Council Plan Fills Major Gaps Left in Mayor’s Preliminary Budget, Including Support for Affordable Housing & Homelessness Solutions, Mental Health Care, Crime Victim Services and Violence Prevention, Human Services, Parks, Improved Sanitation, and Increased Access to Opportunity

City Hall, NY – New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Council Finance Chair Justin Brannan, and the New York City Council unveiled an aggressive budget agenda to invest in the City and its residents in response to the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2023 Preliminary Budget. In the release of its Fiscal Year 2023 Preliminary Budget Response and corresponding budget priorities, the Council focused on filling major gaps left in the Mayor’s initial spending plan by investing in essential infrastructure, programs and services for New Yorkers that can help the City secure an equitable recovery and improve public safety. The Council Response Financial Plan focuses on meeting the Council’s ambition of a ‘Road to Recovery through Equitable Investments in NYC Communities.’ It aims to do so responsibly, through well-considered and effective programs and through preserving existing reserves and prior year resources to help insure against a risky future. The Council’s recommendations include: 

  • Expanding Youth Employment and Development Programs 
  • Meeting the Needs of Special Education Pre-K 
  • Increasing Career and Technical Education and Apprenticeship Programs 
  • Expanding Mental Health, Counseling and Citywide Restorative Justice in Schools 
  • Providing Effective Mental Health Approaches and Treatment 
  • Creating New Healthcare Centers in Underserved Communities & Increased Hospital Funding 
  • Establishing Innovative Community-Based Safety and Crime Victim Services Models 
  • Fulfilling Commitments to Affordable Housing and Homelessness Solutions 
  • Providing a Property Tax Rebate for Homeowners in Need 
  • Ensuring Access to Public Benefits and Food Assistance 
  • Investing in Wage Equity for Human Service Providers  
  • Ensuring Opportunity through Adult Education  
  • Expanding Civic Engagement and Language Access for Immigrant New Yorkers 
  • Funding Sanitation Services and Parks 
  • Supporting Fairness and Oversight in the Justice System 
  • Boosting Support for Cultural Institutions and Economic Opportunity 

The full preliminary budget response report is available here. 

“To secure an equitable recovery for our City and improve public safety, we must focus on robust investments that strengthen our communities and deliver opportunities for all New Yorkers,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “The Council’s priorities reflect the holistic needs of New Yorkers who face increasingly tough challenges. By filling in the notable gaps in the Preliminary Budget to provide our diverse communities with the resources and services necessary to confront this moment, the Council is showing the leadership to implement solutions with urgency and thoughtful attention. These targeted investments will help the City begin to reverse longstanding inequities and move our neighborhoods forward. I look forward to continuing the budget process with my colleagues, Mayor Adams, and the many stakeholders from across our city to craft a strong budget that delivers for all New Yorkers.”

“New York City’s recovery requires real and meaningful investments. We cannot cut our way to prosperity,” said Council Member Justin Brannan, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “Now more than ever, New Yorkers want to know the neighbors they elected are listening and delivering tangible results. If you want to know what someone cares about, look at what they spend money on. Our city budget is no different. More than an itemized list of income and expenditures, it is a moral manifest. Everything in this budget response is something the Council believes is worth fighting for. I’m proud of my colleagues and the dedicated staff who spent countless hours, late nights, and weekends preparing this document. While much negotiation remains, I look forward to working with Speaker Adams and my colleagues to arrive at an agreement that gives reality to a safer, fairer, and more prosperous city for all.”

Creating a Path to Success for Our City’s Children & Youth 

Expanding Youth Employment and Development Programs 

Over the past few years, the Council has been a strong advocate for youth opportunity, securing additional slots for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and making the program the largest it has ever been. However, the proposed budget for Fiscal 2023 leaves programs for youth underfunded. The Council calls upon the Administration to expand year-round youth employment programs, including Work, Learn and Grow, Advance & Earn, and other programs, to more closely match the Summer Youth Employment Program with an investment of over $57 million. These programs help young people build work skills through diverse opportunities and exposure to paid workforce programs. The Council urges that Work, Learn and Grow (WLG) should be funded to cover at least 12,000 slots for Fiscal Year 2023, above the baseline of 2,200, and going forward. It should ultimately be funded to support approximately 30% of SYEP participants. $43.2 million supports the total of 12,000 WLG job slots. The additional funding of $13.9 million for Advance & Earn will assist approximately 1,000 disconnected young adults who are currently not working nor in school to find year-round jobs.  

“It’s vital that there is long-term investment, as it will continually serve as a catalyst of progression for our young people,” said Council Member Althea Stevens, Chair of the Committee on Youth. “Investment should not be restricted if we are seeking sustainability & equity in our communities. Our young people deserve support at full capacity because the issues they face do not just exist partially throughout the year. They need programs and opportunities that provide safe spaces, enrichment opportunities, job-skill training, and emotional and social support.” 

The Council also urges a continued commitment to the expansion of free Saturday night youth sports programming. The Fiscal Year 2022 budget provided $7 million that expanded the “Saturday Night Lights” program. Multiple city agencies and community-based organizations provide free, recreational programming to youth in communities that are disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system. Programming includes sports, dancing, music, and special guest lectures that help keep youth engaged in constructive activities, provided to youth ages 11-18 in all five boroughs on Saturday nights. The goal of the program is to offer engaging activities in safe spaces during the hours when risk of youth-involved violence is at its highest. to help decrease violence in communities across the City, particularly those impacted the most by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council urges the administration to further the investment with additional funding of $5 million annually to support the program.   

Meeting the Needs of Special Education Pre-K 

The 2019 pay parity agreement for Early Childhood Education providers fell short of including teachers at all Early Childhood Education by excluding Special-Education Pre-K centers. The Council is urging the Administration to commit $30 million to meet the needs of Special Education Pre-K students and provide pay parity for workers. The $30 million investment in pay parity would help stabilize the Special-Education Pre-K system and retain staff. In order for our working families to return to the office, all Early Childhood Education centers need to be fully staffed.    

