City Hall Rally to Save Vital Social Services

Earlier this morning, HSC joined Council Member Annabel Palma, Chair of the New York City Council’s General Welfare Committee, Council Members, city-wide advocates and the people who will be directly impacted by Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed cuts to human services programs in a rally on the steps of City Hall.

Councilwoman Palma said, “These cuts will directly and negatively impact the already strained programs that a great number of New Yorkers have come to rely on for survival. We cannot balance the budget on the back of our most fragile with some of the most significant cuts to social services in our City’s history.”

Clients, both English-and-Spanish-speaking, shared their stories about how they will be personally impacted by the cuts to homeless and childcare service programs. Immediately following the rally, attendees marched to the Emigrant Savings Bank, where the Council’s General Welfare Committee was reviewing the proposed cuts.

Shura McLetchie, a social worker from Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, testified on the importance of case management programs for frail elderly persons, sharing stories of life-saving and cost-saving case management services.
Sergine Lewis, the parent of two children in the PS 50 Queens Out of School Time Program, spoke about not knowing what she would do with her two young children if the Catholic Charities program was taken away from her and her children.[1]

Background: The Mayor has proposed to slash $600 million in the FY12 budget, half of which will be cuts made to social service programs. These proposed cuts will severely minimize the already strained resources the City has to help its most vulnerable populations. If these cuts were to go through, thousands of New Yorkers – including struggling parents, abused children and families on the brink of homelessness – will be left helpless.

Participating organizations included:

  • Barrier Free Living
  • Brooklyn Community Services
  • Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
  • CASES
  • CAMBA
  • Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens
  • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York
  • Center Against Domestic Violence
  • Children’s Aid Society
  • Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies
  • Community Voices Heard
  • CONNECT
  • Graham-Windham
  • Episcopal Social Services of New York
  • Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
  • Housing Works
  • Henry Street Settlement
  • Housing & Services, Inc.
  • Hudson Guild
  • Institute for Community Living
  • Jewish Childcare Association
  • Legal Information for Families Today
  • Little Sisters of the Assumption
  • New York Foundling
  • Palladia, Inc.
  • Project Renewal
  • Safe Space
  • Single Stop USA
  • Supporting Housing Network
  • TASC: The After School Corporation
  • Tillary Street Women’s Shelter
  • United Neighborhood Houses
  • University Settlement
  • Valley Lodge
  • VOCAL New York

The Who Cares? I Do. campaign passed out signs and buttons and encouraged attendees to sign the on-line petition.

Several local media stations were present. Here is a report from 1010 WINS:
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/03/24/hundreds-protest-bloombergs-budget-outside-city-hall/

Thank you to all who came out for such an important cause.

Contributed by Stephanie Hakes and Liz Knopf
of the Human Services Council of NYC

[1] http://www.facebook.com/pages/Catholic-Charities-Brooklyn-and-Queens/197754696880

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About Human Services Council

The Human Services Council strengthens New York's nonprofit human services sector, ensuring all New Yorkers across diverse neighborhoods, cultures, and generations reach their full potential.
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