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Dear neighbors, 

September is a time of transition as the summer comes to a close and we welcome in the fall. Our children are heading back to school and many civic bodies are returning to business including our Community Precinct Councils, Community Boards, Parent Teacher Associations, and more. As always our office is open and ready to assist residents like you.

In fact, since taking office eight short months ago we have moved legislation, awarded critical funding to our community-based organizations, and held office hours in areas that have long gone unserviced. We have also partnered with City and community-based organizations to bring direct services to you. This month we invited NYC Housing Preservation and Development to table at an event at the PS 503/506 schoolyard. We gave away rain barrels, books, distributed PPE and test kits at block parties across the district and joined backpack distributions in Red Hook and Sunset Park.

As we highlight our past work, we must also look to the present and future. Right now, we are seeing asylum seekers arrive in our city as a result of our broken immigration system and political opportunism of one southern Governor. While many groups and individuals have stepped up to meet the immediate needs of these new arrivals, the City and State must make the investments necessary to truly call ourselves a sanctuary city. Our City’s safety net was already strained to begin with and failing to meet the needs of unhoused people. To meet the need we must expand the capacity at our shelters, connect our neighbors to healthcare, provide culturally competent food and social services, provide translation services, and support children entering our school system. 

Under the recently announced Project Open Arms, the administration is stepping up its coordination of services and allocating $6 million dollars to local relief organizations to help connect new arrivals with needed services. This is a welcome start, and on Friday I joined New York Immigration Coalition and others to call on the City, State, and Federal governments to ensure our safety net has the capacity to support these asylum seekers and all New Yorkers awaiting housing, nutritional, and healthcare assistance.

For those who are able to donate new and gently used items for newly arrived migrants here in District 38, South Brooklyn Mutual Aid is collecting donations at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 7420 4 Ave until September 10. (More info here.)

Lastly, our children and teachers are shortly returning to school after a well deserved summer break. There is still so much in limbo due to budget cuts that, as many of you know, I have opposed since day one. I will continue to fight within the City Council to restore the cuts, following the lead of many of you, and I look forward to continuing my visits to schools in-district to hear directly from parents, teachers, and kids about your needs.

Lastly, September brings with it many cultural celebrations and holidays, starting with the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, which begins September 10. Hispanic Heritage month begins September 15 and ends October 15. September 16 marks Mexican Independence Day. Jewish High Holy Days begin at the end of the month with Rosh Hashanah on Sunday, September 25 and Yom Kippur ending on the evening of Wednesday, October 5. 

Truly we are blessed to live side-by-side in such a beautiful diverse district, and we will happily share opportunities to appreciate our respective cultures over this month and the months to come.

I wish all our neighbors a safe and happy return to the school year!

Always in solidarity,

Alexa Avilés

District updates

School budgets remain in limbo

Schools across the City are set to reopen next week amid continued uncertainty over whether the Mayor’s budget cuts will be reversed. Last month, we shared what was widely reported in the news – that the Mayor and Council Speaker “neared” a deal to restore some cuts. If you see the Mayor around, ask him about that deal for me.

Some continue to claim that individual school budgets were reduced due to declining enrollment. Year after year, schools in our district have to contest DOE’s bogus enrollment projections because they underaccount for the immigrant families our communities’ schools serve. DOE is projecting an additional 1,000 new school families will be enrolling in New York City schools among the thousands of new arrivals who have come to our City. I have said again and again these cuts were unconscionable — they are even more so now.

Meanwhile, Governor Hochul has yet to sign Senator John Liu and Assemblymember Jo Ann Simon’s bill to reduce class sizes. This bill is urgently needed, despite the Mayor and interest groups’ opposition because the bill prioritizes schools with the greatest need instead of specialized programs. Call on Governor Hochul to sign the bill already.

As we are still in the pandemic, it's important to note the new COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming year (this is by no means an endorsement). 
  • Schools will no longer require daily health screenings. 
  • While there is still no school-wide mandates for student vaccinations for COVID-19, we know vaccinations are the best way to protect your kids against the virus. There are, however, exceptions.
  • Masks are no longer required, but strongly encouraged indoors and required if showing COVID-19 symptoms such as sneezing.
  • With regard to isolation periods, students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 5 days. If their symptoms are improving or they have no symptoms, they can return to school on day 6. After isolation, students and staff must wear a mask until day 10 after symptom onset or the date of a positive test, whichever is earlier. 
  • Each student will receive four rapid tests per month to take home.
For more detailed information, click here.

