This is a re-post of my City Council Office's official government newsletter for October 2020. The original can be found here.
Voting Information Session
Wednesday, 10/14, 6PM
Senior Health Fair
Thursday, 10/22, 6PM
Urgent Need for Child Care
Thursday, 10/1, 6:30PM
Wednesday, 10/7, 3PM
Friday, 10/2, 8AM - 10AM
Fresh Food Box
Thursdays, 3:30PM - 6:30PM
Drag Queen Story Hour
10/2 & 10/16, 2PM
Face Mask and Hand Sanitizer Distribution
Dates and times vary by location
Schedule a Phone or Video Call
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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- City Board of Elections Implements My Absentee Ballot Tracker, Plus Everything to Know About Voting in November
- Helping Small Business with Permanent Outdoor Dining & Grants for Retrofits
- Drone Inspection Study for Buildings Passes as Fight to Get Scaffolding Down Continues
- Census Extended by Federal Court Order, Complete Yours Now!
- Participatory Budgeting: Decide How to Spend $1 Million in Our Community
- Schools to Phase in Staggered Reopening by Grade
- Fighting to Get My Plan for Remote Learning Centers Back on Track
- Department of Education No Shows to Hearing on Reopening Schools
- Answers from DOE Deputy Chancellor at Back to School Town Hall
- Indoor Pools Reopening
- UN Annual Meeting Goes Virtual
- Return of Indoor Dining
- New York City is Not Dead
- Voting Information Session
- Virtual Senior Health Fair
- Virtual First Friday
- Community Board 8 Meeting on Urgent Need for Child Care
- Rat Academy Virtual Training for Rat Prevention
- Free Mask Distributions & Flu Shot Info
- Invitation to Testify: City Council Hearing on Bill to Help Sidewalk Cafe Owners
- Virtual Drag Queen Story Hour
HEALTH & THE ENVIRONMENT
- Pushing to Pass a Green New Deal in NYC
- Cleaning Up the Neighborhood, Distributing PPE for Annual Day of Service
- Emergency Preparedness Presentation, Go-Bag Giveaway and DIY
- GrowNYC in Need of Volunteers for Fresh Food Distribution
- Celebrating 30 Year Anniversary of Captain Planet with Fellow Planeteers
SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES
- Condemning Source of Income Discrimination in Real Estate & the City’s Treatment of Homeless and Disabled Residents
- Leading the Fight to Restore Nonprofit Funding
- Demanding an Emergency Survival Fund for City’s Excluded Workers
- Mayor De Blasio Removes Gracie Mansion Barricades
- Rallying to Protect Constructions Workers at Columbia University
- Fighting for More Pedestrian Space on the Queensboro Bridge
- Meal Program for Residence Staff
- Manhattan's Oldest Dojo Needs Your Help to Stay Open
- Register to Be a Poll Worker
- New-York Historical Society Reopens
- Girls on the Run: Support & Wellness Program for Third to Eighth Graders
- Read to Lead Makes Learning Fun for Middle Schoolers
- Let's Dress Up Fall Festival
- New York Juniors Tennis & Learning Fall Schedule
- Search and Care Counseling Program Offering Voting & Census Assistance for Seniors
- Housing Court Answers Hiring a Full-time Hotline Specialist
- Join the New Housing Connect for 2,500 Re-Rentals Thanks to My Law
- Central Synagogue’s Grab-and-Go Food Program
- The Slumber Yard’s Back to School Sleep Tips During COVID
- Help Wanted for the American Red Cross’s Disaster Sheltering & Hurricane Season Readiness
- NYU Langone Health’s Alzheimer's Disease & Related Dementias Family Support Program
- New York Legal Assistance Group COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline
City Board of Elections Implements My Absentee Ballot Tracker, Plus Everything to Know About Voting in November
With a month remaining until the presidential election, the New York City Board of Elections has finally implemented my absentee ballot tracking system to inform voters when their absentee ballot application is received, when the ballot is mailed out, and whether their completed ballot was accepted and how to fix it if it was not.
I recently told WCBS: “Voters want certainty around their ballot and the absentee ballot tracker will provide that, [so] I am grateful that the Board of Elections finally saw it fit to do their jobs.”
I proposed this in 2015 when I authored a law to require the Board of Elections to provide voters with absentee ballot tracking from their request, to when it gets mailed, and when it gets received. With issues already on the rise, the absentee ballot tracker is more important than ever.
Here are some key dates to remember for the Presidential Election on Tuesday, November 3:
Last Day to Register to Vote - Friday, October 9 - Vote.nyc/page/register-vote
Last Day to Request your Absentee Ballot - Tuesday, October 27 - NYCabsentee.com
Last Day to Postmark Ballot for Mail - Tuesday, November 3 - NYCabsentee.com/tracking
Apply for Your Absentee Ballot:
Best: Online at NYCabsentee.com
Other ways to request your absentee:
Mail application to local borough office
In-Person at the local borough office
Email application to email@example.com
Fax application to 646-638-2047
Cast Your Absentee Ballot:
Mail to a local borough office with a postmark no later than November 3rd
In-person at a local borough office no later than November 3rd by 9pm
In-person at ANY early voting poll site from October 24th to November 1st
In-Person at ANY poll site on November 3rd by 9pm
The early voting period in New York begins on Saturday, October 24th and ends on Sunday, November 1st, with hours varying by day for each county.
Early voting poll sites in the district include (see right for the county of New York City’s hours):
- Hunter College- Brookdale Dorm - 440 East 26th Street 10010
- Robert Wagner Middle School - 225 East 75th Street 10021
- Jackie Robinson Complex - 1573 Madison Avenue 10029
Locate your nearest early voting site at vote.nyc/page/early-voting-information.
To vote in-person on Election Day, make sure you are registered to vote by Friday, October 9.
