The Serrano Report - Volume XVI, Issue #16
In Washington, DC
Congressman Serrano Introduces Legislation and Appropriations Amendment to Increase Funding Available for Public Housing Repairs
Congressman Serrano introduced the Public Housing Capital Repair Fund Act and an accompanying amendment to the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill during its full committee consideration last week. This legislation would allow public housing authorities to perform much-needed capital repairs to help improve the living conditions and health outcomes for public housing residents. Specifically, it would increase funding for the Public Housing Capital Fund, and target funding to high priority health hazards like mold reduction and lead paint removal.
17 original cosponsors joined Serrano in introducing the bill: Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Nydia Velázquez, Rep. Yvette Clarke, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Rep. Vicente González, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Dwight Evans, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. André Carson, Rep. Shelia Jackson-Lee, and Rep. Grace Meng.
“We can’t wait any longer to fix the unacceptable housing conditions posing a major health hazard for thousands of hardworking families living in public housing. Every American deserves access to a safe and healthy home. This bill would increase funding for the Public Housing Capital Fund, allowing public housing authorities to finally address much-needed capital repairs that have been accumulating over the years. It would also help our government reduce the overall health care costs associated with environmental hazards by targeting urgent health threats. A single investment in housing infrastructure can have a positive, tangible, and measurable immediate impact on the health of hundreds of individuals and families. Health is more than access to health care and treatment once an individual gets sick. It is also about preventing disease, and investing in the safety of our public housing will guarantee that hundreds of thousands of families living there have a healthy home,” said Congressman Serrano.
The legislation is also supported by Mayor de Blasio:
"For far too long, the federal government has starved public housing of desperately needed funding. Although we have made an unprecedented investment in NYCHA, we are now facing budget cuts that threaten this progress and the health of 400,000 New Yorkers. I am proud to stand today with Congressman Serrano, and fight to improve the quality of life for residents," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Serrano Offers Amendments to Protect Immigrants During Department of Homeland Security Markup
Last week, Congressman Serrano offered two amendments to protect immigrants and their families during consideration of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill. Serrano is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, where the bill was considered.
First, Serrano offered an amendment to prevent the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants who are parents of United States citizens. Over the past several years, hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants with citizen children have been deported – breaking up families and causing extreme distress.
Serrano also offered an amendment with Representative Barbara Lee to prevent immigration enforcement officers from conducting operations at sensitive locations like schools, churches, hospitals, and public assistance offices. There have been numerous reports of immigration raids at these locations
“Our immigration policies are in need of comprehensive reform, but Republicans have refused to act,” said Congressman Serrano. “Without a willing partner, the appropriations process is the only time we have an opportunity to change the Trump Administration’s policies for the better. Rather than creating fear in immigrant communities, we should promote the health, safety, and welfare of all individuals who are living in this country. At the very least, that means that ICE agents should not be allowed in sensitive locations, and that family unity should be promoted. My amendments sought to accomplish these goals- and I will continue to fight for a fairer and more just immigration system.”
Serrano Offers Health Equity Amendment During Appropriations Markup
Last week, Congressman Serrano also offered an amendment with Congresswoman Barbara Lee to Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill to restore funding to several minority health programs that were eliminated in the Republican proposal.
One such program, the REACH program, helps address health disparities among minority communities- and in particular provides funding to target chronic health issues. There are several grantees in the South Bronx that receive funding from these programs.
“I am deeply troubled that Republicans have refused to fully fund programs that help communities like the South Bronx,” said Congressman Serrano. “That is why I introduced an amendment with Congresswoman Lee to restore funding for programs that help reduce health disparities faced by minority communities. These programs are vital for the health of African-Americans and Latinos, and I will continue to fight for full funding to continue these important programs.”
Congressman Serrano Meets with Italian Students from the University of Buconi
Recently, Congressman Serrano met with students from Universita Bucconi to talk about his work in Congress and what they can do to build a better world.
In the Bronx
No Cuts Coalition Housing Forum in the Bronx
Congressman Serrano joined the No Cuts Coalition, an alliance of 40 local community organizations, to raise awareness and rally support for efforts to fight President Trump’s proposed $7 billion cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which funds important agencies like NYCHA; and plans to eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) program, which over the years has invested billions in community development initiatives in the Bronx. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, which funds these programs, Congressman Serrano talked about his efforts in Congress to protect this vital funding for areas like the Bronx. Organization representatives and local residents discussed how the proposed cuts will impact their lives/livelihoods.
“Trump’s proposal to cut funding for our nation’s public housing and economic development programs would have a terrible impact in underserved communities in the Bronx and the rest of New York. NYCHA, affordable housing, and economic development programs are already facing serious fiscal challenges; these cuts will only make their work harder and put more strain on already struggling working families. We have to keep fighting to stop Trump’s efforts to gut HUD, the CDFI program, and other important initiatives in order to increase defense spending to an unnecessary level. We need to tell the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress that national security is more than guns and tanks. As a senior member of the Appropriations committee, I will do everything in my power to stop these cuts in Congress and continue defending hard working Bronxites and New Yorkers from the Trump Administration,” said Congressman Serrano.
CAPTION: Congressman Serrano joined the No Cuts Coalition, an alliance of 40 local community organizations, to raise awareness and rally support for efforts to fight President Trump’s proposed $7 billion cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD plans to eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) program Thursday evening. (July 6, 2017)
Members of the No Cuts Coalition, include: Community Voices Heard, DC 37; Laborers Local 79; Mother's on the Move; CASA-New Settlement; Banana Kelly; New York Housing Conference; NYS Tenants and Neighbors; Bronx South CCOP-NYCHA; and the Center for Popular Democracy among others.
Bronx-Lebanon for Candlelight Vigil for Peace & Reconciliation and against Gun Violence
Also last week, Congressman Serrano joined a candlelight vigil for Peace & Reconciliation and against gun violence in the Bronx. The vigil gathered hundreds of local residents, doctors, nurses, and other caregivers, along with labor, faith and elected leaders to honor the lives of Dr. Tam and Officer Familia whose lives were cut short from gun violence earlier this month. Congressman Serrano spoke about the importance of continuing to push for gun safety measures in Congress, including through funding for important programs: