Letters to the Editor, Jan. 3

Some downtown areas still need Sandy aid

The following is a letter from State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Council Member Margaret Chin and Council Member Rosie Mendez to Robert Doar, Commissioner of the Human Resources Administration in mid-December.

We write regarding the federal government’s approval of the City’s request to bring the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) to areas of New York City impacted by the storm.

The approval of D-SNAP for residents throughout the city means that more New Yorkers in more places will get food assistance they need in the wake of the storm. Many New York City families continue to struggle in Sandy’s aftermath and D-SNAP is one way to help them through this difficult time. We are particularly pleased that residents from the 10002 zip code are eligible for the program. However, we do have concerns about the accessibility and eligibility of the program for Manhattan residents.

Of the twelve full and partial zip codes approved for D-SNAP in New York City, only one, 10002, is in Manhattan. In Lower Manhattan a large area was devastated by the storm, crossing a number of zip codes with a high proportion of low-income, elderly and vulnerable constituents. We urge the inclusion of additional full and partial zip codes to allow more Manhattan residents impacted by the storm to apply.

Additionally, for such a large program that is complex to administer, just two application centers (in Staten Island and Brooklyn), however large, will deter many eligible New Yorkers from applying. If there were additional application centers closer to more affected zip codes, open for a significant amount of time, it would spread the volume of applicants, reduce pressure on the existing centers, particularly in Brooklyn, and make applications more realistic for those who need it. In light of this, we recommend establishing an application center in Lower Manhattan.

Therefore, we urge the inclusion of additional full and partial zip codes that would allow more New Yorkers in Lower Manhattan impacted by the storm to apply, the opening of additional application centers closer to more affected zip codes, and an extension of the December 18th deadline for applications so that the program is as inclusive as possible for New Yorkers in need. Continue reading