Polls are open from 6am–9pm on Tuesday, November 3; find your nearest polling site at voterlookup.elections.ny.gov.
If you are not voting early or by mail, this is your last chance to participate in the most important election of our lifetime.
New York state has changed the law on third parties. Now, in order for them to maintain their ballot line, third parties must either receive 130,000 votes or 2% of votes (whichever is greater) every two years. If you wish to vote for any candidate on a third party line, your vote will be added to the candidate’s total.
For all information on voting in New York City, including how to register to be a poll worker, visit vote.nyc
Helping Small Business with Permanent Outdoor Dining & Grants for Retrofits
As the Wall Street Journal reported, in September I introduced two bills to help small businesses stay open and keep them afloat as New York City fights through the economic fallout of Covid-19. The first bill creates a low-interest small grants and loans program that would provide restaurants with up to $250,000 in funding to make restaurants compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The funding could be used for infrastructure changes, ventilation improvements, as well as other public health upgrades to assist those who are at greater risk for developing serious complications from the coronavirus. The second bill would streamline the process for restaurants to obtain or renew a sidewalk-cafe license and would also allow for licenses to be transferred should an establishment undergo a change of ownership.
This legislation is especially beneficial for small businesses given Mayor de Blasio’s recent announcement that the City’s “Open Restaurants” program, which emerged in response to the pandemic and allows businesses to use street space for outdoor dining service, will be extended year-round and made permanent.
What most New Yorkers don’t know is that the process to obtain a sidewalk cafe permit takes months and involves a vote by the local community board and the entire City Council. This process can often get expensive and cost a small business a lot of money. With these two pieces of legislation, we aim to give small businesses the helping hand they need by saving them time and money on sidewalk cafe licenses and circumventing ADA-compliance lawsuits. For more information on the bills visit BenKallos.com/Press-Releases
Drone Inspection Study for Buildings Passes as Fight to Get Scaffolding Down Continues
Scaffolding covers 386 miles of sidewalk in New York City, equal to the distance from here to Canada. While it’s hard to imagine that the City’s scaffolding problem could get any worse, 7,342 sidewalks sheds have been added since April 2018 with each remaining erect for 1,514 days on average—that’s more than 4 years. As I recently told NY1, we need building owners and landlords to take care of their buildings, rather than putting up scaffolding for a loose brick and leaving it up for years.
The good news is that a bill I co-sponsored with Council Member and Housing and Buildings Chair Robert Cornegy to study the use of drones for inspecting building façades has been passed and is currently under review for possible implementation by the Department of Buildings (DOB). When signed by the Mayor, this legislation will add additional oversight to the buildings inspections process to better assure the safety of residents. For more information on what the City Council is doing to fix the scaffolding problem, see coverage by Real Estate Weekly.
Census Extended by Federal Court Order, Complete Yours Now!
The counting period for the 2020 Census will continue through October 31 after a federal judge ruled against the Trump administration’s order to end the count a month early on September 30, citing evidence which found that ending the count prematurely could jeopardize the accuracy of the data. Officials have also been instructed to hold off on delivering the completed data to the White House until April 2021, rather than the December 31 deadline that the administration tried to shorten the count to meet.
Only with an accurate census count can we ensure the federal government will give us our fair share of funding for things like school seats, building and maintaining infrastructure, transit, and emergency services. All area census offices will complete their work by October 31, 2020.
If you have not already filled out your census, please do so as soon as possible by visiting my2020census.gov
To volunteer as a building captain to help us get a complete count, email BKallos@BenKallos.com.
Participatory Budgeting: Decide How to Spend $1 Million in Our Community
Participatory Budgeting is back! Each year, I secure funds so the community can decide how it wants to make things better in our neighborhood. Residents in my district ages 14 and older can volunteer to shape this process. To learn more about Participatory Budgeting and how you can get involved in determining the way $1 million of your taxpayer dollars gets spent, visit BenKallos.com/PB.
We are always seeking new and bold ideas, so if you have a suggestion please submit it at BenKallos.com/PB/Propose.
All projects must be brick and mortar proposals that are within City Council District 5 and with a cost ranging from $50,000 to $500,000. If you have any questions, contact my office at PB@BenKallos.com.
Schools to Phase in Staggered Reopening by Grade
Throughout the summer, my office supported parents, teachers, principals and, most importantly, students as they expressed concerns with the city’s plan, or last thereof, to safely reopen our schools. During that time, we also supported an initial delay, along with phasing in students based on age, both of which have finally been adopted. The stages for each age group’s return to school are:
- Monday, September 21: 3K, Pre-K and District 75 (advanced disability) schools reopen for in-person learning
- Tuesday, September 29: K-5 and K-8 schools reopen for in-person learning
- Thursday, October 1: Grade 6-12 (middle and high) schools, and adult education institutions reopen for in-person learning
Learn more at schools.nyc.gov.
The Mayor has implemented my remote learning proposal as the City’s Learning Bridges program, with up to 100,000 slots for students pre-K through 8th grade. If you are a parent in need of somewhere safe for your students, you can apply now at prek4all.az1.qualtrics.com.
Fighting to Get my Plan for Remote Learning Back on Track
As we plan to reopen with more than half of our students learning remotely on any given day, I proposed setting up remote learning centers throughout our city, everywhere from closed private and parochial schools to libraries, community centers and even empty storefronts for supervised, socially-distanced learning.
Shortly thereafter, the Mayor announced the City’s Learning Bridges program, a remote learning plan to provide up to 100,000 students in pre-K to 8th grade on days when they are not learning in-person. I initially criticized the program in the New York Post for not having enough seats.
When schools began to reopen on September 21, only 3,600 remote learning seats were available and many parents who applied for the program were only met with poor communication and misinformation.
“Parents are forced to choose between having a job and taking care of their kids because, right now, you cannot do both,” I said, in a recent report by NY1. “Where are the parents, children and families supposed to be?”
