Monday, May 9, 2022
New Destiny Housing Corporation strongly supports A6207B / S7157A, which would amend the public service law and the general business law to require the release of individuals from utility, phone, and television contracts in instances of domestic violence. We commend the Senate for passing S7157A on April 26, 2022, and urge the Assembly to pass the same as bill, A6207B, before the end of the session.
One in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men experience violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime in the United States.1 In 2021, New York State had the highest demand for domestic violence services in the country.2 Allowing victims to break away from contracts without penalty is critical to enable them to flee abusive environments and mitigate further economic abuse as they try to rebuild their lives in safety. Over the past years, New York State has made strides to help protect the finances of domestic violence victims, this legislation would expand these protections by allowing them to provide a written attestation of their eligibility instead of documentation from law enforcement, the court system, or relevant professionals.
Currently, victims of domestic violence must provide a valid order of protection, a valid domestic violence incident report, a valid police report, or a signed affidavit from a third party, such as medical professional, attesting to the individual’s status as a domestic violence victim in order to cancel phone, cable, and utility contracts. This documentation requirement is onerous and excludes countless victims, as people who experience domestic violence may not want to involve the criminal justice system or health care providers for many reasons, including fear of escalating abuse, immigration status, or more.
This bill would simplify the process for domestic violence survivors to cancel contracts and allow them to use these funds for other necessities. New Destiny urges the Assembly to pass A6207B and the Governor to sign this legislation into law.
About New Destiny: Founded in 1994, New Destiny is a nonprofit committed to ending the cycle of violence for low-income families and individuals experiencing homelessness and domestic violence. We build and manage supportive, affordable housing and through our rapid rehousing program, HousingLink, we connect survivors of domestic violence with safe, permanent housing in New York City. New Destiny also advocates for additional housing resources for survivors and their families.
For more information contact Gabriela Sandoval Requena at gsrequena [at] newdestinyhousing.org