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COVID Newsletters

Manhattan weekly newsletter (5/17)


Below is a round-up of events and announcements for Manhattan this week. Check your inbox Thursday for more COVID updates. (If you’re not yet subscribed, sign up here.)



The Section 8 waitlist lottery is now open through Friday, 5/28 at 11:59 pm. 15,000 lottery entrants will be chosen for the waitlist for Section 8 vouchers, which provide a subsidy to help low-income renters afford safe, decent housing. Apply here.

The State has published guidelines for its Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which is supposed to open later this month. Applicants can receive assistance for up to 12 months of missed rental and electric or gas utility payments (accrued on or after 3/13/2020) and up to three months of additional rent payments. Click the link above for information about eligibility and what documents to prepare ahead of the application’s launch.

Restaurant owners, the City can help you apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Attend a webinar or get one-on-one assistance. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location.” Any Paycheck Protection Program payments made last year will be deducted from the total grant amounts.

The key facts:
–This $28.6 billion fund is FIRST-COME, FIRST SERVED;
–$5 billion of the total fund will be distributed only to businesses with gross receipts of $500,000 or less in calendar year 2019;
–Chains of over 20 locations are ineligible.  

Here’s the link to the SBA’s RRF information page, including a sample application.

In case you missed it, you can watch my ranked choice voting training from last week. I was joined by representatives from the NYU McSilver Institute, Rank the Vote NYC, and the NYC Campaign Finance Board for an informative discussion on how RCV will work for our city, with specific information so voters can walk confidently into the ballot box on Election Day (6/22). 

Last Tuesday (5/11), I testified against the proposed rent increase at Clinton Towers. I understand that more revenue is needed to bring Clinton Towers out of its current state of operating deficit. Yet I urged the NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development to consider what is causing these sustained financial woes, instead of the proposed rent increase.

Apply for a summer internship in my office; stipended and unpaid positions are available. Primarily virtual, interns will work on various projects, such as research, surveys, note taking at meetings, and preparing documents. Submit a cover letter, resume, and the one-page description of why you’re interested in the position to by Friday (5/21) at 5 pm.

The Governor has launched a new round of the Regional Economic Development Council funding. $750 million is available for organizations– applications are due Friday, 7/30.

Home and small-business owners can call 311 to request a free no-penalty inspection for decks, porches, retaining walls, and business signs from the NYC Dept. of Buildings through Wednesday, 6/30.



After-school and summer camp provider New York Edge is hiring camp counselors, art specialists, sports specialists, and program managers. Learn more and apply here.

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce offers small businesses free one-on-one assistance for applying to Paycheck Protection Program loans (applications close Monday, 5/31), the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, technology, marketing, and other recovery needs. Small businesses can connect with MCC’s Small Business Resource Network.

West, Greenwich, and East Village storefront businesses impacted by COVID can apply for $10,000 Village Recovery Grants and one-on-one technical assistance from the Village Alliance. Applications close Monday, 5/31.

Uptown small businesses are encouraged to apply for the Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund’s COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Loan Program. The program includes working capital and equipment purchases up to $15,000, with an interest rate of 1% and a five-year term. 

Every month, the WomensNet $10,000 Amber Grant is awarded to women-owned businesses. Applications are open on a rolling basis each month (May’s deadline is Monday, 5/31). 

BIPOC- and LGBTQ-owned businesses can apply for a media consultation package valued at $100,000 from Good Impressions, the pro bono arm of marketing company Meredith. Apply here.

Applications are now open for workforce development nonprofit STRIVE’s construction and masonry training program, beginning Friday, 6/18. The 11-week training offers in-person skills classes, five industry certifications, and recruitment events. Email or to register, or join a Zoom info session on Mondays or Wednesdays at 10 am (meeting ID 951 5238 1566).

The Museum at Eldridge Street reopens Tuesday, 6/1. Admission is “pay what you wish” through June. Book tickets by clicking the “Schedule a Visit” button at

Volunteer at “Drums Along the Hudson: A Native American and Multicultural Celebration” on Saturday, 6/6 in Inwood Hill Park, hosted by Lotus Music and Dance. More information about volunteer positions is available here, and the volunteer sign-up form is here.