As of now, there aren’t enough seats but with any hope, the Mayor will follow through on his word and produce the full 100,000 by November. This has been done before; it should mirror universal pre-K and we should be able to see the number of seats, information about the program and easily apply. If it was named the remote learning center, parents would know exactly what they are applying for. Instead, the Learning Bridges program is framed as childcare and I don’t know very many 8th graders in need of childcare. As I told the New York Post, this is a mess and it is our families who will suffer because of it.
For more information on the City’s free remote learning program, visit schools.nyc.gov or see coverage by NY1 and the New York Post.
Department of Education No Shows to Hearing on Reopening Schools
As the Gothamist reported, I recently marked Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Education absent for failing to show up to the City Council Education Committee’s hearing on schools reopening, during which we asked a lot of questions on reopening schools and received a guarantee from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators (CSA) that they wouldn’t open schools until it was safe.
Answers from DOE Deputy Chancellor at Back to School Town Hall
As recently reported, my Back to School Town Hall allowed nearly one hundred residents and parents to have their questions on schools reopening answered by the Department of Education Deputy Chancellor along with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. You can read coverage in TAPinto or watch the Q&A at Youtube.com/watch.
Indoor Pools Reopening
The City recently announced that beginning on September 30, all New York City pools can reopen. Outdoor pools have all closed for the season but indoor pools will be open and allowed to operate at 33% capacity. Thank you to everyone who reached out to my office about bringing back our pools and who worked with us to make this happen.
This is particularly important because I represent Asphalt Green, 92Y and Recreation Center 54, which all have indoor swimming facilities for residents. Personally, one of the best parts of living on the East side is having access to these pools where I’ve had the opportunity to bring my daughter as I teach her how to swim—and she loves the water.
For more information on pools reopening, visit nyc.gov.
UN Annual Meeting Goes Virtual
As I told the Wall Street Journal, I think that the UN General Assembly going remote is bad for the planet and our City. Zoom calls cannot replace informal social gatherings that often involve alcohol (or a non-alcoholic beverage) and food where world leaders from nations that might not be friends can build a relationship that helps bridge their countries.
“A lot of restaurants, hotels and other venues are going to go unbooked, losing millions of dollars for the city,” I told the Journal. “The only group of people I know who won’t be complaining is anyone who drives a car in Manhattan. That is the only silver lining.”
For more information, see full coverage by the Wall Street Journal.
Return of Indoor Dining
Governor Cuomo recently announced that as of September 30, indoor dining in New York City is allowed to resume at a 25% occupancy limit. A team of 400 enforcement personnel has been assembled by the City to ensure compliance. If the infection rate does not increase, restaurants may be allowed to go up to 50% capacity.
In concordance with state guidelines and health procedures, the reopening of indoor dining will proceed as follows:
- Temperature checks will be required at the door for all customers
- A member of each party must provide contact information for tracing, if needed
- No bar service
- Masks must be worn at all times when not seated at a table
- Tables must be six feet apart
- Restaurants close at midnight
These guidelines will be reassessed based on data by November 1 to determine whether the capacity limit will be permitted to increase. Business guidance for indoor dining in New York City can be found at forward.ny.gov/nyc-indoor-dining. For more information on the reopening of indoor dining, visit governor.ny.gov/news.
ICYMI: New York City is Not Dead
We’ve all read the headlines that New York City is dying, even dead, but nothing could be further from the truth. With the obituaries already written New York City finds itself in the same position as Mark Twain who once said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” I am tired of all the people rooting against New York City. Many of these narratives come from individuals with deep privilege both in race, class, and across so many levels, that do not reflect the views or the reality for a majority of New Yorkers. The piece on Medium concludes with:
“We have a once in a life-time, once in a century chance for change and to make things better for those who remain, those who will return, and those whose journey will soon lead to New York City, that remains an economic and cultural capital of the world.
We will need to rethink housing, commercial offices, retail, and how our tax structure must be changed to be more equitable to finally provide enough affordable housing. Schools must be integrated, expanded and retrofitted to provide safety through this and the next pandemic. Streets and parks will need to be redesigned around maximizing public space and transportation. Decades in disinvestment in hospitals will have to be reversed with more capacity for a possible surge and Medicare for all recognizing healthcare as a human right. Public safety will have to be rebuilt to start repairing a deeply fractured relationship between police and the communities they’ve sworn to protect. The existential threat of climate change means minimizing the carbon footprint for everything from buildings and vehicles to the waste we create along with making our city more resilient.
Where others see death. I see re-birth. The city wasn’t working perfectly long before the pandemic. It is time to stop kicking New York while it’s down. There is nowhere else like it.
I hope you’ll join me in cheering for our city and all those who make it the best place in the world to live.”
Voting Information Session
On Wednesday, October 14 from 6:00pm – 7:30pm, my office will host an information session on vote by mail, early voting, election day and third party lines, in partnership with Attorney General Letitia James, Borough President Gale Brewer, Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Member Dan Quart, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, Council Members Diana Ayala and Keith Powers, Community Boards 6, 8 and 11 and more.
This is a non-partisan event. There will be presentations from Early Vote NY, State Board of Elections and DemocracyNYC.
You must RSVP by Tuesday, October 13 to participate.
Video Conference: RSVP for your URL (create a free account at Zoom.us)
Teleconference: RSVP to receive the number and access code
Facebook Live: Skip the RSVP and watch the stream at Facebook.com/BenKallos/live
RSVP now at BenKallos.com/events
Virtual Senior Health Fair
Learn about the importance of getting your flu shot, staying safe during a potential second wave, Medicare, home exercise, housing and more at our Virtual Senior Health Fair on Thursday, October 22 from 6:00pm – 7:30pm. This event will be hosted in partnership with Assembly Member Dan Quart & Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.
You must RSVP by Wednesday, October 21 to participate.
