WordPress database error: [You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MariaDB server version for the right syntax to use near ') AND t2.taxonomy = 'post_tag' AND p2.post_status = 'publish' AND p1.ID...' at line 13]
SELECT DISTINCT terms2.term_id as tag_id, terms2.name as tag_name, null as tag_link FROM wp_posts as p1 LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships as r1 ON p1.ID = r1.object_ID LEFT JOIN wp_term_taxonomy as t1 ON r1.term_taxonomy_id = t1.term_taxonomy_id LEFT JOIN wp_terms as terms1 ON t1.term_id = terms1.term_id, wp_posts as p2 LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships as r2 ON p2.ID = r2.object_ID LEFT JOIN wp_term_taxonomy as t2 ON r2.term_taxonomy_id = t2.term_taxonomy_id LEFT JOIN wp_terms as terms2 ON t2.term_id = terms2.term_id WHERE t1.taxonomy = 'category' AND p1.post_status = 'publish' AND terms1.term_id IN () AND t2.taxonomy = 'post_tag' AND p2.post_status = 'publish' AND p1.ID = p2.ID ORDER by tag_name

Why the U.S. Is Losing the War On COVID-19

(TIME) ALEX FITZPATRICK, February 1, 2021

It is a frightening time to live in the United States. COVID-19, a novel disease as ruthless as it is seemingly random, is picking us off by the thousands; even many of those who “recover” may never truly be the same again. The pandemic has exposed the gulf between what this country promises for its citizens and what it actually delivers. And as the U.S. barrels toward Election Day, the outbreak is sure to complicate the voting process, with potentially disastrous results.

For a short time in the spring, it appeared the U.S. was getting a grip on its outbreak. Hard-hit states like New York successfully flattened the curve, thanks largely to a statewide shutdown of nonessential businesses and compliance with new rules requiring people to wear masks and practice social distancing. But as other states began to reopen in late spring and early summer, new hot spots developed, first in the Sun Belt, in states like Texas, Arizona and Florida, and more recently in the Midwest, in states like Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota. On the West Coast, California reported a new single-day high for confirmed cases on Aug. 10; on the East Coast, Virginia did the same on Aug. 7. Across the country, hospitalization rates have gotten frighteningly high, and more deaths seem bound to follow.

Source: https://time.com/5879086/us-covid-19/

The COVID-19 Eviction Crisis: an Estimated 30-40 Million People in America Are at Risk – The Aspen Institute



The United States may be facing the most severe housing crisis in its history. According to the latest analysis of weekly US Census data, as federal, state, and local protections and resources expire and in the absence of robust and swift intervention, an estimated 30–40 million people in America could be at risk of eviction in the next several months. Many property owners, who lack the credit or financial ability to cover rental payment arrears, will struggle to pay their mortgages and property taxes and maintain properties. The COVID-19 housing crisis has sharply increased the risk of foreclosure and bankruptcy, especially among small property owners; long-term harm to renter families and individuals; disruption of the affordable housing market; and destabilization of communities across the United States.  

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers, academics, and advocates have conducted a continuous analysis of the effect of the public health crisis and economic depression on renters and the housing market. Multiple studies have quantified the effect of COVID-19-related job loss and economic hardship on renters’ ability to pay rent during the pandemic. While methodologies differ, these analyses converge on a dire prediction: If conditions do not change, 29-43% of renter households could be at risk of eviction by the end of the year. 

This article aggregates the existing research related to the COVID-19 housing crisis, including estimated potential upcoming eviction filings, unemployment data, and housing insecurity predictions. Additionally, based on this research and new weekly analysis of real-time US Census Bureau Household Pulse data, this article frames the growing potential for widespread displacement and homelessness across the United States.

