ABAAT Helps Expands COVID-19 Response

In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, A Block at a Time (ABAAT), in partnership with the New York State Minorities in Criminal Justice Inc (NYSMICJ) – Region 3, is expanding their COVID-19 Response action under ABAAT Helps to include those 60-65 and pets of persons in need. This service will work to help persons over 60 and medically at risk residents, in the Albany area, who are unable to go out to get essential items such as food, toiletries, medicine and pet supplies because of health risks connected to COVID-19.

Persons in Need of assistance can call 518-227-0012 and leave a message or email info@abaat.org and a volunteer will contact you as soon as possible. Please include your name, phone number and location in all phone messages and emails.

HELPERS should visit https://abaat.org/covid19/helper/ and fill out the helper form.

Program Guideline

Community members (Persons in Need) who are at increased health risk due to their age or underlying medical condition will be matched with a HELPER who can run errands to gather essential items. Persons in Need will be screened for risk of possible exposure to COVID-19 (questioner) and asked to adhere to program guidelines/purpose. In an attempt to prevent scams, Persons in Need will be given a PN ID Number so that they can verify a HELPER is from ABAAT. The Person in Need and their assigned HELPER will be given a matching PN ID for that days errands. ABAAT will change the code each time a Helper is assigned to a Person in Need.

Responsibilities of Person in Need:

  1. You will interact with HELPERS in a kind and courteous manner.
  2. Have a reasonable shopping list ready.
  3. Have a payment method for the purchase. Cards are preferred but cash will be accepted to ensure you get the needed items.
  4. Have reusable bags for HELPER.

HELPERS will also be screened for risk of exposure (questioner), asked to adhere to program guidelines/purpose and be provided with a unique HELPER ID Number (HIN) so that they can verify a caller is from ABAAT.

Responsibilities of HELPER:

  1. Pick up a shopping errand list from the person in need.
  2. Pick up and maintain control of any payment method provided by the person in need.
  3. Purchase as many items on the list as you are able to find.
  4. To return payment method/change, receipts and items to the person in need within a reasonable period of time on the same day, unless there is an emergency situation.
  5. Only use any payment method they provide to purchase the items they have requested.
  6. Treat the Person in Need in a kind and courteous manner.

ABAAT will take all the precautions that we can but we are just a small group of volunteers working to help our communities. We are not health professionals and cannot guarantee that a Person in Need or a HELPER are not ill. It is expected that anyone who cannot pass the set criteria will not participate in the service. Should an issue come to our attention, we will take immediate action. ABAAT will also work to ensure that all HELPERS and Persons in Need adhere to program guidelines/purpose and do so in a kind and courteous manner. A Block at a Time is a small community group working to become a not-for-profit organization. Our mission is to empower and support people to build stronger communities a block at a time. Over the last year we have worked to help address issues in our community including providing a safe space for the community to be heard following an incident of police misconduct and responding to the victims of a large fire within Albany. We cannot do this without help from others both as volunteers and with donations. Donations can be made online by visiting www.abaat.org/donate, by mail to: ABAAT, P.O. Box 384, Albany NY 12201, Paypal.me/ABlockataTime, CashApp $ABAAT ~OR~ GoFundMe https://bit.ly/abaatGFM

Thank you for supporting our community group. www.facebook.com/ABAAT | Twitter @ABlockataTime

Please be advised participation in this community service is voluntary. By participating in this service you release ABAAT and its volunteers from any liability.

ABAAT Helps Launches COVID-19 Response

UPDATE: Expanded to include persons over 60 and medically compromised (any age) in the Albany ares. Essential items include groceries, toiletries, medicine and pet supplies. Persons in need should call 518-227-0012 and leave a message which will be returned as soon as possible. HELPERS can sign up at https://abaat.org/covid19/helper/.

In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, A Block at a Time (ABAAT) is launching a COVID-19 Response action under ABAAT Helps. This service will work to help persons over 65 and at risk residents who are unable to go out to get essential items such as food, toiletries and medicine because of health risks connected to COVID-19.

Persons in Need of assistance can email ABAAT at info@abaat.org or leave a message at 518-227-0012 and a volunteer will contact you as soon as possible. Please include your name and phone number in all emails and phone messages.

HELPERS should email info@abaat.org with “Helper” in the subject line and include your full name, phone number, area you can respond to and availability.

Program Guideline

Community members (Persons in Need) who are at increased health risk due to their age or underlying medical condition will be matched with a HELPER who can run errands to gather essential items. Persons in Need will be screened for risk of possible exposure to COVID-19 (questioner) and asked to adhere to program guidelines/purpose. In an attempt to prevent scams, Persons in Need will be given a PN ID Number so that they can verify a HELPER is from ABAAT. The Person in Need and their assigned HELPER will be given a matching PN ID for that days errands. ABAAT will change the code each time a Helper is assigned to a Person in Need.

