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Restore Funding to Crucial City Services

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Dear Neighbors,

Last month, Mayor de Blasio proposed a $92 billion budget to pay for all city services: education, police, fire, sanitation, transportation, health and human services, etc. During March and again in May, the City Council holds public hearings with all City agency commissioners to better understand what our taxpayer dollars pay for.

As you can imagine, several of the hearings have been particularly contentious. You can see the upcoming schedule as well as videos from past hearings here. I am fighting to restore funding for sanitation services, organics recycling, after-school and other public school programs, community centers, anti-eviction services, and more. In May I will be laser-focused to make sure that the Mayor spends the federal funds coming our way, responsibly and efficiently.
 

Building a Care System that Works for All on the UWS
Please join me for a public conversation about domestic care work with Upper West Side caregivers and employers next Wednesday, March 24th at 8:15pmRSVP here to receive an event link.

The pandemic has created new burdens and pressures for all families, and caregivers and housekeepers have been doubly affected as many of them have families of their own. Caregivers also face the stresses experienced by all essential workers. We’ll learn about the NYC care platform’s legislative agenda to professionalize domestic work; define caregivers’ legal rights; and clarify employers’ financial, legal and ethical responsibilities.
 

Federal Relief: The American Rescue Plan
Constituents can review this White House fact sheet regarding expanded federal assistance for localities as part of the latest stimulus plan. Benefits that have been expanded include rental and mortgage assistance, healthcare, unemployment insurance, SNAP (food stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), childcare, small business assistance, certain types of emergency grants, etc. The City of New York is also tracking expanded federally-funded benefits here.
 

Broadway Malls Clean-Up This Sunday
Spring is coming! Come join your neighbors and the Broadway Mall Association as we get the Malls (from 96th to 106th Streets) ready for warmer weather on Sunday, March 21st, from 10am to 12 noon. 

We will meet at Metro Diner – corner of 100th Street and Broadway. Garbage bags, gloves, tools, and masks will be provided. Please email epowers@broadwaymall.org to sign up!
 

MTA Rider Surveys
MTA riders are being asked to complete two brief surveys to help improve our transit system. Both surveys are accessible 24/7 until they close on Sunday, March 28, at 11:59pm
  • Directional Survey: https://mtasubwaydirection.questionpro.com. The MTA is undertaking a comprehensive review of how they write service alerts and describe train directions, and they need your input.
  • Customers Count Survey with a “COVID Travel” component: https://new.mta.info/mta-customers-count. As the MTA plans for more customers to return, they are seeking to better understand your concerns and travel needs.


“Open Culture” Streets Update
Organizations can apply for expedited permits, through the NYC Street Activity Permitting Office (SAPO), to use approved streets for artistic and cultural programming.  Learn more here.

Three Upper West Side streets are currently approved for Open Culture programming:
  • West 75th between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave
  • West 75th between Broadway and West End Ave
  • West 105th between Amsterdam and Columbus Aves
West 63rd between Broadway & Columbus Ave is no longer an approved street because of other uses and activities planned for that location.
 


We were very pleased to see the large number of residents who came out for a COVID-19 vaccination event at Amsterdam Houses last week. Special thanks to NYS Sen. Robert Jackson, who organized the event. He is pictured above with a member of our constituent services team, Josephine Luna.
COVID-19 Updates

1.) Vaccine Webinar: Experts from NYC Emergency Management and the NYC Dept of Health will discuss the three COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration next Wednesday, March 24 at 1:30pmRegister and view here.

2.) New Yorkers age 60 and older, along with additional public facing essential workers, are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more here. Visit the City’s Vaccine Finder to schedule an appointment, or call 1-877-829-4692. 

Adults 60 and older are prioritized for vaccination by pharmacies and mass vaccination sites. If you are 60+, call your local pharmacy to ask if they are providing vaccines. Seniors can make a vaccine appointment at Walgreens by calling 1-800-WALGREENS.

