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New York, NY — On Tuesday, May 7, members of the New York City Council Progressive Caucus joined human services advocates to call for investments in community-based organizations in the city budget. Adequately funding human service contracts is a key priority for the Progressive Caucus for the fiscal year 2020 budget.

On the steps of City Hall, the broad coalition of elected officials and nonprofit leaders declared FY2020 the “Year of the CBO.”  Progressive Caucus Members Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos and representatives from the Human Services Council, Chinese-American Planning Council, Public Health Solutions, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement, and SCO Family of Services Preventative Programs called on Mayor de Blasio to include a $106 million investment in the budget to fund CBOs in the human services sector. The Mayor has not included this $106 million investment in his Executive Budget, although these organizations provide critical interventions such as homeless services, job training, after-school programming, and mental health services for millions of New Yorkers.

The City government relies on CBOs to provide critical human services, and yet, the sector remains severely underfunded. As a result of these funding gaps, one in five organizations in the human services sector are insolvent and could be forced to scale back services in order to make ends meet. When New Yorkers cannot access these services, this impacts the families who need them, as well as members of the human services workforce (predominantly women and people of color), who do not get paid for the vital work they do each day. In the Year of the CBO, the de Blasio Administration has the opportunity to correct years of chronic underfunding and finally provide the necessary support to the CBOs that make New York City strong.

“For far too long, the community-based organizations providing essential social services to 2.5 million New Yorkers have been starved for resources. This is unconscionable – not only does it put vulnerable residents at risk, especially seniors, children, people with disabilities, and the homeless; it often forces our dedicated human service workers to accept substandard wages. This is exactly the opposite of how we should be approaching our social safety net. I wholeheartedly join the call for a $106 million investment in New York City’s non-profit social service providers, and thank the Human Services Council for their leadership on this urgent issue,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan), Member of the Progressive Caucus.

“Community-Based Organizations continue to be a huge part of how New Yorkers get the services they need from our City,” said Council Member Ben Kallos (District 5, Manhattan), Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, Chair of the Council’s Contracts Committee. “Not funding them properly is akin to the City not meeting its most basic responsibilities to its residents. Once the City meets this obligation and prioritizes this accordingly, contracts to these non-profits will be funded and the 2.5 million residents that depend on these services will be served properly. Anything short of that and as a City, we are failing our residents.”  

“It is critical that we fund community-based organizations that bring value to millions in the city,” said Council Member Keith Powers (District 4, Manhattan), Vice-Chair for Budget Advocacy of the Progressive Caucus. “I am proud to join my colleagues on the Progressive Caucus to call for support of our non-profits.”

“Our city relies on community-based organizations to perform basic functions for our people most in need. We count on them to hold people up. But our human service providers are in crisis due to a badly broken procurement system. We cannot continue asking these vital non-profit organizations to do more and more with less and less. These organizations need to be paid on time and paid fairly for the critical work they do. We have an opportunity to start to make things right with this proposed investment. It’s past time to get it done,” said Council Member Justin Brannan (District 43, Brooklyn), Member of the Progressive Caucus.

“It’s time for City Hall to stop playing games with the human services sector,” said Allison Sesso, Executive Director of the Human Services Council of New York. “Voters in Des Moines might not care about the fiscal crisis facing New York City’s human services sector, but the 2.5 million New Yorkers who rely on this sector certainly do. It’s time for Mayor de Blasio to work with the City Council and take action to support the community based organizations that are the backbone of this city.”

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