Last month, we continued to be accountable to you in our sixth Annual Report with more than 70 concrete accomplishments that we’ve achieved together. This helps to focus our efforts on what remains in the last 17 months of my term as your Council Member.
Two weeks ago, we entered the 4th and final phase of our City's reopening, though indoor dining is still beyond reach. As you may have read in the Daily News, we’ve been focused on one of the most difficult parts of reopening -- how to keep our children safe, where we can find enough space to socially distance and providing full-time nurses for every school.
As we mourn the loss of voting rights advocate and national treasure, Congressmember John Lewis, we must pass a new voting rights act in his name. Here in New York, we must finally fix the broken Board of Elections that has disenfranchised more than 100,000 voters in this last election alone and ensure everyone can vote by mail.
Meanwhile, our City faces an infrastructure crisis. A façade collapse claimed yet another life, making it more important now than ever to pass my law to get buildings repaired and scaffolding down. Another portion of the East River Esplanade collapsed despite securing more than $275 million as Co-Chair of the Taskforce with Congress Member Maloney and we want to see that money used to make repairs immediately. You may have also noticed more graffiti. That's because removal was defunded in the City's most recent budget, but rest assured that we will clean up graffiti here in our district.
As you may have read in the New York Times, this summer we will see 2,500 affordable homes come back on the market thanks to a law I authored to bring existing hundreds of thousands of units of affordable housing back for new applicants that I hope will increase affordable housing by as much as 50%. Please be sure to apply on Housing Connect.
This month, we continue to distribute free face masks and hand sanitizer, as well as opening our office online and by phone for First Friday at 8am on August 7th. We also invite you to join us as we celebrate a part of our borough’s rich cultural heritage by co-sponsoring Harlem Week from August 16th through the 23rd with conferences, music, food, and more.
As we move forward with reopening during this pandemic I am eager to hear any ideas you might have on how we may do so safely.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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- Reflecting on Six Years as Your Council Member
- Fix the Board of Elections Before the November Election
CORONAVIRUS: PUBLIC HEALTH & EDUCATION
- Demanding a Plan to Open Schools
- Socially Distanced Student Learning Centers Using Empty Schools and Storefronts
- Pushing for One-Way Sidewalks to Give New Yorkers More Space
- Public Schools Don’t Have Full-Time Nurses and We Need Them Now
- New York City Enters Phase 4
- Fight to Keep Civil Court Remote
- Warm Weather Advisory and Free Water Bottles
QUALITY OF LIFE
- Demanding Sidewalk Shed and Scaffolding Reform in Wake of Recent Death
- Graffiti Removal Zeroed Out of City’s Budget
PARKS & TRANSPORTATION
- Esplanade Collapse Already Slated for Repair
- New York Times Letter to the Editor: Make Queensboro Bridge Car-Free
AFFORDABLE HOUSING & OVERDEVELOPMENT
- Join the New Housing Connect for 2,500 Re-Rentals Thanks to My Law
- Suing to Improve Conditions in Public Housing
- Celebrating Our Cultural and Architectural Heritage of Nivola
- City Parks Foundation Launches SummerStage Anywhere
- NYU Langone Health’s Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Family Support Program
- Search and Care Counseling Program: “Talkin’ it Out”
- New York Legal Assistance Group COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline
- Free Commercial Driving Training with Red Hook On The Road
- New Art Residency Initiative on Governors Island
Reflecting on Six Years as Your Council Member
In my office’s 6th Annual Report, now online, we highlighted more than 70 concrete achievements I’ve accomplished for our district and city since I took office, thanks to support from fellow residents, my team and you.
As a proud graduate of our public education system and the Bronx High School of Science, I believe in giving every child a world-class education. We've opened 900 new pre-kindergarten seats and secured 824 new school seats for the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island. We've invested $6.5 million in STEM education, rebuilt our schools, and are building new gyms and green roofs for schools. New York City has emerged as a biotechnology hub as we cut the ribbon on a new half-billion-dollar campus expansion of Rockefeller University and the brand new Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island. We've opened new schools, renovated libraries, and supported the Excelsior Scholarship to make city and state public college tuition-free.
Working alongside Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney as Co-Chair of the East River Esplanade, we've invested heavily in our parks, securing $275 Million for a resilient East River Esplanade, reconstructing Carl Schurz Playground, John Jay pool and courts, and even expanding Sutton Place Park. I even authored and passed a resolution making New York City the largest city on the planet to declare a climate emergency.