3.) Vaccinations for Homebound Seniors: New York City is providing in-home Covid-19 vaccinations (Johnson & Johnson) to eligible NYC residents who are fully homebound, have not yet been vaccinated, and do not already have access to a vaccination program. If you wish to receive in-home vaccination, please go to: forms.cityofnewyork.us/f/homebound.

4.) The Vaccine for All Corps is enlisting 2,000 New Yorkers to support City vaccination efforts across the five boroughs. Hiring for the first tranche of these positions is now live at nyc.gov/vaccinejobs.

Healthcare experience is not required for many of these positions, which include roles in site management, operations, and client services, in addition to the clinical roles. Residents from NYC communities hit hardest by COVID-19 are especially invited to apply.

Please check these sources regularly for vaccination updates:
Vaccinations can be scheduled via the City of NY’s Vaccine Hub, its Vaccine Finder, or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC or 877-829-4692.

Veterans: VA New York Harbor is offering vaccinations to veterans 65 and older who are enrolled in VA Healthcare. Click here to learn more or call 1-877-877-9267.

Transportation for Seniors to Vaccination Appointments
New Yorkers age 65+ who make a vaccination appointment at a City-operated site will be asked if they need transportation to get to and from their appointment. 
 
Resources for Immigrant Communities During COVID-19
Many city services are available to all New Yorkers no matter their immigration status or ability to pay. View the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs’ (MOIA) resource guide at nyc.gov/immigrants/coronavirus

If you have questions about immigration or how to access City services during the COVID-19 crisis, call the City’s hotline at (212) 788-7654 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday or email AskMOIA@cityhall.nyc.gov.

Public Charge: In New York City, healthcare is a human right. Use of health services related to COVID-19 will not be considered under the public charge rule and will not impact your ability to apply for a green card or citizenship. For more information visit: nyc.gov/publiccharge.

Stay Informed! Helpful COVID-19 information sources include: 
Assistance for NYers Who Test Positive for Covid
NYC Health & Hospitals’ Test & Trace Corps provides special services for New Yorkers who test positive, and their close contacts. This includes equipment so a household can quarantine safely, free hotel rooms if quarantining at home is impossible, pet care, and more.
 
COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment for Manhattan Businesses
Business owners in need of supplies for themselves and their employees should email the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce at helpdesk@Manhattancc.org.
Especially for Tenants

Eviction Moratorium
A reminder that the NYS Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 essentially blocks evictions through May 1st.

The EEFPA paused all eviction proceedings until the end of February. Tenants now need to sign a hardship declaration which attests either to financial hardship due to COVID-19 or increased risk of contracting COVID. Signing this declaration will protect the tenant from eviction through May 1st, 2021

The NYC Bar Association’s new flyer regarding the EEFPA helps both homeowners and renters understand their rights, and provides resources if they need assistance.

If you have questions about these new protections and/or are in danger of eviction, please watch our March Housing Clinic. You can also: 
  • Contact one of the housing organizations listed on our website. Click on “Housing.”
  • Visit the City’s Tenant Resource Portal which connects residential renters with free public and private resources to help prevent evictions.
  • Contact the City’s Tenant Helpline by clicking here or calling 311 for legal advice, counseling, and access to other useful resources.
  • Call the Housing Court Answers hotline at (212) 962-4795, Monday thru Friday, 9am-5pm. Language interpreters available. Information on Housing Court / housing law, plus rent arrears assistance and homelessness prevention guidance. NYCHA tenants also assisted.
Assistance With Submitting Your Eviction Moratorium Hardship Form
Right to CounselHousing Justice for All, and JustFix.nyc have launched a new website to help tenants submit their hardship declaration forms on-line.

EvictionFreeNY.org provides an accessible, easy to use format that ensures tenants can take full advantage of the temporary protections provided by the new law.

NYCHA Tenants

Attend “A Blueprint for Change” Resident Town Hall
Have questions about NYCHA’s “Blueprint for Change” Re-Organization Plan? Join NYCHA Chair Greg Russ and leadership for a presentation on Blueprint. Please register by clicking the link below for the Town Hall you would like to attend:Registration required. Language assistance is available in Spanish, Russian, and Chinese. If you need a reasonable accommodation in order to participate, please contact the Resident Engagement Department by phone at (212) 306-8436 or by email at resident.engagement@nycha.nyc.gov.

