SCRIE Stranding Mobility Impaired Seniors in Walkup Apartments

Assemblymember Moya & Councilmember Vallone rally for more flexibility
June 20, 2017

Queens, NY Ė Today, Assemblymember Francisco P. Moya rallied with Councilmember Paul Vallone and seniors outside of Corona Senior Center to call for additional flexibility from SCRIE/DRIE in order to provide additional assistance for seniors seeking more accessible living arrangements.

Senior Citizen/Disability Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE & DRIE) freeze rent for elderly or disabled lower income tenants earning under $50,000 and living in rent controlled or stabilized apartments who would otherwise be unable to afford yearly or capital improvement increases.

ďWhen youíre earning under $50,000, a rent increase as small as $100 dollars more a month can break the bank. SCRIE and DRIE are supposed to be helping seniors and disabilities, yet itís not addressing the one thing thatís endemic to both those demographics Ė mobility issues. Instead, seniors who canít get around like they used to anymore are being forced to choose between making the climb to the fourth floor, or move somewhere they canít afford. Itís unconscionable to impose that kind of decision,Ē said Assemblymember Francisco P. Moya.

Although the sister programs allow a recipient to transfer over their current abatement, moving into a new apartment, especially one more accessible for seniors and persons with disabilities who can no longer scale the stairs up to their apartments, will usually carry a higher base rent. Carrying over the same SCRIE or DRIE reduction does not account for the increase in base rent, resulting in the total amount being unaffordable for recipients.

ďSCRIE and DRIE should offer supplemental assistance for recipients who need to move due to recently developed mobility issues. If youíre a senior or living with a disability, an elevator or first floor apartment isnít a convenience, it isnít a luxury amenity, it is a necessity. They shouldnít be forced to pay what they canít afford, for something they canít live without,Ē continued Assemblymember Moya.

"Seniors in our city living on fixed incomes and relying on SCRIE and DRIE are already faced with enough hardship and stagnant funding for critical senior services," said Council Member Paul Vallone, Chair of the Subcommittee on Senior Centers. "I'm proud to stand with Assemblymember Moya as we call for these programs to provide supplemental assistance to seniors and those with disabilities who need to prioritize accessibility. A senior should never have to choose between struggling to reach their own home or making ends meet."

My 4 story walk up is becoming an increasing burden because of my older age and condition, and it feels like Iíll be stuck in it forever. Iíll soon be undergoing radiation, and with the fatigue that will cause, Iím worried I wonít be able to make the trek up the stairs, or carry my laundry to an off-site laundromat. Iím lucky to have a small savings I can use for move-in expenses, but after looking for apartments, even the cheapest options will still cost me $200 dollars a month more than what I can budget. I simply canít afford that extra cost,Ē said Mr. Glenn Brant, SCRIE recipient.