‘We are winning this war’

Mayor James Davis and Housing Authority Director John Mahon addressed the city in May

Bayonne Housing Authority Director John Mahon
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Bayonne Housing Authority Director John Mahon

Mayor James Davis gave a COVID-19 video update earlier in the month, featuring guest speaker Executive Director of Bayonne Housing Authority (BHA) John Mahon.

Mahon spoke on the changes at the BHA amid the the pandemic, also announcing that onsite testing of senior residents would begin soon.

Davis noted that the overall number of cases and deaths are low for a city of Bayonne’s size and offered his condolences for the tragic loss of life.

“We are winning this war,” Davis said, thanking residents for their cooperation in social distancing and staying home.

Mahon thanked Davis and city council for their work during the pandemic, calling out Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski and Councilman Neill Carroll for assisting senior and public housing residents.

Operational changes

The BHA offices are closed to the public, but employees continue to work remotely.

Residents can still phone or email for assistance. The BHA has been helping residents financially. Residents who have lost jobs can call the office to have their rent adjusted.

Rent is income-based in BHA housing and can be adjusted. Mahon thanked BHA staff for its ongoing efforts.

No residents are being moved in during the stay-at-home directive, according to Mahon. The BHA is concentrating on keeping current residents safe.

No rent is being collected by the BHA at this time. However, residents will still owe rent. Mahon advised residents to put rent money aside to avoid shortfalls.

The BHA does not accept cash payments. Checks or money orders must be mailed.

There will be no fees for late payments.

Only emergency work orders will be filled. Scheduled exterminating will continue on a case-by-case basis.

Keeping seniors safe

To keep all residents, specifically seniors safe, the BHA has been conducting a systemic cleaning of all buildings. Common areas, elevators, doors, handrails, mailboxes, and other areas are being sanitized.

Mahon thanked the maintenance workers who “have been at the front of the front lines.”

Mahon said the sanitation efforts work to prevent the spread of the virus, thus alleviating further stress put on Bayonne Medical Center, the sole hospital in the city. He also thanked the city’s efforts regarding food distribution to seniors.

Hunger Free Bayonne, the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation, the Bayonne Board of Education, and Marist High School have helped to feed residents.

So far, 5,000 meals and counting have been distributed to more than 500 senior apartments in the city.

Free COVID-19 testing

Mahon said free onsite testing in senior buildings will begin soon, starting at 50th Street. Ashe-Nadrowski said the testing will then move to 2nd Street, followed by 21st Street, and 135 and 137 Avenue A.

The senior center at 74 Lexington Ave. and the YMCA will also be tested. Ashe-Nadrowski said that even though the buildings aren’t city housing, they are still a senior residence with a high risk of COVID-19 spread.

The testing will accommodate 40 people per session. Residents preregister and are given masks afterward if they don’t have one. Ashe-Nadrowski said that the appointments are no-contact and conducted safely.

Mahon expressed his sympathy for those who died of COVID-19, including BHA board member Rev. Gene Sykes.

Mahon ended by thanking BHA residents for remaining patient, as the city sees light at the end of the tunnel.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.