Increasing Career and Technical Education and Apprenticeship Programs 

Providing opportunities for young people to acquire adequate skills creates a pathway to success in the job market.  Currently, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) allocates $10.3 million for CTE programming to high schools across the City. This funding in Fiscal 2022 supported 83 schools, and the Council proposes to double the current investment and add another $10.3 million in CTE programs for Fiscal 2023 to make CTE programming available in over 160 schools.    

“The City Council’s Preliminary Budget Response proves our commitment to moving our city in the right direction, especially with the funding of initiatives that enhance and improve the educational experience, such as CUNY Reconnect,” said Council Member Eric Dinowitz, Chair of the Committee on Higher Education. “As Chair of the Committee on Higher Education and a former teacher myself, I’ve seen firsthand how necessary it is to provide support systems that extend beyond the walls of the classroom. This includes food security, mental healthcare and other wraparound services. I commend Speaker Adrienne Adams for her work on our budget response, and prioritizing students. As we get closer to finalizing the budget, my colleagues and I will continue to ensure that our students are supported and their voices are heard.”

“We must do our part to ensure a just COVID recovery that includes a thriving workforce and transition to a green energy economy. As a Council, we will prioritize the expansion of pathways for apprenticeship programs to ensure that New Yorkers have opportunities to secure dignified employment through construction and the trades, working with our partners in organized labor,” said Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor. “I am proud to join Speaker Adams and my colleagues in championing a robust recovery that seeks to uplift all workers in New York City.” 

Expanding Mental Health, Counseling and Citywide Restorative Justice in Schools 

The Council calls on the Administration to invest $14.1 million to hire social workers and guidance counselors at 100 schools in Fiscal Year 2023, with a plan to reach all District 79 schools by Fiscal Year 2026.  Additionally, the Council calls on DOE to expand career counseling within these programs to ensure graduation and job placement. District 79 schools work with some of our most vulnerable student populations, including, but not limited to, education for 17-21 year-olds, adult education, young adult borough centers, Pathways to Graduation, and court involved youth. With over 422 programs in District 79, the Council believes it is of the utmost importance for DOE to have dedicated social workers and guidance counselors at these schools.  

The Council also urges the Administration to allocate $12 million in funding to add 100 shelter-based DOE Community Coordinators to help students who are unhoused get to school every day and receive needed educational support, and hire 10 regional managers and two regional support directors to oversee this coordination. In the 2020-2021 school year, more than 101,000 city students experienced homelessness, of which 28,000 spent time in shelters.  Of these students, only 52 percent graduated on time, and 60 percent were chronically absent.  Advocates, community members, and other school stakeholders have emphasized the importance of DOE hiring dedicated staff to work with this student population and their families in shelters. 

With a school population that mirrors the rich diversity of New York City, we must dismantle the school to prison pipeline and ensure our students receive holistic services and support they need to succeed in their academic careers into post-graduation.  Restorative justice practices have demonstrated success in schools across New York City and around the country.   Research shows improvement of academic outcomes, a shift in school climate, and overall positive impact on school staff.  For this reason, the Council calls on the Administration to expand restorative justice practicum in 250 schools in Fiscal 2023, growing to 500 schools by Fiscal 2024. The Council calls for a $59 million investment in restorative justice coordinators in 250 schools next fiscal year, as well as funding restorative justice training for all staff and school community members. 

“I am pleased by the priorities set forth by the Council’s Preliminary Budget Response and I thank Speaker Adrienne Adams for her leadership. We must work to implement education priorities that will support our vulnerable student populations, particularly students who are English language learners or those living in homeless shelters. In this year’s budget, we must focus on increasing funding for English Language Learners by $12 million as well as allocating $12 million to create Community Coordinator jobs in the Department of Education to provide our homeless students with a robust support network. Our students cannot afford to lose a single cent in the upcoming FY 23 budget, and we call on the Administration to invest more money into our public schools rather than eliminate important educational programs. Proposed budget cuts to the Department of Education are unacceptable. It is imperative that the City direct significant funding towards restorative justice programs and expand mental health and career counseling services as well as increase spending to hire guidance counselors in our public schools. Furthermore, we have a moral obligation to invest $30 million to ensure pay-parity to our essential workers in early childhood and special education community-based organizations. Moving forward, we must remain vigilant against any austerity PEG proposals that would disproportionately harm working New Yorkers,” said Council Member Rita Joseph, Chair of the Committee on Education. 

Improving Access to Health, Mental Health & Safety 

Providing Effective 911 Mental Health Responses 

The City’s Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division (B-HEARD) program dispatches mental health specialists and paramedics for certain mental health-related emergency calls. The Mayor’s Preliminary Budget provided no additional funding for the program, despite it being outlined for expansion in his Blueprint to End Gun Violence. The Council calls on the Administration to expand “B-Heard” funding to $61 million in order to make more of an impact in preventing mental health crises. The increase would allow the program to expand to between 3 and 5 new precincts, recruit the social workers needed, and evolve to be responsive to a higher portion of mental –health-related calls within its catchment areas. The Administration should also perform an analysis to show the impact the program is having on the precincts where it currently operates, including comparisons to other jurisdictions and areas for improvement, and the cost to continue expansion around the City.   

“When a New Yorker is facing a mental health crisis, we need to connect them to mental health professionals in real time,” said Council Member and Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Lincoln Restler. “This is the promise of the Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division and I am greatly appreciative of Speaker Adams’ commitment to expanding and strengthening emergency responses that get New Yorkers the help, treatment, and services they need to get better.”

