Rainier Harris

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Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who holds New York’s 7th Congressional District seat, office has sent out a series of updates regarding COVID-19. The updates follow the $480 billion package approved by the Senate on Monday to help small businesses, hospitals, and testing expansion.

New York State’s on PAUSE has been extended through May 15th. New York City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection is continuing to inspect stores based on consumer complaints of price gouging, overcharging consumers 10% or more, and you can make complaints on their 311 page and say “overcharge.” While unemployment is on the rise, there are job opportunities available at New York City Health and Hospitals who need additional workers to transport patients, clerical work, and cleaning staff. 

On a federal level, the IRS has launched two tools helping taxpayers get their payments: you can track your Economic Impact Payments and according to Velazquez, residents are not required to submit a tax return to receive the check for $1,200. Submit basic information to receive the payments here.

Congresswomen Velazquez also sent out the following updates. 

Health Care

NY has extended health insurance open enrollment until May 15 through NY State of Health or directly through insurers. Assistance can be found by calling 1-855-355-5777 or finding a broker/navigator online.


The Department of Probation, Neighborhood Opportunity Network Nutrition Kitchens has partnered with the Food Bank of NYC and the NYC Young Men’s Initiative to open five kitchens—one in each borough—to deliver free food for any New Yorker who needs it for a week of free groceries. Grab and go meals are also available for all New Yorkers for up to three meals. To find a location, you can text “NYCFOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877 or go online.

Small Businesses 

Small Business relief options, which can be found online, and include the Paycheck Protection Program, EIDL Loan Advance, SBA Express Bridge Loans, and SBA Debt Relief. Facebook is also offering $100 million in cash grants and advertising credits for small businesses impact by the pandemic through its Boost With Facebook program. The deadline is May 5th 2020 and to be eligible for the program for-profit small businesses must have between 2-50 employees and have been in business for over a year with eligible expensive like payment to employees and operating costs. 

The Save Small Business Fund has been launched by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation that offers grants of $5,000 to small business impact by the pandemic to apply towards business expenses.  To be eligible, businesses must employ 3-20 people, not including independent contractors. They have marked on their website that they are closed to any further applications at this time due to the overwhelming response they got. 

Hello Alice and a slew of other funders launched the COVID-19 Business for All Grant Program that offers grants of $10,000 and further support for businesses impacted severely by COVID-19. The application is online now and business owners can contact [email protected] if they have any questions. 

Cover photo from the Congresswoman’s IG Page

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