Nonprofit leaders respond to Mayor de Blasio’s Executive Budget

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Citymeals on Wheels Calls on Mayor de Blasio to Fund Priorities for NYC Seniors in Executive Budget for FY2018:

In his new Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2018, Mayor de Blasio did not include new funding for the Department for the Aging, thereby falling short of the $60.6 million  budget priorities outlined by the City Council. Citymeals joins advocates for the aging in calling on the Mayor to provide full funding for basic services such as home-delivered meals, case management and senior centers, and to invest sensibly in a safety net for seniors.

While DFTA’s budget accounts for less than half of one percent of the entire city budget, New York City is now home to more than 1.4 million people over the age of 60 – 20 percent of the city’s population. And the city’s senior population is expected to grow 40 percent by 2040. The homebound elderly are New York City’s most vulnerable population. The majority of NYC’s elderly population live alone, have limited mobility, are unable to shop or cook for themselves, and have nobody they can rely on for help. Too many older New Yorkers are struggling to get by, forced to choose between food, medicine and rent. We must not continue to overlook their needs.

At the federal level, there is great uncertainty about funding for social services. The President’s proposed budget cuts could be devastating to older people. Now is the time for New York City to take a stand and invest in programs that are proven effective, like home-delivered meals, which enable seniors to remain in their own homes and communities.


Glenn E. Martin, President and Founder of JustLeadershipUSA:

The #CLOSErikers campaign commends Mayor de Blasio for including $1.1 billion in his proposed budget for modern, community-based facilities, as long as that vision includes the simultaneous demolition of the antiquated Rikers Island jails. However, the continued absence of a concrete plan for closing Rikers and how this latest budget allocation fits into it is unacceptable. It reinforces the need for the Mayor to appoint an official to oversee the speedy process of closing Rikers and establish a smaller, fairer, and more humane criminal justice system. From the beginning, we have opposed any plans to build new jails on Rikers Island. It is not enough to say that the project is on hold - we need a commitment from the Mayor that it is dead.

In order to close Rikers, and to do it in fewer than ten years, we must immediately begin investing in community-based facilities. We of course recognize that conditions on Rikers must be improved until everyone can be moved, and that will require a financial investment. But it must not include construction of a new jail on Rikers. Finally, the Mayor must invest the political capital to ensure that NIMBYism does not delay or derail the process of closing Rikers. The #CLOSErikers campaign will continue to pressure the Mayor and the City Council to shutter the ten Rikers jails NOW to prevent further deaths and injuries caused by New York City’s torture island.

Statement from Jennifer Jones Austin, FPWA CEO and Executive Director:

FPWA commends New York City Mayor de Blasio for once again presenting an Executive Budget for the coming fiscal year that has the real potential of improving opportunity for individuals, children and families.  Funding to increase wages for City-contracted low-wage workers, Pre-K seats, supports for youth through afterschool programs and summer youth employment, and funding for legal services for the City’s immigrant and undocumented residents all demonstrate a continued commitment to moving New York City forward.

If we are to truly be a city of equity and opportunity for all, however, the City must also invest in older adults, and in the human services sector that cares for them and for all other New Yorkers in need. Despite mounting waitlists for services for the city’s fastest growing population, the Department for the Aging’s budget continues to stagnate with no plan to address rapidly increasing needs. We urge the administration and the City Council to prioritize funding for supportive services for the aging in the adopted budget with an investment of $60.6 million in FY18 to baseline core services, meet current needs, and begin to plan and build out a strong safety net for older New Yorkers.

Decades’ old underfunding of the human services sector, upon which the City relies for mandated and other services like child care and UPK, homeless services, youth services, and senior services, remains a serious and time-sensitive issue. The Executive Budget does include a 2% cost of living adjustment over three consecutive years for non-profit, City-contracted staff, but the City must also invest in the infrastructure of the sector and pay the full cost of delivering services before these and organizations are forced to turn back contracts and even close their doors.  FPWA appreciates the City’s efforts to address this critical need, and the opportunity to partner with the City in doing so.

We join with other advocates in calling upon Mayor de Blasio to provide reduced fares for public transportation for low income New Yorkers for whom a subway or bus ride at full fare sometimes means missing a meal.  We urge Mayor de Blasio to include funding for half-priced MetroCards in the City’s budget, beginning FY18.

Preserving New York City’s status as a leader and model of progressiveness requires that the final budget include these critical supports.  We look forward to continue working with the administration to strengthen our vital safety net and move us closer to being a City of equal opportunity for all.

