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Dear Neighbor,

As our city, nation and the entire world continues to grapple with the outbreak of COVID-19, I want to share some information and resources with you.

For recovery resources regarding Hurricane Ida and its related flooding, please click here.

Vaccine

All New Yorkers ages 12 and up are eligible to schedule an appointment for a COVID vaccine. Find a location to get a vaccine if you are eligible here. Learn more about the approved vaccines here.

It is important to continue following health guidelines until you have been fully vaccinated. These include wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding small and large gatherings.

For homebound individuals interested in future COVID-19 homebound vaccines, please fill out this interest form from the city.

Symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure, though it is possible to be asymptomatic.

If you believe you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and are seeking treatment or a test, please call your healthcare provider or 311 before you go in to allow them time to prepare for your visit.

Testing

Get tested if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Find a test site near you here.

Testing capacity is much larger now than the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to increase. There is no charge for a test at a site run by New York State, but check with the test site about charges if it is run by local governments or private companies.

Prevention

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. CDC recommends you take the following preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
  • Wash your hands often and vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

Resources and Information

For Information from the State of New York, please visit the New York State Department of Of Health’s website or call the State’s 24/7 hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

To sign up for alerts from New York City text COVID (or COVIDESP for Spanish) to 692-692. You can always call 311 for New York City resources. 

Here are some more resources from federal agencies, New York State and New York City:  

Information from the CDC:

Information from New York State:

Information from New York City: 

Information from the U.S. Department of State:

  • State Department Travel Advisories
  • State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
  • State Department Hotlines:
    • 1-888-407-4747 (U.S. and Canada)
    • 1-202-501-4444 (all other countries) 
  • All air passengers two years of age or older arriving to the United States must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding. This order applies to both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens should reconsider non-essential travel abroad. Read more here.

Information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

Information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS):

Information from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

Information from the U.S. Department of Labor:

Information from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA):

Information from the U.S. Department of Education:

Information from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Information from the Federal Bureau of Prisons:

Information for Unemployed Individuals:

With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, more laid-off and furloughed workers than ever before are eligible for Unemployment Insurance. 

The New York State Department of Labor will immediately make $300 in additional weekly unemployment benefits available to all New Yorkers, through September 6, 2021. New York is also extending the period covered by unemployment benefits to accommodate this crisis response. A reminder for those who have difficulty enrolling for UI: any claim you file will be backdated to the date you became unemployed. If you are eligible, you will be paid all benefits due.

You may file for unemployment from New York State here. New York State has also prepared a helpful video on unemployment insurance. It is online here.

New Yorkers who lost work during the COVID-19 pandemic but could not get Unemployment Insurance or other federal benefits may be eligible for the new Excluded Workers Fund. New York State set aside $2.1 billion to help New Yorkers who lost work. Read more about the program here.

Information for Small Business Owners:

The second COVID-19 relief bill contained an additional $284 billion in relief for small businesses, creating new access to capital and reinforcing existing Small Business Administration (SBA) operations and programs. The following SBA programs may be of assistance to your business:

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans: Provide access to capital to cover the cost of retaining employees. Up to 100% of PPP loan principal can be forgiven if borrowers follow the PPP forgiveness guidelines. For more information from the SBA, click here
    • Sole Proprietors or independent contractors are now eligible for additional flexibilities when applying for PPP loans. The updated application can be found here.
    • Schedule C applicants may now use gross profits with a modified formula instead of using net profits. That application is here.
  • Emergency Injury Disaster Loans and Emergency Economic Injury Grants Loans: Low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million, with quick access to small amounts of capital to cover your costs right now. For more information from the SBA, click here. To apply, click here.
  • Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG): Program to provide grants to venues forced to close due to the pandemic. Grants may equal up to 45% of an applicant’s gross earned revenue, up to a maximum of $10 million. More information can be found here.
  • Restaurant Revitalization Fund: Applications to provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million are open now. Go here to register for the SBA application portal, review program guidance, collect proper documentation and view a sample application.

For assistance and guidance for businesses impacted by COVID-19 from the NYC Department of Small Businesses Services, please click here


Information for Seniors: 

The NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA) has expanded its direct delivery of meals to all clients in all five boroughs. Because of this change, grab-and-go meals for seniors will no longer be offered.

The best way for seniors to access direct delivery meals is by contacting their local senior center. Seniors can also call DFTA’s Aging Connect at 212-AGING-NYC (212-244-6469) or 311.

Homebound individuals already receiving home-delivered meals through DFTA’s case management agencies will continue to receive their meals as usual. If you are interested in signing up for home-delivered meals, please call DFTA’s Aging Connect at 212-AGING-NYC (212-244-6469) to see if you are eligible.

Information for Homeowners, Renters and NYC Public Housing Residents: 

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is being implemented. Rental households can receive up to 12 months of assistance plus an additional 3 months if needed to ensure housing stability and funds are available. Among those who qualify are those receiving unemployment or experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, or have a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median. Details can be found here.

