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Greenline: Let's Not Lose The Best

Saturday, April 02, 2016




Did you know that providers of high-quality education to low-income children earn far less than those at DOE programs. To get the word out elected officials and 150 advocates called for salary parity for NYC early childhood educators on the steps of City Hall.

CBO-based educators, who serve children in some of NYC’s most vulnerable communities, have gone a decade without a raise, and many are forced to rely on public assistance to survive. A certified teacher with five years of experience in a community based organization contracted by the city’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) makes about $17K less than a public school teacher with the same credentials and experience, for those with ten years of experience the gap widens to $34K.

If you wonder whether the quality of education is a factor here, it is but not in the opposite way one would think. Gregory Brender, co-director of Policy & Advocacy at United Neighborhood Houses, unleashed a new report, titled “Losing the Best,” which was developed by his organization and the Campaign for Children. This report uses the City’s own Pre-K program assessment from December 2015 to determine that community based organizations outperform public schools in nine out of ten metrics that indicate high-quality programs. Language reasoning, program structure, classroom organization, and institutional support were among the areas where CBO-based programs exceeded.

Council Member Stephen Levin urged Mayor de Blasio to, “take swift action to ensure salary parity and comparable benefits for all of the dedicated public servants working in early childhood education. This common sense step will make it easier for programs to attract and retain the outstanding educators we need and ultimately lead to better programs for our children.”

Public Advocate Letitia James mentioned her repeated attempts to call this issue to the de Blasio administration’s attention. She also stated, “Such a pay disparity creates systemic inequality that leaves New York’s poorest preschoolers with the lowest paid child care workers and prevents these care takers from affording basic life necessities.”


Read the entire article here.

Officials Call for Expansion of Summer Jobs Program

Monday, March 07, 2016



Officials Call for Expansion of Summer Jobs Program

By Adrian Ma | March 4, 2016

 ~TRANSCRIPT~

 INTRO: Every year around this time, tens of thousands of New York teenangers enter the lottery. And no, I’m not talking about Powerball. Instead, it’s the Summer Youth Employment Program. Applications for the city-funded internship program opened this week. And if this year’s lottery is like the last, over half the young adults who apply won’t get in. Now though, a growing chorus of advocates and city officials are working to change that. Adrian Ma has the details.

 

MA: Last year, a professor from the Wharton school of business did a study on the city summer jobs program. And he found that the teens and young adults who went through the program had much lower chance of being incarcerated or killed four years later than those who didn’t. In other words, he said the program literally saves teens lives. Like 17-year-old Christa Hill.

HILL
During the program, like I would hear like a lot of them were shot and a lot of them were killed. And most of them ain’t have nothing to turn to, they ain’t have no family, they ain’t have no jobs, most of them ain’t go to school. So what else was there but for them to turn to the streets? 

MA: She says last summer, while she was working in her placement as a counselor at a community center, some of her friends got involved with gangs.

HILL
I would’ve went down the same road as my friends and they’re dead right now. 

MA: And she says, if some of her friends had had a job like hers, they might be here right now.

HILL
Like you’re getting paid for something that’s going to benefit your future so why not? It’s going to save your life. That’s saved my life. 

MA: Stories like these are just one reason why many officials are calling for a major expansion of the city’s summer jobs program. According to an NYU study, teens who went through the program also perform better on state regents exams than those who didn’t. Under a so-called “universal” plan, any eligible young adult who applies for a job, would get one. But getting to that point is estimated to cost the city around 200 million dollars. And with hundreds of thousands of adults in New York without jobs why spend more money on program that mainly benefits teens? Andrea Bowen works with an advocacy group called the Campaign for Summer Jobs.

BOWEN
You know, it’s easier to give people a leg up on the way up than to help them if they’re suffering later on.

MA: Bowen says, job aid can have an immediate impact on teens. And the money they make can supplement their parents’ incomes.

BOWEN:
It allows them to buy school supplies. It allows them to buy clothes.  It allows them to buy things that would otherwise come out of their parents’ pockets.

MA: So the city’s program keeps young adults out of trouble, and helps their families out with some extra income. But what does it do for them in the long run?

TRESCHAN
The employment experience per se, is actually not the strongest part of the summer youth employment program.

MA: That’s Lazar Treschan with the nonprofit Community Service Society, and while he’s in favor of the idea of a universal summer jobs program, he says the current model hasn’t really been shown to increase future earning potential or college enrollment. The same Wharton study that shows that kids who went through the program had a lower chance of incarceration and mortality? It also shows that young adults who went through the program weren’t any more likely to go to college, or earn more money, than those who didn’t.

