On June 28, 2012, a $68.5 billion budget was approved by the New York City Council for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 (FY13), which began on July 1st. Restorations were made in vital areas like child care, after school, youth services, senior services and supportive housing.
The Human Services Council and advocates Citywide are pleased that the Mayor and City Council were able to reach an agreement on funding for critical Child Care and afterschool programs that were slated to lose over $170 million dollars and 47,000 slots. The restorations baseline some funding for Early Learn child care programs and expand OST services in many communities. Additionally, funds will be allocated for health insurance rate increases. The Campaign for Children brought this issue to the forefront this budget season and fought long and hard. We are happy that the importance of these support programs was recognized at all levels of government.
Other youth services that were preserved were Teen RAPP (Relationship Abuse Prevention Program), the largest domestic violence prevention and anti-bullying program of its kind, and Runaway and Homeless Youth Services that support one of the most vulnerable populations of youth in New York, LGBT teens. Funding for both programs was slated to be eliminated which would have been a blow to the City’s youth.
Restorations were also seen in the HASA program, which supports 4,500 formerly homeless New Yorkers living with AIDS and HIV. The program not only keeps them healthy and independent, but it actually saves the City millions. $5.1 million in restorations came through City Council discretionary funding and was championed by Council Speaker Christine Quinn and General Welfare Committee Chair Annabel Palma.
Even though senior services were held harmless to cuts this year, there was a restoration of $4 million to case management. This was something that advocates had fought hard for as caseloads for case managers was creeping to dangerous levels. High caseloads do not leave sufficient time or resources to adequately care for aging New Yorkers and can lead to waiting lists for initial assessments, meaning a social worker hasn’t been able to make the first home visit.
Minor cuts were seen in some subsectors, but overall Human Services fared much better than previous budgets. Even though minimal cuts were made for the fiscal year, this only begins to chip away at the compounded cuts from previous years. We hope the Administration and City Council will continue to see the value of human services to our communities and the role they play in growing a strong economy.
Contributed by Shana Mosher of the Human Service Council