Note: Below is a re-post of our City Council Office's government newsletter. The original can be found here.
Thank you to all the residents who joined me last month to celebrate my 40th birthday at First Friday as well as at our annual State of the District. Both were great with special appearances by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and a dozen elected officials and community leaders.
Affordable housing right here on the the Upper East Side came back on the market thanks to the law I wrote and you can learn how to apply by this month's deadline. As we seek to take on the blight of empty storefronts, we need to know the people behind the faceless corporation who are keeping storefronts vacant which is why I've authored legislation to reveal them, so we can work with them to recover.
With so many New Yorkers out of work, I want to open up every job to those who need them, not just the politically connected, which is why I am taking on patronage with legislation to force the City to post all jobs. Another key element of a recovery is making sure that it is just, and a first step would be to better understand disparities in law enforcement.
More New Yorkers can get the vaccine as eligibility expands to include adults with underlying conditions. Thanks to Congresswoman Maloney fighting on our behalf, New York City is set to receive $5.6 billion in Covid-19 relief aid, and my office is here to help residents access it.
Whether you love chess as much I do or just binged the Queen's Gambit (like I did), I hope your children will join our annual Chess Challenge.
UES Affordable Housing Information Session
Ben Kallos Chess Challenge
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Read in your browser)
- State of the District featuring Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and More
- Fight Patronage by Posting All Jobs Publicly
AFFORDABLE HOUSING & LAND USE
- My Housing Law is Bringing Affordable Apartments on the Upper East Side to Market
- Blood Center Environmental Review
- Upper East Side Hemorrhaging Affordable Housing without Getting More New Housing
- Congresswoman Maloney Set to Bring Home Covid Relief for New York City
- Indoor Dining, Middle Schools Reopen, Indoor Entertainment Centers Get Reopening Date
- Covid-19 Vaccine Update
RECOVERY & REBUILDING
- Scaffolding Proposal Gets Renewed Attention
- Corporate Accountability for Faceless LLCs
- Recognized for Fighting for Non-Profit Providers in “Non-Profit Power 100”
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
- Overpolicing Targeted for Reform with New Legislation
- Renewable Rikers Act Passes
- Rallying for “Care, Not Cops” in NYC Public Schools
- Apply Now: 11 New Affordable Housing Units Open in the District
- Ben Kallos Chess Challenge (Virtual)
- Free Mask Distribution
- First Friday Online
- Drag Queen Story Hour
- Vote on How to Spend $1 Million in District
- Play Tennis at Sutton East for $10, Apply for Tennis Scholarship
- New York Junior Tennis League & Learning Fall Schedule
- Honoring Black History Month with the Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center
- Celebrating the Lunar New Year
- Rallying for Worker Safety with Carpenters Union
- NYC Financial Justice Hotline
- Legal Aid Society’s Access to Benefits Helpline
- 92Y Launches Young Leaders Series
- 2021 SCHE & DHE Program Updates
- Search and Care’s “Talkin-It-Out”
- LiveOn NY's Benefits Outreach Program
- Census Bureau Survey Jobs
- Health Advocates for Older People
- New York City Ballet Now Offers Digital Offers Programming
- Apply for Heating and Cooling Assistance (HEAP)
- Manhattan Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Resource Network
- Child Mind Institute’s Caregiver Support Workshops
- NYC Department of Education Launches Parent University
- Harmony Program’s Free “Harmony at Home” Beginner Music Lessons
- Free Virtual Arts Classes for NYC Youth with Virtual Culture
- Read to Lead Makes Learning Fun for Middle Schoolers
- Central Synagogue’s Grab-and-Go Food Program
- Tips for Rideshare Safety
- NYU Langone Health’s Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Family Support Program
- New York Legal Assistance Group COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline
If you missed our State of the District, you can watch Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Oversight Chair Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and a host of other elected officials and community leaders from across the district talk about all that we’ve accomplished in the past 7 years and what our priorities are moving forward. View the annual address at Benkallos.com/StateoftheDistrict/2021
The pandemic has left nearly one in 10 New Yorkers is unemployed and we can help them find jobs by opening 350,000 jobs with the city of New York to anyone, by taking on patronage and requiring the city to post all jobs.
Legislation I authored would force the city to post all jobs publicly for two weeks before someone is interviewed or hired for the position. The legislation is meant to cut patronage hiring at agencies like the Board of Elections (BOE) that lack employment transparency and have been plagued by nepotism in hiring for decades.