TRESCHAN
We don’t see huge employment outcomes in the long run.

MA: But that’s the future. In the meantime, young adults want jobs now. Andre White works for the agency that runs the summer jobs program, the Department of Youth and Community Development. And he says he hears from kids all the time who were passed over in the lottery.

WHITE
They’re difficult conversations, I’m going to be honest with you, especially when you have a young person who’s eager and wants to work.

MA: But White says, getting to “universal” jobs for all youths would require doubling the program’s current budget. And even if the funds were available today, he says the expansion would still take a few years, because employers have to be vetted, and in some cases trained to make sure they can handle the influx of summer interns.

WHITE
So although we could scale up, you don’t want to give them too much, that they might not survive that year, right?

MA: Many on the city council seem to agree that making it better starts with more funding. Councilman Jumaane Williams is one of several members spearheading the initiative.

WILLIAMS
I think we have a chance to do it. Everyone seems to want to do it. So it’s just about putting our money where our progressive mouths are.

MA: Williams says, while the political will may be there, securing the funding will be a job unto self. Adrian Ma Columbia Radio News.


Listen to the story here: http://uptownradio.org/2016/03/04/officials-call-for-expansion-of-summer-jobs-program/

 


CEO Corner: Susan Stamler, United Neighborhood Houses

Tuesday, February 23, 2016



United Neighborhood Houses Executive Director came by the NYN Media office to speak about UNH's recent advocacy work on ending Islamophobia, establishing salary parity for nonprofit pre-k providers, and the challenges facing the nonprofit sector.

To watch the video, click here.

War on elder poverty! Struggling seniors focus of Bed-Stuy panel discussion

Thursday, February 18, 2016


“The cry of the baby was heard across the land” almost nine months to the day after World War II ended — resulting in a massive generation of baby boomers now aging past 65 at a rate of 250,000 a month. And facts show many of them struggle to make ends meet.

“The percentage of seniors living in poverty is staggering,” New York City Department for the Aging Commissioner Donna Corrado told CityLimits magazine in June. “Too many older New Yorkers make difficult choices about purchasing food, medicine, and paying their rent.”

More than 25 million Americans aged 60-plus live at or below the federal poverty level of $29,425 per year for a single person (or $11,770 for a single senior), but Supplemental Security Income provides just $433 each month for the average elder and may be the individual’s only source of income, according to the National Council on Aging.

Retirement security was a major topic at last year’s once-a-decade White House Conference on Aging, but many seniors don’t realize Federal help is available, according to a civic activist at the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, which will hold a panel discussion called “New York Seniors and the Rising Food Insecurity Crisis” at Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza on Feb. 23.

“We want to educate them about the possibility of supplementing their income with government subsidies, so they get to keep more dollars in their pockets,” said Blaine Arthur, program manager of social services.

The symposium, which is aimed at seniors whose annual pre-tax income is $23,544, is the result of a partnership between the New York City Department for the Aging and the Aging in New York Fund. Jennifer Goodstein, the President and Publisher of Community News Group — the owner of this publication — will be a guest speaker along with: Caryn Resnick, Deputy Commissioner for the New York City Department for the Aging; Lisa A. Boyd, Chief Operating Officer of the Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation; Terry Kaelber, Director of Community Engagement Projects at United Neighborhood Houses of New York; Maggie Meehan, Associate Director of Nutrition Education at City Harvest; and Jose Luis Sanchez, Program Manager at Citymeals-on-Wheels.

Workers will pre-screen seniors for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps). The allowance — based on certain financial factors and immigrant status — has been a lifeline for poor Americans for 40 years as the first line of defense against hunger and a powerful tool for improving nutrition among low-income people. Benefits come to the household via electronic debit Electronic Benefit Transfer cards that recipients can use to buy food at more than 246,000 approved retail stores nationwide.

Gotham’s graying

The golden years of New Yorkers could be tarnished ones:

• More foreign-born seniors live here than in any other American city — with one out of every 10 older immigrants in the country calling the Big Apple home, according to the Center for an Urban Future.

• The city’s 60-plus community will equal Chicago’s current population by 2020, increasing the odds that more seniors will struggle to put food on the table and pay their bills, Mayor DeBlasio informed an astonished American Association of Retired Persons forum in December.

Bridging the gap

The first national food stamp program was instituted in 1939 after the Great Depression. Its chief architects were Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and Milo Perkins, the program’s first administrator.

“We got a picture of a gorge with farm surpluses on one cliff and under-nourished city folks with outstretched hands on the other,” Perkins famously said. “Then we set out to find a practical way to build a bridge across that chasm.”

