News from Representative Velazquez
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Dear Neighbor,

These are frightening times for our nation and, especially, for New York. While our City grapples with coronavirus, all of us have countless questions about how to keep our families safe, where to turn for resources and when this will end. 

I wanted to provide a brief Congressional update and connect you with some federal, state and local resources. Some of those resources are detailed below. Please be aware I’m also frequently posting information on my website here

You may also follow me on Twitter for the latest.



As you likely know, the U.S. Congress just approved and the President signed into law the “CARES Act,” a stimulus bill aimed at mitigating the economic damage from the pandemic. 

I want to emphasize this measure is far from perfect. It is the result of painstaking negotiations. Like all negotiations, no one got everything they wanted. 

However, the CARES Act contains several critical measures that will help families, workers and small businesses who are suffering financially from the coronavirus. 

Among other provisions, the bill provides:

  • For workers: a $260 billion investment in Unemployment Insurance to match the average paycheck of laid-off or furloughed workers. Democrats secured an additional 13 weeks of federally-funded benefits to be made available immediately. Importantly, workers in the growing ‘gig economy’, freelancers and the self-employed will be able to tap into this vital coverage, a key provision Democrats helped advance.

  • For families: Immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household. These payments will provide individuals with cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy essentially shut off.

  • For small businesses: As Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, I helped negotiate more than $375 Billion in small business relief. This includes $349 billion for fully forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.

  • For healthcare providers: An investment of $200 billion in our hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for the personal protective equipment desperately needed by our health care workers, including ventilators, n95 masks, gowns and gloves.

  • For tenants and homeowners: A four-month moratorium on evictions for residents of federally subsidized apartments, including NYCHA. Federally-backed mortgages will also receive a reprieve through a foreclosure moratorium. $1.25 billion will go to the tenant-based Section 8 Program to preserve vouchers, even for those who might experience a loss of income from the coronavirus. Another $1 billion is provided for the project-based Section 8 program to maintain normal operations and take any additional actions that might be necessary during the time the program is impacted by the coronavirus.

  • For public housing: $685 million for HUD’s Public Housing Operating Fund. This is vital to ensure NYCHA continues daily operations and addresses maintenance issues associated with the coronavirus and keeps residents safe.

You can read my full statement on the bill here. 

I also spoke on the floor regarding the bill’s small business components. Video of that speech is on Twitter here. 

I want to be crystal clear: this economic package is only a first step.

The enormity of the economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic will demand additional legislation. More must and will be done. 

As Congress works on additional economic recovery bills, I will be advocating for greater funding for New York, working families, small businesses, affordable housing, and healthcare providers.



Beyond updating you on the new stimulus law, it is important you be aware of where to turn for help. 

A few helpful resources: 

For workers seeking unemployment insurance, visit the New York State Department of Labor website here.

If you are a small business owner who needs assistance during this outbreak, I encourage you to take action immediately. First, read this SBA fact sheet. Then, visit the SBA website to begin your application.

For parents and students: information on where NYC schools are still providing free meals to families is online here. For information on remote learning/learn at home, visit this website

For information from CDC on the coronavirus go here

The City’s Health Department coronavirus page is here

The State of New York Department of Health has resources online here

For mental health assistance in these troubling times you may call the state’s emotional support helpline at 844-863-9314.

Remember, I am regularly updating my website with information here

You may always contact my office for further assistance or direction. The best way to request help is this form on my website:

https://velazquez.house.gov/contact

Submissions to that form are checked every day. 

While my staff are working remotely and practicing social distancing, we continue serving residents of New York’s 7th Congressional district. That will not stop.



We should make no mistake: the weeks and months ahead will be tough. New Yorkers are understandably frightened. Many have already lost loved ones, friends or neighbors. Even though it is early, it is already clear the economic hardship stemming from this public health crisis will be deep and widespread. 

However, despite the gravity of this situation, in my heart, I know we will pull through. Every day, I’m inspired by stories of New Yorkers volunteering, lending one another a helping hand or simply taking time to check in on an elderly neighbor. All of us owe a debt of gratitude to healthcare professionals, other hospital workers, first responders, those laboring tirelessly to keep store shelves stocked and so many other unnamed heroes. 

It is because of New Yorkers’ compassion and resiliency that I’m confident we will prevail. 

We are New Yorkers. We will get through this how we always do: together.

Thank you for reading. I’ll be in touch soon with more updates.

Be safe,

Nydia

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