We cannot accept a city that makes it easy for a Mayor to pump half a billion dollars into their wife’s initiative without oversight, for a Commissioner to score their nephew a plum position or a developer to ask a favor to get a job for a daughter or friend. Learn more about this legislation from coverage at New York County Politics or by reading the release at BenKallos.com/press-releases
AFFORDABLE HOUSING & LAND USE
Thanks to the law I authored, 11 new affordable units are coming back on the martket on the Upper East Side for residents to apply for through the city’s housing lottery with monthly rents ranging from $1,472 for a studio to $2,060 for a one-bedroom and including a month’s free rent. Located at 345 East 94th Street near the East River Esplanade and Carl Schurz Park, amenities in the building include a lounge with fireplace, media room, a fitness center, and a sun terrace with barbeque grills. Three units are reserved for those making 90% AMI ($71,640 for a single person; $92,160 for a family of three), while the remaining eight units are reserved for those making 100% AMI ($79,600 for a single person; $102,400 for a family of three).
On Thursday, March 4th at 7pm, I am joining a representative from building developer Fetner to announce these units and host an information session to educate the public on how to apply in time for the deadline on March 11th, 2021. You can apply now at HousingConnect.nyc.gov.
In June, the New York Times reported thousands of new affordable apartment units that will be available for re-rental thanks to a law I wrote with now-Public Advocate Williams and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. Now that my law is in effect, you will be able to match you with hundreds of thousands of affordable housing re-rentals. If you haven't made an account on the new site yet, sign up today. For more information on this homeownership opportunity, visit HousingConnect.nyc.gov
In our January newsletter, we updated you on the public scoping session that was held in December to assess the environmental impact that the Blood Center’s proposal for a 334-foot tall tower would have on sunlight in St. Catherine's Park, and we invited you to make your voice heard at the session.
Since then, we’ve learned that the proposed building would include biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratories, which are considered high-containment research laboratories intended for the study of highly infectious pathogens. As a frame of reference Covid-19 is considered BSL2. In 2016, the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) noted significant risks associated with these kinds of labs, including the potential for accidental outbreak, which could severely harm residents in the surrounding area.
This information, revealed after the scoping session, raises new concerns about safety and the potential impact of this proposal on quality of life. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and my office have reached out and are working to ensure that there is accuracy and transparency with the community in this planning process.
In December, Community Board 8 voted 16–1 to oppose the project and, as TAPinto reported, nearly a dozen residents joined me at my monthly First Friday meeting to express their concerns for the project. All of them supported the Blood Center increasing its height and density threefold within its existing footprint but had concerns about the impact that increasing the size of the project tenfold would have on the Park across the street.
I want to hear from you on whether you support, oppose, or have a suggestion to improve the proposal. Please share your position at BenKallos.com/petition/BloodCenter
As a person who’s lived on the Upper East Side my entire life, I’ve seen more construction in recent years more than ever before. Yet, a report in The City recently implied that the Upper East Side has actually lost housing over the past decade, which wasn't true.
As a software developer, I rolled up my sleeves and reviewed the data myseIf. What I see from this data is that for every new building that goes up, we lose multiple 4-, 5- and 6-story walkups with dozens of rent-controlled and -regulated housing that is truly affordable. In return we end up with sky high market-rate units that don't really add to many more units then were lost let alone add any affordable units over what we had. Of note, is that the buildings we are losing are low-denisty, with new buildings having 2 or 3 times the density, in a neighborhood that has the highest density in the country. If the increase in density isn't adding units, then maybe we need more comprehensive measures. One solution that I have proposed before would be to require developers putting up new housing to replace every single unit of affordable housing that they are destroying before they get any credit for building new affordable housing.
These reports prove that we must do more to stop developers from replacing affordable housing for everyday New Yorkers with luxury housing for billionaires. In case you missed reports on this topic, see coverage by the City and Upper East Side Patch.
New York State is projected to get $23.3 billion in federal aid as part of legislation passed in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, chaired by our Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. I was proud to stand with her at a recent press conference where she announced the funding that she has worked hard to secure as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package. Of the total, $5.6 billion will go to New York City to help with our economic impact recovery, as the City finds itself in an $8 billion budget deficit that Albany cannot fill. For more information see coverage in TAPinto.net
The governor recently announced that as of February 26th, indoor dining is allowed to resume at 35% capacity and closing times for restaurants and bars have been extended from 10pm to 11pm. In concordance with state guidelines and health procedures, the reopening of indoor dining will proceed as follows:
- Temperature checks will be required at the door for all customers
- A member of each party must provide contact information for tracing, if needed
- No bar service
- Masks must be worn at all times when not seated at a table
- Tables must be six feet apart
- Restaurants close at midnight
Business guidance for indoor dining in New York City can be found at forward.ny.gov/nyc-indoor-dining.
