This week, I discuss the launch of 988, talk about the new Lead Hazard Reduction Program, provide an update on Richmond and Henrico Health District’s (RHHD) monkeypox (MPV) response, highlight a grant opportunity from the Virginia Tourism Corporation, share a survey opportunity for Richmond residents, and reflect on community events. Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and for staying informed.
Launch of 988
On July 16, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline made its official transition to 988, an easy-to-remember, three-digit code to connect people to life-saving resources during mental health crises. Currently, most communities rely on 911 to address mental health crises—20% of total staff time for police officers is used responding to mental health crises—but 911 was not designed to connect people in crisis with mental health services. Through the new 988 system, callers will be directed to a trained counselor at a crisis call center located nearest them. If a local crisis center is too busy to respond right away, the call gets routed to one of 16 backup centers around the country. Additionally, veterans and their loved ones can dial 988 and then press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line. Individuals can also text 988 to receive services.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (1-800-273-8255) will continue to be operational and will route calls to 988 indefinitely. Veterans, service members, and their families can also still reach the Veterans Crisis Line with the current phone number 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text to 838255. More information about the launch is available at Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The New Lead Hazard Reduction Program
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) recently launched the Lead Hazard Reduction Program after being awarded a $5.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of H ousing and Urban Development (HUD). The LHR program is designed to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in eligible households, either renter or owner-occupied. With this funding, DHCD expects to serve 225 households across the Commonwealth, except for households in localities that are already operating under a HUD lead hazard grant, which includes Roanoke City, the City of Richmond, and Chesterfield County.
Individuals can fill out the interest form here or call 804-205-3501. Interested individuals will be added to a database as potential recipients of the vaccine, depending on risk factors and the available supply. More information about the disease and its prevention is available at RHHD.
Virginia Tourism Corporation Small Business Grant Opportunity
The Virginia Tourism Corporation has launched a new small business grant program for tourism-related businesses to bolster non-peak seasonal visitation. Funding can be used for advertising, marketing materials, social media, and more. The application period opens August 4 and the deadline to apply is September 20 by 5:00 pm. More information about the grant opportunity is available at Virginia Tourism Corporation or by calling 757-390-7330.
Richmond Connects Survey
Richmond Connects is seeking input from City of Richmond residents as the organization develops the City’s multimodal transportation plan. This survey is a part of the two-year process to identify projects and other recommendations consistent with the City’s Equity Agenda. Richmond Connects has already received comments from across the City, but additional input is still needed. The survey is located here.
Community Events This Week
On Tuesday evening, I and the other members of the Virginia Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus (Del. Mark Keam, Del. Kathy Tran, Del. Suhas Subramanyam, and Del. Irene Shin) held an event in Alexandria to celebrate the work of the caucus and to meet with supporters and organizers. We were delighted to host special guest Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03). Joined by other elected officials, community leaders, and constituents, we discussed the importance of AAPI representation within government, policy priorities for the upcoming General Assembly session, and opportunities to support the AAPI community throughout Virginia. We were pleased to also have the following elected officials join us: Representative Bobby Scott (VA-03), House Minority Leader Delegate Don Scott, Delegate Rodney Willett, Delegate Mark Sickles, Delegate Dan Helmer, and several local elected officials.
South Asians for America (SAFA) is launching its New Jersey Chapter tonight at 7 pm EST. I am delighted to join this launch and discuss the critical role that SAFA has played, and continues to play, in engaging the full range of the South Asian American community in civic matters. Registration information is available at https://bit.ly/SAFANJLaunch
Connecting With My Office
My staff continue to hold meetings with constituents via Zoom or by phone. You can sign up for a meeting with either of my staff members with our easy scheduling app: