Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Nonprofit Human Services Sector

Nonprofit Human Services Sector

  • 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

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  • 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

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    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

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    (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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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    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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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 ...

  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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    (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

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    (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,

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    Council Member Helen Rosenthal (photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council)


    The City Council’s Committee on Economic Development and the Committee on Contracts held a joint hearing on Thursday to discuss proposed legislation that would create a bill of rights for subcontractors working with the city.

    Intro.1615, sponsored by Council Members Laurie Cumbo,

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  • Deputy Mayor Richard Buery speaking Medgar Evers

    Deputy Mayor Richard Buery (photo: Medgar Evers College)


    As city-contracted nonprofit organizations continue to call for funding increases from the de Blasio administration, Deputy Mayor Richard Buery insists that the administration is “sympathetic” to those concerns and is doing everything in its power to ensure a “strong and robust” nonprofit sector.

    Nonprofits in the city that provide a range of contracted

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  • Urban Pathways rally outside city hall

    Urban Pathways members rally outside City Hall (photo via Urban Pathways)


    In May 2015, my fellow Urban Pathways Board Member Gary Belsky rightfully recognized Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fiscal year 2016 budget investment in the human services nonprofit workforce. The investment -- a 2.5 percent cost of living adjustment and an $11.50-per-hour wage floor, coupled with a subsequent City-funded

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