Weekly Resource Round-Up: July 11, 2023
This Week's Resources
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NYS COVID and MonkeyPox Updates (Plus Info about the Flu, RSV, and Norovirus)
A lot of the news around mandates, vaccines and restrictions have been a little confusing so I will list some resources below that might help.
NYS Department of Health COVID website - It's a one stop shop with an info summary at the top. Link here.
Walgreens COVID Index - there's concerns about the accuracy of some COVID trackers but Wallgreens released one based on their tests. Link here.
NYC Department of Health Monkeypox Webpage - lots of information and resources about the virus with pictures of the rash included. Find the link here.
With Mpox at Risk of Flaring, Health Officials Advise, ‘Get Vaccinated’ - New York Times - Read here
COVID vs Flu vs RSV info - I found a good article from the Washington post that gives information about three viruses that have been spiking this winter. Read the article here.
The Time Magazine article on the new variant (XBB.1.5) - Link Here
Gothamist article on Norovirus, a stomach bug that is hitting the Northeast - Read more here.
Documented's Guide of Resources for Immigrants
"Documented has gathered all of the resources we can find to help immigrant New Yorkers. New links will be added and the following pages will be constantly updated. If you would like us to add information to this list or have questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org."
US Citizenship Test Changes Coming, Raising Concerns for Those With Low English Skills (Voice of America)
"St. Paul, Minnesota — The U.S. citizenship test is being updated, and some immigrants and advocates worry the changes will hurt test-takers with lower levels of English proficiency.
The naturalization test is one of the final steps toward citizenship — a monthslong process that requires legal permanent residency for years before applying.
Many are still shaken after former Republican President Donald Trump's administration changed the test in 2020, making it longer and more difficult to pass. Within months, Democratic President Joe Biden took office and signed an executive order aimed at eliminating barriers to citizenship. In that spirit, the citizenship test was changed back to its previous version, which was last updated in 2008.
In December, U.S. authorities said the test was due for an update after 15 years. The new version is expected late next year.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services proposes that the new test add a speaking section to assess English skills. An officer would show photos of ordinary scenarios – like daily activities, weather or food – and ask the applicant to verbally describe the photos." Read more here.
County will buy $100,000 in CSA shares, combat food insecurity (Hudson Valley One)
"To address “the serious and imminent threat that food insecurity poses to families in Ulster County,” a resolution passed at the June meeting of the Ulster County Legislature aims to provide healthy, locally sourced food from local farmers to county residents.
Sponsored by legislator Megan Sperry and co-sponsored by legislature chair Tracey Bartels, the bill greenlights the spending of $100,000 to provide food to those struggling to afford it through an initial purchase of an estimated 133 shares from assorted Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs throughout the county.
The average cost of a CSA share estimated to provide enough food to feed a family of four over the course of a year is $750. Currently over 20 CSAs are listed throughout Ulster County, with the majority of these operations in New Paltz. The selected farms will distribute the county purchased shares of food to food pantries." Read more here.
NYC denying emergency rent loans with a flurry, even as evictions rise (Gothamist)
"New York City’s social services agency is rejecting tens of thousands of tenants who apply for emergency assistance loans to cover their back rent, even as evictions rise and the homeless shelter system is stretched to the brink, city records show.
During the first nine months of 2022, the city's Department of Social Services rejected two-thirds of the 50,585 applications it received for so-called “One-Shot Deal” payments to cover rent arrears, records show. That’s roughly double the rate at which the department rejected applications five years earlier, according to press reports." Read more here.
Bigger Pool of Funds Will Teach 6,000 City Kids to Swim (The City)
"A bigger pool of city money will help up to 6,000 more kids learn to swim this year — while also training teens to become lifeguards amid a continuing shortage at public beaches and pools.
As part of the new city budget, the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Learn to Swim program is set to receive a $5.3 million boost which will, for the first time, open public school pools for free lessons and significantly increase swimming-class enrollment.
The expansion, which is included in the $107 billion spending plan agreed on by the City Council and Mayor Eric Adams late last month, would benefit up to 6,000 youngsters, in addition to the 4,600 who learned to swim last year, according to a Parks Department spokesperson. " Read more here
Migrants directed to walk across Manhattan from Port Authority as city cuts free buses (Gothamist)
"Migrants who arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal are no longer being met with free buses and are instead directed to walk nearly a mile to an intake center, according to city officials.
Members of the National Guard stationed at the Manhattan transit hub have since at least July 4 distributed flyers to migrants with directions to the Roosevelt Hotel on E. 45th Street, according to Mayor Eric Adams’ office and advocates. The city has since May run a temporary shelter and checkpoint at the hotel for new arrivals who came to New York after crossing the Southern border." Read more here.
How ActionNYC Manages Free Legal Hotline for Immigrants (Documented)
"Immigrant advocates Documented spoke to recently shared concerns that the city-sponsored ActionNYC hotline frequently goes unanswered, leaving many asylum seekers unable to receive the assistance they need.
Documented spoke to the supervisor of the ActionNYC hotline, Elizabeta Markuci, Esq., to shed some light on the demand ActionNYC is seeing — from receiving under 100 calls per day, to over 200 calls now — and what they are doing to meet it. She told Documented that “on average, around 90%” of calls are still answered by ActionNYC, despite the high demand they have been seeing. At one point a few months ago, they had close to 300 calls a day, Markuci said.
Markuci is the Director of Hotline Services, Training and Policy Development for the immigrant and refugee services division of Catholic Charities Community Services." Read more here.
SNAP online ordering is now available nationwide (Grocery Dive)
"Alaska has become the final state to join the USDA’s SNAP online purchasing, making the e-commerce payment capability available nationwide, the federal department announced Friday.
