Wednesday, July 28

Community health organizations demand to be included in City and State post COVID recovery plans

The New York City began her road to recovery, after more than a year of being severely beaten by the COVID-19 pandemic, but on the way, community organizations dedicated to helping vulnerable neighborhoods with health issues, they said they are being excluded from State and City plans to get the Big Apple back on wheels.

This was denounced this Monday by leaders, politicians and activists who gathered in the middle of a demonstration that started in the State Department of Health Office, and advanced to the headquarters of the Mayor’s Office and the city ​​Council to demand funding from New York’s recovery programs, understanding the powerful impact they have on their communities.

In their protest, representatives of organizations agreed that the city and the State seems to be unaware of the existence of these groups, being able to create an effective health body in the fight against COVID and other ills that disproportionately affect vulnerable communitiessuch as diabetes, asthma, obesity, and hypertension.

Under the ‘Coalition of Communities Driving Recovery’, protesters warned that with funds including more than $ 12 billion federal received by the State for recovery after COVID and $ 4.3 billion the City, Part of the pie should go to grassroots organizations that have worked for public health in low-income communities in all five boroughs.

The big complaint is that massive “recovery” funds are being directed to outside agencies that have nothing to do with the neighborhoods most affected by COVID and that the City and State are forming Academic Public Health Bodies‘, even though the groups in underserved communities already exist.

“We saw the absolutely vital role community groups played when they stepped up when the pandemic hit them, working with neighbors on testing and vaccinations,” said Chris Norwood, director of the Bronx-based Health People. “Taking them away from these new public health corporations and other outside contractors, and pretending that they will help the recovery is overkill. Meanwhile, they have completely ignored the pleas of these communities to help them. “

Anthony Feliciano, director of the Commission of the Public Health System, He criticized that the City and the State try to ignore groups that have been working in the communities for years, ignoring the effect they can achieve on recovery plans.

Why are they reinventing the wheel when there have been so many groups on the ground during the pandemic saving lives and directing vulnerable residents to proper testing and vaccination? ”said the activist. “We need the Mayor and the Governor to help more and put leadership in the recovery, not in private companies, but in our organizations, who know the problems and needs directly, and who can plan the recovery much better, with funds and dollars. . Doing it behind the back of the community is unthinkable ”.

“The State is the one that has done the least”

Mark Levine, president of the Health Committee of the Municipal Council, assured that although the City and the State must do more to finance programs with community organizations in the fight against COVID and other evils that affect vulnerable groups, it has been the state has done the least.

Mark Levine, Chairman of the City Council Health Committee

“In this pandemic it was seen that there is a lack of trust in our communities and problems of public health infrastructure, something that cost us hard and it must be noted that the pandemic has not yet ended, so it is urgent to support these groups, even more so when we see that the vaccination rate in Afro-Latino and immigrant communities is far below, ”said the New York City Councilor.

“To change that, we need leadership to be in the communities and we need funds. They have to invest in them. The State has not given any penny to these groups. They have not contracted with any community groups to do their education. The City has done something, but it could do more, because out of 150 community groups it contacted for the Census, it has only supported a few dozen on these health issues, and the Department of Health has a budget of more than $ 2 billion, from which they can draw resources for these groups, ”Levine added.

Assemblywoman for the Bronx Amanda Seventh, He defended the work of the State and assured that in the recently approved budget, they assigned the necessary resources for the City to provide funds to community health organizations, and asked that the municipal authorities do so, who have failed the grassroots groups.

“The City did not give a dollar to organizations to prevent COVID nor for vaccines and if they did it, as they did it, it was not good, so what we are looking for with this budget that we approved in Albany is that they can give directly to the organizations the funds they need to ensure that the people who are doing the work in our communities every day, can continue to do so and help us move forward, ”said the politician, warning that the ball is now on the City court.

“The State has just passed more than $ 600 million to the City, and there is more than $ 7,000 million that comes from the federal government, so it is already the City that has to handle this and we as state officials make sure that the funds that we have made available, get where they need to go, ”added the state legislator.

They report ignoring vital health issues

Millie Arroyo, director of programs of the organization Health People, assured that it is not fair that funds destined for the recovery of New York are invested in groups that do not know first-hand the problems of the communities and called for immediate action.

Community health organizations demand to be included in post-COVID recovery plans

“We demand that the Governor and the Mayor give us the resources that the community organizations need. Every year we are fighting for that and now we ask that he really help poor people, through us, because they have not done anything for us, ”said Arroyo. “Instead of giving that money to groups that do not know what is happening in our communities that have diabetes, asthma and other things, they must value that we are doing work for years, very effective and if they do not give us funds, recovery will not it will be complete ”.

The reverendo John Williams, President of New Creation Community Health Empowerment Inc, a health center in Brooklyn, went over the De Blasio Administration and the Cuomo Administration, and said they are ignoring vital health issues on which to create educational campaigns with direct investment in community groups.

“The way in which both the City and the State have ignored the pleas of the community to work with us to reduce the disease that so fueled the deaths of Covid, is simply inconceivable,” said the religious leader. “How is it possible that New York City with its 356% increase in diabetes and New York, with the largest state increase in diabetes deaths in the first outbreak of the epidemic, still refuses to support self-care education that does it even help people with diabetes lower their blood sugar?

Seongeun Chun, Director of Health Policy of the New York Inmigratio Coalition, He stressed that without direct investment in community organizations, immigrants will be left without protections in the middle of the recovery stage.

“New York immigrants are the front-line workers who have held our city together during this pandemic and catastrophic economic recession. And as we prepare New York for the COVID recovery, we cannot ignore the needs of immigrant communities that still suffer at a disproportionate rate“Said the activist. “We want to see the robust participation of community organizations in all aspects of the COVID recovery process.”

As of press time, neither the De Blasio Administration nor the Cuomo Administration responded to the organizations’ complaints and reports.

COVID Recovery Fund Figures

  • $ 12.7 billion dollars are received by the State in COVID Relief Funds from the federal government.
  • $ 4.3 billion receives the City in recovery funds.
  • $ 600 million approved Albany for the City of NYC.
  • 150 organizations and more cry out for investment.
Community health organizations demand to be included in post-COVID recovery plans

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