Today was another strong advocacy day in support of a COLA for the Human Services Workforce. Our friends at Strong Nonprofits held their annual Women of the Human Services Sector Hall of Fame. Women from across the State were honored for their work (go to #StrongNonProfits for pictures of the event. ). The fundamental message is that because the not for profit human services sector is comprised of 81% women, this is more than just a workforce issue—it is a social justice issue as well. Today’s program came on the heels of last week’s letter from over two thousand women in the human services sector to Governor Cuomo, urging his support for a 2.9% COLA in this year’s budget.

By not funding a COLA for most of the last decade, the nonprofit sector has lost out on over seven hundred million dollars that could have gone to help community mental health agencies, children’s mental health programs, addiction programs, child welfare, developmental disability programs, domestic violence programs, foster care, food pantries, veterans programs and so much more.

This year’s budget presents a great opportunity to lift up the wage and administrative support for the entire human services sector and to recruit and retain the quality staff that allows nonprofits to be the safety net for the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

Next week at our Mental Health Matters Day on March 13th (www.mhanys.org), we will bring together hundreds of New Yorkers from across the State to help highlight the need for a COLA.