How COVID Has Affected Personal Lives of Low-Income New Haveners

by Alana Rosenberg, Justice, Housing and Health Study

The Justice, Housing and Health Study team conducted a survey to capture the experience of life during the COVID pandemic. This community report is based on responses to the COVID survey taken between December 2020 and June 2021. 259 participants completed the survey. For many communities, COVID has exacerbated economic and housing instability. Throughout the pandemic, federal and state governments have dedicated massive amounts of resources, for extended periods of time, to U.S. citizens.

Policies were also passed to protect people from the virus and the economic repercussions of the pandemic. The JustHouHS COVID survey asked questions about participants’ experiences with COVID and the policies meant to help people better cope with its impacts.

This Winter 2022 report begins by describing how COVID affected the personal lives and social networks of participants. It then documents what criminal justice involvement looked like for participants during the pandemic. It also explores the economic burdens the pandemic placed on participants and their access to financial and other resources. Lastly, the report describes how JustHouHS participants’ housing situations changed with COVID.

As the pandemic continues, we hope this report helps policymakers and community stakeholders understand the vulnerability of low-income residents who continue to endure, inequitably, the negative consequences of the virus on health and wellbeing.

Website: https://www.american.edu/cas/social-justice-lab/justhouhs.cfm
Winter 2022 report: www.american.edu/cas/social-justice-lab/upload/covid-community-report-winter-2022.pdf.

Mothers and Others for Justice

by Cindy Miller, intern, CCA

Mothers and Others for Justice (MOFJ), a New Haven grassroots advocacy group sponsored by Christian Community Action (CCA), is welcoming new members to join us in our efforts to enact positive changes around the lack of affordable housing, healthcare disparities, safe communities and other quality of life issues.

Many of the group members are single heads of household women of color who use their individual and collective voices to influence state and local policy and decision-makers to implement solutions that help people to become self-sufficient. Participation in MOFJ has proved transformational for many members as they return to school, serve their communities, work on political campaigns, and run for office.

Many of the members of MOFJ are committed to the HEALTH sub-committee (Helping Everyone Achieve Lasting Trusted Healthcare) in order to identify and advocate for changes in the healthcare system. We recognize that access to safe, affordable housing is closely related to achieving optimal health outcomes.

Over the years, the members of MOFJ have become empowered by sharing their life stories locally and at the State Capitol. In the coming months, the group is enthusiastic about the opportunity to have their stories recorded in a new grant-funded story lab. Like the cliché, a picture is worth a thousand words, one story of a member of MOFJ and his or her unique struggles tells much more than pages of statistics.

MOFJ will co-host a January legislative breakfast where they will have the opportunity to communicate directly with members of the local and state government the areas in which they believe legislation is necessary. Benefit cliffs and affordable housing top the list of concerns, the latter concern being evident at a recent aldermanic meeting where a number of members of MOFJ presented testimony about inclusionary zoning.

During the pandemic, healthcare disparities between low-income people of color and others were starkly demonstrated — further evidence that those whom CCA serves do not have lasting trusted healthcare. In order to better understand the gaps and areas of dissatisfaction, a survey of 200 members of the community is underway, and there is an online town hall meeting scheduled for Monday, January 10, from 7-8:30 p.m. to encourage conversation and possible solutions on ideas where participants feel need improvement. This meeting has been entitled, “Tell ’Em Why You’re Mad!” It is important that the participants be entirely forth-coming as that will enable CCA to plan its advocacy work through which change can be achieved. Furthermore, it is hoped that the participants will bring up areas about which they want to be educated in a five-part “Health Institute” that will be open to the public to be held in the Spring.

MOFJ has monthly meetings on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in New Haven at which there is frequently a speaker on issues of interest. All are welcome to attend meetings as well as to participate in the upcoming Town Hall Meeting on healthcare issues and the HEALTH Institute.

If there are questions, don’t hesitate to contact either Merryl Eaton (Director of Advocacy and Education at CCA): merryleaton@ccahelping.org) or Cindy Miller: cmiller@ccahelping.org.

Health In Conversation: Vaccine Hesitancy & Misinformation with Heidi J. Larson

Health In Conversation: Vaccine Hesitancy & Misinformation with Heidi J. Larson

Tuesday, Dec. 21 @ Noon on Zoom & Facebook Live

Heidi J. Larson, PhD, is Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science and is the Founding Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is also Clinical Professor of Health Metrics Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, and Guest Professor at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

https://nhfpl.libnet.info/event/5884306

Have Your Say About Community Crisis Response!

by Annie Harper, PhD, Program for Recovery and Community Health,
Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine

The city is preparing to create a community crisis response team to respond to emergency calls for which police, ambulance or fire aren’t appropriate, including when people are in distress due to mental health and substance use problems. Let the city know what the new team should look like. Who should be on it? What support should they provide? How can we be sure it remains accountable to the community? Text/leave a message at (475) 212-2510, email ccrt@newhavenct.gov, or drop off your ideas on paper at all local library branches. Visit bit.ly/nhccrt to learn more!
Thank you!

Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) Stands with Afghan Families

Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) is currently welcoming evacuated Afghan families and are ready on 24-hour notice to receive as many as needed.

Please help us:

Donate to defray costs of essentials upon arrival emergent costs.  Irisct.org/donate.

Join a local community group in towns around the state and work with IRIS to welcome families in your community. irisct.org/communitycosponsorship.

Collect backpacks, school supplies, winter coats and waterproof winter boots. Our storage is limited at this moment. Please email info@irisct.org.

The Pathway Towards Peace and Providence and the Demand for Parity (50%M/50%FM) in Governance

Frank Rohrig, PAR subscriber

Join with the mutually departed spirits of two feisty, caring and compassionate women, Caroline Bridgman-Rees and Elaine M. Rohrig, who spent their lives caring for the well-being and betterment of others. It shall be with the collaborative caring spirit of both aforementioned “patriots” and today’s like-minded men and women, that we can move to expedite that Egalitarian Society we (the people) were promised in the attainment of world peace, and our very salvation via the essential DEMAND for PARITY in the decision-making process of governing our citizenry.

Seeing as how we’ve recognized the realities of life’s “evolutional changes” via modernization’s awareness of reasoning, truth, facts inclusive scientific substantiation, the very threat to our Secular Republic Democracy on Jan. 6, 2021, with the seditious insurrection requires a reaffirmation of historical facts in lieu of the propaganda and lies that have been initiated, instigated and propagated bringing us to the potential state of pernicious outcomes. It appears that the prerequisite in today’s (2021) political realm seems to be continually facilitated by our ever-growing body of lying, gutless, propagandizing hypocrites that moneyed interests have bought to continue their pillaging of our nation, shall not be abated until a revolutionary movement that negates the multitude of injustices that divide us are first exposed as was done during our 1700s/1800s Era of Enlightenment, and then defied and negated permanently.

We as a nation are more divided now (2021) and more subject to the detrimental outcomes of our present status than after the insidious seditious insurrection, our comparative era prior to our nation’s Civil War via “Sectional Strife” for roughly a decade of hateful racist violence that occurred during our mid-1850s to 1866. The distinction and difference is, of course, that historic period of blight on our humanity and civilization itself was fought with the weaponry of antiquated origins such as “muskets, swords, and cannons.” Henceforth a century and a half of man’s/male’s more aggressive character traits imbued at birth has been his impetus in the creation of enough powerful weaponry of assorted capacities to exact human annihilation throughout the world.

This is the present state of our nation/world (2021) and we are inundated on a daily basis via a variety of communicative sources of the awareness and substantiation that our nation/world has become more violent than at any other time throughout history; and its provocation more easily and ignorantly justified by those amongst us who seek to bring some form of harm to our Democracy and our humanity for all “fellow beings.” Jan. 6, 2021, must be our nation’s clarion call for our nation to unify in a collaborative way to deal with our societal injustices that have been with us since our founding as a Secular-Republic-Democracy; and pursue that promise of the Egalitarian Society “we the people” were promised in order to negate this claim of superiority and supplant our dominant male governance with the right and righteous equally “weighted voices and votes” of PARITY (50% Males/50% Females) throughout our entire nation within a 4-year time frame. Doing so shall be our pathway towards providence, and societal betterment for all. 

The Egalitarian Quest

Frank Rohrig, 541 Naugatuck Avenue, Milford, CT 06460, (203) 877-2492

Oct. 5, 7 and 10: National Nurses United: National Medicare for All Postcard Parties
RSVP: act.medicare4all.org/signup/mfa-postcards

Friday/Saturday, Oct. 22/23 – 2021 Annual Meeting of Physicians for a National Health Program, now fully virtual. RSVP: pnhp.org/2021-annual-meeting

Saturday, Oct. 30, 4 p.m.: National Nurses United: priority districts Medicare for All phone bank. RSVP: zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEuceCgpj0tGdWgH_Q4Awb5kd9OAXuGuPa8

Monday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m.: National Nurses United: priority districts Medicare for All phone bank. RSVP: zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAqdeuoqT8pHdZsk1PM04WAP0JS7I1erYy2

The next Medicare for All CT virtual monthly meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, October 12, at 7 p.m. Onwards, to guaranteed healthcare for all!

