Council Agenda and a Call to Action!

Hi all,

It is a beautiful spring day today. Open a window, go for a walk, and take a minute to step outside and appreciate the sun. As we continue to isolate ourselves, it is important to think about our own mental health and do what we can within our control: take care of ourselves and each other as best we can. 

I continue to be humbled and appreciative of the outpouring of community good will – from folks sewing up a storm, making masks for health care workers, grocery workers, and neighbors to Harvard and MIT donating $250,000 each for the homeless shelter we are opening at the War Memorial – we are indeed a fortunate, lucky and generous community.  

This week’s email will consist of a summary of the agenda for tonight’s (remote) meeting, a list of city resources for those in need, and two calls to action!

First, a call to action:

The Spot is a donation site for CPSD families in need. The coordinator has asked me to put out a call for diapers – please, please consider helping if you are able. These materials go straight to families in our city that are in dire situations right now and basic supplies go a very long way. If you are at Target, Walmart, or Costco and able to get diapers, we can coordinate a porch pick-up. Otherwise, here is their “wish list” on Amazon.

Second call to action:

I have co-sponsored two orders (PO #67 and #68) to help open up streets around the city to pedestrians and bikes during the pandemic so people can safely get some time outside as we spend our days in isolation. I have read up on the issue and conferred with public health experts – the fact is, people are still going outside to exercise and we need to make sure there is enough space to do so safely. As long as people are advised to go outside, to get fresh air and exercise while staying physically distant, we need to provide as much space as possible for people.  The orders were delayed by charter right last week so we are voting on them tonight. Please sign up for public comment and share your thoughts! (Here are more of my thoughts).

Council Agenda Overview

City Manager’s Agenda:
 #3: Funding for the First Church in Cambridge Shelter

The City Manager has brought forward $16,620 to fund daytime operations at the First Church in Cambridge Shelter. This will help keep the shelter open during the day (normally it is only open for people to stay at night) to ensure people can safely distance themselves.

#4: COVID-19 General Update

The Manager will give a general update about the COVID-19 response with time provided for the council to ask questions.

The city has communicated daily on updates – if you haven’t signed up for the email updates, you can do so here.  There are several areas I think it is important to know in addition to the updates covered in the daily emails.  I plan to ask how we are communicating with folks without access to email, how we are coordinating with other cities (Mayor Siddiqui has been in many meetings about a regional response – I am grateful for her leadership and look forward to hearing any relevant updates),  and whether the guidance on essential businesses is being reviewed and compliance is being enforced. Any other questions you have, please send them on.

Charter right:

#2 & #3: Street Closure Requests

These two policy orders were delayed last week because Councilor Simmons exercised her charter right. They will be voted on tonight – click here to read my thoughts and see my answers to a few questions that have arisen. I am looking forward to these passing and giving people much needed space to get outside safely for short periods of time.

Resolutions:

#2: Thanking the CRLS Black Student Union

I put this video in my Good News(letter) on Friday, but if you didn’t get a chance to see it, here it is! Thanks to the Black Student Union for doing this.

Policy Orders:

#1: COVID-19 Financial Impact Summary

Last week we passed a policy order, which I was happy to support, on exactly this question.  It is important that we understand the ramifications of our decisions, and know how it may affect our ability to fund the range of services we provide.  I do not know why this order has been filed.  

#2: Update on the Senior Luncheon

#3: Housing the Homeless During COVID-19 

#4: Expanding Tax-filing and Stimulus Benefit Assistance to Low-income and Unhoused Residents

Resources:

Local Business:

  • The Community Development Department announced that applications were available for small businesses seeking relief from losses due to the outbreak. Any applicant that meets the eligibility requirements can apply to receive a grant up to $6,000 per brick and mortar business. More information, including eligibility guidelines, can be found here

  • In the meantime, support local business by getting take out! See which ones are open here

Food assistance:

  • The city and Food for Free have set up the Cambridge Community Food Line (617-349-9155), a food item delivery service for Cambridge residents who are at high risk of food insecurity. This is an amazing resource – please share with anyone in need! Details here.

Child care

  • Emergency child care centers are available for workers on the front lines of this outbreak. Currently there are 400 programs that can serve 8,000 children in Massachusetts, including two locations in Cambridge which can be found here.

Seniors:

  • It is vital that residents over the page of 60, especially those with underlying health conditions, practice thorough personal hygiene and safe social distancing. Here is a list of resources the city has compiled, but please reach out to me directly if you cannot find something you need on this list.

For all of us:

Our mailing address is:
Councilor Patty Nolan 
184 Huron Ave
Cambridge, MA
02138