Watch Council Member Rosenthal’s March 1st Town Hall about the Blueprint for Change. We were joined by NYCHA Chairman Gregory Russ; VP of Intergovernmental Relations Brian Honan; and tenant association presidents from Upper West Side developments. 

Free Tax Prep Services for New Yorkers


March 17, 2021 update: The IRS deadline to file 2020 tax returns has been extended to May 17, 2021. The IRS will be providing formal guidance in the coming days.

If you earned $68,000 or less in 2020, you can file for free— including from home — with the help of an IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteer preparer. Preparers can help you file your taxes safely now, and transmit the returns to the IRS.

Learn more at nyc.gov/taxprep; or call 311 and ask for tax preparation assistance. Services available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, and Russian. Additional languages available through phone interpretation. 

For hard copies of IRS tax forms (libraries and post offices are generally not carrying them this year), download them at www.irs.gov. You can also call 1-800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to have forms and other publications mailed to you. Orders are usually received within 10 days.

Additional Tax Season Resources:

Community Health


Rebuilding Mental Health: International Day of Happiness
Join Samaritans of New York’s Suicide Prevention Center for a special webinar this Friday, March 19, at 1 pm. Many New Yorkers have found themselves plagued with anxiety, self-doubt and fears about the future at some point during the pandemic. This webinar examines approaches that can help us to open our minds, challenge our preconceptions, and break some of the unhelpful habits we may have developed over the past year of isolation and social paralysis. Register here.

Gun Buy-Back Event: March 27th
The NYPD encourages any New Yorker in possession of a firearm to turn it in, no questions asked. Their annual gun buy-back event is Saturday, March 27th, from 10am to 4pm. Location: Convent Avenue Baptist Church, 420 W. 145th Street. Learn more here.

Healthy Home Workshops
The NYC Dept of Health offers monthly workshops for parents, seniors, and other interested residents on topics related to maintaining a healthy and safe home. Workshops also offered in Spanish, Bengali, Russian, and other languages. Topics include:
  • Preventing Lead Poisoning
  • Cleaning Safely in the Home 
  • Getting Rid of Mold 
  • Controlling Roaches and Mice Safely 
  • Installing Safe Window Guards
Registration is required to join by WebEx. See all of the workshops and register here.

Health Coverage: NYS Enrollment Period Extended to May 15th 
If you have lost your health insurance or have not had coverage, go to https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/ or https://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/get-covered for a comprehensive list of affordable options — including subsidized individual health plans and Medicaid. New York State’s current open enrollment period has been extended until May 15th, 2021. New Yorkers can enroll in Medicaid all year long.

Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY (CIDNY) is a “Navigator” agency for NYS of Health enrollments, and works with all New Yorkers to help them find affordable health insurance. Services are free and confidential. Contact CIDNY at (917) 810-2566 or by clicking here.

No-Cost Mammograms
Early detection of breast cancer is proven to save lives. No-cost mammograms are available now via the American-Italian Cancer Foundation. No co-pays required and deductibles are waived. Uninsured patients are welcome. 

For more information and to make an appointment, call 1-877-628-9090Click here to learn more. Eligibility:
  • Women age 40 – 79
  • Currently living in New York City
  • No Mammogram in the past 12 months
Free Vision Screenings: University Eye Center
Free screenings are available Monday, April 5th, from 2pm to 4pm.

Screenings are by appointment only. All ages welcome. Infants under 18 months can have a complete eye exam done for free instead of a screening.
  • Phone (212) 938-4001, Monday – Friday (9am – 5pm) and Saturday (8:30am – 4:30pm)
  • Location: University Eye Center, SUNY College of Optometry, 33 W. 42nd Street
Mental Health Support
As we all know, this is a profoundly stressful time. If your symptoms of stress become overwhelming, please reach out for support and help. One option is NYC Well, the City’s confidential helpline for mental health and substance misuse services. Trained counselors can provide you with support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 200 languages. Click here; call: 1-888-NYC-Well (1-888-692-9355); or text: “Well” to 65173.