Increase Mental Health Supports and Outreach Services for Unhoused Individuals 

The Fiscal 2023 Preliminary Budget includes $11.5 million in funding for the Street Health Outreach and Wellness (SHOW) units for Fiscal 2022.  The Council calls on the Administration to baseline $11.5 million for SHOW services for unsheltered individuals.  The Council calls for H+H to continue building on the success of the program.  Considering recent incidents involving unsheltered homeless individuals, there should be an increased investment in SHOW to provide mental health services, physical health services, and housing outreach services for unsheltered individuals.  There are currently six vans in operation and three more are being on-boarded.  The Council also urges the Administration to expand services to include health services for unhoused LGBTQIA+ individuals, such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and condom distribution, as well as referrals to H+H’s LGBTQIA+ outreach workers. 

Expand Mental Health Care to Communities Hardest Hit by COVID-19 

The pandemic and the resulting economic distress have negatively affected many New Yorkers’ mental health and created new barriers for the efforts of COVID-19 response and recovery. In fact, communities from the hardest hit areas by COVID-19 continue to struggle with mental and emotional distress. The Council urges the Administration to include $3 million to expand direct mental health services within the 33 communities hardest hit communities by COVID-19. To better serve these communities, the Council recommends that the program be available mainly to places of worship, community centers and public spaces. 

Geriatric Mental Health throughout the Older Adult Network 

The Council also urges the Administration to invest in the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA)’s Geriatric Mental Health Program (DGMH), which embeds mental health clinicians in community-based older adult centers. The Council is calling to expand clinicians into all 108 sites that are currently able to support clinicians and double the supply of hours so that more seniors are able to access counseling. The Council is recommending an allocation of $8.7 million. 

“Addressing our City’s mental health epidemic must start with our most vulnerable New Yorkers, and I am pleased to see that this is a focus in the Council’s preliminary budget response,” said Council Member Linda Lee, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addictions. “Increased funding for mental health, career, and guidance counseling in our schools will help lift our youth who have struggled with COVID-related stressors and isolation. Our human service providers – who have shouldered huge burdens in providing frontline essential mental health services to underserved and disproportionately impacted communities – will finally receive backing in their push for wage equity. Increased support for the geriatric mental health program will mean more clinicians and hours of service across 108 Older Adult Centers to provide healthcare to our senior communities. We will also be able to immediately direct professional care to emergency situations involving the mentally unwell, with the expansion of the ‘B-Heard’ First Response Program. I thank Speaker Adams for her leadership in addressing our ongoing mental health crisis, and bringing solutions that will benefit all New Yorkers.” 

24-Hour Overdose Prevention in Every Borough 

NYC launched the first two Overdose Prevention Centers (OPCs) in the Country in December 2021. The OPCs prevent and reverse overdoses, saving lives. In addition, they reduce and remove drug paraphernalia and waste from public spaces. The OPCs also act as a hub for other necessary services, such as mental health evaluations and referrals, group counseling, syringe exchange and other amenities.  The Administration should build off this success through a $10 million investment of City or private funding to expand overdose prevention efforts in every borough.   

Creating a Hospital Fund 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the health care system, but especially hospitals. Many of New York City’s small hospitals are struggling to fund the upfront costs to pay for the increase in services incurred during this pandemic. The City, with the help of Goldman Sachs created a $45 million Hospital Stabilization Fund to grant hospitals some relief to buy supplies and to pay their workforce. However, this amount of funding is not enough to assist all the hospitals in New York City. The Council calls on the Administration to include an additional $45 million to create a fund that supports hospitals in geographically isolated communities and for Health + Hospitals (H+H) facilities with high patient volumes. 

“It is imperative that we reach an agreement on an equitable city budget that serves and benefits all New Yorkers and recognizes healthcare, including access to mental healthcare, as a human right and makes significant investments in our city’s hospitals.  Our safety net hospitals which served as a lifeline for so many during the height of the COVID pandemic are facing critical fiscal challenges, and desperately need our support. It is our duty to strengthen and support these vital institutions, so that all New Yorkers can have access to the health care they need and deserve,” said Council Member Mercedes Narcisse, Chair of the Committee on Hospitals. 

The Council calls on the Administration to allocate $500,000 in funds toward increasing diabetes prevention activities in New York City neighborhoods with high rates of obesity and chronic disease.  More than 700,000 adult New Yorkers have diabetes, a disease that can damage blood vessels and lead to heart disease and stroke, as well as nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems. An estimated 1.3 million adult New Yorkers have prediabetes, or higher-than-normal blood glucose levels, but many are unaware they have the condition. Diabetes disproportionately affects New York City’s low-income and working-class communities, leading to an undue burden of mass illness, amputation, blindness, and kidney failure. This funding would be used to support the Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP), a program to improve nutrition and exercise to reduce blood sugar and educate communities about the risks of getting diabetes. 

“As the City emerges from the pandemic, the Council’s Preliminary Budget response represents a robust investment in our City’s healthcare system by creating public health centers in underserved areas, bolstering diabetes prevention, and committing to a healthcare infrastructure that is accessible, affordable and equitable,” said Council Member Lynn Schulman, Chair of the Health Committee. “For the past three years, we have been experiencing the worst public healthcare crisis of our lifetime. Today’s response addresses the historic lack of preventive and primary care services, which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in tragic illness and needless deaths.” 

Creating New Healthcare Centers in Underserved Communities

The Council calls on the Administration to establish H+H health care and ambulatory centers in communities lacking insufficient access to healthcare facilities, estimating $50 million per facility. These would include four new centers, in addition to a Far Rockaway health care facility with a trauma unit that remains the subject of discussion, for a total of $250 million in capital funds. The Council is proposing one center each in Southeast Queens and the Bronx, and two in Brooklyn. These are also in addition to the recently opened H+H full-service ambulatory care centers in East Tremont, Jackson Heights, and Bushwick.

