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Jan. 09, 2009
Independent Sector Offers Nonprofit Agenda for Obama Administration

Jan. 08, 2009
Elimination of Homeless Prevention Will Force Thousands into Shelters, Add $85 Million in New Costs

FPWA Grants Go to SIMHS, IPRHE, Jacob Riss

Jan. 07, 2009
Know Any Rich People? Advocates Seek Support from Well Off New Yorkers

DHS Seeks Volunteers for HOPE 2009

Pot Break At Lunch Leads to Arrests at O.D. Heck

Stay Tuned! New NYNP Site On the Way

Jan. 06, 2009
Covenant House Names Kilbane Executive Director

Friday, January 09, 2009

Independent Sector Offers Nonprofit Agenda for Obama Administration
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fred_scaglione @ 10:25 am EST
Independent Sector, a national association of nonprofit organizations, has offered the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress six policy proposals to help strengthen the ability of Americans to improve our communities and the world through nonprofit organizations.

“Independent Sector worked with an outstanding advisory committee and hundreds of charities and foundations to develop these proposals, which we share with the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress to inform their policy decisions as they relate to the work of the nonprofit community,” said Diana Aviv, President and CEO of Independent Sector.

The proposals are:

• Ensure adequate resources and fair and responsible fiscal policies to support vital programs that sustain, protect and strengthen communities: “The nonprofit community believes it is essential that our federal budget include adequate funding for non-defense discretionary programs that takes into account inflation, population growth, and increased needs as a result of economic and other conditions,” IS wrote. “Such funding must not come at the expense of mandatory programs that provide critical support to our country’s most vulnerable populations, including Social Security, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Food Stamp Program, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.”

• Preserve and expand policies that help Americans give back to their communities: “Congress should pass legislation such as the Serve America Act to expand the opportunities for people of all ages to engage in community service through stipended programs, voluntary paid leave and subsidies from their employers, and other types of financial incentives,” IS urges. “Congress should extend and expand the IRA charitable rollover provision …(and) ensure that Americans receive the same tax deduction for using their personal vehicles to deliver services for charitable nonprofits as they do for use of their vehicles for business purposes.” IS also urged the new administration to “ revise the excise tax on private foundations’ net investment income to ensure that foundations are not penalized for increasing gifts in times of greatest need” and “not impose limits on private choice in giving by establishing new categories or subcategories of nonprofit organization that receive preferred tax treatment.”

• Ensure that nonprofits have the capacity and capital to serve the needs of our communities: “The Executive Branch should establish a high-level office to coordinate education and oversight efforts in all federal agencies that are directed towards improving the capacity of nonprofit organizations to serve communities,” said IS. “This office should work to expand awareness and understanding of the work of the nonprofit community, address inequities in the government contracting process, and provide funding for high-performing programs that offer proven training and technical assistance to nonprofits to strengthen their programs and core operations.”

• Protect the rights of Americans to speak out through nonprofit organizations: “Congress should simplify and modernize the lobbying rules for nonprofits…amend the tax code to permit private foundations to support nonpartisan lobbying activities conducted by other 501(c)(3) organizations under the same rules that apply to those organizations… (and) not restrict the ability of nonprofit agencies that apply for or receive government funds to use non-governmental funds to conduct nonpartisan advocacy, lobbying or other legitimate program activities that further their charitable missions.” At the same time, IS urged that Congress “maintain current statutory prohibitions on the participation of charitable nonprofits in partisan political activities.”

• Ensure that Americans are able to continue vital charitable work throughout the world without unduly jeopardizing their safety or their civil rights: “The Executive Branch should ensure that the Principles of International Charity developed by a broad group of foundations and nonprofits are followed by the Treasury Department, the Combined Federal Campaign, and other federal agencies and programs in developing appropriate measures to prevent the diversion of charitable resources to support terrorism or other illegal activities… (and) Congress should prevent federal agencies administering foreign assistance programs from imposing requirements on international charitable organizations that would cause them to violate the civil rights of those with whom they work, to unduly jeopardize the safety of their employees and partners working outside the United States, or their own charitable missions.)

• Support funding and policies that provide for transparency and accountability to ensure integrity and public trust in our institutions: “Congress should increase the resources allocated to the IRS for oversight and enforcement of tax laws affecting charitable organizations and all taxpayers…(and) authorize funding for all state governments to establish or increase their oversight and education of charitable organizations.” IS also urged that the IRS be allowed to require more nonprofits to file their tax returns electronically.

The policy proposals are available in full at the Independent Sector website.




Thursday, January 08, 2009

Elimination of Homeless Prevention Will Force Thousands into Shelters, Add $85 Million in New Costs
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fred_scaglione @ 12:25 pm EST
Governor Paterson’s proposed elimination of a $5 million Homeless Prevention Program (HPP) is likely to result in the eviction of thousands of poor and low income families with a substantial portion of these winding up in City homeless shelters, according to providers and advocates. The net result: an estimated cost of $90 million in additional shelter expenses – or a net loss of $85 million.

Last year, HPP prevented 6,680 evictions through a three-part package of services for families who are referred directly from Housing Court or the Human Resources Administration.

“The average cost of eviction prevention was $750/family vs. $36,000 per year to shelter a family who loses their home to eviction,” says Joanne Oplustil, Executive Director of CAMA which provides HPP services in Brooklyn. “If only 50% of those families sought shelter and remained an average of 9 months, the cost would be $90,180,000 vs. $5,000,000. That is a more than 1800% return on investment!”

“We basically have three functions,” says Carolyn McLaughlin, Executive Director of Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) which provides HPP services in the Bronx. “We handle the housing court case for them. We work with them on their rent arrears. There may be charges that shouldn’t be there. We can help them pay their arrears through private charity or a one-shot payment through HRS. Then, we work them on their future ability to pay.”

HPP assists clients in applying for the Family Eviction Prevention Supplement (FEPS) which provides an additional monthly allowance on top of the basic shelter grant portion of public assistance. “Without the Homelessness Prevention Program, the vast majority of families eligible for this entitlement would no longer be able to apply for this benefit thus failing to provide them access to an adequate shelter allowance,” said providers in a December 31st letter to Governor Paterson. “Approximately 75% of all families receiving FEPS, applied with the assistance of one of the Community Based Organizations contracted to provide these services through the Homelessness Prevention Program.”

In addition to CAMBA and CAB, HPP programs are operated by Queens Community House, Catholic Charities Community Services and Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation.

The Governor’s proposed elimination of HPP also comes at a time when the number of homeless families is soaring. In November, the number of families in New York City’s homeless shelters reached 9,720, the highest number since the city began reporting data more than 25 years ago.

“The risk of eliminating proven diversion and prevention programs is not one New York City cannot afford especially during these economically difficult times,” says Christy Parque, Executive Director of Homeless Services United. “The family shelter system is already seeing an increase in demand and elimination of these vital programs could strain the City’s limited resources and unnecessarily force people into shelter rather than give them the support to stay stably housed in their community.”

New York City HRA Commissioner Robert Doar also recognized the importance of HPP services. “The Homelessness Prevention Program helps thousands of families maintain the stability of their homes by obtaining rental assistance as necessary and helping them to avoid eviction,” he said. “The City will work with the State to ensure families do not lose their homes." As we went online, it was unclear exactly how HRA and the State would be providing eviction prevention services for more than 6,000 families traditionally served by HPP providers.

Parque points out that the Governor is also reducing budget allocations for other programs aimed at avoiding shelter placement, including the Homeless Intervention Program (HIP) and the Supplemental Homeless Intervention Program (SHIP).

Steven Banks, Attorney-in-Chief at the Legal Aid Society, adds that the elimination of HPP also comes on top of significant cuts in State funding for civil legal services – another source of assistance for families facing eviction. State spending on these program have dropped by more than half, from $15.3 million in FY2007-2008 to approximately $7 million this year. “It is the combination of these cuts that is a real problem,” said Banks.



FPWA Grants Go to SIMHS, IPRHE, Jacob Riss
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fred_scaglione @ 12:08 pm EST
The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies recently awarded annual grants to three of its member agencies to support innovative programs in the areas of children/youth, families, women, seniors, HIV/AIDS prevention, and workforce development. On December 11, 2008 FPWA presented three $20,000 grants to the Institute for Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House and Staten Island Mental Health Society.

The Staten Island Mental Health Society (SIMHS) will use its grant to support services for families in which teenagers are abusing alcohol or drugs. “This grant will allow us to incorporate a focused program to teach parents effective and evidence-based, proven techniques to understand and assist their children whether they are at risk of, or already abusing alcohol or drugs,” said . “SIMHS Chief Operating Officer Fern Zagor.

The Institute for Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly will provide HIV/AIDS prevention services for Hispanic elderly.

Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House is hiring an immigration attorney to facilitate immigration information sessions with clients.

The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies Grants Program is supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund.



Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Know Any Rich People? Advocates Seek Support from Well Off New Yorkers
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fred_scaglione @ 10:19 am EST
Human service advocates are urging nonprofits to call on their board members and other friends to support the implementation of progressive tax policies as a way of addressing the State’s budget crisis.

The One New York: Fighting for Fairness Coalition, the Better Budget Choice Coalition, Responsible Wealth, and other organizations are circulating a “sign on’ statement for “upper income New Yorkers”.

“We believe that Governor Paterson's proposed drastic cuts to education, health care and other vital human services, coupled with a long list of tax and fee increases that negatively impact working families, are an irresponsible and unnecessary response to the current budget crisis,” the statement reads. “Instead, we call for a balanced solution that includes an increase in income taxes on those who can afford it - which means us - as well as targeted, responsible cuts in spending.”

“We are currently asking well-off New Yorkers to sign on to a statement in support of progressive tax policies,” said Allison Sesso, Deputy Executive Director at Human Services Council of NYC which issued a call to its members this morning. “ We strongly encourage nonprofits to reach out to their wealthier Board members and other supporters to ask for their support of this approach by signing on to the statement.”

The statement can be found at http://faireconomy.org/issues/responsible_wealth/new_yorkers_sharing_in_the_solution.

“We are aiming to have all sign-ons by January 26, 2008,” says Sesso.



DHS Seeks Volunteers for HOPE 2009
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fred_scaglione @ 10:18 am EST
The New York City Department of Homeless Services is looking for 2,500 New Yorkers on the night of January 26th to conduct its Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE). Volunteers will canvass parks, subways, and other public spaces to count the number of people living unsheltered in the city.

Volunteers, who must be 18-years-of age or older, work in teams to count the number of New Yorkers living on city streets. DHS provides training on how to conduct the survey on the night of HOPE plus a quick, convenient online orientation upon registration.

To sign up for HOPE 2009, visit the DHS website at http://www.nyc.gov/dhs.



Pot Break At Lunch Leads to Arrests at O.D. Heck
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fred_scaglione @ 10:17 am EST
Three employees at the NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) O.D. Heck Developmental Center were arrested on Monday for allegedly smoking marijuana at the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course on their lunch break. The announcement was made by New York State Inspector General Joseph Fisch.

The arrests followed a complaint filed with the Inspector General by OMRDD announced.



Stay Tuned! New NYNP Site On the Way
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fred_scaglione @ 10:08 am EST
NYNP's new, enhanced website is only days away. The new site will offer a host of additional features, including community forums, blogs by individuals throughout the nonprofit sector, new opportunities to post resumes and search for jobs, pictures of nonprofit events and more.

In the meantime, you can still find job listings, copies of our current issue and all of our archives at the traditional www.nynp.biz site.



Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Covenant House Names Kilbane Executive Director
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fred_scaglione @ 10:54 am EST
Covenant House New York (CHNY) has named Jerome (Jerry) Kilbane as its new Executive Director. Kilbane has worked with Covenant House for 17 years and most recently served as the head of Covenant House Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Covenant House serves homeless, runaway and at-risk youth under the aged of 21.

The second Executive Director in CHNY’s thirty-five year history, Kilbane succeeds Bruce J. Henry, who has held the position since 1984. As previously announced, Henry is leaving to spearhead the Covenant House Institute, which aims to study issues affecting the homeless youth population, and provide data critical for policy and funding decisions.
Under Henry’s leadership, CHNY served more than 6,000 young men and women annually, offering them hope for a more positive future with the chance to pursue their educational and vocational goals in a secure, stable environment. He also expanded operations to include a long-term transitional living program, Rights of Passage, and community-based resource centers.

“Like his esteemed predecessor, Jerry Kilbane has dedicated his professional life to the care and advocacy of this dramatically underserved population,” said Ed Ortiz, CHNY Board Chairman. “A gifted and innovative leader, we are confident he will lead CHNY with the same determination and compassion.”

Kilbane began his career at CHNY in 1991 as a program coordinator. After holding various positions of increasing responsibility, in November 2006 he was named Associate Executive Director of Covenant House New Jersey, where he served for three years. Kilbane moved to Covenant House Pennsylvania as Executive Director in 1999. Through his efforts, the Pennsylvania agency expanded from a small, local program to include its own Crisis Center, transitional housing and community-based services. Most recently, he undertook a campaign to build a local Rights of Passage program, scheduled to break ground by March 2009, which will nearly double the number of transitional housing beds for homeless youth in Pennsylvania.

“I am excited to return to CHNY with the knowledge and experience to build on the tremendous accomplishments of Bruce Henry and help lead the agency into a new era,” said Jerry Kilbane. “The value of our services to young people in crisis is more important than ever and together we must ensure that Covenant House New York continues to meet and anticipate the needs of this neglected population.”



New IRI Residence Opens in Queens
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fred_scaglione @ 10:53 am EST
Independence Residences, Inc. has opened a new home for eight individuals with developmental disabilities in the Kew Gardens section of Queens. “New Metro” is a wood frame Victorian building constructed in 1888 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“This residence is a dream come true for the folks who now live there,” says Executive Director, Raymond DeNatale. “They each have their own room and have enough space to eat, watch TV, and recreate while having the ability to find comfort and solitude of their own room. The house is in the same neighborhood where they can still reap the benefits of the connections they have made over the years.”

The house has 8 bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, large formal dining room, living room, game room and three bathrooms. The space includes a downstairs recreation room, laundry room and an office for the house manager. The house is furnished with vintage furniture maintaining the character of its original design. Donors have already stepped up to help defray the cost of the completion and furnishing of the house but the “wish list” is far from complete.

IRI, which operates residences in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx 2009, is celebrating its 25th year of operation in2009. The agency also operates day programs and other services. Plans to expand its programming onto Long Island early this year are underway.



