Fund Social Services, Not the NYPD
In light of this weekend's NYPD activity, and in light of a FY21 budget that cuts social services but maintains the NYPD, we believe that its time for human services agencies to speak up clearly about what we already know: that funding social services keeps our communities safe, not funding the NYPD.
Please sign onto our letter calling for the City's funding to go into our services. The full letter text is below. Sign on deadline is Monday June 1st at 11:59 PM.
Please note, this is an organizational sign on only for social services agencies, nonprofits and community based organizations. We encourage individuals to reach out to their City Council Members and the Mayor.
Dear Mayor de Blasio,
The COVID-19 pandemic amplified what the community based organizations (CBOs) in the human services sector have always known about inequities that have existed and continue to exist within the core systems and institutions that all New Yorkers rely on. The outrage that has been expressed in our City – and across the country – over the last few days is not solely representative of an isolated incident, it is a reflection of the anger and frustration that exists from inequity and injustice being born on the backs of communities of color, immigrants, and low-income New Yorkers over and over again.
A strong social safety net is the only way that our City survives a crisis. As we experience the unprecedented intersection of a health crisis, a social justice crisis, and an economic crisis that could cripple our City for years, even decades to come, not all City agencies are bearing the burden. We were dismayed to see that the FY2021 Executive Budget makes cuts to crucial programs and social services that serve the very communities who are being hardest hit by COVID-19 -- communities of color, immigrants, and low-income New Yorkers -- while maintaining funding for the NYPD, an institution that too often fails to protect and serve and disproportionately harms these exact communities.
Services like senior food programs, homeless services, youth development, employment programs, public health and others – proven tools that help us protect and serve communities – are experiencing more demand than ever before, but instead of enhancing funding to these programs, the City is proposing more cuts.
Our social services workforce has been designated as essential by the City, and our services will be more essential than ever as more New Yorkers rely on them as we move into recovery. Yet our (mostly women of color and immigrant) workforce is paid poverty wages, sent on the frontlines with inadequate supplies, and is being asked to meet growing community need with less City resources.
Echoing the letter from the City Council released on May 31st, the proposed budget cuts are not equitable. While our social services and discretionary funding (which is a key support for smaller CBOs and CBOs of color) are on the chopping block, funding for the NYPD has been largely maintained. Budgets are a statement of values. When we are facing a budget deficit where the City is emphasizing that difficult decisions must be made across the board, the decision to decrease funding for social services while maintaining funding for the NYPD is the opposite of what our City’s values should be. Particularly in light of the actions of the NYPD over the last few days, it is clear that our City requires diametrically opposite approaches to repair what has been broken.
While the Mayoral Administration has been working on criminal justice reform, it has also expanded the role of NYPD into our services -- from having cops in schools instead of counselors, policing the homeless instead of providing adequate supportive services and housing, criminalizing poverty instead of investing in addressing root causes and uplifting individuals out of poverty, and overpolicing young people of color instead of providing summer programming. Cutting funding to social services while continuing to overpolice our communities is the opposite of what the City should be doing right now.
As the human services sector is being impacted by budget cuts and as our vulnerable children and families are struggling, it is unjust that the NYPD can maintain its level of funding and not be required to change its harmful policing practices. Police reform must be a mandate for the NYPD in the next fiscal year.
We are proposing a different way, and a new way, to protect our communities – economically, socially, psychologically. Stop over-investing in policing our communities and start to make real investments that serve communities in need. This “new way” is cheaper, it’s proven, it’s just.
As community based organizations, we know that it’s not the police that keeps communities safe. It’s the work that we do to support, enrich, and build New Yorkers that keeps communities safe. Our communities are safe when residents have affordable and quality housing, transportation and food; seniors and people with disabilities are healthy and engaged; individuals have good jobs and worker protections; youth have summer programming and arts education; immigrants have language accessible services; and more.
It’s time to invest in supporting our communities instead of policing them. It’s time to be bold by making targeted cuts to the NYPD. We need to protect investments in human services, the social safety net, racial and economic justice, and the vision that all New Yorkers deserve to thrive.
Current Signers (list in formation):
Ali Forney Center
Apicha Community Health Center
Bannon Consulting Services
Beachwold Residential LLC
Boys & Girls Club of Harlem
Broadway Housing Communities
Brooklyn Community Services
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York
Center for Family Life
Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY
Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans, Inc. (CIANA).
Chinese Methodist Center Corporation
Chinese Progressive Association
Chinese-American Planning Council
Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York
Citymeals on Wheels
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
Coalition for Homeless Youth
Community League of the Heights. Inc
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
Emerald Isle Immigration Center
Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)
Grand Street Settlement
Heights and Hills
Human Services Council
Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement
JCC Staten Island
Literacy Assistance Center
Lower East Side Family Union
Lutheran Social Services of New York
MinKwon Center for Community Action
MMCC (Mosholu Montefiore Community Center)
Nazareth Housing Inc.
New York Immigration Coalition
Nonprofit Finance Fund
Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW)
OutRight Action International
Providence House, Inc
Red Hook Initiative
Sadie Nash Leadership Project
Sakhi for South Asian Women
Sapna NYC, Inc.
SCO Family of Services
St. Francis Friends of the Poor
Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center
Supportive Housing Network of NY
The Brotherhood/Sister Sol
The Center for Anti-Violence Education
The Coalition for Behavioral Health
United Neighborhood Houses
Violence Intervention Program
Vision Urbana, Inc.
Women Creating Change
Youth Action Programs and Homes, Inc.
Youth Action YouthBuild