What’s News Breaking: Tuesday, August 3, 2021
HEARING ON EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: Obtaining constituents’ access to New York State’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is a top priority for Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay, Midwood, Manhattan Beach, Gravesend and Brighton Beach). Recognizing that tenants and landlords alike are unable to meet their monthly expenses, Assemblymember Cymbrowitz, who is chair of that body’s Housing Committee, will hold a public hearing next Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 10 a.m., 250 Broadway in Manhattan for tenants who are currently behind on rent or utilities, and thousands of small landlords who depend on rental income. Tenants, landlords and other stakeholders who wish to present testimony must complete and return this form by Friday, August 6, via this link.
Tenants who have suffered financial losses due to COVID that affect one’s ability to pay rent, can still apply to ERAP. Both tenants and landlords can apply for benefits, and payments are made directly to landlords. Visit otda.ny.gov/programs/Emergency-Rental-Assistance to learn more or fill out an application.
GODSQUAD WINS NIKE GRANT: The GodSquad of the 67th Precinct Community Council has been awarded a 2021 #NikeCommunityImpactFund grant. The Nike Community Impact Fund (NCIF) are employee-led grants that support local, grassroots organizations that get kids impassioned in sports. Nike, working in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation of America, awards grants, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 each, to local nonprofits and schools that help kids unleash their potential through play and sport. GodSquad, which works to eliminate gun violence and supports victims’ families, is utilizing these funds for programs that provide healing from community trauma through fitness, health & wellness through its youth leaders.
Other Nike grantees for 2021 in Brooklyn included the Brooklyn Free School, the Kings County Tennis League, Powerplay NYC, United Sports Youth League and Women in Need.
MANDATE EXPANDS TO TRANSIT EMPLOYEES: MTA and Port Authority employees working in New York facilities will be required, starting on Labor Day, to get their vaccines for COVID-19 or be tested weekly. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday that employee-only vaccination sites that previously closed as usage dropped will be reopened while those that remained open will continue to operate. Saying that a mask policy isn’t sufficient in fighting a new surge in COVID cases, Gov. Cuomo said that local governments, schools, public hospitals and even private businesses should start considering mandatory vaccinations.
This requirement follows Governor Cuomo’s July 28 press conference at which he mandated that state employees and patient-facing employees in state-run hospitals get vaccinated for COVID-19 by Labor Day.
MEDIA BLITZ TO GET KIDS FULLY VACCINATED IN TIME FOR SCHOOL: The New York City departments of Education and Health are launching a multi-media campaign to promote vaccination to kids and parents so they can be fully immunized by the first day of school on Sept. 13. Aug. 9 marks the last day for children 12 and up to get their first shot in time to be fully protected, because children under 18 are eligible only for the Pfizer vaccine, which entails a five-week period to full vaccination, including the three weeks between the first and second doses. The $1.3 million campaign runs through the end of September 12 on TV, radio, digital, subway, newspapers and posters at neighborhood businesses including bodegas and supermarkets.
Moreover, the campaign will open mobile vaccination sites directly in the places where young people frequent, such as Public School Athletic League (PSAL) pre-season conditioning sites, high-volume summer meal sites, at 12 Saturday Night Lights locations, and at 28 middle and high school Summer Rising sites.
PROVIDE HIGH-QUALITY BROADBAND TO ALL: The Anti-Digital Redlining Act of 2021, legislation that Congressmember Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) introduced on Monday as H.R. 4875, would ensure equitable access to high-quality, affordable broadband coverage in marginalized communities by formally prohibiting the practice of digital redlining. Digital redlining occurs when internet service providers (ISPs) are less likely to upgrade transmission systems in medium- and low-income communities because they believe these communities are not as profitable as higher income communities.
H.R. 4875 would require the Federal Communications Commission to assess all factors that indicate the prevalence of digital redlining via notice of inquiry, as well as enacting several further comprehensive measures to heal communities affected by digital redlining.
CHAIN-IN CELEBRATION MARKS END OF CHILD MARRIAGE: State Senator Julia Salazar will join the group Unchained At Last and advocates, dressed in bridal gowns and veils, with arms chained and mouths taped, and will gather on Wednesday at 10 a.m. outside Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan office for a chain-in celebration, now that New York just became the sixth state to end child marriage. Wednesday Aug. 4 at 10 a.m. Sen. Salazar has worked alongside Assemblymember Phil Ramos and advocates at Unchained At Last to end what they say is the practice of abusive and forced child marriages across the state. As a result of this monumental law, children across the state of New York will be protected from this traumatizing experience.
The group also call for an end to this human rights abuse in the remaining 44 states that still allow child marriage.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE TREES: The Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, a grassroots non-profit that owns and supports ongoing stewardship of community gardens across Brooklyn and Queens, has been awarded a $30,940 Urban and Community Forestry Grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The Tree Maintenance Grant will enable BQLT to hire professional arborists to carry out necessary tree pruning and removal across numerous BQLT gardens. BQLT will also partner with Trees New York to offer a special Citizen Pruner course to BQLT garden volunteers, sponsor several fruit tree-pruning workshops, and host a 2022 Arbor Day event to educate the public and generate interest in the important work of caring for our community’s trees. The grant also makes it possible to establish a Community Tree Board of volunteers.
BQLT was incorporated as a non-profit in 2004. Today, we own 35 community gardens and lease one additional garden in the NYC boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. BQLT gardens cannot be sold or developed, and are permanently saved as open spaces.
NEW ACTING PARKS COMMISSIONER: Margaret Nelson has been appointed as Acting Commissioner of NYC Parks, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who made the appointment, announced yesterday. Nelson, who is currently Parks’ Deputy Commissioner for Urban Park Services and Public Programs, began her department career in 2014. Acting Commissioner Nelson has been responsible for helping to implement the administration’s vision for equity in public spaces, planning and placemaking in parks, innovation and technology, and caring for parks.
Nelson spearheaded a number of inter-divisional funding initiatives including securing more than $80 million for replacement fleet vehicles, and also helping to establish a synthetic turf field maintenance and replacement model program.
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