Calls to Remove Christopher Columbus Statue
The City Council is likely going to have an order before it at the next meeting calling for the Christopher Columbus statue in Chelsea Square – across from the Apollinaire Theatre – to be removed.
The old statue is a bit of a recluse, mostly covered up by trees and long-forgotten in the square – but certainly still there. It used to be in front of the old Knights of Columbus Hall in Chelsea Square. However, the Knights have been closed down in Chelsea for years – having operated as an Italian American social club. A movement to rid cities of statues celebrating figures like Columbus has been in the works for several years, but has picked up steam in the last week. Last year, School Committee Chair Kelly Garcia called for Columbus Day in the Chelsea Public Schools to be renamed Indigenous People’s Day, which was approved.
On Tuesday night in Boston, the head of the Christopher Columbus statue in the North End’s Christopher Columbus Park was decapitated.
Chelsea Recreation Announces Free Summer Livestream Classes
Chelsea Recreation which includes Community Schools programming is offering free online summer classes to all residents who register.
Join an engaging class such: yoga or dance, make music at a Thursday Night Open Music Gathering, learn about the process of buying a home, take one of our popular Spanish or English language classes or participate in an art & music studio. All can happen in the comfort of your own home and receive the same quality instruction from our talented instructors.
Those interested have three easy ways to register: by email: [email protected], phone 617 466-5233, 12:30-4:30pm; or online at register.communitypass.net/Chelsea. Classes begin Monday, June 29.
Visit recreation.chelseama.gov for more information.
Chelsea Funeral Fund
For the dignity of loved ones who have passed, the Chelsea Funeral Fund provides up to $1,700 in financial assistance for cremation or burial. The fund is for Chelsea residents in need, regardless of religious affiliation, and is managed by Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church. To inquire, contact Reverend Edgar Gutiérrez-Duarte at 671-884-3300 or at [email protected]
RAFT Program Rental Assistance
If anyone needs help paying rent, they may be eligible for financial assistance through the Massachusetts Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program. RAFT has expanded its eligibility requirements to help people with COVID-19 related job losses or financial hardship. Some things to consider:
•Your immigration status does not matter.
•You may be eligible for RAFT if you have not been, or will not be, able to pay rent, mortgage payments, or utilities due to COVID-19.
•You must be in contact with your landlord or property manager (RAFT funds are paid to them).
•If you are not on the lease, you can provide your landlord’s contact information to confirm that you are a tenant.
•If you need help to cover your security deposit (for first or last month’s rent), you can specify the unit you plan to move into, even if you have not yet signed the lease.
•You are not eligible if you are in an Emergency Assistance Shelter.
Households can receive up to $4,000 for a 12-month period. To check eligibility and for help with applications, call the CONNECT Hotline at 617-712-3487.
Getting Food to Everyone in Need: Updates
Pop-Up Food Pantries are continuing to serve the people of Chelsea, providing boxes of food every weekday beginning at 11 a.m. The City is increasing our food supply daily so that everyone who needs food can get it. With this in mind, please be patient and mindful of your neighbors in need. Some families have more immediate need than others and we want to make sure that everyone gets to eat.
Pop-up Pantry Locations:
Quigley Park, 25 Essex Street
Ruiz Park, 141 Washington Avenue
Luther Place, Cherry Street, between 5th Street and 4th Street
Bellingham Hill Park, 115 Bellingham Street
Washington Park, at Washington Ave and Hancock Street
Bosson Park, 43-56 Bellingham Street
Chelsea Square, near 2 Second Street
Highland Park, in front of 30 Willow Street
City Hall Parking lot, 500 Broadway
Mary C. Burke Complex, 300 Crescent Avenue
If You Are Not Sick and Need Food
•Monday-Friday: Hot lunches and kids lunches at 11:30 a.m. at Salvation Army (258 Chestnut Street)
•Tuesdays and Thursdays: Grocery pick-up 10 a.m.-noon at the Salvation Army (258 Chestnut Street).
