Student Loan/COVID Updates, SFV Duo Save Redwoods and MORE
As we near the end of the first semester of this school year, many Californians and Americans are struggling to balance the exorbitant cost of their tuition with other expenses, and I understand how much your loan repayment timely can be stressful.
That is why I am pleased to inform you that President Biden announced the Federal Student Debt Relief Program in August, a one-time debt relief program that will cancel a portion of borrowers’ student debt. low- and middle-income earners with loan balances prior to June 30, 2022. Unfortunately, a temporary injunction has been issued while a legal matter is being considered, but the U.S. Department of Education encourages eligible applicants to apply to be ready as soon as the injunction issue is resolved.
Eligible borrowers can receive full or partial discharge of loans up to $20,000 if they are Federal Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 if they are not. Individuals are eligible if they earned less than $125,000 in 2021 or 2020, and families are eligible if they earned less than $250,000 in 2021 or 2020. Please keep in mind that if you filed federal taxes, your income requirements are based on your adjusted gross income. , which is found on line 11 of IRS Form 1040.
It should be mentioned that the California Legislature is aware that federal student debt relief may be considered taxable income for state purposes. However, the leaders of both houses of the Legislative Assembly issued a statement in September saying that if student debt relief is considered taxable in California, they will take immediate action in early 2023 to exempt it to ensure that no recipient of California relief will incur tax burden.
The portal is online and accessible HERE. For those unable to apply online, a paper version will soon be available. All applications must be submitted by December 31, 2023.
The cost of higher education should not leave families struggling to make ends meet. Programs like this can hopefully alleviate some of the stress many of you are facing and close some of the equity gaps that have become all too common.
For additional news you can use, scroll down to read more about the end of the COVID state emergency in California in February, how a couple from the San Fernando Valley fought climate change in saving two redwoods and MORE.
Now tell me what’s on your mind. Contact us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my email, or call my office at (818) 901-5588.
Be well, stay safe and remember we are all in this together.
(PHOTO CREDIT: LA Times)
CALIFORNIA’S COVID-19 STATE OF EMERGENCY ENDS IN FEBRUARY
Because test positivity rates have plateaued for the past three months in California, Governor Newsom announced that the COVID-19 state of emergency will end on February 28, 2023. The state of emergency allowed Newsom to implement mask mandates, temporary stay-at-home orders and enter into no-tender emergency response contracts with testing facilities, equipment suppliers individual protection and temporary work agencies. The date of February 2023 was chosen to give the health system time to manage a possible increase in cases in winter. It also allows state and local partners to prepare for this elimination. After the emergency is over, California will continue to work to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To maintain the testing and therapeutic processing capacity of the state’s COVID-19 lab, Newsom plans to ensure that nurses will still be able to dispense COVID-19 therapeutics and that lab workers can process the tests. COVID-19. More here.
(PHOTO CREDIT: NBC Los Angeles)
EDD WARNS CALIFORNIANS OF SCAMS VIA SMS TO YOUR PHONE
California’s Department of Employment Development is warning residents of “smishing” scams in which criminals posing as EDD or Bank of America attempt to obtain sensitive information from people via text or phone. Typically, victims of this type of scam will receive an official-looking text message that includes a URL that leads victims to an apparently legitimate but fraudulent website. To check if a text really comes from the EDD, do not click on anything. Instead, check your account online or the notice sent by mail. The EDD has compiled the following tips for California residents:
- Text messages asking users to reactivate a card by clicking on a link are scams; Bank of America and EDD never text people to reactivate a debit card.
- Never click on a link in an unexpected text message claiming to be from EDD or Bank of America.
- Call Bank of America using the phone number on the back of your debit card to verify if a bank-related text message is legitimate.
- EDD sends SMS from the number 510-74 or 918-06; Please keep in mind, however, that a scammer could attempt to spoof this number.
If you believe you have been the target of such a scam, report it immediately to the National Center for Disaster Fraud by filing an NCDF Complaint Form or by calling 866-720-5721. You can also click HERE and select the “Report Fraud” category.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Sun of the San Fernando Valley)
SFV VOLUNTEERS RAISE $76,000 TO FIGHT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
At a local event to fight Alzheimer’s disease, more than 300 San Fernando Valley residents gathered at Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills to participate in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s disease, raising more than $76,000. It is estimated that 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and more than 11 million family members and friends provide care. Events like this walk help shed light on the challenges of living with Alzheimer’s disease and provide residents with an opportunity to give back to members of their community.
(PHOTO CREDIT: LA Times)
VOTING COUNTY COUNCIL TO PROVIDE LIBRARIES WITH NARCAN
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a proposal to provide county libraries with the anti-overdose drug naloxone (also known as Narcan) and train librarians in its administration. The action came after a recent spike in opioid deaths and fentanyl poisonings involving students in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Libraries will serve as distribution sites where residents can obtain doses of medication. The board also approved a motion that will require various county health and education agencies to provide school districts with the Narcan and develop an educational toolkit explaining the dangers of overdoses. Culturally and linguistically appropriate awareness and education are top priorities.
(PHOTO CREDIT: State of California Department of Public Health)
FENTANYL’S RECENT TOWN HALL IS NOW VISIBLE ONLINE
In addition to recent LA County efforts (see previous article), the LA County Department of Public Health hosted a virtual fentanyl town hall on October 12 that can be viewed for free online. Dr. Barbara Ferrer and other experts detail the dangers of the increased presence of fentanyl not only in drugs but also in counterfeit pills. The town hall describes what fentanyl is and what methods can be used to detect and prevent an overdose. Watch the Fentanyl Virtual Town Hall HERE:
(PHOTO CREDIT: LA County Animal Care and Control)
HOW TO HELP PREVENT STRAY CATS FROM BEING EUTHANASED
Although outdoor cats are often ignored and often do not evoke the same concern as stray dogs, they can cause quality of life issues for residents by spreading disease, falling victim to coyote predation and dogs and running in front of cars, among other mishaps. However, bringing cats to animal shelters is not the ideal solution, as the rescue rate for lost cats is extremely low and they are almost always humanely euthanized. The Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control has adopted nationally recognized best practices to recommend that healthy cats without owner identification be kept where they are. Many free-roaming cats have owners or are fed by a house or group of houses; they are part of their neighborhood and do not need the help of a care centre. The department offers a find and foster program for underage kittens found without a mother as well as the Good Neighbor Cat Spay and Neuter program. More here.
Shai Beaulet in the foreground next to Fern; Judith Filby-Beaulet is behind Shai, looking through the branches of Feather. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BEAULETS)
HISTORIC SEQUOOIS TREES SAVED BY SFV RESIDENTS
As climate change continues to become an increasingly pressing issue in California, the work of our local organizations and constituents is all the more helpful. Los Angeles residents Shai Beaulet and his wife, Judith Filby-Beaulet, hand-raised two young redwoods after they were uprooted from a living tree on a Studio City boardwalk directly under power lines. It is being cut down severely, and if not for the efforts of CalFire, Save the Redwoods, and other organizations, these trees would have died. One tree is 13 years old and is called Feather, and the other is 7 years old and is called Fern. Thanks to the Beaulets, two of California’s iconic redwoods will continue to thrive and serve as a reminder of the importance of environmental preservation. “Feather and Fern’s story shows that individual actions can still make a difference in slowing climate change and helping our environment,” said Shai Beaulet. Heart of the Valley. More here.
REMEMBER, WE ARE A TEAM
I appreciate hearing from you. If you have a specific question or concern, or a story to share about the valley, please click here to email me or call my office at (818) 901-5588. You can also join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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