We advance our network’s priorities by rallying with partners, communicating with elected officials, testifying at oversight hearings, engaging reporters, and more.
In 2021, our advocacy resulted in significant budget and policy changes in the following issue areas:
Voting rights for immigrants: Since 2004, UNH and our allies worked to secure voting rights for NYC green card holders and immigrants with work authorization. On December 9, the NYC Council passed Intro 1867 with the support of 33 Council Members, expanding the right to vote in municipal elections to roughly 900,000 immigrants, correcting a historical inequality and giving power to voices that have been silent for far too long.
Summer Jobs for NYC Youth: Thanks to consistent and targeted advocacy led by UNH and our allies, the City restored full funding for SYEP in 2021, bringing the number of youth with access to a summer job back to 75,000.
A better Summer Rising: After speaking with providers about their concerns with the City's Summer Rising program, UNH designed and led a successful campaign that resulted in an additional $24 million to ensure fair wages for staff and high-quality, supportive programs for youth.
Flexible funds for settlement houses: We organized 70 virtual Lobby Day meetings with State legislators and settlement house leaders to advocate for the Settlement House Program. This resulted in a $2.45 million restoration of funding for settlement houses.
Indirect Cost Rates for settlement houses: Our targeted advocacy resulted in the full restoration of funding for the Indirect Cost Rate Initiative, which supports critical programming needs like improvements to facilities, additional staffing, and technology costs for settlement houses.
#OpenOurSeniorCenters: We worked with fellow advocates to amplify the voices of hundreds of older adults calling on the Mayor to reopen their still-shuttered senior centers, despite the reopening of other congregate settings like restaurants and gyms. Centers opened shortly after in June.
We also urged City and State decision makers to take action in the following areas:
Greater investment for older adults services, including senior centers, NORCS, and home-delivered meals
Fair wages and working conditions for home care staff
Better contracts and processes for youth programs
Food justice and inequalities in our food systems
Funding for mental health initiatives
Limiting incarceration for nonviolent parole violators