Rockland Community Foundation Gives $5,000 to Food Pantries
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fred_scaglione @ 10:52 am EST

The Rockland Community Foundation has given a New Year’s gift to 10 local food pantries in the form of $5,000 worth of ShopRite gift cards.

“It is tough economic times for everyone, but for these pantries and the people who rely on them more and more, tough has turned to terrible,” said John Eccleston, Executive Director. “We are only glad that the Foundation could provide some small relief at the start of the New Year. We wish we could provide more, and one day I am confident we will as we work to grow the Foundation’s endowment.”

The food pantries could use the $500 gift cards to buy food and non-food items at ShopRite stores operated in Rockland by Inserra Supermarkets. Eccleston said this is the third consecutive year that the Foundation has partnered with Inserra to match the Foundation’s $2,500 contribution, which comes from the Foundation’s Health and Human Services Fund.

The pantries receiving $500 ShopRite gifts cards include:
• Greenbush Presbyterian Church, 614 Western Highway, Blauvelt;
• Macedonia Baptist Church, 419 Piermont Ave., Piermont;
• Trinity United Methodist Church, 47 E. Main Street, Stony Point;
• St. Aedan's Roman Catholic Church, 23 Reld Drive, Pearl River;
• Project Hope, 24 N. Madison, Spring Valley;
• CAPROC of Haverstraw, 37 Clove Road, Haverstraw;
• Catholic Charities Food Pantry, 78 Hudson Street, Haverstraw,
• Jewish Family Services of Rockland, 900 Route 45, New City;
• St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church School, 365 Kings Highway, Valley Cottage; and,
• Christ Church of Ramapo Soup Kitchen & Food Pantry, 65 Washington Ave., Suffern.



Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fedcap Names McMahon to Be New CEO
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fred_scaglione @ 10:23 am EST
Fedcap Rehabilitation Services, Inc. has announced the appointment of Christine M. McMahon as its Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, effective February 1, 2009.

McMahon is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Easter Seals affiliates across six Northeastern states (New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York) with responsibility for overseeing a broad range of programs providing education, rehabilitation, counseling, and therapeutic recreation for children, adults and families living with disabilities. She joined Easter Seals New Hampshire in 1986 and previously served as its Vice President of Vocational Services (1988-1992) and Director of Residential, Educational and Children’s Services (1992-1996).

“Christine’s skills and experience are uniquely suited to maintaining the high level and breadth of services and businesses currently performed by Fedcap, as well as to develop new initiatives aimed at serving the needs of people with disabilities and barriers to employment,” Mark O’Donoghue, President of Fedcap’s Board of Directors, said. “She has proven financial management capability as well as a track record of developing and implementing marketing strategies, securing funding sources and enhancing clinical, residential, recreational, vocational, and industrial and education programs servicing varied populations. We are delighted to have her join us and confident that she will be a strong and dynamic leader.”

“I am thrilled to be back in NYC full time," said McMahon. "And, given Fedcap’s long history of serving people with disabilities, its compelling mission and dedicated board and staff, I could not have found a better organization.”



Jones Plans Retirement as Blood Center CEO
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fred_scaglione @ 10:20 am EST
Dr. Robert L. Jones, the president and CEO of New York Blood Center (NYBC) for the past 11 years, has announced his retirement from his position, effective April 30, 2009.

“These past 11 years have been a time of collective accomplishment for all of us at New York Blood Center and it has been with great personal gratification and pride that I have worked with our committed staff, while enjoying the generous support of our Board of Trustees.” Dr. Jones said in a statement to NYBC employees. “The Board will immediately begin a search for my replacement. I look forward to working closely with the Board, my successor and the staff to assure the continued success of the organization.”

“As one of the largest non-profit organizations in New York, NYBC is responsible for so many things, including groundbreaking research, patient services, and managing the gifts of 2,000 blood donations each day,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Howard P. Milstein. “We are grateful for everything that Dr. Jones has done with us, and for the health of our communities, for more than a decade.”




Tuesday, December 23, 2008

OTDA Awards $33 Million in HHAP Grants For Supportive Housing Projects
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fred_scaglione @ 10:17 am EST
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has announced the award of $33 million in Homeless Housing Assistance Program (HHAP) grants. The monies will fund homeless housing projects and related support services around the state. A total of 14 community organizations will receive support for 340 housing units and 447 beds in New York City, Suffolk and several upstate counties.

Local organizations receiving grants are:

• Westside Federation for Senior and Supported Housing, $4,423,620;
• Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, $5,958,000;
• New Destiny Housing, Anderson Avenue, $4,800,000;
• Bridge Housing II, $1,938,900;
• Common Ground Community, St. Marks, $1,803,600;
• Family Service League of Suffolk, $1,177,2000.

“The causes of homelessness are multiple and the conditions frequently associated with it can be difficult to overcome,” said OTDA Commissioner David A. Hansell. “Supportive housing is often the first, essential step in helping families and individuals build foundations for a better future and moving them closer to achieving self-sufficiency.”

The Bridge, for example, will use its $1.9 million award to construct Bathgate Gardens housing in the East Tremont section of the Bronx.

“This new funding from the State Homeless Housing Assitance Program will be combined with the Bridge's 11th capital funding award from HUD to provide housing for 18 chronically homeless New Yorkers who have a serious mental health conditions," said Dr. Peter Dr. Peter D. Beitchman, Executive Director. "Without the HHAP funding, this project could not have moved forward."

The Bridge's HHAP award will match a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 811 Program. This will bring the total funding for this project to $4.9 million, which includes the purchase of the land.

The construction will be completed by early 2011. HUD will then provide funds for building operations. In addition, under the NYNY III agreement, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will provide ongoing funding for support services related to Bathgate Gardens housing.



Rockefeller Brothers Fund Relocating to Interchurch Center
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fred_scaglione @ 10:15 am EST
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) is relocating its operation to approximately 28,000 square feet at 475 Riverside Drive, the Interchurch Center. The nonprofit building is located in Morningside Heights, Manhattan’s west side neighborhood.

The Fund currently leases the 36th and 37th floors at 437 Madison Avenue and sublets a portion of the 36th to sub tenants.

“As a charitable organization, the RBF wanted to align its real estate to better meet its financial and sustainable goals,” said Daniel O. Horowitz, Executive Managing Director of the real estate services firm Studley. “In addition, the space provides the RBF with dramatic views of the Hudson River, George Washington Bridge and Riverside Church.”

Aside from the historic relevance that this building has to the Rockefeller family—in the 1960s, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated monies for the land, on which the building sits, for the general building fund and for the limestone exterior—the building provides an economic structure that is well suited for nonprofit organizations and provides the Fund with the ability to achieve LEED certification for its space.

“We look forward to our move to the Interchurch Center. We now have the wonderful opportunity to build out a green space that is as energy efficient and environmentally sensitive as possible, save money that will go toward grants, and reside in a nonprofit building that houses the community we serve, ” said Stephen B. Heintz, President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Built in 1960, among the Interchurch Center’s noteworthy tenants are: Center for Educational Studies, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Korean American Council, Jewish Reconstructionists, Church Women United, Morality in Media, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church USA, SRO Providers Group, United Methodist Church, and Japan International Christian University Foundation.

The RBF plans to move into a majority of the 19th floor of the 600,000-square-foot building in mid 2009.



NYNP Seeks Bloggers!
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fred_scaglione @ 10:14 am EST
New York Nonprofit Press is seeking members of the nonprofit human services community – social workers, direct care professionals, counselors, fundraisers, consumers, executive directors, etc. – to share their day-to-day experiences, insights and perspectives with our readers at the new www.nynp.biz website coming in January. Interested? Contact Fred Scaglione, Editor, NYNP at editor@nynp.biz or call 888-933-6967.



Friday, December 19, 2008

City Pulls Senior Center RFP Following Months of Controversy
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fred_scaglione @ 12:52 pm EST
After months of controversy, the Bloomberg administration has announced that it will “reevaluate the Department for the Aging’s modernization of senior center programs.”

Advocates had long been calling for a delay or cancellation of DFTA’s recently-issued Request for Proposals for redesigned Senior Center contracts in light the City’s uncertain budget situation and stresses in the system from other recent senior service redesigns. The RFP was the third stage of the DFTA's plan to “modernize” the City’s senior services system and followed earlier procurements for redesigned case management and home delivered meals programs.

The announcement was made at a City Hall press conference by Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs, new DFTA Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli and Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The decision comes only days after Barrios-Paoli’s appointment following last Friday’s sudden resignation by Edwin Mendez-Santiago who had led the agency from the beginning of the Bloomberg administration.

“Our plan to re-evaluate will allow newly appointed Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli to take a fresh look at our modernization plan,” said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. “Lilliam and I will consult with the City Council and our community partners to ensure we are creating the best possible services for the largest number of seniors.”

“I am pleased that today we are moving forward in a collaborative manner to ensure our seniors receive quality services,” said Speaker Quinn, who had vigorously called for a pause in the RFP process. “I look forward to working with Commissioner Designee Barrios-Paoli to develop and implement a comprehensive and workable plan for senior services.”

“I know we all share a great vision for the older adults of New York City, and by working together as a team, we will be able to move our senior services into the future without losing the wonderful qualities our seniors have grown to love in the centers across the five boroughs,” said Barrios-Paoli. “This re-evaluation will give me the time I need to listen, learn and make smart decisions moving forward.”

“There will be a huge sigh of relief going through the senior centers today,” said Bobby Sackman, Director of Public Policy for the Council of Seniors and Services (CSCS). “Thousands of seniors will feel relieved and grateful that an agreement was reached with Speaker Quinn and the Bloomberg administration. We are looking forward to a fresh start with the new commissioner to plan for the future of senior centers in New York City. I think what we all agree has become very clear through this process is the tremendous value that senior centers provide for thousands of older New Yorkers."

The agreement also reportedly restores funds traditionally allocated by the City Council and Borough Presidents that had been consolidated into base funding for the new senior center contracts.

"We actually have two pieces of positive news for senior service providers," said Sackman.



Council Restores Elder Abuse, CPS Workers in Mid-Year Budget Deal
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fred_scaglione @ 12:10 pm EST
The New York City Council yesterday restored funding for several human services programs which had been proposed for elimination in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s mid-year budget modification. The move came as part of a deal which accelerated the rescinding of a 7% property tax reduction and cleared the way to send out $400 property tax rebates to homeowners.

The agreement restored funding for Elder Abuse Prevention Programs which had been scheduled to close on January 1st.

A total of $3.7 million was also restored to the Administration for Children’s Services to prevent the elimination of 127 caseworker positions.

The Council also restored $2 million for adult basic education, literacy services and training vouchers. Programs which would have been affected by the cuts were the Begin Program and the Welfare to Work Program.

CUNY and Community Colleges also received a restoration of $2.5 million for student services, research and other activities.



Abilities First Opens New Location Featuring Sensory Adventure Program
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fred_scaglione @ 11:17 am EST

Abilities First, Inc. (formerly REHAB Programs, Inc.) has announced the opening of a new location for its Preschool and its Medical Rehabilitation Clinic, featuring the Sensory Adventure Program. The new location is at 167 Myers Corners Road, Suite 104, Wappingers Falls, NY. Abilities First, Inc. provides a wide range of educational, vocational, residential and clinical programs and services to over 2,000 people with disabilities of all ages and their families, in the Mid Hudson Valley region of NY.

Sensory Adventure is a therapeutic treatment program for children with sensory processing problems. At Sensory Adventure, therapists guide the child through a variety of sensory activities that use specialized equipment, allowing the child to swing, spin, jump, and climb, all while channeling their energy and processing of sensory information.



Habitat to Dedicate New Suffolk Home Tomorrow
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fred_scaglione @ 11:16 am EST
Michelle Murdock-McCall and her son Malachi will receive the keys to their new home tomorrow at a special dedication ceremony in Bay Shore at 1 p.m. This HoIiday House was built by Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk (HFHS) with donations and volunteers from Long Island East District’s Methodist Churches, Duralee Fabrics and the Huntington Cabaret Singers and Islip Town who donated the land at 123 North 1st Avenue.

Michelle is a data entry specialist for a theatrical costume company in Suffolk County for 20 years. Michelle and Malachi currently live in one room of a house she shares with other relatives in Wheatley Heights.

Duralee Fabrics has sponsored nine homes in Islip Town with HFHS. Hundreds of Duralee employee volunteers contributed their time and money to help sponsor these homes in partnership with the management of Duralee, according to Vice President, Lee Silberman, who is a member of HFHS Board of Directors.



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Advocates Mourn for DV Victims “Dying for Safe Home”
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fred_scaglione @ 10:03 am EST
Advocates turned out at City Hall on Tuesday for a mock funeral to “mourn for victims of domestic violence who are dying for a safe home.” The Voices of Women Organizing Project (VOW) was calling on City officials to expand and improve access to permanent and/or transitional housing for women and children who are forced to leave domestic violence shelters after their 135-day maximum stay.

“87% of women and children in domestic violence shelters who leave after their 135-day stay do so without safe and permanent housing,” said Susan Lob, Director of the Battered Women's Resource Center. “Many of these families are forced to either start over again in the City’s homeless system or return to their batterer out of desperation, risking further abuse and even death.”

VOW emphasizes the widespread impact which domestic violence has on women and families. Last year, 22 New York City women who were killed by their intimate partners or former partners and that another 4,000 were treated in emergency rooms for domestic violence related injuries.

VOW is calling on the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to accept a wider range of documentation as proof of domestic violence (dv) for DV Priority housing eligibility, so that women and children in desperate need of safe housing can receive Section 8 and NYCHA apartments. NYCHA currently requires DV victims to present either two different incidents of either a Police reports or a court.

“This means that women have to go through the criminal justice system which for many of them is not safe,” says Lob. “It also means that being beaten up once is not enough. They have to stay and get beaten a second time.” Only 30% of women in DV shelters are actually eligible for the DV priority based on NYCHA’s documentation requirements.

VOW argues that referral from a DV shelter itself should be sufficient documentation. “Women in a DV shelter have already gone through vigorous screening, given up everything and gone to a confidential location.

Advocates are also calling on the City to:
• Increase the housing options available to survivors of domestic violence, especially undocumented immigrants, single women, and survivors with disabilities;
• Speed up the application process so that survivors of domestic violence can qualify for housing while in domestic violence shelters and are not shuttled from system to system;
• Create more transitional (Tier II) housing programs specifically for survivors leaving domestic violence shelters, which could give families more time to get back on their feet and find jobs and housing; and,
• Ensure that victims of domestic violence who must leave dv shelters after 135 days are automatically transferred to the Dept. of Homeless Services' shelters without having to start all over again in the PATH center.

