Gotham Gazette

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Adams 2021: In-depth - People's Plan

Cash, Childcare & Housing  Assistance—And A City That Delivers
New York City has always been a place of immense wealth and persistent poverty.  Generation after generation, whether our overall economy is up or down, most New  Yorkers struggle to get by either some of the time or all of the time. That is because  most New Yorkers do not have a firm foundation on which to build their wealth—and the  government services and programs that are meant to provide that foundation are either  inadequate or inefficiently managed. 

I experienced this as a young man facing hunger and homelessness while my single  mother struggled to keep food on our table and a roof over our head. More than 40  years later, our city’s problems are the same. 

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the holes in New York City’s safety net—but it also led  to an opportunity for historic change. The next mayor and City Council will inherit  billions of dollars in new funds from the federal and State governments that — if used  wisely and morally — can fundamentally change our city. Most importantly, smarter,  fairer, more effective government can reverse inequality. 

That is why as mayor I will launch my “People’s Plan”, combining my NYC AID, Housing  Voucher+ and UCare universal childcare programs—all united by my MyCity platform to  better deliver services and benefits efficiently and effectively to New Yorkers who need  them. 

This unprecedented effort will revolutionize the City’s approach to caring for New  Yorkers in need by providing assistance through automatic monthly cash assistance,  free or subsidized childcare, housing vouchers that actually pay the rent and more  efficient delivery of City services. 

At the center of the People’s Plan will be a unified digital platform that connects all City  agencies through a single portal. To receive the cash, credits, services and other assis tance they need, New Yorkers will simply fill out one application and the City will do the  rest. With the right set of data points, the City will be able to determine what each New  Yorker needs, and then use its resources to assist them, whether that means putting  cash into a bank account or placing their child at a local daycare center. 

My People’s Plan will bring our city into the 21st Century, leaving no New Yorker behind.  At this pivotal moment, we finally have the resources and technology to deliver on the  promise of New York. Here is how I will do it.

Three Keys To Equality And Prosperity Linked Through One Platform

Children without adequate childcare are much less likely to succeed, and are much more  likely to be Black and Brown. It is a moral imperative that we provide universal childcare  for every parent who cannot afford it, starting with children ages 0 to 3. This will close a  massive gap in care for the youngest New Yorkers at the most critical point of their brain  development, and free up parents—especially women of color—to power our economy  and excel in their own careers. Under my UCare program, we will significantly reduce the  cost of childcare by removing the biggest cost to childcare providers: space. We will do  this by prioritizing space in City-owned buildings for childcare, offering density bonuses  to residential building developers who guarantee permanently free or low rent to  providers, and with a tax break to office building owners and other private building  owners who create free space for providers—savings which will be required to be passed  on to parents. 

New Yorkers are in crisis because of COVID-19--and they need immediate, serious  financial assistance to get through. To get New Yorkers the money they need right now,  we will launch the NYC AID (Advanced Income Deployment) initiative to get struggling  individuals and families their Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) in advanced monthly  payments, while also substantially increasing the amounts of the credits to deliver the  high level of aid needed during our financial crisis. Under our plan, a New York City family  with two children on the edge of poverty earning $30,000 a year would receive  approximately $3,000 annually, or about $250 a month from a boosted City EITC  program. Currently, that same family would receive about $250 for the entire year from  those same credits. 

Housing Voucher+
New Yorkers on the brink of homelessness and in shelters need far greater assistance  than is available now to stay in their apartments or find new ones that they can afford.  One way we will accomplish this is with my Housing Voucher+ program, increasing the  value of the City FHEPS vouchers to the federal market value so they are adequate to help pay the rent in our city. This will increase the amount available per month nearly  $500 to approximately $2,500 a month for a three-bedroom apartment and about $250  more a month to about $1,950 a month on one- and two-bedroom units. When the cost  of a person in the shelter system is $124 a day and $196 per day for a family, increasing  the value of vouchers is common sense governing. It’s also the right thing to do. 

All of these programs can help struggling New Yorkers considerably in addition to other  City benefits--but not if they’re run inefficiently and New Yorkers do not have easy  access to them. That is why at the center of the People’s Plan is my MyCity platform, a  single online portal for all City services. Imagine typing only one number into a secure  app or Web site and instantly receiving everything you qualify for without any  paperwork, as well as constant up-to-date information that will help you protect you  and your family. In addition to NYC AID, UCare and Housing Voucher+, you can also  instantly have access to a bank account, discounted food and healthcare. With the  technology now available, there is no reason New York City cannot do that for every New  Yorker. This is a 311 for the digital age, and so much more.

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