Dear AMPHS Family,
We are already one month into 2022 (and one week into the year of the tiger!) and AMPHS has already made strides in helping the Sunset Park community protect itself against health challenges, most notably COVID-19. We have hosted several successful in-person events providing resources and information related to COVID-19 and advocated alongside community partners for increased access to healthcare for immigrants.
Our work only continues to grow and we have our donors to thank for that! We greatly appreciate everyone who contributed to our end-of-year campaign and helped us exceed our $20,000 fundraising goal. We cannot do this work without all of you.
Importantly, the AMPHS team is back in the office Wednesday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm. Make an appointment to receive a health screening, get help navigating social services, or learn more about how to keep you and your family healthy.
Advocating for Fair Redistricting
Over the past year, AMPHS has been involved in efforts to create a fair and equitable redistricting process centering community voices to create redistricting lines that best represent our collective interests. After the Independent Redistricting Commission failed to agree on one set of maps after months of public hearings, this process was put in the hands of the state legislature.
Redistricting maps were released last Tuesday without any public input—and they removed Sunset Park from NY-07, where it has resided for nearly 30 years, placing it in NY-11 and NY-10 with Bay Ridge, Staten Island, Tribeca and Upper West Side. The same day, AMPHS Vice President & Chief of Staff Mon Yuck Yu participated in a press conference with the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) advocating for the state legislature to hold a public hearing before they voted on the maps. She was also quoted in an article that summarizes the redistricting conflict.
A large win for South Brooklyn, however, was the addition of an Asian plurality district connecting parts of Sunset Park, Bensonhurst, and parts of Gravesend, which we hope will allow these communities of interest to elect a candidate of their choice that is representative of our neighborhoods.
The maps were signed into law with the Redistricting bill late last week. AMPHS will continue to fight to uphold the electoral power of the Latino and AAPI communities.
Ensuring Representation in Government
NYC Speaks has launched a citywide survey asking for New Yorkers’ thoughts about how city government can best serve them. AMPHS has been encouraging Sunset Park residents to add their input, and it’s not too late to do so! Take the survey here by TODAY (Friday), February 11.
For three years, AMPHS has advocated to pass the Coverage 4 All bill, and we are very proud of the results! Assembly Bill A880 and Senate Bill S1527, which aim to create a state-funded health coverage option for New Yorkers up to 200% of the federal poverty line regardless of immigration status, recently passed out of both Houses. Call Governor Kathy Hochul at (518) 474-8390 to demand she sign the bill into law. Visit this link for a call script.
Participatory Voting for Mental Health Projects
As a part of The People’s Money, a City participatory budgeting initiative, AMPHS encouraged Sunset Parkers to vote on mental health projects they wanted to be funded. The voting process began late in 2021 and just ended on February 7. The winning project, which will be announced soon, will receive $40,000 to deliver essential mental health resources to Sunset Park residents. As a public health organization in Sunset Park, we look forward to continuing to be involved in this process and others that similarly recognize the importance of providing immigrant communities with mental health services.
Tabling at Brooklyn Public Library
Last Wednesday, AMPHS teamed up with Brooklyn Public Library and H+H to help Sunset Park residents sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and for free and low-cost healthcare provided by the NYC Care program. Stop by at BPL’s Sunset Park branch between 1 and 4pm on Wednesday, February 16th for our second tabling day!
PPE and COVID-19 Test Kit Distribution
On a Saturday in mid-January, we held a PPE and COVID-19 test kit distribution event in Sunset Park alongside Councilmember Alexa Avilés’ office. We provided over 180 families with 260 test kits, 1500 masks, 150+ bottles of hand sanitizer, and 100 face shields—helping families protect themselves against COVID-19 as we combatted the Omicron variant surge. Stay tuned for additional distributions!
We are partnering with Send Chinatown Love in February to distribute hot meals from Melonpanna Tea & Shot in celebration of Lunar New Year. Our fresh food distributions will take place on 2/12 (tomorrow) and 2/26! We will contact you when the registration form is available to make an appointment. If you are interested in being added to our food distribution contact list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moderna Vaccine Approved by the FDA
- The FDA recently fully approved the Moderna vaccine for individuals ages 18 and older.
- The Pfizer vaccine has been given emergency authorization by the FDA to be administered to children ages 5-15 and full approval for everyone ages 16 and older.
- The CDC recommends that everyone ages 12 and older get a COVID-19 booster shot.
Free Delivery of Antiviral COVID Pills
- If you are vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19, you are likely eligible for a prescription for oral antiviral pills, which have been approved by the FDA as an at-home COVID treatment for vulnerable individuals.
- NYC Health + Hospitals is now offering FREE, same-day delivery of antiviral pills to those with a prescription!
- To find out how to get a prescription and schedule a delivery, call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319) and press 9. Visit the H+H website for more info.
New Omicron Sub-Variant BA.2
- An Omicron subvariant called BA.2 has been detected in 57 countries. In some, BA.2 accounts for more than half of sequenced Omicron cases.
- The Omicron variant that has been prevalent in New York City so far is Omicron BA.1, but several cases of BA.2 have been identified in the past few weeks.
- Based on several scientific studies, Omicron BA.2 appears to be more highly transmissible than Omicron BA.1 and better able to evade vaccines.
- There is no data to suggest Omicron BA.2 causes more severe symptoms than BA.1.
- Data is still emerging about this new variant, but leading scientists say there is no extra cause for concern right now.
- As with Omicron BA.1, vaccines, and especially boosters, may protect against the worst outcomes of an Omicron BA.2 infection. Thus, people who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines and get COVID-19 are less likely to develop serious illness than those who are unvaccinated and get COVID-19.
Excluded Workers Fund (EWF) Tax Update
If you received a payment from the Excluded Workers Fund (EWF), look out for your 1099-G tax forms, which the Department of Labor mailed out to all EWF recipients in late January. The information from this form must be included with your tax filing for the 2021 calendar year. While New York State taxes were automatically deducted from EWF payments, federal taxes also need to be deducted when you file your 1099-G. Do not file your taxes until you have received yours. Visit dol.ny.gov/ewf for more info.
Free Tax Prep Assistance
If you earned less than $50,000 in 2021, or your family earned less than $72,000, you are eligible for free tax preparation assistance. Visit this website to search for free tax preparation opportunities, some in-person, some drop-off only. These free appointments book up quickly, so make one today!