VOW notes that domestic violence is a leading cause of homeless generally. “In addition to the over 2,000 women and children in NYC’s domestic violence shelters, there are also survivors of domestic violence in homeless shelters. Of the record 9,300 families now in the City's homeless shelters, domestic violence was the number one reason these families gave for becoming homeless,” says Lob.



Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Makes $125K in Grants
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fred_scaglione @ 9:33 am EST
The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce (MCC) is making grants totaling $124,875 to over 37 East Side nonprofit organizations and 18 other participating institutions. The funds represent the proceeds from its annual Second and Third Avenue Street Fairs combined with funds generated through raffle sales totaled $124,875. As part of the 2008 MCC Community Benefit Fund program, these proceeds will go to schools, senior care centers, organizations that preserve and maintain community parks and agencies that provide services to New York City’s homeless.

“Our street fairs provide participating merchants a venue to showcase their crafts, foods and services to hundreds of thousands of consumers in one day and are emblematic of the many networking opportunities the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce offers local businesses,” said Nancy Ploeger, president of the MCC. “The fairs also allow us to raise money to support the local neighborhood nonprofit organizations that positively enrich the lives of New Yorkers.”

Among the 37 recipients of The 2008 MCC Community Fund grants are:
• Asphalt Green – $2,000
• Carnegie East Health Advocates for Older People HDFC, Inc. – $1,500
• The Carter Burden Center for the Aging Inc. – $1,500
• Children’s Advocacy Center of Manhattan – $2,000
• The Doe Fund – $3,250
• DOROT, Inc. – $2,000
• The Friends of P.S. 169, Robert F. Kennedy School – $2,000
• Gramercy Brass of New York, Inc. – $2,500
• God’s Love We Deliver – $2,000
• Health Advocates for Older People, Inc. – $1,500
• Holy Trinity/Music at Holy Trinity – $2,000
• James Lenox House Association, Inc. – $2,000
• Jan Hus Presbyterian Church – $2,000
• P.S. 158 Parents Association – $1,750

The MCC raffles were provided to 18 east side nonprofits that included neighborhood schools, senior centers and civic, religious and community groups. The institutions kept all of the proceeds from their sales. St. Ignatius Loyola School at 48 East 84th Street was this year’s top-seller raising raised $20,480.

This year, MCC street fairs featured eco-friendly vendors, Radio Disney, the MTA’s “Music from the Underground,” TheaterMania, health care providers, educational booths as well as arts, services and food from local merchants.

Over the years, the Chamber has raised more than $2,300,000 to support the community’s worthiest causes.



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Barrios-Paoli New DFTA Commissioner
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fred_scaglione @ 1:08 pm EST
Lilliam Barrios-Paoli has been appointed to be Commissioner of New York City’s Department for the Aging (DFTA). Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the announcement at a mid-day, City Hall press conference. Barrios-Paoli’s appointment follows the sudden resignation last Friday of Edwin Mendez-Santiago who had led DFTA since 2002.

Barrios-Paoli comes to DFTA following a long career in both City government and the nonprofit sector. Most recently, she has served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Safe Space since 2004. Prior to joining Safe Space, she served for seven years as Senior Vice President and Chief Executive for Agency Services at United Way of New York City.

Barrios-Paoli’s government resume includes service as Commissioner at three agencies -- the Department of Employment, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Human Resources Administration. She had also served as Executive Director of Lincoln Hospital.

“Lilliam’s experience in the nonprofit world and her knowledge of the inner workings of city government make her the best person to lead the Department for the Aging in the 21st century,” said Mayor Bloomberg in making the announcement.

“I am deeply honored that I was asked to do this,” said Barrios-Paoli. “I had not planned to come back to city government but I am thrilled. I am looking forward to being at DFTA. It is an agency I always admired and I think I am at the correct age finally to head it.”

“On behalf of United Neighborhood Houses, I want to applaud the Mayor’s appointment today of Lilliam Barrios-Paoli as the Commissioner of New York City’s Department for the Aging,” said Nancy Wackstein, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses (UNH). “Her experience as CEO of a non-profit organization, coupled with extensive, in-depth knowledge leading other City agencies, will no doubt make her an effective leader in supporting critical community-based services for older adults. We look forward to working in partnership with Ms. Barrios-Paoli.”

“We are pleased with Lilliam Barrios-Paoli’s appointment,” said Bobby Sackman, Director of Public Policy for the Council of Senior Centers and Services. “She has a long history of working both in government and the nonprofit world. She has good working relationships with community providers and we look forward to working with her.”

And the RFP?

Lilliam Barrios-Paoli’s appointment as new Commissioner for the Department for the Aging (DFTA) comes at a time of significant stress for the City’s senior services system. During the past year, DFTA has undertaken a three-part “modernization” program which included restructuring of Case Management and Home Delivered Meals programs. A outstanding Request for Proposals to establish a new model of Senior Center programs has generated significant controversy with providers, advocates and the City Council calling for pause or cancellation in the procurement effort.

“The RFP is an issue of discussion between stakeholders and the Council,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs when the issue came up during today’s press conference. “No decision has been made to change the schedule at this point. Clearly, this is something that Lilliam and I will be talking about with all stake holders in the very near future.”



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Governor’s Budget Proposes $15 billion in Cuts, Taxes and Fees
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fred_scaglione @ 1:41 pm EST
Governor David Paterson today proposed a series of spending cuts and new fees and taxes to close a total $15 billion gap in the State’s budget this year and next. Major areas hit in the Governor’s Executive Budget for FY2009-2010 are health care ($3.5 billion), education ($2 billion) and elimination of the STAR school tax adjustment rebate ($1.7 billion). Human services programs were targeted for $385 million in cuts while mental hygiene services (OMH, OMRDD, OASAS) will be cut by $425 million. Proposals to increase revenues by $3.1 billion focused on fees and sales tax increases while avoiding increases to the State’s personal income tax rates.

The Governor drew praise for his proposal to increase the basic allowance portion of the State’s public assistance grant for the first time in 18 years. The grant would increase by 10% for each of the next three years, rising from $291 to $387 in January 2012. The average public assistance family would be eligible for approximately $100 more a month by the time this proposal is fully implemented.

A preliminary review of the many cuts included in the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal indicated the following:
• The Human Service Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) would be completely eliminated in 2009-2010: To reflect a long-term commitment to this program, a COLA is still planned for 2010-11 and 2011-12, and an extension of the COLA for an additional year (2012-13) is recommended.
• Creation of a Youth Programs Block Grant: A $90 million block grant will be created to provide districts with greater flexibility in funding their youth programs based on local priorities, resulting in $28 million in savings next year and $31 million in 2010-2011. Programs previously funded through a total of $118 million in discrete funding that would now be part of the block grant include: Detention Services, Youth Development and Delinquency Prevention, Special Delinquency Prevention Program, Runaway and Homeless Youth, Alternatives to Detention, and Alternatives to Residential Placement.
• A variety of OCFS and OTDA contracts and programs would be completely eliminated, including:
o Homelessness Prevention Program;
o Safety Net Assistance Local Innovations Program (SNAP);
o Local Interagency VESID Employment Services (LIVES);
o Educational Resources;
o HIV Welfare-to-Work;
o Strengthening Families through Stronger Fathers;
o Preventive Contracts;
o Amy Watkins Scholarship;
o Preventive services COLA;
o Caseworker Training;
o Substance Abuse Co-location Project; and,
o Caseworker Ratio and Portable Information Technology Pilot.
• A number of other OCFS and OTDA contracts and programs would be reduced by 25%, including:
o Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Supportive Services;
o Homelessness Intervention Program (HIP);
o Nutritional Outreach;
o New York State Refugee Resettlement Assistance Program (NYSRRAP);
o New York State Citizenship Initiative;
o Home Visiting;
o Advantage Schools:
o Kinship Care (50%);
o Post Placement;
o Hoyt Trust Fund;
o Evidenced-Based Community Initiatives;
o New York/New York III.
• Supplementary state funding to support the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program would be reduced by $7 million next year and $10 million in 2010-2011.
• A range of senior services also are being cut, including:
o The Stony Brook Evaluation of Geriatric Home Care ($0.1 million);
o NY Connects ($3.5 million);
o Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program ($0.8 million);
o Congregate Services Initiative ($0.1 million);
o Long Term Care Ombudsman ($0.1 million).
• Senior programs being completely eliminated are:
o The Affordable Independent Living Senior Housing Pilot ($1.8 million);
o Social Workers for Geriatric In-Home Care ($0.6 million);
o End of Life Care ($0.2 million);
o Enriched Social Adult Day Centers ($0.2 million);
o Long Term Care Insurance Outreach and Education ($2.8 million);
o Sustainable Transportation ($0.7 million);and;
o The Geriatric In-Home Medical Care Pilot ($0.7 million).



JEHT Foundation Closes After Losses in Madoff Ponzi Scheme
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fred_scaglione @ 10:59 am EST
The JEHT Foundation, a major New York City-based funder of criminal justice reform initiatives, announced yesterday that it will be closing as a result of financial losses sustained by its donors in the Bernard L. Madoff “Ponzi” scheme scandal. The foundation has ended all grantmaking immediately and will close its doors at the end of January.

JEHT was established in 2000 by Jeanne Levy-Church, a movie producer and real estate heiress, and her husband Kenneth Levy-Church. Unlike foundations using a traditional endowment-based financial model, JEHT funded its programming with annual gifts from its founders. In 2006, for example, the foundation’s $30.7 million in grants and operations was funded through $32 million in contributions from Jeanne Levy-Church and another related family foundation. Consequently, it was the investment losses incurred by the donors, rather than the foundation itself, which is forcing JEHT to close.

The JEHT Foundation’s annual grants, typically in the $20-$30 million range, were focused on criminal justice, juvenile justice, international justice and fair and participatory elections.

“The JEHT Foundation Board deeply regrets that the important work that the Foundation has undertaken over the years is ending so abruptly,” said Robert Crane, JEHT’s President and CEO, in a written statement. “The issues the Foundation addressed received very limited philanthropic support and the loss of the foundation’s funding and leadership will cause significant pain and disruption of the work for many dedicated people and organizations. The Foundation’s programs have met with significant success in recent years – promoting change in these critical areas in partnership with government and the non-profit sector. Hopefully others will look closely at this work and consider supporting it going forward.

“They were a major criminal justice funder,” said Michael P. Jacobson, Director of the Vera Institute of Justice. “Nobody had the resources and the focus on criminal justice issues that they did. This is a huge hit to the field of criminal justice reform.”

“The JEHT Foundation was really at the leading edge on some issues in criminal justice. They were instrumental in helping to fund the start up of our Institute on Women and Criminal Justice,” said Georgia Lerner, Executive Director of the Women’s Prison Association. “They were a critical resource for us.”

Jacobson expected that VERA would have received in excess of $1 million in grants from JEHT during the coming year. VERA was just beginning to assess the impact which this loss of funding would have on its programming. “This was a completely unexpected development,” he said. “With all the financial contingency planning that agencies are doing right now, I don’t think this was on anyone’s list of possible things that could happen.”



Developmental Disabilities Planning Council Announces Grants
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fred_scaglione @ 10:57 am EST
The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) has announced several awards to a variety of nonprofit and governmental service providers.

• Grants of $35,000 each went to United Cerebral Palsy of New York City, The Children's Hospital at Montefiore, Visiting Nurse Regional Health Care System, and St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children to help address unmet support needs for individuals who are medically fragile and their caregivers.

• New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies (NYSACRA) received $60,000 to support intensive technical assistance and training for a provider institute on individualized supports for persons with developmental disabilities.

• An award of $16,000 to Families Together in New York State to support caregiver and youth participation in Coordinated Children's services Initiatives (CCSI) activities.

• New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene was awarded $40,000 to build cross-systems collaboration in improving supports and services to persons with developmental disabilities who also have substance/chemical dependency in New York City.

"UCP/NYC has partnered with the Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing and Kingsborough College School of Nursing as well as several large New York City nursing contract agencies to increase the pool of nurses who have the skills and experience required to successfully deliver high quality health care services to people who are medically fragile,” said Sherry Rose, Director of Institutional Giving at United Cerebral Palsy of New York City.

"NYSACRA's Learning Institute is truly a journey of partners along a path to innovative, individualized supports, bringing together community providers, self-advocates, and government,” said Pat McKay, Associate Executive Director at NYSACRA. “The fifteen agencies who embarked on this journey in October, 2007 were courageous enough to challenge themselves to think and act differently. They've developed new relationships with the people they support and their families; they've asked new questions and had new conversations; they've visited innovative agencies around the state and witnessed first-hand some lives of distinction."



State senator welcomes kids displaced from after-school program
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fred_scaglione @ 9:08 am EST
Thirty elementary and middle-school kids whose parents have been told the Stapleton Community Center will be shuttered beginning Jan. 5 because of city budget cuts found a place to stay yesterday -- the office of State Senator Diane Savino. Last Friday, Stapleton Houses Resident Association president Geraldine Parker suggested that parents drop off their children at politicians' offices to highlight the need for government intervention. See more in today's Staten Island Advance.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

HSC Calls on Providers to Support Human Services COLA
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fred_scaglione @ 12:46 pm EST
As Governor Paterson finalizes his plans for the State’s Executive Budget submission next Tuesday, the Human Services Council is calling on its members and all provider agencies to express their support for a continuation of the human services COLA. In his November Special Session proposal, the Governor had called for reducing the originally promised 3.2% COLA by 1% -- a proposal on which the Legislature never acted. Now, given the $15 billion budget deficit projected for FY10, providers and advocates are worried that cuts might go further.

“HSC appreciates the State’s recognition of the hard work and dedication of the human service workforce shown with the three-year COLA included in the FY08-09 budget and strongly urge for this commitment to be maintained,” said Michael Stoller, Executive Director at HSC. “As demand for services increase and funding for programs decline, a well-qualified and well-staffed human service workforce is needed now more than ever.“

HSC is urging providers to write the Governor today or tomorrow to reiterate the importance of the human services COLA. To download a draft letter of support from the HSC website, Click Here.



Support Center Gets $80K for Executive Leadership Services
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fred_scaglione @ 12:45 pm EST
The Support Center for Nonprofit Management has received an $80,000 grant from JP Morgan Chase to help the growing number of nonprofit organizations experiencing executive leadership transition. The grant will help fund the Support Center’s Executive Leadership Services program, which addresses key issues including, succession and transition planning, organizational assessment, Interim Executive Leader (IEL) placement and executive and board coaching.

