October 5, 2023
CONTACT: Mariah McGough, firstname.lastname@example.org
VOCAL-NY APPLAUDS NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL FOR PASSING PUBLIC BATHROOM REPORTING BILL
Intro 576 Would Require Reporting on Public Bathroom Conditions and Make That Data Accessible to the Public
Public Restrooms are a Quality of Life Issue and Directly Impact People Who Are Homeless or Unsheltered
NEW YORK — Today, the New York City Council passed Int. 576 – sponsored by Councilmember Rita Joseph and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine – which will require the Department of Parks and Recreation to report on the conditions and functionality of NYC’s public restrooms under its jurisdiction and publicize this data via an online portal.
In response, VOCAL-NY released the following statement, attributable to Flowers Adesegun, VOCAL-NY Homelessness Union Leader:
“In 2008, NYC went into a 20 year contract agreement that would expand and ensure access to public restrooms to New Yorkers. 15 years later, there has been slow movement in ensuring that the implementation of this contract is fulfilled. We are thankful that action is finally being taken to make sure there is some level of accountability. Access to this type of agency data is important in helping the public understand just how important access to public restrooms are for our public health and dignity.
We thank Councilmember Joseph and Borough President Levine for their continued leadership on this issue by passing this legislation that builds on Local Law Number 114 of 2022 – requiring the City to conduct a report on the feasibility of establishing one public bathroom per zip code.”
The city’s restriction of access to public restrooms is a quality-of-life issue that has historically been used to criminalize individuals experiencing homelessness. As a result, this act of discrimination against unsheltered people continues to impact all facets of humanity and community. Today’s successful bill passage builds on decades by work from groups like Picture the Homeless for dignity for people who are homeless.
Int. 576 (Joseph/Levine) requires the Department of Parks and Recreation, in collaboration with any other agency that maintains a public bathroom, to inspect and issue a report on each public bathroom every six months. The report would include information about the features of each public bathroom and the condition and functionality of such features, including whether the public bathroom is accessible and whether it has changing tables. This information would also be made available on the open data portal and a website maintained by the City.
The City Council can continue this progress by advancing Int. 1076 (Joseph/Levine), Int. 1077 (Joseph/Levine), and Int. 1154 (Nurse) – all bills that will work to provide accurate and comprehensive analyses of how to ensure the expansion and viability of the public restroom infrastructure in New York City.