Legislative & Community Report
to the 42nd Assembly District

Winter/Spring 2012

Preventive Health Care is Vital
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs with Our Lady of Refuge Health Fair co-sponsors: Emmanuel Coffy, CEO of the Haitian American Leadership Council and Dr. Jean Chery of the Haitian Physicians Association Abroad.
Preventive health care was the theme at the Our Lady of Refuge Church Annual Health Fair, where Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs showed her support for our community.  The event, which was co-sponsored by the Haitian Physicians Association Abroad and the Haitian American Leadership Council, attracted hundreds of Brooklynites seeking an array of free health services, including screenings for glaucoma, gastroenterology, podiatry, OB/GYN and mental health, as well as chiropractic services and flu shots.

Ms. Jacobs noted that as Brooklyn continues to recover from the ongoing economic crisis, many families remain unable to afford even basic health care screenings – making it vital that we continue to make these kinds of services available at little or no cost to patients in need.

We must save our Health Care Institutions!

Assemblywoman Jacobs is helping lead the effort to fight the Berger Commission’s recommendation to close two of the most important hospitals in Brooklyn. The Berger Commission, formed by the Governor, was charged with restructuring health care services in Brooklyn and throughout the state. They have recommended closing five hospitals in Brooklyn including SUNY Downstate, which has served the Flatbush/East Flatbush community since 1967, and Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, the only state psychiatric hospital in Brooklyn – the largest borough in New York City.

If Kingsboro closes, the large population of mentally challenged patients and their families would be forced to travel over two hours to Staten Island via public transportation to secure needed services.  Due to the severity of their illnesses, many of these patients could get lost in the system, as they are unable to navigate traveling by themselves.  It would also be an undue burden on family members in assisting their loved ones in accessing quality care.

If these hospitals close, specifically Kingsboro, thousands of Brooklynites (and others), both inpatients and outpatients, will have their ongoing treatment disrupted and many will lose access to quality care.  In addition, health care workers and mental health professionals could lose their jobs.

The Governor’s budget proposes language to allow the Office of Mental Health (OMH) to close the Kingsboro Psychiatric Center.  The budget also gives OMH the authority to consolidate children’s psychiatric centers in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, and it further gives OMH the authority to close or downsize any other mental health facility without giving the required 12 months prior notice.

As the state budget process progresses, Ms. Jacobs and the entire Brooklyn Legislative Delegation are working together to save these institutions from ill-advised closure.  The Assemblywoman passionately believes that closing Kingsboro (and SUNY Downstate) would further damage Brooklyn’s economy by creating massive job losses and inflicting more harm to the already distressed quality of life for patients, their families and the community.

Assemblywoman Jacobs continues to fight on behalf of our community, working to persuade the Governor that this budget proposal is harmful and the wrong thing to do.

Assemblywoman Jacobs Community Service Offices:
2294 Nostrand Ave. • Brooklyn, NY 11210
(718) 434-0446
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 AM - 5 PM
Fridays 10 AM - 2 PM
1414 Cortelyou Rd. • Brooklyn, NY 11226
(718) 940-0428
Hours: Thursdays 10 AM - 5 PM
Always available by appointment if necessary.

Assemblywoman Jacobs tours
Caribbean American Family Health Center

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, a long-time proponent of preventive health care, once again demonstrated her commitment to health and wellness in a recent visit to Lutheran Family Health Centers’ Caribbean-American Family Health Center, where she had the opportunity to tour the facility and see the operation in action.

According to Claudya C. Verdiner, the Center’s Director, they provide approximately 33,000 Flatbush residents with a wide range of health care services at a fraction of the usual cost. Fees for patients without insurance are based on a sliding income scale.

Verdiner, who comes from a family with a long history of service to the Haitian and Caribbean communities, is following in the footsteps of her late grandmother, Evangeliste Fernande Valmé, through her work.

