Magnarelli Fights to Save the Displaced Homemaker Program

Governorís budget cuts would eliminate valuable statewide program
March 5, 2004

The governorís plan to eliminate the displaced homemaker program Ė part of his latest budget proposal that includes drastic cuts to healthcare and education Ė is simply unacceptable. By proposing the closure of the center here in Syracuse, the governor is taking jobs and services away from Central New Yorkers at a time when they can least afford it. Complete elimination of the stateís program that serves over 200,000 New Yorkers is yet another example of the governorís wrong choice to balance his budget on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens.

The displaced homemaker program plays a critical role in helping individuals get the education, skills training and other vital assistance they need to succeed. Displaced homemakers are much more likely to be unemployed or working in low-paying jobs. Thatís why itís so important that New York help these individuals to achieve economic self-sufficiency.

This is the second year in a row the governor has attempted to undermine this program. The Legislature approved funding for the displaced homemakers program in last yearís budget, but the governor failed to earmark critical resources through the state Labor Departmentís Unemployment Interest and Penalty Fund. The result was a loss of approximately $2 million under current contracts, from $6 million a year to $4 million.

There are 22 regional centers run by the non-for-profit organizations which provide a full range of employment and support services to displaced homemakers, such as job readiness programs, resume writing and job seeking strategies. The governorís failure to fund this program threatens the very existence of those regional centers and the clients they serve. Locally, the governorís proposal to eliminate the program will have a real and lasting effect in our community. If you or someone you know would like more information on the displaced homemaker program, please call Cathy Talev at 446-0550 or visit the center at:

RLS Career Center
770 James Street
Syracuse, NY 13203

On Monday February 23rd, members of the displaced homemaker program were in Albany lobbying lawmakers to restore the funding the governor cut from this program. I had the opportunity to meet with the Director of the Center in Onondaga County, Cathy Talev, who is understandably very concerned about the future of this vital program.

According to Talev, "Eliminating this program would hurt hundreds of local women who are diligently working to get back on their feet again after an unforeseen set-back." She went on to say, "The governor is constantly placing road blocks along the path of economic stability for New Yorkís working families Ė we must work together to make sure these funds are restored and individuals are given the confidence and skills to achieve self-sufficiency."

I completely agree with Ms. Talev and I will work in the Legislature to restore these critical funds. We must demonstrate to the governor that his series of wrong choices have real consequence in our communities. Governor, New Yorkers deserve better Ė letís take a second look at some of the choices you have been making and start evaluating the ramifications they will have on the people of this great state. We should be helping displaced homemakers succeed in re-entering the workforce Ė not turning our backs on them. Sadly, thatís exactly what the governorís short-sighted policy of eliminating this program does. Over the course of budget negotiations, I will work to convince the governor that these funds are essential to give New Yorkís displaced homemakers the chance to turn their lives around.