Source: The Aspen Institute

Mayor de Blasio Must Reauthorize Emergency Funding for Hungry New Yorkers

(NY SPEAKER COREY JOHNSON) City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Met Council CEO David Greenfield, United Way of New York City President & CEO Sheena Wright, January 26, 2021

New York City will be hurting for a long time. We have lost family, friends, neighbors and loved ones in the fight against COVID-19 and its many rippling devastations. Millions of New Yorkers are out of work. Our seniors are homebound and isolated. Children are out of school, and away from friends and teachers, as their parents struggle to put food on the table. We want to rebuild a city where all New Yorkers can thrive, but right now New Yorkers are hungry and struggling to afford basic needs. The Council has led the way calling for re-authorizing the $25 million in emergency food pantry funding distributed last May. Mayor de Blasio must act again. Millions of New Yorkers still need this support.

As we plan for our fiscal future and the healing this city will need for years to come, it’s crucially important that we don’t forget the millions of New Yorkers hurting right now and the role our food pantries play in helping them put food on the table.

Last May, the city, responding to calls from a united City Council, acted boldly to get $25 million in emergency funding for food providers who knew their communities best. The challenges caused by COVID-19 were unprecedented and wide-ranging. The pandemic forced pantries and soup kitchens to close, disrupted supply chains, caused shortages of staff and volunteers due to quarantine, and forced pantries to make significant changes to their operations to meet new safety and social distancing protocols. Fortunately, the availability and flexibility of the city’s emergency funding helped avert a larger hunger crisis in New York City, enabling providers to open additional pop-up sites, purchase PPE and needed equipment, and do whatever it took to ensure that those in need could access nutritious food.

With the funding organizations that serve the hungry received, they provided millions of dollars worth of food, direct financial support and technical assistance to the food pantries in their networks. This provided healthy and nutritious meals to New Yorkers in need.

The three-way partnership between the de Blasio administration, City Council, and leaders of New York City’s emergency food system was key to its success. Met Council and United Way of New York City worked closely with the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, City Council members, Catholic Charities, City Harvest, Food Bank for New York, and other organizations. These organizations met regularly to assess needs and develop a coordinated funds distribution plan. This enabled decisions to be made by organizations directly working in our communities in need, but also facilitated coordination to avoid overlap, ensured equitable distribution in priority neighborhoods, and maximized the reach of the city’s funds for emergency food. This benefited the entire ecosystem of emergency food providers, ensuring no community was overlooked.

Demand has never been so immense or the situation so dire. Parents are reducing their own meals to feed their children.

There are thousands of elderly New Yorkers, including Holocaust survivors and people with disabilities, who are homebound, and vulnerable to COVID-19. There are cab drivers and college students who need support, as well as small business owners who went under in this challenging economic and social environment. Families who have lost a provider at home, especially among Black and Brown communities, are struggling financially. New Yorkers who are undocumented and have been left out of federal relief depend on emergency food providers for meals. Millions of New Yorkers rely on assistance from Met Council, United Way for New York City and others to provide them with safe, reliable access to healthy meals and groceries. These are our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, and our family.

There is so much to do. While hope is on the horizon, we cannot forget or abandon those hurting right now as more and more New Yorkers rely on food pantries for survival every day.

Click here to read the op-ed in amNewYork

Vaccination and COVID relief Information

(BRAD HOYLMAN) January 16, 2021

I know the signup process for COVID-19 vaccines is slow and frustrating. It’s unacceptable and leaves far too many New Yorkers without answers. I’m also deeply concerned about how unequitable the distribution has been thus far.

To address this, my team just launched a Vaccine Registration User Survey to learn more about the experience of those eligible trying to schedule a vaccine. Please fill out the survey here.

For those of you with reliable computer and internet access, I encourage you to keep checking for open appointments.

Scheduling a Vaccine through New York City

Head here to find NYC vaccination locations. Plug in your zip code and you can find locations near you. If you are currently eligible, you can schedule appointments directly with vaccine providers, either by email or phone. If you are currently eligible, you can also sign up for alertswhen new appointments are added.