Jenny Lam Low, community relations manager for Chase in Manhattan, presented the check to the Support Center’s Executive Director, Don Crocker, and Board Members, G. Angela Henry and Bill Falahee.

“Chase understands the necessity for programs that offer a comprehensive strategic executive transition approach to ensure the long-term health, stability and success of nonprofit organizations,” Ms. Low stated.

“This is a major commitment by Chase and demonstrates their commitment to making a positive difference in our communities,” said Crocker. “The Support Center serves more than 1,500 nonprofit organizations each year through its consulting, transition management, and professional development services. This grant will go a long way toward supporting the leadership of community development, education, and arts and culture nonprofits during difficult transitions in our changing environment.”

The grant will enable the Support Center to subsidize the costs of executive transition services and professional development services, allowing for a sliding fee scale related to the size and budget of the organization served. It will also support training sessions and conferences promoting dialogue about new ways of servicing our communities given the realities of our current economy.



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Parents and Staff Fights Day Care Cuts; ACS Identifies Centers for Classroom Closures
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fred_scaglione @ 12:25 pm EST

Hundreds of parents, children and child care staff were joined at City Hall yesterday by Councilmember Bill de Blasio, Chair of the Council's General Welfare Committee, and a host of other Council Members to protest the Administration for Children's Services' (ACS) plan to reduce the capacity of its subsidized day care centers for low-income families by 18%, including the reported elimination of entire classrooms from 14 neighborhood child care centers, 8 of which are in Brooklyn.

The 14 centers in which ACS contractual capacity will be reduced by at least one classroom are as follows:
• Episcopal Social Services, Marcy Children's Center, 494 Marcy Ave, BK 11206;
• Billy Martin Child Development DCC, Billy Martin CDC, 333 Classon Ave BK 11205;
• Nuestros Ninos, Nuestros Ninos II (South 2nd), 243 South 2nd , BK 11211;
• Episcopal Social Services; Cooper Park Child Care, 292 Frost Ave, BK 11222;
• Fort Greene Senior Citizens, Young Minds, 972 Fulton St, BK 11238;
• Haitian American DCC, Inc., Haitian American DCC #1, 1491 Bedford Ave, BK 11216;
• Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service, BBCS Waverly, 143 Waverly Ave, BK 11205;
• Bethel Baptist Church, Bethel Baptist, 242 Hoyt St. BK 11217;
• Seaman Society for Children, Edwin Markham,195 Gordon St., SI 10304;
• Promesa Incorporated, Promesa Multicultural S7, 300 East 175th St, BX 10457;
• Puerto Rican Council DCC, Inc., Puerto Rican Council, 180 Suffolk St, MN 10002;
• Scan New York, Holmes Towers Eisman Nursery, 1794 First Ave., MN 10128;
• East River Child Ctr Community Inc., East River CCC, 416 East 105th St., MN 10029;
• Chama Society Inc., Chama, 218 W. 147th St., MN 10039.

These 14 centers were among 21 centers originally targeted by ACS due to historic vacancy rates of 15 or more children. “There were 21 centers that seemed very vulnerable based on current month, 12-month and three-year averages,” said ACS spokesperson Sharman Stein. The number of centers at which cuts will be taking place was reduced based on further review. “A number of the centers had managed to get their enrollment numbers up,” said Stein. The reduction in contract capacity is scheduled to take place in January.

In addition to these classroom closures, ACS plans to reduce the total amount of combined funding being provided to centers with separate Department of Education contracts for Universal Pre-K programs and eliminate ACS funded slots for over 3,0000 five year old children who are eligible to attend public school kindergarten programs. The funding reduction will take place in January and elimination of slots for five-year-olds will take effect at the end of the current school year. In total, these moves are designed to close a $62 million deficit in ACS funding for child care programming.

"Cutting funding for day care center classrooms is a recipe for disaster," said Councilmember de Blasio. "Low-income families are on long waiting lists for subsidized child care, yet the City consistently fails to refer them to vacant slots and then penalizes centers for under-enrollment. In tough economic times like these, families of all incomes must have a safe place to bring their children. We absolutely can not do anything to jeopardize the future of these day care centers before ensuring that all families in need are being served."

"With more seats needed for education of young children, there must be a moratorium on closing ACS day care centers,” said Kim Medina President of DC1707 AFCME local 253. “In the last four years, ACS has closed 16 centers that could have provided thousands of additional seats to four and five year olds… Effective interagency planning and utilization of space in day care centers by the Department of Education could have prevented $25 million last year and $30 million this year of unspent UPK funding. As we plan for tomorrow, day care centers must not be closed today."

"The closures of day care centers will not only reduce capacity for the education of four and five year olds, resulting in further overcrowding in public schools, but, in the long run, will cost the City hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars," said Local 205 President Mabel Everett. "In fact, it's reminiscent of 1975, when the City closed 100 schools for a short term savings while ten years later, billions of dollars were needed to create new facilities."



After School Programs Lose Funding, Cut Staff and Services
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fred_scaglione @ 12:22 pm EST
Three quarters of after school programs in New York City have lost funding during the past three months and more than half have been forced to cut staff and services. Those were the findings of a recent survey conducted by the Partnership for After School Education.

“Nonprofits are used to doing a lot with a little bit of money,” explains PASE Executive Director Dr. Shelly Wimpfheimer. “But this recession means that the need for services to children and families is increasing at exactly the time that the small, neighborhood-based organizations that run most afterschool programs are suffering financial setbacks, and anticipating that 2009 will be even worse.”

A total of 76.5% of the executive directors contacted by PASE reported that their organization had lost funding during the last quarter. As a result, 52% reported that their organizations had cut services and 56% indicated that they had cut staff.



Abbott House Youngsters “Shop with a Jock”
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fred_scaglione @ 12:22 pm EST
Almost 50 boys and girls from Abbott House had an opportunity to go shopping with New York Giants superstar linebacker Danny Clark and several of his team mates last week. After a family-style dinner provided by Popeye’s, youngsters and Giants players spent an afternoon at Wal-Mart where each youngster was allowed to shop for an item of his or her choosing.

“Shop with a Jock” is the brainchild of the “Entertainers and Athletes Group,” an agency which represents various professional athletes. The group organizes “Shop for a Jock” events throughout the country pairing NFL players with children in need during the holidays. This year’s event was co-sponsored by the Danny Clarks Foundation and Wal-Mart, which donated $5,000 worth of gift cards to the event. Eeach child received a $100 card to buy any toys of their choosing – the event is designed specifically around giving children toys, as opposed to clothing, food, etc. Abbott House asked participating children to buddy up with other children from the campus and use half their gift card to purchase a present for them.

“I am extremely grateful to the New York Giants for taking our children under their wing in the true spirit of the season,” said Abbott House Executive Director & CEO Claude B. Meyers. “Danny Clark is a true sports role model and I know that the memory of the afternoon he and his teammates spent with our children will remain with them forever.”

Abbott House first participated in “Shop with a Jock” in 2006 with Giants safety Will Demps.



Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Layoffs at United Way of NYC
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fred_scaglione @ 11:56 am EST

United Way of New York City has laid off 21 staff members. The layoffs represent approximately 16% reduction in UWNYC’s overall staffing.

“The difficult decision to make staff layoffs was made for two reasons: to respond to the organization’s changing needs and in recognition of a shortfall in revenue,” said Bertina Ceccarelli, Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “As is true for the nonprofit sector as a whole, responsible governance sometimes dictates that tough decisions have to be made—to be leaner and more efficient. We have made every effort to cut other-than-personnel costs before resorting to layoffs.”

The layoffs were “at all levels within the organization”, said Ceccarelli who declined to identify specific positions. The affected staff were notified last Monday.

The move was partially a response to declines in private fundraising. “We are beginning to see some reduction in private funding,” said Ceccarelli. “Overall giving is certainly down and we are seeing average gift size down. This is a response to the trends we are seeing now and the anticipation that it will potentially accelerate in the spring.”

At the same time, the layoffs also took into consideration United Way’s ongoing strategic planning process which will focus its efforts on achieving goals in the areas of health, education and income security. “We really took a scalpel approach,” said Ceccarelli. “More than ever, we need to think boldly and creatively about how to streamline our operations while also continuing to pursue our goals of creating greater educational, income and health-related opportunities for all New Yorkers.



Burns to Leave LGBT Community Center
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fred_scaglione @ 11:52 am EST
Richard Burns, Executive Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City, has announced his plans to move on. The longest serving leader of an LGBT organization in the United States, Burns has served as Executive Director since December 1, 1986. Burns has accepted the position of Chief Operating Officer at The Arcus Foundation, and will leave the Center in early February, 2009.

"Richard Burns has been the driving force of the Center for the past 22 years," said Center Board President Bruce Anderson. "His vision, perseverance and dedication to the LGBT Liberation Movement secures his position as one of the more important social justice leaders in the country today. Although we are sad to hear of Richard's leaving the Center, we are excited for him in his new role at The Arcus Foundation. The Center's Board of Directors and senior management have assembled a team to steer the Center through this transition with grace and strength."

The search for Mr. Burns' successor is currently underway.



Friday, December 05, 2008

Union Square Awards Go to 17 Local Organizations
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fred_scaglione @ 11:36 am EST

Seventeen New York City organizations will be honored at the annual Union Square Awards celebration tomorrow evening. Seven will receive the prestigious Union Square Award and a $50,000 grant for exceptional efforts addressing the critical social and economic issues facing New Yorkers. Ten will receive the Union Square Arts Award and a $35,000 grant in recognition of innovative work in the arts with youth and families in low-income communities.

“With minimal resources, these organizations are making extraordinary contributions to local neighborhoods. Given the current economic situation, their work is vital to New York City,” says Executive Director Iris Morales.

Named after the park on 14th Street where New Yorkers have organized and spoken out about major social issues since the nineteenth century, the Union Square Awards program was created to recognize and encourage initiative in serving New York City communities.

This year’s awardees, who will recognized at a special ceremony at the historic Riverside Church in Manhattan, are as follows:

Recipients of the Union Square Award:

• Adhikaar is a women-led organization that provides advocacy and social services to the Nepalese community in Queens.

• The College and Community Fellowship provides educational and other re-entry programs that primarily serve formerly incarcerated women.

• The Disabilities Network of New York City creates coalitions to build community, shape policy and expand opportunity for New Yorkers with physical, visual and hearing disabilities.

• The New York State Youth Leadership Council is a network of young advocates committed to the advancement of immigrant youth through leadership development and advocacy.

• Rights for Imprisoned People With Psychiatric Disabilities is a grassroots, direct action organization working for the rights of prisoners and former prisoners with mental illness.

• Vamos Unidos is a Bronx-based organization founded by low-wage Latino/a immigrant workers, primarily street vendors who organize for social and economic justice.

• Youth Represent provides comprehensive, quality criminal and civil legal representation and social services to youth under 24 years old.

Recipients of the Arts Award are:

• Cool Culture offers programs that provide low-income families access to New York’s arts, cultural and scientific institutions.

• Freedom Train Productions promotes new political theatre that features Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) characters written by up-and-coming Black LGBT playwrights.

• Girls Write Now is a creative writing organization that offers girls from New York City public schools a safe environment that fosters their creativity and independent voices.

• The Laundromat Project uses the space of local coin-ops to provide communities of color living on modest incomes access to visual arts as a tool for personal and social transformation.

• Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture without Borders celebrates Mexican culture in the United States and promotes understanding of Mexican traditions among immigrants, artists, educators and the public.

• The Multicultural Music Group offers performance, instruction and professional development in multicultural music to promote global understanding, cultural awareness, and academic achievement.

• Renaissance E.M.S. provides young people in the Bronx with music instruction, vocal training and other programs that maximize their potential and encourage community participation.

• T.W.W./Talks with Wolves provides children and youth with programs in writing, visual and performance arts that integrate African and Native American cultures.

• Urban Word works to ensure that New York City youth have a safe, supportive, dynamic and challenging community in which to discover and use their voices through written and spoken word.

• Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls (Rock Camp) is dedicated to using music to promote self-expression and self-esteem while building bridges of communication to combat racism and stereotypes.

The Union Square Awards is a project of the Tides Center and is made possible through the contributions of an anonymous donor. Since its inception, the Union Square Awards has granted more than $13 million to organizations that have not received either substantial funding or public accolade.

More information about the Union Square Awards and this year's winners is available at www.unionsquareawards.org.



Thursday, December 04, 2008

Mayor Bloomberg! You’ve Got Mail! 14,000 Letters Oppose Senior Center RFP
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fred_scaglione @ 3:31 pm EST
“Dear Mayor Bloomberg, Protect Our Senior Center!” That was the message in 14,000 letters from seniors which were collected over last three weeks and delivered to City Hall today by the Council of Senior Centers and Services NYC (CSCS). The letters call on the administration to reconsider their proposal, which advocates argue could negatively affect local centers and put many seniors at risk of losing vital services.

CSCS was joined at the City Hall by City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, City Council Aging Committee Chair Maria del Carmen Arroyo, City Council Senior Center Subcommittee Chair James Vacca, and other Council Members.

“CSCS is proud to stand with Speaker Christine Quinn and the City Council to oppose the city's senior center RFP,” said Bobbie Sackman, Director of Public Policy, Council for Senior Centers and Services NYC.

Advocates question the City’s ability to adequately fund the RFP’s proposed new larger centers, while simultaneously maintaining all the neighborhood senior centers that provide vital core services. This new plan, they argue, will force current neighborhood senior centers to close, result in a loss of core services at remaining senior centers, leave centers with unbalanced funding and programming, and give senior centers unclear information on how to address transportation issues or social work services among a number of other issues that will threaten the services seniors rely on.

“CSCS’s incredible campaign has rallied thousands in the call to protect senior centers,” said Speaker Quinn. "The administration has heard loud and clear: they must reconsider plans that place up to 85 centers on the chopping block."

“Senior centers provide a lifeline for them and during these uncertain financial times, it is imperative that we keep these lifelines open, not take them away in order to make room for new state of the art centers,” said Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo. “We will continue to fight this until each and every senior center is still standing and that seniors can be confident that they can still rely on the essential services they have come to depend on.”

“This is simply the wrong plan at the wrong time with the wrong funding stream, and when we ask why the city cannot accomplish the same goals without upending our existing network of centers, no one has an answer,” said Council Member James Vacca.. “Together, we are gathered here with one message: Leave our senior centers alone.”

The City Hall press conference preceded an afternoon hearing on the new plan by Aging Committee of the New York City Council.