Panel discussion “New York City Seniors and the Rising Food Insecurity Crisis” at Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza [1368 Fulton St. between New York and Brooklyn avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (212) 602–4460] on Feb. 23 at 3 pm. RSVP by Feb. 20; https://nycseniorsfoodinsecurity.eventbrite.com.

For the original article, click here.



Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Delivers 2016 State Of The City Address

Friday, February 12, 2016



SPEAKER MELISSA MARK-VIVERITO DELIVERS 2016 STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS

Excerpt: For full release, visit http://council.nyc.gov/html/pr/021116soc.shtml

 

The Council will act to support New York City’s families and caregivers by:
 
• Increasing Funding for the Nurse Family Partnership:  The Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) is a nurse home-visit program for low-income and at-risk first-time mothers that begins during pregnancy and continues until the child’s second birthday. NFP is proven to reduce preterm and infant deaths, child abuse and neglect, subsequent unwanted births, and reliance on safety net programs, and has also been shown to improve behavioral, educational, and cognitive outcomes for children. Speaker Mark-Viverito today announced that the Council will increase funding for the Nurse Family Partnership by $8 million. By intervening early, the City can eliminate many of the risk factors and challenges that complicate pregnancy and child-rearing.

• Increasing Funding for  Elementary School After-School Programs: After-school programs provide children with enrichment opportunities and a nurturing place to go after school, while allowing hundreds of thousands of parents to balance jobs with family responsibilities. This year, the City’s Comprehensive Afterschool System (COMPASS) has offered 42,540 free slots for elementary school students. But across the five boroughs, programs still have waiting lists that leave thousands more parents struggling to find alternative childcare options. To address this, Speaker Mark-Viverito and the Council will work with the Administration to increase COMPASS funding and add at least 5,000 more slots for elementary school students.

• Continuing the Fight at the State Level for Paid Family Leave: The Family and  Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees working at firms with fifty or more employees with up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a twelve month period for specified family and medical reasons. However, many employees either are not covered or cannot afford to lose the pay even if they qualify. New York State provides partial wage replacement through its Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program, but only in the event the employee becomes temporarily disabled. If an employee’s child becomes seriously ill, TDI provides no protection.

• Working to expand the City’s child care tax credit: The Council will work with its State partners to increase the maximum eligible income from $30,000 to $45,000, increasing the maximum benefit from 75% of the State child care tax credit to 100%, and for the first time extending the credit to caregivers of adults who cannot care for themselves. Expanding the credit for children alone is estimated to increase the number of recipients by 18,700.

• Establishing a Plan to Address the Needs of the City’s Informal Caregiver Population: The Council will pass legislation requiring the Department for the Aging (DFTA), in consultation with the Human Resources Administration, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and other relevant agencies, to develop a comprehensive plan to address the needs of the City’s informal caregiver population. This plan will include an assessment of the City’s caregiver population, including demographics and the amount of care they provide; an analysis of whether they are being reached by the City’s existing caregiver support programs; and discussions of how cross-agency collaboration can address the needs of caregivers of both seniors and non-senior adults with disabilities. DFTA will receive input from informal caregivers, service providers, academic experts, and others to make recommendations on how programs and services can be improved to effectively serve and support the City’s caregivers.

• Creating a Division of Paid Care within the Office of Labor Standards: The Division will research workforce issues related to homecare and childcare workers to ensure that workers in the caregiver industry have the supports they need to provide the best care for our seniors, children and disabled family members. The Division will also educate workers, clients, and their families about their rights and responsibilities. Greater oversight of this industry will improve working conditions for tens of thousands of paid care workers, decrease turnover, improve the continuity of care, and enhance the cost-effectiveness of existing City programs.

 

 

 

“Parents throughout New York City are clamoring for high-quality programs for their children after school and during the summer. After-school programs are essential for working families and they provide children with activities and recreation that support their growth and education.  We applaud Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for proposing an expansion of year-round after-school programs for elementary school students and look forward to working with the Speaker and the City Council to ensure high quality after-school programs for every child and youth in New York City,” said  Susan Stamler, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Houses.

Statement of United Neighborhood Houses of New York on Islamophobia and Xenophobia

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
We, the undersigned Settlement Houses and members of United Neighborhood Houses of New York, strongly oppose the escalating Islamophobic and xenophobic atmosphere that has resulted in hostility, discrimination, and fear. 

In the wake of horrific violence both in the United States and across the world, the Arab-American and Muslim-American communities have been subjected to hatred that is both misguided and bigoted.

