Queens Lawmakers on the Move April 7, 2020

Queens County City Council News

HUD Focuses on Eradicating Sexual Harassment in Housing

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) observes Fair Housing Month every April and this year’s theme is accentuating: Sexual Harassment in Housing is Illegal. 

The theme serves a dual purpose; first, as a public awareness campaign that urges the persons who experience sexual harassment where they live to ‘call HUD’ for help and second, the theme reflects HUD’s continuing efforts to combat this and other forms of discrimination.

This year’s theme focuses on protecting individuals from harassment by property owners, managers, maintenance workers or other residents, and helps to educate the public about what behaviors and actions constitute sexual harassment and resources HUD offers to those that experience harassment.  

“While any form of discrimination stains the very fabric of our nation, HUD is especially focused on protecting the right of individuals to feel safe and secure in their homes, free from sexual harassment or unwanted sexual advances,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “This theme, which is a call to action, is an appeal to those who experience discrimination, particularly survivors of sexual harassment, to contact HUD for help. Much work remains to be done, but HUD’s efforts in this area are already producing real results for real people.”

Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).

Gillibrand Call for Vets, SSI Beneficiaries to Get Direct Assistance 

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, yesterday joined Senate colleagues to urge the Trump Administration to ensure that veterans and beneficiaries of the Supplemental Security Income program automatically receive stimulus payments even if they have not filed a tax return. 

The tax return requirement places a significant burden on low-income veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities. Processing direct cash assistance automatically would provide the fastest and most effective way to get desperately needed funds into the hands of those in need.

“Once again, the Trump Administration is putting America’s most vulnerable individuals at risk by not enforcing guidelines detailed in the CARES Act,” said Gillibrand. “The administration must use their authority to ensure that more than 3 million low-income veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities receive their stimulus payment without the undue burden of filing a tax return. Our veterans deserve access to these direct payments and I urge the administration to act swiftly.”

Meng Announces Timeline for Coronavirus Relief Payments 

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) announced yesterday that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is working to distribute coronavirus relief payments that are being made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was recently passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.

This relief package will provide payments of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child to help many taxpayers with the financial burden that they are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the House Ways and Means Committee, the IRS is expected to make approximately 60 million payments to Americans through direct deposit in mid-April (likely the week of April 13). The IRS has direct deposit information for these individuals from their 2018 or 2019 tax returns. This will include Social Security beneficiaries who filed federal tax returns that included direct deposit information.

Shortly (hopefully within 10 days) after the first round of payments are made in mid-April, the IRS plans to make a second round of payments. These payments will be made to Social Security beneficiaries who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019 and receive their Social Security benefits via direct deposit. The estimates are that nearly 99 percent of Social Security beneficiaries who do not file a return receive their benefits through direct deposit. 

Approximately three weeks after the first round of payments are made (the week of May 4), the IRS is expected to begin issuing paper checks to individuals.

“People in Queens and across the nation are hurting, and this financial assistance will provide important short-term relief to families and workers,” said Meng. “I will monitor these timelines to ensure that constituents receive their payments.”

On Friday, Meng helped to introduce legislation that would allow immigrants who use an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to receive these funds as well. 

Presently, the CARES Act only allows the money to be sent to those who file their taxes with a Social Security number, leaving millions of immigrants ineligible to receive these critical payments.

Sanders Kicks off Coronavirus Virtual Community Conversations

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale, parts of Far Rockaway) will today will kick off his series of live, interactive, virtual community conversations on Facebook, each focusing on a different part of his district.

The topic will be the Coronavirus. Sanders will be providing updates as well as answering constituent questions and addressing their concerns. Stay safe and still be a part of the conversation as we move to a virtual format in light of this global pandemic.

Go to Facebook.com/StateSenatorJamesSandersJr/

Times and neighborhoods are listed below.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 – 4 p.m. – Rochdale Village 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020 – 4 p.m. – South Jamaica & Springfield Gardens 

Thursday, April 9, 2020 – 4 p.m. – The Rockaways 

Friday, April 10, 2020 – 4 p.m. – South Ozone Park & Richmond Hill

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