Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Nonprofit Human Services Sector

Nonprofit Human Services Sector

  • New York City Must Help the Helpers: It’s Time to End Poverty-Level Human Services Worker Wages

    Resource fair (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    In my work at a community center, I frequently help people who are experiencing homelessness in New York City, and I did that even when I was homeless myself. I am a program director at O’dwyer Gardens Cornerstone, a NYCHA community center in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Many of my clients are under-housed or currently experiencing homelessness, and the work that I do is crucial for the wellbeing of all New Yorkers.

    My center offers wraparound services that help our

    ...
  • A New Normal for Our City’s Essential Nonprofits?

    Emergency food (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In the beginning of the pandemic, we longed to return to normal. However, after months of lock down, a racial justice reckoning, and a growing realization that concerns about political incivility needed to be replaced with legitimate fears about the stability of our polarized democracy, we started to think about all the reasons that going back to normal was no longer a viable option. It has become abundantly clear that “normal” never worked for everyone, and that this is by design. Our society’s definition of normal was built

    ...
  • Feed The Hungry: How New York Must Work with the Human Services Sector to End Food Insecurity

    Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

    Emergency food distribution (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    A new year marks the beginning of a new chapter for New York City. With Eric Adams officially sworn in as New York City's 110th mayor, a refreshed City Council and historic new City Council Speaker, 2022 offers a new opportunity to turn the tide on one of the most pressing issues facing New Yorkers: food insecurity.

    Right Now, 1.5 million New

    ...
  • Why You Should Support Your Local Nonprofits and Help Them Fight for More on International Day of Charity

    camp ag foo

    Nonprofit New York at work (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In an effort to increase and enhance social responsibility worldwide, the United Nations General Assembly marked September 5 as the International Day of Charity. This day serves to encourage community members everywhere to show support for charitable causes including the efforts of local nonprofit organizations.

    From climate change and systemic racism to poverty and homelessness, nonprofits are tasked with some of the most difficult and ingrained challenges of our time. Yet

    ...
  • We All Rely on Nonprofits — New York Must Value Them

    np day barnette

    New York nonprofits do it all (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    You've probably never heard of "National Nonprofit Day." The date, August 17, is pegged to the anniversary of a tariff bill passed in 1894 that outlined foundational requirements for tax-exempt status. A holiday based on the tax code has not exactly caught the public's imagination. There aren't even greeting cards.

    But most New Yorkers rely on nonprofits every single day without really thinking about it. So this year, let's use this obscure holiday to appreciate and

    ...
  • Government Keeps Failing Social Service Providers, Now We’re Passing the Buck to Labor

    gov keep failing laborpeace hr

    Council Member Helen Rosenthal, the author (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    I am proud to support and fight for workers in the human services sector. The city’s 125,000-plus social service workers provide essential services to 2.5 million New Yorkers, especially seniors, children, people with disabilities, and our neighbors experiencing homelessness. Most recently, they have been absolutely central to New York City’s response to the pandemic, ensuring that the most vulnerable do not fall through the cracks.

    Human

    ...
  • City Funding Inadequate For Human Service Workers To Meet Basic Needs, Report Says

    163955641 10157412496791735 8166858140712898405 n

    (photo: @winnyc.org)


    New York City's nonprofit human services workforce – a sector of 200,000 social workers, case managers, and counselors serving the city's most vulnerable residents – is, itself, in need.

    According to a new report from Win (formerly Women In Need), the city's largest shelter provider for families and children, pay among social service

    ...
  • The New City Budget Fails Human Services Workers

    3 failed human services

    Mayor de Blasio handing out food (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Human services workers are the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 response, and the new city budget has failed them.

    Many New Yorkers may not know that most social services are delivered by nonprofit
    organizations under city and state government contracts that consistently set poverty level wages for workers.