The fight for more affordable housing and against overdevelopment has been tough, but we have made significant strides. Hundreds of thousands of affordable homes will now be available for re-rental thanks to a law I wrote, with 6,000 affordable homes built or preserved on city land under my oversight and 1,000 affordable apartments built or preserved in my district alone. We stopped the march of supertall towers from billionaires row by winning the first-of-its-kind, community-led rezoning of the Sutton Area, though we continue to fight one building in court. We’ve also gone on to stop the construction of buildings with empty voids by rezoning residential neighborhoods throughout the city, and taken on construction to count every life and even turned down the volume on after-hours construction.
The corrupting influence of money in politics has been ever-present as we fight big money interests on behalf of residents like you. That’s why I authored the new public campaign finance system to get big money out, weakened the influence of lobbyists, and authored the law to outlaw most outside income making the City Council a full time job. I even refused tens of thousands in cash payments, which the Daily News called “legal grease,” then authored the law that ended the corrupt practice.
We've focused on public health with laws to take on Legionnaires' disease and fast food contributing to childhood obesity, and we've worked to connect New Yorkers with the benefits they need automatically. When the Covid-19 pandemic started, we opened 550 new hospital beds in district, launched a supply clearing house, supported testing, and we continue distributing masks, sanitizer, and food.
When I promised to clean up, I was focused on corruption in government, but that didn't stop us from putting a new large covered trash can on every corner or power washing our sidewalks. We've opened supportive housing to help the homeless.
Commutes have improved. Thanks to the vigilance of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney we finally opened the Second Avenue Subway. We also added new transit options including ferries, bike share, and faster buses through Select Bus Service. As part of Vision Zero, we invested in infrastructure to make our streets safer and launched a bike safety program that made it safer to be a pedestrian.
While this list is extensive, it is by no means exhaustive. With just under 18 months left in my final term in the Council, I hope we can use the precious time we have left to continue our collaboration. Read the full report at BenKallos.com/newsletter
Fix the Board of Elections Before the November Election
With less than 100 days until one of the most important elections in American history, the last thing voters should have to worry about is where their absentee ballot is and whether it gets counted. In 2016, I authored a law to require the Board of Elections to provide voters with absentee ballot tracking from their request, to when it gets mailed, and when it gets received. Despite testifying that the Board of Elections (BOE) could implement the system they chose not to leaving more than 100,000 voters disenfranchised. As I told the New York Daily News, I have no confidence in the Board of Election and we need to reform our state laws so that everyone can vote easily by mail, even after the pandemic. For more information, see coverage by the Gotham Gazette and New York Daily News.
CORONAVIRUS: PUBLIC HEALTH & EDUCATION
Demanding a Plan to Open Schools
New York City parents are demanding a more detailed plan from the New York City Board of Education and the Mayor's office as September and reopening of schools gets closer. As the New York Post reported the proposal the Mayor and Schools Chancellor have put forth is at best incomplete and leaves many questions unanswered.
What the Mayor is calling a "blended approach" does engage important questions like; what will the teacher to student ratio be? How much distance will students have to keep between desks. Will students be eating lunches in their classrooms or in cafeterias. These questions may seem simple but they are the questions parents want answered prior to sending their kids to school. One of my biggest concerns is that principals have not received funding to deal with things like new expenses for changes to ventilation systems and other needed infrastructure changes.
What the City has put forth is a plan that consists of proposals that have not been proven to work. This so-called plan needs more concrete details, furthermore, we know that as the plan stands many parents will be unable to go back to work because not enough schools will open up and too many students will be learning online from too many days per week. This issue is something I have addressed by suggesting the City use some of the many vacant spaces such as storefronts to create remote learning spaces around the five boroughs. Learn more about my proposal at BenKallos.com/press-releases or read the New York Post.
Socially Distanced Student Learning Centers Using Empty Schools and Storefronts
Many parents are concerned with the Mayor de Blasio’s blended approach to remote learning for the fall because, on days when in person instruction is not possible, they would be left to grapple with the need for childcare. For some, staggered schedules will provide the relief they need, but for others it simply will not be enough. That’s why I wrote a letter to Mayor de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Carranza, and School Construction Authority President Grillo urging them to consider a blended learning model that would make remote learning centers available to children who cannot stay at home. These remote learning centers would be temporarily established in existing public spaces such as closed private schools, libraries, community centers, empty storefronts, houses of worship, or other temporarily closed or partially closed businesses.
