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.
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.