2 NYC lawmakers ask Adams to rethink proposed cuts to social services as demand rises

2 NYC lawmakers ask Adams to rethink proposed cuts to social services as demand rises

Mayor Eric Adams’ proposal to minimize lots of of vacant jobs at a metropolis company tasked with combating poverty has raised considerations that his administration will exacerbate the meals insecurity disaster in New York Metropolis.

Councilmember Diana Ayala and Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas on Thursday urged the mayor to rethink his resolution to get rid of vacant positions on the Human Assets Administration, the town company that oversees public help applications, together with the Vitamin Help Program, recognized as meals stamps. The request comes as demand for such services has elevated over the previous couple of years, however processing occasions for services have slowed.

“In this very dire time, we need all levels of government to function adequately and efficiently to address the needs of our constituents and neighbors,” Ayala and González-Rojas wrote this week in a letter to Adams, asking the mayor to fill the vacant positions.

On Thursday, Adams unveiled a $102.7 billion finances proposal for fiscal yr 2024 during which he known as on metropolis businesses to additional trim their budgets. In accordance to the plan, the mayor has proposed eliminating 773 unfilled jobs inside the Division of Social Services, which oversees the Human Assets Administration. 

It’s unclear what number of of these jobs are concerned with the meals stamp program. Nevertheless, Ayala and her colleagues say the understaffed division contributes to the delay in processing meals stamp functions. 

There have been 50,000 functions for meals stamps in October 2022, a 60% enhance in contrast to the identical month in 2019, DSS Deputy Commissioner Jill Berry stated at a Metropolis Council committee listening to in December. The variety of month-to-month requests for meals help is the best it has been since Could 2020, shortly two months after the coronavirus was declared a worldwide pandemic.

“Our application volume has persisted at an unprecedented rate,” Berry stated on the listening to earlier than the Committee on Basic Welfare.

Berry stated greater than half the meals stamp functions – 53.7% – weren’t processed inside the required 30 days in fiscal yr 2022.

Spokespeople for Adams didn’t reply to requests for remark.

About 2.7 million folks – or 1 in 7 New Yorkers – relied on meals stamps in 2019, in accordance to Starvation Options New York, a statewide advocacy group working to alleviate starvation.

Adriana Mendoza is a advantages supervisor for the Security Internet Venture on the City Justice Heart, which works with about 2,000 low-income households. She stated when the town doesn’t course of the meals stamp functions on time, the households should scramble to borrow cash or promote valuables to feed themselves.  

The utmost quantity a household of 4 might obtain in meals advantages is $939 a month.

“In some cases, the parents are not eating in order to ensure that whatever money there is for food is going to the children,” Mendoza stated.

Adams has insisted that public services received’t undergo regardless of the job cuts, however Catherine Trapani is skeptical. She’s the manager director of Homeless Services United, a coalition of fifty nonprofit businesses serving homeless and at-risk adults and households in New York Metropolis.

The town ultimately will get round to processing the meals stamp functions, Trapani stated, however that doesn’t assist low-income New Yorkers who want rapid assist. 

“They will issue the benefits retroactively to the date that the person was eligible,” she stated. “But you can’t eat retroactively.”