Joint Legislative Public Hearing on 2017-2018 Executive Budget Proposal: Topic "Human Services" - Testimonies

February 9, 2017

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 2  --------------------------------------------------
 4              In the Matter of the
           2017-2018 EXECUTIVE BUDGET ON
 5                HUMAN SERVICES
 6  -----------------------------------------------------
 7                           Hearing Room B
                             Legislative Office Building
 8                           Albany, New York
 9                           February 8, 2017
                             9:39 a.m.
12           Senator Catharine M. Young
             Chair, Senate Finance Committee
             Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr.
14           Chair, Assembly Ways & Means Committee
16           Senator Liz Krueger 
             Senate Finance Committee (RM)
             Assemblyman Robert Oaks
18           Assembly Ways & Means Committee (RM)
19           Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee
             Chair, Assembly Children and Families 
20             Committee
21           Senator Diane Savino
             Chair, Senate Children and Families
22             Committee
23           Senator James Tedisco 
             Chair, Senate Committee on Social Services


 1  2017-2018 Executive Budget
    Human Services
 2  2-8-17
 3  PRESENT:  (Continued)
 4           Assemblywoman Donna A. Lupardo
             Chair, Assembly Committee on Aging
             Senator Susan Serino
 6           Chair, Senate Committee on Aging
 7           Assemblyman Michael G. DenDekker
             Chair, Assembly Committee on Veterans
             Assemblyman Mark Johns
             Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner
             Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis
             Assemblyman Erik M. Dilan
             Assemblywoman Michele R. Titus
             Senator Leroy Comrie
             Assemblyman FÈlix W. Ortiz
             Senator Velmanette Montgomery
             Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer
             Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy
             Senator Timothy Kennedy
             Assemblyman Harry B. Bronson
             Senator Roxanne J. Persaud 
             Assemblyman David I. Weprin
             Assemblywoman Didi Barrett
             Assemblyman William Colton


 1  2017-2018 Executive Budget
    Human Services
 2  2-8-17
 3  PRESENT:  (Continued)
 4           Assemblywoman Pamela J. Hunter
 5           Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright
 6           Assemblywoman Vivian E. Cook
 7           Assemblyman N. Nick Perry
11                   LIST OF SPEAKERS
12                                    STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
13  Sheila J. Poole 
    Acting Commissioner
14  NYS Office of Children 
     and Family Services                  10         17
    Michael Perrin 
16  Executive Deputy Commissioner
    NYS Office of Temporary
17   and Disability Assistance            91         99
18  Roberta Reardon 
19  NYS Department of Labor              185        194
20  Greg Olsen 
    Acting Director 
21  NYS Office for the Aging             287        295


 1  2017-2018 Executive Budget
    Human Services
 2  2-8-17
 3                   LIST OF SPEAKERS, Continued 
 4                                     STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
 5  Kirby Hannon
    Legislative Coordinator
 6  John Lewis 
    Legislative Committee Chair
 7  Veterans of Foreign Wars
 8  Linda McKinnis
    Legislative Coordinator
 9  Disabled American Veterans
10  Bob Becker
    Legislative Coordinator
11  NYS Veterans Council                  356       369
12  David McNally
    Director, Government  
13   Affairs & Advocay
    AARP New York                         383
    Shelly Nortz
15  Deputy Executive Director
     of Policy
16  Coalition for the Homeless            389
17  Sheila Harrigan 
    Executive Director 
18  New York Public Welfare
     Association                          400
    Dede Hill
20  Director of Policy
    Schuyler Center for 
21   Analysis & Advocacy                  403
22  Susan Antos
    Senior Attorney
23  Empire Justice Center                 411


 1  2017-2018 Executive Budget
    Human Services
 2  2-8-17
 3                   LIST OF SPEAKERS, Continued 
 4                                     STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
 5  Gerard Wallace
 6  Ryan Johnson
    Regional Kinship Navigator
 7  NYS Kinship Navigator
 8  NYS Kincare Coalition                 420       431
 9  Karen Hill
    Executive Director
10  NYS Children's Alliance               439       446
11  Jim Purcell
12  Council of Family &
     Child Caring Agencies                450       462
    Stephanie Gendell
14  Associate Executive Director,
     Policy and Advocacy
15  Citizens' Committee for Children
     of New York, Inc.                    464       
    Jessica Klos Shapiro
17  Director, Policy and 
     Community Education
18  Early Care & Learning Council         472
19  Jenn O'Connor
    Director, Policy and Advocay
20  Prevent Child Abuse New York          478       482
21  Tim Nichols
    Executive Director
22  Association on Aging in NY            484
23  Alli Lidie
    Associate Executive Director
24  NYS Network for Youth Success         488       496


 1  2017-2018 Executive Budget
    Human Services
 2  2-8-17
 3                   LIST OF SPEAKERS, Continued 
 4                                     STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
 5  Mallory Nugent
    Senior Policy Analyst
 6  FPWA
 7  Michelle Jackson
    Deputy Director and
 8   General Counsel
    Human Services Counsel
 9      -for-
    Restore Opportunity Now               499














 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Good morning.  

 2          (Louder)  Good morning.  

 3                 AUDIENCE:  Good morning.  

 4                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  All right now.  

 5          We're practicing.  In case anyone comes, we 

 6          can join them.

 7                 (Laughter.)

 8                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Today we begin the 

 9          eighth in a series of hearings conducted by 

10          the joint fiscal committees of the 

11          Legislature regarding the Governor's proposed 

12          budget for fiscal year 2017-2018.  The 

13          hearings are conducted pursuant to Article 7, 

14          Section 3 of the Constitution, and Article 2, 

15          Sections 31 and 32A of the Legislative Law.

16                 Today the Assembly Ways and Means 

17          Committee and the Senate Finance Committee 

18          will hear testimony concerning the budget 

19          proposal for human services.  

