New York has a special responsibility to care for our most vulnerable, including kids in foster care, the economically distressed, the homeless and those in danger of becoming homeless, the food insecure, and survivors of domestic violence. This Council is committed to providing these New Yorkers with the resources they need to get back on their feet.
“DoVE funding made it possible for us to connect with those who are the hardest-to-reach, and help break the silence one person at a time.”
Bomsinae Kim, Korean American Family Service Center
Youth who age out of foster care tend to experience worse outcomes than their peers in a variety of critical areas—but it is a challenge to understand the extent of these outcomes and develop tools to combat them. That’s why we passed three bills requiring the Administration for Children’s Services to report information such as whether youth in care have government-issued identification, their high school graduation rates, and outcomes after they leave care, including their housing situation, educational attainment, and employment.
No one should have to worry about losing a paycheck or a job because of illness or caring for a sick family member. That’s why one of the first pieces of legislation we passed this session strengthened the paid sick time mandate by expanding the number of people covered, increasing the City’s enforcement authority, and adding more protections for employees.
Under New York State law, the maximum stay at domestic violence shelters is 180 days, after which survivors who still require temporary shelters must enter the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelter system. Previously, these families had to go through another eligibility assessment before being admitted to the DHS system. But now, under a bill we passed in 2014, survivors who have reached the maximum length of stay for domestic violence shelters are automatically deemed eligible for DHS shelter.
Last year, the Council allocated $1 million for a new initiative to support children and families in the homeless system. The program supports six organizations that provide innovative, specialized services in the five boroughs to children and families in shelter. These services incorporate trauma-informed care, evidence-based practices, aftercare programs, comprehensive case management, and other strategies to prevent child maltreatment in high-risk cases.
In the last budget, we negotiated with the Administration to include an additional $1.8 million to expand the City’s Emergency Food Assistance Program and enhanced baseline funding to support food pantries throughout the boroughs. This funding covers direct food purchase, capacity expansion efforts through the Food Bank, and technical assistance grants to automate food stamp enrollment at pantries, soup kitchens and other appropriate locations.
We continue to support the Citywide Homeless Prevention Fund, most recently with an $820,000 allocation for emergency grants to families in crisis and at risk of eviction, with the goal of keeping them in their homes and out of the shelter system.
In the 2016 budget, we provided $250,000 to the Food Bank’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Assistance Program, which offers free income tax preparation services to low-income working individuals and families, helping them obtain the refundable EITC that they are entitled to but often miss out on.
The City Council is committed to ensuring that every working parent has access to affordable child care and that children enjoy safe, nurturing environments. That’s why we allocated more than $12 million to support child care programs that did not receive an EarlyLearn contract or received an insufficient contract. The funding supports 200 family child care slots and over 500 center-based child care slots.
Last year, we added $4.4 million to the $12.6 million in baselined funding for low-income child care vouchers. As of December 2015, these funds have already supported child care for 1,315 children, with additional children and families expected to benefit.