Assembly Budget Proposal Lends a Helping Hand to Our Most Vulnerable New Yorkers

March 12, 2012
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush) announced the passage of an Assembly budget proposal that funds vital family and disability programs to assist those in need during this difficult economic time (K.1023).

Helping struggling families maintain a better quality of life

The Assembly budget proposal rejects a plan to delay implementation of the public-assistance grant increase. Alternatively, the Assembly earmarks $24 million for full implementation of the 10 percent public-assistance grant increase to take effect on July 1, 2012.

“During this tough economic time, we cannot allow our most vulnerable New Yorkers to slip through the cracks,” Jacobs said. “By increasing the public assistance grant this year, we can ensure that hardworking families get the financial assistance they need now, not later.”

Assisting single-parent households

The Assembly proposal includes language that would temporarily exempt single-parent temporary-assistance households with infants under the age of 1 from work requirements for 12 months. This initiative would open up 2,200 day care slots statewide.

“This family-friendly initiative would have the added benefit of making more day care slots available,” said Ms. Jacobs. “It's important to help single-parent households struggling to get by, so they have the opportunity to properly care for their families.”

Helping at-risk youths

The Assembly budget proposal establishes the “Close to Home Initiative,” under which New York City will be allowed to oversee non-secure and limited-secure juvenile justice facilities. The plan would also:

  • require additional public hearings and reports to the Legislature;
  • require the respondent, his or her attorney and the parent to be notified of any placement change;
  • retain judicial authority to order specific services upon placing a youth;
  • limit the time under which a youth may be placed in a local detention facility, pending his or her court proceeding;
  • create a panel of independent experts to assist in validating the risk-assessment instrument used to guide placement determinations; and
  • sunset the authorization to close facilities with 60-days notice in April 2013.

“Currently, when at-risk youths are placed in juvenile facilities, they are sent miles and miles away from their families and communities,” the Assemblywoman said. “This process is detrimental to many of our youths’ rehabilitation. By setting up a juvenile system in New York City, we can increase transparency and accountability, while keeping our at-risk children closer to home.”

Preserving vital family and disability programs

The Assembly budget proposal restores $13.3 million for the following programs that were eliminated from the executive budget proposal:

  • ATTAIN Technology Training Labs ($3 million);
  • Supplemental Homelessness Intervention Program ($1.5 million);
  • Supportive Housing for Families and Young Adults ($1.5 million);
  • Settlement Houses ($1 million);
  • Wage Subsidy Program ($950,000);
  • Career Pathways ($750,000);
  • Preventative Services ($610,000);
  • Displaced Homemakers ($546,000);
  • Non-Residential Domestic Violence Services ($510,000);
  • Advantage Schools ($500,000);
  • Emergency Homeless Needs ($500,000);
  • Child Care SUNY/CUNY ($334,000);
  • ACCESS-Welfare to Careers ($250,000);
  • Disability Advocacy Program ($250,000);
  • Educational Resources ($250,000);
  • Strengthening Families Through Stronger Fathers ($200,000);
  • Bridge ($102,000);
  • Refugee Resettlement Program ($102,000);
  • Caretaker Relative/Kinship ($51,000); and
  • Various transportation programs:
    • Wheels for Work ($144,000);
    • Community Solutions for Transportation ($112,000);

“It’s crucial that we adequately restore programs that assist those who need it most, including seniors, at-risk youths and children with special needs,” Ms. Jacobs said. “We should never sacrifice the health and well-being of our most vulnerable New Yorkers, and this year’s Assembly budget proposal reflects that.”

Providing increased aid to the elderly and disabled

The Assembly budget proposal implements a Social Security Income Cost of Living Adjustment beginning January 2013.

“As the cost of living rises, it gets harder and harder for many seniors and disabled individuals to make ends meet,” said Assemblywoman Jacobs. “This adjustment for social security recipients will help ease the financial burden on millions of retired and disabled New Yorkers who have seen their medical and prescription expenses skyrocket, and their savings accounts diminish.”