“While we have been supportive of DFTA’s efforts to reshape senior centers, working toward a model that incorporates health and wellness activities in a comprehensive way and increases resources for more essential services, we have grave concerns over the timing of the recently-issued Senior Center RFP,” said Crissy Liu of United Neighborhood Houses and Kathleen Fitzgibbons of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies in joint testimony. “Until the City’s budget situation is stabilized, and the size and scope of current and future City and State cuts becomes known, the Senior Center RFP should be postponed.”



Grand Street Launches LGBT Program With Power of Pink Youth Ball
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fred_scaglione @ 2:50 pm EST
Grand Street Settlement will host the Power of Pink Youth Ball this Friday, drawing an expected crowd of 200 youth and young adults from the LGBT community, many from the Lower East Side. The Power of Pink Youth Ball is sponsored by Grand Street Settlement’s newly launched Project S.O.L. (Speak Out Loud), the Black Men’s Initiative at Harlem United, and the Audre Lorde Project. Doors open at 4:00pm and free HIV testing and workshops are available throughout the evening. The Ball begins at 5:00pm and lasts until 11:00pm.

Grand Street Settlement implemented Project S.O.L. last month, specifically designed for LGBT youth and young adults based on the Lower East Side. It is the first LGBT program at Grand Street Settlement since 2005 and its mission is to provide advocacy services for youth, their families and community members in a safe, supportive space.

“Project S.O.L. is extremely important because there are no other LGBT specific youth programs on the Lower East Side. Queer youth are hugely underserved in this area,” says Program Coordinator, Katie Peterson. “We are unique because we use a positive youth development model opposed to a crisis model, which is what most programs focus on. We are here to work not only with youth, but with their families, so that when these young people come out about their sexuality, they aren’t kicked out of their homes.”

The program serves youth ages 14 to 21 and is open from Monday through Friday from 3:00pm – 8:00pm. A full-time case manager is also available to help participants get connected to needed advocacy such as housing, access to food stamps.

The Power of Pink Youth Ball is the real “grand opening” of Project S.O.L. Other organizations that will be in attendance include the Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGBT Youth, the Anti-Violence Project, and Brooklyn-based HEAT (Health and Education Alternatives.) The Ball coincides a few days after December 1’s World AIDS Day. “We expect a great turn out and are so excited to launch Project S.O.L. with such an exciting celebration,” says Kate.



SIMHS Gets TD Bank Grant
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fred_scaglione @ 2:49 pm EST
The Staten Island Mental Health Society (SIMHS) has received a $10,000 grant from TD Bank (formerly Commerce Bank) to provide services to families in which teenagers are abusing alcohol or drugs. The funds will be used for a new evidence-based family treatment component at the SIMHS’s two Teen Center locations in St. George and Great Kills. The Teen Center is a New York State-certified outpatient treatment program exclusively for adolescents and young adults, ages 12 to 21, who are coping with the challenges of substance abuse.

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services does not support all services to families of substance abusing teens, says SIMHS President/CEO Dr. Kenneth Popler. “This grant will allow us to incorporate a focused program to teach parents effective and evidence-based, proven techniques to understand and assist their children whether they are at risk of, or already abusing alcohol or drugs,” he added.



Wednesday, December 03, 2008

New York Foundling Marks 140th Anniversary with Homecoming
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fred_scaglione @ 10:35 am EST
The New York Foundling has launched its 140th year of service by inviting anyone with a connection to the agency – adoptees, former foster children, foster and adoptive parents, staff and volunteers – to join in a “homecoming” which will take place both in New York and online at www.nyfoundling.org.

On October 9 - 12, 2009, The Foundling is planning a weekend in New York City where alumni will trace the agency's history firsthand through its astounding collection of archival materials, experience The Foundling as it is today with a broadly expanded network of social services programs, and forge relationships with each other that can continue to grow through The Foundling's online communities.

"This homecoming is more than merely a plan to unite people physically in one place -- although that is an important part of it," said Bill Baccaglini, The Foundling's Executive Director. "We are also creating an online community, where people who have been connected personally or through their families to The Foundling over the years can join with others and share their common experiences."

Information about the homecoming and the online community can be found at www.nyfoundling.org.



GOSO’s Goldsmith Wins 2008 Purpose Prize
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fred_scaglione @ 10:33 am EST
Mark Goldsmith, founder and President/CEO at New York City-based Getting Out Staying Out (GOSO), is one of six social entrepreneurs from across the nation to be honored with the 2008 Purpose Prize.

The Purpose Prize, which includes a $100,000 award, is part of the Encore Careers campaign which aims to engage millions of baby boomers in encore careers which combine social impact and personal meaning in the second half of their life. The Prize recognizes individuals over the age of 60 for their creative and effective work tackling problems ranging from poverty to pollution, recidivism to racial reconciliation, health care to homelessness.

Goldsmith, a former cosmetics industry marketing executive, founded GOSO in 2003 after having volunteered to be "Principal for a Day" at the high school on Rikers Island. GOSO offers inmates coaching, life-skill instruction, educational guidance and job-achievement support. Participants sign contracts the day they enter the program, agreeing to attend school and be coached toward a different life upon their release. The coaches, many of them former corporate executives, help prisoners to understand what it will take to achieve success once they are released. On their first day out, they receive clothing, metro cards, an electric alarm clock, an ID card and a brand new resume. They have what they need to be interviewed for a job. The recidivism rate for Rikers Island is 66 percent, but fewer than 10 percent of Getting Out and Staying Out participants have returned on new charges since the program began.

“In tough economic times, we need more creative solutions to long-standing social problems,” said Marc Freedman, co-founder of The Purpose Prize. “It’s reassuring to note that as America ages, we have creativity in greater abundance. Purpose Prize winners, ranging in age this year from 61 to 72, show that experience and innovation can go hand in hand, that inventiveness is not the sole province of the young.”

Sherry Lansing, CEO of the Sherry Lansing Foundation and former chair of Paramount Pictures’ Motion Picture Group, chairs the jury that selected this year’s winners. The 23 judges are leaders in business, politics, journalism and the nonprofit sector — including actor Sidney Poitier, former presidential advisor David Gergen, former Senator Harris Wofford and journalist Cokie Roberts.

The Purpose Prize award ceremonies this year will kick off the first-ever Encore Careers Summit on December 5-7 at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business’ Center on Social Innovation.



Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Western NY Travel Agent Arrested for Scamming Nonprofits
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fred_scaglione @ 11:08 am EST

A Western New York travel company owner who allegedly sold more than $90,000 in cruise packages to non-profits and other organizations and then never booked their trips was arrested last week, according to announcement by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo.

Joseph Ehrenreich, owner of Destination Management Group of Buffalo, allegedly stole more than $90,000 in payments from more than 20 consumers, businesses and non-profits for cruises he never booked. He was arrested and charged with 10 counts of grand larceny and multiple other charges. The top charge carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

Many of the victims of Ehrenreich’s alleged scam were volunteers, employees, and supporters of area non-profits, including the Hospice and Palliative Care Group of Niagara County, the Meals on Wheels Foundation of Western New York and the Beechwood/Blocher Foundation.

“Non-profit organizations that provide essential services to our communities have to scrape for every dollar – especially in these tough economic times,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “My office will not allow the besmirching of trusted charitable causes – especially in the midst of the holiday giving season. This individual allegedly preyed upon these organizations and their generous donors with fraudulent offers – any such conduct would be an affront to the unsparing manner in which kind-hearted individuals give to worthwhile causes every day.”

According to the felony complaint, Ehrenreich offered businesses and other organizations a program where they could pay to have unlimited access to cruise vouchers. The client organizations – many of them cash-strapped non-profits – would then distribute the vouchers as fundraising tools, marketing incentives or employee rewards. Ehrenreich allegedly claimed he would handle all the travel arrangements for the vouchers, citing his extensive relationships with major cruise lines and his memberships with the International Airlines Travel Agents Network (IATAN) and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). In fact, he was not affiliated with ether association. Popular cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Holland and Carnival, all deny having any relationship with DMG or Ehrenreich and indicated that the invoice confirmation numbers he used were fictitious. IATAN also confirmed that neither Ehrenreich nor DMG were accredited by them. He also allegedly used the cruise lines’ logos on his Website and vouchers without their permission.

According to the complaint, those who received the vouchers from the client organizations would contact and/or meet with Ehrenreich to discuss the logistics of the cruise of choice. He often convinced the consumers to upgrade their vouchers, costing thousands of dollars more in additional charges. Ehrenreich would then require consumers to make immediate payment by check or cash to “hold” the reservation – he would not accept credit card payments. After receiving payment, Ehrenreich would issue an invoice with phony cruise line confirmation and IATAN accreditation codes.

However, the complaint alleges that consumers who called the cruise lines to confirm their reservations or check the status of the cruises then found out that Ehrenreich never booked any of the cruises and kept the payments.



HOPE Program Partners with Sharp Electronics On Green Collar Project
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fred_scaglione @ 11:06 am EST

The HOPE Program has announced that it will be partnering with Sharp Electronics on a new Green Collar Project which will prepare HOPE students for jobs in an environmental field while providing family sustaining wages, safe working conditions, and chances for advancement.

Students in the Green Collar Project will be trained for jobs such as Environmental Remediation Technician, which includes the removal of asbestos and lead, while adhering to OSHA regulations, as well as green maintenance and waste management, recycling, urban forestry, waterfront restoration, green roofs, and energy efficiency practices, among others.

Funding to launch the Green Collar Project will be provided by Sharp Electronics. As presenting sponsor of the Grand Central Terminal Kaleidoscope Light Show, Sharp designed the AQUOS Experience - a groundbreaking tower of AQUOS Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) televisions - which will be on display throughout the month of December, enhancing the holiday atmosphere in the terminal. Two kiosks will flank the AQUOS Experience, where consumers can enter a sweepstakes to win one of the 43 TVs from the tower. As part of this initiative, Sharp will donate $1 to HOPE for every individual who enters the sweepstakes, up to $100,000 total donation, and a minimum of $50,000. To enter the sweepstake, please go to www.SharpUSA.com/experience.

This project will not only allow participants to become economically self-sufficient, but will also help preserve the environment.

“Clearly, training poor New Yorkers for jobs in the Green Economy is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart and economical thing to do as well. It accomplishes two goals: Provides career-ladder jobs to people who are economically disadvantaged while cleaning up the planet. We can make what is good for poor people good for the planet.” said Barbara Edwards Delsman, Executive Director of The HOPE Program.

“We created the AQUOS Experience as a symbol of hope, especially important during this holiday season, and chose to work with The HOPE Program to help those who are out of work,” said Doug Koshima, chairman and CEO, Sharp Electronics Corporation. “We strongly believe in The HOPE Program’s important cause that not only helps those out of work to train and find jobs, but to maintain those jobs and turn them into careers for a better future for them and their families.”



Monday, December 01, 2008

Child Care Providers Grapple With ACS Cuts
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fred_scaglione @ 2:54 pm EST

Providers of ACS-funded day care and early childhood education are grappling with the potential impact of steps recently announced by Commissioner John Mattingly to close a $62 million budget deficit in the program.

The three-part program includes:
• A reduction of total combined funding for centers which also have separate Department of Education contracts to provide Universal Pre-K programs;
• The closing of vacant “classrooms” in 21 centers with historically high vacancy rates; and,
• The elimination next school year of an estimated 3,000 ACS-funded slots serving five year olds who will now be directed to kindergarten classes in City Public Schools with after-school programming provided through DYCD funded OST programs.

Since 2005, “the cost of providing child care has continuously risen, including increased costs of health insurance for employees, liability insurance, facility costs, etc.,” ACS Commissioner John Mattingly told the City Council during testimony on November 20th. “In contrast, funds provided by the State and Federal government have not increased in proportion to these expenses… As a result, we are facing a $62 million gap this fiscal year… Over the past several years, the City has made up the difference for child care spending with one-time financial strategies. Those strategies are no longer viable now in this economic climate….If we do not make the changes that I am about to describe, we would need to cut subsidies to more than 7,300 children from low-income families in order to manage this system within our existing funds.”

The sudden announcement which came outside of the Mayor’s recent November Financial Plan budget cuts surprised many advocates, even as they were aware of funding problems in the City program and ACS’ longer term plans to eliminate funding for vacant slots and older children.

“I didn’t expect any of this,” said Andrea Anthony, Executive Director of the Day Care Council of New York City.

Advocates and providers generally expressed concerns on two levels – the downsizing of the ACS-funded system by an estimated 4,500 slots, or 19%, even as there continue to be long waiting lists for day care subsidies, and the cumulative impact of these cuts on the financial stability of the City’s provider network. In addition, advocates questioned a strategy which will continue closing child care classrooms in community based facilities while simultaneously transferring 3,000 additional children into public schools which are already overcrowded.

"The City is slowly strangling child care centers to death," said Councilmember Bill de Blasio, Chair of the General Welfare Committee, in response to the ACS testimony. "Low-income families are on long waiting lists for subsidized child care, yet the City consistently fails to refer them to vacant slots and then penalizes centers for under-enrollment."

“The combination of these three things, in addition to the vacancies that were created by the transfer of school aged child care to OST, raises questions about how many programs may not be able to survive. That is a big challenge,” said Nancy Kolben, Executive Director of Child Care Inc.

“It is going to be a challenge,” said Leonard Fennell, Executive Director of the Helen Owen Carey Child Development Center in Brooklyn. “We may be able to survive but other programs may not.”

Like many City-funded centers, Fennell expects to be impacted by two aspects of the new ACS program.

UPK Cost Allocation

Under the new “enforced cost allocation” model for centers with separate Department of Education contracts for UPK programs, Fennell will see a significant reduction in the additional funding originally provided to meet the higher UPK service standards. Until now, the DOE contracts provide approximately $3,300 per child to support the 2.5 hour UPK program with ACS funding wrap around services for the balance of the extended day or care. The new ACS funding model will reduce this additional UPK funding to only $800, resulting in a net loss to the center of approximately $2,500 per child. With 50 children enrolled in UPK, the cut will cost Helen Owen Carey approximately $120,000 annually, with the budget reduction scheduled to go into effect on January 1st.

“We will enforce cost-allocation for all UPK child care seats so that the City is not paying for the same services twice,” Mattingly said in his testimony to the Council. The move will affect only those centers with DOE contracts. ACS recently imposed the $800 “cost allocation” model to day care centers which added UPK programming through an ACS RFP.

Advocates argue that the costs of meeting the higher UPK program standards significantly exceed the $800 being offered by ACS, particularly in light of the relative weakness of the City’s funding for basic day care services.

“The ACS proposal to cut funding from these programs will take away provider’s ability to bring the benefits of UPK to the children of working parents,” said Nancy Wackstein, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses.

