New Yorkers across the city are struggling. New York City has become simply unaffordable for working families. One of three renters in New York City pays a majority of their income in rent; meanwhile, homelessness approaches record levels. Childcare costs are spiraling and forcing working families out of New York City. New Yorkers have suffered significant trauma in recent years due to Covid. Our kids are struggling to catch up in schools and more New Yorkers are experiencing serious mental illness and cycling through our hospitals, jails, and shelters.
For months, Mayor Adams has fear-mongered about the City’s financial outlook in order to justify permanently shrinking City government and the essential programs that working New Yorkers depend on. As the largest employer in New York City, the Mayor has eliminated thousands of good public sector jobs that provide New Yorkers with essential services, such as processing food stamp applications or building new affordable housing. This is a manufactured crisis; the City is expected to end the current fiscal year with a surplus of $4.9 billion and substantial reserves.
The Progressive Caucus staunchly opposes any cuts to essential government services, including public education, health, human services, and libraries, relative to this year’s adopted budget, and are committed to restoring staffing levels. We must not only fight back against the Mayor’s draconian cuts, but also make essential investments that meet the needs of all New Yorkers and truly keep our communities safe. Working and middle-class New Yorkers deserve a City government that funds our schools, builds and protects affordable housing, and provides comprehensive care to those suffering from mental illness and substance use.
Our Caucus’s priorities for the FY24 budget are as follows:
Build and Preserve Affordable Housing: Housing is a human right. We prioritize creating and preserving housing that working and middle class New Yorkers can afford and not rely on for-profit development that is inaccessible to the majority of our communities. In order to move towards real solutions to the housing crisis, we must:
- Invest $4 billion to expand and preserve affordable housing: $2B in capital funding for HPD and $2B in capital funding for NYCHA (for all Section 9 buildings, not RAD/PACT)
- Invest $351M in Right to Counsel to ensure that every family across the 5 boroughs facing eviction gets legal representation in Housing Court.
- Increase supportive housing funding by $60M, which would allow the City to bring 15k units of supportive housing online and fully fund and operationalize 500 units of Justice Involved Supportive Housing.
Expand Mental Health and Substance Use Support: The City must invest in a comprehensive, citywide response to the City’s mental health crisis that connects people struggling with serious mental illness to the care and treatment they deserve. This means dedicated funding in this budget that will build a robust, scaleable mental health infrastructure and life saving harm reduction resources. We can start with the following investments:
- Fund 16 Crisis Respite Centers: Expand funding from 8 Crisis Respite Centers to an additional $4M for 16 that operate 24/7.
- Increase funding to Mobile Treatment Teams such as Intensive Mobile Treatment (IMT) Teams, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), Forensic Assertive Community Treatment Teams (FACT) & Health Engagement and Assessment Teams (HEAT).
- Open 24/7 Overdose Prevention Centers in every borough to provide wraparound services. Invest $20M to shift the two existing Centers (in E Harlem and Washington Heights) to operate 24 hours a day and open 4 additional centers, one in each borough.
Block Education Cuts: All of our kids deserve high quality, free childcare and education from 6 weeks through post secondary education. In order to build a robust public education system and support New York’s working families, the City must invest in comprehensive early childhood education including providing universal 3K to all families in need this coming school year. The City should be moving more resources to support our children and families, not less. The Progressive Caucus is prioritizing a budget that includes:
- No cuts to individual school budgets.
- Full funding for Universal 3K.