Finally, we welcome District 15 Superintendent Rafael Álvarez and returning District 20 Superintendent David Pretto. Get involved in your Community Education Councils as the school year resumes. Learn more about CEC 15 here. Learn more about CEC 20 here. As many new families navigate our City’s complex school system, we encourage you to contact our office as well as DOE’s Family and Community Empowerment division (FACE). FACE offers dedicated staff for parent empowerment and training. We are here to help.

What’s next for redistricting

The second round of Redistricting Hearings has concluded, and I want to thank everyone who participated for sharing your feedback with the Districting Commission. If you weren’t able to testify live, it’s still not too late to submit your testimony in writing to:

To recap, the proposed maps would split our current district up in three, removing important landmarks and dividing civic institutions like our Community Boards and the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District. No matter your opinion, it’s important for all residents to contribute and make their voices heard in this process.

Submit your testimony ASAP if you have not already, as the Commission will release a revised plan by September 22. The City Council will then consider the Commission’s revised plan and will either approve the plan or, if the Council objects, a third round of hearings will commence and a final plan must be submitted by December 7.

4 Ave capital construction

If you’ve been wondering about construction along 4 Ave between 64 St and 61 St, we’ve got updates! DOT and the Department of Design and Construction have begun work on Phase A of safety improvements to 4 Ave, which will reconstruct MTA vents, bring new tree plantings, street lighting and updated traffic signals along 4 Ave from 64 St to 8 St. Phase B, which is currently in the design phase, will replace existing painted bike lanes with raised medians, curb and sidewalk extensions and a complete roadway resurfacing.

Construction on Phase A will move in three block increments, with each section taking approximately 3 months to complete. Unfortunately, there have been some complications that have extended the current construction of the project beyond the intended three block radius. Constituents have reached out to us about temporary bike lanes during this time, and we’ve been engaging both DDC and DOT. We will continue to monitor the project and advocate for a fair and balanced approach.

Sept 9 congestion pricing public feedback deadline

In 2019, New York approved a congestion pricing plan for Manhattan’s Central Business District in the state budget with the goal of eventually raising $1 billion per year for the MTA. MTA is currently collecting public feedback on its congestion pricing proposals, with tolls set to begin no earlier than 2024.

Want to learn more about the MTA’s proposed congestion pricing scenarios? Dave Colon has written a detailed breakdown of the proposed tolling scenarios in Streetsblog, which you can read here. The public comment period on the MTA congestion pricing plan will end September 9. Submit your comments in writing via email to

Last-mile data collection

Help us document the growth and impacts of last-mile distribution centers in Red Hook and Sunset Park. We’ve created a form that allows you to record traffic violations, suspected last-mile facilities and traffic observations. You can collect data on your own or with a friend! 

View the form here, check out our brochure explaining the project and join us in this data collection project.



Property Tax Rebates

Owners may be eligible for a property tax rebate of up to $150 if they own their home, it serves as their primary residence, and their household income is $250,000 or less. More information about the rebates is available at Homeowners with questions about the rebates can contact the Department of Finance via our online customer service portal,, or call 311. Homeonwers must submit claim by November 15, 2022. 

In the news this month

Earlier this August I joined City Watch’s Jeff Simmons for an in-depth conversation about my first 8 months in office. Jeff asked great questions about all manner of topics, from my work as public housing committee chair, to fair chance legislation, to the city budget and school budgets. Click here to listen to my interview with Jeff.

When a fire broke out this May displacing dozens of Sunset Park families, my office, the Office of Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and local organizations Parent-Child Relationship Association and Tzu Chi Foundation, stepped in to support tenants while they were temporarily housed in nearby hotels. During the month these tenants were staying in hotels, we secured food donations from many restaurants and local businesses, including Tacos el Bronco, which donated hundreds of dollars of food in a show of solidarity.

Since May, many tenants have still been unable to recover personal belongings from the building due to lack of communication from the property owner, who has also failed to provide a timeline for making the repairs necessary for tenants to one day return home. 

