The UNH Blog

"Best Budget for NYC's Neighborhoods in Years"

Monday, June 23, 2014

This is the best budget we have seen for New York City’s neighborhoods in years.  We applaud Mayor de Blasio and the City Council for preserving core neighborhood services and  for crucial new investments in the Summer Youth Employment Program, free school lunches for middle-schoolers, adult literacy education and the New York City Housing Authority.  However, there remain areas of unmet need and we need to go further.  We are disappointed that the budget does not include needed funding to provide adequate salaries for early childhood education staff. Without equitable salaries, qualified teachers  working with infants, toddlers and three year olds are likely to leave for higher paying jobs in Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs and thereby destabilizing services for younger children. UNH urges the City to work post budget to ensure that community based organizations  providing early childhood education are able to offer equitable salaries to their staff.

UNH Responses to Fiscal Year 2015 State Budget

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Although there remains tremendous unmet need in services for New York City’s children, youth, immigrants and older adults, United Neighborhood Houses is pleased that the NYS FY2015 budget includes several positive investments that will improve the lives of residents in vulnerable and low income communities. The investment of $300 million to make Universal Pre-K truly universal in New York City is a historic victory for New York City's children and families. In addition, the $34m expansion in the Child Care Block Grant (CCBG) will also help ensure that parents are able to go to work while their children are in safe settings. We are encouraged by the $5m increased investment in the Community Services for the Elderly (CSE) program which will allow greater numbers of older adults to age with dignity in their homes, and also applaud the $1m expansion to the Settlement House Initiative, which provides settlement houses with the flexibility to meet evolving community needs.

However, UNH is deeply disappointed in the failure of leadership that resulted in the DREAM Act not being included in the final budget. As a result, thousands of immigrant youth without documentation through no fault of their own will continue to face significant financial barriers to pursuing a higher education after succeeding in high school. This represents a missed opportunity for New York to capitalize on their talents and potential. In addition, by not investing greater resources in Adult Literacy Education (ALE) and the transition from the GED® to the Common Core-aligned TASC™ examination, immigrants seeking to improve their English skills, and other adult education students hoping to earn their high school equivalency diploma will continue to face class shortages.

Also of significant concern to UNH is the nominal increased investment in the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). While the $2.5m increase will help retain some youth jobs, thousands more will be lost in NYC at a time when over 100,000 youth in the City are already turned from the program annually, as the State did not fully account for the impact of the increased minimum wage on the program.

UNH Response to Senate Bill

Friday, March 14, 2014

United Neighborhood Houses (UNH) is pleased that the Assembly and Senate have each produced budget resolutions that include support for several key programming areas that vulnerable New Yorkers rely on, and that both houses of the legislature are  now united in support of the New York City plan to expand Pre-Kindergarten and After-School. Together, the two houses will make UPK truly universal and provide every middle school student access to an after-school slot. Under the leadership of Speaker Silver, the Assembly’s budget resolution includes NYC’s financing plan for Universal Pre-Kindergarten and After-School expansion, $25m to support implementation of the DREAM Act, and expanded investment in innovative Settlement House programming used to meet complex neighborhood needs.

We are also encouraged by Senate Co-Leaders Klein and Skelos’s work to produce a budget resolution that increases investments in critical areas including a $4.7m expansion in Adult Literacy Education (ALE) and $1.0m to support the High School Equivalency (HSE) transition to the Common Core, an additional $5.0m to serve older adults through Community Services for the Elderly (CSE),  and expanded eligibility for the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program (EPIC). In addition, the Senate resolution commits to fully funding NYC’s plan to universalize Pre-Kindergarten and expand After-school for middle school students.

We remain disappointed, however, that that additional funding to account for the increase in the minimum wage was not included for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) in either budget resolution. Without this funding there will be 2,750 fewer jobs for young people in NYC this summer. In addition, the Senate’s failure to include any funding for the DREAM Act is a tremendous letdown for the thousands of hard-working young DREAMers who will continue to find college out of reach.

UNH now calls on Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver, and Senate Co-Leaders Klein and Skelos to ensure the State’s final budget bill includes support for all of these programs that our communities need to be safe, stable, and vibrant.