To schedule an appointment by phone please call 877-VAX-4NYC or 877-829-4692.

If you need technical assistance or are receiving an error when using the COVID-19 Vaccine Hubs portal, please call 800-831-8196.

The New York City “ Vaccine Command Center” can answer other questions and provide you with additional information like vaccination rates.

Scheduling a Vaccine through New York State

Here is state guidance on how to sign up for a vaccine.

  • Health care workers who are part of Phase 1a will continue to be vaccinated at hospitals and other clinical settings.
  • People ages 65+ will primarily be vaccinated at pharmacies and other sites that are part of the “retail network.” If you are eligible please fill this out and then you will be able to schedule a vaccination using the same site. If you have any questions on how to use the form and website, please use this resource page. Additionally, the COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline is open 7AM – 10PM, 7 days a week, for scheduling vaccination appointments for eligible New Yorkers: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).

If you are interested in scheduling a vaccination at the Javits Center (429 11th Avenue in Manhattan), you can do so by calling 1-833-697-4829 or by heading hereDisclaimer: this page has crashed recently and can be very slow.

COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 positivity rates are still dangerously high. Please get tested and help keep the rate of spread down. I’d suggest going to NYC Health & Hospitals sites. They typically have shorter lines, results come in 48-72 hours, and it’s FREE whether or not you have insurance. You can find NYC’s sites here: https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/covid-19-testing-sites/. I also strongly recommend getting the COVID-19 Alert NY app to receive exposure alerts: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-alert-ny.

Mental Health Resources & Hotlines

Between the isolation and loneliness of social distancing and the stress and anxiety of worrying about our health, mental health care is more important than ever. I want to share some free resources you can use to get help if you need it:

  • New York State Office of Mental Health (NYS OMH): In response to increased need for mental health care, NYS OMH has created a hotline with free mental health counseling. Call 1-844-863-9314 to speak to someone.
  • NYC Well: This city-operated hotline offers free, confidential mental health counseling 24/7. You can call 1-888-NYC-WELL, text “WELL” to 65173 or visit their website to chat with a professional.
  • Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH): This free helpline provides crisis counseling and support for anyone experiencing distress or behavioral health concerns related to public health emergencies and other natural disasters. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746  
  • Crisis Text Line: This service provides free trained crisis counselors who can listen and respond through text messages. They operate 24/7. Text “MHA” to 741741 to get in touch.
  • The Trevor Project: This nonprofit organization, based in our district, operates a national 24-hour toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth. To reach the hotline, call 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: Practicing social isolation can be extraordinarily difficult for those living with abusive intimate partners. Call 1-800-799-7233, log onto www.thehotline.org or text “LOVEIS” to 22522 to speak with someone.
  • : Caring for a loved one can present new challenges given the current restrictions on outdoor activity and high risks for senior citizens. Between 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM, you can call this hotline where caregiving experts can provide the information you need to navigate complex caregiving challenges. Call 855-227-3640 to speak with a caregiving expert. 

You can also sign up for COVID-19 text message alerts from New York City by texting “COVID” to 692-692 or call New York State’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065 . 

Opinion | How to Avoid a Post-Recession Feeding Frenzy by Private Developers

(NY TIMES) December 8, 2020

The last time New York City faced a cataclysmic economic threat, city leaders responded by cutting the social safety net and infrastructure investment, laying off thousands of workers and turning over public land to developers who got big tax breaks.

Those leaders have been called “champions” who saved New York City after it almost went bankrupt in 1975. But the austerity and privatization they imposed paved the way for the inequality crisiswhere the wealthy thrive and so many others fight to survive.

Wall Street, Broadway and SoHo boomed, but artists and average workers couldn’t afford to live here. Small-business owners started new ventures but were priced out of affordable commercial space. Immigrant families

worked hard but struggled mightily to pay skyrocketing rents.

