Dear AMPHS Family, 

We hope you all had a safe but festive holiday season! In the past month we’ve been so grateful for the way our community has come together to support one another this winter. Thank you for continuing to volunteer, donate, and spread the word about our services. There is a lot that is unknown heading into 2021 but we are excited to see what we can accomplish together. 

With cases rising across New York City it is more important than ever to get regular COVID tests, wear masks, and practice social distancing. We’ve compiled the latest information in our COVID updates section below, including updates on the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. We will continue to send information about preventive measures as we learn more.

AMPHS December Updates

AMPHS Santa’s Workshop

To help spread the holiday cheer, this year we distributed over 200 toys to families in need in time for the holidays! Thanks to South Brooklyn Mutual Aid and Face Mask Aid we also distributed much-needed food boxes and child/adult cloth face masks to community members.

A special thanks to MetroPlus Health, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, and Target Margin Theater for making our toy distribution possible!

Resources for Food Access Workshop

One of the numerous effects of COVID-19 on our communities is that of food insecurity. To address this issue AMPHS hosted a workshop through Zoom on December 17th along with special guest speakers from Hunger Free NYC and God’s Love We Deliver.

To learn more about the food access resources available in NYC, you can a summary of workshop takeaways here or watch the recorded session here.

Month of Action

Our team hit the streets of Sunset Park and Bay Ridge for our December Month of Action to distribute face masks, hand sanitizer, resource guides, and “wear your mask” posters to essential workers in over 150 of our community’s small businesses as we prepare for a second surge of coronavirus cases.

Food Distribution

We know that this winter many families are struggling to put food on the table. We are continuing to regularly distribute food to our South Brooklyn neighbors at our pop-up food distribution events, with over 600 boxes distributed in the last month.

AMPHS Statement
Wednesday’s events at the Capitol was not only an attack on our democracy but a representation of the disparities in which communities of color continue to be treated by our justice system. In response to the attacks on the Capitol this week, AMPHS issued the following statement. Yet amid this crisis, we see hope in the new Congressional and Executive leadership and look forward to working to advocate for policies to reverse the federal anti-immigrant agenda from the past four years.

COVID-19 Updates

  • The first COVID-19 vaccines are here. 
    • As of January 5,636 sites are currently vaccinating New Yorkers and 3,762 vaccination sites are currently enrolled as part of the statewide network of administration sites. 911,000 vaccines will be distributed to providers by the end of the week.
    • Two vaccines have been granted emergency authorization by the FDA: Pfizer and Moderna. Early trials show 95% and 94.1% effectiveness in preventing the virus, respectively. They both require two doses, through shots in the arm, three weeks apart for Pfizer, four weeks apart for Moderna. 
    • Both are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and do not contain the virus. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to create an immune response to fight the virus if it is later exposed to COVID-19. Once your body learns how to create the immune response, it breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA.
    • Currently, NYC is in Phase 1A of distribution with the vaccine being provided to: healthcare providers and staff with direct patient contact, emergency responders, staff at COVID-19 testing and vaccination locations, home health aides, and long-term care staff and residents, among others. 
    • Now that many health care workers have received at least an initial dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has given the green light for all people age 75 and older, as well as teachers, first responders and other public safety/transit workers to get access to the Covid-19 vaccine starting Monday. For more information about vaccine rollout eligibility, visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-vaccine-eligibility.page.
    • While most people will be contacted directly by their employer or healthcare provider when they are eligible for the vaccine, there is now a way to make sure you are notified when it’s your turn. New York State has created a portal to put yourself on the list to be contacted directly when you are eligible to receive the vaccine. The form only takes a few minutes to fill out and then you can wait knowing that you won’t be passed over. You can sign up here:https://rebrand.ly/VaccineEligible.
    • Find a COVID-19 vaccine location near you using this link
    • While the vaccination process is underway, all New Yorkers should wear masks, practice social distancing and avoid small and large gatherings.
  • The COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act places a temporary halt on residential evictions until May 1, 2021 for tenants who have endured COVID-related hardship. To be protected under this law, you must sign a “Hardship Declaration” and deliver it to your landlord. Landlords can, however, evict tenants that are creating safety or health hazards for other tenants, and those tenants who do not submit hardship declarations. The Hardship Declaration form is available in English and Spanish here: http://nycourts.gov/covid-eefpa.shtml 
  • Federal lawmakers passed the federal stimulus package at the end of December. Here are a couple highlights:
    • The package sends direct stimulus payments of $600 to individuals and eligible families will receive an additional $600 per child. Eligible individuals include those with an income on their 2019 tax returns of up to $75,000 a year.
    • Everyone who qualifies for unemployment checks will also get an additional weekly payment of $300 through March 14, 2021. 
    • The agreement extends a moratorium on renter evictions through Jan. 31, 2021
  • On Monday health officials confirmed that a more contagious variant of COVID-19 associated with the United Kingdom, has been found in New York State. 
  • Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced new guidelines allowing travelers to New York to “test out” of the mandatory 10-day quarantine for asymptomatic individuals. Under new guidance, travelers can opt to shorten the mandatory quarantine upon return to New York by taking a test no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in New York, completing the New York State Traveler Health Form prior to landing in New York, quarantining for three days and on day four, taking a second test. When both negative tests results are confirmed, the quarantine can end.
  • ROAR NY and Robin Hood are offering one-time grants to food service workers while funds last, regardless of immigration status. You can apply at this link: https://fund.uptogether.org/ROAR.
  • It’s the annual Open Enrollment Period. Enroll or change your healthcare coverage by January 31st! GetCoveredNYC is helping New Yorkers enroll in health insurance, including low- or no-cost options, under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). You can call 311 or text CoveredNYC (SeguroNYC en Español) to 877877 to be connected to a GetCoveredNYC Specialist.
  • The New York State COVID Rent Relief Program application (hcr.ny.gov/RRP) is now open and the deadline to apply is February 1, 2021. Eligible households can receive a one-time rental subsidy that does not need to be repaid and will be sent directly to one’s landlord. The period covered by the program is from 4/1/20 to 7/31/20. 
    • If you previously submitted an application for this program, then you should follow up with the Program’s Call Center at 1-833-499-0318 or you can call AMPHS at 212-256-9036 to discuss your eligibility.
    • Requirements 
      • 1. One member of the household must be either a U.S. citizen or have another eligible immigration status (can be a child).
      • 2. Must have experienced a loss in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and meet general income guidelines.
      • 3. Will need to submit a photo ID, proof of rent (can complete an attestation form if you don’t have a current lease), and proof of income both prior to 3/1/20 and during the period from 4/1-7/31.

This Week’s COVID Testing Sites
As many of you know the Mayor recently announced that the Brooklyn Army Terminal serving will be serving as a  24/7 max vaccination hub. In order to prepare they will be closing testing permanently at BAT tomorrow. They are bringing a rapid testing truck to Sunset Park starting 1/8. It will be at Corner of 6th Avenue and 44th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232 through Sunday, January 17th from 8 AM to 7 PM. All other test site locations listed on the flyer below are available for testing.