Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move April 15, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

James Urges Stimulus Payments Go to Families, Not Debt Collectors

Attorney General of NY Letitia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James

State Attorney General Letitia James yesterday led a bipartisan coalition of 25 attorneys general in sending a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, calling on the U.S. Department of the Treasury to take immediate action to ensure billions of dollars in emergency stimulus payments authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) go to American families and not debt collectors. 

Congress passed the CARES Act three weeks ago to provide direct and immediate economic relief to all individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19, but — unlike other government programs — the CARES Act does not explicitly designate these emergency stimulus payments as exempt from garnishment from creditors. 

“Millions of New Yorkers’ impacted by COVID-19 wake up every day uncertain about their ability to pay medical bills, buy groceries, or pay rent,” said James. “The CARES Act was intended to serve the American peoples’ basic needs and provide a vital lifeline to all who have lost their jobs or seen their incomes reduced. The Treasury Department can stop suffering for millions of Americans by taking immediate action and protecting these payments before many of these payments go out.”

The CARES Act authorizes the Treasury Department to issue emergency stimulus payments of up to $1,200 for eligible adults and up to $500 for eligible children. 

Nadler, Rose Introduce Legislation to Compensate Public Safety Officers 

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler
Max Rose
U.S. Rep. Max Rose

U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-Brooklyn, Manhattan), Max Rose (D-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), yesterday introduced the Public Safety Officer Pandemic Response Act of 2020. 

This legislation would expand an existing federal program to ensure that public safety officers who contract COVID-19 in the line of duty are eligible for benefits should they become disabled or die from the virus.

“Whether they are law enforcement officers, firefighters, or emergency medical technicians, public safety officers selflessly put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities,” said Nadler. “During this time of crisis, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, public safety officers remain on call 24-7, which puts them at serious risk for exposure. 

Nadler said while the measure is focused on public safety officers, it plans to address other Americans working on the frontlines of this crisis – doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, and others deemed essential – through other measures. 

“We stand ready to work with others in Congress and in the Administration to assist these essential workers who are putting their lives on the line during this crisis,” he said.

Ortiz Supports Census Extension, Says Brooklyn Falling Behind on Response

Assembly Member Feliz Ortiz

Assemblymember Felix Ortiz (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) said yesterday he welcomed the U.S. Census Bureau announcement that it is extending the counting process from July 31 o Oct. 31 due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“An accurate count can make a major difference in the quality of our lives. Our medical facilities and hospitals would improve with better and more accurate data. We’d have more doctors, nurses and medical supplies with a higher census count,” said Ortiz.

“Unfortunately, Brooklyn is falling behind quickly compared to other parts of New York City and the nation. Last week, while the national response rate hit 46.7 of all American households, only 36% of New York City’s residents have responded. In parts of Sunset Park and Borough Park, fewer than 30% of local households have responded. These are among the lowest response rates in the city. We have to do better,” he said.

Stringer Announces Online Workshops For Small Business Owners

City Comptroller Scott Stringer

City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer announced yesterday a biweekly series of online workshops to expand access to available resources, services, and business opportunities for small businesses and minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) impacted by COVID-19. 

The Comptroller’s Office will provide presentations via Zoom on a range of topics including financial resources from the federal, state, and city government as well as the private sector, and current business opportunities within city and state procurement. Interpretation services will be available in 12 different languages including American Sign Language, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu.  

“During this difficult time, we want to make it as simple as possible for M/WBEs and small business owners to navigate available resources and access business opportunities,” said Stringer. “Our multilingual webinar series ensures that businesses have easy access to a one-stop-shop for the most up-to-date and critical information. M/WBEs and local businesses are essential to our economy and identity as a city, and we will do everything in our power to help our small business community rebuild stronger than ever before.” 

Webinar sessions for small businesses and M/WBEs impacted by COVID-19 will be held every Tuesday and Thursday starting Thursday, April 16 through Thursday, May 14. To RSVP, click here or email [email protected] Interpretation services must be requested upon RSVP at least two days before each session.  

Colton Reports New Unemployment Application Process More Efficient

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D–Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) said yesterday that the governor’s office has heard constituent’s plight stemming from an unemployment communication system confronted by a six-fold increase in applications due to the COVID -19 emergency.

“Those who previously have been told to call, but were not able to get through will have their applications moved forward under the new streamlined process. This will include the hiring of new additional staff and upgrading of the technology with the new system and a new simpler online application form. Hopefully, the new process will make it easier and faster to file an unemployment insurance claim,” said Colton.

