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March 29, 2021 - 12:38pm
posted by Press Release in news, covid-19, CDC, USDA, eviction moratorium, American Rescue Plan.

Press release:

Today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended the eviction moratorium to affected multifamily housing residents through June 30. This halt in residential evictions allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend relief to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who rely on USDA-supported multifamily housing communities.

“Due to COVID-19, the United States is facing a nationwide housing affordability crisis," said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson. "That’s why, in a whole-of-government effort, USDA is taking this important action today to extend rental relief to the tens of thousands of individuals in USDA-supported multifamily housing communities.

"Currently, more than 40,000 tenants are rent-overburdened, paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent. Today’s actions will give tenants at USDA-financed properties essential relief while the Department works as quickly as possible to extend the $100 million for emergency rental assistance provided by the American Rescue Plan Act to USDA’s most rent overburdened tenants.”

For more information about the protections provided under this moratorium extension, see the FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration’s Multi-Agency Effort to Support Renters and Landlords | The White House.

In a recent Census Bureau survey, nine million renters (or an estimated 15 percent of all renters) reported being behind on rent. The same survey showed that about 29 percent of Black families and 17 percent of Hispanic renters were behind on rent.

USDA’s Multi-Family Housing Programs provide affordable multifamily rental housing in rural areas by financing projects geared for low-income, elderly and disabled individuals and families, as well as domestic farm workers.

USDA extends its reach by guaranteeing loans for affordable rental housing designed for low- to moderate-income residents in rural areas and towns. USDA also provides grants to sponsoring organizations to repair or rehabilitate housing for eligible families and subsidizes rents for low-income tenants who cannot afford to pay their full rent.

COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on rural America. Families have lost their homes, students have resorted to unconventional solutions to access schoolwork online, the need for food assistance has grown, and access to COVID-19 testing and vaccinations have been limited.

The American Rescue Plan implements funding that invests in the people of rural America:

  • $100 million through September 2022 in rental assistance for low-income and elderly borrowers.
  • $39 million through September 2023 to help refinance direct loans under the Single-Family Housing Loan Program and the Single-Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants.
  • $500 million in Community Facility Program funds to help rural hospitals and local communities broaden access to COVID-19 vaccines & food assistance.

In addition to programs facilitated by USDA, the American Rescue Plan provides significant investments into rural communities by expanding internet connectivity and establishing a homeowner assistance fund to assist struggling homeowners with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities and other housing related costs.

December 18, 2020 - 12:56pm
posted by Press Release in covid-19, news, state hawley, CDC, nursing homes.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley rallied alongside his Assembly Republican colleagues in a letter to President Trump requesting that he assist them in obtaining data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state, including those in nursing homes.

For months now, we have written to the director of the CDC, Robert Redfield, requesting this information but have not been provided with a firm number of COVID-19 fatalities in New York State. In a hearing in August, NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker also refused to provide this data, stating he was concerned it would not be fully accurate.

“When thousands of people die, families deserve answers,” Hawley said. “Giving the families that suffered irreplaceable losses closure on this matter is the least we could do for them, and we need to know as much about this tragedy as we can to assure we never endure loss like this again.

"For these reasons, I ask the president to direct the CDC to release this information and give New Yorkers the answers they deserve regarding this unthinkable loss of life.”

June 30, 2020 - 2:06pm

Press release:

Noting that the clock is ticking, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer called on the Trump Administration to extend the nation’s public health emergency declaration first issued this past winter to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schumer warned that the declaration will expire on July 25th unless the feds soon act, and reminded that executive branch delay on the emergency declaration this past winter set us back in the COVID fight.

Schumer said Health and Human Services (HHS) should announce an extension ASAP and give locals across New York the reassurances they need to keep the COVID fight going. Schumer cautioned, that without action, New York stands to lose collective billions in state and local healthcare funds, FEMA disaster dollars and even tele-health services, like those for Hospice and everyday healthcare.

“If we have learned anything from COVID-19 it is that a ‘stitch in time saves nine,’ and the more we can do to be proactive, the better off the public will be,” Schumer said. “This past winter there was delay and dismissal towards those urging HHS to officially declare a public health emergency as it relates to the coronavirus.

"Well, we cannot -- and we must not -- have that kind of inaction and uncertainly now, especially with what we know and with the sustaining needs of New York. We need the public health emergency extended ASAP to keep healthcare dollars and FEMA funds flowing to this state, and we need the declaration to keep our local health departments fully supported. The clock is ticking as July dawns, so we need this action now.”

Aside from the very clear public health consequences, Schumer said New York would lose billions of dollars collectively if the Trump administration fails to extend the public health emergency declaration. Just last week, more than $300,000,000 in federal healthcare dollars were dispersed across New York State.

