The People’s Response to the FY2023 Executive Budget

In April 2022, Mayor Adams released his executive fiscal year 2023 budget for New York City. The mayor’s proposal continues to represent a regressive and punitive orientation to city policy and budget at a time when New Yorkers need care and resources the most. The mayor’s anti-care austerity budget continues to starve education, health and hospitals, and other vitally necessary services that New Yorkers need, all while maintaining or increasing funds for institutions that criminalize and destabilize communities of color. The People’s Plan releases the following “People’s Response” to the mayor’s executive budget, supported by the undersigned organizations and Council Members. 

Housing

At a time of record evictions and record deaths of people experiencing homelessness due to housing insecurity, the mayor’s budget thus far fails to make real investments in housing for working class New Yorkers. This combined with the mayor’s violent sweeps of homeless encampments proves the City is wasting resources on criminalization and inadequately addressing homelessness instead of investing in housing. We urge the mayor and city council to correct course and support meaningful and needed investment in housing, including: 

  • Invest $4 billion per year for NYCHA repairs and HPD’s preservation and creation of affordable housing, specifically $1.5 billion for NYCHA for capital repairs to begin to address the widespread unacceptable and unsafe conditions that exist in New York City’s largest source of affordable housing, and $2.5 billion for affordable housing rental and home ownership, as recommended by United for Housing. The $5 billion increase to housing capital budgets over ten years in the executive budget falls woefully short of Mayor Adams’ campaign promise to meet this goal of $4 billion year in housing capital. 
  • Maintain FY22 levels for Departments of Housing, Preservation, and Development (HPD), Social Services (DSS), and Department of Homeless Services (DHS) budgets, which are experiencing nearly $1.3 billion in reduction from FY22 levels1, to right-size the budget to house New Yorkers permanently:
    • Restore city funding for DHS Rental Assistance and Housing Placement programs, which has been cut by 82.31 percent2
    • Restore $109M in adult shelter operations and ensure funds go to safe havens
    • Restore the $12 million cut from HPD including $8 million for Emergency Housing Programs3
    • Restore the $46 million cut for Legal Services Programs under DSS4
    • Restore the $45 million for Public Assistance Administration Funding under DSS5 
    • Allocate more funding to cover the expiration of federal money, at a time where an unprecedented number of New Yorkers face eviction and/or housing insecurity. Homeless Prevention programs see an increase in city funding of $52 million but given the $176.7 million loss in federal COVID relief funding, this represents an overall program funding cut of $124.7 million.6
  • Ensure that the additional $171 million allotted in the executive budget to fund safe havens are for single-occupancy units, created by 2022 instead of mid-2023.
  • Increase spending on New York City Human Rights Commission’s (CCHR) Source of Income (SOI) Unit, which currently has zero employees, by at least $1 million and hire more staff members to tackle voucher discrimination as recommended by Neighbors Together, UnlockNYC, and Housing Rights Initiative. The City should include the HASA program in source of income discrimination and create pathways to transitioning tenants into independent housing.
  • Fund urgent increases for caseworkers to meet the needs of the City’s expanded voucher program, including funding for fair pay
  • Expand City FHEPS Eligibility to households at risk of eviction
  • Implement and fully fund Local Law 53 at $5 million per year. Local Law 53 was legislation advocated by the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition passed in Spring 2021 that mandates the City provide funding to tenant organizing to ensure New Yorkers know about Right to Counsel and can stay in their homes, as recommended by the Right to Counsel coalition
  • Increase and protect resources for the Anti-Harassment Tenant Protection Program
  • Increase funding to allow for the immediate expansion of supportive housing units 
  • Utilize city workers not in the destruction of homeless encampments, but to fill critical roles to actually house New Yorkers in emergency and permanent housing
  • Restructure street homeless outreach to meet needs in a harm reductionist approach, meet their immediate needs, end discriminatory screening for supportive housing placement, and end policing of street homeless New Yorkers
  • Fund more pathways to deeply and permanently-affordable housing and shared equity homeownership for low- and moderate-income families, including through community land trusts (CLTs); new construction of affordable condos and coop buildings; and multi-family and enhanced down payment assistance, including $3 million for an initiative that funds organizing and technical assistance for CLTs.