Assemblywoman Jacobs emphasized that, “the Caribbean-American Family Health Center is a tremendous asset to the Caribbean community in Flatbush, that provides accessible and affordable health care. People rely on the social and medical services they provide, especially in the current economic climate.” Ms. Jacobs firmly believes that we need to ensure that programs like those provided by the Lutheran Family Health Centers continue to be made available to people who cannot afford, or do not have regular access to, medical services.

The Caribbean-American Family Health Center is located at 3414 Church Avenue between East 34th and East 35th Streets in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. It is open Monday through Saturday and medical appointments can also be arranged in advance by calling 718-630-2197.

Jacobs supports creation of a
Haitian Family Reunification Parole program

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, with Assemblymember Nick Perry and others, is jointly introducing a legislative resolution urging the Department of Homeland Security to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. This would benefit Haitians recovering from the 2010 earthquake by allowing those with approved family-sponsored immigrant visa petitions to come to the United States. The City Council has already passed a resolution in support of this effort.

New York City has the highest Haitian population in the nation, with thousands who live and work right here in the 42nd Assembly District. The catastrophic earthquake in Haiti in 2010 rightfully raised the concerns of New York Haitian families about the well-being of their family members back home. In response, President Obama issued an Executive Order granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to eligible nationals and then added an 18-month extension.

Ms. Jacobs with City Council member Dr. Mathieu Eugene.

To further assist Haitians still in need and who are being helped by TPS, Assemblywoman Jacobs and her colleagues are calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to utilize the Immigration and Nationality Act’s humanitarian parole authority to allow Haitians with approved visas to immigrate to this country without having to wait 11 years or more.

The Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program would expedite family reunification and discourage illegal and unsafe means of migration by permitting Haitian beneficiaries of approved family-based immigrant petitions to wait in the United States, rather than in Haiti, for their visa priority dates to become current. This would provide much needed and deserved peace of mind to Haitian families.

This resolution is expected to pass the Assembly during this Legislative Session and a copy would be provided to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

‘Raise the Wage, NY’
Website and Online Petition Launched

Ms. Jacobs joins Assembly Speaker Silver and Stuart Applebaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
A new website, raisethewageNY.com, has been established to give the public access to important information regarding the Assembly Majority’s legislation to raise the minimum wage in New York State and build grassroots support for the plan.

The legislation, of which Ms. Jacobs is a co-sponsor, would raise the minimum wage in New York from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour for minimum-wage workers and from $5.00 to $5.86 per hour for tip-workers starting January 2013.  Additionally, the minimum wage would be linked to the rate of inflation beginning January 2014 (A.9148).

Via this new website, Brooklyn families can now get the need-to-know facts about raising the minimum wage in New York. The petition gives them the opportunity to show their support for this issue.

Ms. Jacobs emphasizes that New York isn’t typically a state that lags behind, but rather one that leads by example and that providing hardworking families with a fair wage for full-time work is vital to our economic rebound. It’s time we restore the spirit of shared prosperity and fairness by rewarding those who work.

The Assemblywoman firmly believes that raising the minimum wage not only benefits our workers, but also our small businesses and local economies. Increasing New Yorkers’ purchasing power will have substantial short- and long-term benefits, including giving a much-needed boost to Brooklyn’s economy.

To learn more about the “Raise the Wage, NY” campaign, or to sign the petition, please visit raisethewageNY.com or call (718) 434-0446.

Assemblywoman Jacobs speaks to youth about
Civic Responsibility
Jacobs supports the Brooklyn College Community Partnership

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, a long-time champion for Brooklyn’s underserved youth, recently spoke before a hundred young people at a Brooklyn College Community Partnership (BCCP) celebration.  The event was a formal acknowledgment ceremony to thank the TransCanada Corporation for a $20,000 grant towards BCCP’s youth development activities.

Ms. Jacobs emphasized the importance of voting and being an active, informed member of the community. “The youth have the power to change the community, the country and the world,” she said.