“I applaud Speaker Adrienne E. Adams and the New York City Council’s commitment to tirelessly advocate for funding to support critical deficiencies in New York’s aging hospitals infrastructure, climate and resiliency investments to protect New York’s shorelines and biodiversity, investments in capital to support our small businesses, strengthening New York’s transportation sector and thoroughfares to fortify our aging infrastructure and ensuring equity to underserved communities across the city,” said Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “These investments will bring about transformation changes for generations of New Yorkers.” 

Creating New York State’s First Trauma Recovery Centers (TRCs) for Underserved Crime Victims 

The Council is proposing to establish New York State’s first trauma recovery centers to serve underserved victims of violence in communities that experience violence the most. $8.4 million in City funding would help create at least one center in each of the five boroughs, and likely more with additional federal and state funding. Trauma recovery centers (TRCs) are an innovative model of victim services that reach underserved victims and communities to provide health, recovery, and stability to heal communities and interrupt cycles of violence. They specifically target victims and families, who are often not reached by traditional victim services – victims of community and gun violence – providing trauma-informed clinical case management, evidence-based individual/group/family therapy, crisis intervention, and legal advocacy and assistance in filing police reports and accessing victim services. Clients of a TRC are 71% more likely to use mental health services, 56% more likely to return to employment, and 44% more likely to cooperate with the legal system to solve crimes and close cases.  

Create Community-Based Solutions for Violence Interruption 

The City has been beset by tragedies stemming from increased violence which is part of a trend in cities across the nation.  While the Administration and the Council have increased funding for the Crisis Management System (CMS) and the Domestic Violence and Empowerment Initiative, more attention must be given to organizations operating outside of CMS that are doing critical youth intervention work in neighborhoods impacted by violence to improve safety.  An investment of $3 million would support community organizations that work alongside precincts across the City and supplement CMS in targeted Council Districts with the highest rates of violence, providing services for longer term solutions and more direct community engagement. 

“We must address the root causes of violence in our City, rather than merely the symptoms, and this budget response does exactly that,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson.  

Support Communities Affected by Hate Crimes 

In 2019 the Council passed Local Law 46, creating the Mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes (OPHC) and provided a budget of $730,000. The scourge of hate crimes has continued in the City, particularly affecting Jewish and AAPI communities. The Council budgeted resources to these communities through the Hate Crime Prevention Initiative and the Asian American Pacific Islander Community Support initiatives. The Council calls on further action to support the prevention and response to hate crimes, and increased engagement and support for affected communities. To demonstrate our unity and to protect our City’s invaluable diversity, the Administration should commit additional funds of $5 million to OPHC and community organizations. 

Fulfilling Commitments to Affordable Housing and Homelessness Solutions 

Addressing homelessness has been a focus for the City, as people experiencing street homelessness has increased. Creating and protecting housing opportunities must be a priority for the City on its path to recovery.  

Expand Funding for Drop-In Centers, Safe Haven Beds, and Stabilization Beds 

Earlier this year Mayor Adams released his Subway Safety Plan as a response to an increase in violent incidents. The plan included 140 new Safe Haven Beds, 350 new Stabilization Beds and new Drop-in Centers. These numbers fall short of what is needed and equally falling short is the lack of funding in the budget for these additions. In fiscal 2021, the number of unsheltered homeless population was 2,376 according to the Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report. The Council is calling on the Administration to provide $114 million to fund 2,376 new Safe Haven and stabilization beds, which includes the 490 beds that were outlined in the Mayor’s Subway Safety Plan along with 3 new Drop-In Centers. There are currently 1,000 Stabilization Beds, 1,500 Safe Haven Beds and 7 Drop-In Centers reported online according to Coalition for the Homeless. Once added, there will be a total of 4,876 beds in and 10 Drop-In Centers.  

Fully Fund Rental Assistance Programs and the CityFHEPS Voucher Rate Increase  

For the past several fiscal years, actual spending on rental assistance voucher programs has been considerably higher than the baseline budget.  After Adoption, the agency has been adding funding throughout the fiscal year to meet the need.  Pursuant to a local law passed by the Council, starting in the fall of 2021, CityFHEPS voucher rates were increased to match Section 8 levels but funding for the increase was only added for Fiscal 2022.  The baseline budget should be increased to a level that more accurately reflects the full need and fully funds the voucher rate increase.   

Supportive Housing for the Justice Involved 

The Executive Budget should include approximately $28.4 million to expand this program with an additional 1,000 beds that will provide holistic wraparound services in a supportive housing setting to justice impacted individuals citywide. The City’s supportive housing initiative, NYC 15/15, is reserved for individuals and families with certain disabilities who have been living in shelter or on the street for a year or more.  People leaving jail, prison, or long-term hospital stays are excluded because they do not meet this “chronic homelessness” definition.  In 2019, the Council negotiated a Points of Agreement to Close Rikers Island that included funding to expand the Justice Impacted Supportive Housing (JISH) program to 500 slots. 

Full Capital Funding for Affordable & Supportive Housing, NYCHA  

The Council will also hold the Mayor accountable to his $4 billion per year capital commitment to advance affordable housing, supportive housing new construction and preservation, as well as New York City Public Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing but was not fulfilled in his Preliminary Budget ($2.5B HPD, $1.5B NYCHA) 

“There can be no recovery without stability, and there is no stability without affordable housing. In this time of uncertainty for New Yorkers, facing eviction and being violently removed from the streets, the Mayor and the administration must enact a housing plan that provides supportive, affordable and public housing for unhoused and the lowest income New Yorkers. Dedicating an annual $4 billion for the preservation and construction of affordable housing is a moral imperative for City leaders. We must also do more to subsidize existing unaffordable rents for our lowest income, housed New Yorkers, in order to prevent evictions and keep people in their homes. These are the safest and most humane responses to our city’s housing and homelessness crises, providing targeted housing, increasing homeownership opportunities for historically excluded New Yorkers and preserving NYCHA,” said Council Member Pierina Sanchez, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings. “As we look to an equitable and just recovery, we do not have to look that far. I call on the Mayor and administration to work with our community to redevelop a beautiful, historic asset tucked away in the Northwest Bronx, the largest armory ever built in the United States. A community informed revitalization of the Kingsbridge Armory would be catalytic for the economic development of our humble community, producing hundreds of good-paying union jobs and sorely community development space. We have the base tools for a successful economic recovery; let us follow through on our collective commitment for an equitable transformation.”

