Innovation requires bold leadership. Just look at Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis and her team at the New York City Commission on Human Rights, who are constantly pushing the boundaries of how government agencies can serve and protect the most vulnerable populations. In speaking with a group of our grantee partners at our office in March, Malalis explained that when she was offered the job, one of her non-negotiables was that she wanted to turn this agency on its head and equip it with the tools necessary to expand and implement what was already one of the most comprehensive Human Rights Laws in the country. It is with this vision that two years in she has made major headway including increased protections for caregivers and transgender individuals, banning employment discrimination based on an applicant’s criminal record, and making the Commission the first civil rights agency in the country to be a U and T visa provider, which allow undocumented immigrant victims of crime and human trafficking to remain in country during an investigation and provide pathway to legal permanent residence
Last week, the Commission added another important accomplishment to its list: protecting survivors of domestic violence against housing discrimination. Domestic violence is a major contributor to homelessness for women and children, and survivors of violence far too often face discrimination from landlords when seeking a safe new environment. This new law, effective as of July 26, makes it illegal for landlords to evict, reject housing applications or make repairs to an apartment due to one’s status as a victim/survivor of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking. For more information on this new law, click here.
We are proud that bold women leaders, like Commissioner Malalis, are leading the way in making our city one where everyone can thrive. There is much work to be done, which is why we remain committed to partnering with leaders like the Commissioner, and investing in the vision of women leaders city-wide who are enacting community-led solutions to meet the needs of women, families and communities.
You can learn more here about the work of the NYC Human Rights Commission and all of the rights afforded to you in NYC.
This article was originally published in The Huffington Post on 8/5/2016.