This month, the tenants of 702 54 St finally had their day in court to secure a court-ordered timeline for those repairs to be made, and I was proud to stand with them. You can read up more on the 702 54 St tenants’ story in English here and in Chinese here.


This June, the New York City Housing Authority released a draft proposal to ban e-bikes from public housing units and building common spaces. This year, three public housing tenants have tragically died as a result of dangerous fires, which is why it is so important we get this right. Our office has convened meetings with and collected feedback from NYCHA staff, elected officials, delivery workers,employers, public housing tenants, mobility experts and fire safety professionals. You can read about our work on this front in the news here, here and here.

We brought representatives from FDNY, DOT, NYCHA and electeds together at Workers Justice Project’s delivery worker hub in Williamsburg for a worker-led demonstration about the tools deliveristas use in their trade and to discuss a sensible policy roadmap.


Gotham Gazette’s Samar Khurshid asked me about the lack of funding for housing in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, and I answered him. The federal budget reconciliation process offered a golden opportunity to fight for investment in affordable housing and public housing. But the need isn’t going anywhere. As far as I’m concerned, the US Senate – Joe Manchin and Kristen Sinema most of all – owe public housing residents across the country their $65 billion.

We can breathe one small sigh of relief that the federal government is finally making serious investments to address climate change, but unfortunately this bill was predicated on expanding fossil fuels in tandem with renewable energy.


Can’t make it to our district office at 4417 4 Ave? You can stop by our fall office hours in Red Hook and on Eighth Avenue, offered several times a month.

Catch us on Eighth Ave this fall: 

Fri, Sept 9 11am-3pm at 909 58 St - sign up here for an appointment
Sat, Sept 17 11am-3pm at 909 58 St - sign up here for an appointment
Fri, Oct 14 11am-3pm at 909 58 St - sign up here for an appointment
Sat, Oct 22 11am-3pm at 909 58 St - sign up here for an appointment

Catch us in Red Hook this fall: 

Sat, Sept 17 at Red Hook Pop-up Plaza -  sign up here for an appointment
Tues, Oct 11 at Red Hook Library  -  sign up here for an appointment
Sat, Oct 29 at Coffey Park -  sign up here for an appointment


This Monday, September 5 is Labor Day!

Celebrate the music, food, culture and the many colors of the annual West Indian Day Parade - New York Carnival, Monday 10am-8pm along Eastern Parkway.

Join Amazon Labor Union on their March for Recognition Monday, kicking off at W 11 St between 7 Ave and 6 Ave in Manhattan at 12pm.


Labor Day week also means back-to-school, and we’ll be doing free book giveaways and promoting reading all week. Stop by our office Tuesday September 6–Friday September 9 for our all day book giveaways.

Join us for tabling during the week!








Thursday, September 8, NYC public schools return to session. Happy return to the school year, everyone!

Early September also marks an important Chinese cultural celebration, the mid-Autumn festival! 

Parent-Child Relationship Association will be hosting a mid-Autumn Festival Celebration on September 10 from 11am-3pm with performances, activities, giveaways and more!


Join the New York City Central Labor Council and workers across New York City for their annual Labor Day Parade and March.


On Saturday, September 17, we’re teaming up with Lower East Side Ecology Center and UPROSE to offer a free e-waste recycling event from 10am–2pm.

Bring both your working and non-working computers, monitors, printers/scanners, keyboards, mice, cables, TVs, VCRs & DVD players, phones, audio/visual equipment, cell phones and more!

Drop off will be at: 6th Avenue between 44 St and 45 St.


Not to be missed, Red Hook Justice Center is hosting their end of summer event on Saturday, September 17 outside of 124 Bush St. 

The afternoon will begin with a community-led march against violence at 1:00pm, school supply giveaways and more.


Join us September 22 for our rescheduled office open house from 6pm-8pm. You’re invited to meet our team, hear from us about our first 8 months in the City Council and to meet your neighbors. RSVP here.


Sunday, September 25, Fifth Avenue Festival greets you in the streets once a year for this annual showcase of vendors, food, performances and more!

This year’s Fifth Avenue Festival will also double as a commemoration of Mexican Independence Day, with a dedicated stage at 44 St and 5 Ave with activities throughout the day. This September 16 marks 212 years since el Grito de Dolores, Father Miguel Hidalgo’s famous call to arms that mobilized poor farmers and the local-born elite, setting in motion Mexico’s war of independence from Spain.