Hotel Conversions to House Unhoused  

The Preliminary Plan decreases the Department of Homeless Services’ baseline budget by $49.4 million beginning in Fiscal 2023 because the agency ended the practice of placing families with children in hotel shelters in the end of 2021. The Council proposes that the City should convert these hotels into affordable housing for homeless families, replicating the cluster site model. The PEG amount of $49.4 million should be used to start the conversion process. 

“We as a city are facing a very critical moment in helping those experiencing homelessness,” said Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, Chair of the Committee on General Welfare. “It is our job as public servants to find solutions, especially those who are disenfranchised. In order to move our city forward we need make serious investments when it comes to housing New Yorkers who are facing difficult circumstances. I urge the Administration to fully fund and commit to affordable housing and a solution to homelessness.”

Fully Fund Baseline for HASA SROs 

For the past several fiscal years, actual spending on HIV and AIDS Services Administration (HASA) single room occupancy (SROs) emergency shelter units has been around $60 million, which is considerably higher than the baseline budget of $16.6 million. After the budget is adopted each fiscal year, the agency has been adding funding during the fiscal year to meet the actual need. In Fiscal 2022, New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) added $47.9 million for Fiscal 2022 only. The Council calls on the Administration to add $47.9 million to HRA’s baseline budget for HASA SROs to reflect the full need more accurately. 

Increase Domestic Violence Bed Capacity 

The current domestic violence (DV) shelter system, operated by HRA, does not have enough capacity to fully meet the demand. Currently there are 2,451 beds in HRA’s emergency DV shelter system, where stays are limited to 180 days, and 447 units in the Tier II DV shelter system. Many individuals who would benefit from the specialized services available in DV facilities end up in the DHS shelter system, where DV-specific support services are not available. The City should expand its DV shelter capacity to more closely meet the actual demand by adding $41.6 million to HRA’s baseline budget to fund 200 new DV emergency shelter beds and 600 new DV Tier II units. Additionally, when determining the location of new DV shelters HRA should ensure there are adequate options for LGBTQIA+, transgender, and gender non-conforming individuals and families.   

Increase Number of Runaway and Homeless Youth Beds  

The Council is calling to invest $3.02 million and increase the number of Runaway and Homeless Youth Beds for 21- to 24-year-olds, funding 60 additional beds to meet the need. 

Providing a Property Tax Rebate for Homeowners in Need 

The City should seek State authorization to provide a property tax rebate to all households receiving the basic and enhanced STAR tax breaks and earn less than $250,000 per year.  Over the last 10 years, property tax bills for the City’s homeowners grew faster than household incomes, meaning homeowners commit a growing proportion of their incomes to property taxes each year.  While some may argue the higher book value of the home presents a windfall for homeowners, the reality is that many homeowners have no way to easily access that paper wealth to pay for their day-to-day needs.  Rather, it makes meeting those needs more difficult as property taxes take an increasing cut of their incomes.  Providing property tax relief to homeowners will help alleviate some of the pressure caused by increased property values. The Governor, and both houses in Albany have indicated strong support that will provide rebates to homeowners Statewide, including in the City.  This State rebate will provide at least $293 in relief to NYC homeowners.  The City should take this opportunity to piggy-back on the State’s program to provide expanded tax relief with a City-funded rebate.  A City-funded rebate of $150 per household, together with the State’s rebate, would provide anywhere from $440 to over $800 to NYC households.  The Council estimates the rebate would cost the City $90 million in Fiscal 2023.     

“Getting some form of small property tax rebate included in this year’s budget has been a priority for many in the council, and this amount will complement the state’s expected rebate to deliver a combined 5-10% cut off the average middle class property tax bill,” said Council Minority Leader Joseph Borelli. 

Increasing Equitable Access to Benefit Programs for All New Yorkers 

Ensuring Access to Public Benefits and Food Assistance 

There are many City residents who are eligible for public benefit programs that are not currently enrolled, which has become even more problematic since the onset of the pandemic and the ensuing increased need for assistance. The City should increase access to public benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP), cash assistance, Medicaid, and tax credit programs by adding $10 million to HRA’s baseline to engage community-based organizations to do outreach and education, to increase staff at HRA to process applications and assist clients, to improve inter-agency coordination, and to streamline the benefits application process.  

Seamless Meal Transition for Older Adults Using GetFood Recovery Meals  

Supporting older adults with nutritious meals has been critical during the pandemic. The GetFood Recovery Meals program, which serves approximately 10,000 older adults, expires in Fiscal 2022. While DFTA estimates that about 3,000 older adults currently receiving a recovery meal could transition over to DFTA’s Home-Delivered Meals (HDM) program, the remaining 7,000 older adults are still in need of meal services. The Administration should add $30 million in funding to ensure every older adult who needs a meal next year has one. 

Fund Home-Delivered Meals Expansion and Weekend and Holiday Meals for Older Adults 

For our older adults, the Council calls for the City to provide $9.7 million in support of the continued growth in demand for the home-delivered meal program, and $3 million to support weekend and holiday home-delivered meals not provided by current contract, for a total of $12.7 million.  

