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Mental Health Update

March 25, 2019
Mental Health Update

MH Update – 3/25/19 – The ONLY Way to Address the Crisis Faced By ALL of NY’s Human Service Workers is via a 2.9% COLA!

Thank you to our colleagues at NYAPRS for putting this fact sheet together and to the hundreds of non-profits across NYS including the entire behavioral health sector for banding together in support of COLA.

The ONLY Way to Address the Crisis Faced By
ALL of NY’s Human Service Workers is via a 2.9% COLA!

COLA Fact Sheet

Human services providers are fundamental to New York State: the sector makes up 20% of New York’s workforce and delivers services to 2.5 million people annually.

The nonprofit human services workforce is, in effect, an indirect government workforce. The State and its local governments have turned to upwards of 500 nonprofit organizations to provide these critical services, working in contracts for example with the following state agencies to serve our most vulnerable New Yorkers:

· Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

· Office of Children and Family Services

· Office for People with Developmental Disabilities

· Office for the Aging

· Office of Mental Health

· Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

A recently newly compiled survey that pointedly demonstrated the magnitude of their workforce crisis, showing a 35% statewide turnover rates and 14% vacancy rates for the behavioral health workforce. In New York City alone, the turnover rate was over 45%.

Underfunding human services is an equity and racial disparity issue: the nonprofit human services workforce is 81% female and 46% women of color.

The average pay for our dedicated workforce is so low that 60% of those working in our human services sector were utilizing or had a family member utilizing some form of public assistance benefit such as Medicaid or food stamps.

For 8 of the last 10 years, Governor Cuomo has deferred the statutory cost-of-living adjustment for nonprofit human services employees, withholding over an estimated $707 million from worker salaries and benefits, infrastructure improvements and ever increasing operating expenses.

A 2.9% COLA is essential to help New York to address shocking increases in deaths due to opioid use and suicide, including a growing number of attempts among children under 10 years old, and steadily mounting rates of homelessness and incarceration.

Every day, our human services nonprofits and their workforce work at every level of society to promote and protect some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers. We can be found on the streets, in the neighborhood, at community crisis programs, pantries and shelters and domestic violence and sexual assault treatment programs, clinics and rehabilitation programs across New York.

Contact: Harvey Rosenthal, NYAPRS 518-527-0564
Glenn Liebman, Mental Health Association of NYS 518-360-7916