Video Conference: RSVP for your URL (create a free account at Zoom.us)
Teleconference: RSVP to receive the number and access code
Facebook Live: Skip the RSVP and watch the stream at Facebook.com/BenKallos/live
RSVP now at BenKallos.com/events
Community Board 8 Meeting on Urgent Need for Child Care
Join me, Council Member Keith Powers, the City Departments of Education and Youth and Community Development, and more on Thursday, October 1st at 6:30pm for the Community Board 8 Women and Families Committee’s meeting on childcare provisions in the CB8M district during the Covid-19 pandemic and thereafter.
The meeting will discuss what affordable, City-funded daycare facilities are in the district and how much help CB8M-area parents will get from the Mayor’s plan for daycare for 100,000 children.
For more information and to register for this event, visit CB8M.com/event
Rat Academy Virtual Training for Rat Prevention
Join us on Wednesday, October 7th from 3 – 5pm for Rat Academy Virtual Training, a program to teach residents about rodent prevention that I am proud to sponsor in partnership with the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Council Member Keith Powers, East Midtown Partnership, Sutton Area Community, and Manhattan Community Board 6.
Register now at surveygizmo.com.
Virtual First Friday
First Friday Online
Friday, October 2nd, 8am–10am
First Friday remains one of my favorite parts of my job as your Council Member. Though my office remains closed for the safety of my staff, constituents and myself, I still want to listen to and address your concerns as we work together for a better city.
This coming First Friday, October 2nd, 8am – 10am, we will hold our monthly morning meeting via online video and teleconference using Zoom for the second time.
Thank you to all the residents who participated in last month’s virtual First Friday.
You must RSVP by Thursday, October 1st to participate.
Video Conference: RSVP for your URL (create a free account at Zoom.us)
Teleconference: RSVP to receive the number and access code
Facebook Live: Skip the RSVP and watch the stream at Facebook.com/BenKallos/live
Questions must be submitted with RSVP or by email to Questions@benkallos.com
RSVP now at BenKallos.com/events
Free Mask Distributions & Flu Shot Info
- Carnegie Hill Neighbors – Details pending, for updates check BenKallos.com/events
- East 86th Street Neighborhood Association (RSVP) – Tuesday, October 13th, 12pm–1pm, 86th St. and 2nd Ave, NE corner
- Stanley Isaacs (RSVP) – Tuesday, October 27th, 11:15am–12:15pm, 415 East 93rd Street in the Courtyard
- East 79th Street Neighborhood Association – Please write to the neighborhood association at the address below and they will drop off the masks to your lobby: P.O. Box 20052, Cherokee Station New York, NY 10021-10060
Please consider volunteering to be a building captain so that friends and neighbors can pick up masks and hand sanitizer from outside your door, or hand them off to your door person to distribute, and let us know when you need more.
As the flu and Covid-19 will spread at the same time this season, getting a flu vaccine this year is more important than ever. The vaccine is safe, quick and available now at locations around the city. Below are a few chain locations where you can sign up for a free flu shot:
You can also find locations near you at nyc.gov/site/doh/health
Invitation to Testify: City Council Hearing on Bill to Help Sidewalk Cafe Owners
Outdoor dining has become a hallmark of New York City’s pandemic resurgence for restaurants and nightlife as businesses face bureaucratic hurdles to obtain and maintain their license to do so. Small businesses that are already struggling or new owners who may seek to fill an empty storefront must start an expensive, lengthy process to get a new sidewalk café permit, even where one was previously granted.
That’s why I am excited that my legislation to make it easier for restaurants to obtain and renew a sidewalk-cafe license will receive a hearing by the New York City Council's Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing on Wednesday, September 30th.
If you are a small business owner who has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, I invite you to share your experience by testifying at the hearing. Small businesses need all the help they can get during these times, and that includes your voice.
Invitation to Testify
Hearing on Sidewalk Cafe Licensing
New York City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing
Wednesday, September 30
10am – 1pm
City Hall (Virtual)
RSVP to Policy@BenKallos.com
Virtual Drag Queen Story Hour
Tune in to two upcoming virtual Drag Queen Story Hours (DQSH) funded by my office on October 2nd and 16th at 2pm. These virtual events will feature stories and songs for kids ages 3–8 and will remain available to watch online until NYPL branches reopen. This month’s DQSH will feature Harmonica Sunbeam reading books on fashion and Yuhua Hamasaki reading books on princesses. To view all upcoming DQSH events, visit www.dqshnyc.org
Drag Queen Story Hour: Princesses! with Yuhua Hamasaki
Friday October 2, 2pm
Drag Queen Story Hour: Fashion! with Harmonica Sunbeam
Friday October 16, 2pm
HEALTH & THE ENVIRONMENT
Pushing to Pass a Green New Deal in NYC
Last week, I rallied with New York Communities for Change to pass Intro 1947 and expand New York City’s path-breaking Local Law 97, better known as the City’s “Green New Deal” law.
Buildings generate nearly 40% of U.S. climate pollution, and in New York City they emit nearly 70% of our greenhouse gases. Local law 97, which I co-sponsored, has helped to reduce building emissions and will create tens of thousands of good jobs in energy efficiency design, renovation, and construction. Still, we must build on that and take further action if we hope to save our environment.
Cleaning Up the Neighborhood, Distributing PPE for Annual Day of Service
For Love Your Neighborhood Day, I joined Council Member Keith Powers, Carnegie Hill Neighbors and East 86th St. Association members for a day of service in the community.
Emergency Preparedness Presentation, Go-Bag Giveaway and DIY
In September, we invited the Department of Emergency Management to host a presentation on Emergency Preparedness, and afterward we gave away dozens of free emergency Go-Bag to those who participated in the event.