Save the date for the 47th annual Harlem Week, 8/8-15, promoting Harlem’s rich multicultural heritage and the arts, culture, religion, business, entertainment, and sports in the neighborhood.



Today (5/17) at 10 am, virtual workshop “Real Estate Planning 101 for Communities of Faith” covers the fundamentals of real estate use, adaptation, and development in NYC. Expert panelists will describe the possibilities, process, players, risks, resources, and policy goals associated with the physical assets of communities of faith. Hosted by the Cultural Facilities Committee of AIANY and Bricks & Mortals, the event will also feature my “Land Use and Zoning Action Guide for Religious Facilities,” the product of my Religious Facilities Task Force. Register for the virtual panel here.

Every day at noon through Friday (5/21), New York State agencies host a series of virtual listening sessions to discuss issues impacting the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Click here to register.

Tuesday (5/18) at 4 pm, Columbia University hosts a virtual town hall about its new vaccine mandate for all faculty and staff, who can register for the Zoom here. (Columbia already announced that all students will be required to be vaccinated come the fall semester.)

Tuesday (5/18) at 6 pm, virtual symposium “Older Adults in the Plague Year: Times of Resistance and Resilience” is hosted by Hunter College’s Roosevelt House Public Policy House and the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging. Click the title to register.

Tuesday (5/18) at 7 pm, teens are invited to a youth-focused vaccine forum with experts from SUNY Downstate and Weill-Cornell Medical answering vaccine questions. Register for the Zoom here, or click the first link for information about translation in Spanish, Mandarin, and Haitian Creole.

Wednesday (5/19) at 1 pm, virtual panel “Unleashing Entrepreneurship” is the next event in the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce “New York City’s Comeback” series. Click the title to register.

Wednesday (5/19) at 6 pm, the June Lee Chinatown Virtual Benefit delves into food insecurity and hate-motivated violence, hosted by Hamilton-Madison House. Email to register, or call 212-349-3724, ext. 9291.

Wednesday (5/19) at 6 pm, veterans are invited to a virtual town hall about the COVID vaccine and testing, hosted by the NYC Dept. of Veterans’ Services. Join the Webex meeting, or call 646-992-2010, access code 173 514 4812.

Wednesday (5/19) at 7 pm, take a free virtual tour of the Garment District with licensed tour guide Mike Kaback. Email to register.

Thursday (5/20) at 8:30 am is this month’s Manhattan Borough Board meeting. Register here.

Thursday (5/20) at 10 am, Reimagining Later Life Care Models is the topic of State Senator Liz Krueger’s next virtual roundtable for boomers and seniors. Click the title to register.

Thursday (5/20) at 5 pm, “Supporting Families by Strengthening Coping Skills Through Mindfulness” is the topic of the weekly virtual “Parent Guide to Remote Learning” series from Rep. Adriano Espaillat and the NYC Dept. of Education. Register here.

Thursday (5/20) at 5 pm, virtual memorial “Honoring Nursing Home Lives” remembers the 182,000 nursing home victims lost to COVID-19 nationwide, hosted by the Gray Panthers and featuring Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Click the title to register.

Thursday (5/20) at 7 pm, WE ACT for Environmental Justice hosts a virtual forum for City comptroller candidates to address how they’ll tackle environmental racism in the community. Register here.

Thursday (5/20) at 7:30 pm, virtual discussion “Justice in Action: Police Reform and Racial Justice” is hosted by the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. Click the title to register.

Saturday (5/22) from noon-3 pm, Polo Grounds Residents are invited to a “Community Love Day” with free food, games, and music, hosted by Mayors’ Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety partner WhenLoveWorks Dynamically at 3005 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (in front of the basketball court).

Saturday (5/22) at 1 pm, Dance Parade hosts its 15th Annual Dance Parade and Festival virtually. Register here or stream here.

Sunday (5/23) at 2 pm, during a virtual family craft workshop “The Library Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak at the Morgan,” participants will sketch a story inspired by Sendak while listening to a piece of classical music, hosted by the Morgan Library and Museum. Click the title to register.