Some good news out of Albany today: the Senate and Assembly have both restored the funding for New York City’s homeless shelters that Governor Paterson proposed cutting earlier this year.
However, yesterday New York City Budget Director, Mark Page, sent a letter to all agency heads ordering another round of City budget cuts, amounting to 7.2% per agency (excluding uniformed forces and the Department of Education). This would be the eighth time in the past two years that City has issued across-the-board cuts.
This latest round is in preparation for potential cuts that the State is currently trying to finalize. Whether or not some of these cuts may go through is still in question, but regardless it will be a rough year for NYC agencies.
It’s unclear how this new request for cuts will affect the Department of Homeless Services.
Today, in an unusual alliance, the Coalition, Councilwoman Palma, and Public Advocate De Blasio united with the Department of Homeless Services condemning the governor’s proposed cuts to homeless services — totaling $88 million for city shelters.
At a press conference held inside the BRC Safe Haven in the Bowery, everyone — advocates and city administrators alike — agreed that if cuts of this magnitude go through, the impact would be catastrophic to homeless New Yorkers. DHS and other homeless services providers would be faced with shortfalls paralyzing their ability provide the care and services so desperately needed by this vulnerable population, and the likelihood for increased homelessness would become very real.
The State’s current fiscal crisis does not excuse ignoring those who bear the greatest burden in this recession. By gutting resources for homeless services, the State is leaving vulnerable New Yorkers out in the cold. This irresponsible budget will push homeless adults in our City beyond the breaking point.
— Bill De Blasio, Public Advocate
Since Paterson released his budget earlier this month, the Coalition has been demanding he rescind these cuts. We are glad to have DHS and the many other advocates on our side as we continue to push Paterson and the legislature to restore funding for homeless services.
We are grateful that the NYS Senate budget resolution passed on March 22nd proposes to restore over $100 million in homeless service funding, and we are hopeful that the NYS Assembly will do the same in their forthcoming budget proposal.
Take action: Send your letter to Governor Paterson asking him to abandon these irresponsible cuts! Click here.