Throughout the pain of senseless tragedies and the fear that arises in such turbulent circumstances, we hope that our fellow New Yorkers uphold our shared American values of inclusivity, diversity and tolerance. This is what makes our City strong and our nation great. And this is why, when fleeing war-torn homes, so many immigrants, who are our neighbors, our friends, our families and our clients sought out the security of the United States. 

Hate cannot be defeated by hate. We must remember that, above all else, we are all members of the same neighborhoods, the same city, and the same country. We work together, eat together and depend on one another to keep our neighborhoods safe and strong. As Settlement Houses, we choose to respond to this disheartening atmosphere with the work we pride ourselves in – lending a hand to our neighbors in need and ultimately building more peaceful and vibrant communities. 

We choose to respond with compassion. 

We ask you to stand with us in solidarity with the many Arab, Middle-Eastern, Muslim and South Asian immigrant communities in New York City, New York State and across the United States.

 We will find our strength in unity.


In Solidarity,


Arab American Family Support Center

Broadway Housing Communities

CAMBA

Center for Family Life in Sunset Park

Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation

East Side House Settlement

Educational Alliance

Goddard Riverside Community Center

Grand St.  Settlement

Greenwich House

Hamilton Madison House

Hartley House

Hudson Guild

Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House

Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center

Mosholu Montefiore Community Center

New Settlement Apartments

Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation

Project Hospitality

Queens Community House

Riverdale Neighborhood House

SCAN New York

Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach

Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Center

St. Nicks Alliance

Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center

Union Settlement Association

United Community Centers

University Settlement Society

WHEDco

 

UNH Response to Preliminary Budget

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Mayor de Blasio’s Preliminary Budget contains several laudable investments that seek to address the growing inequities in our city. However, the Mayor’s budget proposal falls short in funding many key priorities for New York City’s communities. United Neighborhood Houses looks forward to working with both the administration and the City Council to arrive at a budget that will be a win for New York City’s neighborhoods.
 
Policy Wins
 
We are gratified that the City is taking action to address the very low salaries of many staff in city contracted human services agencies. With a commitment to increase non-profit funding incrementally in order to implement a wage floor of $15 per hour by the end of 2018, the administration has started a process that will lift many hardworking New Yorkers out of poverty. Community based organizations funded by city contracts are doing on-the-ground work to implement the Mayor’s agenda of combating inequality. To do this effectively, we must address the inequalities that impact our own workforce. We look forward to continuing to work with the City to ensure that the tireless staff in the City’s non-profits receive compensation that reflects the incredible importance of their work.
UNH is also grateful for the increase in funding for elder abuse prevention programs. Elder abuse is often a hidden crisis, with only one case out of every 24 cases of abuse reported in New York. This investment will ensure that more older adults can access these vital services to remain safe in their communities.
Additionally, investments made as part of the ThriveNYC program, funds which support the expansion of mental health services, are an important step in connecting more New Yorkers to needed mental health services.
 
Areas in Need of Correction
 
Summer Programs
 
UNH is disappointed that this administration, which has been a champion of after-school programs, has made such a harmful cut to summer after-school programs. Working parents who need a safe and positive place for their kids after the school day need the same support in the summer when schools are not in session. Moreover, summer activities are essential to preventing summer learning loss and keeping kids on track to succeed in school. If action is not taken, approximately 34,000 kids will lose summer programs. Last year, when this same cut was proposed, more than 60% of City Councilmembers signed a letter urging the Mayor to restore funding. Since summer programs begin just days after a budget is passed, the Administration must not wait for a prolonged negotiation process to address this proposed gap in service. We urge the City to restore and baseline funding for summer programs for 34,000 middle school youth.
 
Adult Literacy
 
UNH is also disappointed that the preliminary FY 2017 City budget failed to restore critical adult literacy programming for thousands of New Yorkers who lost services in the last budget. English language proficiency and other services provided by adult literacy programs are essential for helping New Yorkers find better and higher paying jobs. We urge the Mayor to commit funding for community-based adult literacy programs to ensure families and hardworking New Yorkers have an opportunity to fully engage in the civic and economic opportunities of the City.
 
Youth Employment
 
UNH urges City leaders to use this budget to invest in the youth workforce both through the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and Work, Learn & Grow. Last year, SYEP provided summer jobs to 54,263 youth ages 14-24 in New York City. Work, Learn & Grow was successfully piloted last year and provided 8,000 paid jobs during the school year for SYEP participants. Unfortunately, the Preliminary Budget does not contain funds to expand SYEP despite the program receiving more than 130,000 applications for 54,000 slots and does not continue Work, Learn & Grow despite its success this year. We urge City leaders to invest in expanded employment opportunities for young people in this year’s budget.
 