On Thursday, February 25th, middle schoolers whose parents opted for blended learning were permitted to return to school. All schools will have 20% of students and staff randomly tested on a weekly basis.
The Governor also recently announced that, as of February 26th, the New York State Department of Health will allow visitation of residents in nursing home facilities in accordance with CMS and CDC guidelines.
As of Friday, March 5th, movie theaters and billiard/pool halls will each be allowed to reopen at 25% and 35% capacity, respectively, followed by indoor family entertainment centers reopening at 25% capacity on March 26th and outdoor amusement parks on April 9th. For more information on this state mandate, visit governor.ny.gov/news
The Governor recently announced a pilot program to begin administering Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at two State-run mass vaccination sites.
A City- and State-run Yankee Stadium Site will begin administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Thursday, March 4th from 8pm to 7am, with appointments going live at 11am on Wednesday, March 3rd.
The Javits Center site will begin administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Friday, March 5th between 9pm to 6am, with appointments going live at 8am on Thursday, March 4th.
New Yorkers with comorbidities or underlying conditions are now eligible to begin receiving the vaccine, according to the most recent state mandate by Governor Cuomo. As of February 15th, vaccine eligibility expanded to include adults with the following conditions:
- Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
- Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system
- Severe Obesity
- Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
- Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer's Disease or dementia
- Liver disease
Call the New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829) to check if you are eligible and to make an appointment.
No matter where you get your vaccine, everyone must pre-register and make an appointment. Anyone wanting to get vaccinated will also have to complete a NYS-Covid-19 Vaccine Form. Locate your nearest vaccine site at vaccinefinder.nyc.gov/locations or TurboVax.info.
RECOVERY & REBUILDING
I’m proud to report that my package of legislation to reform how New York City regulates the over 300 miles of scaffolding covering our city sidewalks is getting new attention. AMNY and Crain’s reported on how one Mayoral candidate is supportive of the reforms I have put forth over the years that work to keep pedestrians safe from falling masonry while making landlords and building owners accountable for fixing facades and removing scaffolding once the work is finished. Over the years, The New York Times has also reported on the shocking 1,400 buildings around the City with sidewalk sheds that aren't up because of ongoing construction but because they have failed to fix façade issues for which the Department of Buildings has issued a whopping $31 million in violations that have gone unpaid. The New York Daily News and Gothamist also reported on my legislation surrounding the topic of scaffolding companies being able to self-certify, without any independent inspection by the city’s Department of Buildings.
Under my legislation, scaffolding would be required to undergo safety inspections by the Buildings Department every six months at the expense of the building owner with fees escalating to incentivize the scaffolding to go down. For more information on the bill see coverage in the New York Times, PIX11, FOX 5 and New York 1.
Every day there are more empty storefronts throughout our City. This is an issue that has only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic as small businesses have been squeezed for months by social distancing regulations.
In an effort to identify the landlords and building owners who would rather keep storefronts empty rather than rent to small businesses, I have introduced legislation to pull the veil of secrecy created by Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) by requiring that building owners tell us who the real person is behind the LLC.
LLCs would have to disclose the names, physical address, email address, and telephone numbers of any “real” person with at least a 5% ownership interest in the property when applying for a a building permit or certificate of occupancy (CO).
Currently, property owners can conceal their personal identities by using various corporate structures, such as LLCs making it difficult to work with them to help bring commercial tenants or for the City to collect on outstanding fines. Knowing who the real owners behind these vacant storefronts will allow City officials like me to work with landlords to bring good commercial tenants into vacant storefronts and address quality of life concerns leading to the issuance of fines.