“Our city budget is a moral document, and how we spend $100 billion says a lot about who and what we value,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson, Chair of the Committee on Aging. “With this response to the Mayor’s preliminary budget, we have shown that investing in those with the greatest needs is a priority for the City Council. We have shown that care for the most vulnerable New Yorkers—our youth, older adults, and those experiencing housing insecurity & homelessness—is a priority, and that we are invested in securing an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthening our communities rather than weakening them.”

“Even before the COVID-19 Pandemic New York City’s more than 1.1 million seniors faced serious challenges,” said Council Member Darlene Mealy, Chair of the Sub-Committee on Senior Centers and Food Insecurity. “From being pushed out of their homes onto the streets, extremely high rents that forced them to juggle paying for life-saving medicines and keeping a roof over their heads, to runaway food bills and hunger, our most vulnerable citizens continue to struggle to survive each and every day. Now we have both an opportunity and an obligation to fix this.  I call on the Eric Adams Administration to increase funding for home delivery of senior meals. We also need to increase and expand SNAP participation, and weekend and holiday meals delivery. We must not fail to protect our senior citizens – many of them barely surviving on fixed incomes. Hunger remains a real and persistent reality for literally millions of seniors.  Addressing this existential problem must be a priority for all of us.”

Investing in Wage Equity for Human Service Providers  

The City’s human services workforce are among the lowest paid workers in the City and have not received a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) since Fiscal 2020, leaving frontline workers without a COLA in the middle of a pandemic.  As a first step toward the goal of wage equity, the Council calls on the Administration to baseline a four percent COLA, or $60 million increase for human service workers. Anticipating regular wage increases to keep up with cost-of-living increases in the budget is standard practice for City workers, the City should do the same for its contracted public sector workforce.    

Ensuring Opportunity through Adult Education  

Currently, there are more than 2.2 million adults in New York City without English language proficiency or a high school diploma.  The Council calls on the Administration to include $13.5 million to increase the baselined funding to $27 million.  This will allow the City to double the level of investment per student in the upcoming DYCD RFP. The City’s Adult Literacy Programs have provided immigrants with the tools to achieve higher levels of literacy – which are associated with greater health knowledge, use of healthcare services, and the ability to manage chronic health conditions and communicate with healthcare providers.  

CUNY Reconnect 

The Council calls upon the Administration to invest $23 million to fund a program that focuses on bringing the 700,000 working-age New Yorkers who left CUNY with some college credits but no degree (approx. 1 in 5 Black and Latino working-age New Yorkers fall into this category and approx. 1 in 3 Black and Latino women) back into the system to earn a credential that helps them advance their careers. It would provide the key supports necessary – last dollar financial aid/scholarship funding for this population of students, childcare, pre-enrollment counseling resources, and flexible scheduling to power the city’s economic recovery and increase equity. 

Support Our City, Our Vote 

With the passage of Intro 1867, New York City has an opportunity to encourage greater civic engagement and mobilize our communities to advocate for good public policies that invest in and enhance our city.  By December 2022, the law might go into effect and eligible non-citizens will be able to register to vote in City elections starting in 2023.  To effectively implement this legislation, the Council recommends a $25 million investment by the Administration to support community-based outreach to all New York City eligible voters, regardless of their citizenship status.  The community-based outreach includes voter education, registration assistance, and get-out-the-vote activities.  In addition, this funding would provide language access, interpretation and translation to support those that are English Language Limited.   

Expand Language Access City  

New York City is home to the most linguistic diversity of any city in the world, and there are nearly 2 million residents who are limited English proficiency. City agencies still woefully lack the staff needed to communicate in the multiple languages spoken in the New York metro area. The pandemic has exposed how crucial language access remains for those who are English Limited proficiency. Accessibility to City services such as health and mental health remains challenging due to a lack of appropriate language translation and interpretation. The Council is urging the Administration to include $5 million to increase access to language services in City agencies, improving the quality of translations, and developing worker owned co-ops in order to provide job opportunities to immigrant communities. As the immigrant population continues to rise, so does the need for access to skilled language professionals.  

“This Council knows that if we want an equitable recovery from COVID-19, we must put the needs of our immigrant communities front and center,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif, Chair of the Committee on Immigration. “I am thrilled that the necessary funding for Our City Our Vote outreach, language access worker cooperatives led by immigrant New Yorkers, and the Community Legal Interpreter Bank are included in the Council’s response to the Mayor’s preliminary budget. This funding is critical to ensuring immigrant communities have a voice in our City’s economy, democracy, and judicial system. The fight for an equitable budget is far from over, but the Council has taken a critical step today ensuring our immigrant communities are prioritized in our upcoming negotiations with the Administration.

Investing in a Cleaner, Greener New York 

Restore Sanitation’s Fiscal 2023 Budget Cuts 

Over the past two years, the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has seen a drastic decrease in the number of programs and services offered by the agency due to budget cuts. For Fiscal 2023, as of the Preliminary Plan, DSNY is proposing $47.8 million in cuts. The Council urges the Administration to restore and baseline headcount reductions for garage utility/splinter group personnel and civilian vacancies, as well as restore and baseline $18.2 million in headcount and programmatic reductions which halted expansion of curbside organics collection program. 

Restore & Baseline Prior-Year Sanitation Cuts  

To address prior year cuts to the Department of Sanitation’s budget, the Council calls upon the Administration to restore and baseline the following items to ensure the Department can respond adequately to collection and cleaning needs citywide. 

  • E-Waste Collection: $3.6 million to restore 38 uniform personnel for DSNY’s curbside E-Waste collection program. 
  • Enforcement: $3.4 million to hire 50 uniform personnel for DSNY’s illegal dumping enforcement operations. 
  • Lot Cleaning: $2.2 million to restore 37 uniform personnel for DSNY’s lot cleaning operations. 
  • Street Sweeping: $2 million to restore 41 uniform personnel for DSNY’s street sweeping operations. 
  • Highway Ramp Cleaning: $864,000 for DSNY’s highway ramp cleaning program. 