Early Childhood Education
 
Finally, the City should not, yet again, let a budget season pass without addressing the crisis of salary disparities in the early childhood education system. Teachers, directors and staff in community based early childhood programs are paid far less than their counterparts in public schools. This leaves the people who are responsible for the education of many of the poorest young children in New York City fighting to escape poverty themselves. Furthermore, it leads to a loss of quality staff in community based organizations as teachers, directors and staff leave jobs they care about just to make ends meet.

City Press Release: City-Funded Drop-in Centers

Monday, January 11, 2016

De Blasio Administration Doubling City-Funded Drop-In Centers to Bring Homeless Off NYC Streets

January 11, 2016

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the City will double the number of City-funded Drop-In Centers designed to help bring homeless people off the streets and provide them with services that can help keep them off the streets permanently.

Drop-In Centers are an essential part of a continuum of care for street homelessness that starts with HOME-STAT outreach workers identifying them and gaining their trust; bringing them to a Drop-In Center for food, showers, case management services and medical care; taking them to a Safe Haven to spend the night; and moving them into supportive housing where they can receive help to rebuild their lives.

“Every street homeless person is an individual tragedy, a life gone off course. But sadly they often reject traditional shelters. We are now assembling all the specialized services needed to find each of these people and offer them the assistance that will work for each of them. Drop-In Centers are an essential part of the path off the streets, where homeless people can rest, eat, see a case manager, receive medical care and be offered placement into housing,” said Mayor de Blasio.

Mayor de Blasio has now substantially strengthened every step needed to move homeless people off the street, including creating HOME-STAT, the nation's most comprehensive street homelessness outreach effort, committing to add 500 new Safe Haven beds, and committing to finance 15,000 new supportive housing units.

Today’s announcement is another in a series of reforms resulting from the 90-day review of City homeless services ordered by Mayor de Blasio on December 15, including:

  • Launching the Shelter Repair Squad 2.0, substantially increasing the City's ability to monitor and correct unacceptable shelter conditions.
  • Ending the use of cluster apartments for shelter over the next three years.
  • Reiterating the existing requirement to keep shelters open for residents during the day.
  • Adding 300 beds for homeless youth.

Drop-In Centers provide an al­ternative to traditional shelter for street homeless individuals. They offer temporary respite where individuals can shower, eat a meal, see a doctor and rest. Case management and housing placement services are also available for clients who wish to receive them. The Centers also offer a limited number of off-site overnight respite beds, but ultimately seek to place people in permanent housing.

The City is announcing a new $8.5 million annual commitment to double the number of Drop-In Centers it currently operates. The City will open three new Drop-In Centers and take over funding of the current HUD-funded Drop-In Center in the Bronx run by BronxWorks, as HUD looks to reinvest those dollars in permanent housing.  

These four locations will be added to the four existing City-funded Drop-Ins: two in Manhattan, one in Staten Island and one in Brooklyn. In the past two fiscal years (FY14 and FY15), these Drop-In Centers served an average of 454 clients during the day, saw a daily average of 128 clients overnight and made 1,238 housing placements.

The City previously had nine City-funded Drop-In Centers, but five were closed between 2008 and 2010.

“To ensure maximum coordination and to make it as easy as possible for homeless New Yorkers to go to the Drop-In Centers, the City’s existing Outreach Team providers will run these Centers,” said Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks.

New Centers will open in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. These Drop-In Centers will be expected to each serve approximately 75 clients at any given time.

Drop-In Centers will continue to focus on working collaboratively with the City’s outreach teams on the placement of chronically street homeless individuals into housing, and provide housing placement services to the non-chronically street homeless individuals. This includes working with clients to obtain identification, entitlements and housing. Drop-In Centers will also set up the front door of their programs to rapidly connect individuals to more appropriate systems of care, such as the emergency shelter system, residential drug treatment programs, family re-unification, travel assistance and other resources.   

In addition, the City has updated its policies to allow for individuals who have recently stayed in the City shelters to use the Drop-In Center services, reversing a policy that had been in place since 2012.

"I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio to site a new Drop-In Center in Brooklyn for street homeless individuals that need a safe and supportive place to access critical services,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “This is one of many resources needed to combat the homelessness crisis facing our city, and we must continue to invest in these resources in order to help our neighbors in need reach more hopeful futures."

“Drop-In Centers work – they provide a crucial gateway for the street homeless population to begin connecting with services and shelter and start on the path to shelter and eventually permanent housing,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Dramatically reducing homelessness in New York City will require real investments of government resources, and it’s good to see our mayor making one of those investments today.”