The ownership information would then be shared by the Department of Buildings with any City agency to aid in the collection of unpaid fines. The collection efforts are meant to enforce violations of New York City’s codes, rules, regulations and quality-of-life laws. For more information read the release at BenKallos.com/press-releases
Our nonprofits have been there for us throughout this pandemic, many providing essential services, making sure our most vulnerable New Yorkers had access to food, PPE and more. Despite all this, they’ve been the subject of budget cuts and I’m fighting to restore their funding. For this work, I was recognized by City and State’s Nonprofit Power 100.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
In February, the New York Daily News reported on a bill I introduced that will require the NYPD to be more detailed in their reporting and mapping of arrests throughout the City. Currently, the NYPD maps arrests related to major crimes like rape, murder, burglary, felony assault, and grand larceny on a public map. My legislation mandates the NYPD to map non-criminal offenses as well, including tickets, summonses, and violations. Most New Yorkers would agree that communities of color see very different enforcement than other communities. Let’s find out with transparent data. This valuable data can empower both the public who have a right to this information, as well as law enforcement tasked with equitably shifting resources. It would be helpful to know how the NYPD is spending its time, this proposal would show what type of summonses they’re writing, where and when, and why. To learn more about this bill, visit BenKallos.com/press-releases or see coverage by the New York Daily News.
With New York City committed to closing the crumbling facilities on Rikers Island by 2027, I recently joined Council Member Costa Constantinides and so many others to celebrate our victory in passing the Renewable Rikers Act, requiring the city to study how building renewable resources paired with battery storage on the island can tie into the city’s long-term energy plan to phase out fossil fuel-fired power plants established as part of the Climate Mobilization Act.
In NYC public schools, there are more than 5,245 School Safety Agents, but only 2,952 guidance counselors, 1,804 social workers and 1,434 school nurses. That’s why I was proud to show my support for the Urban Youth Collaborative and Make the Road New York in the fight for police-free schools. For more information on the Vision for Police-Free Schools, visit scribd.com.
The New York Post reported on a bill I introduced to require the Department of Education to report what healthcare services New York City public schools provide to students and what effects the services may have in comparison to schools that don’t offer services. Some of the services in question are vision care, HPV vaccines, dental car, substance abuse counseling and reproductive health services. I am concerned that the city is giving parents a false sense of security when the truth is that we don’t know which public school students have access to which services and to what extent students who get no services are being affected. If the Covid-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that there is vast inequality in our schools. This legislation would work to highlight some of those inequalities in order to show the City why it should focus on providing healthcare services for all 1.1 million New York City public school students. For more information, read the release at BenKallos.com/press-releases or see coverage in the New York Post.
If you have a child born in 2017, please be sure to apply for Pre-K. As of this school year, we have enough seats in the neighborhood for Pre-K. Pre-K applications opened on February 24th and are due by Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
If you have any questions about Pre-K in the district, you can email UPK@BenKallos.comor visit schools.nyc.gov/enrollment/enroll-grade-by-grade/pre-k.
Announcement & Information Session on 11 New Affordable Housing Units
Thursday, March 4th, 7pm
I am proud to share news of the brand new affordable apartments that just became available on the Upper East Side with housing I pushed through the City Council. Eleven affordable housing units at 345 East 94th Street are now open to eligible applicants at 90% AMI ($71,640 for a single person; $92,160 for a family of three) for three units and 100% AMI ($79,600 for a single person; $102,400 for a family of three) for the remaining eight units.
Join me and a representative from building developer Fetner at 7pm on Thursday, March 4th for an official announcement of the units and an information session on how to apply in time for the deadline on March 11th, 2021.
Video Conference: RSVP for your URL (create a free account at Zoom.us)
Teleconference: RSVP to receive the number and access code
Facebook Live: Skip the RSVP and watch the stream at Facebook.com/BenKallos/live
RSVP now at BenKallos.com/events
Ben Kallos Chess Challenge
Saturday, March 13, 10am
Join me at the 2021 Ben Kallos Chess Tournament hosted by Chess in the Schools on Saturday, March 13th at 10am. Each year, students from dozens of schools compete in the tournament. Registration is free with fees funded through my office and open to students from K–12. For more information visit ChessInTheSchools.org
As TAPinto reported, I am proud to share that a total of 15,000 face masks were distributed over the last month through my office’s collaboration with the East 86th St. Association. Many thanks to Andrew Fine and our local volunteers for their hard work. We will continue to distribute disposable masks and hand sanitizer to ensure the safety and health of residents. Reach out to our partners to get yours now:
- Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center (RSVP) – Thursday, March 18, 11:15am–12:00pm, 415 East 93rd Street in the Courtyard
- East 79th Street Neighborhood Association – Please write to the neighborhood association at the address below and they will drop off the masks to your lobby: P.O. Box 20052, Cherokee Station New York, NY, 10021-10060
Please consider volunteering with us as a building captain so that friends and neighbors can pick up masks and hand sanitizer from outside your door, or hand them off to your door person to distribute, and let us know when you need more to be dropped off.