Medicare for All CT: info@medicare4allct.org.

“No country has suffered the way the United States has. Americans make up less than 5% of the global population, but account for nearly one in five of the world’s 2.3 million deaths. […] If the nation is serious about learning the lessons from this pandemic, it should reconsider implementing a universal health care plan like Medicare for All.”

— from the Medicare for All CT Facebook page

Advocates Celebrate as New Haven Board of Alders Passes Resolution in Favor of Medicare for All

Sivan Amar, Medicare for All Board & New Haven Resident

On the evening of Monday, Aug. 2, the New Haven Board of Alders unanimously approved a resolution in support of Medicare for All that had received overwhelming community support. The resolution was sponsored by organizations such as Medicare For All CT, New Haven Rising, and the CT Working Families Party, and received over 500 letters of support from New Haven residents. Several community members, organized by Medicare for All CT, were in attendance and celebrated as the resolution passed.

“New Haven residents have been reaching out to us non-stop since this resolution was introduced,” said Alder Darryl Brackeen, Jr. “We kept their voices and letters in mind when passing the resolution unanimously through the Health and Human Services Committee at our last meeting, and the entire Board of Alders definitely kept it in mind tonight.”

The resolution includes a clause that, when enacted, must be delivered to members of CT’s congressional delegation: U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy.

“After spending the past few months talking to New Haven residents about their medical care, I’m even more convinced that free, accessible healthcare is a human right that our current health insurance system doesn’t facilitate for the majority of people,” said Dana Asby, a member of the Medicare For All CT advisory panel and a New Haven resident. “Many of the people I’ve spoken with were shocked to find that Rosa DeLauro does not support the federal Medicare for All bill, HR 1976. New Haven residents support this resolution because they want Rosa DeLauro to represent their interests and co-sponsor this bill in the House.”

Medicare for All CT has now contributed to the passing of resolutions in support of Medicare for All in 3 different CT cities, including New Haven, New London, and Windham.

For more information and to get involved, please phone Sivan Amar at (347) 335-5761.

News from the Green Party of Connecticut

Ronna Stuller, secretary, Green Party of CT

As a unity of local chapters throughout the state, the Green Party of Connecticut is committed to the Four Pillars of all Green Parties worldwide: grassroots democracy, social justice, non-violence and ecological wisdom. In order to empower the political voice of the people – not corporate interests or their lobbyists – Green Party candidates accept contributions only from individuals, not from PACs. This year’s election we are running over a dozen candidates in municipal elections all across Connecticut.

Justin Paglino MD, Ph.D., of Guilford, was our 2020 nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in the third Congressional District. He has continued, on the local and national front, to advocate for a nonprofit healthcare system that serves everyone, as well as reforms that would strengthen our democracy, repair our environment, and invest in a peaceful future.

We invite readers to learn more about our organization at www.ctgreenparty.org or www.facebook.com/GreenPartyofConnecticut.  We also invite readers to consider changing their voter registration to Green Party, and/or to consider visiting your local Green Party of Connecticut chapter to learn more and get involved. You will be most welcome.

Statement by Justin Paglino

I am running again for the U.S. House of Representatives, for the seat currently held by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and I anticipate that my name will be on the ballot in November 2022. I intend to once again seek the nomination of the Green Party of Connecticut.

The factors that spurred my initial decision to run for this office are unchanged. Our national healthcare system still makes healthcare unaffordable for vast swaths of Americans. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support single-payer Medicare for All, the reform that would save $500 billion dollars and 70,000 lives each year. Recently New Haven passed a resolution declaring its support for Medicare for All, yet our representative in Congress is still not a cosponsor.

Our national energy policy is still completely inadequate to address the severe threat of climate change. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support the carbon tax and dividend policy we need to finally put a real limiting force on our untamed carbon emissions, while making the transition to sustainable energy affordable for all. Our nation still grotesquely over-spends on the military budget, and the City of New Haven recently passed a resolution declaring this to be the case. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, who voted against a 10% cut to the Pentagon budget, I support a 50% budget cut, with just transition programs in place to keep defense industry employees employed. We are in more need of windmill blades at this time than helicopter blades, but the skill sets to make these do overlap significantly.

Our nation’s runaway economic inequality continues to hurt. Although I give credit to Rep. DeLauro for fighting for the child tax credit, I would go further and call for a Federal Jobs guarantee and Universal Basic Income, as more progressive members of Congress have already done and Rep. DeLauro has not.

