The UNH Blog

Responding to Cuomo's State of the State

Friday, January 05, 2018

Statement of Susan Stamler, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses, on Governor Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State Address

Settlement houses have been instrumental in implementing programs that foster positive change and promote the economic and social well-being of the communities they serve. United Neighborhood Houses, New York’s federation of settlement houses, applauds Governor Cuomo for his goal of making New York State the “nation’s vanguard for social progress.” UNH and its members look forward to working with State policymakers to ensure that New York State’s FY 2018-2019 budget includes investments and policies that achieve that goal. The FY 2018-2019 Executive Budget, which the Governor will release in several weeks, must include investments in the nonprofit workforce and infrastructure to ensure that the services New Yorkers depend upon are strong and stable.

Those investments must include adjustments to state contracts with nonprofit organizations to reflect the minimum wage increases that went to effect at the start of this month.  They also must include additional capital dollars to ensure the viability of nonprofit organizations to allow them to uphold their mission and to sustain the communities they serve.

UNH is also encouraged by the Governor’s support of a Child Care Availability Task Force to examine the need for child care in New York State. However, the tens of thousands of New York families who are on waiting lists for affordable child care need the State to invest in child care programs now. Last year’s State budget cut child care subsidies by approximately $7 million. In his Executive Budget proposal, Governor Cuomo must restore this cut and increase funding by at least $31 million to address the shortage in child care throughout the State. 

Similarly, UNH appreciates Governor Cuomo’s proposal to launch a Long Term Care Planning Council, to explore the long term care needs of older adults in New York State. Settlement houses are at the forefront of serving older adults in their communities through a range of services and supports that enable New Yorkers to plan their futures and to age in place. New York has the fourth largest population of older adults in the United States, and the number of older adults in the State continues to grow. The Long Term Care Planning Council must be partnered with investments in the community-based supportive service system in the FY2019 budget.

UNH is also pleased to see Governor Cuomo make the following proposals in his 2018 State of the State Address:

  • Passage of the DREAM Act, which would help college-bound youth access critical financial aid dollars regardless of their immigration status. While many undocumented youth face significant questions about their future in the United States, passing New York State’s DREAM Act will offer much needed financial relief for these young people.

  • An investment of $10 million to expand the Empire State After-school Program.

Nonprofits are the backbone of New York’s social services system and we look forward to working with State leaders to strengthen New York’s communities through our unparalleled network.

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