Five Year Olds

The ACS move to eliminate future slots for an estimated 3,000-plus five-year-olds -- who are eligible to attend public school kindergartens -- also raised several sets of concerns.

While recognizing the appropriateness of kindergarten education programs for these children, advocates express concerns about the ability of both public schools to handle the sudden influx of new children.

“We are seeing an increased amount of overcrowding in many neighborhoods throughout the system and an increased number of kindergarteners because we have a rising birth rate in this city,” said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters. Rather than closing down child care capacity, Haimson called for an alternative strategy to transfer UPK programs out of public schools and into to community-based facilities. “The maximum number of Pre-K seats should be sited in community based organizations to free up space in our public schools for smaller classrooms and other services we need,” she said.

Advocates also questioned the capacity of DYCD-funded Out of School Time (OST) programs to continue providing yearround, extended day, wrapparound child care which these younger children will need. “There aren’t DYCD programs in every public school and many of these programs are already full and have long waiting lists. There is no assurance that parents will be able to get their kindergarten children enrolled,” said Sandy Socolar, Senior Policy Analyst with DC1707 which represents day care employees in the City-funded centers.

The loss of 3,000 slots for five-year-olds – representing a loss equal to approximately 150 classrooms systemwide -- is also expected to have a significant impact on the financial stability of day care programs and their staff. Helen Owen Carey, which currently serves 20 five-year-olds, or the equivalent of one classroom, estimates the loss at over $200,000 annually.

“These cuts will mean layoffs,” said the Day Care Council’s Andrea Anthony.

“Empty Classrooms”

The third component of ACS’ plan calls for the elimination of “empty classrooms” in centers with a long term pattern of under enrollment. “There are a significant number of programs across the City which continue to be severely under enrolled by at least one classroom (or 15 or more children),” Commissioner Mattingly told the Council. “For this reason, starting in January 2009, we are going to reduce capacity within child care programs that are chronically under-enrolled, as defined by a three-year average, a 12-month average and current levels.”

While it was reported that ACS planned to eliminate capacity at a total of 21 centers, the agency has yet to identify any specific programs for reductions. An ACS spokesperson indicated that the agency was currently reviewing capacity and enrollment data in conjunction with individual agencies.

The Bigger Budget Picture

“We are very disappointed that ACS's child care budget shortfall has been so persistent and large that unless substantial funds are found outside of ACS, such dramatic action will be necessary,” said Jennifer March Joly, Executive Director of Citizens Committee for Children. “In the absence of adequate state and federal support to meet increased costs, and in light of the economic crisis, the city appears unable to continue to fill the child care budget gap. While we are relieved that children currently receiving child care will not lose services if there are enough kindergarten and OST slots available, moving forward additional resources must be secured to help preserve the city's child care centers and ensure young children have safe, quality child care while their parents are at work.”




Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Children’s Aid Society Gets $450K from New York Life Foundation
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fred_scaglione @ 9:55 am EST

The Children’s Aid Society has received a two-year, $450,000 grant from the New York Life Foundation. This grant will increase the number of youth by the Next Generation Center in the South Bronx. The Next Generation Center offers services to youth in foster care who are facing the transition into adulthood, including educational help, financial management training and leadership in a safe environment. The center will now be able to serve 700 14-to-24-year-olds served per week.

This is the second grant The Children’s Aid Society has received from the New York Life Foundation, which funded the Next Generation Center in 2006 with an initial grant of $102,000. As a result, membership grew to 300 from 20 youth per week.

“We are delighted that the New York Life Foundation has continued to fund our program, which will now provide more youth who are ‘aging out’ of the foster care system with the information and skills to become responsible, self-sufficient adults in a safe environment,” said C. Warren Moses, chief executive officer, The Children’s Aid Society. “The support these young adults receive is life-changing and not simply a quick fix. They will use the skills they learn for the rest of their lives.”

“We are pleased to continue this gratifying partnership and help more young people obtain the services they need to overcome the challenges that come with transitioning out of the foster care system,” said Chris Park, president, New York Life Foundation. “The Next Generation Center provides an extensive range of services to make a successful transition to independent living.”



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Abbott House Opens New IRA
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fred_scaglione @ 10:28 am EST
Abbott House celebrated the ribbon cutting last week for its newest individualized residential alternative (IRA) for persons with developmental disabilities in Shrub Oak.

Assemblyman Greg Ball joined Abbott House Executive Director & CEO Claude B. Meyers and Director of Services for the Mentally Retarded and Developmentally Disabled Richard Zuckerman for the event.

“I have worked very hard to increase awareness for developmental disabilities, such as autism, and to help ensure that all New York’s families are safe and secure,” Assemblyman Ball said. “Over the last decade, Abbott House has evolved into an organization that has taken individuals with developmental disabilities under their wing, and I applaud their initiative.”

The six-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom Shrub Oak residence provides housing and around-the-clock care for seven residents diagnosed with moderate to severe developmental disabilities.



Saint Dominic’s Receives Grant From Hackett Foundation
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fred_scaglione @ 10:28 am EST
Saint Dominic’s Home has received a $293,275 grant from The Hackett Foundation which is being put to a variety of uses. The grant has allowed purchasing new supplies and equipment , paying for a new Early Childhood Room/Sensory Integration Center and a Life Skills Training Program, and significant improvements in the school’s library, music program, playground and gymnasium/multipurpose center.

“It would have been impossible for us to do what we are now able to do for the students without these private foundation funds,” said Judith D. Kydon, Executive Director of Saint Dominic’s Home. “Representatives from The Hackett Foundation have been at the school to see the before and now we are eager to have the back to see the after impact of their grant. We are forever indebted to them for their generous contribution.”

The grant has not only made an immediate difference in enhancing the quality of education for children at St. Dominic’s, but will also play a key role in helping the school to increase its enrollment by 20 – 25 percent over the next year or so, explains Kydon.



Friday, November 21, 2008

NYCHA Chairman to Lead Samaritan Village
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fred_scaglione @ 11:35 am EST
Tino Hernandez, Chairman of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), has been named as the new President and CEO at Samaritan Village, Inc. He succeeds Richard Pruss who has led the agency for the past 35 years.

Hernandez, is leaving NYCHA after seven years. He had previously served as Vice President for Clinical Services at Samaritan Village before beginning a career in New York City government. In addition to his leadership at NYCHA, he has served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services, and Deputy Commissioner for Adult Services at the Department of Homeless Services.

Hernandez obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Adelphi University in 1986. A licensed social worker (CSW), he graduated in 1988 from the State University of New York at Albany, Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy with a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in management.
Hernandez will assume his new position on December 22nd.

Pruss, who officialy retired in October, will stay on as a consultant to the agency. Pruss had originally joined Samaritan Village as a volunteer in 1965. Under his leadership, the agency grew from evolved from a small adolescent program located in a church basement to one of the largest and most respected providers of non-profit, substance abuse treatment services in New York State. In 2007, simultaneous with the announcement of his plans to retire, Pruss was awarded the Governor’s Lifetime Service Award by OASAS Commissioner Karen Carpenter-Palumbo.



Child Welfare Workforce Initiative Launched with $2.5 million Grant
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fred_scaglione @ 11:34 am EST

An initiative to evaluate and strengthen the professional child welfare workforce is being launched by researchers at the SUNY Albany School of Social Work in partnership with the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA). The effort is being supported by a five-year $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau. The project, which is being led by Associate Professor Nancy Claiborne and Assistant Research Professor Catherine Lawrence, will work with private agencies in New York State who serve children and families in the public child welfare system.

The project, The New York State Child Welfare Workforce Initiative (CWWI), fills a significant gap in New York's continuum of care for children in the child welfare system by focusing on the workforce needs in voluntary agencies under contract with the public child welfare system. It is designed to create sustainable system changes that strengthen and support the professional child welfare workforce so they may better meet the needs of children and families and improve safety, permanency and well-being outcomes.

"This may be one of the first initiatives like this in the country which systematically works to build the child welfare workforce for the non profit sector," said School of Social Welfare Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson. "Since many child welfare families rely on services from the non profit sector, such capacity building is essential. I expect that the work underway may become a national model."

This project will build a statewide collaboration of government networks, agency leaders and community, family and youth representatives. The collaboration will develop a comprehensive workforce assessment, plan and evaluation, as well as implement and evaluate a child welfare scholarship program.



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Today’s the Day! Or, Is It?
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fred_scaglione @ 8:57 am EST
Legislators will be gathering in Albany today to act on Governor David Paterson’s plan for $5.2 billion in cuts to the State budget this year and next. Or, then again, maybe they won’t.
Paterson has called for today’s special session as a way of dealing with an estimated $1.5 billion hole this fiscal year and getting a head start on next year’s $12.5 billion deficit. For weeks, however, he has been facing resistance from the still Republican-controlled State Senate and Majority Leader Dean Skelos who has opposed the Governor’s proposals for billions in cuts to school aid, health care and other programs. Last night, Skelos reportedly turned the tables on Paterson by announcing that he would hold an open vote on the Governor’s plan – rather that negotiating a deal on legislation that he would support – thus likely sending the bill down to defeat.

According to press reports, Paterson announced that he would be delaying the emergency budget-cutting session and would not move forward without a deal from the Legislature. The Governor is reportedly calling for a private meeting with Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today to negotiate a agreement.

Meanwhile, hundreds of advocates, providers, clients and labor unions in the areas of health, human services and education are also converging on Albany to register their opposition to the Governor’s proposed budget cuts.
Stay tuned.



Abbott House Receives $100K from Van Ameringen Foundation
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fred_scaglione @ 8:56 am EST
Abbott House has received a $100,000 grant from the van Ameringen Foundation as well as a $2,300 grant from the John T. Sloper Community Foundation.

“I am grateful for the generosity of both of these benevolent foundations,” Abbott House Executive Director & CEO Claude B. Meyers said. “Both grants will allow us to broaden our staff’s therapeutic capability and set new standards in comprehensive care of the children, families and disabled persons we serve.”

The $100,000 grant from the van Ameringen Foundation will be applied toward enhancement of the agency’s therapeutic crisis intervention program to address the needs and challenges of youth deemed most in need of attention and treatment. “I am extremely appreciative of van Ameringen’s support,” Abbott House Assistant Executive Director of Foster Care Luis A. Rodriguez said. “Their generosity will allow us to make strides toward further improving the mental health and well-being of the children in our care.”

Funding from the John T. Sloper Foundation will allow Abbott House to purchase automated external defibrillators and provide staff of the Abbott House Dutchess office with the requisite life-saving training in their proper use.



New York Asian Women's Center Serves Survivors of Human Trafficking
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fred_scaglione @ 8:52 am EST
The New York Asian Women's Center (NYAWC) was recently awarded a grant by the New York City office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator to assist survivors of human trafficking. This two-year, $50,000 per year grant, the only one of its kind awarded in 2008, will enable NYAWC’s Project Free to serve 24 survivors of sex or labor trafficking.

“Human trafficking is in line with our mission as a domestic violence agency to help and advocate for the rights of battered women and to create an agenda for social change,” stated Larry Lee, NYAWC’s Executive Director. “Trafficking survivors require safety, confidentiality and comprehensive services. NYAWC is in a unique position to provide critically needed services.”

NYAWC’s Project Free has been offering counseling, case management, advocacy, information and referral services and emergency residential care to eligible human trafficking survivors since 2005. With cultural competency and linguistic capability in fourteen Asian languages, Project Free helps survivors get on their feet and recuperate from trauma. To heighten awareness about trafficking Project Free reaches out to Asian American communities, service providers, and law enforcement in New York City.

New York City has been identified as one of the hubs for traffickers in the United States. In 2004 the U.S. Department of Justice estimated that between 14,500 and 17,500 men, women and children are trafficked into the United States every year. About 80% of trafficking victims are female, and 70% of female victims are trafficked for the commercial sex industry. DOJ estimates that 40-66% of those trafficked into the U.S. come from Asia and the Pacific Rim.

NYAWC can be reached through its toll-free 24-Hour Multilingual Hotline (1-888-888-7702), its website: www.nyawc.org or by calling Project Free Manager, Ms. Haemy Lee at (212) 732-0054, ext. 133 or at ProjectFree1@gmail.com.



Friday, November 14, 2008

FPWA Calls for Reframing HIV Prevention Strategies
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fred_scaglione @ 11:47 am EST

A new report from the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) is calling for the reframing of HIV prevention strategies among young women and girls of color in New York City.

The FPWA report, which was released on Wednesday, indicates that significant social forces may make it difficult for young women of color in low-income communities to engage in risk-reducing behavior.

“Community-level factors such as limited availability of young men of color as relationship partners, high-risk tendencies of potential male partners and the acceptability of early childbearing impact the way young women of color engage in relationships and make sexual decisions,” said Esther W. Y. Lok, Assistant Director of Policy, Advocacy and Research and Senior Policy Analyst for HIV and AIDS. “Encouraging young Black women and Latinas to engage in safe sex behavior is extremely important, however, it is not enough to shield them from a high-risk environment.”

While HIV prevention initiatives aimed at changing sexual behavior have targeted heterosexual women of color, very few have been designed for heterosexual men of color. Lok pointed out that developing HIV prevention programs for young men of color and neighborhood-specific HIV prevention messages; mandating comprehensive sex education in all public schools; and expanding family planning program sites in neighborhoods with high HIV incidence are tangible solutions that the City and State Departments of Health can focus on to make the sexual environment as a whole safer for these young women.

“HIV prevention will never be fully successful without broader social interventions aimed at addressing the socioeconomic conditions of young women of color in disadvantaged communities and the overarching impact of poverty,” said Fatima Goldman, Executive Director/CEO of FPWA.

FPWA notes that the report is particularly relevant given that HIV incidence in New York City is spreading at three times the national rate, with 72 new infections for every 100,000 people in New York City. Moreover, Black women and Latinas continued to make up 93% percent of the new HIV infections among women in New York City in 2005 and 2006. Roughly three-fifths of these women were living in Brooklyn and the Bronx.



MercyFirst Receives $125,000 For Bridges to the Future
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fred_scaglione @ 11:47 am EST
MercyFirst has received a $125,000 grant from the RTS Foundation, under the leadership of Richard Santulli, to support its Bridges to the Future Program. The program provides struggling youth with the support and skills they need for the bright future they are capable of achieving. The initiative supports under-privileged kids as they complete their education, develop workforce skills and prepare for the future.

“The RTS Family Foundation is pleased to continue its support of the work of MercyFirst,” say Trustees S. Mary McGrory and S. Pat Hartigan. “Their programs for children, families and teens are much needed.”