First Friday Online
Friday, March 5th, 8am–10am
First Friday remains one of my favorite parts of my job representing you as your Council Member. While my East 93rd Street office remains physically closed for everyone’s safety, we are still working remotely and remain here to help. Thank you to all the residents who participated in last month’s virtual First Friday.
You must RSVP by Thursday, March 4th to participate.
Video Conference: RSVP for your URL (create a free account at Zoom.us)
Teleconference: RSVP to receive the number and access code
Facebook Live: Skip the RSVP and watch the stream at Facebook.com/BenKallos/live
Questions must be submitted with RSVP or by email to Questions@benkallos.com
RSVP now at BenKallos.com/events
Tune in our latest Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH), which took place on March 2nd. This virtual event, funded by my office, features stories and songs for kids ages 3–8 and will remain available to watch online until NYPL branches reopen. I’m proud to support this program that captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood by showing young people positive, queer role models.
You can also view our previous DQSH events funded by my office:
To view all upcoming DQSH events, visit www.dqshnyc.org
Each year residents in my district, ages 11 and older, get to vote on how to spend one million dollars in the community through Participatory Budgeting. Learn more at BenKallos.com/PB
Vote online from Monday, April 5 toWednesday, April 14 at BenKallos.com/PB/digital
Any New Yorker can play tennis at the Queensboro Oval all winter long for just $10 per person, per hour. Starting in the spring, you can play for free through Labor Day with a Parks Tennis Permit. Unfortunately, the Parks Department has temporarily suspended tennis permit sales but if you have already purchased a permit, it will remain valid through 2021.
Now you can get a game in before work, over lunch, even late nights. Last September, Sutton East Tennis announced new discounted programming that my office and the New York City Parks Department worked to achieve over the last few years. Winter programming will run for the 30-week season-ending April 11, 2021, and includes:
- $10 per person during drop-in hours weekday mornings (6am–8am), afternoons, (1pm–3pm) and evenings (10pm - midnight) and weekend mornings (6am–8am) and evenings (8pm–12pm).
- $10 per person senior (over 62) offered Monday – Friday at 6am–8am and 1pm–3pm. MUST call 212-751-3452 to book. No walk-ins allowed.
I am thankful for the support of Community Board 8, Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Assembly Member Dan Quart. Get more information at email@example.com or by calling 212-751-3452.
Sutton East Tennis is also offering scholarships for children ages 3–18 for its 2020–21 Fall/Winter programs. Scholarship applicants must be residents of the City of New York and come from households with an annual income of less than $150,000. The deadline to apply is April 11th, 2021. For more details, visit docs.google.com/forms
As the City continues to recover from Covid-19, the New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL) coaches at the Octagon Park in Roosevelt Island are providing the youth of your community with some much-needed physical activity and engagement.
The fall/winter season is scheduled to continue with all NYJTL sites following stringent Covid-19 protocols to protect the health and welfare of NYJTL staff and players. To register, visit nyjtl.org/programs/free-tennis
I had a great time at the Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center’s annual Black History Month celebration, enjoying the program’s amazing performances and showing our appreciation for Black culture in America.
Although the celebrations looked a little different this year, happy Lunar New Year to everyone ringing in the Year of the Ox; May it bring you all good health, joy and prosperity!
Last month, I stood in support of my friends at the District Council of Carpenters in their fight against open-shop developer AECOM Tishman, who is placing profit over worker safety.
Need a lawyer? Every month I sponsor legal clinics where you can get free legal advice. These clinics usually take place at my District Office but, due to Covid-19, all clinics will be done by phone (no video) until further notice. Appointments take place 2pm–6pm:
- General Civil Law, 2nd and 4th Friday with Patricia Murrell, Esq.
- Life Planning Clinic, 3rd Wednesday with Tina Janssen-Spinosa, Esq.
- Family Law and Domestic Violence, 1st Tuesday with Afua Fullwood, Esq.
- Housing Clinics:
1st & 3rd Monday with Paul Kushner, Esq.
1st Wednesday with Daniel Espo, Esq.
2nd & 4th Wednesday with Kyle Carraro, Esq.