“Moving from the street to supportive housing can be a long, difficult transition,” said Council-Member and General Welfare Committee Chair Stephen Levin. “It is essential that case workers be given the resources to provide relief and services to street homeless individuals where they reside. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for stepping up to fully fund our Drop-In Centers, which are an essential component of any strategy for successful outreach to the street homeless. Drop-In Centers allow New Yorkers in need to rest, clean up, speak with a caseworker or doctor, shelter from the cold, and access services and information at their own pace. This type of personal contact lays a foundation for trust and rapport that helps connect street homeless individuals with essential services and eases their transition back to the path toward stable housing and employment.”

"Thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s funding commitment, 3 new sites along with continued support for the BronxWorks Drop-In Center, will help more people leave the streets and move into permanent housing,” said Susan Stamler, Director of United Neighborhood Houses. “Drop-In Centers provide an essential community safety net for homeless individuals during one of their most devastating life moments. While it may be a meal or a shower, medical treatment or a bed,  or just finding the right person to talk to, these Drop-In Centers make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors. "

"Breaking Ground applauds Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to helping the most vulnerable New Yorkers," said Brenda Rosen, President and CEO of Breaking Ground. “Drop-In Centers are a critical step in the journey from the street to stable, safe, permanent supportive housing. Breaking Ground has been serving the homeless and many other at-risk New Yorkers for more than 25 years as the largest provider of supportive housing, running the city’s largest safe haven, and homeless street outreach in three boroughs. We look forward to working with the de Blasio administration to open three new desperately-needed Drop-In Centers, and to get people into permanent housing as soon as possible.”

"BronxWorks is thrilled that the Mayor has such a strong commitment to the expansion of Drop-In Centers throughout New York City,” said Eileen Torres, Executive Director of BronxWorks. “As the long-standing operator of the Bronx Drop-In center while also overseeing the homeless outreach program, we know firsthand the integrated approach is critical to the successful reduction of the numbers of street homeless population in the borough. In addition to coming in off the streets during extreme weather conditions, a Drop-In center offers clients the opportunity to receive medical and/or psychiatric evaluations and care, meet with case managers and complete applications for supportive housing.” 

“The Mayor’s announcement will provide us with another tool in our kit to help those living on the street make the transition from street to permanent housing,” said Stephan Russo, Executive Director of the Goddard Riverside Community Center. “This is another welcomed sign that the City is providing the resources we need to make our outreach efforts even more effective.”

“Project Hospitality applauds Mayor de Blasio for supporting and expanding what has proven for us to be a critical piece of a continuum of compassionate engagement and services that will successfully move homeless persons from the streets to safe shelter and supportive housing,” said Reverend Terry Troia, Executive Director of Project Hospitality.

To view the entire press release, click here.



City Press Release: One Year After Release of Career Pathways Report

Monday, January 11, 2016

NEW YORK—One year after Mayor de Blasio released the Career Pathways report laying out the administration’s vision to transform workforce development, the City announced significant progress in several key areas of the report. The City has nearly doubled its investments in workforce training over two years, significantly increased investment in “bridge” programs, and launched HireNYC, the largest targeted hiring program in the nation. 

Career Pathways is better preparing New Yorkers for the workforce. One year later, we've doubled our investments in training, improved our skills training with the help of industry partners, and bolstered bridge programs and youth employment. Through these efforts, many more New Yorkers have access to career opportunities,” said Mayor de Blasio.

“With Career Pathways we established an ambitious goal to transform the way our City approaches workforce development,” said Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development. “In the past year we have begun the hard work of marching towards that goal, making major investments in program quality while also refocusing those programs that were not aligned with our new framework.  We have a lot more work to do and are excited to continue this momentum with all of our workforce partners across the City.”

Fundamentally, Career Pathways laid out a vision for transforming the City’s workforce programs to reduce the emphasis on basic “rapid attachment” job placement employment services and increase efforts that support long-term employment and career building.

The City’s investments in workforce training nearly doubled to $54.3 million, translating to 4,000 more New Yorkers who will build their skills this year. Career Pathways pledged to bring this investment up to $100 million within five years. This year’s total included $6.3 million spent to train more than 3,000 women, immigrants, and other entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses, utilizing the WE NYC plan targeted specifically at building resources for women entrepreneurs and the Immigrant Business Initiative, which helps foreign born New Yorkers in growing and starting businesses through support from Citi Community Development.