We need volunteers! Sign up to help our office do outreach at the Fifth Avenue Festival here.


Thursday, September 26 we’re bringing New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) back to our district office for intake hours, 10am–3pm.

NYLAG can provide help with a variety of areas including, but not limited to: inadequate housing, evictions, custody, divorce, and more. Let us know you'll be coming by registering here.


Finally, we’ll close out the month with a first in what we hope to make an ongoing, monthly civic education series. Learn about local government, city budgets, community boards and many other important topics. Stay tuned for more details. 


As the number of new arrivals bussed to New York City continues to increase, we must leverage our city’s resources to ensure our safety net can manage this influx of asylum seekers in a just and dignified manner.

Our community has seen its share of new arrivals too over the past several months. Here is a resource guide from the New York Immigration Coalition on services that are available to new New Yorkers and old ones alike.

Our office regularly connects neighbors to immigration legal services through CUNY Citizenship now, and we are available to help navigate government services and programs. 

Unfortunately, vulnerable people are often targets for fraud. Don’t let neighbors pay for services that are free for the government to provide or become victims of immigration fraud.

Free in-person English class in Sunset Park provided by Fifth Avenue Committee. Courses are offered on a continuous basis at two locations in Sunset Park on a variety of schedules.

Learn more:


Free, all-ages Sunset Park community soccer club for youth with Street Soccer USA. Fall schedule begins September 19, register here.


Free lifeguard training and certification programs this fall at the Y at locations across the city. Experienced swimmers should visit the Y’s webpage for details and scheduling.


New York City Housing Preservation and Development is recruiting housing inspectors! These union positions offer a competitive salary and benefits.

Some experience, education or a combination of the two is required. Any construction professional with at least 5 years experience is qualified to apply. 

Learn more:


American Red Cross is recruiting volunteers. Whether it is a fire, hurricane or other natural disaster, American Red Cross is on the scene supporting New Yorkers when tragedy strikes. 

If you want to be a part of the Red Cross mission of providing relief in challenging situations, learn more via


In case you missed it

Our NYCHA listening session with Comptroller Brad Lander at the Red Hook Initiative brought out dozens of community members to talk about the state of public housing in Red Hook and beyond.


I visited the Red Hook Senior Center last month to check in on neighbors and follow up on constituent complaints. Despite its designation as a cooling center, the senior center’s air conditioning was out of service during some of the hottest weeks of the year.

Thanks to Senior Center Director Maria Sanchez for all her tireless work, to the NYCHA staff who responded to the issue and our collective advocacy, service was restored and not a moment too soon given the deadly impact heat can have on vulnerable populations.


We honored community resident Tina Ponce at National Night Out in Sunset Park.


And we showed the Red Hook Neighborhood Stat team some love at Red Hook National Night Out.


This month I met with the incredibly brave and hard-working FDNY EMS team at Station 40. We want to extend a special thanks and gratitude to EMS workers who show no matter what during emergencies to care for our community. And a special shout out to OG paramedic and Lieutenant Anthony Almojera for the invitation and the work you do every day. 


Our community mourned a fallen neighbor, Yener Rodas, who was attacked and robbed of his electric bicycle.


Another shout out to our fantastic first cohort of interns, Phoebe and Jackie, who helped us document much of our work over the past eight months. Stay tuned...


Last Sunday, we distributed 200 rain barrels in Sunset Park with Parent-Child Relationship Association at PS 105. Rain barrels capture stormwater for household use and can help reduce runoff.


Our team also participated in the backpack giveaway co-sponsored by RHI, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Senator Jabari Brisport and Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes.


We stopped by the 24th St Street Festival to celebrate and honor Ijaira Gonzalez, beloved mother, advocate and community leader.


Red Hook West Family Day was a big success with great turnout! Shout out to the whole tenant association team and to TA President Karen Blondel for organizing. 


Happy back to school, everyone! I joined Brooklyn Urban Garden School Tuesday morning to greet parents and families on their first day back.



District Office

4417 4th Avenue, Ground Floor

Brooklyn, NY 11220 

(718) 439 - 9012


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