Insurgent State Senate Candidate and former sanitation worker Ignazio (Iggy) Terranova is on the forefront of organizing a real estate industry citywide effort to support health care workers, small businesses and their employees, and people experiencing food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Terranova is challenging incumbent State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) in the June 23 Democratic Primary. Gianaris strongly opposed and helped prompt Amazon to abort its plan to open a 25,000-worker East Coast headquarters in Long Island City portion of the district.
The campaign, Real Estate Has Your Back (#REHasYourBack) has more than 20 city real estate firms joining together and who have already provided 3,000 meals to healthcare workers and residents of NYCHA housing, with thousands more expected over the next ten days.
This week, #REHasYourBack funded 250 hot lunches at NYCHA’s Queensbridge Houses, building on the work of LIC Relief, which has been serving this community throughout the crisis, and other local community leaders.
It will continue to fund meals over the next 10 weekdays for residents throughout the NYCHA houses in Queens (Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Woodside, and Astoria) as well as in Brooklyn.
“As we work to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s more important than ever that we come together to help our neighbors. When I heard about the need for greater food distribution, I knew I had to act. I’m proud to have partnered with our local leaders and businesses to find a solution to this issue and deliver for our community when they need it most,” said Terranova.
”The #REHasYourBack effort began when Seth Weissman, founder of Urban Standard Capital, approached a handful of restaurants and caterers that were hit hard by the widespread shutdowns, and offered to finance an effort to deliver hot meals to hospital workers and New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity. He subsequently reached out to the city’s real estate community and offered to match contributions made by firms that joined the effort.
More than twenty real estate firms to date have joined Urban Standard in this effort, including Sugar Hill Capital Partners, Fisher Development, Silverback, Maxim Capital, Castellan Capital, S3 Capital Partners, B6 Real Estate Advisors, Alchemy Ventures, Hirshmark Capital, Winthrop Capital, TerraCRG, Klosed Properties, Hildreth Advisors, ZG Property Group, H Equities, Bestreich Realty Group, Mann Group and Raisner Group.
“We are just getting started,” Weissman said. “In addition to sending meals to people on the front lines, we are focused on supporting small business tenants and their employees to keep as many people employed as possible during this crisis. The goal of #REHasYourBack is to help communities impacted by this crisis by delivering food to those in need while supporting local restaurant businesses and their employees hardest hit by the quarantine.”
The hot lunches were prepared by Neuman’s Kitchen Events and Catering (NK), a NYC and Philadelphia-based catering company with a presence in Long Island City.
“The coronavirus hit the catering industry like a tsunami. Overnight, companies like NK went from employing hundreds of people to employing virtually no one. Our goals are to provide healthy and nutritious food to communities in need, provide employment for our employees, and say thanks to the people who make NYC and Philadelphia great places to live and work. We’re trying to bring a flicker of light to the darkness,” said Paul Neuman, Chief Inspiration Officer of NK.
“As a long-time resident of Long Island City, it is very rewarding to me that we both can provide hot delicious meals to our neighbors in need and support many of our great local restaurants,” said Robert Basch, member of the board of LIC Relief and President of the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, a non-profit with a mission to advocate and enhance for the greenspaces and waterfront of Long Island City.
Weissman’s #REHasYourBack has set up a GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/f/REHasYourBack) account to encourage further financial support from the real estate community to ensure this important outreach lasts as long as possible.