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COVID-19 Updates

This week, as we send you our monthly update, the 2020 Census count has been extended until October 31st. To support a final push for Census completions in Sunset Park, CFL’s outreach team has staffed a table daily since September 9th, both in front of our main office and on 5th Avenue. We are grateful to our Census team and their efforts to #MakeSunsetParkCount! 

Have you completed your Census? Visit to complete yours today! 

Center for Family Life’s commitment during this volatile and uncertain time is to innovate and demonstrate models of practice that are scalable and relevant to the fluid post-COVID recovery environment that we will be experiencing throughout FY21. We are poised to quickly and efficiently stand up pilot projects and model programs that demonstrate innovative approaches to providing safe and enriching programming for all ages of children, youth, and adults. While the prospect of service provision in this highly uncertain environment may appear daunting, we are excited to lean into this moment and to provide examples and models that others across our city can draw inspiration from and can replicate. We view this as our responsibility and are eager to show how CFL is uniquely positioned and uniquely able to provide innovative and creative solutions to the pressing needs and realities that our community faces in this extraordinary time.

We are pleased to share the program updates below. We hope that these highlights provide a glimpse into CFL’s dynamic response to the challenges posed by this volatile, uncertain time. Please note that new developments from this week are identified with italicized text.

Center for Family Life’s main office remains open at this time at 443 39th Street, Brooklyn. We are working to maintain all services upon which our community depends, while also following the evolving health and safety guidelines and social distancing.

Youth Programming

  • Starting October 5th, Center for Family Life will be operating free in-person after school programs for students who have selected Blended Learning at six Sunset Park elementary schools — PS 1, PS 169, PS 94, PS 971, PS 503, and PS 506 – and at two middle schools — MS 136 Dewey and MS 821 Sunset Park Prep. We are excited to offer programs Monday – Friday, starting at school dismissal and running until 6:00 pm. We will provide daily homework help and a variety of activities, including art, dance, sports, music instruction, and food justice projects. When not on-site for in-person activities, all participants will have access to a diverse menu of online interactive activities via Zoom.
  • At Sunset Park High School, the staff made contact with the families of over 200 incoming 9th graders at SPHS to welcome them to the new school year. To ease the transition to high school, reduce social isolation, and build community, we launched a virtual community building for all 9th graders facilitated by our staff. A virtual kickoff for our afterschool program was held on 9/24 and an outdoor socially distanced launch event was held on October 1st in the schoolyard.

Community Resource Center

  • Programs at our Community Resource Center, including our Benefits Access (formerly Single Stop) program, our satellite Human Resources Administration program, our health insurance enrollment program, and our ActionNYC immigration legal services program, continue to operate on a remote access basis via phone.
  • In response to increased community demand and thanks to the donations of our generous supporters, CFL’s Food Pantry continues to operate with expanded hours– Monday 10 AM – 1 PM, Tuesday 10 AM – 1 PM, Wednesday 11 AM – 1 PM, Thursday 11 AM – 1 PM, and Friday 10 AM – 1 PM — and is now distributing over 10,000 meals per week! Packages are being prepared in our pantry and distributed outside with clients observing 6 foot distancing in line. Mondays are designated Seniors Only days at the food pantry to reduce wait times for Sunset Park’s older residents. Thanks to our close ties to public and private funders, who value our deep ties to the Sunset Park community and our on-the-ground response to the COVID-19 crisis, CFL has leveraged over $1 million in funding for client cash assistance, much of which is designated for individuals who are ineligible for federal stimulus payments.
  • CFL is a Trusted Enroller for GetFoodNYC, an emergency food delivery program developed by New York City in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is able to directly enroll our clients in the program.
  • Thanks to the generous gift of a private donor, CFL is now providing fresh milk and eggs with each food package we distribute. We anticipate being able to serve an additional 5,000 families with these staples in the coming months. Since August, 402 families have received milk and eggs in addition to a regular food package from the pantry. Donate to CFL’s food pantry here.