The City seemed to hear my recommendation. Six days after my letter was published, Mayor de Blasio announced the City’s plan to provide free childcare for 100,000 students in the fall. But, as I told the New York Post, with more than 800,000 children from 3k through 8th grade attending New York City’s public schools, this is still not enough. In response, I sent a updated letter with Council Member Brad Lander demanding a seat for every child who needs one, which could be as many as 533,000, as you may have seen on NY1.
For more info on the City’s free childcare plan for the fall, visit nyc.gov. Read my letter with Council Member Brad Lander to Mayor de Blasio at BenKallos.com/press-release, and see more coverage of my proposal for socially distanced remote learning center at NY1, Patch, the New York Daily News, and New York Post.
Pushing for One-Way Sidewalks to Give New Yorkers More Space
Residents have expressed concern about how difficult it can be to simply walk down the sidewalk safely with social distancing, with some proposing that we designate different sides of each street for pedestrians to walk in a particular direction. As you may have read in the New York Times, I wrote a letter in support of one-way sidewalks to the city.
For senior citizens and immunocompromised New Yorkers, simple but essential errands can become a daunting task when narrow sidewalks are filled with pedestrians walking and running – many without masks – both ways to get to the pharmacy or grocery store. Similarly, parents with small babies and children who are too young to wear masks that we now know are susceptible to coronavirus in the form of multisystem inflammatory syndrome are fearful of putting their children in danger walking down a narrow street to get to a park with some semblance of social distancing. I personally share both of these concerns.
With two-way foot traffic, social distancing is simply not feasible on a sizable portion of New York City’s sidewalks. As reported by the New Yorker in April, urban planner and architect Meli Harvey published Sidewalk Widths NYC, an online map of New York City’s streets, color-coded by the width of the sidewalks, that “is intended to give an impression of how sidewalk widths impact the ability of pedestrians to practice social distancing.” In many neighborhoods throughout all five boroughs, the sidewalks are primarily colored pink and labeled “impossible” (0–5.9 ft) or colored red and labeled “very difficult” (6–8.9 ft). In the vast majority of cases, I believe two pedestrians crossing each other on these narrow sidewalks will not effectively socially distance.
For more information, read the full letter or see coverage in the New York Times.
Public Schools Don’t Have Full-Time Nurses and We Need Them Now
As you may have read about in the New York Post, in response to parents, families, caregivers, and children at P.S. 290 Manhattan New School who launched a petition for the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Education (DOE) of New York City to provide a stable and permanent school nurse, I have reached out to the DOE to bolster their demands. This school, like many others, had a rotating nurse for the past academic year. On some occasions, this meant that no nurse was present.
We cannot have children return to school during the pandemic without a nurse to ascertain symptoms and support students who might be facing a potentially deadly pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS).
We previously joined Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in successfully forcing the DOE to send letters about PMIS to parents throughout the city.
New York City Enters Phase 4
Phase 4 of New York City’s reopening began on Monday, July 20. While phase four marks the final phase of reopening, Governor Cuomo has extended the suspension of indoor activities at malls and cultural institutions (including the City's museums) indefinitely. Similarly, indoor dining remains postponed as restaurants and bars have proven to be a source of new infections across the country. The state and local governments will continue to monitor trends in Covid-19 to make determinations about future reopenings.
In concordance with state guidelines and health procedures, phase four of reopening will include:
- Schools and universities
- Low-risk outdoor activities and entertainment including zoos and botanical gardens, operating at 33% capacity
- Outdoor professional sports without fans
- Media production in the film, music, and television industries
The state has outlined a set of mandatory and best practices for each industry set to reopen, available at Forward.NY.gov/phase-four-industries
As this reopening moves forward, the key to its success will be testing for Covid-19. At this point, all New Yorkers should be getting tested regardless of whether they have symptoms. I encourage everyone to please go get your free test.
Fight to Keep Civil Court Remote
With courts planning to reopen for in-person appearances on all matters, I joined Legal Aid Attorneys (UAW Local 2325) in calling for courts to continue allowing remote appearances until there is an adequate safety plan crafted with legal services organizations so that no one has to unnecessarily risk their life over a legal matter.
Warm Weather Advisory and Free Water Bottles
July brought on several days of dangerously high outdoor temperatures in the City, prompting the City to release a heat advisory to help residents stay safe. As we enter another month of sweltering summer heat, I want to offer some of the City’s tips and resources for beating the heat and ensuring the safety of those around you.