    Throughout the pandemic, when we heard about lines wrapping around the block outside of
    food pantries, childcare being provided for

    ...
  • They Provide Essential City Services. They Deserve More

    a ribbon cutting

    Providing city services (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    As COVID-19 swept across our city, nonprofit human services workers were a beacon of hope, providing a safe haven for New Yorkers from all walks of life. While others were told to stay home, these workers--who are predominantly women and people of color--were deemed essential and showed up in public-facing roles to help carry New Yorkers through an unprecedented crisis. They provided assistance to those who found themselves newly in need of access to food, shelter, and other

    ...
  • The First Step to Fixing Our Disregard for Women of Color in the Workplace

    Vanessa gib participates food

    Council Member Vanessa Gibson, left, is a coauthor (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    The pandemic is setting women back and eroding years of progress, particularly for women of color in New York City. The pressure is coming from two places: women of color are more likely to work in sectors that have been hit hardest by layoffs, and women of color are more likely to have had to leave work or reduce hours to care for

    ...
  • In Dire Condition, Nonprofit Human Services Sector Launches Recovery Effort

    newly opened house

    Human services providers struggle due to covid (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Nonprofits that provide human services have played an additionally vital role during the coronavirus pandemic in feeding, sheltering, and caring for New Yorkers. But the sector, which was already facing dire financial straits in recent years, has been devastated as fundraising has ground to a halt, city funding has been cut, and state contract payments have been put on hold. The Human Services Council, an organization that represents more than 170 providers in the state, is convening

    ...
  • The Mayor and Governor Must Save Community Nonprofits to Save Lives and Livelihoods

    pack home staff

    Essential workers need help (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a medical problem—it's a social one. As everyone knows, it is caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. But it is fueled by inequity. Black and Latino New Yorkers have been twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as their white neighbors because of a raft of social factors: People of color are more likely to live in

    ...
  • Human Services Workers are Essential Workers: It’s Time for the City to Treat Us That Way

    workers food hungry

    Workers at Project Hospitality move meals (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Like health care workers, first responders, grocery workers, delivery workers, and more, human services workers are essential workers during COVID-19 and beyond. We are always essential.

    We serve the most vulnerable where they are and according to what they need. We help seniors get meals and medications delivered and staff residential facilities, homeless shelters, and food banks.

    We provide home care to at-risk communities, keeping them from overwhelming hospitals. We help

    ...
  • It’s More Important Than Ever for the City to Take Care of Those Who Care for the Most Vulnerable New Yorkers

    cm helen rosenthal local girl

    Council Member Helen Rosenthal, the author (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    To address the coronavirus crisis and save lives, New York City government and New Yorkers are mobilizing in ways never seen before. The City swiftly sent an unprecedented message to our human services sector -- the 250,000-plus employees who provide housing access, child and elder care, shelters, emergency food relief, mental health counseling, and disaster response. These workers -- traditionally undervalued, underpaid, and unappreciated -- were told that

    ...
  • Amid Outbreak Volatility, City Takes Steps to Stabilize Human Services Nonprofits That Constitute Much of Social Safety Net

    spk qun love

    Human Services Nonprofits provide essential staff and programming to the city (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Social service organizations in recent days have been scrambling for clarity from government officials on how they will continue to get paid as they carry out essential city services for the most vulnerable populations and take up positions on the frontlines of public health, safety, and crisis management amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he was designated roughly 40,000 workers from human services

    ...
  • Passage of Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act a Key Step; Here’s What Must Come Next

    coronavirus response

    The coronavirus response must continue (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Early last Saturday morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed comprehensive legislation that would begin to ease the economic hardships Americans are facing right now as a result of the developing coronavirus crisis. After modifications from the House that weakened sick leave provisions, the Senate voted Wednesday to pass the The Families First

    ...
  • New York City Must Act Immediately to Strengthen Our Nonprofit Social Safety Net

    social services food pantries

    Amid coronavirus outbreak, the social safety net must hold (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    Daily home-delivered meals for home-bound seniors. Case-management to help make sure people have medicine and essential supplies, and reduce the harm of social isolation. Emergency food for people who are unemployed or homeless. Child care for those who still have to go to work.