Colton said already, in the first few days of the new system, his office’s return calls to many of those constituents has resulted in approvals of the new system.

“Those constituents with continuing problems or questions on this or any other issue  can continue to call my district office, which although closed has all telephone messages forwarded to my top-notch staff so we can help you through working from home. Call 718-236-1598 and leave a message with your name, telephone number and a brief description of why you are calling,” Colton added.

Menchaca Lauds City’s Third Annual “State of Our Immigrant City” Report

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) yesterday lauded the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) release yesterday of its third annual “State of the City Immigrant” report.

The report includes new and updated data on the demographic characteristics of immigrant New Yorkers. Notably, this year’s Annual Report analyzes trends and shifts in these demographic characteristics over the last decade—from 2008 to 2018. It also outlines 2019 activities and programming in detail.

Major new findings include:

  •         The poverty rate among immigrant New Yorkers is higher than for New Yorkers born in the United States. Additionally, the poverty rate for undocumented immigrants is 28.8 percent, higher than the 25.6 percent for green card holders and immigrants with other statuses. 
  •         For the first time in this decade, the City experienced a decline of about 75,000 immigrant residents in 2018 – and the drop among non-citizens compared to other groups was more pronounced. 
  •         The level of uninsured immigrant New Yorkers declined from 35 percent to 21 percent in over a five-year period.

Additional notable statistics from the report about immigrant New Yorkers include:


  •         New Yorkers by Immigration Status: 63% U.S.-born citizens; 21% naturalized citizens; 11% green card holders or other status; 6% undocumented.
  •         Top Ten Countries of Birth for Immigrant New Yorkers, from Highest Population to Lowest: Dominican Republic, China, Mexico, Jamaica, Guyana, Ecuador, Bangladesh, Haiti, India, and Colombia.
  •         Top Ten Languages of Immigrant New Yorkers with Limited English Proficiency (LEP), in Order: Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Korean, Arabic, French, Polish, and Urdu.
  •         Nearly 60 percent of New Yorkers live in family households with at least one immigrant.
  •         About one million New Yorkers live in mixed-status households, in which at least one undocumented person lives with other persons who have legal status.


  •         Over three-quarters of undocumented immigrants (age 16 and older) are in the labor force, compared to 64 percent of all New Yorkers.
  •         Immigrant New Yorkers contributed $232 billion to the city’s GDP, about a quarter of its total.

“Every issue is an immigration issue, and this annual report continues to demonstrate that. I look forward to reviewing it in full and seeing how the City Council can use the data and information it contains to develop policies that show the City is fully committed to that ideal,” said Menchaca, Chair of the Immigration Committee. 

The full report can be accessed here.

Savino Spreads Info to Those Facing Food Shortages

Senator Diane Savino
Senator Diane Savino (credit: Thomas Altfather Good)

State Sen. Diane Savino (D-Coney Island, Staten Island) said this week that one the biggest issues her constituents seem to be facing during this time is food insecurity. 

To that end, Savino’s office is here to assist constituents and she wants to send out the following helpful resources to ensure they have the information needed during this pandemic:

  • Public schools are offering free grab & go meals across the city, you can find information about this, including locations near you here. Meal hubs are available from 730AM-130PM, they will operate for children and families between 730AM-1130AM and for adults from 1130AM-130PM. All adults and children can pick up three meals at one time. 
  • If you qualify, you may apply for SNAP (food stamps), Cash Assistance, and Medicaid renewal all at the same time here
  • To find the nearest food pantries and community kitchens, call the Emergency Food Hotline at 866-888-8777. 
  • Checkout WIC2Go, which is a mobile app for New York State WIC recipients. For more information on WIC support, please visit their or call 844-540-3031, their eWIC card Customer Service line.  
  •  For seniors aged 60+ NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA) provides home delivered meals. You can access them online or call 311 for support, you also can call 212-244-6469 to see if you qualify direct delivery. 
  •  If you are not currently receiving any food benefit (such as Meals on Wheels or SNAP), are unable to get to a grocery store, and do not have anyone to help you, you may qualify for NYC Food Delivery Assistance
  •  CityHarvest offers free food every other week across NYC, you can find a location near you here
  •  For those looking for ways to donate food, cash, or supplies to those in need please find information here about ways you can help New Yorkers affected by COVID-19. 

“Thank you to all the amazing organizations out there doing all they can to ensure that people have what they need during this time. We hope these links help and if you need additional assistance, please feel free to reach out to my office,” said Savino.

More from Around New York