Lawmakers are asking the mayor and the FDNY to give EMS workers alternate housing so they don't have to risk bringing coronavirus home.
Apr 3, 2020
NEW YORK, NY — The city should provide alternate housing for emergency medical service workers who have resorted to sleeping in their cars instead of risking infecting their families with the new coronavirus, lawmakers said this week. A group of 18 elected officials are urging Mayor Bill de Blasio and the FDNY to find alternate housing for EMS workers so that they don't have to risk bringing the coronavirus home to their families, according to a letter sent Tuesday by seven state assembly members and 11 state senators.
The group of lawmakers, led by Brooklyn state Sen. Andrew Gounardes, contend that the city can use extra space at fire stations or an existing "Share Your Space" program that is already being used for the city's hospital workers for EMS staff, too.
"The men and women of EMS, risking their lives every day, deserve the peace of mind afforded to other health care workers," the lawmakers wrote. "They go home afraid they'll pass the virus onto their loved ones, or more often than not, to stem the tide of infection, resort to sleeping in their cars before risking spread of infection to family members."
The Share Your Space program, run by the city's Emergency Management Department, uses a survey to identify spaces that can be used to help emergency operations or for community events. It has recently been asking organizations, businesses or residents in New York City to register their spaces to specifically be used during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some private hotels, like the Four Seasons in Midtown owned by Hotelier Ty Warner, have already offered up their rooms for free to healthcare workers after New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on private businesses to aid in efforts against coronavirus.
The lawmakers also suggested that space in firehouses and FDNY training facilities could be set up to house the EMS workers, 200 of whom are already sick with coronavirus, according to the letter.
"We must do more and urge you to explore all available housing options for EMS employees that put their lives on the line to protect our city," they wrote.