Policy Reports and Briefs

The policy, advocacy and research unit of FPWA executes a focused policy agenda aimed at dismantle the systemic barriers that impede economic security and well-being, and strengthen the capacity of human services agencies and faith organizations so New Yorkers with lower incomes can thrive and live with dignity.

FPWA’s work aims to address the historical, structural, and institutional inequities that continue to foster cycles of poverty and prevent economic mobility for individuals with low income and communities of color.

Read our Policy Briefs.

Our policy/advocacy work is unique because it is formed by our team of policy experts and supported by member agencies, faith partners, and community members.

We work closely with our network of member agencies, faith partners, coalitions, allies, and strategic collaborations to influence policy, legislation, and budget outcomes to address the needs of struggling New Yorkers. We engage with policymakers at the city, state and federal level to effect systemic change that positively impacts children, families, and individuals across generations.  We issue action alerts, policy briefs, research reports, and advocacy agendas to help shape the opinions of the public, the media, and decision makers as well as to mobilize our member agencies, faith partners and allies.  We coordinate policy forums, advocacy actions, and campaigns to provide opportunities for these organizations and the communities they serve to educate decision makers on solutions to address economic inequity.

Policy Briefs

2023 Human Services Funds Tracker Update

FPWA’s new 2023 Human Services Funds Tracker report provides a comprehensive funding analysis of New York City’s human services agencies over fiscal year ‘22. Previously launched in 2019 as the Federal Funds Tracker, the newly expanded tool monitors state and city funding to provide a holistic account of the sector’s fiscal health. The timing of this year’s report is critical as federal and state support hit their lowest in over 10 years.


Caught in the Gaps: How the pitfalls of cash assistance programs perpetuate economic insecurity for New Yorkers

FPWA’s newest investigative report explores various financial gaps in New York State’s cash assistance programs, Family Assistance (FA) and Safety Net Assistance (SNA), and it shows how these gaps ultimately perpetuate economic insecurity for New Yorkers with the lowest incomes. Our policy report also offers recommendations to reform the cash assistance programs on both the City and State levels.

This analysis is a continuation of our fight for economic equity. It’s our goal to reveal the systemic flaws in our institutions, policies, and programs that perpetuate racial and gender inequities and make it near impossible for many New Yorkers to escape poverty.

Measuring Poverty and the True Cost of Living in the U.S.

The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is a fundamentally unsound method government uses to assess the means and needs of individuals and families today. It’s widely acknowledged to be an antiquated and woefully unrealistic tool for gauging need and deciding who qualifies for help.

This policy brief states why the current federal poverty measurement is outdated and highlights the importance of having a more accurate measurement for the true cost of living.

Pushed to the Precipice: How Benefits Cliffs and Financial Gaps Undermine the Safety Net for New Yorkers

One step forward and two steps back is the phenomenon that too many working families across our city, state, and nation experience when they access safety net benefits.

FPWA’s investigative report explores the barriers working families face when striving for financial stability. It also provides recommendations to reduce the impact that an abrupt benefit cutoff can have on New York State families.

You can find out what inspired this research here.



The Self Sufficiency Standard for New York

The Self Sufficiency Standard provides critical data on the income needed for working-age families in New York to cover their most basic life needs, including childcare but also food, housing, transportation and much more.

This report is a much needed and anticipated update of ten-year-old data that can be used by New York State, local policymakers, and legislators to calculate how much income is needed for genuine economic security.

Ending the Poverty to Prison Pipeline Report

If you are poor in New York City – especially if you are a low-income person of color – there’s an increased likelihood that you will be drawn into the criminal justice system. And once justice-involved, climbing out of poverty becomes harder. A mechanism is already in place, however, that can help interrupt this pipeline –human service organizations.

FPWA Analysis of President Trump’s FY 2020 Budget Proposal

Trump’s budget proposal puts New York City’s older adults at risk by cutting the Department for the Aging’s (DFTA) $77.4 million in federal funding by more than a third, and by further decimating direct federal assistance, such as housing, heating and food assistance, and healthcare.

FPWA Federal Funds Tracker Introductory Report

The FPWA Federal Funds Tracker reveals that, following a decade of austerity and misplaced priorities, all federal grants to New York City have fallen by nearly $2 billion since FY 2010 after adjusting for inflation. This includes more than $300 million in social service grants, as well as funding for education, transportation, and environmental protection. By tracking grants for individual agencies, including the Administration of Children’s Services, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Youth and Community Development, and the Department for the Aging, the Federal Funds Tracker shines a light on the nearly $75 million lost in funding to, among others, effective poverty fighting tools, programs to support the needs of our children and older adults, and grants to assist New Yorkers who cannot meet their basic needs.

With One Voice

The culmination of a year-long project in partnership with our member organizations to develop a shared vision for advancing economic equity in New York City. We examined the systems that maintain economic inequity, policy advancements made over the past four years that move New York City towards equity, and key areas where transformational policy change still is required to build an economically equitable city.

Undervalued & Underpaid

FPWA, the Human Services Council and the Fiscal Policy Institute co-authored a newly released workforce report highlighting how New York State shortchanges nonprofit human services providers and their workforce.

Voice’s of New York’s Human Services Sector

FPWA, the Human Services Council and the Fiscal Policy Institute have come together to co-author a report highlighting the need for increased investment in the sector to ensure nonprofits can continue to effectively serve communities across New York State.