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Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, Apr. 1, 2020

COVID-19 molecule
COVID-19 (Credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS)

Johnson, Torres, Rodriguez Ensure No CUNY Student Goes Hungry

Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen), Councilmember Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) and CUNY Chancellor Felix V. Matos Rodriguez announced a plan for food-insecure CUNY students amid the COVID-19 crisis Tuesday, NBC 4 reported.

Under the plan, 1,595 students would each receive a check for $400 to spend on groceries for the spring as an alternative to campus cafeterias. The checks provide an alternative to CUNY campus cafeterias, which have been closed amid the pandemic. The plan also allots $35,000 to CUNY food pantries to remain open during this period.

“Coronavirus has drastically changed how students learn but our hunger problem among low-income students is the same and so is the Council’s commitment to combating hunger in our city,” said Johnson. “We don’t want students to sacrifice meals because cafeterias – where they could use city-funded vouchers or swipe cards – are closed. These students need those meals now more than ever to remain healthy.”

Brewer, Powers, et. al. Promote Converting Security Deposits to Rent

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D), Councilmember Keith Powers (D-Upper East Side, Carnegie Hill), Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (D), and Councilmember Robert Cornegy (D, Brooklyn) recently proposed allowing renters financially impacted by the COVID-19 emergency to pay their rent with their security deposits, the Daily News reported Monday.

In a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), the electeds emphasized the importance of “immediate” relief, given the amount of time it will take for longer term relief measures to clear.

“As the state considers a number of options around rent relief, we wanted to ensure that you look at a solution that would provide immediate relief for those struggling to make their next rent payments,” they wrote.  “After hearing from constituents who are deeply concerned about their ability to pay the rent next month, we have raised the possibility of allowing tenants to use their existing, pre-paid security deposits to pay the rent for April.”

Hoylman Advocates for LGBT Patients in Central Park Emergency Hospital

State Senator Brad Hoylman
State Senator Brad Hoylman

USA Today reported Monday that Mt. Sinai has partnered with Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical nonprofit that provides relief from disasters, to establish an emergency hospital in Central Park for COVID-19 patients. 

However, some New Yorkers are concerned that the makeshift hospital, which will include 72 staff, 10 ventilators, and a morgue, will not be LGBT-friendly, citing comments by Samaritan’s Purse founder Franklin Graham.

“You know those medical tents being constructed in Central Park? They’re being set up by notorious anti-gay bigot Franklin Graham,” tweeted State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown). “Mr. Graham must promise to treat EVERY patient with dignity and respect.”

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