Thanks to our colleagues at Fiscal Policy Institute, Human Services Council
and FWPA for the terrific press event held yesterday at the Capitol. We
also thank Assembly members Pat Fahy, John McDonald and Phil Steck for
attending and speaking out in support of a living wage for the not for
People came from across the State to advocate in support of more funding
and administrative support for not for profit agencies. The press
conference also highlighted the report entitled ‘Human Services:
Opportunities for New York Communities: Restore Opportunities Now Invest in
Human Services’. The report was based on in depth interviews with
hundred’s of people across New York State as well as online surveys to not
I had the opportunity to speak to give a mental health perspective on the
impact to the mental health workforce. My comments are listed below. Also,
listed are several articles about the event.
Impact to Mental Health:
“In the mental health sector, we are gearing up for a perfect storm
regarding workforce. This is a storm that will need more than a few
umbrellas to weather.
Look at the numbers. The community mental health workforce works with
800,000 New Yorkers across New York State. This workforce is tremendously
underfunded with only one small increase in support over the last eight
years. Many of these jobs are vital for support and recovery of individuals
with mental illness. People in these positions are often mission driven,
but mission driven doesn’t pay the rent or pay off college loans. They also
have to be compensated or else it will be very difficult to retain them in
this strained environment.
Reforms such as the minimum wage increase have repercussions to our
sector. Less state support for this increase for not for profits will
result in job loss to the mental health sector. Despite best intentions,
people will leave the sector to get jobs in the service industry that pay
more and are less stressful.
Other State reforms such as Medicaid Managed Care makes the mental health
sector more complex and creates a new level of sophistication for the
workforce. To not fully compensate and train the mental health workforce
for this coming change will also have disastrous consequences.
So to summarize:
–No real increase to the workforce in almost a decade
–A Minimum Wage Increase that might negatively impact the not for profit
workforce without appropriate compensation
–More complex programs that call for even more sophistication for the
mental health workforce.
That is why we are pleased to be part of the Restore Opportunities Now
campaign. Nothing changes in a vacuum. The needs of people with mental
illness are part of a dynamic that involves the entire human services
spectrum. Our entire sector needs to be lifted up through a series of
reforms that have been addressed by our colleagues.”
Glenn Liebman, CEO, Mental Health Association in NYS, Inc.
Articles from the Press Conference
Human services activists push for increased funding for nonprofits
ALBANY — A handful of Democratic Assembly members joined dozens of
activists at the Capitol on Thursday to call for improving funding for
human services nonprofits.
Ronald Deutsch, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, said
that after years of belt tightening in the wake of the recession, many
nonprofits are at risk of insolvency or drastically cutting services
without increased funding.
“We’re at a tipping point right now and we’ve seen first hand the struggles
that many groups are facing,” he said.
A coalition of more than 270 nonprofit health and human services
organizations launched a campaign called Restore Opportunity Now in order
to push for increased state money to these groups.
Glenn Liebman, chief executive of the Mental Health Association in New York
State, said increased money is essential to preventing burnout among
“We’re all mission driven, we all truly believe in the mission, but people
have loans to pay, need to live and eat and make a substantive living,”
Allison Sesso, executive director of the Human Services Council, said one
of the campaign’s specific goals is for state contracts with the nonprofits
to include provisions that help pay for the state’s newly increased minimum
“It needs to be funded in our contracts, otherwise it’s just another budget
hole for us,” she said.
Democratic Assembly members Phil Steck, John McDonald and Patricia Fahy
spoke in support of Restore Opportunity Now.
What has not followed completely are the financial resources to invest in
the human capital,” McDonald, who also works as a pharmacist in Cohoes. “We
talk about the physical capital at the end of the day this is human
services, it involves human beings working and caring for each other.”
The Assembly members said that the upcoming budget is likely to be tight,
but that it is critical to fund these services.
Deutsch said the group does not yet have a specific dollar amount that it
would like to see invested into human services nonprofits, but said they
are hoping to realign government priorities in their favor.
“There is a real misalignment between the way we’re paid through our
government contracts, and what we have to do on the front lines,” said
Allison Sesso, executive director of the Human Services Council, which is
one of the leaders of the effort.
“There is an expectation that we are coming to government with a basket
full of goods that we just don’t have.”
“We’re dealing with human beings,” said Scott McDonald, who represented
Urban Pathways, an organization that connects homeless New Yorkers with
“[We’re] not dealing with statistics, not dealing with reports, we’re
dealing with human beings.”
Cuomo, legislators warn of uncertain, tight fiscal times ahead
Updated December 8, 2016 7:25 PM
By Michael Gormley firstname.lastname@example.org
News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.
ALBANY — More than 270 caregivers took time out Thursday from working with
the mentally ill, homeless and physically disabled to lobby for more
funding so their nonprofit agencies can better afford the state’s rising
minimum wage. But they faced a cold truth in Albany, where legislators told
them little added spending is expected in the upcoming state budget.
“This is a labor of love,” Assemb. Patricia Fahey (R-Delmar) told the care
workers at a news conference. “But love alone will not carry the day. . . .
We are walking in with less money than past years.”
She noted that unlike a year ago, the state budget won’t benefit from a
windfall of more than $1 billion from law enforcement settlements with
She and other Albany-area members, Democrats John McDonald and Phil Steck,
said the legislature is bracing for a tighter 2017-18 budget proposal in
January from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
Hours later at his own news event, Cuomo confirmed uncertain and tight
times ahead. He said he’s unsure how Republican President-elect Donald
Trump will handle major federal sources of revenue to New York, including
reimbursement for Medicaid health care for the poor.
“The economy and receipts have slowed already,” he said. “Exactly how much,
we don’t know yet. And then we have to see what the federal government does
. . . if they go with the classic conservative governmental theory of
cutting those programs to the high-needs states, it’s going to be a serious
His executive budget proposal is expected in January. No details of
spending or revenue have yet been released.
The fiscal forecast concerned the caregivers in Albany Thursday who work at
nonprofit agencies that deliver social services through state funding.
Leaders at the agencies said they don’t have enough funding to pay higher
salaries under the state’s graduated increase in the minimum wage from $9
now to up to $15 at different regional rates by 2021. The nonprofit groups
also said they will lose skilled workers to fast-food restaurants, which
under a state order will pay a rising minimum wage in annual stages up to
$15 an hour in New York City in 2018 and statewide in 2021.
Cuomo has said he will try in the state budget to help nonprofit groups
afford the higher wages through larger state grants, but no agreement has
yet been made.
Glenn Liebman, CEO
Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc.
194 Washington Avenue Suite 415
Albany, NY 12210