Investment in Bridge programs – education programs that combine workforce training with a pathway to associate’s degrees – were also significantly increased by $6.4 million. This funding will put nearly 1,000 low-skilled workers on track to obtain family-supporting wages and quality jobs, and represents New York City’s first program of this type. The City has just launched a Bridge Bank, a resource for educators to help expand these programs throughout the community. In all, 18,700 New Yorkers benefited from Bridge, skills training and entrepreneurship programs. 

Investment in youth employment was significantly increased. The Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) increased the number of participants in the Summer Youth Employment Program to over 54,000, the highest number in decades. Additionally, with support from the City Council, DYCD created a year-round program for 4,000 of the summer students called Work, Learn & Grow. Along with the creation of the Center for Youth Employment, charged by Mayor de Blasio with expanding total system capacity to support 100,000 jobs, internships and mentorships for young New Yorkers each year, these efforts illustrate a shared commitment to providing quality and early opportunities for New York City youth.

Finally, the City launched HireNYC, a targeted hiring program aimed at leveraging the City’s purchasing power and economic development investments, which will connect more New Yorkers to quality jobs created by the City’s contracts and investments. 

Other progress on Career Pathways recommendations include continued work on Industry Partnerships to better align training programs to the industry needs, expanding and improving college preparedness programs to yield better long term career prospects – including significant investment by CUNY to increase graduation rates of students earning associate’s degrees – and EDC’s Best for NYC program, which is aimed at highlighting and inspiring worker-friendly practices for businesses.  The full report is available at the City’s Career Pathways website.

The City delivers a number of its workforce programs through public-private partnerships with several of New York City’s largest educational institutions, companies, non-profits and unions. Leadership from many these organizations were integrally involved in the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force, whose insights initiated the work that ultimately culminated in the release of the Career Pathways report.

“Since last year’s release of the New York City Career Pathways plan, United Neighborhood Houses has appreciated the opportunity to engage in thoughtful discussions with the Office of Workforce Development and Human Resources Administration on how to bring the City’s new vision to life. Our settlement houses and community centers share the City’s commitment to creating a workforce development system that meets New Yorkers where they are and connects them to the education and skills they need to achieve their goals. We look forward to the release of the one year report and continuing to partner with the city to ensure robust investment in key adult literacy, youth employment and other workforce programs,” said Kevin Douglas, Co-Director of Policy & Advocacy United Neighborhood Houses.


For the original article, click here.




IDC unveils New York 2020 Agenda

Monday, January 11, 2016




Albany, NY —
The Independent Democratic Conference released the New York 2020 Agenda: A Blueprint for a Better New York on Thursday, a comprehensive policy package focused on improving education, housing, employment and quality-of-life in every corner of New York State.

On a foundation of four pillars: Educate New York 2020; House New York 2020; Work New York 2020; and Live New York 2020, the visionary agenda builds upon the IDC’s bold Invest New York and Affordable New York agendas to address the needs of working- and middle-class New Yorkers. The ambitious goals in each of the 2020 plans lay out a four-year path to lift up the state.

Chief among the IDC’s proposals are:

·  A new, 12-week paid family leave proposal that will ensure New York’s workforce finally can afford to take needed time to welcome a child into the world or care for an ill-loved one. Under a new proposal, the IDC seeks to grant employees 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for a new child or sick loved one. This Family Care benefit would be separate from traditional disability insurance however would still operate out of the Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) system, which grants 26-weeks off to injured and disabled workers. Temporary Disability Leave would continue to be funded through joint employee/employer contributions and disability benefits would significantly increase to match Family Care Leave benefits to $700 a week compared to the current maximum benefit of $170 a week.

·  The creation of the “50-hour learning week” by investing $550 million in afterschool programs, the support of existing Community Learning Schools and the development of 400 new Community Learning Schools, as well as a Kindergarten Fund financed by unclaimed lottery money.

·  The development of an innovative zero-interest college loan program to keep college students out of the red. College graduates in New York State are strapped with an average $26,000 debt. The IDC envisions the New York Achieve Loan Program, a zero-interest loan fund created with $500 million of settlement monies, to keep college affordable and invest in the future of our state. Loans would be granted to first-time undergraduate students who finish in the top five of their high school class with a 3.5 GPA or higher or score a combined 1200 or more on the SAT or a composite score of 27 or higher on the ACT. Students could apply for the loans after accepting all federal, state and grant aid and could use up to $6,500 a year on a private or public, four-year institution.

·  A continued commitment to the New York Public Housing Authority will help cure the deplorable conditions faced by tenants. The IDC proposes the creation of the Public Housing Revitalization Fund to administer state grants for critical repairs in NYCHA developments. Building on last year’s $100 million commitment from the state, the IDC calls for another $100 million in state funding for NYCHA to be matched by New York City and a dedication of future excess Battery Park City Authority surplus revenues, which would provide an additional $400 million for repairs.

