We are now beginning to re-open our various centers and bring many of our employees, and some program participants, back to our sites – with enhanced safety measures and protocols in place to protect all staff and participants. We are conducting temperature checks at all sites, requiring facial coverings, encouraging social distancing and screening for potential COVID infections on a daily basis, among other measures.
Our ongoing efforts include:
• Our Senior Centers remain closed for indoor activities until further notice.
• Socially-distant outdoor activities are being planned for our seniors such as walking groups, bingo, and art classes.
• We are providing over 500 home-delivered meals every day to homebound seniors through our Meals on Wheels program.
• Staff and volunteers are conducting “comfort calls” to check in on our seniors and provide them with case assistance, as needed.
Mental Health Counseling:
• The anxiety and stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and rampant job losses have greatly increased the need for mental health services. Our licensed outpatient mental health clinic is remotely providing individual, family, couples and group therapy, crisis intervention, psychiatric evaluation, medication management, case management and other services.
Early Childhood Education:
• Our Early Childhood Education centers are in the process of re-opening with safety protocols in place.
• Our teachers are providing services remotely to the children and their parents through Google Hangouts, the Remind app, telephone calls, emails and text messages.
• Families receive activities for their children to complete, outreach and engagement with families is ongoing, and staff continue to develop enhanced remote learning curricula for the upcoming weeks.
In-School Youth Services:
• With afterschool programs closed, we are conducting individual outreach to families and participants to assess their technological capabilities and needs, offer educational support such as tutoring, and make referrals to other resources.
• Our College Counselors are staying in contact with high school seniors, helping to guide them as they receive college acceptances, pursue financial aid and make decisions on where to go to college.
Disconnected Youth Services:
• Our outreach workers and case manager are continuing to stay in contact with the disconnected youth here in East Harlem, all of whom struggle even during the best of times.
• We also have continued some in-person crisis management, and are assisting with immediate needs for food and other necessities.
• Our Adult Education classes are beginning in-person classes with safety protocols in place.
• Our Adult Education program is continuing to provide English language and high school equivalency classes remotely via Zoom and WhatsApp.
• Packets of instructional materials and handouts are being mailed on a weekly basis, and students who are unable to access classes online have the option of doing independent study and returning homework for credit.
• The COVID-19 outbreak has had a devastating impact on East Harlem’s small businesses, and our Business Development Center is providing services to these businesses remotely, focusing on connecting them with available financial assistance.
• Union Settlement, Council Member Diana Ayala, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and the NYC Economic Development Corp. are joining forces to offer a $4,000,000 Grant Program to East Harlem’s small businesses in need of COVID-19 financial assistance. (LINK)
• Our Business Development Center led an initiative through which East Harlem restaurants provided meals to the health care workers at Metropolitan Hospital. (LINK)
• We have a developed a Delivery Guide to publicize East Harlem restaurants that are still open for business. (LINK)
• We are also gathering information from small businesses about their needs, which we are using to advocate for additional assistance.
Please watch this site for further updates and information.