Responsibilities of Person in Need:

  1. You will interact with HELPERS in a kind and courteous manner.
  2. Have a reasonable shopping list ready.
  3. Have a payment method for the purchase. Cards are preferred but cash will be accepted to ensure you get the needed items.
  4. Have reusable bags for HELPER.

HELPERS will also be screened for risk of exposure (questioner), asked to adhere to program guidelines/purpose and be provided with a unique HELPER ID Number (HIN) so that they can verify a caller is from ABAAT.

Responsibilities of HELPER:

  1. Pick up a shopping errand list from the person in need.
  2. Pick up and maintain control of any payment method provided by the person in need.
  3. Purchase as many items on the list as you are able to find.
  4. To return payment method/change, receipts and items to the person in need within a reasonable period of time on the same day, unless there is an emergency situation.
  5. Only use any payment method they provide to purchase the items they have requested.
  6. Treat the Person in Need in a kind and courteous manner.

ABAAT will take all the precautions that we can but we are just a small group of volunteers working to help our communities. We are not health professionals and cannot guarantee that a Person in Need or a HELPER are not ill. It is expected that anyone who cannot pass the set criteria will not participate in the service. Should an issue come to our attention, we will take immediate action. ABAAT will also work to ensure that all HELPERS and Persons in Need adhere to program guidelines/purpose and do so in a kind and courteous manner. A Block at a Time is a small community group working to become a not-for-profit organization. Our mission is to empower and support people to build stronger communities a block at a time. Over the last year we have worked to help address issues in our community including providing a safe space for the community to be heard following an incident of police misconduct and responding to the victims of a large fire within Albany. We cannot do this without help from others both as volunteers and with donations. Donations can be made online by visiting www.abaat.org/donate, by mail to: ABAAT, P.O. Box 384, Albany NY 12201, Paypal.me/ABlockataTime or CashApp $ABAAT.

Thank you for supporting our community group. www.facebook.com/ABAAT | Twitter @ABlockataTime

Please be advised participation in this community service is voluntary. By participating in this service you release ABAAT and its volunteers from any liability.

ABAAT Canceling All Meetings; Panel Discussions to be Live-streamed as of Noon on Thursday, March 12

March 12 at 12:00 pm Update

Due to this morning’s announcement of two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Albany County, A Block At A Time is canceling all meetings and live-streaming future panel discussions. These changes go into effect at 12 pm today (Thursday, March 12) and continue until further notice.

Today’s action is a precautionary measure. We are as disappointed as you are to cancel forums and meetings. ABAAT works hard to plan these programs and we know you enjoy participating in them.

ABAAT is dedicated to serving the public. At this point in time, ABAAT’s main concern is keeping the public safe. 

Community Panel Discussion

This is a FREE EVENT

Topic: New York State Bail Reform

Panel Members: ADA Jennifer McCanney, Special Counsel Christopher Horn, and David Graham from Albany District Attorney’s Office, Kathy Manley, Esq. from the NYCLU and Tina K. Sodhi, Esq., Alternate Public Defender, Albany County Alternate Public Defender’s Office; Jasper Mills, Esq., Mills Law Group.

Thursday, March 5, 2020
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Grand Street Community Arts Center
68 Grand Street, Albany NY

Doors open at 5:30 PM. Open to the public. No questions will be taken during the panel discussion. Time permitting, questions may be taken after the panel discussions. This discussion will be live streamed on Facebook and played over the airways on 107.3 FM

Hosted by:
Dannielle Hille – Co-Founder A Block at Time
Zach Garafalo – Co-Founder A Block at Time
Facebook: /abaat518
Twitter: @ABlockataTime
info@abaat.org

First Thursday of the month Join A Block at a Time and WCAA-LP 107.3 for a Discussion series.

For more information about WCAA-LP and the Grand Street Community Arts Center, visit wcaa@grandarts.org

Please be aware, at this time the Grand Street Community Arts Building is not handicap accessible. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Community Discussion Panel on Consumer Directed Personal Assistance

An Educational Discussion About Consumer Directed Personal Assistance. With guest speakers Denise DiNoto of Consumer Directed Choices, Inc. and Denise Figueroa of the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley. Moderated by A Block at a Time co-founder Zach Garafalo

Resources

Community Partnership Award

Today during Catholic School Week Mass, Co-founder Dannielle Hille accepted the Community Partnership Award , presented to A Block at a Time for her work helping the victims of the August 2019 fire on Myrtle Avenue. A Block at a Time is honored to receive this award today along with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany and The Mansion Neighborhood Association. The award was presented by the Very Reverend Robert Longobucco, V.G. (Vicar for the Faith Formation and Education) and Mr. Giovanni Virgiglio Jr., Superintendent of Schools.

