A powerful letter in the Albany Times Union today from MHANYS Board Chair and Northern Rivers CEO, Bill Gettman, on the need for ensuring that this year’ proposed COLA language, based on the CPI, becomes permanent. He also
highlights the challenges of running a not for profit with limited funding and the consequence of difficult decision making in a time of great need.
Letter: Social safety net cost-of-living increase should be permanent To the editor Feb. 28, 2022
New York’s families have faced many challenges in past years: the down economy, joblessness, homelessness, opiate/substance abuse, and violence in already plagued communities; for these forgotten New Yorkers, times are still hard. When families are in crisis and children are at risk, New York’s not-for-profit human services providers are both the first line of defense and the safety net.
Across New York state, 1-in-7 workers are employed by a not-for-profit organization. Women make up an astonishing 81 percent of the human services and direct care workforce in New York. This equates to 268,900-plus skilled, well-educated workers who are paid significantly less than women in New York’s private sector.
The Executive Budget includes a one-time 5.4 percent cost-of-living adjustment to human services providers in fiscal year 2023 for eligible programs and services, and we applaud the inclusion of that.
These funds will flow to front-line staff and allow them to make gains after years of underfunding. However, as part of the proposal, permanent authority for the increase expires. We recommend permanent extension of it with annual adjustments to reflect the demands and importance of safety net programs; specifically, we recommend that the cost-of-living adjustment be provided to the children and adult health home programs that have been started over the past decade.
A strong nonprofit sector contributes to a strong New York state.