Today’s news:

Councilman Vacca on SCRIE, SCHE, and DRIE

Rent-help program that assists seniors get rise in income limit

Bronx Times

More seniors living on fixed incomes will be getting a break on increases to their rent thanks to a new law passed by the Council.

The limit on income allowed by the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program has been raised $21,000 from $29,000 a year to $50,000 a year, so seniors bringing that kind of cash who live in eligible apartments will be safe from increase in rents, carrying charges, and other fees. Coucil members heralded the bill as something that will provide relief to old-timers dealing with the ever-escalating cost of living.

“With rents consistently rising, seniors from across the Bronx and New York City are struggling just to make ends meet,” said

Councilman Jimmy Vacca (D–Throggs Neck). “Any financial boost we can provide for them could be vital.”

The program affects seniors who live in apartments with rents regulated or controlled by the city where the cost of rent excedes one-third of a senior’s household income.

Positive reaction

Some local seniors were ecstatic when they heard the news of the increase in the eligibility, claiming it would be extremely helpful.

“A lot of our seniors fell through the cracks, and only by a couple of dollars,” said Edith Blitzer, president of the Pelham Parkway South Neighborhood Association. “I know people who have not been able to get SCRIE because of $10 or $12.”

Vacca said he hopes to extend the relief to disabled residents as well as those who own their own homes by demanding the state increase the income eligibility for the Disability Rent Increase Program and the Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption Program.

“Senior homeowners and disabled renters and homeowners also need relief,” he said. “I am very proud to have voted in favor of this SCRIE expansion, which will help thousands of seniors in our borough, and I hope the State will increase eligibility for DRIE and SCHE soon!”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742–3393. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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