It’s important that everyone have a Go-Bag (a collection of things you would want if you have to leave in a hurry). If you missed the presentation, you don’t have to wait to own one. Here’s your guide to a DIY emergency Go-Bag:
Your Go-bag should be sturdy and easy to carry, like a backpack or a small suitcase on wheels. Check off items you have and add those you will need:
- Bottled water and nonperishable food, such as granola bars
- Copies of your important documents in a waterproof container (e.g., insurance cards, Medicare/Medicaid cards, photo IDs, proof of address, marriage and birth certificates, copies of credit and ATM cards)
- Flashlight, hand-crank or battery-operated AM/FM radio, and extra batteries
- List of the medications you take, why you take them, and their dosages
- Contact information for your household and members of your support network
- Cash, in small bills
- Notepad and pen
- Back-up medical equipment (e.g., glasses, batteries) and chargers
- Aerosol tire repair kits and/or tire inflator to repair flat wheelchair or scooter tires
- Supplies for your service animal or pet (e.g., food, extra water, bowl, leash, cleaning items, vaccination records, and medications)
- Portable cell phone chargers
For more information on emergency go-bags, such as how to pack for specific emergencies and seasons, visit nyc.gov/site/em/ready/get-prepared, or watch the full presentation at Youtube.com.
GrowNYC in Need of Volunteers for Fresh Food Distribution
GrowNYC is seeking volunteers from the neighborhood to help at the location on 93rd Street and 2nd Ave on Thursdays, two from 2pm–4:30pm and two from 4:30pm–7pm.
GrowNYC is also seeking volunteers to assist the Greenmarket as a Food Access Information Docent every Saturday at 8:30am–12:30pm or 12pm–3pm at the 82nd St. location.
Volunteers will help direct the public (from a safe distance) to practice awareness and social distancing. We will provide volunteers with single-use gloves, hand sanitizer, and wipes, and masks but we highly encourage volunteers to wear their own masks. Volunteers must be 18 years and older.
General responsibilities are:
- Chalk up or tape spaces in the market as line indicators for customers
- Direct participants to line up / stay at least 6 feet apart from each other
- Managing lines
- Assist in doing customer counts
- Help close down the market with the market manager
If you are interested in volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Celebrating 30 Year Anniversary of Captain Planet with Fellow Planeteers
I was 9 when Captain Planet first aired in 1990 and it had a huge impact on me. Growing up, it was one of the few shows aimed at adolescents where the main characters were mere mortals and, in most episodes, the kids were able to make real change in saving our planet. From cleaning up litter to rescuing animals from oil spills, the powers granted by the rings were almost ancillary to the story. The stories in each episode were real and grabbed from the headlines.
The Exxon Valdez spill was in 1989 and the images of the oil-covered animals washing on beaches remain in my mind to this day. Even now, oil spills remain a threat, with 168 occurring since the Valez spill, including Deepwater Horizon and multiple incidents with the Keystone pipeline. While Captain Planet and Gaia frequently appeared towards the end of episodes, especially when the villains showed up with super polluting devices that Captain Planet would often beat, the moral of the story was always “the power is yours.” This was incredibly empowering to hear as a nine-year-old and that’s when I became a Planeteer.
Since then, I’ve discovered that Hoggish Greedly is real, and lived long enough to see many of the climate-destroying machines get invented and become a reality. In 2013, I ran for City Council here in New York City on a platform that rejected the corrupting influence of big money from the likes of Dr. Blight and Sly Sludge, or modern-day corporations, lobbyists, and real estate developers who would literally raze our public parks to build 700-foot supertall towers for billionaires.
Here in New York City with mass transit having a daily ridership of 5.5 million people a day, cars are not our major source of pollution. It is actually our buildings, like Trump’s various towers. So I co-sponsored the Climate Mobilization Act to require building retrofits to reduce their carbon footprint. Last year, I worked with Extinction Rebellion to pass a resolution declaring a climate emergency making our city the largest on the planet to do so (take that London, NYC is a little bigger).
Now, for every step we take to save our planet, Eco-Villains will strike back. Natural gas companies demanded a carve-out. But fossil fuels are the past and we need to move forward with wind, solar, and even tidal. I voted against my colleagues who are already cutting away at our progress, so our fight is not over.
In September, I had the honor of presenting a citation to Barbara Pyle, Captain Planet creator, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the show, which raised environmental awareness for children like me across the nation.
SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES
Condemning Source of Income Discrimination in Real Estate & the City’s Treatment of Homeless and Disabled Residents
No one should ever be denied housing because their income is derived from child support, alimony, social security benefits or any other legal form of income. Yet, that is exactly what low-income subsidy holders in New York experience as only 7% were ultimately invited to view an apartment, compared to 26% of those with employment income. As I stated at Vocal New York’s latest virtual rally, the City Council needs to pass Intro 146, which would increase the City’s Family Homeless and Eviction Prevention voucher to market rate, and Intro 1339, which would ensure that subsidy holders know their rights and how to report source of income discrimination.
Recently, I supported members of the community in an almost four-hour standoff with Mayor de Blasio outside of Gracie Mansion after a protest against Mayor de Blasio’s careless shuffling of homeless and disabled residents around the City escalated when a resident attempted to deliver a letter to the Mayor’s doorstep. As Gothamist reported, hundreds of homeless men were pulled out of the Lucerne Hotel where they had been temporarily living due to COVID-19 and moved into the Harmonia Hotel, which forced homeless residents who were already at the Harmonia to be moved to Long Island City Plaza Hotel in Queens and residents who were already at the Plaza to be moved to the Flatlands Family Residence in Brooklyn.
“These are human beings and they should not be getting tossed around from community to community,” I told Fox 5.
This treatment of vulnerable New Yorkers is unacceptable and I was proud to join the Legal Aid Society, UWS Open Hearts Initiative and more in taking a stand against it. For more information, see full coverage by Fox 5 and Gothamist.