Litter baskets continue to overflow citywide, a major quality of life issue.  The Council calls upon the Administration to baseline $22 million in Fiscal 2023, to increase litter basket service to every district citywide. 

Organic drop-off sites play an integral role in ensuring the City diverts organic material from the landfill. For Fiscal 2023, organic drop-off site funding reduces to $3.5 million, from $7 million in Fiscal 2022. The Council calls upon the Administration to restore and baseline $3.5 million in Fiscal 2023 and in the out years for organic drop-off sites citywide. 

“Today, Council Members have responded with a unified voice: DSNY must be adequately funded and baselined, and we must invest in the waste infrastructure and operations required to achieve our City’s long-term Zero Waste goals,” said Council Member Sandy Nurse, Chair of the Committee on Sanitation. “This is an important signal that the City Council is committed to both addressing the immediate sanitation concerns of New Yorkers and building the innovative, sustainable waste management system that we need to address environmental injustices and the climate crisis.” 

Supporting Our Parks 

The Council calls on the Administration to fund new New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) bathrooms and comfort stations in all five boroughs at $50 million per borough for a total of $250 million in capital funding. 

Parks Maintenance and Summer Workforce  

The Fiscal 2023 Preliminary Plan does not include more than $42 million funding for The Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks) City Cleanup Corps (CCC) program made possible by federal stimulus funding in Fiscal 2022. In addition, $10 million for 150 park maintenance workers is also missing from the Fiscal 2023 Preliminary Budget. These maintenance and summer workforce employees are vital components of the Department’s core program, picking up litter, maintaining gardens, wiping away graffiti, maintaining parks and playgrounds, and offering a fixed-post presence in parks citywide. The Council calls on the Administration to include $52 million in the Fiscal 2023 Executive Budget for the Parks Maintenance program to ensure an adequate workforce to keep the City’s greenspaces clean and safe.  

“As this pandemic has shown, our parks and playgrounds are essential. They are connected to public health, mental health, and our well-being,” said Council Member Shekar Krishnan, Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation. “It is crucial that the Administration stay true to its pledge and increase parks funding to $1 billion. Our Council is committed to protecting and equitably expanding green space in across our city.” 

Supporting Fairness & Oversight in the Justice System 

Responding Responsibly to the Crisis on Rikers Island 

Although the conditions in the City’s jail system deteriorated significantly under prior Administrations, it is this Administration’s responsibility to address the myriad problems facing the Department of Correction and the City’s jails.  The Council calls on the Administration to take concrete steps to address the unacceptably high levels of violence, use of force, and staff absenteeism that, compounded with deeply entrenched mismanagement, undermine the safety and security of the nearly 5,600 New Yorkers in custody and the nearly 10,000 employees of the City of New York who work for the Department.  The Department’s longstanding inefficiencies, mismanagement, and lack of transparency are exemplified by the fact that the Department’s headcount is higher than people in custody, yet staff are not deployed to key posts where they can respond to crises or escort people to necessary medical appointments. 

The Department does not need additional resources and must adjust its practices responsibly within its current budget in order to improve conditions on Rikers Island for both staff and people incarcerated alike.  Initial steps the Administration should take are ensuring that the Department’s disciplinary and accountability measures are adequately staffed and funded; addressing the structural causes of staff absenteeism; consolidating operations by closing facilities and eliminating inefficiencies; shifting resources to support programs and services that reduce violence and recidivism; and ensuring that the appropriate staff and resources are in place to implement the Risk Management Assessment System. 

Provide Adequate Resources to the Board of Correction 

The need for oversight of the City’s jails is critical and the Board should have additional resources to conduct its charter-mandated mission and support its staff.  The Executive Budget should establish BOC’s budget as one percent of the Department of Correction’s budget, following the model of the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the Police Department.  An additional $12.3 million will allow the Board to increase salaries for investigative field staff commensurate with experience as well as expand its headcount to support critical functions, like a Medical Examiner, comprehensively investigating deaths in the City’s jails and carefully monitoring DOC’s operations. 

“This new administration must take immediate actions to address the humanitarian crisis at Rikers Island, without increasing the budget for the Department of Correction and instead investing in oversight and moving resources to supportive services,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, Chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice. “City Council is calling for the Board of Correction’s budget to be set at 1% of the Department’s budget to ensure the Board has sufficient resources to conduct necessary oversight, support field staff working in the jails, and employ the services of a medical examiner. Further, we are calling for an additional $28.4 million for Justice Involved Supportive Housing, adding 1,000 beds to ensure returning New Yorkers are not relegated to a cycle of homelessness. With this budget, we must advance our goals of ending solitary confinement and ultimately, closing Rikers Island.” 

Ensuring Full Staffing of CCRB & NYPD Oversight 

CCRB is not in compliance with the Charter. They are required to have 227 positions or 0.65% of the New York Police Department (NYPD)’s uniform headcount.  While they have a budgeted 259, the actual headcount is around 200 positions.  They have been encountering some issues with the Office of Management and Budget in terms of hiring plans, and indicate that they do not have the PS funds to hire all positions at the salaries needed. They should be allowed to hire up immediately with $1 million in support, given the increased oversight needs. 

The Administration released a Blueprint to End Gun Violence, which includes the creation of NYPD Neighborhood Safety Teams, a specialized unit dispatched to areas with high incidents of gun violence. These teams receive an extra seven days of training, undergo consistent reviews of body camera footage, and are subject to the same disciplinary rules as all other uniform members of service. The Mayor and the NYPD should regularly evaluate the success of these teams, scrutinize all disciplinary infractions closely, and adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards any adverse effects on communities of color. As the City works towards reducing increasing rates of gun violence, it is necessary to ensure full accountability and consistent reviews of the signature policing effort of this Administration. 