Those funds are part of a combined $2.5 billion in the pipeline and already secured for New York as part of the Families First Coronavirus stimulus package, which are tethered to the emergency declaration.

In addition, as of June 1, FEMA had obligated over $1.1 billion to New York under the state’s COVID Major Disaster Declaration and the agency is looking to the public health emergency declaration to define how much longer it will continue reimbursing New York, and in particular New York City, for related expenses. Should the public health emergency end, FEMA has indicated that the funds flowing from the Disaster Relief Fund will also stop.

“New York is by no means out of the woods with the coronavirus, especially given the upticks we are seeing in other states and the risk those upticks pose here when you take travel into account,” Schumer added. “Extending this declaration will keep New York positioned to both respond and to keep fighting.”

In addition, Schumer also detailed the CDC’s Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund, which without an emergency extension would be locked up like it was before the first declaration was made at the beginning of the year. The account’s funds are being used to support local health departments and increased staffing across the city and on Long Island.

Schumer explained that these dollars could also be used by the CDC for, amongst other things:

  • Epidemiological activities, such as contact tracing and monitoring of cases;
  • Additional or enhanced screenings, like at airports;
  • Support for state and local health departments;
  • Public awareness campaigns;
  • Increased staffing.

Schumer also explained how the emergency declaration has allowed vulnerable and high-risk patients to avoid potential exposure to the coronavirus at hospitals and health centers by expanding federal eligibility to receive routine care through telehealth and digital care.

Federal support and coverage for this type of medical care has saved countless lives because clinicians can use tele-health to fulfill many face-to-face visit requirements to see patients, says Schumer, adding that this has been one of the main requests of in inpatient rehabilitation facilities, hospice and home health professionals who are now using apps with audio and video capabilities to have patients visit with their doctors or practitioners.

Finally, Schumer listed other necessities that would cease unless the public health emergency is extended:

  • Nutrition assistance for kids who would normally receive free or reduced lunch in school would cease;
  • Access to SNAP would be restricted;
  • Seniors who rely on Meals on Wheels would see their access to food restricted;
  • A massive restriction on assistance hospitals and doctors rely on to keep their doors open during the crisis;
  • Reduced access for out of work individuals to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance;
  • Reduced access to prescription drugs for seniors on Medicare.
May 14, 2018 - 1:21pm

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced the U.S. Senate passed critical legislation that would, for the first time ever, establish a specialized national cancer registry to be managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Schumer said the registry would improve collection capabilities and activities related to the nationwide monitoring of cancer incidence among all firefighters, both career, and volunteer. Now that U.S. Senate passed this critical legislation, Schumer is now urging the House of Representatives to pass the bill immediately.

“We owe it to our brave firefighters who are on the front lines, risking their lives to protect our communities the peace of mind of knowing that if they get sick they will be taken care of,” Senator Schumer said. “This critical legislation does just that by establishing a national firefighter cancer registry, so researchers can better track, treat – and one day – prevent the potential connections between firefighting and cancer.

"I’m glad the Senate finally passed this legislation and I strongly urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass this life-saving bill immediately.”  

According to a five-year study conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, there are twice as many firefighters in the U.S. with malignant mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, when compared to the general population. The same study also found that firefighters also have an increased risk of death from lung cancer and leukemia as compared to the general population. 

Schumer explained that firefighters are exposed to a range of harmful toxins when responding to emergency situations, often as a result of the noxious flame retardants and other chemicals that are used in everyday items, from furniture to clothing, and to even children’s toys.

Experts and scientists have repeatedly sounded the alarm on the danger of these toxic chemicals because they have been found to cause developmental delays in children from long-term exposure in addition to rare cancers in firefighters when these products burn and the toxins become airborne.

Schumer said research has indicated that there is a strong connection between firefighting and an increased risk for several major cancers, including testicular, stomach, multiple myeloma and brain cancers. However, there has never been a long-term registry put in place that could be used to track the potential connections between firefighting and incidences of cancer.

Schumer, therefore, said a national firefighter cancer registry is needed, so experts and researchers can more effectively monitor nationwide trends and incidences of cancer among firefighters – both career and volunteer. Schumer said such a registry would help medical professionals more effectively identify and treat cancer in firefighters over the long term.

Specifically, this national firefighter cancer registry would do the following:

First, this registry would compile in one place the epidemiological information submitted by healthcare professionals related to cancer incidence among firefighters.

Second, it would make anonymous data available to public health researchers so that they would have access to the comprehensive datasets that will allow them to expand this groundbreaking research.

Third, this registry would improve our understanding of cancer incidence as the registry grows, which could potentially lead to the development of advanced safety protocols and safeguards for the firefighters on the front lines each day.

Finally, this bill would allow for increased collaboration between the CDC and epidemiologists, public health experts, clinicians and firefighters through regular and consistent consultations to improve the effectiveness and accuracy of the registry.

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