Today, State Senator Jose Peralta introduced legislation that would provide financial assistance to the spouse and/or dependents of police officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel killed in the line of duty. The idea for the ‘Familia bill’ stems from the brutal killing of police officer Miosotis Familia.
The bill (S.6838) would establish the Police Officer, Firefighter, and Emergency Medical Services Family Housing Fund, which will provide up to $1,000 per month to help offset rent or mortgage payments for eligible families. The legislation intends to award monthly payments --up to a maximum of 10 years-- to survivors of fallen public protection members for their housing expenses.
The State will appropriate $10 Million to the Police Officer, Firefighter, and Emergency Medical Services Family Housing Fund, to be administered by the New York State comptroller.
“First respondents risk their lives on a daily basis to protect and assist us in case of an emergency. When tragedy strikes them, we must ensure we take care of the survivors of our fallen heroes by providing them with additional benefits. Under the ‘Familia Bill,’ family members of officers, firefighters and emergency medical services officers can breathe easily knowing that they will be able to take care of their housing financial obligations,” Senator Peralta said. “The Police Officer, Firefighter, and Emergency Medical Services Family Housing Fund will supplement the forms of assistance already received by the family members of fallen heroes, including pension benefits and life insurance payments. It is a gap in benefits where family members end up turning, at times, to private and nonprofits organizations with no guarantees, potentially leaving victims’ loved ones with no safety net.”
“When police officers, firefighters or EMTs die protecting their fellow New Yorkers, their families are left with a double burden: the pain of losing a wife, husband, mother or father, and the practical challenge of carrying on without their loved one's financial support. We applaud Senator Peralta for proposing legislation that will provide state-funded housing assistance to the families of first responders killed in the line of duty. This bill is a good first step towards repaying our sacred debt to the families of the fallen,” said NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) president Patrick J. Lynch.
Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) President Gerard Fitzgerald said: “When a first responder dies in the line of duty, it is the family that suffers the most. This legislation would assist those families in need and provide a financial level of comfort. We support Senator Jose Peralta for sponsoring this bill as it would help our firefighters and the many brave brothers and sisters who put their lives on the line for our communities every day.”
“The unions at FDNY EMS are very appreciative that Senator Peralta has initiated this bill. This housing assistance will be very helpful to our member’s families and clearly and loudly acknowledges the dangers that EMS members face on each and every call”, said Robert Ungar, Legislative Counsel to the Uniformed EMT’s, Paramedics and Inspectors FDNY and the Uniformed EMS Officers Union.