Fair Futures Up to Age 26 and for Justice-Involved Youth 

Fair Futures is a nation-leading comprehensive support system for foster youth, which includes wrap-around support and life coaches.  Adding $10 million in funding for Fair Futures, lifting the total to $35 million, will ensure that all foster youth up to age 26 receive wrap-around supports and life coaches – and expand the program into ACS’ juvenile justice continuum.  Together, these investments will help achieve the Mayor’s goals of reducing youth gun crime and recidivism.   

Empower Youth Held in Juvenile Justice Facilities 

Innovative, skill-building programming is lacking in secure detention facilities.  New investments will help make youth heard and see the impact they can make in the community.  An additional $5 million would allow youth to receive structured, facilitated guidance on how to engage their peers, neighbors, local police precincts, and/or schools, plan discussions and organize meetings, and lead change on issues that matter most to the youth themselves. 

Bolstering Agency Operations 

Strengthening Oversight 

New Yorkers deserve honesty and transparency from their government. Strengthening and giving tools to the City’s oversight body, Department of Investigation (DOI), will allow the agency to do their work to combat corruption. The Council recommends the Administration allocate $2.3 million in funding to DOI; $1.6 million would go toward hiring 18 new investigators and $709,000 would support the secure storage of sensitive city information that DOI must collect and retain during its probes. 

“Transparency and accountability are key to trust in government. Following the City Council Committee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on the preliminary budget proposal for the Department of Investigation, it became clear that the Department needs $2.3 million dollars in additional funding to meet its mandate of investigating fraud, waste, or corruption, and to maintain sensitive City records. Both the Council and the Administration are focused on achieving equity for all New Yorkers, and independent oversight of government is critical,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer, Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Investigations. “Additionally, I am pleased that the Council’s initial budget response focuses on budget policies that bring equity to all New Yorkers, such as more support for those who are homeless, unemployed or underemployed, and food insecure, as well as those who want cleaner streets and parks, better schools, and more cultural activities for organizations and artists.”

Boosting Support for Cultural Institutions 

One of New York City’s driving economic engines is their cultural institutions and what makes this city vibrant, healthy and thrive.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, the City’s cultural organizations took a major hit and will see a long road to economic recovery. Unfortunately, the FY2023 Preliminary Plan does not adequately fund the City’s cultural organizations as they recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Council calls on the Administration to support cultural organizations by adding an additional $50 million in the FY2023 Executive Expense Budget for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) to support Cultural Institution Groups (CIG), provide across the board grant increases for all Cultural Development Fund recipients and support the City’s artists.  

“As the representative of Museum Mile, Carnegie Hall, and Times Square, I know firsthand how significantly the pandemic decimated our city’s arts and culture industries,” said Majority Leader Keith Powers. “To help boost our economy and get this sector back on its feet, I am proud to support the City Council’s call for $50 million dollars for our city’s cultural institutions. New Yorkers are proud to live in a city that’s the world destination for arts and culture—it’s imperative that we’re adequately investing in its recovery and success.”

“I’m happy to see a budget response come from the City Council with an emphasis on equity and just recovery,” said Council Member Chi Osse, Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations. “It’s essential that we direct additional investment to our cultural institutions, organizations, and initiatives, the beacons and backbones of the city we love. As we recover from the pandemic that devastated our cultural sector, we must fully fund DCLA and provide support to our artists – especially the Black and brown artists who suffered disproportionately from the impacts of Covid-19.” 

Advancing Economic Opportunity 

Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and what makes New York City neighborhoods unique and vibrant. The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on New York City’s small businesses. The once prosperous small business community has experienced sharp declines in revenue and many continue to struggle to keep their doors open. The Council calls upon the Administration to invest $1.5 million to help businesses launch online and to innovate and adapt to meet the changing needs of the future economy. Many small businesses do not have the bandwidth and resources or tools for selling goods and services over the internet themselves and need the City’s support. 

It is important to invest in the City’s human capital infrastructure. Now more than ever, we need to support post-pandemic workers who have shouldered job losses and struggled with employment during the economic downturn who need the City’s investment. The Council calls on the Administration to expand the network of Workforce1 Career Centers and include additional training programs that provide workers with the skills to stay competitive in a global marketplace.” 

The Council is also calling for the establishment of a grant program to allocate $75,000 to help Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) find relief, assist them in competing, and to encourage hiring their workforce from surrounding communities. 

“New York City has always been the city that never sleeps, but our small businesses need that same energy to prosper in a post pandemic world. The City’s budget needs to reflect that promise and excitement to our business community. Working as the Chair of the Committee for Consumer and Worker Protection and with my fellow Council Members, we need to make sure consumers feel safe and our businesses know we have their backs,” said Council Member Marjorie Velázquez, Chair of the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection. 

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Pay Parity 

EMS members are the lowest paid first responders in New York City, and the Council has consistently advocated for wage equity. We urge the Administration to raise EMS salaries to be competitive with other first responders. Prior to his election, Mayor Adams stated that EMS personnel required parity. The Council requests that the Administration include wage parity in future contract discussions with EMS members. The Administration should also conduct an analysis to assess the cost of phasing in a salary increase for EMS personnel, as well as modifying the Fire Department’s (FDNY) wage scales for emergency medical technicians and paramedics to be more in line with other higher paid emergency medical responders. The approximately 4,600 members of EMS, including EMTs and paramedics, earn much less than other emergency responders in New York City and other EMS services across the country. Following negotiations in the summer of 2021, the EMS union stated “the City categorically refused to provide pay parity or anything that approximated pay parity for EMS First Responders in the FDNY.”