FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2016
MORE THAN 270 NONPROFITS ACROSS NEW YORK STATE LAUNCH CAMPAIGN CALLING FOR CRITICAL RESOURCES TO THE HUMAN SERVICES SECTOR
Coalition Releases Report Showing Human Impact of Persistent Underfunding in Communities Across the State
ALBANY, NY– Restore Opportunity Now, a coalition of more than 270 nonprofit human services organizations, today gathered at the State Capitol to highlight the need for increased investment in the sector to ensure nonprofits can continue to effectively serve communities in New York State.
The coalition released a report demonstrating the need for resources across the state and outlined a plan for strengthening the sector through smart and efficient investment.
Human services are the State’s first line of defense in combating pressing issues like poverty, but rising costs coupled with ever present needs and lack of investment have undermined the health of the sector, which is now at a breaking point.
The report found that there is significant need going unmet in communities across the state. Fifty-eight percent of providers in 2014 reported that they were not meeting the need in their communities. Human services organizations, stretching to meet growing need operate in increasingly challenging environments. Only 7 percent reported that their State contracts covered the full cost of providing services. Recruitment and retention of qualified staff is also a major challenge, due to low levels of compensation.
“Living wages and fair compensation for hard work must be recognized as basic necessities for all New Yorkers. The Senate Democrats have been long time supporters of a truly fair and livable minimum wage and higher living standards for New York families and we will keep up that fight. Together with advocates like Restore Opportunity Now, I am confident we will build a stronger, fairer, and more prosperous state,” said Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
“Strengthening the human services sector is really an equity issue, for both the communities they serve and the workforce itself. The people reached by human services are largely women, people of color, and children, while the workforce is also more than 80 percent women and more than half people of color. New York State has an opportunity to lift up its residents by investing in these services, as well as the organizations and people that provide them,” said Assemblymember Donna Lupardo.
“As chair of the Social Services Committee, I know how much the State relies on our nonprofit partners to build strong communities, and the sector needs these crucial investments – in their contracts, in their workforce, and in programs – because they have been working on the margins for far too long. The sector has stepped up despite years of underinvestment to provide quality services to millions of New Yorkers, and it is clear that without these changes, many nonprofit providers may not be able to continue to operate,” said Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi.
“Human services workers care for our most vulnerable populations and provide support for those among us who are most in need. Their work is vital to the health and well-being of so many and they deserve to be fairly compensated for their contributions and hard work. I stand with the Restore Opportunity Now campaign and support the goal of a higher wage for these workers who give so much to others,” said Assemblymember John McDonald III.
“Last year, the New York State Assembly fully funded increased wages for direct care workers. I was one of the members who urged that to be part of the budget. I will continue to do so this year, and urge my colleagues in the Senate to do the same,” said Assemblymember Phil Steck
“The Human Services sector is a life-line for millions of New Yorkers. Because of decades of underfunding, the sector too often resembles many of the communities we serve- struggling from day-to-day to make ends meet. We can only expect this day-to-day struggle to continue if we don’t address this and related issues now. More than ever, it is essential that we partner with government to provide relief and stability to not only the sector, but the growing number of families and communities in need,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director at FPWA.
“New York relies on nonprofit human services providers to deliver essential services to populations in every corner of the state, but chronic mis-investment has resulted in a sector that is on the brink. Given the uncertainty regarding funding at the federal level, it is more important than ever that we strengthen our human services sector so that it is positioned to support the wellbeing of all New Yorkers. That requires making smart, strategic decisions about how we are funding these organizations,” said Allison Sesso, Executive Director of the Human Services Council.
“Poverty rates across New York State are unacceptably high. The Governor’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative is a great first step to address this issue in many communities across the state. Unfortunately it does not address the chronic underfunding of the human services sector and the communities they serve. With committed investment in the sector, coupled with key systems changes so nonprofits can better partner with government, we can ensure that New Yorkers have access to opportunities and that our communities thrive,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute.
“The community mental health workforce is integral in the support and recovery of the 800,000 New Yorkers in our public mental health system. Despite jobs that are vital and life-saving, there has been only one increase in community funding for mental health in the last eight years. This is a recipe for a workforce disaster both in the mental health arena and the entire human services sector. That is why we strongly support our fellow human services coalition members in the Restore Opportunity Now campaign in advocating for an increased investment in the human services sector,” said Glenn Liebman, CEO, Mental Health Association in New York State (MHANYS)
“This is really quite simple. When the government contracts with a private agency to meet a state need, it has to pay the real costs for that service. To pay less may look like a savings to the state, but the cost is that the client’s needs cannot be met,” said Jim Purcell, CEO Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies
“For those of us in the disability services sector, the workforce crisis is our most significant challenge. Quite frankly, the lack of invest in these organizations threatens their continued viability and the supports they provide to individuals with disabilities and their families. We need NYS to make the financial commitment to sustain these organizations and permit them to recruit and retain qualified employees,” said Michael Seereiter, President and CEO of the NYS Rehabilitation Association.
“A budget is a moral document, in that it speaks to who we are as a people by how we set our fiscal priorities. As Catholic Charities marks its 100th year of serving the most vulnerable New Yorkers, we know that Empire State has a proud history of working with the not-for-profit and faith-based communities to provide essential human services to those on the margins of society or facing a crisis. Now is not the time to retreat from that commitment. Together, we can ensure that the needs of all of those in our communities of this great state are met. But it must be a priority in order to succeed,” said Michael A. Lawler, Director of Catholic Charities.
“Urban Pathways, a 40-year provider of housing and social services to homeless adults in New York City, enthusiastically supports the Restore Opportunity Now Campaign. Now is the time for the State to make crucial monetary investments and system changes to strengthen New York’s nonprofit human services sector. Doing so will strengthen an economic engine in New York State, a safety net for those most vulnerable and communities across New York State. We look forward to working with the State in ensuring all communities and all New Yorkers have opportunity,” said Ron Abad, COO of Urban Pathways.
“ NRPs play a vital role in delivering high quality and cost effective services. Our workforce is critical to making NYS a great place to live, work, and raise a family,” said William Gettman, CEO of Northern Rivers Family of Services.
The Co-Chairs of the Restore Opportunity Now campaign are The Human Services Council, FPWA and The Fiscal Policy Institute.
The Restore Opportunity Now Advisory Committee includes the following members:
Mental Health Association in New York State
New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc.
New York State Community Action Association
New York State Council of Catholic Charities Directors
New York State Rehabilitation Association
Human Services Leadership Council of Central New York
Arbor Housing and Development
New York City
SCO Family of Services
Northern Rivers Family of Services
Cattaragus Community Action
Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility, Inc.
Western Region Hillside Family of Agencies
Southern Tier Independence Center
# # #
FPWA– Antoinette Isable-Jones
firstname.lastname@example.org/ (212) 801-1316 & Charlotte Hough (212) 681-1380
Human Services Council- Jennifer Barden
Jennifer@risaheller.com/ (646) 676-4486
Fiscal Policy Institute- Ronald Deutsch
email@example.com/ (518) 469-6769
Glenn Liebman, CEO
Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc.
194 Washington Avenue Suite 415
Albany, NY 12210
(518)434-0439 x 220
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