Red Hook

Red Hook Initiative board president discusses disproportionate impact of COVID-19

April 20, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
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The Red Hook Initiative (RHI), which serves within Brooklyn’s largest public housing development, announced it is currently experiencing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19.

“Our multi-generational families — for no matter where we live, these are our families too — face life-altering choices on a daily basis: whether to send a grandchild to their job at a grocery store; whether to seek medical attention for an asthmatic parent; whether to buy food or to pay rent,” wrote RHI Board President Chris Cardona in a statement. “As the President of RHI’s Board of Directors, I am yet again witnessing the extraordinary response from our team to step up during a time of crisis and to meet the needs of RHI’s community of over 6,500 residents. We have deep neighborhood roots, and our team of 200 youth and adults — the vast majority of whom are from Red Hook — are on the ground and online around the clock.”

Cardona added that each weeknight, RHI’s Executive Director Jill Eisenhard sends an email to staff, cc’ing him.

“Many of our team have already lost people to this virus,” stated Eisenhard. “I think that number will increase this week. I offer that as a reminder to find ways to support ourselves, our coworkers, and the community and youth who we serve. We will all need support as we move through April. Please ask for what you need and check on others to see what they need.”

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Cardona added, “While our staff remain on the front lines everyday, our board is actively planning for the months and years ahead, knowing that the ripples of this crisis will be felt long after the novel coronavirus is out of the headlines. We are working to cover the financial loss that will be felt by the elimination of NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program; to make produce available for as many public housing residents as possible into the fall season; and to organize residents to ensure an equitable recovery in the years to come.”

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