Leading the Fight to Restore Nonprofit Funding
I joined the Human Services Council of New York, the Chinese-American Planning Council, Homeless Services United and more in calling on the city to restore the indirect funding that was retroactively stripped from nonprofits after many of them provided essential services for residents at the height of the pandemic. To learn more about the rally visit BenKallos.com/Press-releases
Demanding an Emergency Survival Fund for City’s Excluded Workers
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice recently hosted a town hall where I joined them in demanding that the State help working people survive and fund the more than one million workers in New York who are excluded from unemployment relief because they are undocumented or work in the informal economy.
Mayor De Blasio Removes Gracie Mansion Barricades
As you may have read last month, we called the Mayor out for blocking off an acre of Carl Schurz Park, which has since been returned to the community. Thank you to the residents who worked with me and the New York Post to get this done.
Rallying to Protect Construction Workers at Columbia University
In September, I rallied with construction workers, because a university charging $60,000 per year for tuition (Columbia University) should not be paying its workers $25/hour.
Fighting for More Pedestrian Space on the Queensboro Bridge
With Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Transportation Alternatives, Bike New York, StreetsPAC, environmental activist Charles Komanoff and other advocates, protesting to convert the South Outer roadway on the Queensboro Bridge to a pedestrians-only space lane. Read more at streetsblog.org.
Meal Program for Residence Staff
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit New York City in March, the safety and health of staff and residents were the primary objectives for every residential building’s board and/or management. It was paramount to keep lobby and front desk services and facilities support continuously running.
One building in the neighborhood initiated a novel program for its doormen and maintenance staff which was simple to implement and yielded very positive returns. The Board of the Cooperative at 200 East 84th Street began offering employees reimbursement for their meals during each 8-hour shift. Each employee was reimbursed up to 20 dollars per day for meals ordered from any neighborhood restaurant during their shift. The program led to an increased sense of appreciation by the staff, support of the local restaurants and close to a 100 percent attendance rate during the difficult summer months. Also, better attendance produced the unintended benefit of significant savings in substitute staffing expense which nearly paid for the entire program.
Other buildings who would like to learn more about how to best implement this model as part of management best practices can email Brenda Colberg (email@example.com) to learn more.
Manhattan's Oldest Dojo Needs Your Help to Stay Open
In 1963, Nobuyoshi Higashi came to the United States with $20 in his pocket and built the Kokushi Budo dojo in the basement of the New York Buddhist Church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. There, he pioneered the Judo movement and taught Judo and martial arts to thousands of people, including his son Shintaro, who he passed the business down to. Then Covid happened...
Kokushi Budo had never closed its doors but, due to the pandemic, it has been closed for 7 months and running. During this time, the owners have been doing their best to keep the lights on and they refuse to let the dojo die without asking for help.
Funds will pay for back rent, expenses, and capital improvements to bring everyone back to training in a safe and government compliant way. It will help me keep Kokushi Budo, the dream and the legacy going from 1963 to 2020 and beyond.
If you would like to help this small business stay alive, you can share their story or donate to the cause at GoFundMe.com/f/support-kokushi-budo.
For more information, see coverage by PIX11.
Earn Up to $2,000 as a Poll Worker
Did you know that over half of the poll workers in America are over the age of 60, one of the primary at-risk groups for COVID-19? We are facing a crisis; this poll worker shortage will cause long lines on Election Day, poll site closures, unsafe sanitation and social distancing practices, and difficulty in ensuring a free and fair election. This burden will fall primarily on communities of color, who already face immense barriers to voting.
- In New York City, rates range from $225-$500.
- Most schools will excuse absences for serving as a poll worker.
- You will be on the front lines protecting our democracy in an extremely tenuous election year.
- If you are bilingual, you can assist non-English speakers cast their votes.
- You will ensure that every single American has equal access to the ballot.
You must be registered to vote in New York City to serve as a poll worker. If you are 17, you can still serve as a poll worker by contacting the Board of Elections in your borough. Visit powerthepolls.org/campus to learn more and apply.
New-York Historical Society Reopens
The New-York Historical Society has reopened its doors for indoor visits and now has timed-entry tickets to help maintain social distancing. It will be welcoming guests back with a full roster of special exhibitions, film experiences, and permanent galleries.
NYHS also invites guests to visit their new outdoor exhibit, Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine. Curated by poet and journalist Kevin Powell and photographer Kay Hickman, the exhibit features more than 50 photographs taken by Hickman along with 14 audio interviews with the photographs’ subjects conducted by Powell during the team’s intensive two-day odyssey across the city on April 8–9, 2020; the audio will be accessible to visitors through their cell phones.
The exhibition is free and will be open through the end of November. You can book your tickets here at hopewanted.nyhistory.org.
Learn more about their safety measures at nyhistory.org/safety
Girls on the Run: Support & Wellness Program for Third to Eighth Graders
You can register your daughter now for the Girls on the Run this fall, with programs available for all girls in 3rd–5th and 6th-8th grade! Sign up at gotrnyc.org/register.
During the 8-week season, girls will come together in a safe virtual space with peers and trained coaches to have fun and build meaningful connections. To help girls nurture their physical and emotional health, the twice-weekly lessons will explore the importance of expressing our emotions, standing up for ourselves and others, and more, while also providing the opportunity for movement!
At-home journals will allow for every girl to connect to the lessons, and provide guidance for 20-30 minutes of physical activity and exercise for each girl to do with family, friends or alone (indoors or outdoors) in between each session!
Girls on the Run is a transformational physical activity-based, positive youth development program for girls of all abilities. Trained coaches teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.