Our nation’s politics are deeply corrupted by corporate interests. Unlike Rep. DeLauro I accept no special interest money, only funding from individuals. Our two-party system discourages voters from voting their values, but I encourage voters to do exactly that, because if you don’t vote for something, you’ll never get it. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support Ranked Choice Voting, a reform that eliminates the spoiler effect and thus will allow multiparty democracy to flourish.

Please visit my website at justin4all.org to sign up for my newsletter, or to contribute to this campaign for healthcare, climate, peace, economic justice, and uncorrupted multi-party democracy.

Thank you.

Prescription for Whose Peace Of Mind?

Joan Cavanagh, Member, Second Thoughts Connecticut

Seven activists identifying as “Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide” presented an alternative viewpoint at a screening of Prescription for Peace of Mind: An Option for the Terminally Ill at the New Haven Free Public Library on Wednesday, August 11.

With signs reading “Suicide is Not a Medical Treatment” and “Medical Assisted Suicide threatens the elderly, the poor, the disabled, you,” they passed out leaflets with nine reasons to oppose legislation allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients they deem “terminally ill.” Five went inside to raise their objections directly to the two filmmakers. The screening was sparsely attended.

Presented as part of the New Haven Documentary Film Series, the film makes no pretense of objectivity. In addition to the three individuals whose very sad stories are told, family members who have spoken in support of Medical Assisted Suicide (MAS) are also interviewed at length. In a statement perhaps unintended to be so revealing, one family member, a nurse who also attended the screening, said that her reason for supporting the legislation is that the hospice care for her dying father was so inadequate and unhelpful.

The film also features Compassion and Choices Connecticut Field Director Tim Appleton and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D., Fairfield), long-time prime movers of MAS legislation in Connecticut. The voices of disability justice and other activists who testify before our state legislature annually and work continually to educate about the dangers of MAS are nowhere to be heard.

The five challenged this glaring and deliberate omission and discussed the dangers of MAS in detail, recounting painful personal stories of unyielding institutional pressure by the medical system to end life-sustaining treatment for their own loved ones. They cited cost-cutting imperatives by hospitals and insurance companies combined with prejudice against the disabled, the elderly, and the poor as twin threats that can only be further enabled by this legislation.

The most recent Assisted Suicide bill in Connecticut was voted out of the Public Health Committee for the first time in 2021, moving to the Judiciary Committee which chose not to bring it to a vote. Opponents fear another bill will be introduced next year.

SAVE THE DATE for an upcoming event Saturday, Oct. 2. “NOT DEAD YET” community sing-along and speak-out with Anita Cameron, Director of Minority Out-reach at Not Dead Yet (notdeadyet.org) and other invited speakers to be announced. NHFPL Community Program Room, 2-4 p.m., 133 Elm St. Fully accessible; masks required. Details  joan.cavanagh@gmail.com.

Hundreds March to Demand Citizenship for Essential Immigrant Workers on May Day

Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción

Banging pots and pans, three hundred marched to demand a path to citizenship for essential immigrant workers in the streets of downtown New Haven.  There were speeches and live music by salsa and mariachi groups on the New Haven Green till 7 p.m.

“People should have a living wage no matter where they come from, their race, their ethnicity, whether they have documents or not,” Mayor Justin Elicker told the crowd in Spanish. “People should have health insurance and paid sick days so that they can care for their families, so that they can support the community. Until we have that, we don’t have a full community that supports everyone.

“We may be essential in your words, but we are dispensable in your actions,” said Max Cisneros of the New Haven Pride Center. “We maintained your society in the worst days of the pandemic, and we deserve equal rights and citizenship. It’s only right. It’s only fair.”

“We want Biden to move forward with immigration reform,” said Kica Matos, former deputy mayor of New Haven and currently Vice President of Initiatives at Vera Institute for Justice. “We are tired of platitudes. I want the President of the United States to affirmatively move forward to fight for legalization, protection and justice for immigrants.”

Undocumented immigrants are disproportionately represented in the “essential” industries that have suffered the highest rates of COVID mortality.[1] These deaths are not accidental, but they have been produced by anti-worker and anti-immigrant policies that have been deliberately advanced at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure that immigrant labor is super-exploitable and to exclude immigrants from health protections and safety nets including the CARES Act stimulus payments.

As President Biden makes the case for a national economic recovery that will invest in life-saving public infrastructure, protesters on May 1 responded by demanding a recovery that includes citizenship and full equal rights for the immigrant workers who have sacrificed for this country.

[1] National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “Honoring The Fallen: An NDLON Report on the Impacts of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic on Immigrant Workers and People of Color in the United States.” April 28, 2021. https://ndlon.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Honrando-a-los-Caidos.-Honoring-the-Fallen..pdf

Contact: megan@ulanewhaven.org, (203) 479-2959.

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