Queens Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 27, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Schumer Proposes $8.5 Billion In Emergency Funding To Fight Coronavirus

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) yesterday released a detailed proposal for $8.5 billion in emergency funding to fight the spread of coronavirus in the United States.

“Congress must act swiftly to confront the threat of this global health crisis,” said Schumer. “This proposal brings desperately-needed resources to the global fight against coronavirus. Americans need to know that their government is prepared to handle the situation before coronavirus spreads to our communities. I urge Congress to move quickly on this proposal. Time is of the essence.”

Schumer assailed the Trump administration for making only a last-minute $1.25 billion emergency funding request to fight the virus, noting that Congress appropriated more than $6B for the Pandemic Flu in 2006 and more than $7B for H1N1 flu in 2009.

Schumer’s plan includes $1.5B for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; $3 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund; $2 billion as a set-aside for state and local reimbursement; $1B for the USAID Emerging Health Threats; and $1B for the National Institutes of Health vaccine development.

Vallone Chairs Hearing Exploring Jamaica NOW Revitalization 

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Council Member Paul A. Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) this week chaired a “2020 Snapshot” Economic Development Committee hearing, which focused on one major development project being led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) per borough. 

For Queens, EDC Chief Operating Officer Rachel Loeb provided updates on the Jamaica NOW Revitalization Project, which was kicked off in 2014, and the Queens FEASTS initiative.

Jamaica NOW is a multi-faceted $153 million project in Central Jamaica designed to increase access to quality jobs and small business support, expand commercial growth, improve livability and increase tourism to Jamaica. Vallone asked questions on topics including community engagement, what tracking and data EDC has on graduates of the workforce development programs, and if any of the job training programs can be introduced to local schools. 

“Our small businesses are the core of New York City’s economic engine, and providing prospective business owners with support and education through programs like Queens FEASTS will help the next generation of mom and pops thrive for years to come,” said Vallone. “I look forward to seeing the program’s borough-wide expansion progress and ask the EDC to explore ways we can bring these trainings and internship opportunities into our schools.”

Queens FEASTS, formerly known as Jamaica FEASTS, was born out of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan. Its main objective is to provide food entrepreneurs training and tools to be successful in today’s culinary industry and actively participate in the revitalization of the greater Jamaica area. 

Due to its success, the program was recently expanded to the entire borough. Interested applicants can visit the Queens Public Library website and complete their application at http://connect.queenslibrary.org/1342.

Meng Holds Security Grant Workshop Following Rise in Hate Crimes

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, held a workshop in Queens last week on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Nonprofit Security Grant Program, the federal initiative that provides houses of worship (synagogues, churches, mosques, temples) and nonprofit institutions such as community centers and schools, with funds to protect their properties against threats and attacks.

The event comes following the rise in hate crimes and took place in Kew Gardens. It helped houses of worship and nonprofits in the borough learn about the program and how they can successfully apply for funding. These DHS grants, allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), cover target-hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities such as barriers, gates, safety gear, surveillance equipment, and other safety measures. 

“We have all seen the increase in hate crimes across the country including right here in the New York area,” said Meng. “These attacks and threats can happen anywhere at any time, and houses of worship and nonprofit facilities must be prepared. They must do everything possible to protect their properties, and Nonprofit Security Grants can be a huge resource in that critical effort. Safety and security must always be the number one priority. I continue to encourage all houses of worship and high-risk nonprofits to apply for these grants, and I thank all who attended this important workshop.”

This year’s deadline to apply for the grants is March 18. Each house of worship-nonprofit organization may apply for up to a total of $100,000 in grant funds. Those that submit applications from Meng’s congressional district are encouraged to reach out to the Congresswoman’s office for assistance and letters of support. The phone number for Meng’s office is 718-358-MENG (6364).

Queens Borough President Candidate Forum Comes To Jamaica 

The Faith In New York Federation this weekend will hold Queens Borough President Candidate Forum in Jamaica

Confirmed candidates include City Council Members Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens) and Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, parts of Long Island City, Woodside) as well as Anthony Miranda and Everly Brown

Ahead of the March 20 special election vote, the candidates will share their stances on the issues that matter most to the southeast Queens communities. The Forum will be live-streamed through the Christ Church International Facebook Page.

As part of the event, a representative from the 2020 Census will speak on the value of completing the survey, and the National Council of Negro Women will offer voter registration.

The event is slated for 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Christ Church International, 122-20 Merrill Street in Jamaica. The event is free, but registration is required. For more information contact Crystal Walthall at [email protected] or call 718-440-2992.

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