Regarding New York State’s severe cuts to programs for impoverished New Yorkers:
“The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) is appalled that in the midst of this Great Recession our state is proposing to slash a broad array of needed services for our most vulnerable residents. With 817,600 officially unemployed New Yorkers and many more that are not counted, the need for services is severe. These programs help veterans, hungry clients of soup kitchens and food pantries, children, the elderly, the disabled and other impoverished children and families,” states Fatima Goldman, Executive Director & CEO.
“Though we understand the fiscal challenges faced by the state, we also recognize the economic challenges faced by New Yorkers who have lost their jobs, exhausted their unemployment benefits, are on the verge of losing their homes, and have to turn to essential services to feed their families, clothe their children, and pay for heat, medicine and other essentials,” added Goldman.
“During the Great Depression, we responded by creating public works jobs for the unemployed,” stated Bich Ha Pham, Director of Policy Advocacy and Research. “In the midst of today’s Great Recession, our state may respond by cutting millions of dollars for jobs programs such as the Green Jobs Corps, Career Pathways, Health Care jobs and the Summer Youth Employment program. These budget decisions are not only harmful, they take New York off the path of economic recovery,” added Pham.
“Despite all of the severe cuts, we are glad to see that the second phase of the increase in the public assistance grant, which had not been increased in 19 years, was not abandoned. Adult welfare recipients work in paid jobs or work activities,” stated Liz Accles, Senior Policy Analyst for Income Security. “These individuals sweep our parks, clean our city buildings, and otherwise work at jobs that do not pay enough for them to get off of welfare. We should support their efforts by making sure that they and their families have a little more to make ends meet in these difficult times,” added Accles.
The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies has been working since 1922 to improve the lives of low-income New Yorkers. We are a membership organization with a network of community-based human service agencies and churches that operate over 1,100 programs throughout the New York City metro area. Together we serve over 1.5 million New Yorkers of all ages, ethnicities and denominations each year. We help our network by providing them with grants, volunteers and cost-saving programs, and by strengthening their operations with management assistance and workshops. FPWA leads the advocacy efforts of our members, and educates decision makers so that the needs of our network and those they serve are heard in the legislative process. We also provide individual grants for emergency needs through our participation in The New York Times Neediest Cases fund.