Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move April 3, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Lentol Announces $200 Million for Land Acquisition 

Assemblymember Joseph Lentol
Assemblymember Joseph Lentol

Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol (D-Greenpoint, Williamsburg) announced yesterday that $200 million for land acquisition has been included in the New York State Budget Bond Act Authorization Fund.

“I have been working through this difficult budget process to identify a means for purchasing 40 Quay Street. The inclusion of land acquisition funds that can be directed for the purchase of 40 Quay Street in the Environmental Bond Act is great news for North Brooklyn residents and the means of expanding our open space. The coronavirus crisis is teaching us how important open space is to our community and our health. I fought for inclusion of funds in the Environmental Bond Act so that with its passage, we have resources to help us obtain this important plot of land,” said Lentol.

The Restore Mother Nature Environmental Bond Act will be on the 2020 November ballot to vote on. With its passage, important investments will be made into restoring New York’s environment, habitats and flood reductions in order to prepare New York for challenges we will face due to climate change. 

Valazquez Updates on her Well-Being

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Bushwick, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Dumbo, East New York, East Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Gowanus, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Williamsburg, Queens, Lower Manhattan) released the following statement on her current state of well-being. 

 “First, I want to profoundly thank everyone who has so kindly supported me in myriad ways the last few days. I’ve heard from countless friends, neighbors, New Yorkers and people around the country. I’ve been deeply touched by kindnesses large and small from cards, to calls and texts – to people leaving groceries at my door without anyone asking. Thank you so much. Your compassion inspires me. I always say, ‘New Yorkers take care of one another’, and I’m being reminded of that, again, firsthand.

 “Today’s the first day since Sunday that I can say with some confidence I think I’m turning the corner. I’ve been resting a lot and, while still very tired, I feel stronger. The last few days have been physically tough. I will also say, as a Member of Congress, you grow accustomed to interacting with people every day and the loneliness of self-isolating, while ill, has been its own challenge.  I urge everyone: continue to practice social distancing, stay home and be safe. Believe me, you do not want to contract coronavirus. 

“As I continue watching the news and monitoring social media, I feel immensely proud of how New Yorkers are helping one another in this difficult time. My heartfelt thanks goes out to the medical workers, first responders, grocery store employees, postal workers, pharmacists and so many other working people who are on the front lines of this crisis. You are the true heroes and our city and nation owe you a deep debt of gratitude. I will continue recuperating at home, self-isolating and following the guidance of the Attending Physician. I hope to be fully healthy soon and will provide further updates,” she said.

 Rose Urged FEMA to Approve Aid Requests

Max Rose
U.S. Rep. Max Rose

U.S. Max Rose (South Brooklyn, Staten Island) sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urging it to approve outstanding requests by New York State for badly needed aid, including Individual Assistance which would help with unemployment, shelter, and food assistance.

 “I am writing to strongly urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to approve all of New York State’s outstanding requests for desperately needed aid including Individual Assistance (IA) so we can move closer towards my goal of making my constituents whole following this COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote Rose, “I hope you agree and share this goal in our time of crisis, with New York having over half of the nation’s coronavirus patients.”

 New York State has requested reimbursement from FEMA for Individual Assistance aid which includes Temporary Shelter Assistance, Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance and Disaster Unemployment Assistance, which provides unemployment benefits and re-employment services to individuals who have become unemployed as a result of a major disaster who also are not eligible for regular State unemployment insurance.

Treyger Calls on DOE to Help Homeless and Foster Children 

Council Member Mark Treyger

Council Member Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend) called on the Department of Education (DOE) to immediately adopt his comprehensive plan to serve the city’s homeless children and students in foster care.

“The NYC Department of Education (DOE) needs to immediately provide access to the Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs) for students who are homeless and students in foster care to ensure they have access to a safe learning environment while schools are closed. The comprehensive plan that should be adopted immediately is as follows: 

“Grant access to RECs for homeless students and kids in foster care, provide case management and social worker services, use existing school bus contracts to transport kids rather than have them use mass transit, provide mobile Wi-Fi hotspots now rather than wait months for internet delivery, and remove burdensome bureaucratic hurdles so kids get access to tech immediately.

“In order to best serve our students, the DOE should extend case management services for students in temporary housing and students in foster care in Regional Education Centers with use of social workers and other emotional supports. This public health crisis is adding extraordinary trauma already experienced by our most vulnerable,” wrote Treyger.

Duetsch Leading Process for Unemployment Claims

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch

Councilman Chaim Deutsch (Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Homecrest) is leading the City Council’s effort to reform the filing process for unemployment claims.

“This is an incredibly difficult time for so many people who are suddenly without a paycheck. It is incumbent upon Governor Cuomo to make every effort to make the unemployment process easier for applicants,” Deutsch said. “This includes waiving the phone verification wherever possible, hiring additional staff if needed, and increasing the bandwidth capabilities of their online application portal. We need to be getting money into the pockets of New Yorkers as quickly as possible.

With hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers out of work because of the COVID-19 outbreak, unemployment claims skyrocketed in the last several weeks. Though there is an option to file for unemployment online or by phone, in some cases, online applicants must also complete a phone verification. This means that tens of thousands of people are calling the Department of Labor every day to ensure their claim is accepted – and thousands of callers are not getting through. Even applying online has caused delays, with the website crashing often due to heavy traffic. 

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