The current Gifted and Talented program offers accelerated classes and a specialized advanced curriculum for students who qualify via a test taken at 4 years old. Photo Credit: AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File
October 13, 2021

Media Contact:
Sabrina Rezzy
Gifted & Talented Program Phasing Out: Replaced by 'Brilliant NYC' Plan

Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Feds To Provide At-Home Covid-19 Tests; Vaccine Exemptions for Health Care Workers; Increase in SNAP Benefit for October; and More!
Brooklyn Daily Eagle - Brooklyn state reps, mayor back DOT on expanding speed cameras to 24/7. Read more here.
Photo Credit: Office of the Governor
  • Governor Hochul announced that all New Yorkers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will receive the maximum allowable level of food benefits for October; which also includes those who already received their maximum level of benefits. Read more here.
  • According to Governor Hochul, 3% of health care staff are out of jobs over COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Read more here.
  • The governor signed legislation (S.343-A/A.3412-A) classifying certain threats to report a person's immigration status as extortion or coercion under New York law.
  • The governor visited John Jay College and signed legislation (S.911/A.2354, S.1795/A.533, S.2523/A.868, S.6044/A.128S.7228/A.5511) aimed toward reducing drug-related overdose deaths across New York State and encouraging those suffering from addiction to seek help in their recovery.
  • The governor announced that pediatricians should prepare to give COVID shots. Read more here.
Photo Credit: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a state-of-the-art girls’ empowerment center and community hub in the Brownsville Multi-Service Center.
  • This $120 million investment will assist in renovating the building into a home for science, technology, art, dance, and cultural programming for young girls across the borough. Read more here.
  • The mayor appointed Annabel Palma as commissioner and chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. Read more here.
  • The mayor announced the discontinuation of the gifted and talented program, which will be replaced with Brilliant NYC. Read more here.
President Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus pandemic on Jan. 26. Also pictured at left is Jeffrey Zients, head of the Biden administration's COVID-19 task force. Photo Credit: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images
  • The Biden administration plans to spend $1 billion to supply 200 million at-home Covid-19 tests by the end of the year. Read more here.
  • The Labor Department reported that 194,000 jobs have been made available.
  • There was also a drop in women labor participation, suggesting that many working mothers are still caring for children at home; while men labor participation was unchanged. Read more here.
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Senator Chuck Schumer Pastor Sam Nicholas, Councilmember Farah Louis and Jackson at the Evangelical Crusade Christian Church ribbon cutting
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Senator Chuck Schumer & Councilmember Farah Louis with the community
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Senator Chuck Schumer, & Councilmember Farah Louis
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn with Lu-Shawn Thompson and others at the street co-naming of Kenneth P. Thompson
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, and Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo at the street co-naming of Kenneth P. Thompson
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn with Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez
Audience of people that came out to honor Kenneth P. Thompson
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn attends African Restaurant Week
Starting Thursday, October 7, 2021, applications will be accepted for the Landlord Rental Assistance Program (LRAP) which provides rental assistance for landlords whose tenants are unwilling to apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), including where the tenant has left the rental property.
Booster shots are available for people who got a Pfizer vaccination over 6 months ago. Learn more and see if you’re eligible here.
After a disaster, scam artists often attempt to take advantage of disaster survivors. FEMA encourages survivors to watch for and report any suspicious activity.
  • Email:
  • Call: 1-866-223-0814
  • Fax: 202-212-4926
NHS Brooklyn is providing assistance to disabled Brooklyn veterans who own a home and needs modifications in order for them to continue to live independently.
  • Modifications include:
  • Wheelchair Ramps, Lifts, Roll-in-showers, Door widening.
  • Applications are processed on a first-come, first served basis.
  • Contact:
  • Angella Cummings, Director of Operation
  • Email:
  • Phone: 718-469-4679
  • Victims of Hurricane Ida in parts of New York and New Jersey now have until January 3, 2022, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. Read more here.
  • Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area can get a faster refund by claiming losses related to the disaster on the tax return for the previous year, usually by filing an amended return.
  • The IRS offers audio presentations on Planning for Disaster.
  • These presentations discuss business continuity planning, insurance coverage, record keeping and other tips to stay in business after a major disaster. Read more here.
If you have not applied for the Excluded Workers Fund and believe you are eligible, you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications are being reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis." Click here to apply.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) portal is accessible to applicants with household incomes between 80 percent and 120 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).
  • This state funded benefit will be made available to applicants in a manner similar to the federal ERAP. Additional information may be found here.
If you or someone you love would like to schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit here or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).
New York State is partnering with counties to provide in-home vaccinations for those who can't travel to a vaccine provider for medical or nonmedical reasons.

Mutual Aid NYC is providing food assistance, resources, and other services. To get more information call their hotline at which you can call at 646-437-8080.
The NYC Small Business Resource Network is a unique private/public partnership that provides our local businesses with the free, personalized guidance they need right now to survive the pandemic. If you have a small business, you can sign up for this network today.

Once you fill out the brief intake form, you will be matched with a business support specialist. Through this program, all five borough Chambers of Commerce have specialists offering one-on-one support to businesses in their boroughs.
The program is funded by a $2.8 million grant from the New York City-based Peter G. Peterson Foundation and supported by in-kind contributions from other partners, this collaboration, led by the Partnership for New York City, the NYC Economic Development Corporation and all five Chambers of Commerce, leverages the city’s corporate, financial and professional services sectors, as well as universities, philanthropies and expert volunteers to help small business owners gain access to a range of programs and services.
Photo Credit: Pixabay/CDC
  • Notify NYC: Beware of COVID-19 scams!
  • Report price gouging to 311 or You can also file a complaint to the Attorney General's office by filling out a complaint form.
  • NYS Price Gouging Hotline: 800-697-1220.
  • CDC staff will NOT go door-to-door. If you experience this, call 911.
Photo Credit:
Due to the impact of COVID-19 on New York City's workforce, the City of New York has developed a list of resources for those who may be unemployed due to COVID-19 or are seeking additional assistance. The list below will be updated frequently.

It has information on the following categories:
  • Employment Resources
  • Food Assistance
  • Health & Medical Assistance
  • Financial Assistance
  • Rent Arrears and Public Assistance
  • Emotional Support & Spiritual Care
  • Other Assistance

Visit this website for resources.

NYS Department of Health Hotline for people who want to be assessed and get appointment for test (888-364-3065). NYC residents should call (844-692-4692).

Free Internet Services:
Charter is offering free spectrum broadband and WiFi access for 60 days to household with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have Spectrum broadband subscription. To enroll, call 844-488-8395.
Until further notice, all Xfinity WiFi Public Hotspots are now open to everyone on the "xfinitywifi" SSID. For more information visit here.

The Hebrew Educational Society in partnership with MET Council has a food pantry that is open to all. To reserve a spot, visit here.
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn covering Ditmas Park, Flatbush, East Flatbush and Midwood. She is currently the Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), Chair of the Task Force on Women's Issues and serves on the following committees: Housing, Government Operations, Education, Banks, Health, and Higher Education. She also sits on Governor Cuomo's Domestic Violence Advisory Council and Mayor De Blasio's MWBE Task Force.

As a current Assemblymember, District Leader, and Chair of Brooklyn Democratic Party, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn has been an outspoken advocate on issues concerning immigration, education, economic development, unemployment, education reform, health care access, senior citizen centers, affordable housing, school safety, women's and LGBTQ rights, as well as other issues affecting the quality of life in the community.

Learn more about 
Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn by visiting her websites: