As a network that reaches 765,000 New Yorkers annually, UNH partners with settlement houses to promote social change and democracy. By responding to the constantly changing political needs of a neighborhood and advocating with their communities for better policies and investments, UNH can drive higher levels of civic engagement.
To help more New Yorkers engage in our democracy, UNH advocates for policies that strengthen the electoral systems of our city and state.
Current Policy Agenda
UNH urges New York City and State to invest in community-based organizations that are well-positioned to reach hard-to-count communities. UNH also works with settlement houses to develop educational resources and strategic outreach to prepare communities for the 2020 Census.
To increase voter participation, UNH advocates to make voting more accessible for all New Yorkers by promoting: early voting, pre-registration of 16 and 17-year-olds, automatic voter registration, flexibility to change party affiliation, and restoring parolee voting rights.
UNH will work to pass local legislation for the right to vote for lawful non-citizen residents in NYC elections for City Council, Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, and other city positions as well as take part in ballot referenda. Approximately 500,000 New Yorkers would qualify.
To support civic engagement, UNH offers:
Settlement House Voter Initiative
To increase voter participation, UNH leads a nonpartisan voter mobilization initiative and provides training, customized support, resources, and small grants to interested settlement houses. UNH training includes rules for conducting nonpartisan voter mobilization; neighborhood profiles with voter turnout data; voter registration FAQ; and a directory of nonpartisan online voting-related resources. Through this work, participating UNH members register, pledge, and mobilize New Yorkers to vote.
Civic Engagement Workshops & Resources:
UNH provides interactive workshops focused on identifying ways that settlement house staff can support civic engagement in their communities. In response to political events, policy changes, and election cycles, UNH frequently develops informational guides and resources for our members and the communities they serve.