**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
Contact: Matthew Wing
New York – Public Advocate Bill de Blasio today announced that he plans to hold a series of “Advocate for Advocates” town halls in all five boroughs over the next year. Public Advocate de Blasio will invite elected officials from all levels of government to partner in hosting these town halls, including city, state and federal elected officials.
“We are going to cut down the bureaucracy that stands between New Yorkers and City Hall,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “This initiative will make our government more accessible to concerned residents and groups that want to be part of the process of strengthening our City.”
The Advocate for Advocates town halls will be designed to give residents and community-based organizations an opportunity to discuss problems affecting their neighborhoods, receive comprehensive information on how to better access government services, participate in workshops with Public Advocate staff and other elected officials, and propose solutions for fixing City problems directly to their local leaders.
The meetings will include open forums with the Public Advocate and local leaders to hear directly from residents about recurring problems affecting their neighborhoods and communities. These forums will often be followed by individual break-out groups with elected officials and staff from the Public Advocate’s Office focused on identifying solutions to issues raised during the forums.
In addition to focusing on concerns raised by New Yorkers calling the Public Advocate’s hotline, the town halls will address the following issues:
- Landlords failing to provide heat and hot water;
- Implementing Mayoral Control reforms to give parents a voice in public schools;
- Availability of affordable child care and after-school programs;
- Neighborhood concerns with local development;
- Preserving public safety resources, including firehouses;
- Protecting senior centers;
- Police community relations.
Today’s announcement is part of a series of new initiatives to broaden and expand how the Public Advocate’s office responds to the needs and concerns of New Yorkers. Last week Public Advocate de Blasio launched a new Community Organizing and Constituent Services Department, to help organize communities to play a more meaningful role in City Government.
The Public Advocate’s Office will document the concerns and ideas voiced during the town halls and will utilize the new Community Organizing and Constituent Services Department to help respond to them. In addition to connecting individuals and groups with the appropriate government services, the department will provide information to forum attendees about follow up organizing workshops that will provide strategies to help address issues raised at the town halls.
New Yorkers interested in participating in the town hall meetings can email email@example.com or call 212-669-7200.