(New York, NY) – A coalition of New York City-based nonprofits issued a letter today to New York City-area Members of Congress urging them to swiftly and substantially build on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The letter includes more than 30 specific policy recommendations and is signed by 59 New York City-based nonprofit human service providers and faith-based institutions.
The coalition is calling on New York City’s congressional delegation to protect the City and State’s fiscal solvency and ability to provide services, provide economic security, assist nonprofits, safeguard public health, and lay the groundwork for shared prosperity.
The letter’s urgency is underscored by a recent report from the Center for New York City Affairs (CNYCA), which estimates that 1.2 million New York City jobs (27% of all private jobs in the city) were lost by the end of April, disproportionately affecting low wage workers, persons of color, immigrant workers, and young adults. CNYCA is a member of the New York Federal Tax & Budget Response Team responsible for the letter.
Armed with data on the deep and unequal recession that is underway, and the effect of past austere budgets, the coalition is asking Congress to align relief with states’ distinct recessions and to use “triggers” based on job market conditions to determine when assistance would phase up or phase down, rather than an arbitrary calendar date. The coalition represents hundreds of human service and faith-based organizations that together serve more than 3 million New York City residents each year.
“Unless Congress goes beyond addressing immediate needs, economic recovery will be merely a dream, and structural injustices and inequalities will be exacerbated,” said Jennifer Jones-Austin, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director at FPWA. “In fact, FPWA’s Federal Funds Tracker shows that austere budgets during the previous economic recovery period not only slashed funding for effective poverty fighting tools, for children and older adults, and for those needing help meeting basic needs, these policy choices also led to one of the slowest economic recoveries in recent history.” The Federal Funds Tracker analyzes trends in federal dollars that support New York City’s human services sector.
“New York desperately needs the federal government to deliver long overdue state and local assistance in order to prevent devastating cuts to services around the state. We also need a further increase in Medicaid funding (FMAP),” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of Fiscal Policy Institute. “A key component of the FMAP increase is its “maintenance of effort” (MOE) protection. Like provisions in 2003 and 2009 stimulus legislation, it prevents states receiving the increased federal funds from restricting eligibility and making it harder for people to stay covered. Families First also prevents states receiving the added FMAP from terminating beneficiaries’ coverage for the duration of the public health emergency, which is obviously very important during a pandemic health crisis. Unfortunately, as you are aware, there are continued efforts to weaken the MOE. We’re particularly distressed that our governor is pushing to undermine this critical protection so he can modify New York’s Medicaid program in some restrictive and damaging ways. Now is not the time to weaken our healthcare system, New Yorkers need a strong public health safety-net like Medicaid to protect its residents in these trying times.”
“Congress must act to aid families impacted by the devastating health and economic consequences of COVID-19,” said Rachel Fee, Executive Director at New York Housing Conference. “Federal rental assistance is urgently required to keep families stably housed as they weather this crisis.”
“We know the environment is challenging in our nation’s capital to say the least. Our leaders need to understand that as the nation’s economic capital, a New York City staggering to emerge from this crisis will only impede our nation’s economic recovery,” said James Parrott, Director of Economic and Fiscal Policies, Center for New York City Affairs at The New School.“New York City’s economic vitality requires sufficient fiscal relief, housing assistance and continued unemployment benefits. And our social fabric will mend faster and better with essential investments in our public health, nonprofit, child care and arts sectors.”
“Nonprofits will be critical for the city and state’s survival during and after COVID-19. Recently the U.S. Department of Labor issued unemployment insurance guidance that will create a significant cash-flow burden on nonprofits that ‘self-insure’, and the Federal Reserve announced nonprofits are ineligible for the Main Street lending program,” said Chai Jindasurat, Policy Director at Nonprofit New York. “Nonprofits need immediate relief to be able to continue serving our communities during this crisis.”
“We are grateful to our congressional delegation for the critical supports they’ve secured to date. However, it’s indisputable that without hugely expanded federal funding soon, many vulnerable New Yorkers will suffer,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York.
The Federal Tax &Budget Response Team’s sign-on letter can be found here: https://federalfundstracker.org/org-sign-on-letter-congress-must-meed-the-needs/###
About the New York Federal Tax and Budget Response Team
The Response Team works together to protect and strengthen federal human services programs and policies that support low- to middle-income New Yorkers. We are a state-based coalition whose members include FPWA, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, UJA-Federation of New York, Fiscal Policy Institute, New York Housing Conference, LiveOn NY, Human Services Council of New York, United Neighborhood Houses, Food Bank For New York City, Urban Justice Center, Children’s Aid, and Nonprofit New York. Together, the umbrella organizations represent hundreds of faith-based and human-service organizations and together serve more than 3 million New York City residents each year.