New York State has instituted a moratorium until January 15, 2022 on all evictions for tenants enduring a COVID-related hardship. Tenants must sign and deliver a “Hardship Declaration” to their landlord. Landlords can still evict people without a Hardship Declaration Form. The form can be found here

NYCHA encourages households experiencing a loss of income to access their rent hardship program. You may qualify for a rent reduction if you meet all the following conditions.

  • There is at least a 5% reduction to gross income
  • Current rent is more than 30% of net household income

Residents can initiate an Interim Recertification via the NYCHA Self-Service Portal or by requesting a paper form to be mailed to their residence by calling respective Management Offices.

Households that experience a complete loss of income may qualify for NYCHA’s Zero Income Policy. If a household reports zero income, they will participate in an interview with a NYCHA Housing Assistant and will complete a Zero Income Questionnaire. The interview can be held over the phone. If you need further assistance, please call your property management office or Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771.

You can learn more about NYCHA’s program here

NYC Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) has coronavirus resources online here. HPD Section 8 tenants experiencing a rent hardship due to a decrease in income may contact HPD via DTRAI@hpd.nyc.gov or by fax at 212-863-5299

Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages and those with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac have the right to request forbearance on their payments for up to 6 months, with a possible extension for another 6 months without fees, penalties, or extra interest, until June 30, 2021. Homeowners should contact their mortgage servicing company directly. Learn more here.

Information for Parents and Students:

The NYC Department of Education (DOE) is providing updates here. Check the daily case map for NYC schools here. You can get blended learning resources here. To keep students connected and able to learn from home, the DOE is lending 300,000 internet-enabled iPads to students. Families that want to request a device should fill out the Remote Learning Device Request form, here. Teachers and school staff should use this same form to request devices on behalf of their students.

The USDA is increasing the Pandemic-EBT benefit by approximately 15%. This program connects low-income families with kids with food dollars equivalent to the value of the meals missed due to COVID-related school and childcare closures. Read more here. The cash vouchers for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has been temporarily increased to up to $35 per month for a four-month period.

New York City families with public school students from 3-K through 8th grade can sign up for free city-funded childcare programs for days when they are scheduled for remote learning. NYC’s Learning Bridges program is run at more than 450 locations and almost all locations have spaces available right now. Priority is given to students whose parents are essential workers or Department of Education staff, those who live in temporary or public housing, as well as students who have disabilities or are in foster care. More information can be found here or by calling 311.The American Rescue Plan expanded the child tax credit to $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 for children age 6 or under. Eligible individuals or couples will receive payments from the IRS of up to $300 per child per month from July through the end of the year. Households with no income are eligible to claim the credit.

To help people understand and receive the Advance Child Tax Credit, the IRS has created a special Advance Child Tax Credit 2021 webpage to provide the most up-to-date information about the credit and the advance payments.

Information for Federal Student Loan Borrowers

Federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until September 30, 2021, but you can still make payments if you choose. Click here to learn more.

Information for New Yorkers Seeking Mental Health Assistance: 

For mental health assistance, you can call the state’s emotional support helpline at 844-863-9314. NYC also has valuable mental health resources you may access from home online here or by calling 1-888-NYC-Well (692-9355) or texting “Well” to 65173.

Information about Nutrition Assistance:

The New York City Department of Education has made three free meals available daily to all New Yorkers. Meals can be picked up at a Meal Hub from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. These locations will operate for children and families from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. No registration or ID is required. All three daily meals can be picked up at the same time, and parents and guardians may get the meals for their children. You can find a Meal Hub here.  

You may qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. The SNAP program is designed to ensure that Americans receive the food they need, especially if they are newly unemployed. To find out more and to apply for SNAP coverage, please click here.

College students may be temporarily eligible to receive SNAP benefits. Those who participate in state or federally financed work study or who have an expected family contribution (EFC) of 0 in the current academic year if they meet all other financial and non-financial SNAP eligibility criteria. This eligibility will last until 30 days after the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted. Read more here.

Also, you may qualify for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC). To see if you are eligible for WIC benefits click here. To learn more about how to apply for WIC click here.

Information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit:

The FCC provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for those on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price.

Households that qualify include those with: children that qualify for the free or reduced lunch program, Pell grant recipients, recently laid off or furloughed workers, and individual who qualifies for the Lifeline program or an individual who qualifies for a low-income or COVID-19 discount program offered by internet service providers.

Eligible households can enroll by contacting their internet service provider and asking to sign up, and they can learn more – including whether they qualify – by clicking here. Find out more about the program here.

Information about FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. To be eligible, the death must have occurred in the United States, the death certificate must show the death was attributed to COVID-19 and the applicant must be an American citizen. The deceased person does not need to be a U.S. citizen.

To apply, collect and keep documentation related to the funeral. This can include an official death certificate, funeral expenses documents and proof of funds received from other sources. If FEMA determines the applicant eligible, funds will be delivered by mail or directing deposit as requested. 

Learn more here.

Contact Me

The safety of the constituents of the 8th Congressional District and your loved ones is of the utmost importance to me.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my offices at (718) 237-2211, (718) 373-0033 or CongressmanJeffries08@gmail.com.

Be safe and well.  

Sincerely,

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries