Queens Lawmakers on the Move July 8, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Constantinides and Other Councilmembers Fund New Equipment for Mt. Sinai Queens 

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Councilmember Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights), the City Council Queens delegation and Speaker Corey Johnson announced yesterday that they secured $3 million for Mount Sinai Queens to purchase new MRI and CT scan machines.

The investment comes at a crucial time, as the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need to invest in hospital space and personnel. It builds upon a long-standing partnership between the City Council and the Astoria hospital, which has undergone unprecedented expansion, the release said.

“Mount Sinai Queens saved my life and the lives of many western Queens residents because it puts the health of this community above everything else,” said Constantinides. “This crisis shows we must expand and build more hospital space in the boroughs, today is a first step in making that happen. These MRI and CT scan machines will embolden medical professionals to save lives.” 

Mount Sinai Queens is one of two health facilities that serves western Queens along with Elmhurst Hospital. It saw some of the worst of COVID-19’s impact on New York City, where Queens was the hardest-hit borough. Mount Sinai Queens worked with the city to meet the demand and treat as many patients as possible with care and dedication. 

De Blasio Announces Cools Streets on Open Streets

Mayor BIll de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the first set of “Cool Streets,” expanded cooling options on existing Open Streets in the most heat-burdened parts of New York City on Tuesday.

Through the Cool It! NYC program the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the Fire Department of New York will proactively install spray caps on street hydrants to ensure every New Yorker has access to a way to cool down during heat advisories. 

“New Yorkers are in for a long, hot summer, and staying cool is an essential part of physical health, mental health, and public safety,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We’re excited to build on our popular Open Streets program and find creative ways to fight back against COVID-19 by giving New Yorkers the public space they deserve.”

The Cool Streets initiative focuses on Open Streets in areas that rank highest on the Heat Vulnerability Index, which uses social and environmental factors to understand how heat-related health risks vary across neighborhoods. The city is prioritizing its cooling efforts on HVI 4 and 5 zones, the most heat burdened communities, to serve vulnerable residents during extreme heat events. To find the nearest cooling element or Cool Street, visit Cool It! NYC. DOT’s Open Streets map will also highlight each Cool Street across the city.

Cool Streets in Queens include: 120th Street from Atlantic Avenue to Liberty Avenue in South Richmond Hill and 39th Avenue from Woodside Avenue to Barnett Avenue in Sunnyside. 

Schumer, Gillibrand Push for Housing Protections Before Rising Evictions

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are pushing for legislation to increase protections for renters by expanding the nation-wide moratorium on evictions for housing through March 27, 2021. Evictions are expected to rise, they said, and the moratorium needs to be extended.

“Millions have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are struggling to pay rent and keep a roof over their heads,” said Sen. Schumer. “It’s critically important that we protect our renters and the public health of our communities by expanding and extending the moratorium on evictions so that people can remain in the safety and security of their homes throughout this pandemic.” 

The Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act of 2020 protects renters from immediate displacement and prohibits evictions based on nonpayment of rent, similar to the provisions included in the House-passed HEROES Act. In addition to universal expansion of the federal eviction moratorium, the bill prohibits any fines or charges associated with missed rental payments. 

“The Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act would ensure New Yorkers have the stability needed to stay safe and recover from this unprecedented health crisis,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “In order to move forward and rebuild our economy, Congress must take immediate action to protect homeowners and renters across the country.”

Gillibrand and Schumer have focused on stabilizing housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full text of the Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act of 2020 can be found here.

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