Mayor’s office hosts event for homeowners in southeast Queens to discuss tax exemptions and subsidies

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Photo by Athena Dawson

Representatives from the mayor’s office held an event in St. Albans Tuesday to highlight the property tax breaks that available to low-income seniors and New Yorkers with disabilities. 

The event, held at the St. Albans library, focused on the Senior Citizen Homeowner’s Exemption plan (SCHE), which provides a property tax break for seniors who own one-, two-, or three-family homes, condominiums, or cooperative apartments. The SCHE and DHE (Disabled Homeowners’ Exemption), the officials noted, provide tax breaks to eligible homeowners with a combined annual income of $58,399 or less.

Representatives from the mayor’s Public Engagement Unit, along with the staffers with the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) were in attendance to field questions. The officials also notified the attendees that they need to apply before the March 15 deadline.

Adrienne Lever, executive director of the PEU, said that the mayor’s office believed it was important to come out to southeast Queens to ensure that struggling seniors get the help they need. She said that many seniors who own homes in southeast Queens are “struggling to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads.” She said the administration’s goal is to provide financial resources to support them.

Adrienne Lever, executive director of the PEU speaks at press conference. Photo by Athena Dawson

The event also covered the subsidies available for low-income New Yorkers in meeting their energy bills.

For instance, an HRA representative talked about the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which helps eligible New Yorkers decrease the cost of their heating and cooling bills. 

In addition, some of the speakers discussed a local non-profit organization, Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica, that helps homeowners.

Lori Miller, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services, said the non-profit is HUD certified and is “one of the best kept secrets” for homeowners in southeast Queens.  The organization offers services such as loan and grant programs, and home improvement programs. 

Miller explained that for communities of color in areas such as St. Albans, homeowners are still recovering from the pandemic and need all the resources they can find. In addition, as the value of their homes have increased over the years, they are now more vulnerable to deed theft. “Black home ownership in the country and certainly in New York City is under attack,” she said. 

One of the biggest programs the nonprofit offers is the homeowner protection program, a free foreclosure intervention and prevention program.

After the event, PEU representatives canvassed the neighborhood and spoke to homeowners sand seniors about their exemption eligibility.