City Council passes legislation to increase transparency at facilities housing homeless youth

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer; with Speaker Corey Johnson (left).
Courtesy of Van Bramer’s office
By Bill Parry

The New York City Council unanimously passed a bill Wednesday authored by City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) that would amend the New York City Charter in relation to information posting and reporting requirements for runaway and homeless youth services.

The bill requires all programs and facilities serving runaway and homeless youth under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development to prominently post information about how to reach youth hotlines, including mental health resources and the 311 customer service center.

“All runaway and homeless youth must have the information necessary to seek desperately needed city resources and to report misconduct at shelters 24 hours a day,” Van Bramer said. “The city must do everything it can to increase the transparency and accountability of homeless youth programs that receive city funding. LGBTQ youth are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, even at facilities designed to help them. This bill would require new signage to provide runaway and homeless youth with hotline numbers to access urgent mental health care, to learn more about available services, and to report facility problems at all times.”

The bill, known as Int 713-A, requires prominent signage be placed within runaway and homeless youth services funded by the Department of Youth and Community Development indicating where to call 24 hours a day with questions, comments or complaints regarding the services. The signage would include where to find rules governing the RHY service and participant conduct, and phone numbers to access mental health care resources 24 hours a day.

The Mayor has 30 days to sign the bill into law, veto the bill, or take no action. The bill takes effect 90 days after becoming law.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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