•Tuesdays and Thursdays: Grocery pick-up at 5 p.m. at the Chelsea Collaborative (318 Broadway).
•Thursdays and Fridays: Mass General Hospital Food For Families Pantry (151 Everett Ave.). Available two times per month to MGH patients by referral. Please call (617) 887-3575.
•Saturdays: Grocery pick-up 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church (201 Washington Avenue, Chelsea); no appointment necessary.
•If You Are in Isolation and Need Food
Do not wait in line for food. Call 311 (617-466-4100).
•IF YOU ARE 65 YEARS OR OLDER
Contact the Chelsea Senior Center for grocery deliveries. Call 617-466-4377 or 617-466-4370.
Diaper Drive for Families in Need
Chelsea Community Connections and the City of Chelsea are working together to distribute diapers to families in need. Because of the tremendous demand, distribution is dependent on donations of both packages of diapers and funds to purchase supply.
Anyone who would like to donate to the Diaper Drive can do so at the Chelsea Community Connections website. This will ensure the youngest Chelsea residents have their basic needs met.
MGH Chelsea, Beth Israel Offers Testing for Those with Symptoms
Patients with symptoms of Covid-19 are eligible for testing at MGH Chelsea and Beth Israel Chelsea.
One doesn’t need to be a patient of MGH to qualify. There is also not a need to have health insurance, and immigration status does not matter.
Appointments are STRONGLY encouraged, but walk-ins will not be turned away. If anyone has one of the following symptoms, please call 617-724-7000, to schedule an appointment for evaluation and testing:
•new sore throat
•new runny nose or nasal congestion
•new muscle aches
•new shortness of breath
•new loss of smell
If one is a patient within the Partners Healthcare system, please call the Primary Care doctor’s office with any questions, and to be scheduled for evaluation and testing.
*Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare is offering a drive-thru testing service at 1000 Broadway (near the Chelsea/Revere city line). It is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.
If you have a Beth Israel primary care physician, call 617-975-6262 to make an appointment.
EBNHC Offers Testing to Chelsea Residents
The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center now offers testing to Chelsea residents. Unlike testing at MGH and Beth Israel, this testing is for anyone – one does not need to have COVID-19 symptoms. Like MGH and Beth Israel, one does not need to be a patient, they do not need insurance, and immigration status does not matter.
Appointments are required – no walk-ins are allowed. To schedule an appointment, call 617-569-5800. Testing is done in East Boston.
Collaborative Masks for Sale
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chelsea Collaborative was supporting a group of jornaleros (day laborers) to launch a worker-owned tailoring cooperative in Chelsea for entrepreneurial immigrants in search of economic opportunity. They have now come together to support community crisis responders and help undocumented families in Chelsea weather the financial crisis. The jornaleros are sewing proper masks to protect Chelsea’s community response organizations from the spread of the virus. Masks are being sold for $10 each and the proceeds are going to support undocumented families who are not eligible for unemployment benefits. 300 masks have already been sewn and distributed with more on the way. Individuals can purchase masks as well. To purchase any masks, you may place an order via email, please provide your name, phone number, address and number of masks by contacting: [email protected] then via Cash App: $ChelseaCollaborative.
School Meal Distribution Changes
The City will no longer have meal services at Saint Rose starting this week.
Next week, the City will reduce site locations to the following:
•Early Learning Center
•Mary C. Burke Complex
•Williams School (Wright/Browne Middle Schools)
•Clark Ave School
Pandemic-EBT, or P-EBT, has recently been approved for Massachusetts and things are underway to implement the program in the state. For households with students who would have received free and reduced price schools meals, P-EBT provides extra money to buy food. Eligible households will receive $5.70 per student for each day of school closure, which will be paid in a lump sum of $199.50 to cover the 35 days that schools have already been closed. If you already have an EBT card, then the funds will be added to your card.