- Free Air Conditioners - The Cooling Assistance benefit helps eligible households buy and install an air conditioner or fan up to a cost of $800. Air conditioners are provided on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible applicants. The deadline to submit applications is August 30, 2020. For more information, visit access.nyc.gov.
- Electricity Bill Assistance - If you are having trouble paying for air conditioning, check on whether you qualify for Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).
- Cooling Centers - During heat emergencies, the City opens cooling centers throughout the five boroughs. Call 311 or visit the Cooling Center Finder. On days they are open, our district has 3 locations:
- P.S. 6, 45 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028
- Wagner Middle School, 220 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021
- Roosevelt Island Senior Center, 546 Main St, New York, NY 10044
- Free Water Bottles - get a free Cool It! NYC water bottle distributed through our community partners with hand sanitizer and masks.
Heat illness is serious. Prolonged exposure to heat can be harmful and potentially fatal. Call 911 if you or someone you know shows signs or symptoms of heat illness, including headache, lightheadedness, muscle cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Learn more about heat illness and heat waves from the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.
Virtual First Friday
First Friday Online
Friday, August 7th, 8am-10am
First Friday remains one of my favorite parts of my job as your Council Member. While we all must continue to do our part by staying home, I want to listen to and address your concerns as we work together for a better city.
This coming First Friday, August 7, 8am – 10am, we will hold our monthly morning meeting via online video and teleconference using Zoom for the second time.
Thank you to all the residents who participated in last month’s virtual First Friday.
You must RSVP to participate.
Video Conference: RSVP for your URL, create a free account at Zoom.us, RSVP
Teleconference: RSVP to receive the number and access code, RSVP
Facebook Live: Skip the RSVP and watch the stream at Facebook.com/BenKallos/live
RSVP now at BenKallos.com/events
Free Mask and Sanitizer Distribution with Community Organizations
We continue our partnership with the community to distribute disposable masks and hand sanitizer. Reach out to our partners to get yours now:
- East 79th Street Neighborhood Association
- East 86th Street Neighborhood Association
- Carnegie Hill Neighbors
- Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center
- NYCHA - Lexington Houses
- NYCHA - Holmes Isaacs Coalition
- Homeless - Urban Outreach Center of NYC
Please consider volunteering to be a building captain so that friends and neighbors can pick up masks and hand sanitizer from outside your door, or hand them off to your door person to distribute, and let us know when you need more.
QUALITY OF LIFE
Demanding Sidewalk Shed and Scaffolding Reform in Wake of Recent Death
Falling bricks have claimed another life and injured others thanks to landlords being allowed to let their buildings go without repair for months, even years. These bricks should never have been allowed to deteriorate to the point that they fell and the scaffolding should never have collapsed. I extend my deepest sympathies to the families of those killed and injured in this latest collapse and they have my pledge to keep fighting so no one faces the same threat.
I’ve been fighting to require the city to inspect scaffolding when it is first installed and over time, as well as require building owners to make repairs immediately or face steep fines with the city stepping in and do the work if they don’t.
For more details on the collapse and my subsequent introduction of legislation, see coverage by NY1, Heavy, and initial and follow up coverage from ABC 7.
Graffiti Removal Zeroed Out of City’s Budget
As CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported, Mayor de Blasio zeroed out all of the City’s allocated funds for removing graffiti in this year's budget; a budget I voted against. The $3.1 million that the City used to set aside annually to deal with graffiti has been erased. To make matters worse, 311 is no longer taking complaints about graffiti, creating a situation where the graffiti problem is sure to worsen over the coming year. Yes, our City is in a fiscal crisis but we cannot abandon the very basic responsibility to keep our streets clean. Of the budget’s $86 billion, money should be set aside to mitigate graffiti before it gets out of control.
In my district, I want residents to know that you can always call my office to report graffiti. I have made a commitment to keep the neighborhood clean through my office’s partnership with Wildcat Cleaning Services, so if there is graffiti to get rid of we will get to it. As a follow-up, CBS 2 covered, my efforts to personally remove graffiti from a location on 82nd Street and 2nd Avenue. If you want to report graffiti in the district please email BKallos@BenKallos.com.
PARKS & TRANSPORTATION
Esplanade Collapse Already Slated for Repair
This picture is the reason why I have fought so hard alongside East River Esplanade Co-Chair Congress Member Carolyn Maloney to secure $275 million funds and to move repairs along faster. The longer we wait, the more expensive it gets. The City Parks Department has already set aside the funds to fix this and, through the East River Esplanade Taskforce, I will work to fast-track these repairs and restore this vital park space. For more information on the collapse, see coverage by Patch.