The season starts the week of September 29 for open, city-wide virtual teams that are available for any girl to register in. Financial assistance and payment plans are available, and Girl on the Run is committed to ensuring all girls who want to join can join. You can register at gotrnyc.org/register. For more information or questions about Girls on the Run, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read to Lead Makes Learning Fun for Middle Schoolers
Read to Lead is a fun, engaging, and relevant way to blast through traditional reading barriers and promote workplace readiness and skill-building. By playing games, students increase reading achievement, find motivation, and see—often for the first time—a real connection between learning, career aspirations, and their futures. Read to Lead is geared for students in 5th–9th grades and has been successfully implemented in English Language Arts courses during the school day as well as expanded learning environments in afterschool and summer.
Plus, Read to Lead provides FREE community action projects, coaching, and implementation support! Their staff is committed to turn-key implementation by building the capacity of teachers and program staff.
Why should you use Read to Lead?
- Improve literacy through a non-traditional method: Each episode of Read to Lead is 5,000 words or 30 minutes of reading time. By completing games, students have read 1 middle grade book!
- Encourage leadership: In Read to Lead games, youth are the boss. They must evaluate evidence, make decisions and lead their staff.
- Cultivate youth voice: community action projects allow students to transfer their leadership and problem-solving skills to benefit their community.
How do I learn more?
- Play the Vital Signs (STEM Immersive) or Community in Crisis (Community Service Immersive) demo.
- Visit rtlgames.org to learn more about the program.
- Contact Kwamara Thompson, email@example.com to arrange a virtual demo and to learn more.
Let's Dress Up Fall Festival
Let's Dress Up on East 85th Street has created a Fall Festival for the week of October 4th. This weeklong series will feature both in-person and virtual events from Let's Dress Up and some of its small business colleagues. The last few months have been difficult for small businesses and for families, so Let's Dress Up is serving up a week of jam-packed programming to help parents navigate this very different school year, while promoting fellow local small businesses.
View the schedule and more information at LetsDressUpNYC.com/fall-festival
New York Juniors Tennis & Learning Fall Schedule
As the City continues to recover from Covid-19, the New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL) coaches were an informal presence at the Octagon Park in Roosevelt Island this summer, providing the youth of your community with some much-needed physical activity and engagement.
The fall season just kicked off and is scheduled to continue, with all NYJTL sites following stringent COVID-19 protocols to protect the health and welfare of NYJTL staff and players
To register, visit nyjtl.org/programs/free-tennis
Search and Care Counseling Program Offering Voting & Census Assistance for Seniors
Need someone to talk to? Try Search and Care’s “Talkin’ it Out” program. Talkin’ it Out is free of charge for adults 60+ and provides safe, confidential, one-on-one telephonic counseling where you can privately express your thoughts and feelings, with no judgment or commitment.
Additionally, Search and Care’s newest advocacy initiative is the “Bilingual Hotline for Voting & Census Assistance for Older New Yorkers.” Any and all older New Yorkers including those whose primary language is Spanish are encouraged to call the hotline to get information, ask questions and get hand-on assistance with filling out the census, checking voter registration, applying for an absentee ballot, tracking their absentee ballot, finding local polling sites, and much more.
To learn more or to speak to Search and Care’s bilingual (English and Spanish) social workers, call 212-289-5300.
Housing Court Answers Hiring a Full-time Hotline Specialist
Housing Court Answers (HCA) is a nonprofit organization committed to fighting for the rights of unrepresented litigants in Housing Court. Housing Court Answers provides information on landlord/tenant issues at information tables in NYC's five Housing Courts, through a hotline, and for NYCHA tenants at the impartial hearing office. HCA also works on policy issues surrounding Housing Court. For more information on the organization, visit their website at housingcourtanswers.org.
- Answering calls on the hotline. Assisting callers with rent arrears and eviction issues, utility arrears, public benefits problems or questions, questions about Housing Court and Housing Court procedures and questions about housing rights and responsibilities.
- Maintaining and updating a resource list of organizations that provide financial assistance to NYC residents with rent and utility arrears.
- Maintaining and updating a list of organizations that provide other kinds of assistance to callers, including community groups, non-profit housing organizations, legal service providers, community-based organizations and others.
- Identifying and reporting on new or unique problems and trends from callers to the hotline with a particular focus on systemic issues to be addressed through advocacy and/or impact litigation.
- Developing and updating information sheets and training materials on issues related to assisting hotline callers, including materials on public benefits and on getting assistance from charities and HRA.
- Training and educating fellow workers on hotline protocols and on assisting hotline callers; assisting with and producing trainings for outside advocates on eviction prevention, public benefits and Housing Court issues.
- Assisting in advocacy campaigns aimed at improving the lives of hotline callers and people in Housing Court without attorneys.
- Assisting in lobbying campaigns to increase funding for the organization, the hotline, and for programs that assist hotline callers, particularly those facing eviction and homelessness.
- A background in housing, an understanding of Housing Court and Housing Court procedures, and an understanding of NYC public benefits.
- Experience with
- Landlord-tenant court
- tenants’ rights
- public benefits
- NYCHA rules and procedures
- community outreach skills
- Database, email newsletter and website management skills a plus.
Salary and Benefits
Currently, salary is $49,352. Benefits include employer-paid health insurance, paid sick and vacation leave, paid holidays. Salary and benefits are negotiated through collective bargaining. Please send resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Hotline Position” in the subject.
Join the New Housing Connect for 2,500 Re-Rentals Thanks to My Law
The New York Times recently reported on 2,500 new affordable apartment units that will be available for re-rental thanks to a law I wrote with now-Public Advocate Williams and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. Now that my law is in effect, you will be able to set up a profile on the new Housing Connect that will match you with hundreds of thousands of affordable housing re-rentals.
Since 2015, we’ve worked with ProPublica and hero whistleblower Steven Werner at HPD who first identified that owners of 15,000 buildings in New York City that received billions in property tax reductions in exchange for building as many as 50,000 affordable units, illegally failed to register them and might now be offering them at affordable rates.