 

Statement from United Neighborhood Houses

By Susan Stamler

Nonprofit Funding

New York City’s human services nonprofits—the organizations the City relies upon to provide services to New Yorkers of all generations—are at a crisis point. Due primarily to longstanding underfunded government contracts, many nonprofits operate with deficits and struggle to make payroll and pay rent. The Mayor has acknowledged this problem by convening a Nonprofit Resiliency Committee on which UNH serves and must now begin to address this problem in the City’s FY18 budget. 

Sadly, the Mayor’s Executive Budget takes no significant action to provide relief and address this crisis. This failure to act will hurt services for all New Yorkers.  UNH has joined with more than 200 other organizations to call on the Mayor to make an across-the-board investment to adequately fund human services contracts. The City’s leaders must take action in the Adopted Budget to address this crisis. 

Older Adults

UNH is deeply disappointed that the Executive Budget once again overlooks older adults and ignores the need for increased investment in supportive services to help them age in place. This neglect comes at a time when waitlists for case management and homecare services continue to rise and glaring disparities in senior center funding leave many neighborhood centers barely surviving. 

The Executive Budget fails to restore more than $13 million in services for older adults that were funded by the City Council in FY 2017. These are critical services that save the city money by helping older adults stay in their homes and neighborhoods rather than being forced to move into nursing homes or hospitals. However, the funding is trapped in a budget dance and providers are forced to depend on one-year allocations from the City Council to fund core services such as senior centers, NORCs, homecare, and case management. 

UNH urges the Mayor to baseline funding for core services for older adults so that programs they depend upon have the stability to remain strong and continue providing vital services for this population.

Adult Literacy and Immigrant Legal Services

UNH is also deeply disappointed that the Mayor failed to renew and baseline $12 million in funding for adult literacy classes that serve immigrants and other adult learners. In this political climate, Mayor de Blasio must reinstate funding for community based adult literacy classes for nearly 6,000 New Yorkers, the majority of whom are immigrants seeking to build their English skills. …

While UNH embraces the Mayor’s proposal to increase funding for essential immigrant legal services, we urge him to also stay true to his vision for a more equitable city. While legal services will help immigrants stay in the United States, adult literacy programs are what help immigrants thrive. UNH hopes that with leadership from Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, Finance Chair Ferreras-Copeland, and Immigration Chair Menchaca, the City Council and Mayor will reach an agreement in the final budget that honors baselined funding for adult literacy programs.

Youth Employment

Over the past 17 years, UNH has led advocacy for expanding the Summer Youth Employment Program which offers summer jobs to youth between the ages of 14-24. The baselined 65,000 jobs in the Preliminary Budget is a great step forward for program stability and expansion, and we are encouraged that Mayor de Blasio proposed funding SYEP minimum wage increases in the coming summer. …

Going forward, the City should increase funding for youth employment, especially for programs benefiting youth who are out of school and out of work (OSOW). There are approximately 140,000 OSOW youth who could be served by these programs, but the City funds programs for fewer than 7,000.

In addition, we look forward to working with City Council and the administration to baseline and expand Work, Learn and Grow (WLG), a program that offers workforce experience during the school year for former SYEP participants. As part of this expansion, WLG should serve at least 12,000 youth, be truly year-round (including summer), and offer jobs for OSOW youth.

After-School and Summer Programs. ...

However, more must be done to stabilize and expand after-school programs in New York City including baselining funding for a summer component for every after-school participant. In the Adopted Budget, the City must also restore funding for after-school programs for 9,000 elementary school children whose programs are funded with one-year allocations by the City Council and ensure that funding continues to grow to meet the need of children in elementary school.

Early Childhood Education

UNH’s members – New York City’s settlement houses – will be a crucial part of the Mayor’s plan to expand pre-kindergarten programs to serve every 3-year-old in New York City by 2021. To make 3-K for All a success, the City must make it part of a high-quality, comprehensive system of early childhood education with well-trained staff who are compensated fairly, hours of operation that meet the needs of working families, and contracts which fund the true cost of care.

 

Statement from New York Immigration Coalition:

Mayor de Blasio released an $84.9 billion budget for New York City against a backdrop of uncertainty from the Federal government. 

Steve Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said:

The New York Immigration Coalition applauds New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s commitment to investing an unprecedented 16.4 million in legal services for people facing deportation and detention, unaccompanied children, and asylum seekers. At a time when immigrants are under senseless attack by the federal government, this is still our New York: a city made strong by its diversity.

But we are extremely disappointed to see the Mayor leave behind adult learners, the majority of whom are immigrants. Without a renewal of last year’s investment, thousands of adult learners will lose their classroom seats starting July 1. We urge the City Council to restore the investment to $12 million and continue to be champions for equality and access for all.


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Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect revisions to UNH's response.

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