Please call my office at 212-860-1950 or email ConstituentService@BenKallos.com with the subject “Requesting Legal Clinic” to make appointments to meet by phone.
We are here to help. My social work team can help you find out what services you are eligible for and assist you in your application. Some examples include:
- Seniors: Medicare savings, Meals-on-Wheels, Access-A-Ride
- Housing: searching for affordable units, free legal housing clinic at my office
- Job Resources: training resources and assistance, unemployment benefits
- Families: Universal Pre-K, Head Start, After-School programs
- Finances: cash assistance, tax credits, home energy assistance
- Nutrition: WIC, free meals for all ages
Please also call us at 212-860-1950 or email us at BKallos@BenKallos.com with any unresolved 311 complaints.
In March, I joined Communities United for Police Reform in an open letter to the Mayor calling on the City to take care of New York City’s homeless population during the Covid-19 outbreak. Read the full letter at Changethenypd.org.
Back in 2016, I launched the Eastside Task Force for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) with Borough President Brewer, Senator Krueger, Council Member Garodnick, Department of Social Services (DSS), community and faith leaders and service organizations. We’ve already been able to help a chronically homeless individual in the community who we believe had long been suffering from mental illness, after a resident was willing to come forward working with me, the 19th Precinct, the District Attorney and DSS to get them the help they needed. We hope to get every unsheltered person living on the street the help they need. If you see one of our City’s most vulnerable on the street, please call 311 or use the NYC 311 App (Android/iPhone) to ask them to dispatch a “homeless outreach team.” They will ask where you saw the person, what they looked like, and offer report on whether the person accepts our city’s offer of shelter, three meals a day, health care, rehabilitation, and job training. By connecting our dedicated nonprofits and religious institutions with city services, ETHOS is really making a difference. For more information, visit BenKallos.com/Homelessness.
Call the NYC Financial Justice Hotline at 212-925-4929 for free information, legal advice, and referrals on a range of financial justice issues -- including problems with debt collection, bank accounts, wage garnishments, credit reporting, and much more. The hotline is staffed in English and Spanish, and available to low-income NYC residents.
Hotline hours: Monday 4-6 pm, and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 12-2 pm.
Llame a Línea de Justicia Financiera NYC (212-925-4929) para obtener información, remisiones y consejos legales gratuitos sobre varias cuestiones de justicia financiera, incluyendo problemas con cobradores de deudas, cuentas bancarias, embargos de sueldo, informes de crédito, y mucho más. Puede hablar con alguien en inglés o español, y cualquier neoyorquino de bajo ingreso puede utilizarla.
Horario de la línea: lunes de 4-6 de la tarde, y lunes, martes y jueves de 12-2 de la tarde.
If you are having trouble with an application or recertification for HRA Cash Assistance, SNAP or Medicaid benefits, call the Legal Aid Society’s Access to Benefits Helpline at 888-663-6880, Monday through Friday from 10am–3pm.
They can assist with HRA benefits problems including application, recertification, adding a person to budget, change of address, report of change or loss of income, request to close case. They can also assist Medicaid recipients with accessing services, service denials, and other health care needs.
92Y and its Center for Arts Learning and Leadership just launched the Young Leaders Series: a new online education program that brings world-renowned artists, writers and thought leaders into the virtual classroom. Program information can be found at 92y.org/young-leaders.
Please note that 92Y offers partial and full subsidies to schools that need financial support in order to participate in the program. If you’re interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to a new law passed in response to COVID-19, most Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption (SCHE) and Disabled Homeowners’ Exemption (DHE) recipients are not required to renew their benefits this year. DOF will mail owners a renewal letter if they need to take any action; otherwise, the benefit will be automatically renewed at its current level and they will continue to receive it.
Note: If your income decreased in 2020, you have the option to submit a renewal application so that the City’s Department of Finance can determine whether you are eligible for a larger benefit. Please note that if your income last year was less than $50,000, you are almost certainly receiving the largest possible benefit.
- On December 28, 2020, the governor signed into law the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act, removing the requirement for 2021 SCHE and DHE renewal applications to be filed for eligible property owners who received a SCHE or DHE benefit in 2020.
- No renewal application is required for eligible 2020 SCHE or DHE recipients to continue receiving the exemption benefit at the same amount. However, if their income decreased in 2020, they have the option to submit a renewal application so that we can determine whether they are eligible for a larger benefit. (Please note that most homeowners are already receiving the largest possible benefit.)
- The state law allows the City to pass a local law requiring a renewal application from homeowners whose eligibility may have changed due to the death of a benefit recipient or any of the following:
- Changes to the recipient’s primary residence
- The addition of another owner to the deed
- The transfer of the property to a new owner
- If such a local law is enacted and you fall under one of the exceptions listed above, you will be required to file your SCHE or DHE renewal application before the March 15, 2021, deadline. We will send you a letter if you need to take any action.
Search and Care’s “Talkin-It-Out” is an informal chat service that gives older men and women a confidential, non-stigmatizing opportunity to explore their concerns with two of Search and Care’s empathic bilingual Licensed Master Social Workers’ (LMSWs) Chris Ramos or Millie Gonzalez – each who possess significant experience helping older adults in this way.
“Talkin-it-Out” chats are typically limited to 30-40 minutes and can be conducted telephonically or via ZOOM. Some seniors call in regularly (e.g. weekly), and some periodically just as needed. Chris and Millie validate, enthusiastically listen, and provide comfort and reassurance at a time when the need for telephonic/virtual human connectivity has become more urgent, being older adults are often still sheltering in place, and more isolated and alone than ever due to COVID. Most especially, they offer a voice that says “I care.” Because it is free of charge and not publically funded, there is leeway to provide each caller with our undivided attention and personalized support. This service has also been helpful for clients recovering in rehabilitation centers as well as clients in need of valuable information and professional referrals and resources in their communities.
Licensed Social Workers Chris or Millie welcome any referrals of seniors who may benefit by informal empathic chatting and “counseling lite.” For many seniors who may tend to shy-away or be fearful of accepting more formalized mental health counseling or psychotherapy, “Talkin-It-Out” can be a good starting point to share concerns and explore issues. Appointments with Chris or Millie can be made by calling Chris Ramos at 212-289-5300; Ext. 205.
Did you know that many older adults aren’t aware that they may be eligible for benefits that can help purchase food, freeze the rent, cover some medical expenses and lower property taxes? Whether you're retired, unemployed or working part-time, LiveOn NY's Benefits Outreach Program is dedicated to helping older adults (and others) apply for these benefits and more! Our staff will help you throughout the application process and support you and advocate on your behalf if any issues or barriers arise.
For more information, please contact us at (212) 398-5045 or email@example.com.
While data collection for the decennial census was completed as of mid-October, the U.S. Census Bureau's ongoing work for the American Community Survey, American Housing Survey and many other surveys continues. Applicants are needed who speak Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Korean in NYC and Yiddish in Brooklyn and Orange and Rockland Counties. Russian speakers are sought in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
For more information, visit census.gov.
Even with the onset of Covid-19, Health Advocates for Older Adults’ exercise programs continue to be held via Zoom seven days a week at no cost to participants. The classes offer a positive way for seniors to optimize their aging process. To learn more visit www.hafop.org or call 212-980-1700.
Since the New York City Ballet is unable to offer live, in-person programming, it is proud to pivot to digital programming and offer educational workshops for public school children and people with disabilities without interruption. For more information, visit nycballet.com.
Need help paying your energy bill? As of November 2, low-income New Yorkers can apply for heating and cooling assistance under the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps low-income people pay the cost of heating their homes. If you are eligible, you may receive one regular HEAP benefit per season and could also be eligible for an emergency HEAP benefit if you are in impending danger of running out of fuel or having your utility service shut off.
HEAP may be able to help you if you heat your home with:
- Natural Gas
- Wood/Wood Pellets
The NYC Small Business Resource Network is a unique private/public partnership to provide our local businesses with the free, personalized guidance they need right now to survive the pandemic. I encourage all small business owners in NYC to sign up for this network today. Once you fill out the brief intake form on our website, businesses will be matched with their own Business Support Specialist who will guide them through a variety of economic recovery resources. Through this program, all five borough Chambers of Commerce have Specialists offering one-on-one support to businesses in their boroughs.
Funded by a $2.8 million grant from the New York City-based Peter G. Peterson Foundation and supported by in-kind contributions from other partners, this collaboration, led by the Partnership for New York City, the NYC Economic Development Corporation and all five Chambers of Commerce, leverages the city’s corporate, financial and professional services sectors, as well as universities, philanthropies and expert volunteers to help small business owners gain access to a range of programs and services.