COMMUNITY PARTNER AWARD

The Covenant to Education calls us to engage community organizations in partnership for the betterment of our schools. This award is given to recognize a community partner for their commitment to Catholic School Education.

ABAAT to Receive Community Service Award

On Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 2:00 PM at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, A Block at A Time will receive the Community Partner Award from Diocese of Albany Catholic Schools for Co-Founder Dannielle Hille‘s work in the wake of the devastating fire that displaced 14 families on August 23, 2019. After a successful response, Dannielle created ABAAT Helps to ensure an even quicker response in the future. Thank you to the Diocese of Albany for this recognition.

October 9th Meeting Recap and Video Footage

On October 9, 2019 A Block at at Time held a community meeting on “The State of the Albany Police Department and the Future of Community Policing” with Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins and Albany Police Officers Union President Greg McGee. The full meeting video is below. During this meeting we learned some important information which residents should be aware of (italicized information was added to provide additional information):

  • There is a nationwide shortage of police officers
  • Albany is struggling to recruit and retain police officers
  • The Albany Police Department is responsible for the 911 dispatch center which is budgeted for 30 dispatchers. Currently:
    • 13 dispatchers down leaving us with just 26 dispatchers
    • 1 dispatcher just put in their 2 week notice (leaving use with 25)
    • 1 is going out on medical leave (leaving use with 24)
    • 5 new hires in training (bribing us up to 29 after training)
    • Dispatchers are working 70+ hours per week
  • The Albany Police Department is budgeted for 340 sworn officers, of which 272 are officers and detectives (non-command staff). Currently:
    • 53 down leaving us with 219 officers and detectives
    • Of those 219
      • 52 are detectives (leaving 167 officers)
      • 5 are on long term medical leave (leaving 162)
      • 3 are on active military leave (leaving 159)
      • 3 are suspended (leaving 156)
      • 54 are in specialized units like the training academy, NEU (Neighborhood Engagement Unit = beat officers), ect… (leaving 102 patrol officers)
      • This leaves 102 patrol officers
    • Albany needs 63 officers per 24 hour to meet minimum staffing resulting in many new officers being repeatedly mandated to work double shifts and many days in a row without time off.
      • Some general increased risks of overworked staff include:
        • increased stress
        • increased accidents
        • decreased work performance
        • poor health habits
        • increased health risks
          • burnout
          • higher risk of depression
          • increased risk of suicide
        • quality of life issues
          • increased risk of home and family issues
        • the list goes on…
    • Of the 287 sworn officers (including command staff)
      • 28 officers and detectives can retire today
      • 6 more officers and detectives can retire in 2020
      • 22 command staff can retire today
    • Since December 2018 APD has lost
      • 6 bosses
      • 14 officers and detectives have retied
      • 8 officers quit
      • 2 officer completed training and quit
      • 3 left for personal reasons
      • 3 went to trades
      • 3 went to Watervliet
      • 1 to Guilderland (2 in the last 5 years)
      • 2 to State Troopers (12 in the last 5 years)
      • 1 to Peekskill
      • In the last 5 years, additional officers have been lost to other agencies after receiving training from Albany, paid for by residents. There are currently 14 APD officers processing for the NYS State Police.

A Block at a Time would like to thank Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Albany Police Department Chief Eric Hawkins and Albany Police Officers Union President Greg McGee for joining the discussion and working with the community to address issues in our city.

Left to right: Chief Hawkins, Zach Garafalo (ABAAT), APOU President McGee, Dannielle Hille (ABAAT), Albany Mayor Sheehan.
Albany Mayor Sheehan, Chief Hawkins and APOU President McGee during opening remarks.

Call for DIGITAL STREET TEAM Members

CALL FOR DIGITAL STREET TEAM MEMBERS

ABAAT is currently working to build a digital street team to manage a community calendar.

Type of position: Volunteer

Hours: minimum of 5 hours per week

Duration: Ongoing

Details: team members will access a group email account to

  1. Send outreach emails to area organizations, neighborhood associations and other entities that host events in the City of Albany to encourage them to send ABAAT there upcoming events and volunteer opportunities on an ongoing basis.
  2. Process events received in the group email. Transfer details and flyers into a Google Calendar for BLK Bulletin Board. Once posted, team member will mark email as completed.
  3. Process emails with volunteer opportunities. Transfer details and flyers into a Google Calendar for Volunteer Albany
  4. Log/updated agency information in a google sheet.

And that’s it! If you are looking for a flexible volunteer opportunity, this is for YOU. You can send and process emails any time of the day. You can spend as many extra hours as you would like, as long as you spend at least 5 hours a week. Your outreach work will help ABAAT compile a directory of service providers, community organizations, committees, groups and religious institution programs.

Email us a half page telling us why this volunteer position is perfect for you info@abaat.org