New York, NY – Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Member Francisco Moya released the below statements in response to the de Blasio Administration’s initiative to increase funds to pay for final resting arrangements for low-income COVID-19 victims. The Administration has expanded eligibility to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. Speaker Johnson and Council Member Moya had last month called for an emergency fund for low-income New Yorkers who couldn’t afford final arrangement costs, and for the fund to be open to all.

“The coronavirus pandemic has disproportionally hit our immigrant communities. Making funds available for undocumented immigrants to have proper burials and also increasing the amount of the assistance for HRA’s program is the compassionate thing to do. For many New Yorkers, the cost of burying or cremating a loved one can be out of reach. They deserve better which is why Council Member Moya and I called for emergency funds to help New Yorkers pay for final resting arrangements for their loved ones, regardless of immigration status. I am glad Mayor de Blasio agreed and is moving forward with a humane plan that will assist more New Yorkers in need,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“No community has been spared by the COVID-19 crisis but for undocumented immigrants, the disease has been particularly cruel. Not only were undocumented New Yorkers denied being among loved ones in their final moments but they were also denied a dignified burial among them as well — whether in their adopted country or their native one. That’s just not acceptable, especially in a city built by immigrants. I thank Mayor de Blasio for making these funds available to undocumented New Yorkers and Speaker Corey Johnson for standing with me in support of providing families with emergency burial assistance. New York City is once again demonstrating what justice and equity look like as it expands eligibility for the HRA’s burial assistance program to all low-income New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, and increases the reimbursement limit. This step is critical to addressing the systemic inequalities this disease has brought to the fore,” said Council Member Francisco Moya.