The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) is concerned that in the midst of the Great Recession, when the need for services is at an all-time high, our city will be closing senior centers and early education centers.
“While we are relieved that the City Council was able to save at least 6 and perhaps more of the 50 senior centers slated for closing, FPWA remains deeply concerned that the city still stands to lose up to an additional 44 centers. We also have concerns about how other senior services have fared,” said Fatima Goldman, Executive Director / CEO. “As for early childhood education, current funding only allows 27% of eligible children to access subsidized child care – so it is unfortunate that a full restoration of funding for 17 child care centers and 124 classrooms was not achieved,” Goldman continued.
“The capacity of the not-for-profit human services sector is being really hard hit with multiple rounds of budget cuts at a time when demand for services from the hundreds of thousands of jobless New Yorkers continues to rise. While we appreciate that the City Council restored some of the Mayor’s proposed cuts, the sad fact is that we are losing vital human services infrastructure that will not easily be regained. In addition, many organizations will be forced to lay off staff and close entire programs because of the significant reduction of their government contracts,” said Bich Ha Pham, Director of Policy, Advocacy and Research at FPWA.
“The restoration of the 2,900 preventive services slots is much welcomed news. However, we continue to be concerned about how the state level cuts will impact the availability of preventive services” stated Nicole Lavan, Senior Policy Analyst for Child Welfare and Workforce Development. “We are also happy to see a substantial restoration ($3.5 million) for adult literacy services administered by the Department for Youth and Community Development as well as the continued support for adult literacy services through the Council’s $1.5 million initiative,” said Lavan. “During these times of continued high unemployment, particularly for young adults and immigrants, it is imperative to invest in adult literacy to help New Yorkers develop skills and knowledge to participate fully in the workforce,” added Lavan.
“We are glad that funds were restored for HIV/AIDS communities of color prevention and education and HIV nutrition programs. As of this time, funding for HASA supportive housing case management is not included in either the City Council restoration or the Mayor’s budget,” said Esther Lok, Assistant Director of Policy, Advocacy and Research and Senior Policy Analyst for HIV and AIDS. “This could mean that individuals living in Scattered Site I and Congregate Housing units will receive no social services – a budget decision that profoundly contradicts the concept of supportive housing,” continued Lok.