Support For City Employees
If managing your stress is beginning to feel like a full-time job, consider reaching out to the NYC Employee Assistance Program. All EAP services are available Monday through Friday, 8am – 9pm. Contact the EAP by email at eap@olr.nyc.gov or leave a message at (212) 306-7660.

Programs & Events of Interest


See some of the Women’s History Month events in our district by clicking here.

For local and citywide environmental news and events, sign up for newsletters from UWS Recycling, which come out 6 times/year. Read the March/April Eco Letter here!
 
Immersion Program for Girls Interested in Coding
Current 9th -11th grade girls and non-binary students are invited to apply to Girls Who Code’s FREE 2-week Virtual Summer Immersion Program!

Students from underrepresented groups in tech, including Black, Latinx, and low-income backgrounds, are strongly encouraged to apply early.
  • Learn how to use HTML, CSS, and Javascript coding skills to make an impact on what matters to you. Not a coder yet? No problem!
  • Join a sisterhood of supportive peers and make lifelong friendships!
  • Meet women in tech from top corporations like Disney, AT&T, Twitter & more. 
  • Participate for free! Plus, Girls Who Code will provide need-based tech support for those who qualify.
Applications accepted until March 19th. To learn more, join a webinar and read this info sheet and FAQ page.

Virtual History Tours of the Upper West Side
Sponsored by the Broadway Mall Association, licensed NYC tour guide Hank Orenstein will conduct another virtual tour of the UWS, this time focusing on West 95th-109th Streets, between Riverside Drive and Central Park West. Tour date: Saturday, March 20, from 3:00pm-4:30pm

Tour “stops” include: the homes of George Gershwin and Humphrey Bogart, and a house where Duke Ellington composed songs; a memorial to local residents Ida and Isidor Straus, who died on the Titanic; the Manhattan Avenue Historic District; a church with beautiful Tiffany windows; a rare free standing mansion on Riverside Drive; and more. Email info@broadwaymall.org to RSVP. A Zoom link will be sent to those who RSVP the morning of the tour. 

Cycling: How Women Make It Work
Bike New York’s Spoke Series are free virtual events designed to bring bike lovers, street users, and change makers together for conversations that inform and inspire.

Join Bike New York for their latest event this Monday, March 22, at 6:30pm featuring: Angela Azzolino, Executive Director, Get Women Cycling; Lisa Gillespie, SHERO, Black Girls Do Bike; and Caroline Samponaro, Head of Micromobility & Transit Public Policy, Lyft. Register  here.

On-line Forum: Hate Crimes & Human Rights
Community Board 7’s Health & Human Services Committee will host a forum on hate crimes and human rights next Tuesday, March 23rd at 7pm, in collaboration with the Hate Crimes Unit of the Manhattan DA’s Office, the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit, the Mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, and the NYC Commission on Human Rights. Learn more here. Register here.
 
In Case You Missed It: NYC Youth & Community Development Town Hall Series
The Youth Town Hall Series, led-by-youth-for-youth, streamed live on YouTube last month. You can watch it now and hear youth moderators and youth panelists discuss Pathways to Economic Equality and how this issue impacts all our lives. 
We’re Here to Help

My office assists people with housing issues, seniors, the disabled, the recently un (or under) employed, the food insecure, and all those suffering the many consequences of this pandemic, to help in any way we can. We also provide on-going advocacy with our public schools and other public services.

Please call (212) 873-0282, leave a message and we will call you back as soon as possible; email helen@helenrosenthal.com; or check our website, HelenRosenthal.com. We update it on a regular basis with information about public benefits, non-profit resources, and health facts Upper West Siders need to get through this crisis. 

Warmly,



P.S. Please forward this newsletter to anyone you think might be interested, or have them subscribe to my e-blasts here. Also, follow my social media accounts on TwitterFacebook, and/or Instagram.

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