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January 6, 2014 The Honorable Bill de Blasio Mayor of the City of New York City Hall New York

, NY 10007 Dear Mayor de Blasio, We are writing on behalf of organizations that serve New York City’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Part of the work our groups engage in is advocacy for public policy, programs, and services that will benefit and serve members of the LGBT community. With a new mayoral administration taking control of city government, we believe there is a great opportunity for you to implement a number of crucial advances on behalf of all LGBT New Yorkers. Below, we have outlined a set of issues and proposals that we hope you will incorporate into your first term agenda as mayor. FUNDING FOR RUNAWAY AND HOMELESS LGBT YOUTH SERVICES – A census conducted by the Empire State Coalition and released by the New York City Council in 2008 found that every night 3,800 unaccompanied youths between the ages of 16 and 24 were without stable housing and were at great risk of homelessness. Yet funding from the city and the state combined only provides for fewer than 200 beds dedicated to homeless youth. The report also found that 40% of these youths identified as LGBT. State funding for runaway/homeless youth housing and services has steadily declined since 2008, and every year the City Council must negotiate with the Mayor to maintain city funding. We urge you to fulfill your commitment to base-line RHY funding in the city budget at $12 million per year and to increase that amount incrementally by $1.5 million each year until residential youth shelters no longer have waiting lists on a regular basis. LGBT SENIORS – LGBT seniors often feel unwelcome in visiting senior centers for the general population. They encounter homophobia and insensitivity among staff and clients. Therefore, many seniors either feel the need to re-closet themselves when using these centers, or they are reluctant to access the services these centers provide altogether. Consequently, a vulnerable group within our community is not fully able to access the services it needs. The US Administration on Aging estimates that there are between 1.75 and 4 million Americans over 60 years of age who are LGBT, a large percentage of whom reside in New York City. As the number of LGBT seniors in NYC continues to grow and as the cost of living continues to increase, we need to ensure that LGBT seniors

have both a place to live and unfettered access to services. We propose that the city does the following: • constructs LGBT-friendly affordable housing for seniors, as was recently done in Philadelphia, which constructed the nation’s first urban LGBT-friendly affordable housing development; guarantees funding for an LGBT senior center in each borough, similar to the one operated by SAGE in Manhattan; supports cultural competence training for all city-funded aging service providers to ensure that staff is trained to be inclusive and respectful of LGBT seniors; guarantees funding and other resources to support services for seniors living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS; effectively protects LGBT seniors from elder abuse. Elder abuse comes in many forms, ranging from financial abuse to physical abuse. City government should use existing programs and policies and work with the State Legislature to advocate for statewide programs aimed at ending abuse and creating appropriate measures for reporting abuse.

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HIV TRANSMISSION - According to a 2004 report by Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York City has the highest AIDS case rate in the United States. While we are home to less than 3% of the U.S. population, the city accounts for 17% of national AIDS deaths. We support fully funding the Health and Hospitals Corporations to provide HIV testing, care, and support services. We also support the City Department of Health conducting a study on why the city is falling behind on this issue and enacting specific policies aimed at reducing new infections. LGBT LIAISONS TO CITY GOVERNMENT - To work on defining issues of concern to the LGBT community and to find innovate ways of utilizing government resources to help address these issues, we support the creation of LGBT Liaison positions within a number of key city agencies and the Mayor’s office. This team of liaisons will work on capacity building, outreach, education and training programs, technical assistance, and researching and analyzing proposals, policies, and procedures aimed at serving and protecting members of the LGBT community. Liaisons will also work directly with Commissioners to ensure that agencies are at the forefront of implementing programs and services that address the needs of the LGBT community. To adequately and appropriately address the unique issues confronting the city’s transgender community- a segment of the LGBT community that disproportionately experiences violence and discrimination - it is imperative that there be at least one transgender liaison within the administration. Finally, to handle the city’s response to the high AIDS case rate, the Citywide Coordinator for HIV/AIDS Policy position should be reinstated and brought under the auspices of the Mayor's Office. TRANSGENDER RIGHTS - In 2002, NYC amended its Human Rights Law to include protections for transgender people. In 2012, the NYPD’s Patrol Guide was changed to help ensure that police officers treat transgender and gender non-conforming people with

dignity and respect. The New York City Commission on Human Rights must be given a mandate to enforce the Human Rights Law, Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, in relation to transgender people. It is imperative that the Commission investigate and prosecute violations against transgender people and cultivate understanding and respect for the transgender community by all employees of city government. Special focus must be given to employees working in agencies providing direct services such as the Human Resources Administration and the Department of Homeless Services. We support transgender inclusive healthcare for all City employees similar to a provision in Philadelphia’s City Council Bill No. 130224, signed into law in 2013 by Mayor Nutter, which allows for this coverage. Finally, the name change process for birth certificates must be simplified and must eliminate the requirement for gender reassignment surgery. POLICE-COMMUNITY RELATIONS – The relationship between the NYPD and the LGBT community is still frayed in some neighborhoods. For instance, a report by Make the Road New York entitled “ Transgressive Policies: Police Abuse of LGBTQ Communities of Color in Jackson Heights” showed that the precincts covering Jackson Heights had 90!93% rates of stop and frisk activity towards people of color in 2011 and that, within this community, LGBTQ people of color were particularly targeted. We are asking for (1) the continuation of the NYPD LGBTQ Issues Advisory Panel, (2) the development and implementation of transgender guidelines based upon the new NYPD Patrol Guide changes, (3) the implementation of a new curriculum for School Safety Officers to ensure sensitivity of officers to all disaffected populations, and (4) the administration to work to ensure that all five District Attorneys’ office and the NYPD discontinue the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution. TRACKING THE LGBT COMMUNITY FOR CITY SERVICES – We recommend including sexual orientation and gender identity in all data collection and outreach forms used by city government i to better track LGBT demographics and to ensure the effective allocation of city services. EDUCATION – The Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network’s 2011 National School Climate Survey found that 81.9 percent of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed and that 63.5 percent reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation. Therefore, it is imperative that the Department of Education fully implement the Dignity for All Students Act to help mitigate instances of bullying in New York City schools. HIV/AIDS HOUSING: There is an affordable housing crisis in NYC and the cost of housing is especially difficult for those living with HIV/AIDS. We advocate for the following: (1) Instruct the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) to fully compensate apartment brokers assisting HASA clients to find housing; (2) remove HASA requirements that clients seek drug counseling in order to qualify for enhanced rental

assistance; (3) advocate for the State Legislature to implement a 30% rent cap for HASA clients living in independent housing; and (4) support the use of Single Room Occupancy units as a solution for long term housing. We look forward to working with you and the new administration to implement these and other policies and to bring our city back to the forefront of LGBT public policy. Sincerely, Michael Czaczkes & Matthew McMorrow, Co-Presidents Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn Melissa Sklarz, President Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC Michael Mallon, President Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club of Queens