For more information, visit NYCSmallBusinessResourceNetwork.org.
The Child Mind Institute’s School and Community Programs team invites you to join its upcoming Caregiver Support Workshops. The workshop series is designed to provide families with proactive strategies they can use to support their child’s mental health and learning needs while virtually learning from home. These workshops are available at no cost to all NYC DOE parents and caregivers. See below for additional details:
Promoting Positive Behaviors for Your Child (Register)
- Improving Your Relationship With Your Child; Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021 | 4:00pm – 5:00pm EST
- Parent Calming Techniques; Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 | 9:00am – 10:00am EST
For additional resources, please visit childmind.org.
The New York City Department of Education just launched? Parent University, which provides families with access to 95+ free courses, events and activities to support learning from early childhood through adulthood. Parents can register for free workshops on a wide range of topics, including adult education, student social-emotional learning, and special education at parent.schools.nyc.
The Harmony Program’s newest initiative “Harmony at Home,” created in response to the ongoing pandemic, is an original series of YouTube-based beginner music lessons. This free, year-long series began on November 16th and consists of weekly, 30-minute lessons in music fundamentals. Their hope is that music educators will incorporate these videos into their music classes and that children and families will enjoy them at home.
Watch a brief introductory video featuring some of the prominent guest artists involved in the effort at YouTube.com.
Virtual Culture is a living catalog of 30+ free and subsidized virtual classes in dance, theatre, activism, music and writing for NYC’s 12 to19-year-olds. Through partnerships with 38 of our city's world-class arts and cultural organizations, their goal is to increase access to the arts by providing young people with a centralized platform to discover free arts opportunities in NYC.
With the city finally providing devices and WiFi access for all students, there is an unprecedented opportunity to create an integrated and more level playing field. For more information, visit VirtualCulture.nyc.
Read to Lead is a fun, engaging, and relevant way to blast through traditional reading barriers and promote workplace readiness and skill-building. By playing games, students increase reading achievement, find motivation, and see—often for the first time—a real connection between learning, career aspirations, and their futures. Read to Lead is geared for students in 5th–9th grades and has been successfully implemented in English Language Arts courses during the school day as well as expanded learning environments in afterschool and summer. Plus, Read to Lead provides FREE community action projects, coaching, and implementation support! Their staff is committed to turn-key implementation by building the capacity of teachers and program staff.
Why should you use Read to Lead?
Improve literacy through a non-traditional method: Each episode of Read to Lead is 5,000 words or 30 minutes of reading time. By completing games, students have read 1 middle-grade book!
Encourage leadership: In Read to Lead games, youth are the boss. They must evaluate evidence, make decisions and lead their staff.
Cultivate youth voice: community action projects allow students to transfer their leadership and problem-solving skills to benefit their community.
How do I learn more?
Visit rtlgames.org to learn more about the program.
Contact Kwamara Thompson, firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a virtual demo and to learn more.
The Central Synagogue on Lexington and 55th Street serves grab-and-go breakfast and lunch every Thursday and Friday from 6:30-7:30am via the Pavillion door, rain or shine and including holidays. This meal distribution is open to everyone in need of a hot breakfast and a cold lunch. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Unfortunately, 6% of women in a recent survey reported having felt unsafe during an encounter with a rideshare driver. Review.com recently published preventative measures for avoiding COVID-19 transmission, while discussing what companies are doing to make ridesharing safer. It also provided precautions for women to take with them during every ride to remain safe while traveling solo. Read more at Reviews.com/insurance/car/ride-share-safety-tips.
Are you caring for a family member with memory and thinking problems? Caregiving during COVID-19 presents unique difficulties for families. The NYU Langone Family Support Program is here to help you navigate through the challenges of caregiving. We provide a quick, personal response. All of its services are free and available online and by phone.
- Individual and family care consultations
- Resource information
- Caregiver support groups
- Home activity programs for people with memory loss
- Programs that people with memory loss and family caregivers can attend together
- Caregiver education webinars
- Special assistance fund for respite
This program is supported by a grant from the New York State Department of Health and is available to all New York City residents.
For more information, call 646-754-2277 or visit NYUlangone.org/memorydisordersupport
In response to the global pandemic that has affected so many New Yorkers, the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) continues to run its COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline. Due to the surge in need for legal services in areas such as unemployment, housing, employee rights, public benefits, and consumer debt, NYLAG recently expanded their hotline hours to 7am-1pm.