“Organizations like BCCP encourage young people to believe in themselves and their academic and professional promise,” said Assemblywoman Jacobs.  “I take pride in helping to foster a sense of civic responsibility amongst youngsters and impress upon them that political participation and awareness are keys to a brighter future,” Ms. Jacobs added.


The BCCP, founded in 1994, is a youth development organization which serves dozens of schools in Brooklyn, providing academic support, recreational activities and an array of after school programs to about 1,500 local students per year.

BCCP’s services, under the leadership of constituent and Director Diane Reiser, are particularly geared towards exposing young people to college, aiding them in the college application process, and providing them with academic support, such as tutoring and SAT prep, as well as mentorship.

Assemblywoman Jacobs to Governor Cuomo:
Support CUNY/SUNY Child Care!

Quality child care is essential for many college students. Flexible, on-campus care and education for the children of these students is required during the day, in the evening and on weekends. CUNY/SUNY’s licensed, campus-based child care programs provide services to thousands of student-parents and their children. Campus centers provide flexible infant-toddler, pre-kindergarten, after-school, evening and weekend programs.

The child care programs offered at CUNY/SUNY campuses provide a wide range of services that enhance the life of both student-parent and child. Participating children receive early childhood education services provided by state certified educators enabling student-parents to pursue a high quality education that will help their families upon graduation. As one of the creators of this vital program, Ms. Jacobs knows first hand how it is truly an investment in human and economic development.

This is why Assemblywoman Jacobs has sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Silver to fight for full funding for this vital service. Ms. Jacobs is encouraging supporters of quality child care to contact the Governor’s office expressing their support for full funding of CUNY/SUNY child care in this year’s final state budget. UPDATE: As this newsletter goes to print, Ms. Jacobs is pleased to report that the Assembly’s one-house budget proposal includes a full restoration of funding for the CUNY/SUNY Child Care program.

To contact the Governor go to http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php
or by phone at (518) 474-8390.
You can also write to:
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Senior Centers Saved – For Now

A campaign launched by Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs and her colleagues earlier this year to preserve funding for Senior Centers has thus far been a success.  As part of his 2012-2013 Executive Budget proposal, Governor Cuomo announced that, unlike last year, funding for senior centers will not be eliminated in his budget.

Ms. Jacobs believes that the Governor’s announcement shows it is possible for citizens to take a stand on the issues that concern them and make a real difference. The Assembly and the Governor heard the collective voice of our community, and as a result, we had a real impact on the Governor’s budget proposal.

According to the Assemblywoman, had state funding been cut, approximately 105 senior centers in New York City would have been forced to close their doors, including the Hazel Brooks Senior Center, Midwood Senior League Satellite, and the Dorchester Senior Center, all located within the 42nd Assembly District.

The Assemblywoman will continue to advocate for our seniors and, as the budget process moves forward, will work to ensure that this funding is preserved in the final state budget.

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs helps UFT/Teachers/Kids,Brooklyn Children’s Museum celebrate successful partnership

Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, a long-time champion for early childhood education, joined the United Federation of Teachers on January 26th at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum to show her support for Brooklyn’s children and their educators.


The event marked the second year of a partnership between the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and New York City public schools, which will enable Title I schools (grades 2-8) to take advantage of free field trips to the museum thanks to a grant from the Target corporation.  Title I is the largest federal aid program for public elementary schools, middle schools and high schools with the highest levels of poverty in the nation.  There are eight Title I schools in the 42nd Assembly District.

Brooklyn teachers, educators and others found themselves traveling around the globe and through space, as they explored the museum’s dozens of hands-on exhibits.  They also had the opportunity to acquaint themselves with over 23 different science and cultural programs the museum offers for students in Pre-K through 8th grade, including those with special needs.

Ms. Jacobs pointed out that this is a terrific opportunity for Brooklyn schools to enhance their curriculums and educational programs in the midst of tight budgets and limited resources.