Covid-19 Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown in vivid detail the limitations of our social safety net, the inability for our economic system to meet the needs of the people, and the failure of our local government to truly be effective in a time of crisis. We’ve seen a society more focused on the protection of capital than the lives of the essential workers. We’ve seen state and local leaders use this crisis as an opportunity to extend their control, and damage our democracy. We can’t let this continue. We can organize for a better New York.

Below you’ll find an exhaustive list of resources to help you and your community navigate the crisis. We’re also sharing a real equity-focused pandemic response framework that stands in stark contrast with this administration’s anemic response.

COVID Resources

NYS & NYC government resources

Local mutual aid efforts:

Volunteer opportunities:

Looking ahead, what can we do?

Our city government can and must do more than just constituent services during this crisis. The City Council proposed a legislative relief package on April 22nd (more information can be found HERE), but we must go further. This starts with free and accessible testing and treatment for everyone who needs it throughout the city. That’s just the first step, New York City must:

Help New Yorkers survive the pandemic

  • Tax the rich to pay for our safety net. We need to be frank about what kind of city we want to be. In order to provide for everyone, we need to find more revenue. For decades, the city has pushed back against increasing taxes on the rich, in the hopes that “development” would raise all ships. It hasn’t worked, we must find more revenue, and make sure those increases in revenue don’t burden those already in need. City Council must push the Mayor to include new revenue sources during budget negotiations with the Governor.
  • Cancel rent. There are several leaders talking about postponing or freezing rent since the Governor created a statewide 90-day eviction moratorium. While this relief is helpful, it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Residential and commercial tenants need to be protected from evictions and debt collection, and the rent that was due needs to be canceled and not just postponed. Anyone impacted by the pandemic should be exempt from debt collection and eviction for at least a year.
  • Improve and streamline the various city free food programs. The city is now directing New Yorkers to mutual aid networks in lieu of providing services. This is unacceptable. The city needs to increase the food quality for distribution and cut the red tape to access it.
  • Protect our elections and democracy. Political leaders are using this crisis as an excuse to cancel elections and primaries and support incumbent politicians. We must move sensibly to safely hold elections this year by expanding absentee voting and commit to holding in-person elections that ensure safety for voters and poll workers. This means maintaining early voting and making sure polling places adhere to CDC sanitary and mass gathering protocol guidelines.
  • Create more usable outdoor space for New Yorkers. New York should continue to follow the lead of cities around the world that have begun to open streets to allow more space for cyclists and pedestrians to better follow social distancing.

Provide additional protections for the most vulnerable New Yorkers

  • Deincarcerate and bring our folks home. The Governor must grant clemency to anyone who is at-risk in our prisons and jails. This should include seniors, pregnant people, and anyone with a pre-existing condition that makes them uniquely vulnerable. The City must work to decarcerate as many pre-trial people as possible. Our prisons and jails are seeing rampant cases of the virus, and those who are incarcerated need care.
  • Put the homeless in available homes. COVID-19 is spreading in the homeless community at a time where so many of our hotels are empty. The City should pay for and move the homeless into these empty rooms.
  • Close the learning gap for high risk students. Many students still don’t have access to laptops or the internet, and are at threat of being further left behind by this crisis. Education inequality will be exponentially exacerbated if we don’t focus on getting students in underserved communities the resources to learn remotely. Once schools physically reopen, we must prioritize services for low-income and English language learners who are more at-risk for falling behind.

Support workers

  • Mandate hazard pay for essential workers. Council should pass legislation that mandates a progressive increase in salaries based on the length of hours of the shift. This should apply to more than just the largest employers and extend till Covid-19 is no longer a threat.
  • Expand paid sick leave. Currently, paid sick leave legislation in NYC has a large list of those who are exempted from the program. Council needs to amend the existing legislation and expand those who can claim it to people who are gig workers