of hope for low-income, immigrant families in New York City. We feared its imminent end, as over 600 children would lose access to essential childcare services. We are overwhelmingly excited to announce that Promise NYC was included in the budget for 2024.
Our team at NMIC presented compelling testimony for Promise NYC on June 13th in front of the city council, shedding light on the transformative power of the program. We rely on programs such as Promise NYC to adapt and tackle new challenges, such as the increase in new arrivals to New York City. Through firsthand experience, we have witnessed the monumental difference that Promise NYC makes in the lives of our community members.
For many immigrant families within the communities we serve, programs like Promise NYC are key to a parent’s ability to enter the workforce, impacting both their availability to look for employment and the number of hours they can work as soon as they are employed. Continued access to Promise NYC services is necessary to ensure these families are not further destabilized.
Click here to read The City’s Article on Promise NYC.
Thank You for Joining us at Unidos: A NMIC Benefit
We are delighted to announce that Unidos: A NMIC Benefit, held on June 15, surpassed all expectations and emerged as a resounding success. The event brought together our dedicated staff, passionate supporters, esteemed partners, and valued community members, united in our mission to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of the people in our community on their paths to secure and prosperous futures.
It was also a momentous occasion to recognize and honor the exceptional commitment of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University School of Nursing, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, Tenant Cooperate 21 Arden, and Dr. Aldrin Rafael Bonilla.
We are grateful for the unwavering support we have received from individuals like you who have played an integral role in our transformative journey. Let us take a moment to celebrate this remarkable achievement and acknowledge the difference we are making together.
We invite you to relive the memorable moments from our benefit by exploring photos captured during the event, which can be found here.
The Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health (OCMH), an imperative mental health initiative by New York City, strives to elevate awareness of mental well-being and guarantee access to crucial mental health services for all residents. We are proud to announce that OCMH selected NMIC to be a community anchor for Communities Thrive. Communities Thrive is a demonstration project designed to address disparities and expand access to mental health care through community partnerships and connection to tele-mental healthcare provided by NYC Health + Hospitals. Its purpose is to eliminate barriers to mental healthcare faced by Latinx individuals in New York.
Access to adequate mental healthcare for New Yorkers and their families is often hindered by systemic barriers. Communities of color are especially vulnerable to mental health needs, yet they receive less care than their white counterparts. Around 30% of New York residents live in designated mental healthcare shortage areas, where there are insufficient mental health providers and services. This is aggravated by a serious shortage of mental healthcare providers, lack of insurance, and stigma. Given this situation, OCMH has partnered with community organizations to create an integrated referral network to connect clients to mental health services, eliminate obstacles to insurance coverage, provide advocacy, and connect individuals with culturally sensitive and readily accessible services. Additionally, Communities Thrive partnered with GoDiversity, a Latinx-owned marketing agency, to create a public awareness campaign about mental health to address help-seeking barriers and combat stigma.
It brings us great pride to collaborate with OCMH, NY Health+Hospitals, and fellow community organizations such as BronxWorks, Dominican Women’s Development Center (DWDC), New Settlement, VIP Mujeres, Apicha, and Betances. As the community anchor for the project, our aim is to organize a network of community-based organizations and community-health organizations to provide assessment, referrals, and advocacy for clients in need of mental health services. Together, we are committed to forging a mental healthcare system that is fair, just, and caters to the distinctive needs of every New Yorker.
To learn more about Communities Thrive, click here.
Cafécito con Maria
Before we delve into the advocacy work of Maria Lizardo, LMSW, NMIC’s esteemed Executive Director, we must first extend our heartfelt congratulations on a momentous occasion: her remarkable 25th anniversary with NMIC! Since joining our organization as the Director of Social Services in 1998, Maria has consistently left an indelible mark on the lives of countless individuals. Her professional journey reflects her profound love for the communities of Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.
Earlier this month, on June 21st, Maria and other nonprofit leaders from across the boroughs united in a powerful demonstration of solidarity. From 6:00 PM to 10:00 AM the following morning, they participated in a rally organized by the Human Services Council. The gathering aimed to draw attention to the exploitation of human service workers by the government, advocating for fair wages for those employed within the sector under contracts with New York City and the State. The next day, Maria also attended, “Human Service Workers, Tell Mayor Adams: Don’t Forget Us in the Budget.” The rally, sponsored by United Neighborhood Houses, Nonprofit New York, UJA Federation New York, and FPWA, was also in support of the #JustPay campaign.
New York City, often referred to as the city that never sleeps, witnesses the tireless dedication of human service workers who consistently care for its residents around the clock. Despite the relentless demands of their work, these workers find themselves struggling with poverty wages. It is time for the city to reciprocate this care and acknowledge the vital role of human service workers by providing a 6.5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) within the budget. The efforts of these dedicated individuals deserve tangible support, allowing them to continue their invaluable work of caring for New Yorkers, day in and day out.
Click here to listen to Maria’s remarks at Human Services Council’s rally.
NMIC in the News
- In a recent article titled “Four million residents of the Big Apple could have obstacles to recertify their health insurance,” published by El Dario NY on May 25th, Maria Lizardo expressed concerns about the recertification process for Medicaid members. She stated, “In recent years, Medicaid members did not have to be certified. Now since the emergency is over, each person has to do it from this spring. We are afraid that many people will lose their health insurance, because they miss the date or do not understand the requirements.” Click here to read more.
- On May 27th, Maria Lizardo authored an article for Manhattan Times emphasizing the essential role of human service workers and the necessity of a cost-of-living adjustment. Click here to read more.
- An article published by The Indypendent on June 15th shed light on the impact of the unwinding of Medicaid, which could leave up to 200,000 New Yorkers without health insurance. Maria Lizardo highlighted the importance of having trustworthy individuals on the ground to support enrollees who receive notices in the mail. She stated, “You need boots on the ground, people that can trust to come to if they get a notice in the mail. It’s not gonna get done by a state agency calling someone, especially with so much distrust between communities and government.” Click here to read more.
- Telemundo 47 reported on the Public Hearings on Rent Increases held on June 21st, featuring Unidad Comunal, an independent entity that receives organizational support from NMIC. Click here to read more.
- Pride Month
- Caribbean-American Heritage Month
- Black Lives Matter Month
- PTSD Awareness Month
- Immigrant Heritage Month
- June 19, Juneteenth
- June 27, PTSD Awareness Day