Moya calls for emergency relief fund to help finance death arrangements of COVID-19 victims

A paramedic wheels a patient into Elmhurst Hospital during outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York
REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

As a lifelong resident of Corona, Councilman Francisco Moya has watched as his neighborhood has been ravaged by the coronavirus, along with Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and LeFrak City which he currently represents.

Now, Moya is calling for the immediate creation of an emergency relief fund to help low-income families whose loved ones have died from COVID-19 make death arrangements.

“One of the most heartbreaking issues that constituents are calling me about is what to do when their loved one dies suddenly and unexpectedly from COVID-19 and they don’t have the financial resources to make arrangements,” Moya said. “These families have two options: burial or cremation. For families that can’t afford the $925 cremation expense, let alone the cost of burial, where can they turn? We need a government solution. I’m calling on the city to immediately create an emergency relief fund to help families cover the arrangements of all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, who  die from COVID-19.”

Moya has spent much of the coronavirus emergency resupplying Elmhurst Hospital with personal protection equipment. He is the former director of Business Development at the overwhelmed facility.

“When we say ‘we’re all in this together,’ we mean it,” Moya said. “That means not abandoning our friends, neighbors and fellow New Yorkers in their time of grief and need.”

The de Blasio administration was busy debunking reports that the city would use park space for temporary burials of COVOD-19 victims and morgues and funeral homes are currently at capacity. Councilman Mark Levine, the chair of the Health Committee, sparked the reporting tweeting that temporary internment in parks for caskets 10 in a row would be dignified.

‘We are NOT currently planning to use parks as a burial ground,” de Blasio Press Secretary Freddi Goldstein clarified in a tweet. “We are exploring using Hart Island for temporary burials if the need grows.”

For more than 150 years, Hart Island has served as a Potter’s Field where more than a million indigent New Yorkers and victims of the AIDS epidemic were buried. It lies in the western Long Island Sound off the coast of the Bronx just east of City Island.

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