New York, NY - FPWA commends New York City Mayor de Blasio for once again presenting an Executive Budget for the coming fiscal year that has the real potential of improving opportunity for individuals, children and families. Funding to increase wages for City-contracted low-wage workers, Pre-K seats, supports for youth through afterschool programs and summer youth employment, and funding for legal services for the City’s immigrant and undocumented residents all demonstrate a continued commitment to moving New York City forward.
If we are to truly be a city of equity and opportunity for all, however, the City must also invest in older adults, and in the human services sector that cares for them and for all New Yorkers in need. Despite mounting waitlists for services for the city's fastest growing population, the Department for the Aging's budget continues to stagnate with no plan to address rapidly increasing needs. We urge the administration and the City Council to prioritize funding for supportive services for the aging in the adopted budget with an investment of $60.6 million in FY18 to baseline core services, meet current needs, and begin to plan and build out a strong safety net for older New Yorkers.
Decades' old underfunding of the human services sector, upon which the City relies for mandated and other services like child care and UPK, homeless services, youth services, and senior services, remains a serious and time-sensitive issue. The Executive Budget does include a 2% cost of living adjustment over three consecutive years for non-profit, City-contracted staff, but the City must also invest in the infrastructure of the sector and pay the full cost of delivering services before these and organizations are forced to turn back contracts and even close their doors. FPWA appreciates the City's efforts to address this critical need, and the opportunity to partner with the City in doing so.
We join with other advocates in calling upon Mayor de Blasio to provide reduced fares for public transportation for low income New Yorkers for whom a subway or bus ride at full fare sometimes means missing a meal. We urge Mayor de Blasio to include funding for half-priced MetroCards in the City’s budget, beginning FY18.
Preserving New York City’s status as a leader and model of progressiveness requires that the final budget include these critical supports. We look forward to continue working with the administration to strengthen our vital safety net and move us closer to being a City of equal opportunity for all. – Jennifer Jones Austin, FPWA CEO and Executive Director