On Thursday, May 30, Melinda Katz, Democrat for Queens Borough President, toured the Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula and was introduced to all the services the JCCRP has to offer. Melinda met with Nathan Krasnovsky, executive director, and Jonathan Dembitzer, vice-president.
“The work that the JCCRP in Far Rockaway has done after Superstorm Sandy has been tremendous. I came to Far Rockaway right after Sandy devastated our shores, and over six months later I again had the opportunity to tour Far Rockaway and have seen the resilient nature of Far Rockaway residents. Although there is still much to be done, the help that JCCRP has provided to the diverse community of working families, seniors, and small businesses has been quintessential to the rebuilding efforts,” said Ms. Katz.
As a frontline provider for individuals in the Rockaways, the JCCRP provides a variety of services to assist clients with all of their needs. Their food pantry provides 400 food packages a month to residents. Packages consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, dry and canned goods, rice, beans, dried and shelf-stable milk, and occasionally chicken and fish.
The JCCRP also runs two food-stamp programs, the Paperless Office System enrollment and the Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP). Instead of clients having to wait at HRA’s offices for several hours, the JCCRP conveniently schedules appointments to meet one-on-one with clients and assist with applications. Additionally, JCCRP has its own HRA liaison to mediate any issues that may arise. JCCRP’s NOEP coordinator connects Rockaway’s low-income families to resources that can help them maintain proper nutrition, avoid hunger, and ensure preventative health.
To facilitate medical insurance enrollment, a JCCRP enroller guides clients through the process of submitting new applications and re-certifications for Medicaid and CHP/FHP, and also provides advice and advocates on clients’ behalves.
The JCCRP is also a Housing Preservation Company that under the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewals’ Neighborhood Preservation Program performs housing and community renewal activities in the eastern portion of the Rockaway Peninsula. The JCCRP organizes homebuyer counseling workshops, renders tenant counseling, landlord/tenant mediation, and community rehabilitation and renewal initiatives for those in need. Through the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development consultant, JCCRP inspects neighborhood homes for violations and assists landlords and homeowners in correcting them. The JCCRP also assists clients in applying for HPD-subsidized home-improvement loans.
The JCCRP has a longstanding partnership with NYLAG which assists clients by providing free legal advice and representation on a variety of matters. Due to Hurricane Sandy, a NYLAG attorney has been stationed at the JCCRP once a week to assist with claims resulting from the storm including FEMA denials, issues with their benefits, etc.
JCCRP’s crisis-intervention team provides grants to help pay for rental arrears, first month’s rent of a new apartment, moving costs for seniors, beds, utility shut-off, and other housing emergency needs. JCCRP also provides camp scholarships so children can enjoy their summers in a healthy and relaxing environment. Onsite social workers provide counseling to all those who seek assistance, including recent Sandy victims. The JCCRP provides additional information, referral, and assistance with other government benefits, including Social Security, SSI, SCRIE, HEAP, and Section 8 Housing.
Melinda Katz was born and raised in Forest Hills. She is a graduate of the city’s public-school system. Melinda also graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and received her JD degree from St. John’s School of Law. Katz has been a dedicated public servant for nearly 20 years, serving as an assemblywoman, the director of community boards, and a City Council member. In the Council, she rose to chair the influential Land Use Committee. Under her leadership, the committee secured private-sector partnerships that led to the creation of over 15,000 units of affordable housing. She is running for Queens Borough President, in which office she hopes to continue her dedicated public service. For more information on her campaign, visit www.melindakatz.com. To contact the JCCRP, call 718-327-7755 or visit 1525 Central Avenue in Far Rockaway or www.jccrp.org, where you can join the e-mail list to be notified of all grant and volunteer opportunities as well as giveaways. Paypal donations to the JCCRP can be done directly through the JCCRP website with 100% of all donations going directly to underprivileged families. v