Myrie, Sunset Park Community Leaders Encourage Applications For Covid-19 Relief Funding

Zellnor Myrie

September 28, 2021

Programs Available to Assist Tenants, Homeowners, Small Businesses and Excluded Workers

BROOKLYN— Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie (D-Central Brooklyn) today encouraged Sunset Park residents, and all eligible New Yorkers, to take advantage of three landmark relief programs passed in this year's State Budget.

"The pandemic is affecting all of us, but it hasn't affected all of us equally. That's why I was proud to pass three major COVID-19 relief programs as part of this year's State Budget," said Senator Myrie. "The Emergency Rental Assistance Program, Excluded Workers' Fund and Small Business Recovery Grants are three of the nation's largest and most comprehensive programs available to assist New Yorkers who are struggling, but we know there are still many barriers to people getting the help they need. Today our office joined with partners in Sunset Park to raise awareness of these critical programs and to say clearly that we must do more to help our neighbors access these funds."

Senator Myrie's office participated in two back-to-back press conferences to raise awareness of these programs, followed by canvassing to local businesses and residents. He was joined by Sunset Park elected officials, Senator John Liu (D-Queens) and several community-based organizations serving Sunset Park residents. For photos from today's events, click here.

"As a socialist in office, fighting for an expanded state that can guarantee basic housing, healthcare, education and dignity for all, it is imperative that on this journey we advocate and fight for transformative policies that will show to the people that the government is up to the job," said Assembly Member Marcela Mitaynes. "In my district, my office has been working side-by-side with the offices of State Senator Zellnor Myrie and State Senator Jabari Brisport, City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, and local community-based organizations to ensure we get important economic relief, like the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, the Excluded Workers Fund, and Small Business Grants, to our community members in need. My office has served close to 770 applicants for any of these programs, showing us that there is a real demand in our vulnerable, working-class immigrant communities who have been struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Decades of disinvestment, accumulated bureaucracy and disdain for the working class will take decades to undo, but I am confident that our offices and elected officials are up to the challenge of building a New York that works and delivers for people."

"Como socialista en el cargo, luchando por un gobierno ampliado que pueda garantizar vivienda básica, salud, educación y dignidad para todos, es imperativo que en la lucha defendemos y luchemos por políticas transformativas que demuestren a la gente que el gobierno está a la altura del trabajo para servir al pueblo" dijo la asambleísta Marcela Mitaynes. "En mi distrito, mi oficina ha estado trabajando con las oficinas del Senador Estatal Zellnor Myrie y el Senador Estatal Jabari Brisport, el Concejal Carlos Menchaca y organizaciones locales basadas en la comunidad para asegurar que obtengamos un importante alivio económico, como el Programa de Asistencia de Alquiler de Emergencia, el Fondo para Trabajadores Excluidos, y la ayuda financiera para las pequeñas empresas. Mi oficina ha servido a cerca de 770 solicitantes para cualquiera de estos programas, mostrándonos que hay una demanda real en nuestras comunidades vulnerables de inmigrantes de clase trabajadora que han estado luchando desde el principio de la pandemia. Décadas de desinversión, burocracia acumulada y desdén para la clase obrera tomarán décadas para deshacer, pero estoy seguro de que nuestros cargos y funcionarios electos están a la altura del desafío de construir un Nueva York que funcione y cumpla con las exigencias del pueblo."

"The Covid-19 pandemic has put many New Yorkers in unimaginable circumstances," said Assemblymember Peter Abbate, Jr. "Whether you are a small business owner, an employee trying to provide for your family, a landlord or tenant, everyone deserves a sense of security. I am encouraging my constituents to apply for New York State’s Covid-19 relief programs that are available to assist families during these difficult times. These programs include the Excluded Workers' Fund, Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), and Small Business Recovery Grants. We all need to come together to help our communities get back on their feet, and provide some much-needed relief to all the hard-working New Yorkers."

"Our immigrant communities and small businesses were the hardest hit by the health and economic crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tragically, these communities did not receive the necessary help needed at the time,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration. "A just recovery must ensure that all our communities are uplifted. Despite our focus on municipal services, my staff and I have been all-hands-on-deck assisting with critical state programs, like ERA and EWF, to ensure this emergency financial relief can immediately get in the hands of those residents and businesses who need it the most. I am proud to be working with Sen. Myrie and Assemblymember Mitaynes in their outstanding effort to ensure Sunset Park is not forgotten."

NY State Senator John Liu said, "COVID has devastated the community with illness, death, and economic turmoil. There is state assistance for people who have been economically hurt, including workers, small business owners, tenants, and small landlords. Funds are still available and we encourage constituents to apply for the assistance. Much thanks to Senator Myrie and Assemblymember Mitaynes for their important community outreach and efforts."

