NY Lawmakers on the Move, Feb. 3, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Hochul Announces $100 Million for Behavioral Health Crisis Stabilization Centers

Governor Kathy Hochul

Governor Kathy Hochul yesterday announced the availability of more than $100 million in funding over the next five years for 12 new Intensive Crisis Stabilization Centers across the State that will provide immediate care for people who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis. 

The Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), have issued a joint Request for Proposals to fund the development of the Centers.

“Every New Yorker deserves the dignity of having access to quality health care, especially during a public health crisis,” said Hochul. “These behavioral health centers will provide immediate assistance to people in crisis before their condition worsens. New York will continue to lead the way in making important investments to eliminate healthcare disparities and help ensure that behavioral health services are available to every New Yorker who needs it.”

All crisis services are offered in a safe, welcoming, and therapeutic environment. Walk-in care is available to all individuals, including adults, children, adolescents, and families. The Centers will be open 24/7, 365 days per year and recipients may receive services for up to twenty-four hours.

The Centers will provide care, observation and urgent treatment to individuals experiencing a mental health and/or substance use crisis. These services will be provided right in the community and will divert individuals away from unnecessary emergency room visits. The Centers will provide peer and recovery-oriented support services, in addition to referral and follow-up services to ensure people continue to receive the support they need after discharge.

The Crisis Stabilization Centers are part of a comprehensive crisis response system that includes mobile crisis teams, crisis residential programs, and other community services and supports.

The RFP calls for development of three Crisis Stabilization Centers in New York City and nine across the remainder of the State. The Centers are to be jointly certified by OMH and OASAS and developed in collaboration with the communities they serve, including Local Mental Hygiene Directors, schools, community providers, law enforcement agencies and other identified programs to provide a comprehensive continuum of care for referrals and follow-up.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said addressing the mental health crisis in New York City is critical to building a robust recovery and requires collaboration across all levels of government. 

“These Behavioral Crisis Stabilization Centers will serve New Yorkers 24/7 and provide them with immediate support and resources. I’m grateful for Governor Hochul’s partnership on this issue and applaud her work to expand these proven and effective programs across New York,” said Adams.

This RFP can be found on both the OMH website under Procurement Opportunities at: https://www.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/rfp/ and the OASAS website under Procurement at: https://oasas.ny.gov/procurement. A bidders’ conference, open to all interested individuals, will be held on February 28, 2022, from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM.  Refer to RFP for additional information on the conference. Responses to the RFP are due 5/19/2022.

Felder Announces Help with Utility Costs

State Sen. Simcha Felder

State Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) announced yesterday that he is partnering with Heartshare and Energyshare to help eligible constituents lower their utility bills. 

The Heartshare program helps low-income New Yorkers pay for heating costs by applying a $200 grant directly to their National Grid heating account. Energyshare helps ConEd customers who have a current disconnect notice receive up to $200 towards their ConEd account.

“A home without heat during the winter is a serious matter,” said Felder. “Sadly, so many New Yorkers have trouble paying the increasingly high utility costs during the cold winter months. I am grateful for Heartshare and Energyshare in providing this crucial aid to help keep families in New York healthy, happy and warm.”

Heartshare and Energyshare will begin accepting applications on Feb. 7, 2022 for those who meet income guidelines. To qualify, applicants must be enrolled in HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program). For further info call Felder’s office at 718-253-2015.

Espaillat Urges Hochul to Ensure Equitable Access to COVID-19 Testing 

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) yesterday sent a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul urging the inclusivity of vulnerable groups and communities throughout New York’s 13th congressional district to have equitable access to affordable at-home COVID-19 testing. 

“COVID-19 tests are an effective screening tool and are critical in our fight to combat this pandemic. Accessibility to at-home COVID-19 tests allows New Yorkers to test frequently and safely from their homes,” wrote Espaillat. 

“This is particularly important to low-income seniors living in Section 202 Housing and unhoused people living in overcrowded shelters. Seniors living in assisted living facilities and unhoused individuals are extremely vulnerable due to the close proximity of their living situations – and are also more likely to have other underlying conditions, causing them to be at a higher risk of infection. This highly transmissible COVID-19 variant, though considered mild to some, is still deadly for those with disabilities and underlying health conditions. To fight this virus, it is important that everyone, particularly vulnerable populations, have equitable access to COVID-19 at-home tests. I am eager to continue to work with your administration to combat this pandemic,” he added.

Espaillat’s letter comes following the Biden Administration’s announcement that it plans to buy 500 million additional at-home COVID-19 tests to be distributed to the American people.

Suffolk County Dem Chair & Town of Babylon Supervisor Schaffer Endorses Zimmerman for Congress

Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer

Suffolk County Democratic Chair and Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer has endorsed long-time advocate and Long Island businessman Robert Zimmerman for Congress.

Zimmerman is running in the 3rd Congressional District. U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D) is the incumbent but is stepping down to run for governor. 

“I proudly endorse Robert Zimmerman for Congress. As a public official and political leader, it is overwhelmingly clear that Robert is the strongest candidate for Congress and will be the best choice to represent us in Washington DC. Robert has demonstrated time and again his commitment to the people of Suffolk County,” said Schaffer. 

“Whether he is knocking on doors or speaking up for us on network television, Robert has always put the concerns of our communities first. This is a very serious time for our country and for our neighbors in Huntington and Smithtown. I know Robert will be a leader in Congress in his work to restore the SALT deduction, protect our water quality, the Long Island Sound, and focus on the needs and challenges of our families, working people and small businesses,” he added.

The Democratic Congressional Primary is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28th. 

Clarke Issues Statement on Sudden Passage of her Long-Time Partner

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke

U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-Brooklyn) issued the following statement on the sudden and unexpected passing of her life-partner of 30-years, Mr. Charles B. Durham:

“It is with a heavy heart that I must announce the sudden and unexpected passing of my life-partner and best friend, Mr. Charles B. Durham over the weekend. “Mr. Charles,” as he was affectionately known, has been my rock and steadfast life partner whom I have had the sincere privilege, joy and honor to share the last 30 years with. There are no words to describe the sense of loss all those who love him feel. I simply ask that you honor my family’s privacy during our moment of grief and please be gracious with your patience, as we come to terms with this announcement,” said Clarke.

PoliticsNY sends its condolences and prayers out to Clarke.