Every year, the Progressive Caucus works to ensure a fair budget that maintains a commitment to strong core City services while supporting programs that protect the most vulnerable. At a time when the Trump administration threatens the most basic rights and beliefs of many of our residents, an equitable and fair budget that strengthens core City services and protects the most vulnerable is that much more important in order to resist the bigotry and divestment from public assistance occurring at the national level. With these goals in mind, Caucus members identified and advocated for several priority investments earlier this year, many of which were secured today with the approval of the $85.2 billion Fiscal Year 2018 Budget by New York City Council.
Members appreciate the critical partnership and leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Finance Committee Chairwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, whose negotiations with Mayor de Blasio made these achievements possible. As this is the last budget cycle for both Speaker Mark-Viverito and Chairwoman Ferreras-Copeland in their respective positions, Caucus members would especially like to thank them for their service – the crucial and historic investments made in innovative public services over the last few years would not be possible without them.
The FY18 Budget reflected the following programs and initiatives prioritized by the Progressive Caucus:
Affordable & Public Housing Improvements
NYCHA Repairs: robust investments in NYCHA repairs to improve housing, health, and safety for public housing residents.
Children and Families in NYC Homeless System: $1 million in support of community based organizations to provide comprehensive case management services incorporating trauma-informed care, evidence-based interventions and aftercare programs to children and families in homeless shelters for long-term positive outcomes that would help them stay out of shelters.
Citywide Homeless Prevention Fund: $820,000 to support homelessness prevention programs that provide emergency grants to families in financial crisis and at risk of eviction in order to keep them in their homes and avoid the shelter system.
Defend Workers Rights
Workers Cooperatives: $3 million to support the creation of jobs in worker cooperatives by coordinating education and training resources and by providing technical, legal, and financial assistance.
Vital Investments in Public Services
Increase for Human Service Contracts: Support for frontline social service providers by increasing the rate for Human Service Contracts by 10% over 5 years, for a total of $70 million.
Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities: 3.9 million in funding for DFTA’s operations of NORCs for seniors living in areas populated by large numbers of New Yorkers over the age of 60, require particular access to health, transportation and medical services.
Emergency Food Assistance Program: $18.4 million expansion of the Emergency Food Assistance Programs to meet the basic needs of all food pantries and soup kitchens in the EFAP network across the City, and provide food relief for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.
Access to Food & Nutritional Education: $930,000 to support programs that will expand access to healthy food and improve understanding of nutrition and healthy food choices.
Human Rights Commission: $2.67 million to expand the law enforcement division of the Human Rights Commission to allow for a quicker investigation and processing of complaints of discrimination, harassment and bias-based profiling in a timely and efficient manner.
Neighborhood Fair Share Model
Parks Maintenance: $9.5 million will allow the Department of Parks and Recreation to retain 50 additional gardeners and 100 City Park workers hired in Fiscal 2017 to help maintain neighborhood parks citywide.
Community Safety and Empowerment
Youth Jobs: $19 million in additional funding to the Work, Learn, Grow Year Round Youth Jobs Program, amounting to extra job openings for city young people. $9 million to expand the Summer Youth Employment Program from 65,000 to 70,000 slots.
Crisis Management System (Anti-Gun Violence): $11.3 million in support of a collection of interrelated programs intended to reduce incidences of shootings in the City.
Alternatives to Incarceration: $6.4 million will support alternative-to-Incarceration (ATI) programs that provide individuals involved in the criminal justice system with intermediate sanctions, such as community service and substance abuse counseling as an alternative to pre-trial detention, sentence to jail or prison
Expand & Modernize Democracy
New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP): $10 million to support legal representation for New York immigrants detained and facing deportation who cannot afford an attorney.
Adult Literacy: $12 million in allocations for Adult Literacy initiatives that provide programming for basic literacy, English for Speakers of Other Languages, and Graduate Equivalent Degree classes for adults who cannot read, write, and speak English, along with support services such as counseling and case management.
Citywide Civil Legal Services: $9.2 million to support City Council’s commitment to provide vital civil legal services to low and middle-income New Yorkers
City’s First Readers: $4.2 million initiative to support a coalition of nonprofit organizations, and the City’s libraries to offer programing that fosters literacy development in young children.
Free School Lunch: $12.5 million expansion of the Free School Breakfast and Lunch programs to increase participation and ensure more students eat a healthy lunch in school.
Tenant Protection & Preservation
Anti-Eviction Legal Services: support for access to free legal services including counseling and/or full legal representation for tenants facing eviction in Housing Court.
Community Housing Preservation Strategies: $3.6 million in support of neighborhood based strategies that respond most effectively to various threats to affordable housing in high-need neighborhoods
Stabilizing NYC: $2.5 million to support a coalition of 17 not-for-profit groups that seek to combat the loss of affordable housing at the hands of predatory equity companies, and to defend low-income tenants in predatory equity building from harassment and eviction.