Government offices, resource guides and scam alerts

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


3/13/2020 Cuomo suspended parts of the state's Open Meetings Law with an executive order. New ways will have to be found to keep the government running during the pandemic without jeopardizing public health and while maintaining transparancy and accountability.

Community Board 5 committee meetings will take place remotely. Check their calendar: Manhattan Community Board Five (Luke Szabados, is asking businesses to email their 30-Day Standardized Notice Forms and application materials for alcohol licenses rather than sending them through the mail to avoid small delays.

Community Board 6. Meetings are canceled for the rest of March. The CB6 district office is closed and will operate remotely. Email or

Council Member Keith Powers's office will continue to be closed to constituent walk-ins and essential meetings will be held virtually. Staff and Council Member Powers will be available to take your calls and answer your questions. Mobile office hours are postponed for the month of March. Please reach out with any needs and questions.

3/24/2020 All 12 Manhattan Community Boards have been provided Zoom teleconferencing accounts by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer's office, and will be able to conduct full board meetings, committee meetings and other necessary multi-participant conferences. These sessions will be posted for the public's participation on each Board's website. Her office will also conduct monthly Borough Board and Borough Service Cabinet meetings using this same web-based meeting tool. Community Boards will continue to be supported by the civic technology nonprofit BetaNYC.

Councilwoman Carlina Rivera. Offices are closed, but they are working remotely. Email

Rep. Carolyn Maloney's office will remain reachable via phone and email. All staff will begin telework on Monday, March 16 and all meetings will be moved to telephonic or electronic communication. All offices will be physically closed. Constituent casework will continue uninterrupted. For any urgent matters, constituents can still call the Manhattan office at 212-860-0606 or email The Sergeant-at-Arms has closed the Capitol Building to all public tours, among other restrictions.

Social Security has closed all of its offices to the public. Many services are available online at Help is available over the phone call 1-800-772-1213. Visit Social Security’s COVID-19 web page at 

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is scaling back on many services, including: Vital Records If you have an emergency request please call 311 or email you can order certificates online at: or by mail.

Governor's office updates sign up at:

NYC updates:

Housing Court Answers hotline will be operating from Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm. Any folks with questions about court or evictions can call 212-962-4795 for more information.

NYCHA encourages households experiencing a loss of income to visit the NYCHA Self-Service Portal. The HPD Section 8 Customer Service Office at 100 Gold Street is closed until at least March 30th, but the HPD Section 8 team is available by email at or fax 212-863-5299 for assistance. 

Met Council on Housing tenants’ rights hotline is open to answer questions by calling 212-979-0611. The hotline is Monday and Wednesday 1:30 pm - 8:00 pm, Tuesday 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm, and Friday 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm

VOLS Elderly Project Legal Hotline. Seniors age 60+ in need of legal assistance, as well as their social workers, health care professionals, and caregivers, should contact Peter Kempner, Legal Director & Elderly Project Director at Volunteers of Legal Service ( directly by phone or by email if they are in need of legal assistance: (347) 521-5704 

Suspension of Jury Trials. If you have been summoned for jury duty, beginning on March 16th and continuing until further notice your service has been suspended at this time. You will hear from the courts in the future with another date for service.

New York City implements virtual court proceedings
March 24, 2020,, by Brendan J. Lyons
New York City criminal and family courts are shifting to "virtual court operations" due to the COVID-19 pandemic...The city's criminal courts will ...use videoconferencing platform Skype for Business...Family Court proceedings...will take place via video and teleconferencing.

Justice Department Closes Most Immigration Courts After Demands From Staff
March 18, 2020,, by Beth Fertig, WNYC

3/25/2020 ULURP timelines and LPC hearings have been suspended, but the Department of Buildings (DOB) has NOT paused the clock on zoning challenges; and the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) is continuing to hold hearings. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer wrote to Mayor de Blasio requesting that he put both of those items on pause.

Resource guides

NYC Resources page for those who may be unemployed due to COVID-19 or are seeking additional assistance:

State Senator Brad Hoylman's COVID-19 Resource Guide

City Hall's master list of resources 

Resources for the LGBTQ  community

Call the SAGE Hotline at 877-360-LGBT (5428) Talk and be heard at the SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline. They connect LGBT older people who want to talk with friendly responders who are ready to listen. If you are an LGBT elder or care for one, call the free SAGE Hotline, toll-free, at 877-360-LGBT (5428). The Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in English and Spanish, with translation in 180 languages and managed by SAGE’s partner, United Way Worldwide.

What Trans People Need to Know about Coronavirus (COVID-19):

Digital Response volunteers to help local & state governments

Hundreds pledge to help state, local government solve coronavirus challenges
March 24, 2020,, by Ryan Johnston
A loose network of more than 1,000 data scientists, user-design experts and civic-minded technologists — called the U.S. Digital Response for COVID-19 — formed last week to aid state and local government agencies in the fight to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The group posted a notice on its website asking state and local government agencies to ask for coronavirus-related help.


Coronavirus scams:

3/24/2020 NYPD warns, that you should not allow access to your building or your unit to anyone that you were not expecting. Criminals have been posing as clean-up crews for the corona virus or in some instances, governmental agencies – CDC etc. in order to gain access to buildings and residences and then rob them. You are also putting your health at risk by coming in contact with people who you don't know and allowing them to touch things in your home. Contact your building manager or super if you have questions about who should be authorized to go into your home.


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