Menchaca Holds Joint Committee Meeting For Increased Funding
City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (Sunset Park, Red Hook) today will hold a a joint Executive Budget Hearing today with both the Committee on Immigration that he chairs and the Committee on Youth Services.
The Committee on Immigration’s preliminary budget hearing which took place March 28, highlighted the need for increased funding for a number of City immigrant services, but prevalent was the call for additional funding in adult literacy and complex immigration cases. This joint hearing will maximize on the presence of Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), who will provide testimony and will address questions from Committee members on the needs of New York City working families, including immigrant families, in a more holistic way.
“The Mayor could help make New York City families whole in this budget by meeting three major funding needs: youth jobs, summer camps and English literacy. Each is an investment in our neighborhoods and our economy. Parents can keep or find a better job knowing their young child has a summer camp seat or that their older child has a secure summer job. If these parents need English literacy, they should be given training by local organizations that are proven to be most effective. Literacy leads to increased employment. The time is now to support our New York City working families,” said Menchaca.
Bklyn Lawmakers Take Stand For More Summer Youth Jobs
City Council Progressive Caucus and Black, Latino and Asian Caucus members including Brooklyn City Council Members Antonio Reynoso, Robert Cornegy Jr., Mathieu Eugene and Jumaane Williams together with youth advocates will rally today in response to the Executive Budget’s failure to increase money for youth jobs.
The coalition is gathering advance of testimony by the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) before a joint hearing with the Committee on Finance and Youth Services.
DYCD received over 120,000 applications in 2015 for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) but enrolled only 54,000 youth at a 41% acceptance rate. Members are disappointed by these outcomes and concerned that the Administration has not met this gap with additional funding for summer and year-round youth jobs. Additionally, in recognition of this important partnership, Caucus members have signed up as SYEP worksites in order to meet this growing demand.
The rally is slated for 9:30 a.m., today on the steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan.
Harris Opens Bay Ridge Office
Assemblymember Pamela Harris (Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights), Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie along with local elected officials and community leaders celebrated the opening of her Bay Ridge district office on Friday.
“With my Coney Island office already open to the community, this new Bay Ridge office will ensure that I can better respond to the unique and diverse needs of the families I represent,” Harris said. “In addition, Bay Ridge residents will now have a physical point of contact if they have issues or need help accessing government programs and services.”
Much like Harris’ Coney Island district office, friendly assistance will be available at the new Bay Ridge district office to help connect residents with local services and state agencies; obtain benefits, government forms and applications; answer questions about state government; get information on programs like EPIC, HEAP, STAR, DRIE or SCRIE; and find solutions to community issues.
Harris encourages anyone who has any questions or concerns to visit or contact her Coney Island district office (2823 W. 12th St., Suite 1F;718-266-0267) or her Bay Ridge district office (8525 3rd Ave., 347-420-4250) or email her at [email protected].
Cuomo Signs Ticket Reselling Reform, Squadron Agrees
Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday reluctantly signed a watered down ticket reselling reform measure.
“Recent reports, including findings from the Attorney General’s Office, document a series of unfair and illegal ticket selling and reselling practices that deceive New York State consumers and leave them paying prices well above face value for tickets to concerts and other events. These include the withholding of huge portions of ticket inventory from primary sale, and the use of specialized computer software that allow ticket speculators to purchase large chunks of premium tickets, which they then resell at huge markups,” said Cuomo.
“I was disappointed these issues were not addressed in the legislation (S7181/ A9773), passed by the Assembly and the Senate. However, vetoing this legislation would cause significant market disruption, inconvenience to consumers, and could potentially cost jobs. For these reasons, I was compelled to sign the bill.
“It is clear steps must be taken to properly inform consumers about ticket availability, and protect them against the intrusion of unfair technology employed by unscrupulous speculators for profit.”
Cuomo said he will form a working group on the issue to study and make recommendations to be acted on before the law next expires on June 30, 2017, and absent of those reforms he won’t sign similar legislation next year.
State Senator Daniel Squadron (Northern Brooklyn), who sponsors ticket reselling reform measures including price caps and increased transparency (S.192), as well as a ban on charity ticket reselling (S.571) and has repeatedly argued for reform on the Senate floor (2014, 2015, 2016) released the following statement in response to Cuomo’s ticket reselling law announcement:
“I applaud the Governor’s strong statement. The Governor is right to insist on significant reform, including increased information on ticket availability, as well as reforms to address ticket bots. I look forward to working with the Governor’s announced task force to find a better way.”
Levin Leads Council Lobby For More Emergency Food Assistance
City Council Member Stephen Levin (Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo, Boerum Hill, Williamsburg) led a group of 48 Council Members that signed onto a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio calling on him to include $22 million in baseline food funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) in the Fiscal Year 2017 New York City budget.
More than one million New Yorkers – or 16 percent of the city – rely on providers such as a food pantry or soup kitchen for emergency food. New York City faces a meal gap of 241 million meals annually, and over 500 organizations that provide millions of meals a year to families face substantial underfunding while the demand for their services continues to grow. And yet the Executive Budget reduces EFAP funding to an FY 2015 level of $8.2 million.
Since November 2013, the need for emergency food has escalated dramatically due to cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. As a result, vulnerable New Yorkers have lost more than 116 million meals annually. SNAP is the first line of defense against hunger, but does not address the full need. Increased funding is critical to meeting the growing demand for emergency food by vulnerable New Yorkers.
“We find evidence of hunger in every corner of our city and we must ensure that no one is turned away when seeking nutritious food that they need to survive,” said Levin, Chair of the General Welfare Committee. “Millions of New Yorkers rely on meals from food banks and soup kitchens, and the need is greater than ever before. The City must increase its commitment to the Emergency Food Assistance Program: no family should have to choose between paying for necessary expenses and being able to eat.”
Rather than growing to meet demand, the amount allocated to EFAP in the Executive Budget has been reduced to Fiscal Year 2015 levels. This reduction leaves the program ill-equipped to address a growing need across the five boroughs. Demonstrably, emergency food providers reported that in 2015, their resources have often been depleted:
- Nearly half of providers ran out of food for adequate pantry bags or meals.
- Providers had to turn away 10 percent more hungry New Yorkers due to food shortages.
- 45% of food pantries had to reduce the amount of food in pantry bags.