“Expanding the diversity and reach of SNAP online shopping helps advance our goal of modernizing SNAP and providing better access to healthy, safe, affordable foods,” Stacy Dean, USDA deputy undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, said in a statement.
After the Agricultural Act of 2014 was signed into law in early that year, the federal government kicked off the SNAP online purchasing pilot mandated in that legislation in New York in 2019. The number of states approved by the USDA to participate in the pilot slowly grew until the start of the pandemic prompted an explosion of interest in making online grocery shopping more accessible to EBT participants." Read more here.
How Pantries Are Overcoming Obstacles to Client Choice (Food Bank News)
"Letting food pantry clients choose their own food is widely accepted as a dignified way to distribute charitable food. But for pantries that have always packed up bags, moving to that “client choice” model can be an intimidating prospect.
The dilemma is aptly summed up in a survey from December 2022, which showed that 56% of about 300 staff and volunteers at nearly 130 pantries thought it was “very important” to offer choice. But only 42% of them felt “very prepared” to do so. (NORC at the University of Chicago and More Than Food Consulting collaborated with Feeding America on the survey, which was funded by Morgan Stanley Foundation.)
Among the perceived obstacles:
36% worried about having enough staff or volunteers
34% thought they might not have enough space
30% were concerned that client choice would mean unequal or unfair distribution
Despite such challenges, the first-hand experiences of those that have made the move suggest client choice offers ample benefits for staff, volunteers and patrons. Of pantries that increased their level of choice over a year, 79% reported an improvement in overall operations, according to the NORC and More Than Food Consulting researchers. Pantries also reported reduced food waste, increased satisfaction among staff and volunteers and an increased sense of dignity among patrons." Read more here.
Food Insufficiency During the COVID-19 Pandemic: New York State Trends 2020–2022 (NY Health Foundation)
"Rising hunger has been one of the many devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the onset, many New Yorkers lost employment, which limited their ability to afford food. School closures and social distancing measures also disrupted food access in schools, houses of worship, and other community settings. As a result, food insufficiency spiked in 2020. Emergency government programs such as stimulus payments, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Emergency Allotments, universal free school meals, and the Child Tax Credit helped alleviate the problem in 2020 and 2021, but many of those programs have since ended.
This data brief examines household trends in food insufficiency in New York State from 2020 through 2022. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insufficiency as a household sometimes or often not having enough to eat in the previous seven days. During the pandemic, the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey was conducted on a near-real-time, biweekly basis to track food insufficiency. Food insufficiency is both more severe and shorter-term than the commonly used measure of food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as a household being unable to acquire adequate food because they had insufficient money and other resources for food, typically over a 12-month or 30-day period. This brief explores trends in food insufficiency among New York State households and highlights differences between households with and without children, as well as differences by age, income, race, and ethnicity." Read more here.
Hudson Link Employer Toolkit
Our friends at Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison put together an employer toolkit for hiring formerly incarcerated people. Thank you to Sean Pica, Eldredge Blalock, Elisabeth Santiago, and the rest of the team at Hudson Link for this important resource. The toolkit can be found here. If you have any questions about hiring formerly incarcerated people, please contact Elisabeth Santiago from Hudson Link's Alumni Services at email@example.com.
Community Food Funders Newslink
Community Food Funders has opened up their newsletter to a wider audience (so not just food funders). "Each month, CFF compiles a newsletter with news, articles, reports, and events for those in our region interested in an equitable and sustainable food system." Highlights on this month's newsletter include:
Equity Advocates Workshop Series - Various Dates - Virtual - Equity Advocates hosts an annual series of policy workshops designed to build the advocacy capacity of community food leaders. Our virtual trainings are free & open to Food systems stakeholders in New York. The next training, on April 27, 2023 is: NYC Food Governance: Who Makes Food Policy Decisions at the City Level? Sign up for the virtual workshop here, and view the full list of workshops taking place through September on their website.
New York State Redistricting: the Good the Bad and the Ugly - June 7, 2023, 10-11AM -Virtual - New York Census Equity Fund (NYSCEF) awarded grants to advocacy groups, service organizations, and academic institutions throughout the State to make sure that traditionally underserved and overlooked communities of interest were able to: inform their constituents about how redistricting impacts their neighborhoods; show how mapping software could be used to draw alternative district line proposals; and strategically interact with the redistricting commission to share community concerns. In this webinar, funders can learn how NSYCEF helped increase public participation in the redistricting process, outcomes of the New York State redistricting process and updates on new developments, the importance of inclusive and informed civic engagement in census, redistricting, and voting, and why they all matter.
NY Healthy Food, Healthy Lives Match Program - This ioby match opportunity may be of interest to BIPOC-led organizations using grassroots fundraising approaches to support food justice work in New York State. For approved participants, donors are matched up to $1,000 and projects may access up to $5,000 in matching, until the program ends. Learn about eligibility requirements and share your idea.
Dyson Foundation Mini-Grant Program - The Dyson Foundation’s mini-grant program funds capacity-building projects that improve a nonprofit’s administrative, governance, or programmatic functions. Mini-grants enable nonprofit board, staff, and volunteer leaders to develop new skills through specific consultant-led capacity-building activities, or through conferences, seminars, and other relevant training opportunities. Mini-grants are available to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and libraries in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Grants are available on a rolling basis.
I will continue to include highlights from each month's newsletter on our weekly resource round-ups but if you would like to subscribe yourself, the link is here. The link to last month's newsletter is here and their archive is here.
That's all for this week -- thanks for all you do!