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District 31

Donovan J. Richards

Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens

Every day our frontline and essential workers put their lives at risk to ensure the needs of New Yorkers are met. These selfless acts require courage, kindness, and patience. Together, we can beat this virus by caring for our neighbors and most vulnerable. Please follow our hygiene and social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

At this time, my offices will be closed to until further notice. However, my staff and I will maintain ALL constituent, scheduling, and legislative services by phone or email. 

To sign up for email updates, click here. For daily updates visit any of my social media pages below: 
Facebook @ Donovan Richards
Instagram @drichardsnyccouncil
Twitter @drichards13
Emaildrichards@council.nyc.gov 


Beginning, March 22, 2020, Governor Cuomo ordered everyone to stay home unless you are work at a grocery store, hospital, transit, pharmacy and other services are considered essential. People will be able to go out for groceries and other needs, but should remain 6 feet apart as much as possible. For more info, please visit esd.ny.gov

Thursday, April 2, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released new recommendations for all New Yorkers wear a face covering when outside of their home. However, it is absolutely imperative that you stay home as much as possible, especially if you’re not an essential worker or you feel sick. 


Resources:

Sign up for updates from the city by texting COVID to 692-692. En Español, envíe el mensaje COVIDESP a 692-692).

New York State Department of Health’s 24-hour Coronavirus Hotline: 1-888-364-3065. 


Testing:

I have called on the Mayor for more supplies for our frontline heroes and to expand testing throughout Queens, especially in high-risk areas like Southeast Queens and the Rockaways. If you have symptoms, please call your doctor or 311. Our hospitals are overwhelmed with caring for COVID-19 patients right now.

Below are local testing sites in Queens. Please call ahead or visit online to make an appointment.

ST. JOHNS EPISCOPAL HOSPITAL: 327 Beach 19th St, Queens, NY 11691 (718) 869-7000

JAMAICA HOSPITAL: 8900 Van Wyck Expy, Richmond Hill, NY 11418 (718) 206-6000

NYCHA TESTING- READY RESPONDERS *If you received notice at your residence* (888) 727-7914

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: 89-60 164th St Jamaica, NY 11432 (888) 364-3065

JOSEPH P. ADDABBO FAMILY HEALTH CENTER: 6200 Beach Channel Dr, Arverne, NY 11692 (718) 945-7150 or www.addabbo.org.

AQUEDUCT RACETRACK: 110-00 Rockaway Blvd, Queens, NY 11420 (888) 364-3065

YORK COLLEGE: 94-20 Guy R Brewer Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11451 (888) 663-6331


Mental Health:

Resources and support is available for anyone experiencing stress, anxiety or depression.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 

  • Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Click Here to visit their website.

NYC Well

Click here for FREE Digital Mental Health Resources * for the duration of COVID-19 pandemic

Special Health Insurance Enrollment
Special enrollment for health insurance has been extended through June 15th and is open for uninsured New Yorkers. For more information please click here.


Domestic Violence Support:

For immediate safety planning, shelter assistance, support, and other assistance call or visit any of the websites below. For emergencies, call 911.

  • Safe Horizon’s 24-hour Hotline: Call (800) 621-4673. You can also chat with a Safe Horizon advocate, who can offer information, advocacy and support through SafeChat. The latest information on hours and how to access this service is available here.

Education Assistance:

  • Remote learning: Allows teachers to deliver their lessons online, and students can complete assignments, projects, and assessments just like they would in the classroom. For more details and resources from the Department of Education on remote learning are click here. 
  • Regional Enrichment Centers: Some schools are open as enrichment centers to continue providing support for children of essential workers and those who cannot stay home. To enroll, submit your form here.
  • Technology access: To keep students connected and able to learn from home, the DOE has begun lending internet-enabled iPads to students. To request an iPad, click here. ***Teachers and school staff should use this same form to request devices on behalf of their students.
  •  Spectrum is offering free access to Spectrum Broadband and Wi-Fi for 60 Days for new K-12 and College Student Households and More. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. ***Installation fees will be waived for new student households.

Financial Assistance:

  • Paid Sick Leave: Whether you are a part-time or full-time worker, NYC supports families affected by COVID-19. ***To learn your rights and responsibilities as an employer or employee, please click here.
  • Unemployment Claims: To file a claim for Benefits, click here. New York State has waived the 7 day waiting period for those out of work due to COVID-19. For specific questions about applying for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance as a freelancer, clickhere.
  • Stimulus Checks: Filing a tax return is the only way to receive funds. The IRS will use your 2019 tax return, if you’ve already filed it, or your 2018 return to calculate the amount of your payment. The payments would not be subject to tax, and those who owe back taxes will still get the payouts. Direct deposits will go out automatically. Mailed check will take longer. For more information on eligibility, limitations, click here.
  • Student Debt: Student loan lenders will temporarily halt collections for up to 60 days from March 13, 2020 to provide relief to those struggling to pay down debts due to coronavirus. For more info, please click here.

Small Business Services:

Information on regarding funding, operations, and other information is available online. This includes businesses, nonprofits and community based organizations. For more, visit:

Council of Nonprofits: click here.

NYC Small Business Services: click here.


Houses of Worship:

Unfortunately, all public gatherings and religious services are banned in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19). Please make sure your house of worship is in full compliance. By not following restrictions mandated by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, you could be subject to a fine as the NYPD increases its enforcement.

  • For frequently asked questions on information, please visit the City’s resource page by clicking here.
  • To visit New York Disaster Interfaith Services website, click here. NY Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection for COVID-19 For Houses of Worship
  • For cleaning guidance, click here.

