New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

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PIX11 NYC Affordable Housing Crisis: Helping Puerto Rican grandma who evacuated Hurricane Maria get a home by MONICA MORALES

NYC Affordable Housing Crisis: Helping Puerto Rican grandma who evacuated Hurricane Maria get a home

NEW YORK -- Rosa Rodriguez from Brooklyn says her 65-year-old mother Anna Rivera survived so much this past year. Her husband passed away. She survived cancer. Then Hurricane Maria destroyed her home in Puerto Rico. Rivera fled to NYC for a better life.

But Rodriguez doesn’t have the resources right now to help her mother find her own home here in NYC.

“She cries everyday. She’s losing hope,” Rodriguez said.

Councilmember Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, says one of the biggest battles in NYC is preserving affordable housing.

“The population keeps growing and growing and it’s a crisis," Kallos said. "We can’t build our way out of it but what we can do is make sure people who are building new housing build affordable mandatory affordable housing."

Darma Diaz, with a grassroots organization called YNCCA, an organization that says it's helped place dozens of Hurricane Maria evacuees, saw PIX11’s story and sprung into action for Maria.

More on YNCCA can be found here.

A spokesperson for Human Resources Administration says, “We have assisted over 2,500 evacuees from Puerto Rico who registered with the Service Center the City created immediately after Hurricane Maria by connecting them to benefits such a SNAP and Cash Assistance, health insurance, mental health counseling, and assistance for displaced students, among other services. In addition, we made 945 referrals to Homebase, the City’s homelessness prevention program which provides a variety of prevention services to assist families and individuals experiencing housing crisis and are at imminent risk of entering shelter.”

If you can help Rivera, email Monica Morales direct at monica@pix11.com

See this week's live Monica Makes It Happen Facebook show:

PIX11 New bill would require NYC buses to have GPS, app to provide information for parents by JOE MAUCERI

New bill would require NYC buses to have GPS, app to provide information for parents

"I still don't know what happened," Kaiser said, referring to the first day of school for her kids. "And I would have loved to have had GPS on our bus that day to have an answer to that question."

Soon she may get her wish. Councilman Ben Kallos introduced a bill that would require all school buses to have GPS and an app that would make that information available to parents.

"This is not an expensive problem to solve," Kallos said. "This is something that buses have solved, garbage trucks have solved, and Uber, Lyft, and every other ride hailing program in the country has solved."

Right now two-thirds of all school buses are equipped with GPS but schools and parents don't have access to that data.

"And so the big difference that this bill would make is ensuring that parents can follow that GPS real-time data and see where the bus is and where their children are," said Randy Levine of Advocates for Children of New York.

PIX11 PIX11 investigates: How safe is the city’s 300 miles of scaffolding? by Henry Rosoff

PIX11 investigates: How safe is the city’s 300 miles of scaffolding?

Some building owners just leave it up for years instead of doing costly facade repairs.

“The scaffolding is there to keep us safe from the building, but who’s going to keep us safe from the scaffolding,” City Councilmember Ben Kallos said.

Kallos has been trying to bring down lingering metal piping that cover sidewalks for years on end— calling it a quality of life and safety issue. He is currently proposing legislation in this latest legislative session that would mandate owners “get the work done within six months or the city will step in and do the work and make bad landlords pay.”

PIX11 Exclusive: Trump Tower among buildings that continue to bar the public from public spaces on site by James Ford

Exclusive: Trump Tower among buildings that continue to bar the public from public spaces on site

The DOB statement also puts it in accord with new legislation. Last week, City Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Daniel Garodnick sponsored bills that increase fines for POPS violations and require landlords and developers to post signs that clearly explain what POPS amenities are available in buildings that have them.

The bills passed in City Council, and are expected to be signed in to law by Mayor Bill De Blasio before the end of the year.

PIX11 NYC lawmaker talks scaffold safety after pedestrians injured by falling scaffolding by Ayanna Harry and Jay Dow

NYC lawmaker talks scaffold safety after pedestrians injured by falling scaffolding

MANHATTAN — Before Sunday morning’s scaffolding collapse in SoHo, City Councilman Ben Kallos called for changes to the city’s scaffolding regulations.

“I don’t want to say the sky is falling, but literally, the scaffolding is now falling,” Councilman Kallos said in an interview with PIX11 News.

“I introduced legislation in the City Council that anytime you put up scaffolding, you have seven days to start the work, get the work done within 3-6 months, and then get the scaffolding down, otherwise the city steps in.”

Kallos says the legislation he introduced has been debated amongst City councilmembrs and now he’s in negotiations with the Mayor’s office to push for final approval.

“Every New Yorker is tired of scaffolding. It’s one of the top issues that people just hate about the city,” Kallos said.

Real estate industry executives say it's not cost effective to erect scaffolding, then take it down all while they continue to develop a property.

PIX11 NYC Ferry hits 1 million riders; celebration includes chance for free rides, update on Astoria route by Ashley Soley-Cerro

NYC Ferry hits 1 million riders; celebration includes chance for free rides, update on Astoria route

Locally, officials hope the Astoria route will help alleviate the inundated 7 train and help commuters traveling to and from Roosevelt Island.

“Roosevelt Island has waited generations for ferry service which will finally arrive this summer,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the area.