Education

New York City needs a fully funded, tuition-free CUNY for all people regardless of income or background. Yet Mayor Adams’ budget fails to provide resources to support the most vulnerable students, at a time when students need an overwhelming amount of academic and emotional support, and the City needs to spend its remaining federal COVID and student recovery funds. Increased funding for Summer Rising, summer youth employment, literacy and dyslexia, bilingual education, and career pathways programs are a good start.  But the City must make the following investments in education and higher education for New York City students: 

  • Fund the Department of Education budget at FY22 levels7, which has a total budget reduction of $1.2 billion compared to current FY22 levels, and redirect funding for vacant positions to critical roles across the system
  • Fully divest from and completely dismantle school policing infrastructure, culture, and practices in NYC schools and reinvest those funds into support for youth, as aligned with Urban Youth Collaborative and Dignity in Schools Campaign NY budget demands.8 The over $400M spent on the NYPD’s School Policing division should be redirected to fund the resources, staff and restorative practices that support every young person to learn and grow.
  • Redirect $400M from school policing to opportunities for young people
  • Do not hire 1,363 new school cops to replace current vacancies
  • No funding for new or existing student surveillance and scanning equipment
  • Adopt a DOE budget that reallocates these resources and reflects the best policies and practices for building safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environments. 
    • The City must include $118.5M to expand restorative practices citywide. 
    • Additionally, the City must chart a path toward the recommended ratios of one social worker and one guidance counselor for every 150 students in most schools, and one for every 50 students in high need schools, in the next five years. To reach the recommended ratios, the City must invest $150M to hire 500 new counselors and social workers this year. 
    • Additionally $75M must be invested to hire 500 community members into supportive positions based on need. 
    • Lastly, to meet the serious need for mental health support for young people as we recover from the pandemic, the City needs to baseline $5M in funding for the mental health continuum in schools.
  • Immediately transition SYEP provider contracts to 12 month contracts
  • Increase headcount at DYCD and the Mayor’s Office of Youth Employment (MOYE), and fund an expansion of Work Learn Grow (WLG)
  • Increase funding for The City University of New York (CUNY), including for the following:
    • $20 million for ASAP for All: Serving as a model for community colleges across the country, ASAP’s three-year graduation rate is more than double that of non-ASAP associate degree students at CUNY’s community colleges. ASAP provides comprehensive student support and advising, professional development, tuition assistance, free Metrocards and textbooks. 
    • $10 million for Mental Health Counselors: CUNY now averages one mental health counselor for every 2,400 students. We can help bring this ratio closer to 1:1,000 as recommended by the International Accreditation of Counseling Services. 
    • $14.6 million to replace Lost Full-Time Faculty: CUNY lost faculty during the pandemic but it can’t bring back 128 of them unless they are baselined in the budget. 
    • $4 million for more childcare slots: Students cannot come back to campus without viable childcare options. Nationally, one in four college students are parents with dependent children, and over 40 percent of those are single mothers. 
  • Fund an additional $12 million for coordinators dedicated to assisting homeless children, as requested by the New York City Council
  • Invest $23 million in the CUNY Reconnect Initiative to get New Yorkers who have earned some college credits back into the classroom and working towards degrees, as recommended by the City Council 
  • Restore the nearly $2 million in city funding cut from New York City Libraries9
  • Restore 70.1M cuts to COMPASS planned for 2022 to 2026 through a reduction in slots and expand outreach funding to fill any open slots10
  • Reverse DYCD City funding cuts of $48.9M in Youth Programs, $77.6 million in Community Development programs, 107.8 million in Beacon Community Centers11

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and lack of government support has been destabilizing to New Yorkers and has caused upticks in certain forms of violence. A true public safety budget would invest in the resources and services required to end root causes of violence, and not further inflict violence on New Yorkers through criminalization. Instead, the mayor is choosing to make cuts in city’s departments that perform crucial public health and safety roles while continuing to spend more on the NYPD and jails than many of these agencies combined. Under Mayor Adams, NYPD arrests have increased 10.8 percent from 2020, 54 percent of which were on misdemeanor charges. These kinds of criminalization efforts do not make anyone safer; only housing, services, and resources that materially improve New Yorkers’ lives can do that. The City must make the following investments in real non-policing, non-criminalization care-based safety models:

  • Cancel plans to increase city funding for the NYPD budget by $690.2 million in the next fiscal year12, as well as the new criminalization initiatives they fund, including resources for the mayor’s notoriously ineffective and violent anti-gun and plainclothes units, and dashboard cameras for patrol cars. 
  • Truly cut NYPD overtime. The NYPD is budgeted for $452.6 million in overtime for FY23. However, the NYPD is currently operating at around $668 million for overtime for FY22 and will probably reach $750 million for this fiscal year. So the costs for NYPD overtime are likely to be much much higher than on paper, a waste of resources that could go towards life-affirming safety net programming. 
  • Cancel plans to fund $265 million for criminalization programs such as the mayor’s Subway Safety Plan, and a new gun crime unit within the Office of the Medical Examiner that will inevitably criminalize and harm hundreds of New Yorkers of color
  • Cancel plans to add 570 correctional officers, as this will not resolve the absenteeism of correctional officers or problems at Rikers Island or city jails, and does not move the City towards ending all forms of solitary confinement and isolative torture, including punitive segregation 
  • Invest in methods of decarceration, and reduce the amount of funds spent on policing and incarceration. At a bare minimum, the City should enact a hiring freeze for correctional officers, police officers, and school safety officers. The City should use these funds to meet community needs like supportive housing, healthcare, schools, and programs for young people, reducing people’s interactions with policing and jail systems in the first place. 
  • Cancel new NYPD Training Academy at $221.2M13
  • Reduce the amount of funds spent on district attorneys (DAs). The proposed executive budget calls for combined funding of $479 million on DA offices.14. Even a 5 percent reduction would be a cut of $23.9 million spread across the five DA offices, and could go towards programs to support formerly incarcerated New Yorkers with housing and health services 
  • Invest in peer-led mental health and harm-reduction services that do not involve police, and do not result in police being sent instead of mental health and peer support professionals
  • Increase funds to non-policing approaches to hate violence by funding the Office of the Prevention of Hate Crimes (OPHC) Partners Against The Hate (P.A.T.H.) initiative from $3 million to $10 million, and renew the program with the same grantee cohort. Fully staff the OPHC to support community-based organizations doing hate violence work.  
  • Fully fund Hope Against Hate at $10 million, which is partially funded at the moment
  • Increase funds for the Hate Crimes Prevention Initiative from $1 million to $5 million, as recommended by NYC Against Hate coalition
  • Increase funding for Clubhouses that provide peer support, access to services, employment and educational opportunities, and socialization and recreation in a safe, restorative and structured setting for people with severe mental illness, reducing hospitalization and justice involvement and improving health and wellness 
  • Increase funding for Bronx Fountain House to $1.5 Million to support public health approaches to serious mental illness
  • Expand the AAPI Community Support Initiative to $6 million to support more than 50 AAPI CBOs in NYC providing community-informed social services and programming to address the severe rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Enhance the Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund (NSF) to $7 million
  • Invest an additional $3 million in funds for community-based solutions for violence interruption, across the city, supplementing the Crisis Management System in targeted Council Districts that experience the highest rates of violence, as recommended by the New York City Council
  • $11.5 million to increase mental health support and outreach services for unhoused individuals, as recommended by the New York City Council
  • Divest from NYPD Vice and invest those funds into services and resources for sex workers

The pandemic has inflicted devastating economic losses on New Yorkers, and while some important investments have been made to economically support some New Yorkers, the Mayor’s budget does not address the full extent of people’s needs. The expansion of the earned income tax credit, a new program for full-time subsidized child care, $10 million for immigrant community support, and $51 million to fight food insecurity is a good start. But much more is needed to ensure not only a just recovery, but true economic justice and dignity for all. This requires an equitable distribution of resources, and budgets that empower those who have been historically and violently excluded from our City’s economy. The City must make the following investments in economic justice:

  • Provide funds for $30 million to fund free meals for seniors, as recommended by the City Council
  • Utilize federal stimulus funding for job recovery for targeted efforts in Black and Latinx communities, who are experiencing unemployment higher than twice the national average, as well as immigrant New Yorkers left out of COVID aid and stimulus payments. 
  • Restore $1 million in City funding for DSS Employment Services Administration,15 and cuts to Small Business Services (reduced by 36 percent), and Department of Consumer Affairs (reduced by 33 percent) to combat protect consumers and workers on wage theft
  • Fund a Cost of Living Adjustment, an increase of their wage floor to the #JustPay recommended $22/hr, and renew the one-time bonus from the FY22 budget for human service workers
  • Restore the Recovery Meals program, as pandemic food support is still a high need

Health

The mayor’s proposed budget only touches the surface of the care and recovery needed by communities of color and low-income New Yorkers most harmed by COVID-19. The City must make the following investments in health justice:

  • Fund $45 million to create a hospital fund to support hospitals in underserved neighborhoods, as recommended by the City Council. It is important to define a safety net hospital using the state’s definition of essential hospital, with an equity lens of where funds should go, with robust community consultation and input. 
  • Fund a new health care facility with a trauma center in Far Rockaway, Queens, as recommended by the City Council
  • Fund community-based organizations that use effective practices to address chronic diseases that worsened pandemic outcomes
  • Restore funding for and increase subsidies for Health+Hospitals (H+H) and public hospitals, which is facing a reduction of $1.6 billion from FY2216
  • Augment the $4 million for Access Health NYC, a city-wide initiative that funds community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide education, outreach, & assistance to all New Yorkers about how to access health care and coverage
  • Invest $50 million to fund wellness programs to continue the work of community-based organizations to help neighborhoods recover from COVID-driven health and economic disasters, and investing in community infrastructure that exists to battle chronic diseases that have skyrocketed during the pandemic 
  • Establish baseline funding for mental health services for children under five, and programs addressing communicable and chronic diseases, and substance use
  • Allocate more funding to support adequate prenatal and postpartum health care support for immigrants and communities of color
  • Invest in community-led and community-based language accessible and culturally responsive mental health resources. 
  • Increase funding for better coordination between hospital and community-based services for pregnant people. Services should include perinatal case management services, comprehensive doula support programs, and pregnancy programs
  • Cover the cuts imposed by possible reductions to the Article VI match, which fund community-based health and engagement programs
  • Restore $4.2M for fiscal years 2022-2026 to DSS substance abuse programs17 and expand funding to combat surge of overdose deaths which have nearly doubled from pre pandemic years 
  • Reverse City funding cuts of $43 million to DFTA18, $36 million of which is in Senior Services19
  • Reverse City funding cuts of $10.2 million to DSS HIV/AIDS services20

Transit 

As pandemic restrictions lift, more New Yorkers are heading to work or using public transit systems to get to where they need to go. The executive budget promises important investments like $904 million in bike and bus lanes and street design, $75 million expansion in Fair Fares, 1,000 intersection improvement projects. The City must make the following additional investments to ensure better, safer, more efficient, and quicker transit for all New Yorkers:

  • Fund an extra $1.7 billion over the baseline across 10 years to fund the Streets Master Plan, as requested by the City Council
  • Fully fund Fair Fares and allow more New Yorkers to qualify, doubling the income cutoff, as recommended by the Community Service Society 

Climate

All New Yorkers should be able to live in a city that is safe and sustainable, not threatened by drastic environmental disasters that affect our collective health and safety. The mayor’s executive budget makes important investments in waste containerization pilots, parks and open spaces, tree planting, and organics, but overall does not include enough funding to address the city’s dire climate and health crises. The City must make the following investments in climate infrastructure and programming to ​​meet critical climate mandates and ensure our safe collective future in this city:

  • Increase the parks budget to one percent of the city budget, as recommended by the Play Fair coalition
  • Restore DSNY to FY22 levels (FY23 currently proposed at $94.3 million less than FY22 levels21) to ensure sanitation services are able to operate at pre-pandemic levels and ensure the City reaches its zero waste goals, improving public health and safety. Sanitation services should not be used to conduct homeless encampment raids or rid homeless New Yorkers of their belongings
  • Invest $14.5 billion by 2030 to create Green, Healthy Schools as a first step toward LL 97 compliance, as recommended by the Climate Works for All coalition. An annual investment of $1.8 billion will pay for deep retrofits and the installation of solar panels
  • Re-prioritize sanitation programs like Commercial Waste Zones (CWZ), basket service, and community composting. 
  • Implement CWZ as soon as possible, as recommended by the NY Transform Don’t Trash Coalition

There are over 3.1 Million immigrants in NYC, many of whom have been the essential workers keeping our city alive during this pandemic. At a time when we should be bolstering the support we give to immigrant communities, the NYC budget reflects a tacit dismissal of their demands. We call on the City to allocate the following funds in the budget:

  • Renew $58.2 million in funding for immigration legal services to ensure continuity of services and to help defend immigrants during this pandemic and despite the change in presidential administration.
  • Allocate $4 million to expand the successful Linking Immigrant Children to Early Childhood Education (LIFE) project citywide to help underserved immigrant families with 3- and 4-year olds apply to and enroll in 3k and pre-k programs.
  • Invest in a $2.1 million transfer school pilot program that improves recently arrived immigrant students age 16-21 access to supportive transfer schools outside of Manhattan in order to address the devastating English Language Learner drop-out rate.
  • Restore and renew $4 million for Adult Literacy Funding to address the immense, inequitable gap in digital literacy, systems navigation skills and access to information. There has been a $5.9M reduction in city funds for Adult Literacy Programs from FY22, compared to the proposed FY23 executive budget22.
  • Increase baselined Adult Literacy Funding by $13.5 million to account for the increased rates needed to address the upcoming adult literacy DYCD RFP process.
  • Renew and expand the Adult Literacy Pilot Program from $2.5M to $5M to address growing needs for additional services, adequate teacher salaries, and increased program sustainability.
  • Ensure successful implementation of Introduction 1867-2020 to strengthen our democracy by allowing nearly one million New Yorkers who are green card holders or have valid work authorizations to vote in New York City local elections. This includes:
    • The creation of a $25 million fund to be distributed to CBO’s, particularly the Our City, Our Vote Coalition, to conduct truly expansive city-wide voter registration, voter education, and GOTV
    • An increase in the budgets of every City agency, department and office that will be involved in the implementation of municipal voting, including $25 million for the Board of elections, a 10 percent increase from the FY22 budget of the Civic Engagement Commision, the Campaign Finance Board, and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and 5 percent increase from the FY22 the budget of the Department of Youth & Community Development and any other relevant City agency, department and office
  • Allocate $2.25 million to support a Community Interpreter Bank (CIB), to expand language access and increase the supply of trained, vetted interpreters to be provided to community-based nonprofit organizations.

In conclusion, as it is, the mayor’s budget will harm New Yorkers. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified issues that communities of color, immigrants, and low-wage workers have faced for decades before the crisis. This is precisely why New York City needs more than just a recovery. It needs a reorganization of the way that the City approaches the needs of its residents. The City must provide communities with resources to ensure that not only do we recover from this crisis, but that we all thrive and share in all that this city has to offer. This FY23 budget could be the City’s moral document, a plan to build back New York City better than before – or it could signal the continued abandonment of the city’s residents to devastation and divestment, further exacerbated by the pandemic. In the first City budget of the new term, we urge the mayor and city council to pass a budget that provides dignity, care, and justice for all New Yorkers.

Signatories:

Housing Rights Initiative

Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ)

New York Immigration Coalition

NYC-DSA

Community Voices Heard

Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF)

Incarcerated Nation Network

Human Services Council

NYC Coalition for Educational Justice

City Workers for Justice 

Churches United for Fair Housing

New Economy Project

CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities

New Yorkers for Racially Just Public Schools (RJPS)

#HALTsolitary Campaign

Riders For Black Lives

DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving

NYC Employment and Training Coalition

Western Queens Community Land Trust

ALIGN

Students Break The Silence

Community Education Council District 14

Young People of Color Incorporated 

Friends of District 14

Urban Youth Collaborative

Housing Works

Professional Staff Congress/CUNY

East Harlem/El Barrio Community Land Trust 

Coalition for a District Alternative (CoDA)

Interested in signing on? Sign on here.

The People’s Plan is a collective vision for a City that provides dignity, care, and justice for all New Yorkers. It offers the priorities of hundreds of organizers and advocates through a comprehensive, multi-issue roadmap around housing, anti-criminalization, education, economy, climate, transit, and health. The intent of The People’s Plan is to set the agenda for a racially and socially just city and provide a clear people-centered mandate for 2022 and beyond.

Endnotes

1.  Executive FY23 Expense Revenue Contract Budget

2.  Executive FY23 Budget Function Analysis

3.  Ibid

4.  Ibid

5.  Ibid

6.  Executive FY23 Budget Function Analysis

7.   Executive FY23 Expense Revenue Contract Budget

8.  This includes, but is not limited to, removing all police personnel, metal detectors, and all forms of invasive surveillance equipment from school buildings, as well as eliminating zero tolerance policies that push students into the school to prison and deportation pipeline. 

9.  Executive FY23 Expense Revenue Contract Budget

10.  Executive Budget FY23 Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG), pg 24

11.  Executive Budget FY23 Budget Function Analysis

12.  Executive FY23 Expense Revenue Contract Budget

13.  Executive Budget FY23 Capital Commitment Plan, Vol. 3, pg 1301

14.  Executive FY23 Expense Revenue Contract Budget

15.  Executive Budget FY23 Budget Function Analysis

16.  Executive FY23 Expense Revenue Contract Budget

17.  Executive Budget FY23 Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG)

18.  Executive FY23 Expense Revenue Contract Budget

19.  Executive Budget FY23 Budget Function Analysis

20.  Ibid

21.  Executive FY23 Expense Revenue Contract Budget

22.  Executive Budget FY23 Budget Function Analysis