The UNH Blog

UNH Responds to Mayor's State of the City Speech

Wednesday, February 04, 2015
United Neighborhood Houses applauds the proposals outlined in the Mayor’s State of the City speech today to create more affordable housing as the anchor for safe and stable neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.  As an organization that has been dedicated to creating safe, stable, economically integrated neighborhoods across NYC for over 90 years, we are particularly impressed with the Mayor’s understanding that strong neighborhoods must include affordable housing, but NOT ONLY affordable housing.   Access to parks, transportation, schools, shopping, and community centers also are key ingredients for successful neighborhood life and the sense of community that supports residents across the income spectrum.   UNH member agencies – settlement houses and community centers – provide important community services like child care, afterschool, senior centers that also are essential to the health and well-being of a neighborhood.  We look forward to working with the Mayor and his administration to make sure that every neighborhood in the City has the housing and social supports that create the kinds of neighborhoods every one of us would like to live in.   

Blueprint for Neighborhoods

Friday, June 28, 2013

On Tuesday, UNH will release a new report, a “Blueprint for Neighborhoods” that outlines policy recommendations for the next Mayor that will help keep New York City  neighborhoods strong, stable and vibrant.   One of its key points is that the human services the government pays nonprofits to provide in communities across the city are as essential as other municipal services like police, fire and sanitation.  While these “uniformed services” are always included in Mayoral budgets and, in fact, often receive increases in their spending authorization, services that are equally important to community health and well-being, like child care, afterschool programs, English classes and senior centers, continue to be cut and continue to rely on reduced, unpredictable, often one-year funding.  This approach not only jeopardizes the stability of the nonprofit agencies the City relies on to deliver these services, it puts entire neighborhoods at risk.   

When New Yorkers turn on their light switches they expect the electricity to flow.  When they open their faucets, they expect the water to rush out.   These are utilities that we have come to count on.  Similarly, we need to provide “social utilities” to the many hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who need predictable child care and senior care, to name but two.  When an older adult walks down the block,  she needs to know the doors of her senior center are still open.  When a young mother looks for affordable child care, she needs to know there will be a spot for her child in her neighborhood.   It is time to start treating these services as “discretionary”.  They are not.  Just like police and sanitation, they are part of what makes New York City a strong, stable and livable city.