New York Times Letter to the Editor: Make Queensboro Bridge Car- Free
In response to the New York Times: A Proposed Link for Manhattan and Queens, for Bikes and Pedestrians Only:
“As much as we appreciate big-picture thinking about bike infrastructure, we favor more immediate action to make the Queens-Manhattan bike trip safer and less crowded.
The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge’s south roadway should be made into a walkway, with the north roadway converted to a two-way, bicycle-only path. This approach is supported by Manhattan and Queens elected officials and community boards and could be executed with minimal cost and put into effect immediately.
In the best circumstances, a new bridge could take more than a decade to build. It would face input from parties ranging from the U.S. Coast Guard and state environmental regulators to Roosevelt Island residents rightly concerned about being passed over by yet another structure.”
I co-wrote this op-ed with Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, and Ken Podziba, president and chief executive of Bike New York, which was published by the New York Times on July 2nd.
Harris and Podziba have worked hard to improve cycling culture in New York City over the last five to ten years, pushing for more bike lanes and CitiBike expansion. Both organizations are committed to reclaiming New York City’s streets and advocating for better bicycling and public transit for all New Yorkers.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING & OVERDEVELOPMENT
Join the New Housing Connect for 2,500 Re-Rentals Thanks to My Law
The New York Times recently reported on 2,500 new affordable apartment units that will be available for re-rental thanks to a law I wrote with now-Public Advocate Williams and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. Now that my law is in effect, you will be able to set up a profile on the new Housing Connect that will match you with hundreds of thousands of affordable housing re-rentals.
Since 2015, we’ve worked with ProPublica and hero whistleblower Steven Werner at HPD who first identified that owners of 15,000 buildings in New York City that received billions in property tax reductions in exchange for building as many as 50,000 affordable units, illegally failed to register them and might now be offering them at affordable rates.
Since I’ve been in the City Council we’ve built or preserved more than 1,000 units of affordable housing in the district, as well as overseeing more than 6,000 affordable units citywide. We are doing everything we can to build and protect affordable housing in our city. You might be surprised to learn that affordable housing is available for individuals making as little as $23,880 and families of five making as much as $202,620. If you haven’t already, create your profile now and apply for affordable housing at the new NYC Housing Connect.
Suing to Improve Conditions in Public Housing
I stood with the Holmes-Isaacs Coalition and TakeRoot Justice in demanding that NYCHA fix the poor and hazardous conditions at both properties, which now total $100 million in repairs and which the tenants have once again sued the City for in an attempt to ensure the issue is addressed.
Celebrating Our Cultural and Architectural Heritage of Nivola
I was proud to provide Cultural Immigrant Initiative funding for Landmark West!, who used it to create art kits for children at the Stephen Wise Towers to be able to sculpt and paint their own Nivola Horses as they learned about the famed immigrant and artist whose statutes adorn their public housing.
Harlem Week is going virtual this year. The annual tribute to the culturally rich neighborhood is in its 46th year and will take place this year from August 16 through the 23. This week-long event will feature conferences, seminars, sports, music, food, dance, and more. See the full calendar of activities and learn more about the celebration at HarlemWeek.com.
Rallying and Fasting in Support of Funding Excluded Workers
I fasted for 24 hours in solidarity with New Yorkers who have been excluded from state and federal benefits despite doing the work deemed essential, while billionaires have gained $565 billion in wealth since the pandemic began.
CEC2 Dual Language Meeting
As more members of the multilingual community express the need for dual language programming in City schools, I joined Community Education Council District 2 and parents from around the city to discuss how we can expand this programming in other districts and citywide. After our success with bringing French dual-language programming to the district, I have no doubt that through continued collaboration we can get this done.
City Parks Foundation Launches SummerStage Anywhere
The City Parks Foundation recently announced the launch of SummerStage Anywhere, a free digital series with daily programming.
SummerStage Anywhere highlights genres that reflect NYC - including Contemporary Dance on Mondays, Global on Tuesdays, Indie Rock on Wednesdays, Latin on Thursdays, Hip Hop on Fridays, Jazz on Saturdays, and on Sundays, #ThePeopleSpeak brings together diverse artists who support social change. The festival will include a robust lineup of exclusive performances, one-on-one interviews, arts engagement programs for families, and live DJ sets across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch.
The full programming schedule for the week of July 6th is available at SummerStageAnywhere.org.
