MANH Lawmakers on the Move, May 14, 2020

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Levine to Host Upper Manhattan Food Bank and Mask Distribution

Council Member Mark D. Levine
Council Member Mark D. Levine

Councilmember Mark Levine (D-Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville) will be handing out free produce, canned goods and face masks outside his office this afternoon.

Levine’s office is partnering with ICNA and Super Foodtown for the event. Those who wish to receive a food bag or mask must register in advance.

The event will take place today from 3-5 p.m. at the Office of Mark Levine, 500 West 141st St. To register, click here.

James Calls on NYPD to Ensure Equal Social Distancing Enforcement

Attorney General of NY Letitia James
Attorney General of NY Letitia James

Yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) called on the NYPD to address the unequal enforcement of social distancing guidelines across the City.

The request followed several reports of officers using violent, aggressive enforcement tactics in black and Hispanic neighborhoods; by contrast, few reports of that nature have come out of white neighborhoods. In majority white neighborhoods, officers are reportedly more likely to issue summonses and hand out free face masks to offender.

“The apparent unequal enforcement of social distancing policies is deeply troubling, and deepens the divide between law enforcement and the people they are tasked to protect,” said James. “It is inherently wrong to aggressively police one group of people, yet ignore another group that commits the same infraction. The NYPD must better ensure that a New Yorker’s race, color, and neighborhood does not determine how they are patrolled.” 

DOH to Host Webinar on COVID-19 Related Inflammatory Disease in Children

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced yesterday that the Department of Health (DOH) will be hosting a webinar on a newly reported inflammatory disease, which they believe to be COVID-19 related.

The State is investigating 102 recent cases of children experiencing symptoms similar to those of Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome. Predominant symptoms include prolonged fever, severe abdominal pain and rash.

Of the children displaying those symptoms, 60 percent tested positive for COVID-19. Three have died from the affliction.

“We must stay alert with this virus because we’re still learning, and what we thought we knew doesn’t always turn out to be true,” said Cuomo. “When we first started with this virus, we were told children are not affected, which was a great sigh of relief. But now we’re finding out that may not be 100 percent accurate because we’re seeing cases where children who may have been infected with the COVID virus show symptoms of an inflammatory disease like the Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome. New York State has been aggressively investigating these new cases and is leading the efforts on this nationwide.”

Espaillat, Takano, Clarke Introduce Non-Congregate Housing Expansion Act

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

Yesterday, U.S. Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx), Mark Tatano (D-CA) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) introduced the Coronavirus Emergency Non-Congregate Housing Expansion Act.

During the pandemic, some states have begun using hotel rooms to shelter at-risk populations and quarantine the sick. FEMA classifies these sorts of emergency shelters as “non-congregate” housing; under current policy, such housing needs prior approval before receiving funding from FEMA.

The new bill would make non-congregate housing automatically eligible for FEMA funding reimbursement.

Safe housing for those in need is the cornerstone to a comprehensive, equitable response to the ongoing pandemic and will lead to reduced transmission of COVID-19 and economic hardship throughout our communities,” said Espaillat. “As states and city agencies across the country work vigorously to provide vital shelter accommodations, we must signal that the federal government supports their efforts both in spirit and in practice. I am proud to introduce the Coronavirus Emergency Non-Congregate Housing Expansion Act, which will extend reimbursement eligibility to non-congregate shelters, and ensure states and municipalities have the resources to serve our most vulnerable populations.”

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