Adult Employment Program

  • In our Adult Employment Program, our ESOL program, job placement services, assistance with unemployment claims, and case management through our Immigrant Families and Healthy Families programs continue to serve existing and newly enrolled clients remotely via phone, video conferencing, and email as appropriate. We continue to develop resources to share with our clients, including a PowerPoint presentation on accessing unemployment benefits available in English, Spanish, and Chinese and a Google Form to record requests for information from the Adult Employment team on applying for unemployment benefits or accessing job placement services. Click here to join our mailing list for weekly updates from AEP.
  • Last week, CFL’s new ESOL/Civics classes launched with a morning session and an evening session. This new initiative is supported by the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). 
  • In celebration of Workforce Development Month (September), we would like to recognize our incredible AEP team whose tireless work ensured that there was no gap in responding to our community’s requests for services during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also grateful for all of the employers who have continued to partner with CFL to offer employment opportunities to our clients. 

Cooperative Development Program

  • CFL’s Cooperative Development Program (CDP) and worker coops continue to meet virtually, and our staff continues to support coop worker-owners in accessing various forms of relief, including the Payroll Protection Program, researching potential new business lines, and offering OSHA training that will allow workers to safely expand their business into Proactive Coronavirus Disinfection Care.
  • CFL’s Cooperative Development Program is proud to announce that we are one of the 12 awardees of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund’s Opportunity Challenge. The award will allow us to expand the Brightly franchise model beyond NYC. Please read the official announcement here, and check out the wonderful video they put together.
  • The CDP team hosted the official Virtual Launch Celebration of Brightly Washington Heights on October 1, 2020. We’re so proud to celebrate the incredible journey of the fourth Brightly cooperative and its worker-owners.

Family Counseling Program

  • Our child maltreatment prevention services, funded by the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), including our ACS/Beacon services jointly funded by the NYC Administration for Children’s Services and the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, continues to provide service to our families. Weekly contacts are being made in person when advised, and via video using WhatsApp or FaceTime and phone calls. Case planners and/or supervisors have been in contact with all enrolled families at this time, and we have reopened intake and to accept new families into our program. All casework staff is receiving ongoing training in the Mobility Mentoring practice model, and evidence-informed practice framework that focuses on the achievement of economic as well as domestic stability, to guide their work in supporting families to achieve wellbeing, and all activities and contact notes are being entered into the PROMIS and Connections systems, as required by the NYC Administration for Children’s Services.
  • To better support our Family Counseling participants and their families during this uncertain time, the Family Counseling team will be hosting four parenting support groups, two in Spanish and two in Mandarin. Sessions will begin in October and will address the particular challenges of supporting children in their remote learning, among other concerns.

Census 2020 Outreach

  • To ensure a complete and accurate count in Sunset Park, CFL’s 2020 Census outreach team continues to encourage community residents to self-complete the Census via technology-enabled outreach and communications, including text messaging, email, and social media.
  • CFL staff participated in several Census events over the course of September, including a Community Back to School Fair organized by South Brooklyn Mutual Aid, a “Get On Board” event organized by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s office on September 21 to connect with MTA bus riders at stops in Sunset Park to encourage census completion, and a Census outreach event conducted in partnership with the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs on September 24. 

Test & Trace

  • Along with 2020 Census information, CFL’s Test & Trace staff provides COVID-19 information and resources at a table in front of CFL’s main offices daily. Staff members are providing information on the importance of testing and maintaining appropriate health precautions to food pantry clients and are including COVID-19 information when fielding phone calls from current CFL clients and people interested in CFL’s services. Staff additionally update information weekly on testing sites closest to the Sunset Park neighborhood and encourage all residents to seek testing.

We will do our best to provide timely updates to our Facebook page as things change. With gratitude and appreciation for our supporters, we hope that you and yours stay safe and healthy at this time.

Last year, we placed


youth in employment, subsidized employment or internships


of young adults in foster care (18+) are enrolled in school or working

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