Since I’ve been in the City Council we’ve built or preserved more than 1,000 units of affordable housing in the district, as well as overseeing more than 6,000 affordable units citywide. We are doing everything we can to build and protect affordable housing in our city. You might be surprised to learn that affordable housing is available for individuals making as little as $23,880 and families of five making as much as $202,620.
Recently, a new affordable housing opportunity was listed in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (shown right). To apply for this project, go to the new Housing Connect website. If you haven't made an account on the new site yet, sign up today.
Central Synagogue’s Grab-and-Go Food Program
The Central Synagogue on Lexington and 55th Street serves grab-and-go breakfast and lunch every Thursday and Friday from 6:30-7:30 AM via the Pavillion door, rain or shine and including holidays. This meal distribution is open to everyone in need of a hot breakfast and a cold lunch. For more information, contact email@example.com.
The Slumber Yard’s Back to School Sleep Tips During COVID
Every year it’s difficult for kids to get back into the routine of bedtime on school nights. With this year’s added challenges, it’s no wonder that children and their parents are finding it harder than ever to get back to a regular bedtime this school year. To help support healthy sleep for students and parents during the pandemic, the Slumber Yard created Back to School Sleep Tips During COVID.
This resource provides easy steps parents can take to get their child back into a routine to wake up early for school, including tips like making time and space to talk through anxiety that keeps kids up at night, as well as how to create a healthy sleep environment in their bedrooms. For more information, visit myslumberyard.com
Help Wanted for the American Red Cross’s Disaster Sheltering & Hurricane Season Readiness
The American Red Cross in Greater NY is urgently seeking up to 1,000 new volunteers to be part of our inaugural Hurricane Season Reserve Corps, a new, trained group of team members ready to support affected communities in the event of a major disaster in our region. This large number of “reserve” volunteers is needed due to the added constraints brought on by COVID-19 and the projected intensity of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30, 2020, with its peak in the Northeast in August and September.
Specifically, the Red Cross priority needs are for volunteers who will support sheltering efforts, including health services support, as needed across the Greater NY Region. The Greater New York Region includes New York City, Long Island, Rockland and Westchester Counties, and Greenwich, Conn. Positions are available across New Jersey and New York State as well. All necessary training (minimum of three hours) is provided virtually. In the event of disaster mobilization, individual shifts for this role are 12 hours. For more information, read the full press release at redcross.org
NYU Langone Health’s Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Family Support Program
Are you caring for a family member with memory and thinking problems? Caregiving during COVID-19 presents unique difficulties for families.
The NYU Langone Family Support Program is here to help you navigate through the challenges of caregiving. We provide a quick, personal response. All of its services are free and available online and by phone.
- Individual and family care consultations
- Resource information
- Caregiver support groups
- Home activity programs for people with memory loss
- Programs that people with memory loss and family caregivers can attend together
- Caregiver education webinars
- Special assistance fund for respite
This program is supported by a grant from the New York State Department of Health and is available to all New York City residents.
For more information, call 646-754-2277 or visit NYUlangone.org/memorydisordersupport
New York Legal Assistance Group COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline
In response to the global pandemic that has affected so many New Yorkers, the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) continues to run its COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline. Due to the surge in need for legal services in areas such as unemployment, housing, employee rights, public benefits, and consumer debt, NYLAG recently expanded their hotline hours to 7am-1pm.
Free Legal Clinics
Need a lawyer? Every month I sponsor legal clinics where you can get free legal advice. These clinics usually take place at my District Office but, due to Covid-19, all clinics will be done by phone (no video) until further notice. Appointments take place 2pm–6pm:
- General Civil Law, 2nd and 4th Friday with Patricia Murrell, Esq.
- Life Planning Clinic, 3rd Wednesday with Tina Janssen-Spinosa, Esq.
- Family Law and Domestic Violence, 1st Tuesday with Afua Fullwood, Esq.
- Housing Clinics,
- 1st & 3rd Monday with Paul Kushner, Esq.
- 1st Wednesday with Daniel Espo, Esq.
- 2nd & 4th Wednesday with Kyle Carraro, Esq.
Please call my office at 212-860-1950 or email ConstituentService@benkallos.com with the subject ‘Requesting Legal Clinic’ to make appointments to meet by phone.
Here to Help
We are here to help. My social work team can help you find out what services you are eligible for and assist you in your application. Some examples include:
- Seniors: Medicare savings, Meals-on-Wheels, Access-A-Ride
- Housing: searching for affordable units, free legal housing clinic at my office
- Job Resources: training resources and assistance, unemployment benefits
- Families: Universal Pre-K, Head Start, After-School programs
- Finances: cash assistance, tax credits, home energy assistance
- Nutrition: WIC, free meals for all ages
Please also call us at 212-860-1950 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any unresolved 311 complaints.
Help the Homeless
In March, I joined Communities United for Police Reform in an open letter to the Mayor calling on the City to take care of New York City’s homeless population during the Covid-19 outbreak. Read the full letter at Changethenypd.org/protect-homeless-covid-full-letter-cuomo-de-blasio
Back in 2016, I launched the Eastside Task Force for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) with Borough President Brewer, Senator Krueger, Council Member Garodnick, Department of Social Services (DSS), community and faith leaders and service organizations. We’ve already been able to help a chronically homeless individual in the community who we believe had long been suffering from mental illness, after a resident was willing to come forward working with me, the 19th Precinct, the District Attorney and DSS to get them the help they needed. We hope to get every unsheltered person living on the street the help they need. If you see one of our City’s most vulnerable on the street, please call 311 or use the NYC 311 App (Android/iPhone) to ask them to dispatch a “homeless outreach team.” They will ask where you saw the person, what they looked like, and offer report on whether the person accepts our city’s offer of shelter, three meals a day, health care, rehabilitation, and job training. By connecting our dedicated nonprofits and religious institutions with city services, ETHOS is really making a difference. For more information, visit BenKallos.com/Homelessness