December 8, 2016


Coalition Releases Report Showing Human Impact of Persistent Underfunding
in Communities Across the State

ALBANY, NY– Restore Opportunity Now, a coalition of more than 270 nonprofit
human services organizations, today gathered at the State Capitol to
highlight the need for increased investment in the sector to ensure
nonprofits can continue to effectively serve communities in New York State.

The coalition released a report demonstrating the need for resources across
the state and outlined a plan for strengthening the sector through smart
and efficient investment.

Human services are the State’s first line of defense in combating pressing
issues like poverty, but rising costs coupled with ever present needs and
lack of investment have undermined the health of the sector, which is now
at a breaking point.

The report found that there is significant need going unmet in communities
across the state. Fifty-eight percent of providers in 2014 reported that
they were not meeting the need in their communities. Human services
organizations, stretching to meet growing need operate in increasingly
challenging environments. Only 7 percent reported that their State
contracts covered the full cost of providing services. Recruitment and
retention of qualified staff is also a major challenge, due to low levels
of compensation.

“Living wages and fair compensation for hard work must be recognized as
basic necessities for all New Yorkers. The Senate Democrats have been long
time supporters of a truly fair and livable minimum wage and higher living
standards for New York families and we will keep up that fight. Together
with advocates like Restore Opportunity Now, I am confident we will build a
stronger, fairer, and more prosperous state,” said Senate Democratic
Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

“Strengthening the human services sector is really an equity issue, for
both the communities they serve and the workforce itself. The people
reached by human services are largely women, people of color, and children,
while the workforce is also more than 80 percent women and more than half
people of color. New York State has an opportunity to lift up its
residents by investing in these services, as well as the organizations and
people that provide them,” said* Assemblymember Donna Lupardo.*

“As chair of the Social Services Committee, I know how much the State
relies on our nonprofit partners to build strong communities, and the
sector needs these crucial investments – in their contracts, in their
workforce, and in programs – because they have been working on the margins
for far too long. The sector has stepped up despite years of
underinvestment to provide quality services to millions of New Yorkers, and
it is clear that without these changes, many nonprofit providers may not be
able to continue to operate,” *said Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi.*

“Human services workers care for our most vulnerable populations and
provide support for those among us who are most in need. Their work is
vital to the health and well-being of so many and they deserve to be fairly
compensated for their contributions and hard work. I stand with the Restore
Opportunity Now campaign and support the goal of a higher wage for these
workers who give so much to others,” said Assemblymember John McDonald

“Last year, the New York State Assembly fully funded increased wages for
direct care workers. I was one of the members who urged that to be part of
the budget. I will continue to do so this year, and urge my colleagues in
the Senate to do the same*,” said Assemblymember Phil Steck.

“The Human Services sector is a life-line for millions of New Yorkers.
Because of decades of underfunding, the sector too often resembles many of
the communities we serve- struggling from day-to-day to make ends meet. We
can only expect this day-to-day struggle to continue if we don’t address
this and related issues now. More than ever, it is essential that we
partner with government to provide relief and stability to not only the
sector, but the growing number of families and communities in need,” said
Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director at FPWA.

“New York relies on nonprofit human services providers to deliver essential
services to populations in every corner of the state, but chronic
mis-investment has resulted in a sector that is on the brink. Given the
uncertainty regarding funding at the federal level, it is more important
than ever that we strengthen our human services sector so that it is
positioned to support the wellbeing of all New Yorkers. That requires
making smart, strategic decisions about how we are funding these
organizations,” said* Allison Sesso, Executive Director of the Human
Services Council. *

“Poverty rates across New York State are unacceptably high. The Governor’s
Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative is a great first step to address
this issue in many communities across the state. Unfortunately it does not
address the chronic underfunding of the human services sector and the
communities they serve. With committed investment in the sector, coupled
with key systems changes so nonprofits can better partner with government,
we can ensure that New Yorkers have access to opportunities and that our
communities thrive,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal
Policy Institute.

“The community mental health workforce is integral in the support and
recovery of the 800,000 New Yorkers in our public mental health system.
Despite jobs that are vital and life-saving, there has been only one
increase in community funding for mental health in the last eight years.
This is a recipe for a workforce disaster both in the mental health arena
and the entire human services sector. That is why we strongly support our
fellow human services coalition members in the Restore Opportunity Now
campaign in advocating for an increased investment in the human services
sector,” said Glenn Liebman, CEO, Mental Health Association in New York
State (MHANYS).

“This is really quite simple. When the government contracts with a private
agency to meet a state need, it has to pay the real costs for that
service. To pay less may look like a savings to the state, but the cost is
that the client’s needs cannot be met,” said

Jim Purcell, CEO Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies

“For those of us in the disability services sector, the workforce crisis is
our most significant challenge. Quite frankly, the lack of invest in these
organizations threatens their continued viability and the supports they
provide to individuals with disabilities and their families. We need NYS
to make the financial commitment to sustain these organizations and permit
them to recruit and retain qualified employees,” said Michael Seereiter,
President and CEO of the NYS Rehabilitation Association.

“A budget is a moral document, in that it speaks to who we are as a people
by how we set our fiscal priorities. As Catholic Charities marks its 100th
year of serving the most vulnerable New Yorkers, we know that Empire State
has a proud history of working with the not-for-profit and faith-based
communities to provide essential human services to those on the margins of
society or facing a crisis. Now is not the time to retreat from that
commitment. Together, we can ensure that the needs of all of those in our
communities of this great state are met. But it must be a priority in order
to succeed,” said *Michael A. Lawler, Director of Catholic Charities. *

“Urban Pathways, a 40-year provider of housing and social services to
homeless adults in New York City, enthusiastically supports the Restore
Opportunity Now Campaign. Now is the time for the State to make crucial
monetary investments and system changes to strengthen New York’s nonprofit
human services sector. Doing so will strengthen an economic engine in New
York State, a safety net for those most vulnerable and communities across
New York State. We look forward to working with the State in ensuring all
communities and all New Yorkers have opportunity,” said Ron Abad, COO of
Urban Pathways.

“ NRPs play a vital role in delivering high quality and cost effective
services. Our workforce is critical to making NYS a great place to live,
work, and raise a family,” said William Gettman, CEO of Northern Rivers
Family of Services.

The Co-Chairs of the Restore Opportunity Now campaign are The Human
Services Council, FPWA and The Fiscal Policy Institute.

The Restore Opportunity Now Advisory Committee includes the following



Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc.

New York State Community Action Association

New York State Council of Catholic Charities Directors

New York State Rehabilitation Association

Central NY

Human Services Leadership Council of Central New York

Finger Lakes

Arbor Housing and Development

New York City

SCO Family of Services

Urban Pathways

Capital Region

Northern Rivers Family of Services

Western NY

Cattaragus Community Action


Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility, Inc.

Western Region Hillside Family of Agencies


Nonprofit Westchester

Southern Tier

Southern Tier Independence Center

# # #


FPWA- Antoinette Isable-Jones (212) 801-1316 & Charlotte Hough (212) 681-1380

Human Services Council- Jennifer Barden (646) 676-4486

Fiscal Policy Institute- Ronald Deutsch (518) 469-6769



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