Food Assistance:

  • To view a list of food pantries in my district, please click here.
  • Grab-and-Go meals: are available for ANY New Yorker who wants to get three free meals a day. For children and families pickup is between 7:30am and 11:30am at any public school. For parents and any adults from 11:30am to 1:30pm.
  • No one will be turned away at any time
  • All adults and children can pick up three meals at one time
  • Vegetarian and halal options available at all sites

For more info, or to find a location near you, please click here or text NYCFOOD or COMIDA to 877-877.

  • Emergency Food Assistance Program : Call (866) 888-8777. This is an automated hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You do not need to receive SNAP to get food. *Kosher preference and HIV/AIDS diet is available.

For other Food Program locators visit any of the below: 


Housing:

  • Homeowners: The Governor announced the Department of Financial Services has issued a new directive to New York State mortgage servicers to provide 90-day mortgage relief to mortgage borrowers impacted by the novel coronavirus. The directive includes: waiving mortgage payments based on financial hardship; no negative reporting to credit bureaus; grace period for loan modification; no late payment fees or online payment fees; and postponing or suspending foreclosures. 
  • Tenants: To find out about emergency cash assistance for rent, click here.

For help paying for heat and utilities, click here.

  • NYCHA: There will be no in-person rent collection. Rent should be paid via mail, phone, MYNYCHA App and online through authorized banks. Residents can call 718-707-7771 for emergencies 24/7.

Seniors:

Coronavirus has made the lives of our vulnerable loved ones even more precarious. My staff and I have been making wellness calls to homebound seniors in my district. If you or anyone you know needs a wellness check, please email me at drichards@council.nyc.gov.

Unfortunately, Grab-and-Go meals will no longer be offered at Senior Centers. For food delivery, click here. Otherwise, please contact your local senior center if that where you usually eat. You can also call Dept. for the Aging at 212-244-6469. Homebound seniors will receive food as scheduled.


Youth:

Unfortunately, the NYC Summer Youth Employment Program has been suspended for the 2020 Summer season due to the uncertainty over how COVID-19 will continue to affect social distancing guidelines, worksite availability, and provider and site staffing. For updates, click here.

For other updates and information about youth and community programs, click here.


Veterans:

If you are a veteran or a relative of a veteran in New York City and are looking for support and resources, click here.

If you have served at least one day in the active military, naval, or air service, including the Reserves and National Guard, you and your spouse are eligible for priority of service at all of our Workforce1 Career Centers.

Stress Is Gone is offering 8 online meditation classes a week – free for Veterans. Click here for more.

Mission Vet is offering free check-ins. To request a check in, visit https://thrivenyc.cityofnewyork.us/mission-vetcheck

NYC’S Nutrition Kitchen food pantries have expanded their hours and added locations to make sure no New Yorker goes hungry during the COVID-19 crisis. Pick up ONE WEEK OF FREE GROCERIES for you or someone in need.

Queens location: 162-24 Jamaica Avenue Operating Hours: Tuesday/ Wednesday/ Friday between 10am – 1pm For assistance call: 718-520-2142


Employment:


2020 Census:

Since we are all home, I ask that you please complete the 2020 Census. Our responses to the Census determines funding for infrastructure, education, public health, and congressional representation and so much more. You can complete the Census by phone in several languages. Phone lines are open daily from 7AM to 2AM Eastern Standard Time (EST).

This year, you can respond on your own by completing the survey online at 2020census.gov, over the phone at (800) 923-8282 or by mail to U.S. Census Bureau National Processing Center at 1201 E 10th Street, Jeffersonville, IN 47132.


Volunteering:

  • HelpNowNYC: The City is asking anyone with medical training to join the relief effort as we work to rapidly surge our hospital capacity (whether or not you are already NYS-State certified). Health care workers are the front line of this crisis, and we are so deeply grateful to every single one of you. Learn more and register here.
  • City Harvest: Help package food into family-sized portions for delivery. Sign up here.
  • Sign up with Invisible Hands: Deliver groceries and other supplies to elderly and immunocompromised people in your neighborhood. More information and sign up here.
  • Mutual Aid: Join a neighborhood mutual aid group to connect with your immediate community. This new website has collected ways to plug into mutual aid networks across the city.

Self- Reporting:

The City of New York is collecting information to better understand and communicate about the impacts of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This information will be helpful in enabling the City to share information with you and members of the public about COVID-19, and to help inform the City’s response to areas affected by COVID-19.

To sign up for the NYC COVID-19 Engagement Portal, click here.


Donating:

SUPPLIES:

MONEY:

  • NYC Health and Hospitals is providing support to doctors, nurses, and other health care workers on the front line. Donate here.
  • Food Bank for New York City is supplying the city’s food pantries and soup kitchens which are in growing demand. Donate here.
  • Citymeals on Wheels are providing emergency meals for hundreds of thousands of seniors, working in partnership with local senior centers. Donate here
  • City Harvest which is rescuing food from restaurants to provide for food pantries. Donate here
  • If you are ordering groceries from Fresh Direct, and would like to donate to NY Common Pantry to help another family with their groceries, click here for more information.
  • Domestic Workers Alliance: Coronavirus Care Fund for their domestic worker members
  • Make the Road New York: COVID Emergency Response Fund for their immigrant and low-income members
  • Freelancers Union has started an emergency fund for freelancers. You can donate here, applications for relief will open April 2nd, more FAQ answers are here.

More:

If you have a prepaid MetroCard you aren’t using and would like to give it to an essential worker, you can sign up here.  


Please know that I am working diligently to ensure that you, our first responders, health-care professionals and communities at-large receive the information and resources necessary to keep us safe and healthy. To check on your loved ones, please do so by phone, email or social media. Thank you for doing your part in making sure our city and nation stay healthy.