Queens Lawmakers on the Move September 8, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Rosenthal Secures City Resources for College Point Pantry

Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal

Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Kew Gardens, Pomonok, Electchester, College Point and parts of Whitestone, Richmond Hill, Briarwood and Forest Hills) and New York City COVID-19 Food Czar Kathryn Garcia joined efforts last week to secure much needed resources to the First Reform Church food pantry in College Point.  

“The incredible work undertaken by the First Reform Church pantry is nothing short of inspiring,” said Rosenthal. “As we navigate through the uncharted territory of this health crisis, the coordination between the city, our volunteers and the entire College Point community is a shining example of how New Yorkers will rise to meet any challenge. I thank Czar Garcia for her leadership and unwavering efforts to keep our city fed.”

As a longstanding volunteer led effort, the pantry saw an exponential rise in food insecurity since the pandemic began. In a heartwarming display of neighbors helping neighbors, pantry organizers worked to expand their program in recent months through grassroots outreach. Longtime volunteer Catherine Shannon recently advocated for additional city resources during a town hall event with Rosenthal who immediately contacted the Food Czar’s office.

Rosenthal worked with Czar Garcia to secure 100 additional food packages for the community and joined with distribution this week. Moreover, her office responded immediately to the assemblymember’s concerns by assisting the pantry with securing long term funding. This delivery supplemented food resources already allocated to College Point by Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee. The team was able to feed over 100 families in under one hour while staff from the Queens Borough President’s office distributed face masks, hand sanitizer and coordinated Census response. College Point’s Census response rate at 55% has fallen short of the boroughwide average.

BP Lee Issues Statement on Postponement of NYC Lien Sale

Acting Borough President Sharon Lee.

Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee stated the following in response to the postponement of the tax lien sale that the city had scheduled for Friday, September 4:

“It was simply inhumane and unjust to proceed with the 2020 New York City tax lien sale today. Thanks to intervention by Attorney General James as well as Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order today, thousands of families and homeowners — many of whom are here in Queens — are granted precious reprieve and will be able to breathe a little easier during this ongoing state of emergency. Without it, the City’s untimely lien sale would have displaced families, destabilized communities and disrupted generational wealth build.”

On Monday, August 31, Attorney General Letitia James — joined by 57 officials including Lee — urged Mayor Bill de Blasio to delay the city’s annual tax and water lien sale scheduled for today. See the letter here.

In a letter to the mayor last week, Borough President Lee urged the mayor to stop the September 4 lien sale, and iterated support for New York State Senate Bill S8921 introduced by Senator Leroy Comrie (D-Briarwood, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Hillcrest, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Laurelton, Queens Village, Rosedale, South Jamaica, Springfield Gardens, St. Albans) — and supported by New York City Council Resolution 1387-2020 introduced by City Councilmember Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, South Ozone Park) — which would postpone the lien sale until one year after the currently active COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted. 

Koo Launches Final Push for 2020 Census 

City Council Member Peter Koo/via Facebook

City Councilmember Peter Koo (D-Downtown Flushing, Murray Hill, Queensboro Hill) and the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) will be joined by the U.S. Census Bureau at a census event on Wednesday to urge community members to complete the 2020 Census before the deadline at the end of this month. 

The get-out-the-count event will be held at the ICNA Relief weekly food distribution, which serves hundreds local residents struggling to overcome COVID-19. Census Bureau staff will be on hand to help people complete their census questionnaires online in English, Chinese and Spanish. 

Billions of dollars in crucial government funding and fair representation in Congress are on the line in the campaign for a complete count. Flushing and surrounding communities are in jeopardy of losing essential support for health care, schools, roads, education and more if census response rates continue to lag behind the national average. The self-response rate in New York State is barely over 60%, and it’s even lower in hard-to-count neighborhoods, including Flushing. 

The census event will be at the CNA Relief/Flushing Pantry at 140-32 Cherry Avenue in Flushing on Wednesday, September 9.