So as the havoc of Covid-19 stirs the same dire warnings of New York’s demise as were heard during the 1970s fiscal crisis, history provides lessons in how not to respond. Fortunately it also provides a lesson for how we can rebound, using social ownership of land to help create a just, vibrant and durable recovery.

Source: NYTimes

Andrew Cuomo is no hero. He’s to blame for New York’s coronavirus catastrophe | Andrew Cuomo | The Guardian

(THE GUARDIAN) Lyta Gold, , November 28, 2020

Andrew Cuomo may be the most popular politician in the country. His approval ratings have hit all-time highs thanks to his Covid-19 response. Some Democrats have discussed him as a possible replacement for Joe Biden, due to Biden’s perceived weakness as a nominee. And there have even been some unfortunate tributes to Cuomo’s alleged sex appeal.

All of which is bizarre, because Cuomo should be one of the most loathed officials in America right now. ProPublica recently released a report outlining catastrophic missteps by Cuomo and the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, which probably resulted in many thousands of needless coronavirus cases. ProPublica offers some appalling numbers contrasting what happened in New York with the outbreak in California. By mid-May, New York City alone had almost 20,000 deaths, while in San Francisco there had been only 35, and New York state as a whole suffered 10 times as many deaths as California.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/20/andrew-cuomo-new-york-coronavirus-catastrophe

Calls for More Aftercare to Keep Homeless From Returning to Shelters

(CITY LIMITS) David Brand, November 20, 2020

Calls for More Aftercare to Keep Homeless From Returning to Shelters

For South Bronx home health aide Sabrina Purdie, a steady income and a year-long lease weren’t enough to keep her family from returning to homeless shelters several times over the past decade.

On various occasions, Purdie and her five children managed to secure affordable housing in Brooklyn, in New Jersey and in the Bronx, only to become homeless once more. “It wasn’t that hard to find an apartment because I do a lot of footwork,” says Purdie.

The hard part, she says, was holding onto the apartment when confronted with external problems, like a landlord who claimed she hadn’t paid her rent and went to court to evict her. She says she was paying consistently, but she felt intimidated, and she forfeited the home without realizing she had a right to challenge the eviction.

“I did not know that I didn’t have to leave my apartments. I didn’t know how to maneuver,” she says. “No one tells you that. The landlords don’t tell you that.”

Covid Threatens College Gains for Black and Latinx Students

(WIRED) November 24, 2020

LARGELY LOW-INCOME, HISPANIC, and with parents whose own educations didn’t get past high school, the young people in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas over the past decade started doing something few of their predecessors had done: going to college.

As the community near the Mexican border came together to prioritize education, scores in math and reading on state standardized tests rose. So did high school graduation rates, to 92 percent, from 87 percent, and the proportion of students filling out the federal application for college financial aid. The number who went on to higher education inched up, to 57 percent, from 56 percent.

“We got a lot of people talking about how important going to college is,” said Katherine Díaz, who helps coordinate this work as deputy director for the nonprofit RGV Focus, which stands for Rio Grande Valley. “More students started seeing, ‘Wow, I can do this.’ And they thought, ‘I’m doing this because I want to show my cousins that they can do this too.’”

Then the pandemic descended.

Unemployment in what Texans call “the Valley” peaked at more than 17 percent in the spring. The rate of infections and deaths from Covid-19 was nearly twice what it was in the rest of Texas. Even since tighter restrictions were imposed, the area continues to account for 7 percent of all of the state’s confirmed cases, and two of the eight most affected counties.

Now there’s fear that the Valley’s hard-won educational progress will reverse. As many as half of students from some local schools lack Wi-Fi access, educators say. Many of their families face intensified financial hardship. The proportion of students filling out that financial aid application—an early indicator of intent to go to college—is down at more than half of Rio Grande Valley high schools, the US Department of Education reports.