    All services we utterly need right now. And all provided by New York City’s remarkable network of not-for-profit human service providers.

    These

    ...
  • City Council Considers New Office to Aid Non-Profits

    cm farah louis

    Council Member Farah Louis (photo: New York City Council)


    The New York City Council is considering legislation that would create a new office to assist non-profit organizations in navigating regulations and applying for city contracts and funding.

    Council Member Farah Louis, a recently elected Brooklyn Democrat, has proposed legislation that would mandate that the mayor institute an Office of Not-For-Profit Services. The bill is set to be examined by the Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations at a ...

  • Report Shows Nation-Leading Extent of New York's Nonprofit Sector

    council member eric ulrich food

    (photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council)


    New York has the largest nonprofit sector in the country, according to a new report from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

    In 2017, New York nonprofits boasted over 1.4 million jobs and $78 billion in employee wages, both top marks across the United States, according to DiNapoli’s report released Tuesday. Between 2007 and 2017, the state added 175,000 jobs in the nonprofit

    ...
  • Fixing the City’s Broken System that Puts the Social Safety Net at Risk

    speaker m mv cm helen westside

    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The recently-passed New York City budget greenlights billions of dollars to some of the most vital programs across the five boroughs. These dollars will help to fund homeless shelters, emergency food pantries, senior services, mental health services, and early childcare for the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

    The City of New York contracts with over 1,000 community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide these essential human services at a cost of $6 billion annually. But thanks to the City’s broken

    ...
  • Time for the City to Pay Up

    Justin Brannan

    Justin Brannan, the author (photo: @JustinBrannan)


    Talk is cheap. The city needs to pay up.

    We have all been impacted by the important work of hundreds of human services providers across the city, many of which are deeply rooted in our communities. These vital non-profit organizations deliver services to New York City’s most vulnerable – the poor, the hungry, the homeless, our children, our grandparents. The clear and powerful impact of this sector makes it easy for politicians to praise the services these non-profits provide — but such talk is cheap if you

    ...
  • Governor Cuomo Must Fulfill His Own Expressed Commitment to Lifting Wages for Struggling Workers

    govcuomo portauthority

    Gov. Cuomo pushes for a higher Port Authority minimum wage (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    Last week, Governor Cuomo publicly called on Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's Board of Commissioners to pass a higher minimum wage for airport workers. While I, other elected officials, and numerous nonprofit advocates were pleased to see this increase approved, Governor Cuomo has still not fulfilled his commitment to another vital workforce in our state, the human services sector.

    Hundreds of thousands of human service employees – the vast

    ...
  • Added Scrutiny of City’s Delinquent Contracting Practices

    cm stephlevin ant reynoso

    Council Member Levin (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    The new city budget does not do enough to address the tremendous backlog of city contracts with nonprofit groups that have been left languishing by city agencies, the groups say. This comes after a recent report from the city comptroller that shows

    ...
  • Don’t Pass a State Budget Without Investment in Human Services

    bronxworks workers

    (photo via @UNHNY)


    Poverty-related issues such as homelessness or family crisis treatment like opioid addiction need more than a simple infusion of cash. Addressing the underlying issues and building community resilience requires long-term, community-based organizations dedicated to ensuring that families and individuals have access to local programs that address the stability of their communities.

    State government appreciates this expertise as it contracts with human service organizations to deliver programs on its behalf, but government leaders

    ...
  • State Leaders Must Blunt Impact of Federal Tax Reform on New York Nonprofits and the People Who Rely on Us

    37749459904 8287feee00 z

    (photo via The Governor's Office)


    The recently passed federal tax law will deepen inequality and jeopardize the health and wellbeing of families and individuals across our state. This legislation penalizes New Yorkers by capping the state and local tax (SALT) deduction and will create deficits that are likely to result in catastrophic cuts to the programs they depend on. These tax “cuts” will drive up the national deficit, which will then be cynically used as a rationale for slashing investments in critical programs such as food assistance,

    ...