Engel adds name to housing bill


U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel is co-sponsoring a bill introduced by California Democrat Maxine Waters he says will improve housing affordability across the country, including here in New York.

The Housing is Infrastructure Act, more formally known as H.R. 5187, is expected to increase funding for several existing federal housing programs. That includes $70 billion for the public housing capital backlog, with nearly half that going to the New York City Housing Authority.

It also would include another $5 billion to the Housing Trust Fund, which Waters said would support the creation of hundreds of thousands of new housing units affordable to the lowest income households.

There also would be another $10 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program, used to incentivize states and cities to responsibly streamline the process for affordable housing development.

“Access to safe, affordable housing is a human right,” Engel said, in a release. “Our nation, however, is currently in the midst of a housing affordability crisis. Too many New York families are spending an exorbitant amount on housing, leaving little for other necessities such as medication and groceries. The Housing is Infrastructure Act would help stem this crisis by putting $100 billion into federal housing programs, which touch everything from constructing new units to upgrading elevators in existing buildings.”

The bill also would add $5 billion to the Home Investment Partnerships Program, designed to fund affordable housing activities such as building, buying, and rehabilitating affordable homes for low-income families, according to a release.


Seatbelt bill closer to becoming law

The Assembly has passed a bill that, if signed into law, would require anyone sitting in the back seat of a car to wear a seatbelt.

The state’s lower chamber passed A.6163 last week, which now heads to the state senate.

The bill would require anyone 16 and older to wear a seatbelt no matter where they are sitting in a vehicle. Right now, older teens and adults can avoid a seatbelt in the back seat.