Good Morning, Brooklyn: Thursday, July 15, 2021
JUDGE FREEZES CITY’S MOVE ON HOMELESS PERSONS: New York City’s efforts to move disabled and medically vulnerable homeless people out of hotels and into shelters has been frozen by a federal judge in Manhattan. U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods of the Southern District of New York granted a two-week restraining order on this move on the grounds that the city rushed to place vulnerable persons, who have been sheltering during the COVID-19 pandemic, back into crowded homeless shelters without regard for the health and safety of those individuals. Attorneys from Jenner & Block and The Legal Aid Society had filed a motion on July 8 in which they asked the court to enforce a 2017 settlement stipulation compelling the city’s Department of Homeless Services to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled people in its system, including appropriate notice before changes.
Judge Woods’ order allows moves to go ahead as long as written notice is provided at least seven days in advance, and he ordered DHS to schedule meetings with each class member at least five days ahead of the move to discuss reasonable accommodation.
TELEMARKETING BAN NOW INCLUDES TEXTING: Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill expanding New York State’s definition of telemarketing to include text-messaging, thus closing a loophole. While New Yorkers had protection against unwanted robocalls under state law, texting was not previously defined in the telemarketing category.
State Sen. Leroy Comrie and Assemblymember Kenny Burgos were co-sponsors of the bill indexed as (S.3941/A.6040). Said Burgos, “During the pandemic, New Yorkers experienced a dramatic rise in text-based telemarketing because the law had not caught up with technological advancements. With this essential piece of legislation, New York consumers on the ‘Do Not Call Registry’ will no longer receive these types of messages.”
INTERGENERATIONAL BOND: Jewish teens in Brooklyn have an exciting opportunity to make friends with socially-isolated elderly persons this summer, thanks to a partnership between DOROT and Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton – Manhattan Beach, Inc. Through an internship running from July 27-August 19, the teens will explore social justice and Jewish communal connections through volunteering. They will facilitate online intergenerational classes on short fiction, arts and crafts and poetry, hold a weekly online conversational English class for Russian-speaking older adults, play chess, Scrabble and other games with the seniors, and teach them how to use technology, among other projects.
Teens who are rising 10th, 11th and 12th grade students, and who have a conversational command of Russian and want to take part in this award-winning program can apply online via https://www.dorotusa.org/volunteer/high-school-college-intern- ships/summer-teen-internship-program/brighton-beach.
FIGHTING GUN VIOLENCE WITH JOBS: Governor An- drew M. Cuomo, speaking at an inaugural gun violence prevention community meeting in Brooklyn on Wednesday, announced more than 4,000 jobs will be available for at-risk youth in parts of New York City that are emerging as gun violence hot spots, to keep them employed until school starts. New York State is also partnering with Consortium for Worker Education (CWE) to provide long-term jobs for 2,388 young people who are out of school and live in the neighborhoods impacted by gun violence. Steps to combat gun violence in East Brooklyn specifically include creating up to 900 jobs for youth including 415 summer jobs and 485 long-term jobs placed by CWE; establishing summer programs for youth, including 100 dedicated events at Shirley Chisholm State Park; hiring new violence interveners to work at existing community intervention programs in the East Brooklyn community and increasing the intervener staff at Brookdale Hospital to allow for 24/7 coverage; and expanding community services and assistance for mental health support, substance abuse treatment and family crisis intervention.
Last week, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 211 declaring gun violence a disaster emergency and requiring New York State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services to compile incident- level data provided by major police departments on a weekly basis.
GAO REPORT: GUN VIOLENCE COSTS U.S. HEALTH CARE $1 BILLION YEARLY: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D- Greenpoint), chair of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Reform, joined other House Democrats and two Senators in the release of the New General Accounting Office Re- port showing gun violence costs the U.S. health care system more than $1 billion per year for initial treatment. Hospital data from 2016 and 2017 shows also that Medicaid and other public health care pro- grams shouldered more than 60 percent of initial gun violence-related hospital costs; up to 16 percent of gun violence survivors who experience inpatient hospital stays are readmitted at least once within a year of their injury; that half of the gun victims hospitalized were Black, even though Black people comprise only 13 percent of the U.S. population; and that more than half of gun violence patients live in zip codes with an annual median household income below $44,000.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey (both representing Massachusetts) joined House Oversight Committee members in highlighting the report and calling for Congress to act to protect Americans from gun violence.
TRAINING FOR EMERGENCY RESPONSE VOLUNTEERS: Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers from across the city are participating in CERT’s hybrid basic training program to support their communities when emergencies arise. This program, under the auspices of the New York City Emergency Management Department, includes 10-sessions in disaster preparedness and emergency response and provides volunteers with lessons in basic fire safety, search and rescue, traffic management, first aid and triage. New York City Emergency Management is hosting the training program along with instructors from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and New York City Police Department (NYPD) Auxiliary Unit.
The New York City CERT program, which started in 2003 with 106 volunteers, now has more than 1,200 credentialed CERT volunteers throughout the five boroughs. The most recent training began last month.
ZOOM ON WAYS TO PREVENT HATE CRIMES: Assembly- member William Colton recently joined Chinese American Social Service Center chair Dr. Law, Imam Ahmed Ali from Iqra Masjid and other community leaders in a Zoom conference regarding recent hate crimes in the community. Colton, who represents Gravesend, Benson- hurst, Bath Beach and Dyker Heights, said afterward that the group discussed several approaches to prevent hate crimes, among them, having local schools initiate programs that teach the positive contributions of AsianAmericans and all ethnic groups. Colton has also distributed whistles at senior centers to use in the event of attacks, and urged bystanders witnessing hate crimes to call 911 in these situations.
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