Mayor de Blasio announced today that a service center will open next week to support displaced individuals and families from Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands following recent hurricanes. The center will be open starting on Thursday, October 19, 2017, at the Julia De Burgos Latino Cultural Center located at 1680 Lexington Avenue in East Harlem, NY.
“New York City will help those affected by recent hurricanes in any way we can. We’ve been sending donations and emergency responders to affected areas, and now we’re setting up a central location to help displaced people in our city receive essential services and assistance,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“This is a humanitarian crisis the likes our city has ever experienced and we must do everything we can to help our fellow Puerto Ricans who have given so much to our city and to our country,” said East Harlem Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito. “Where the federal government has come up short, New York has always stepped up and it is no different in this case. This city is prepared to help Boricuas from the island with the resources and providing essential services during this dire time of need”
The City’s service center will offer in-person support and access to services to individuals affected by the hurricanes, and will be open from 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday, and 1 PM to 5 PM on Sunday. The City of New York is urging individuals planning to visit the service centers to make an appointment beginning October 18, 2017 by visiting nyc.gov or call 311. (Note: the center will be closed Saturday, October 21, 2017.)
New York City government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and community-based organizations will be on-site to help connect families and individuals to critical services, including enrollment in public benefits and health insurance, food assistance, and mental health counseling.
Services provided at the center include but are not limited to:
- Department of Social Services will assist with enrollment in SNAP benefits, cash assistance, and public health insurance, and help connect people with emergency food assistance. English and Spanish speakers will be available to assist with enrollment.
- Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will provide mental health counseling, health insurance support, emergency pharmacy assistance and will refer individuals to medical care in collaboration with NYC Health + Hospitals. They will also provide information on immunization assistance targeted toward school enrollment.
- Department for the Aging will provide meals to seniors, assist in case management, and assist with senior employment.
- Department of Education will provide information and assistance for displaced students.
- Human Resource Administration’s Office of Civil Justice will convene several legal providers to provide legal consultation to individuals in need.
- American Red Cross of Greater New York will assist in disaster relief management — including referrals, distribution of emergency supplies, and applying for assistance — and mental health counseling.
- Animal Care and Control and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will provide veterinary care and pet supplies.
- The New York Disaster Interfaith Services will provide spiritual care to those in need.
“New York City is home to one of the largest Caribbean diasporas in the United States, and we want to ensure that our fellow Americans from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are accepted and integrated fully into our community. My administration will work hand in hand with Mayor de Blasio so that Brooklyn can support families affected by these hurricanes,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.
“As we’ve unfortunately learned all too well here in New York, few things are more critical during and after a crisis than clear information and cross-agency coordination,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Cross agency service centers offering one stop shopping and ability to cut through red tape may not seem like much against the backdrop of the terrible tragedy unfolding in Puerto Rico and the other areas affected by recent hurricanes, but they can make a huge difference in the lives of the affected families.”
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“Those individuals and families affected by these natural disasters need our help, and that includes being prepared to assist those who decided to leave their homes and come to New York City. This service center will provide those seeking refuge from these disasters with a one-stop shop for critical services, and I appreciate Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to make life a little bit easier for those who are being forced from their homes due to these natural disasters,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velázquez said, “The bond between the Island of Puerto Rico and New York is deeply rooted, and over one million Puerto Ricans call New York home. Let’s be clear, Puerto Ricans will always have a true friend and ally in New York and we will continue to assist our fellow U.S. citizens on the Island. I’m proud of what the City and regular New Yorkers are doing to help Puerto Rico and other hurricane-affected areas. I commend the Mayor for his leadership in this area.”
“I commend Mayor de Blasio on today’s announcement to open the NYC service center to support individuals and families who have been affected by the recent unprecedented storms we’ve witnessed so far this hurricane season,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “Connecting families and individuals to critical services through a centralized hub where they can sign up for public benefits, health insurance, food assistance, and mental health programs, puts us one step closer to helping bring about some resemblance of normalcy for displaced individuals as they work to rebuild their lives.”
“Once again, our City rises to the occasion in order to provide our fellow Americans affected by Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria the assistance they require in their time of need,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I applaud the ongoing efforts of our City’s administration that, unlike the lackluster and in some cases negligent response from the federal government, continues to set up safety nets for those displaced by these recent natural disasters. I urge my fellow New Yorkers to spread the word about this service center so that those who need the assistance are able to receive it immediately.”
Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W Ortiz said, “We must do all we can to assist our friends and relatives recovering from Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria. In addition to our ongoing efforts to send supplies, medicine and food to Puerto Rico, Mexico and other communities seeking to recover, we should also be prepared to welcome those without homes to New York. Friendly service centers are a step in the right direction to help our brothers and sisters. Our efforts are far from over.”
“The recent natural disasters in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Texas, and Mexico have left so many without the basic resources needed to survive. I am proud of East Harlem, New York City and the State for remaining committed to helping the victims of these tragedies,” said Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez. “The new Service Center will connect displaced victims with life-saving services to help get them back on their feet.”
“I just returned from a week in some of the hardest hit areas in the mountainous regions of Puerto Rico. I met with people who lost everything, received little or no outside assistance and have been as self-sufficient as possible. As New Yorkers we are obligated to help fellow Americans who are traumatized make a safe transition and avoid further trauma,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.
“Our American family in Puerto Rico deserves all of the support we can give,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “As a New Yorker I know firsthand the impact Puerto Ricans have had on our culture, economy and values. I commend Mayor de Blasio for staying committed to providing aid and doing all New York City can to step up in this time of need.”
“It is a proud day for New York as we establish a new Open Service Center for the victims of Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey. Millions of families have been affected, homes destroyed, and livelihoods lost. It is never easy to pick up the pieces when we lose so much, as an individual or as a community. Nor is it easy to pick up and move to a new place in the wake of such a disaster. This new Center sends a clear message to the victims of these hurricanes. You are welcome in New York City. As government agencies and non-profits work to integrate fellow citizens, we must all remember to make newcomers feel welcome. With a dangerously delayed response, and grave uncertainty about how much longer the Trump Administration will provide aid to victims in Puerto Rico, I ask that everyone contribute whatever they can to help the victims. It is sad that the President may forsake our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, but let it be clear that the people of New York will never do so. We stand together,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.
“Our city is taking proactive measures to assist those most impacted by the recent natural disasters. I find it deeply gratifying that Mayor de Blasio is utilizing every resource at his disposal to help displaced families and individuals. The opening of a New York City service center will advance our relief efforts and provide vital support during this recovery process,” said Council Member Annabel Palma.
Council Member Rafael Salamanca said, “I’m proud to call myself a New Yorker as we work to lead the charge on providing relief to all of those effected by the hurricanes,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. “People are still hurting – in Puerto Rico, USVI, in Florida and in Texas. It’s why I’m encouraging everyone who may know a victim of the hurricanes to direct them to these great resources.”
Council Member Ritchie Torres said, “I want to thank the Mayor for committing our City’s agencies to supporting families displaced by these horrible disasters. We must continue to show our fellow Americans and the world that New York City will be a lasting bastion of support for those in need.”