“We appreciate the support we have received over the years from the RTS Foundation,” explains MercyFirst CEO Gerard McCaffery. “In addition to the care and support that goes on everyday in our programs, our Bridges to the Future Program provides a range of youth development services to help prepare teens for when they leave our care. This area is a priority of the agency as we seek to strengthen how we provide our youth with the skills and training they need to secure jobs that can support them, scholarship assistance to attend college, and financial help to live independently in the community. We are grateful to have the RTS Foundation’s support in this effort.”

MercyFirst serves more than 4,000 traumatized and neglected children, teenagers and their families in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties.



Harlem Academy Gets $320K From Tahl Propp Equities
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fred_scaglione @ 11:46 am EST

Tahl Propp Equities, a real estate owner/developer in Harlem, has donated $320,000 to Harlem Academy following the renewal and expansion of its space at Fifth Avenue Place.

Fifth Avenue Place is a two-building, 215,000 square-foot apartment/retail complex located on two full block fronts between 111th and 112th Streets on both sides of Fifth Avenue, just above Central Park.

"We are delighted to invest in the continued growth of Harlem Academy,” said Rodney Propp, Chairman of Tahl Propp. “The Academy is an invaluable resource for the community and we are committed to its future success.”

“We are tremendously grateful to Rodney and Joe for this generous donation,” said Vincent Dotoli, the Head of School at Harlem Academy. “It will allow us to proceed with our plans to grow the school, attract more students, and offer an even greater breadth of programming to our current students."



Thursday, November 13, 2008

New York Cares Names Bagley New Executive Director
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fred_scaglione @ 12:11 pm EST

New York Cares has appointed Gary Bagley as its new Executive Director. Bagley has served as Associate Executive Director since July 1, 2008. He becomes the fourth full-time Executive Director of New York Cares in the organization’s 21-year history.

“New York Cares Board is thrilled that Gary Bagley will serve as our next Executive Director,” said Gail Harris, President of the Board of Directors. “Gary has the skills, experience, passion, and vision to lead New York Cares as it embarks on its next phase of growth and leadership.”

“I am honored to be named Executive Director of New York Cares,” said Bagley. “During my four years with the organization, I have been increasingly inspired by the difference our volunteers make every day of the year.”

Bagley joined New York Cares in 2004 as Senior Director of Programs, leading a staff of 30, and mobilizing 43,000 new volunteers and 700 volunteer team leaders annually. Previously, he was Program Director for Young Audiences New York and a teaching artist and then the Director of Education for TADA! Youth Theatre. He has a B.S. in Music Composition and Acting from Ithaca College, and an MPA from Baruch College of The City University of New York, where he is now an Adjunct Lecturer.



Four Local Providers Win TD “Housing for Everyone” Grants
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fred_scaglione @ 12:10 pm EST

CAMBA Housing Ventures (CHV), Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Inc., Harlem United Community Aids Center, Inc. and Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, Inc. recently received a total of $200,000 in grant awards as the winners of the TD Charitable Foundation's "Housing for Everyone" competition, which supports affordable housing initiatives in the community.

Now in its third year, the "Housing for Everyone" competition offers local affordable housing non-profit organizations from Maine to Florida an opportunity to win funding for qualified housing projects in the communities where TD Bank (formerly known as Commerce Bank) and TD Banknorth do business.

“Access to affordable housing in the New York City area has always been a challenge for low-to-moderate income individuals, and in today’s economic environment this has become a truly critical issue,” said Joanne M. Oplustil, executive director of CAMBA, Inc. “Thanks to the support from the TD Charitable Foundation, organizations like CAMBA can further its mission of helping people find a place to live.”

Grand prize winner CAMBA will use the $100,000 grant award to develop a 53-unit affordable housing development in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The building will offer affordable and supportive housing to both lower-income residents and formerly homeless individuals from the city’s shelter system. Residents will have access to on-site case management, community rooms, and a landscaped patio and garden. The building will also feature energy, waste and water-efficient systems that will reduce the building’s energy consumption.

Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Inc. (NHS) will use the $50,000 grant award to help fund a Director of Foreclosure position. Through this new position, the organization will increase its capacity to provide homeownership preservation and foreclosure programs to low-to-moderate income individuals, which include foreclosure prevention education, one-on-one counseling, intervention services and loans.

Harlem United Community Aids Center, Inc. will use the $25,000 grant award to help fund the purchase of and training related to property management software that will help the organization better manage, track and analyze housing client data, such as rent payments and maintenance requests.

Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, Inc. will use the $25,000 grant award to help fund a new Housing Development Coordinator position. Through this position, the organization will increase its capacity to identify and develop long-term and transitional housing for mentally ill and homeless adults.

Through the "Housing for Everyone" program, the TD Charitable Foundation donated a total $1.5 million in 2008, and has invested nearly $5 million in affordable housing to date.



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Governor Proposes $5.2 Billion in Budget Cuts
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fred_scaglione @ 1:13 pm EST

Governor David A. Paterson has just proposed a two-year $5.2 billion deficit reduction plan that will eliminate the State’s $1.5 billion current-year shortfall, provide an additional cushion to protect against further declines in revenue and begin the process of reducing next year’s deficit which is estimated at $12.5 billion.

These actions would produce $2 billion of savings in 2008-09 and $3.2 billion in 2009-10. Governor Paterson is asking that the Legislature act on his proposals during a special session scheduled for November 18th.

“The deficit reduction plan I have put forward today represents a series of difficult choices across virtually every area of State spending,” said Governor Paterson. “The only way we are going to overcome this unprecedented crisis is through shared sacrifice. I look forward to engaging in a productive dialogue with the Legislature about the actions we must take at next week’s special session to address our State’s record budget deficits.”

The largest proportion of proposed savings (57%) came in the areas of health care ($1.8 billion) and school aid ($1.4 billion). Higher Education expenditures will decline by $350 million, largely on the basis of a $600 increase in tuition levels for SUNY and CUNY colleges. The Governor is asking public employee unions to reopen existing collective bargaining agreements to generate approximately $300 million in savings, including the elimination of negotiated salary adjustments.

Human Service Cuts

Human Services are being targeted for a total of $95 million in savings ($20 million in the current fiscal year and $75 million in 2009-10).

One third of this total ($28 million) will come from a 1% reduction in the Human Services Cost of Living Adjustments for contract agency staff from 3.2 percent to 2.2 percent effective January 1, 2009.

An equal amount will come from a delay in the Foster Care Bridges to Health implementation until the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

One fifth of the Governor’s human service savings ($18 million) would come through renewed proposals to “right-size” the Office of Children and Family Services’ (OCFS) juvenile justice system. These actions include:
• Closing Six Underutilized Youth Facilities: The Adirondack Residential Center in Clinton County, the Cattaraugus Residential Center and Great Valley Residential Center in Cattaraugus County, the Pyramid Reception Center in the Bronx, the Rochester Community Residential Home in Monroe County, and the Syracuse Community Residential Home in Onondaga County.
• Downsizing Two Underutilized Youth Facilities: The Allen Residential Center in Delaware County and the Tryon Residential Center in Fulton County.
• Closing Three Underutilized Evening Reporting Centers: These include the Capital District Evening Reporting Center in Albany County, the Buffalo Evening Reporting Center in Erie County, and the Syracuse Evening Reporting Center in Onondaga County.

The facilities recommended for closure or downsizing have an average vacancy rate of 63 percent. Great Valley and Rochester have 100 percent vacancy rates.

Other proposals to reduce human service spending included the following:
• Elimination of Unified Services enriched funding provided to 5 counties including Westchester and Rockland;
• Reduced OASAS chemical dependency prevention funding;
• Across-the-board reduction by 50% for all legislative member items.
• Financing the costs of assistance to small businesses to implement Timothy’s Law from insurance assessments.

Only Cutting Growth

The Governor stressed that many of his cuts – particularly in the areas of school aid and healthcare spending – represented only a reduction in anticipated growth in spending and not actual reductions from current spending levels.

No Income Tax Increase … For Now

The Governor also continued to reject calls to balance the need for spending reductions through increases in personal income taxes. “We think this has contributed to the reduction of our tax base as more and more New Yorkers move out of state,” he stated.

The Governor’s wording, however, did appear to leave at least some room for future concessions on the issue of an income tax increase. “At this time,” he said, “we can not consider that,” said Paterson. “Legislative leaders have uniformly decided not to have that in the special session.”

Both they and the Governor will have another chance on December 16th when he submits an Executive Plan for FY2010 with its remaining $8.8 billion deficit.



Advocates Rally Around State in Opposition to Paterson’s Proposals
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fred_scaglione @ 1:09 pm EST

Even as Governor Paterson was announcing plans for $5.2 billion in budget cuts, two coalitions of health, education and human service providers were rallying across the state to call for a more balanced approach to deal with the current fiscal crisis.

The One New York: Fighting for Fairness and the Better Choice Budget Campaign joined forces to urge the Governor and legislative leaders to examine revenue options rather focusing only on cuts which they say will reduce vital services to the neediest and most vulnerable New Yorkers. Together, the two groups represent more than 200 non-profit organizations, service providers and unions that supply front line services.

An estimated 300 people turned out for an 11:00 a.m. press conference at New York City Hall. Similar rallies were held in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Utica, Binghampton and in Central Islip on Long Island.

“Last week, Mayor Bloomberg leveled with New Yorkers that we cannot cut our way out of the city’s fiscal crisis,” said Wayne Ho, Executive Director of the Coalition of Asian American Children and Families. ”His cuts and tax increases will be painful but nothing compared to balancing the city or state budgets just by cutting services...Governor Paterson should follow the Mayor’s lead on taxes and call on all New Yorkers— not just the poorest New Yorkers— to sacrifice."

"Even prior to the immediate crisis, New York had already made deep cuts in vital services, negatively impacting every community," said Stephan Russo, Executive Director Goddard Riverside Community Center. “Legal services that help poor New Yorkers stay in their homes have been slashed as record numbers of homeless seek shelter. Programs that keep youth on the right track and in school and counseling for high school students who seek a better future have faced reductions. Across the board cuts not only put vulnerable New Yorkers at risk, they create job loss and reduce revenues spent in our communities.”

“While no one likes tax increases, all New Yorkers will need to sacrifice to get our state through this crisis. Everyone, including New York’s wealthiest, will have to do their part. The most effective way to make the state stronger through this crisis and minimize the harm to the economy and vulnerable populations is using every means at the state's disposal such as excess reserve funds and progressive revenue enhancements. It is plainly untrue that asking those who benefited from the economic boom to contribute more will drive them away,” added James Parrott, Deputy Director & Chief Economist, Fiscal Policy Institute

“The chair of Governor Paterson’s own council of economic advisors, Joseph Stiglitz, in March advised him to consider revenue as part of a balanced approach of shared sacrifice rather than closing the budget gap through cuts alone,” said Raquel Batista, Executive Director, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights.



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Supportive Housing Has No Negative Impact on Property Values
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fred_scaglione @ 12:17 pm EST

Supportive housing developments have no negative impact on neighboring property values, according to a new study by NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. Instead, properties closest to the supportive housing see a steady increase in value during the years that follow.

The Furman Center report represents the first large-scale study of the property value impacts of supportive housing. The report evaluated the impacts of 123 developments across the city’s five boroughs over an 18 year period. These new findings refute frequently asserted fears that supportive housing developments will depress the value of neighboring properties over time.

“While studies have shown that supportive housing plays a critical role in helping to address the problem of homelessness, before our study, little was known about the impact that supportive housing has on the neighborhood,” commented Vicki Been, director of the Furman Center. “Neighbors often resist proposed supportive housing developments in their community, expressing fears that the housing will have a negative impact on the neighborhood, but the Furman Center thought it was important to look at this question empirically to see what the real impacts have been over time.”

The findings show that the value of properties within 500 feet of supportive housing do not drop when a new development opens and show steady growth relative to other properties in the neighborhood in the years after the supportive housing opens. Properties somewhat further away from the supportive housing (between 500 and 1,000 feet away) show a decline in value when the supportive housing first opens, but their prices then increase steadily relative to other properties in the neighborhood.



JASA Meals on Wheels Deliveryman Killed
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fred_scaglione @ 11:40 am EST
Emanuel Aminov, a 55-year-old grandfather and "Meals on Wheels" deliveryman for Jewish Association for Services for the Aged, was fatally shot while making a delivery in Brooklyn's Brownsville Houses yesterday. For more information, see articles in today's New York Times andNew York Post.



Monday, November 10, 2008

Freestanding Clinics Dodge Bullet in Medicaid Rule Change
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fred_scaglione @ 11:12 am EST

Nonprofit providers with freestanding health, mental health and substance abuse clinics have been spared what many saw as a potentially fatal blow in the form of a Medicaid Rules change.

The new rule on “Hospital Outpatient and Community Clinic Services”, as originally written, was expected to cost New York State providers approximately $350 million by limiting Medicaid reimbursement only to those services which are also reimburseable under Medicare.

“The behavioral health world has been given a reprieve. Mental health clinics and detox clinics have been defined out of this,” said Philip Saperia, Executive Director of the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies. Had this not been the case, advocates had feared that Medicaid reimbursement for local clinics providing methadone services would no longer be available, costing providers nearly $25 million. New York’s mental health clinics would also have been devastated. Many services, including Day Treatment, Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation Treatment (IPRT) and Partial Hospitalization would no longer have been Medicaid reimburseable.

Similarly mental retardation and developmental disabilities providers with clinic services also expressed relief. “NYSACRA’s collaboration on the CMS Outpatient Hospital and Clinic Regulation has made a positive difference!” the organization reported to their members on Friday. “The good news is that the published regulation does not require the use of Medicare's rates (RBRVS) in the UPL calculation for freestanding clinics. NYS Department of Health (DOH) believes this new Regulation to be an improvement, but they are still analyzing the full impact of it, and we will know more later.” It had been feared that freestanding MRDD clinics would have lost $25 million since certain clients will not qualify for services under other reimbursement mechanisms.



SAMHSA Honors Two New York Providers; ICL, CUCS Receive Science to Service Awards
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fred_scaglione @ 11:11 am EST
Two local providers – The Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) and the Institute for Community Living (ICL) -- have been honored as recipients of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2008 Science to Service Awards.

Now in its second year, SAMHSA's annual award program recognizes organizations that have improved their communities and the lives of individuals by implementing interventions that have been proven effective in real-life settings. "Families and individuals expect the best services possible for the prevention and treatment of health conditions," remarked SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick, D.D.S, M.P.H. "These award winners are blazing the trail to show how it can be done."

