County Executive Ryan states the post COVID-19 response must involve equity at all levels and calls upon a diverse group of leaders from multiple sectors to help realign resources
KINGSTON, N.Y. – County Executive Pat Ryan announced today at his live Facebook COVID-19 update the creation of the Ulster County Recovery Task Force. The primary goal of the task force is to ensure a coordinated and compassionate response to the devastating socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on county residents. Since the outbreak of the virus, Ulster County has already seen a surge in SNAP applications, senior meals on wheels requests, Human Rights complaints, and many other key services. Given the ongoing public health crisis and resulting economic dislocation, Ulster County anticipates these needs will continue to grow in scale and scope over the coming months. The Recovery Task Force will coordinate the response to these challenges across Ulster County, and work to develop new and innovative ways to deliver critical services.
The group will work to answer questions such as, how many additional beds will be required in homeless shelters in the next six months and how do we realign resources to meet that need? How many families and children will need food and how can it be delivered in a sustainable way? How does the county ensure that front line workers or anyone struggling with mental health workers can get the help that they need?
“As we continue to address the day-to-day public health challenges of COVID-19, we must simultaneously prepare for and respond to the longer-term economic and social ramifications of the pandemic,” Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said. “Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, far too many families were already struggling – with four in ten Ulster County households living paycheck to paycheck. COVID-19 has further exacerbated and amplified these challenges, and we have to step up our game in terms of meeting the inevitable surge in need among our community. Our recovery efforts must be coordinated, compassionate, and equitable. It’s more important now than ever that we renew our commitment to leave no one behind.”
Chaired by the Director of the Ulster County Office of Employment and Training, Tomasine Oliphant, the task force will be composed of leaders from a diverse group of non-profit and community groups as well as key county government leaders. The group will work to track, understand, and respond to the county’s anticipated needs in areas including unemployment, housing, mental health, human rights, youth services, food security, substance use, and more.
The task force will begin their work with a detailed analysis of existing and emerging needs from within the community and compare those needs to available resources from within the county government as well as other key service partners. They will then develop new programs and services to fill identified gaps and make sure all residents are served equitably.
“I look forward to working to address the effects that COVID-19 has had on our entire county population and especially the homeless and most vulnerable,” Executive Director Family of Woodstock Michael Berg said. “Together we can find creative solutions to provide needed services and assist the community during this trying time.”
“Our Human Rights Department has seen a huge surge in people reaching out to file discrimination cases and our caseload has more than tripled over the past month,” Human Rights Commissioner Tyrone Wilson said. “We look forward to getting this group of experts together to find solutions and provide support in this time of crisis.”
Below is a complete list of members of the Ulster County Recovery Task Force:
Chair Tomasine Oliphant – Director of the Ulster County Office of Employment and Training and licensed social worker
Cindy Beisel – Deputy Commissioner of Ulster County Social Services (including overseeing SNAP & Temporary Assistance programs)
Michael Berg – Executive Director Family of Woodstock
Rev. Julius Collins – Ellenville School District Board of Education, member of the Ellenville Regional Hospital Board, and former Ulster County Legislator
Dr. Maya Hambright – Board of Directors at Samadhi Recovery Community Outreach Center
James Shaughnessy – President of the Ulster County Mental Health Association and President Kingston City Schools Board of Education
Tyrone Wilson – Ulster County Human Rights Commissioner
There are currently 1,095 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 21 fatalities in Ulster County.
For additional information about COVID-19 visit: https://ulstercountyny.gov/coronavirus
Ulster County COVID-19 Hotline: 845-443-8888 NYS Coronavirus Information Hotline: 888-364-3065