Community and business groups around the country share the same concern. For the last few years, they have been pushing schools and colleges to improve high school graduation and college enrollment and completion rates—especially for low-income Black and Hispanic students—increasing the supply of skilled workers to compete in the global economy. Many were making measurable progress.

With the pandemic disrupting in-person education and straining budgets, there is growing fear that this momentum is reversing.

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/black-latinx-students-going-college-then-covid/

COVID-19: Considerations for Wearing Masks

(CDC) November 18, 2020

What you need to know

  • People age 2 and older should wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household.​
  • Masks offer some protection to you and are also meant to protect those around you, in case you are unknowingly infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • A mask is NOT a substitute for social distancing. Masks should still be worn in addition to staying at least 6 feet apart.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after touching or removing your mask.
  • Masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others, or with other people who live in your household. However, some localities may have mask mandates while out in public and these mandates should always be followed.
  • CDC is still studying the effectiveness of different types of masks and will update our recommendations as new scientific evidence becomes available.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html?ACSTrackingID=USCDC_2067-DM42632&ACSTrackingLabel=Community Use of Masks to Control the Spread of COVID-19 | COVID-19&deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM42632

As Federal Covid Aid Dried Up, Hunger Soared in New York City, Report Shows

(GOTHAM GAZETTE) Ethan Geringer-Sameth, November 17, 2020

Many New Yorkers have become less certain about securing their next meal during the economic crisis wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, and the situation has worsened since federal aid evaporated this summer, a new study shows.

In September and October, almost a third of New York City residents had visited a food pantry in the previous 12 months, compared with roughly one in eight at the beginning of the year, according to a report being released Tuesday by Robin Hood, a foundation focused on poverty reduction, in partnership with Columbia University.

While food pantry use rose sharply under the state of emergency that closed down thousands of businesses and coincided with a stoppage of tourism to the city, leading to mass joblessness, the ratio of New Yorkers facing “food hardship” — defined as running out of food or worrying that you will — at first remained relatively flat at one-in-three. But that was only until stimulus payments and other benefits from the federal CARES Act expired in July. Since June, the proportion of New Yorkers dealing with “food hardship” has risen to 42%, according to the new study.

The data confirms what city officials, advocates, and millions of New Yorkers already understand, that hunger continues to be a parallel epidemic, an undertow feeding into the turmoil of the crisis as the city stares down another wave of infections.

“There are families right now, working class families, even middle class families, trying to choose between food or medicine or the basics of life,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference on July 30, the eve of the expiration of federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) benefits, which provided $600 a week in CARES funding to people who had lost their jobs.

“Those choices are going to get tougher and tougher,” he said at the time. (The city had already launched a massive emergency food initiative to support public and private meal programs, crowned by a $170 million commitment from the mayor in mid-April. That program has provided well over 100 million free meals.)

Food pantries have “become a lifeline” for even more New Yorkers under the pandemic, according to Chloe Sarnoff, a public policy analyst at Robin Hood who worked on the report, “but they’re really not equipped to sustain this level of need.”

“We hear, from the food pantries and partners that we support, that they can confirm unprecedented demand, with lines stretching down city blocks,” Sarnoff told Gotham Gazette on Monday, just ahead of the report’s release. “Our pantries and the CARES Act, frankly, are what have helped New Yorkers get by through the worst of this pandemic.”

There have been widespread calls for additional federal aid, but there has been no agreement since the CARES Act. House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, known as the HEROES Act, which has failed to gain traction in the Republican-controlled Senate or the Trump administration.

The pandemic has ransacked the city economy. Initial unemployment claims, down from a peak of 185,000 claims in April, are still three times the pre-pandemic volume with 21,000 new claims filed the week of November 7, according to the latest data published by City Comptroller Scott Stringer. Recipients of federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) vouchers, or food stamps, topped 1.7 million in September — 224,000 more New Yorkers than in February.

Source: https://www.gothamgazette.com/city/9911-federal-aid-coronavirus-new-york-hunger-food-pantries-report