Elected officials joined with advocates, providers and clients on the steps of City Hall today to protest a devastating combination of service cuts proposed in both the State and City budgets. Annabel Palma, Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on General Welfare, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio played a leading role in voicing concerns about cuts to child care, senior services, youth programs, housing and homelessness funding and more.
“The $300 million dollars in cuts to social services outlined in the Mayor’s budget are part of an unwavering assault on our City’s working families and most vulnerable,” said Palma. “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 backs of our most fragile with some of the most significant cuts to social services in our City’s history.”
“The administration's proposed budget places far too great a burden on New York City’s most vulnerable,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “These cuts would take away critical resources we need to protect our children and substantially reduce resources for the homeless at a time when struggling New Yorkers need more help than ever. As our City recovers from the recession we should be providing the resources necessary to ensure all New Yorkers, even those at the bottom, have an opportunity to rise together.”
“Cuts to Human Services will create havoc in people’s lives,” said Michael Stoller, Executive Director of the Human Services Council (HSC). “For instance, the proposed $192 million dollars in cuts to the Advantage housing subsidy will mean that thousands of families will have no viable path out of the shelter system and into permanent housing. We can’t simply cut our way out of this budget crisis.”
“The Governor’s proposal to eliminate 19% of state funding for adult homeless shelters will severely jeopardize the almost 9,000 homeless single adults currently living in city shelters,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “At a time when New York City’s shelters are overwhelmed by unprecedented numbers of homeless individuals, this $15.7 million cut will further devastate the system. New York City needs the state to work with us to find real ways to quickly transition individuals into permanent housing and decrease recidivism rates in the shelter system. The state has a responsibility to continue to share responsibility for the shelter system and I call on Governor Cuomo to restore this funding.”
“Our City cannot afford to lose any child care slots or preventative slots," stated Council Member Julissa Ferreras. The City has proposed cutting more than 16,000 child care subsidies and 2,500 preventive service slots. “Families are struggling; they are being forced to make hard decision that can put a child’s life in danger. We need this funding restored so families can focus on strengthening their families rather than tearing them apart. The welfare of our children should not rest on just the families, this needs to be a partnership.”
“The elimination of over 900 day care slots from East New York is racist, punitive, unconscionable and unacceptable,” said Council Member Charles Barron. “Cutting nearly $17 million from preventive and homemaking services is both a social and an economic injustice, particularly considering that our City’s most vulnerable families depend on these programs. It’s time to cut the tax breaks for the rich and not balance the budget on the backs of working class families and their children. Shame on you Mayor Bloomberg!”
“In failing to restore funding to the HIV/AIDS Services Administration, the Mayor's Preliminary Budget risks cutting off essential supportive housing, medical and mental health services for some of the neediest New Yorkers,” said Council Member Gale Brewer. “Cuts to case management funding would also overwhelm staff while violating legal requirements on case ratios and blocking access to needed services.”