New York City to cover extra costs for human services nonprofits

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability on the coronavirus.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability on the coronavirus.
Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability on the coronavirus.

New York City to cover extra costs for human services nonprofits

The city will reimburse human services contractors for extra costs due to the coronavirus.
March 19, 2020

New York City will reimburse its human services contractors for additional costs associated with their programs, safety supplies, and staff shortages as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to guidance sent to providers on Wednesday.

Health and human services employees in city-funded programs have also been designated as “essential workers,” which allows them to access emergency child care that is also available to health care and transit workers, according to the guidance from the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services. The city will also continue to reimburse nonprofits for contract expenses – even if their services have been interrupted or changed – as long as they consult their respective city agency.

“We think this guidance is an important step forward and appreciate the quick response to the letter we sent in collaboration with other coalitions,” the Human Services Council wrote in an email. “This will help providers make clearer decisions around finances and being able to support staff.”

Human services nonprofits operating homeless shelters, food assistance programs, and senior centers have been under increasing pressure as crisis-driven demand from vulnerable New Yorkers heightens. Employees are staying home with greater frequency – either because of quarantines or to watch over their children – which requires nonprofits to pay more to bring in additional staff. And much like individuals, organizations have found it difficult to get needed disinfectants, hand sanitizers, and face masks to keep their staff and clients healthy. 

WIN, which provides shelters and supportive housing, has been running over budget paying for its expanded food pantry and cleaning supplies, for example. That’s why the nonprofit and several other organizations sent a letter to city officials seeking the continued coverage of the costs of their programs even if they fail to meet all the requirements in their contracts. Child welfare groups sent their own letter earlier this week as well, calling for more flexibility in managing staff-to-child ratios and guaranteed reimbursements for employee sick leave and other costs. Those concerns were also echoed by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

“To stabilize the sector and ensure non-profits will remain able to serve New Yorkers through this crisis, it is essential that they be held harmless for missed contract deliverables that are directly attributable to COVID-19,” he wrote to the mayor’s office. 

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.
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