Today’s news:

Rent increase exemption program signed into law

The proposal to amend the senior citizen rent increase exemption program (SCRIE), of which Councilman Vincent Gentile was a key co-sponsor, was passed by the New York City Council and signed into law by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“We raised the income eligibility level by $1,000, which will protect more seniors from burdensome rent increases,” Gentile said. “Our neighborhood has more seniors than almost any other in New York City, and this step toward protecting their quality of life was absolutely crucial.”

The bill raises the income eligibility standard for the program to $29,000, which is up $1,000 from last year’s eligibility level.

The SCRIE program allows households that are headed by someone over the age of 62 to be exempt from rent increases if they meet income requirements. This new bill will allow more low-income seniors to be exempt from burdensome rent increases, along with the 45,000 households already a part of this program. Landlords with tenants in the SCRIE program receive tax abatement credits from the city.

Gentile sponsors events, which enhance seniors’ quality of life, such as the annual Senior Picnic and Senior Prom, and will bring a free mobile mammography unit to the district in September.

In August, Gentile will host a free computer class in conjunction with the Dyker Heights Civic Association to teach seniors how to access information and stay in touch with loved ones on the Internet.

Seniors are welcome to call Gentile’s office at 718-748-5200 for a SCRIE application or assistance in completing the application process. More information on SCRIE eligibility requirements can be requested from his office.

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