Center for Urban Community Services' was recognized for its Career Network which is successfully implementing an evidence-based practice known as Supported Employment at CUCS' supportive housing sites. CUCS implemented Supported Employment (SE)to better meet the needs of mentally ill tenants and to help expand the field's focus on housing stability to include more of a recovery framework. Prior to implementing SE, 10.6% of the program's mentally ill tenants were employed. At the site where CUCS first implemented SE, 30% of mentally ill tenants are now employed or engaged in the program. The average hourly wage for those working full-time is $10.90. In addition, CUCS has demonstrated that SE can be woven into the existing structure of supportive housing programs.

The Institute for Community Living (ICL) received SAMHSA recognition for its its ICL Project Aspire, operated conjointly with the nonprofit CAMBA at the Park Slope Shelter. The program is aimed at positively impacting sustainable housing placements for homeless women with mental illness and chemical abuse histories in Brooklyn.

ICL Project Aspire utilizes three evidence-based practices: Critical Time Intervention, a time-limited intervention aimed to help clients overcome barriers and subsequently achieve independence; Seeking Safety, a present-focused group therapy for people with trauma, PTSD and substance abuse histories; and Wellness-Self Management, the New York State adaptation of the SAMHSA evidence-based practice toolkit, Illness Management and Recovery, a curriculum-based practice that promotes recovery.

“This award is important as it demonstrates the broad based applicability of evidenced-based practices with underserved populations and conveys to ICL and our partner, CAMBA, that we are on the right path,” says Peter C. Campanelli, Psy.D., CEO and President of Institute for Community Living.



Friday, November 07, 2008

It’s Time to Play “Reduce NY Spending”: Governor Launches Budget Website
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fred_scaglione @ 12:14 pm EST

Governor David Paterson has launched a new website -- www.ReduceNYSpending.gov -- in order to “lead the public in a discussion about how to control unsustainable growth in the size of New York’s budget.”

“With the State facing significant budget deficits and a struggling economy, New Yorkers deserve a frank and honest discussion about the need for greater fiscal responsibility in State government,” said Paterson. “As we work to confront this crisis, I will continue to take my message of fiscal responsibility directly to the people.”

The website features:

• Information on New York’s fiscal condition and the Governor’s initiatives to control State spending;

• A section for New Yorkers to submit potential savings ideas, their input about the State’s spending priorities, or any other comments about the budget process;

• A calculator that allows the public to create their own proposal to balance next year’s budget, thereby “demonstrating the difficult tradeoffs necessary when closing a $12.5 billion deficit.”

Unfortunately, the website’s budget calculator only offers an opportunity to compare the potential impacts on the state budget of spending reductions and not potential increased revenues which could come from adjustments in tax policies.

“We didn’t include tax increases because Governor Paterson has said the first priority should be seeking spending reductions,” said Jeffrey Gordon, a spokesperson for the Division of the Budget.

One real life example of these "difficult tradeoffs" was highlighted in a New York Times report today that the State "will curtail its substance abuse programs for ex-convicts living in New York City and its suburbs by month’s end, despite research indicating that such programs help reduce recidivism....about 2,700 parolees participated in the programs over the last year."

Governor Paterson has called for a special session of the Legislature to convene on November 18 to address the State’s $1.5 billion current-year shortfall. Additionally, he will submit his 2009-10 Executive Budget more than one month early, on December 16, 2008, at which time he is seeking to cut the budget by almost 25%.



Drug Free Communities Support Grants
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fred_scaglione @ 12:13 pm EST

The State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) has announced that 18 New York State programs have been awarded a total of $2.25 million in funding through the national Drug Free Communities Support Program.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration directs the Drug Free Communities Support Program. This program provides grants of up to $125,000 to community coalitions that are working to prevent youth alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse.

"These grants are aimed at promoting citizen participation and coalition building in the effort to keep our families and communities drug-free," said OASAS Commissioner Karen Carpenter-Palumbo. "Our young people are the future of this great state and nation. We must do all we can to encourage them to make sound and healthy choices that do not include the use of drugs or alcohol."

Local award recipients and their coalitions are:
• Long Beach Medical Center for the Long Beach Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking;
• National Council on Alcoholism for the Putnam County Community Board Coalition in Carmel;
• West Islip Union School District for the West Islip Compass Coalition;
• Wyandanch Union Free School District;
• City of Mount Vernon for Mount Vernon Communities That Care;
• Archdiocese Drug Abuse/Prevention Program for the Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership in the Bronx;
• Town of Pelham for Pact - Parents and Community Together;
• Family Services of Westchester, Inc for the Port Chester Cares Community Coalition;
• Manhasset Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse (CASA), Inc.



Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mayor’s Combination of Cuts and Taxes Draws Mixed Emotions; Balanced Approach Differs from Governor’s Strategy
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fred_scaglione @ 12:12 pm EST

Human Service providers and advocates had mixed emotions for the Mayor’s announcement yesterday of planned budget cuts and tax increases to address the City’s growing fiscal crisis.

“I am pleased to see that the Mayor has proposed an increase in revenue through targeted taxes,” said Nancy Wackstein, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses and Chair of the Human Services Council of New York City. “This will hopefully prevent New York’s poorest from shouldering the burden of the City’s financial crisis. However, some of these proposed budget cuts, especially to services for the vulnerable elderly and youth, will hurt New York’s most fragile communities- the very people who are already suffering the most from the City’s economic downturn."

The Mayor’s plan to restore a 7% increase in property taxes six months ahead of schedule and offer additional tax alternatives – including a possible increase in personal income taxes – for consideration in next year’s budget comes in sharp contrast to Governor David Paterson’s approach at the state level. Yesterday, the Governor repeatedly reiterated his opposition to any tax increases during a town hall style meeting in White Plains. The Governor's current plan would call for a near 25% reduction in State spending by next fiscal year.

At the same time, however, advocates expressed concern over the impact of cuts included in the Mayor’s plans. They noted that a number of program services – particularly for the elderly – were being completely eliminated. Among those targeted were Elder Abuse Prevention ($850,000), Social Adult Day Care ($2.4 million); Intergenerational Programs ($1 million).

“These are unique and valuable programs that have preserved the safety of many frail elderly in the City,” said Aileen Gitleson, CEO at Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA), which operates five of the nine Elder Abuse Prevention programs scheduled to be eliminated.

Advocates and providers are still clarifying the impact of these and other cuts included in the Mayor’s Plan.



Council Members Seek Extension of Drop-In Center Comment Period
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fred_scaglione @ 11:38 am EST

Council Members Gale A. Brewer and Bill DeBlasio have called on New York City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to extend the comment period for its Drop-In Center Concept Paper. Reponses to the Concept Paper are due at DHS today.

“Members of the New York City Council were not notified at the time the Concept Paper was issued,” the Council Members wrote in a letter to Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs last Friday. “Therefore, we are requesting an extension of the deadline by three weeks. We want to ensure that proper deliberation and discussion on policy changes that have significant and serious consequences for the city’s street homeless population are taken into account before continuing on to the Request for Proposals (RFP) phase.”



Avon Foundation Gives $300K in Local DV Grants
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fred_scaglione @ 10:54 am EST
Six New York City area providers are among the recipients of this year’s Avon Foundation “Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence” grant awards. The domestic violence programs that received grants will support victims in the great NYC area and deliver essential services including shelter, counseling, educational and professional training, and advocacy and case management or other program components.

Local grantees, each of which receives approximately $50,000, and their programs are as follows:

• The Children's Aid Society will provide creative, therapeutic services, including clinical counseling to traumatized children & families, uniting city-run and city-contracted child welfare services in the community by facilitating access for survivors in the South Bronx and East Harlem.

• Center for Court Innovation/Fund for the City of New York will provide support child witnesses of domestic violence, including support groups to child witnesses of homicide.

• Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. will implement the first ever dance program designed specifically for children living in domestic violence shelters in NYC. The program uses workshops in movement and creative empowerment to help children develop self-confidence.

• New York-Presbyterian Hospital will provide many unmet needs f or low-income Latinas in Washington Heights and Inwood sections of New York City and their children including therapy, counseling and comprehensive bi-lingual bi-cultural services.

• Safe Horizon will offer multi-faceted counseling options and innovative therapies targeting the youngest victims of domestic violence. Providing direct services, training for the trainers, and serving low-income, high risk communities.

• Sanctuary For Families will provide holistic services including an intensive focus on civil legal needs of adult victims, while linking with the Juvenile Rights Project and working with families in the child welfare system.

“The Avon Foundation is committed to help end the cycle of domestic violence and is proud to support each of these organizations in their work to help victims of domestic violence” said Carol Kurzig, Executive Director, Avon Foundation. Nationally, the Foundation is awarding $1.3 million in “Speak Out Against Domestic Violence” grants to 29 organizations. “It is through the combination of local and national efforts that we can work to eradicate domestic violence and ensure safety for all women and families,” said Kurzig.

“The Children's Aid Society is very honored to have the Avon Foundation’s partnership in this imperative work,” said C. Warren Moses, CEO of The Children's Aid Society. “This support will significantly strengthen our ability to counsel children who have experienced the trauma of domestic violence, and, through preventive work, engage teens in proactive efforts to both identify and break the cycle of relationship abuse.”



Richmond Community Services Doubles Donations at Auction and Wine Tasting
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fred_scaglione @ 10:53 am EST
In these bleak economic times, nonprofits can take heart from scattered reports of good fundraising news. The most recent glimmer of hope comes from Richmond Community Services which saw a doubling in donations at its second annual auction and wine tasting event. Over 100 friends came together and contributed nearly $30,000 to help the Westchester-based agency.

“We are excited by this show of support from new and old friends and by the fact that we more than doubled the money we raised at last year’s event,” said Paula Barbag, director of marketing and development. “Innovative programs subsidized by our donors, such as our mobile wheelchair clinic, Wheels on Wheels, enrich the lives of the individuals we support,” she said.

The event, chaired by Carol Madole and Joe Pugni, featured wines provided in collaboration with Wine & Spirits at Cheers of Scarsdale and hors d’oeuvres by The Dinner Guy of Chappaqua. Additionally, eight nearby restaurants supported the event, including Brio, Bungalow Restaurant, Café of Love, Caffe Strega, Crabtree’s Kittle House Restaurant & Inn, Eduardo’s, Lexington Square Café and Quaker Hill Tavern.



Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mayor Lays Out Cuts and Taxes To Deal with City Deficits
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fred_scaglione @ 2:23 pm EST

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg released his November Financial Plan update today with plans to address a cumulative $4 billion City budget gap this year and next. The Mayor outlined plans to balance the current FY2009 through a combination of 2.2% reductions in City agency expenditures and approximately $1 billion in additional revenues. Next year, agency expenditures will be cut by 5%, still leaving a deficit currently projected at $1.3 billion.

“When we proposed the budget for this fiscal year, we offered strong warnings about the potential hazards ahead of us,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our concern for future vulnerability prompted significant budget cuts over the past 18 months. …, but, as we all know economic conditions have since deteriorated dramatically, forcing us to lower our projections even further. The gravity of the budget situation requires us to make hard choices that will not be popular with everyone. But they’re the right ones to see us through these very difficult economic times and they will help speed our recovery, while continuing to keep our streets safe and clean and keep improving our schools. We will not let our city return to the dark days of the 1970’s when the fiscal crisis all but destroyed our quality of life.”

The Mayor called for a reduction in the City’s workforce by 3,000 positions – predominantly through attrition although with some layoffs likely. In the areas of human services, the Mayor noted that he would be reducing 127 Child Protective Supervisor positions that are currently vacant. He also announced that 200 social service related positions in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) would be eliminated in the hopes that their functions could be absorbed by other City agencies – a move which would allow federal reimbursement to offset these expenses.

Among the other human services related actions readily apparent from budget documents were plans to:

- Eliminate funding for nine elder abuse program contracts at the Department for the Aging (DFTA);
- Elimination of some DFTA Social Adult Day Care contracts;
- An increase in co-pays for parents with children in ACS-funded child care programs;
- A 10% reduction in ACS payments for institutional care;
- Reductions in the number of Out of School Time (OST)program slots funded by DYCD;
- Consolidation of ten OST middle school programs with co-located Beacon schools programs;
- Redueded hours for SYEP program participants;and
- Reduced funding for HRA specialized substance abuse case management contracts.

The Mayor called for a balanced approach to addressing the City’s budget problems which relies on both spending cuts and raised revenues. His plan calls on the City Council to rescind a 7% property tax reduction, currently scheduled to expire next July 1st, on January 1st, thereby raising $576 million this fiscal year. He also plans to cancel the distribution $400 homeowners’ property tax rebate checks worth a total of $256 million.

Mayor Bloomberg also offered a variety of options for closing the remaining $1.3 billion projected deficit in FY2010, including an additional round of spending cuts and a series of taxing options.



ACS Cancels Child Welfare RFP
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fred_scaglione @ 2:22 pm EST

The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) has cancelled its Request for Proposals (RFP) to provide “Child Welfare Services Including Community Coalitions.” The 599-page RFP, which was released on September 15th, represented a comprehensive procurement for $675 million in annual contracts, including all contracted foster care
services and nearly all prevention services.

The RFP would have expanded the ACS Improved Outcomes for Children (IOC) model to all child welfare provider organizations with contracts extending for an initial three-year term from November 1, 2009 through October 31, 2012. Renewal options would offer the possibility for two additional three-year extensions through 2018.

The ACS announcement came in the form of an Addendum to the RFP and stated simply “At this time, The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) is canceling the Request for Proposals….ACS is planning to reissue an RFP for these services in the future.”

“We appreciate the Commissioner’s decision,” said Jim Purcell, CEO of the Council of Family and Child Care Agencies (COFCCA). “We think these economic times both for the state and city governments as well as the private sector are too unclear. The likelihood of cuts is too great for agencies to complete these proposals in good faith at this time.”



 

BREAKING NEWS :

Jan. 09, 2009
Independent Sector Offers Nonprofit Agenda for Obama Administration

Jan. 08, 2009
Elimination of Homeless Prevention Will Force Thousands into Shelters, Add $85 Million in New Costs

FPWA Grants Go to SIMHS, IPRHE, Jacob Riss

Jan. 07, 2009
Know Any Rich People? Advocates Seek Support from Well Off New Yorkers

DHS Seeks Volunteers for HOPE 2009

Pot Break At Lunch Leads to Arrests at O.D. Heck

Stay Tuned! New NYNP Site On the Way

Jan. 06, 2009
Covenant House Names Kilbane Executive Director


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