Donors help 676 deliver free school supplies, by Nathan Weiser

PS 676, one of two public elementary schools in Red Hook, with an enrollment of around 100 students, hosted a back-to-school giveaway in the schoolyard on Friday, September 10.

About 40 students came to pick up new supplies, and those who didn’t were able to get them on the first day of school, which was the following Monday. About 200 backpacks and other supplies, including pencils, supply kits, notebooks, glue, and math books, which meant there was more than enough for each student.

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield donated many of the new supplies. IKEA, Redemption Church and Donors Choose were also donors.

Carina Vizhnay, community relations at Empire Blue Cross, invited the Department of Housing Preservation and the New York branch of Sanitation Organic Compost to the event to speak to parents.
Vizhnay began associating with PS 676 last year when Pastor Pacheco of Redemption Church put her in touch with the school and parent coordinator Marie Hueston.

Vizhnay’s first event was an autism event last spring. She also did a nutrition workshop for children and parents.

“I’m the kind of person who gives resources,” said Vizhnay. “That’s what I do.”
She will continue to work with PS 676 and there is a lot more that she wants to bring to the table. “When I’m on the streets doing community relations, people tell me you know something about housing,” Vizhnay said. “I say, I have a contact and maybe they can help you. I said let me take them out and that can help the community.

The representative from the NYC Sanitation compost division was at his third school event in three days. The composting campaign, which was swept away at the start of the pandemic, has been going on for a month.

When someone signs up for the program on, the organization then delivers the brown bins to them.

The NYC Department of Sanitation encourages New Yorkers to turn food scraps and yard waste into compost because it is a way to keep these items out of landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program is eligible for residential buildings of all sizes in certain community districts.
Pam Glaser, represented HPD. They help people apply for affordable housing and provide advice on tenants’ rights.

HPD also provides assistance if an owner does not provide repairs.

“We go out when you call 311 and you say my landlord refuses to fix my apartment. We will send an inspector and post an infraction, if necessary. We only perform the repair ourselves if it is considered very dangerous.

“If this is an extreme situation, we will,” Glaser said. “We have a litigation service and we intervene if a group of tenants takes the housing court against your landlord. “
There are rules and responsibilities for landlords and tenants in New York City and on their website there is a section that provides information to tenants who feel harassed. On NYC.Gov, there is a tenant housing portal that consolidates all housing related agencies on one page.

Various resources include NYC Housing Connect, NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program, NYC Tenant Resource Portal, HPD Housing Ambassadors, and tenant rights and responsibilities.
Glaser also said the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) significantly repaired NYCHA buildings and developments in Rockaway and the Bronx. However, HPD does not handle NYCHA repairs.

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