P-EBT benefits can be spent in the same way as SNAP, and they’re available to households regardless of immigration status. However, they do not make you eligible for SNAP and they cannot be used to receive HIP benefits. They also do not replace the existing School Food Program, which continues to serve grab-and-go meals on weekdays for students.
Tax Bills, Others Delayed to June 1
The due date for ALL city payments and applications has been extended to June 1, 2020. This policy applies to all bills with a due date on or after March 10, 2020. June 1, 2020 is the new due date even if you received a bill that said the due date for payment is earlier than that.
This extension applies to all of the below:
•Real property tax bills
•Personal property tax bills
•Applications for property tax exemptions
•Parking stickers applications and renewals
•Parking ticket appeals
•Excise tax bills
•Water and sewer bills
Blood Donations Needed
With the increase in people needing medical assistance during the pandemic there is a critical need for blood as well. If you are able, please contact the Red Cross to make an appointment or look for upcoming opportunities to donate at MGH-Chelsea.
Reminder: Parks Equipment Closed to the Public
All childrens’ playground areas, all basketball/tennis courts and all athletic fields are closed to the general public due to the COVID-19 crisis. Some large recreation areas remain open in the City, but public use is limited to passive recreation such as walking and jogging, and only provided that social and physical distancing rules (six feet away from others) are followed. No athletic activities that bring participants into close physical contact are allowed, even when involving 10 or fewer people.
Deadline for Exemption Extended
The deadline for statutory tax exemptions, with a previous due date of April 1, 2020, will now be extended to June 1, 2020.
However, the property tax abatement deadline, which was Feb. 3, 2020 is not affected by this change and was NOT altered.
If you have another bill and you are not sure if the deadline is extended, please call 617-466-4209 to confirm.
Note that all payments and applications are due by June 1, 2020. This deadline will not be extended even if City Hall is still closed on June 1. However, the City will extend a grace period for late payments. Payments made after June 1, 2020 but before June 30, 2020 will be accepted without penalty or interest.
We encourage you to pay all bills by mail or online. DO NOT access the City’s on-line payment platform via Google or other internet providers. Please go directly to www.chelseama.gov and click on the link for Online Services.
We anticipate that City Hall will reopen significantly before the deadline in order to accept cash payments.
Water Leak Alerts
The City of Chelsea is offering a free service to residents to help efficiently manage water usage and lower monthly bills. The service also notifies residents if usage indicates a possible leak. Register for this service at http://chelma.aquahawk.us or call 617-464-4041 for more information.
Free Water Meter Replacement
The City of Chelsea’s DPW is continuing its water meter replacement program for both residential and commercial customers. As part of this effort, meter service technicians from the DPW may be visiting a property to remove the old meter and replace it with a new meter. All DPW meter service technicians travel in marked City of Chelsea vehicles and have City of Chelsea identification badges. Whenever a water meter technician visits a property, one should ask to see the City issued ID. Installation of a new meter will typically take less than 30 minutes. The new meters will eliminate most estimated bills. Reliable readings will also allow customers to identify leaks that may result in higher than normal bills. There is no charge for the new meter.
Chelsea Street Bridge App
For those seeking real time information about the Chelsea St. Bridge closures, Massport is operating a Twitter account which alerts drivers whenever the bridge is opening for shipping and closed to traffic. The Twitter account is @LoganToChelsea. This real time information supplements the new vehicular warnings systems now currently active on Broadway and Williams St.
Massport Noise Complaint Line
Residents who are being disturbed by airplane noise are encouraged to call the MassPort Noise Hotline 24 hours a day. The phone number is (617) 561-3333.
Senior Water and Sewer Discount
Chelsea senior citizens are reminded to sign up for the new Senior Discount for water and sewer charges. Any senior 65 or older who owns and occupies his/her own home may apply. The discount is 10% off the monthly bill.