·  Raising the wage for caretakers to $15 an hour will ensure that we care for those who take care of our loved ones. While home health aides care for our most vulnerable citizens they earn a meager $10.75 an hour and personal care aides make just a little more at $11.73. Half of the human service workers, like social workers or child care workers, earn less than $15 per hour, even though two thirds require college degrees to work. While New York State relies on these workers to deliver the critical services for our most vulnerable citizens, the state must do its part to raise its Medicaid reimbursement rates to service providers to ensure that these necessary wage increases do not lead to cuts in services. The IDC is advocating that these workers receive a $15 wage in light of Governor Cuomo’s announcement that state workers would receive a $15 minimum wage.

Other signature issues include:

·  Passing Zombie Property Legislation - Vacant and abandoned properties are a blight on our communities, causing devastating effects on the well-being of neighborhoods. The decaying houses can have a corrosive effect on localities, quickly turning into row upon row of boarded-up buildings that create hazardous areas and devalue homes. The IDC calls for a statewide registry of vacant and abandoned residential properties, while imposing a duty on mortgagees and loan servicing agents to take early action in protecting communities from crumbling homes.

·  Developing more affordable middle-income housing -  The IDC has sought to revive the spirit of Mitchell Lama by providing significant funding for middle-income housing for the first time in decades. Last year, the IDC successfully secured $50 million: $25 million to rehabilitate existing Mitchell Lama buildings and $25 million for the Middle Income Housing Program, which serves families with incomes up to 130 percent of the AMI. Over the next four years, the IDC would like to see a $700 million investment in the Middle Income Housing Program to construct new, affordable housing for working families. The IDC also proposes a Middle Income Housing Tax Credit, a 4 percent refundable tax credit, to spur the creation of units for families making up to 130 percent of the AMI.

·  Implementing ‘A New Deal for New York’ - New York State’s infrastructure needs an upgrade and New Yorkers need new and more jobs. The creation of the Empire Public Works Fund (EPW), the Community Jobs Program (CJP) and the New York State Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program  (MIAP) will help rebuild aging structures and put unemployed New Yorkers back to work. The EPW is a revolving loan fund for major infrastructure projects like bridges, tunnels, sewer systems or toll roads that would provide loans to state entities for major projects. The CJP provides grants for smaller neighborhood level projects that revitalize communities, expand small business opportunities and put chronically unemployed people back to work. Preference would be given to projects with long-term employment offers and starting wages set at $15 an hour. The MIAP program would be a public-private partnership between employers and New York State to give small and medium manufacturing firms in the state an opportunity to create registered apprenticeship programs without having to deal with many of the administrative burdens that make this an expensive and difficult task beyond the capabilities of many firms.

·  Increasing funding for quality child care and keeping day care centers safe - Working families need affordable, quality childcare. The IDC wants increased funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, a child care tax credit and investment in the Quality Stars program. With a call for increased funding for child care, the IDC also recognizes the need for parents to be fully informed of the safety conditions within a day cares’ walls. Alarmingly, the IDC discovered unsanitary and unsafe conditions in New York City day cares. Many providers were serial offenders — 88 operators were cited during every annual inspection and for the same infraction. Many failed their inspections 100 percent of the time. Parents have difficulties tracking down violation information and during an undercover investigation, operators were deceptive about their histories. A letter-grading system for day care centers will provide a clear way for parents and guardians to understand how a day care center performed on their annual inspection.

·  Protecting New Yorkers from high utility costs - New Yorkers pay exorbitant utility rates, but have no say in the rate-setting process, unlike other states that have a Utility Consumer Advocate. The IDC calls for the appointment of a Utility Consumer Advocate who would operate independently and provide a meaningful voice for consumers. In addition, to help low- and middle-class seniors the IDC proposes the Senior Heating Assistance Program (SHEAP), which would serve seniors with an annual income of less than $75,000 for a family of two or $55,000 for an individual, with a fixed benefit for heating costs.


“United Neighborhood Houses, New York City’s federation of settlement houses and community centers, applauds the proposals for key investments in early childhood education, after-school, public housing and older adults in the IDC’s 2020 agenda.  For New York State to succeed both now and in the next decade New York’s communities need to have stable and robust funding for the core services that keep communities strong.  UNH and its member agencies look forward to working with Senator Klein to ensure a state budget this year and in the future that provides for New York’s communities,” said Susan Stamler, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Houses.

To read the entire press release, click here.