FPWA is pleased that the FY 2019 New York State budget includes funding for critical programs and services which promote greater economic equity for all New Yorkers. FPWA appreciates that the Governor and the NYS Legislature made a commitment to securing the sector by including $15 million to fund minimum wage increases in contracts for non-profit human service employees. This commitment, which was championed by FPWA and its coalition partners, is a significant acknowledgement of the critical role that the nonprofits play in providing quality services.
While the budget did not include funding for Cost of Livings Adjustments (COLAs) and there was no new allocation of funding for the Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment Program (NCIP), nonprofits were added as eligible entities to access the State and Municipalities Facilities program (SAM), which is funded at $400 million in this year’s budget. SAM is a grant program that provides funding for capital projects for eligible entities, which include municipalities, schools, fire departments, and libraries. Applications are managed directly through the office of each Assembly Member and Senator. We appreciate the Governor and Legislature creating opportunities for nonprofits to access these funds for critical infrastructure investments.
Critical expansions and restorations were also made in a number of areas of interest to FPWA members including: preserving state funding for child welfare reimbursement in New York City, early childhood programs including prekindergarten and child care, after-school programs, adult literacy, senior services, housing, mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs as well as higher education. The budget also included several new investments to advance economic equity, such as a new workforce initiative and a voluntary retirement savings program.
We have highlighted a list of budget items of interest to our members:
- NYC Child Welfare Reimbursement: The final budget preserves 62% preventive and protective services open-ended state reimbursement for New York City.
- Close to Home: The final budget extends the Close to Home initiative which was set to expire last month for five more years. Also eliminates $41.4 million in the state portion of funding for NYC.
- Raise the Age: The final budget includes $100 million to support the implementation of Raise the Age. However, we are disappointed in the elimination of all state support for juvenile justice placements in New York City by cutting the state’s share of the Close to Home program. This cut will make it more challenging for New York City as the program will double in size with the implementation of the law to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 17 years old in the fall.
- After-School Programs: $10 million in new funding for the Empire State After-School program, and a $5 million restoration for Advantage After-School to provide a safe and enriching environment for children after the school day,
- Child Care Subsidies: A $7 million increase in State support to expand access to quality early childhood education programs
- Summer Youth Employment Program: Includes $4 million in funding to maintain job opportunities for youth as the State minimum wage increases.
- Adult Literacy Education: A $500,000 increase to allow hundreds of immigrants and other adult learners enroll in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and High School Equivalency classes.
- Prekindergarten Expansion:Includes $15 million for pre-k expansion for half-day and full-day prekindergarten instruction for an additional 3,000 three- and four-year-old children statewide.
- Community Schools: Includes an additional $50 million for expansion of this program for a total of $200 million. This increased funding is targeted to districts with struggling schools and/or districts experiencing significant growth in homeless pupils or English language learners. Also increases the minimum funding amount from $10,000 to $75,000.
- Foster Youth College Success Initiative:Includes $6 million, which is an increase of $1.5 million from last year’s funding level.
- Post Adoption Services: Maintains $7 million for post adoption services
- NYS Child Welfare Worker Incentive Scholarship Program & NYS Child Welfare Worker Incentive Loan Forgiveness Program: There is $50,000 included for each program in the final budget; that brings the total in this year’s budget to $100,000, These funds are limited only to staff working (or who will commit to work) at voluntary not-for-profit child welfare agencies.
- Rental Assistance Program: Includes $15 million in funding for a pilot rental assistance program for families receiving public assistance. This program will supplement the difference between the shelter allowance and 100% of the fair market rent for up to four years. It is projected that it will assist 240 families statewide, with the majority based in New York City.
- NYCHA Housing Investment:Adds an additional $250 million in funding for the New York City Public Housing Authority for capital needs and repairs.
- Establishes $175 Million Workforce Initiative: Includes $175 million for a new Workforce Initiative which establishes a new approach for workforce investments that would support strategic regional efforts to meet businesses’ short-term workforce needs, improve regional talent pipelines, expand apprenticeships, and address the long-term needs of expanding industries. Funds will also support efforts to improve the economic security of women, youth, and other populations that face significant barriers to career advancement.
- Establishes the Opioid Stewardship Fund:Includes $100 million for the ongoing and growing costs of prevention, treatment, and recovery services for individuals with a substance abuse disorder.
- Increases Funding for Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Programs: Includes $200 million in funding is being used to address the heroin and opioid crisis. This includes an increase of over $30 million in operating and capital support for the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to continue to enhance prevention, treatment and recovery programs, residential service opportunities, and public awareness and education activities.
- Excelsior Free Tuition Program: During the 2019 academic year, which launches the second phase of this program, the income eligibility threshold will increase to $110,000 per household and includes $118 million to support an estimated 27,000 students in the Excelsior program.
- Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities: Includes $4 million investment to help older adults receive the supports they need to continue living independently in their homes.
- Voluntary Retirement Savings Program: Creates the New York State Secure Choice Savings Program, a new voluntary-enrollment payroll deduction IRA for employees of private employers that do not offer retirement savings plans. Participation is voluntary for businesses and employees.
This budget reflects the tireless efforts of our member agencies, faith-based organizations and many community based organizations across the state who have worked with State officials to deliver this vitally needed funding. We thank you for your advocacy partnership and look forward to working with you for continued investments in our sector and the communities we serve.