NYU Langone Health’s Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Family Support Program
Are you caring for a family member with memory and thinking problems? Caregiving during COVID-19 presents unique difficulties for families.
The NYU Langone Family Support Program is here to help you navigate through the challenges of caregiving. We provide a quick, personal response. All of its services are free and available online and by phone.
- Individual and family care consultations
- Resource information
- Caregiver support groups
- Home activity programs for people with memory loss
- Programs that people with memory loss and family caregivers can attend together
- Caregiver education webinars
- Special assistance fund for respite
This program is supported by a grant from the New York State Department of Health and is available to all New York City residents.
For more information, call 646-754-2277 or visit NYUlangone.org/memorydisordersupport
Search and Care Counseling Program: “Talkin’ it Out”
Need someone to talk to? Try Search and Care’s “Talkin’ it Out” program. Talkin’ it Out is free of charge for adults 60+ and provides safe, confidential, one-on-one telephonic counseling where you can privately express your thoughts and feelings, with no judgement or commitment.
Call Search and Care’s Millie or Chris (both bilingual social workers) at 212-289-5300 to learn more.
New York Legal Assistance Group COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline
In response to the global pandemic that has affected so many New Yorkers, the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) continues to run its COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline. Due to the surge in need for legal services in areas such as unemployment, housing, employee rights, public benefits, and consumer debt, NYLAG recently expanded their hotline hours to 7am-1pm.
Free Commercial Driving Training with Red Hook On The Road
Red Hook on the Road is a Brooklyn-based training program that offers a free 4-week prep course for City residents to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License. In turn, the Commercial Driver’s License enables participants to obtain living-wage jobs with benefits in the transportation sector. Any unemployed or low-income resident age 21 or older is eligible to register. Prospective applicants can reach out to 718-2237-4845 (ext. 2) for more information.
New Art Residency Initiative on Governors Island
The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, along with the Trust for Governors Island and 18 other partner organizations, have launched a new Residency Initiative on Governors Island. Their program will establish free workspaces for artists across New York City who have faced economic hardship during the pandemic. The program will begin in September and run for three months. Interested applicants can visit lmcc.net from now through August 9th to apply for residency.
Free Legal Clinics
Need a lawyer? Every month I sponsor legal clinics where you can get free legal advice. These clinics usually take place at my District Office, but have been temporarily moved online due to Covid-19. Appointments take place 2pm – 6pm:
- General Civil Law, By Appointment Only
- Life Planning Clinic, 3rd Wednesday
- Family Law and Domestic Violence, 1st Tuesday
- Housing Clinics, Mondays and Wednesdays
Please call my office at 212-860-1950 or email ConstituentService@benkallos.com with the subject ‘Requesting Legal Clinic’ to make appointments to meet by phone.
Here to Help
We are here to help. My social work team can help you find out what services you are eligible for and assist you in your application. Some examples include:
- Seniors: Medicare savings, Meals-on-Wheels, Access-A-Ride
- Housing: searching for affordable units, free legal housing clinic at my office
- Job Resources: training resources and assistance, unemployment benefits
- Families: Universal Pre-K, Head Start, After-School programs
- Finances: cash assistance, tax credits, home energy assistance
- Nutrition: WIC, free meals for all ages
Please also call us at 212-860-1950 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any unresolved 311 complaints.
Help the Homeless
In March, I joined Communities United for Police Reform in an open letter to the Mayor calling on the City to take care of New York City’s homeless population during the Covid-19 outbreak. Read the full letter at Changethenypd.org/protect-homeless-covid-full-letter-cuomo-de-blasio
Back in 2016, I launched the Eastside Task Force for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) with Borough President Brewer, Senator Krueger, Council Member Garodnick, Department of Social Services (DSS), community and faith leaders and service organizations. We’ve already been able to help a chronically homeless individual in the community who we believe had long been suffering from mental illness, after a resident was willing to come forward working with me, the 19th Precinct, the District Attorney and DSS to get them the help they needed. We hope to get every unsheltered person living on the street the help they need. If you see one of our City’s most vulnerable on the street, please call 311 or use the NYC 311 App (Android/iPhone) to ask them to dispatch a “homeless outreach team.” They will ask where you saw the person, what they looked like, and offer report on whether the person accepts our city’s offer of shelter, three meals a day, health care, rehabilitation, and job training. By connecting our dedicated nonprofits and religious institutions with city services, ETHOS is really making a difference. For more information, visit BenKallos.com/Homelessness