"Neighbors Helping Neighbors fight for eviction free homes organizing tenants. On these difficult times our mission is to make sure tenants get the information, apply for rental assistance, and avoid mass evictions and displacement of our community members," said Aura Mejia, Tenant Organizer, Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

“Churches United for Fair Housing (CUFFH)’s members and constituents were and are currently still impacted deeply by the effects of COVID-19. Many lost their loved ones, jobs, and still face a lot of insecurities when it comes to their housing. At the beginning of the pandemic, and even still, a lot of the communications coming out from City agencies were often inaccessible to non-English speakers or poorly translated,” said Brayan Pagoada, youth organizer at CUFFH.

“We’ve been working alongside many other elected officials and advocacy organizations to make sure that the word gets out about assistance programs. This includes the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) which is finally seeing more progress and additional assistance money for renters previously deemed unqualified and the Excluded Workers Fund where over 90% of applicants have been able to receive over $15,000 in one payment if they were ineligible for unemployment. CUFFH is also helping to assist people to see if they are eligible for either program and can be contacted at (718) 360-2906," said Whitney Hu, Director of Civic Engagement and Research, CUFFH.

"Los miembros y constituyentes de Iglesias Unidas por una Vivienda Justa (CUFFH) se vieron y se siguen viendo profundamente afectados por los efectos del COVID-19. Muchos perdieron a sus seres queridos, sus empleos, y todavía se enfrentan a muchas inseguridades en lo que respecta a su vivienda. Al principio de la pandemia, e incluso todavía, muchas de las comunicaciones que llegaban de las agencias de la ciudad eran a menudo inaccesibles para los que no hablaban inglés o estaban mal traducidas", dijo Brayan Pagoada, organizador de jóvenes en CUFFH. "Hemos estado trabajando junto a muchos otros funcionarios electos y organizaciones de defensa para asegurarnos de que se corra la voz sobre los programas de asistencia. Esto incluye el Programa de Asistencia de Alquiler de Emergencia (ERAP) que finalmente está viendo más progreso y dinero de asistencia adicional para los inquilinos previamente considerados no calificados y el Fondo de Trabajadores Excluidos donde más del 90% de los solicitantes han sido capaces de recibir más de $15.000 en un solo pago si no eran elegibles para el desempleo. CUFFH también está ayudando a las personas para ver si son elegibles para cualquiera de los dos programas y puede ser contactado en el (718) 360-2906."

"The Center for Family Life in Sunset Park is thrilled to support Sunset Park's essential workers through its participation as a community-based organization partner with the Excluded Workers Fund. 24% of Sunset Park residents work in the four industries (restaurants, hotel, retail, personal care services) most affected by lay-offs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 5th highest rate among all New York City neighborhoods. Recognizing the vital contributions these essential workers make to the New York City economy, during the height of the pandemic and to this day, the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park looks forward to continuing to support Sunset Park residents in submitting Excluded Workers Fund applications and accessing important funds available through this initiative," said Julia Jean-Francois, Co-Executive Director, Center for Family Life in Sunset Park.

"During the course of the pandemic, 70% of our community members have lost jobs or income. Programs like the Excluded Workers Fund (EWF) and Emergency Rental Assistance program (ERAP) are critical supports to help New Yorkers survive, but we need to ensure that these programs do not have barriers, and that our community members have the information and support to apply. That's why CPC has been helping community members apply, and we are proud to partner with Senator Myrie to make sure that New Yorkers know about these critical resources," said Wayne Ho, President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC). 

“Asian New Yorkers and other marginalized communities have been on the frontlines keeping our City and State running and on the road to recovery. They showed up for our city even as they faced surging anti-Asian hate and lost jobs as the pandemic hit Asian small businesses earlier and harder than the broader economy," said Asian American Federation’s Executive Director, Jo-Ann Yoo, said. “Our community members deserve culturally-competent help in the languages they speak without burdensome paperwork that fails to acknowledge the realities of their working lives. We’re glad to join hands with Sen. Myrie and our community partners to make sure that Asian New Yorkers have full access to the Excluded Workers' Fund, Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and Small Business Recovery Grants.” 

"Since the launching of New York’s Excluded Workers Fund on August 1st, Mixteca has received an overwhelming demand from community members all over the city requesting individual support and advocacy to apply for the fund," said Lorena Kourousias, Executive Director of Mixteca. "Despite the Department of Labor releasing information in 13 languages, there is still much more work to be done as a huge digital literacy divide and lack of documentation is faced by the Latinx and Indigenous immigrant community. Community members are rushing into our office and saturating our phone lines in desperate need for support to apply to the Excluded workers fund ever since the same morning the application opened. In an effort to support as many community members as possible, Mixteca is officially launching and opening a computer lab for access to technology and self-service use, individual assistance, and to clarify questions or concerns from community members applying for the fund. Along with local immigrant and Indigenous-speaking community leaders present to offer language support, translation of documents and referrals to external services in order to successfully complete their application."

"I am grateful to stand with Assemblymembers Mitaynes and Abbate, Councilmember Menchaca and Senator Liu, and with incredible community partners in Sunset Park who are all able to help people with their applications for these programs," concluded Senator Myrie. "From Brownsville to Sunset Park and everywhere in between, my staff also stands ready to assist our constituents. Please contact our office if we can help you get the relief you need and deserve."