20                 I will now introduce members from the 

21          Assembly, and Senator Young, chair of the 

22          Senate Finance Committee, will introduce 

23          members from the Senate.

24                 We have been joined by Assemblywomen 


 1          Ellen Jaffee, Donna Lupardo, Latoya Joyner, 

 2          and with Assemblymen Michael DenDekker and 

 3          Erik Dilan.  And, again, Assemblywoman 

 4          Shelley Mayer.

 5                 Senator.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

 7          much, Mr. Chairman.  

 8                 Good morning, everyone, and welcome.  

 9          We welcome the commissioner.  

10                 I'm joined by several of my 

11          colleagues.  We have Senator Liz Krueger, 

12          Senator Diane Savino, Senator Tim Kennedy, 

13          Senator Jim Tedisco, and Senator Roxanne 

14          Persaud.

15                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Before I introduce 

16          the first witness, I would like to remind all 

17          the witnesses and the members up here on the 

18          dais testifying today to keep our statements 

19          within the allotted time -- the clocks are 

20          everywhere, so you can see your time, when 

21          you start and when you end -- within the 

22          allotted time limit, so that everyone can be 

23          afforded the opportunity to speak.

24                 I will now call the first witness, the 


 1          New York State Office of Children and Family 

 2          Services, Sheila Poole, acting commissioner.

 3                 Good morning again.

 4                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Good 

 5          morning.  Good morning, Chairwoman Young, 

 6          Chairman Farrell, Senate Children and 

 7          Families Committee Chairwoman Savino, 

 8          Assemblywoman Children and Families 

 9          Chairwoman Jaffee, and distinguished members 

10          of the Senate and Assembly.  My name is 

11          Sheila Poole, and I'm the acting commissioner 

12          of the New York State Office of Children and 

13          Family Services.  And I'm pleased to have 

14          this opportunity to discuss this year's 

15          proposed budget for OCFS.

16                 The Executive Budget maintains a 

17          strong investment in OCFS's core programs 

18          that serve to protect New York's most 

19          vulnerable citizens in the critically 

20          important areas of child welfare, childcare, 

21          and juvenile justice.  It maintains 

22          $635 million for child welfare services, 

23          which provides enriched state share 

24          reimbursement of 62 cents for every local 


 1          dollar spent on child protective, preventive, 

 2          aftercare, independent living and adoption 

 3          services.  This funding helps to support 

 4          community-based services throughout the state 

 5          and ranks among the highest in the nation.  

 6                 The Executive Budget includes 

 7          $383.5 million in Foster Care Block Grant 

 8          funding to support foster care services, 

 9          including kinship-guardianship programs.  A 

10          $62 million adjustment is included in the 

11          proposed budget, and reflects a proportionate 

12          rightsizing in state share funds following 

13          the dramatic reduction in New York State's 

14          foster care population since this fund was 

15          first established in 2002.  This change 

16          aligns the state's share closer to 

17          50 percent, which is consistent with the 

18          original intent of the fund.  

19                 The Governor has shown a steadfast 

20          commitment to persons experiencing or on the 

21          brink of homelessness in New York State.  And 

22          to that end, the budget provides greater 

23          flexibility to municipalities receiving 

24          Runaway and Homeless Youth funds.  The 


 1          proposal raises the upper age limit for 

 2          programs serving at-risk youth in 

 3          transitional independent living programs from 

 4          age 21 to age 24, and it allows programs to 

 5          extend the length of residential services 

 6          from 18 to 24 months.  This is an option for 

 7          municipalities and is in recognition that 

 8          finding long-term stable housing for homeless 

 9          youth and young adults may take longer than 

10          is currently provided for in statute.  

11                 The proposal also allows counties the 

12          option of increasing the length of stay for 

13          runaway youth in crisis shelters from 30 days 

14          to 120 days.  

15                 The Executive Budget includes 

16          authority for OCFS to invest adoption 

17          assistance savings of $7 million, which is an 

18          increase of $2 million, for preventive 

19          services and other post-adoption services as 

20          required by federal law for children at risk 

21          of entering foster care.  OCFS used savings 

22          last year to invest in the establishment of 

23          eight new Permanency Resource Centers 

24          throughout the state to support post-adoptive 


 1          and kinship families.  In addition, we used 

 2          some of the funds to expand Healthy Families 

 3          NY, which as you all know is our 

 4          evidence-based home visiting program.  This 

 5          year's additional $2 million will allow the 

 6          state to establish Permanency Resource 

 7          Centers in new areas and enable further 

 8          expansion of our Healthy Families program.  

 9                 Protecting children and keeping kids 

10          safe are our core mission at OCFS.  I am sure 

11          you are all aware of recent high-profile 

12          child fatalities and child abuse cases that 

13          have occurred statewide.  These cases are 

14          horrific and always lead us back to the 

15          question, What can we do to correct problems 

16          within the system, and how can we further 

17          protect the children in our state?  

18                 OCFS's role is to review all of these 

19          cases, assess the adequacy of any child 

20          welfare services involvement with the family, 

21          and determine where there are failures, 

22          locally and systemically.  We employ a wide 

23          range of responses and take aggressive action 

24          to address any failures, including the 


 1          appointment of an independent monitor, which 

 2          we have done in several circumstances and, 

 3          most recently, in New York City.  

 4                 We are committed to continuing our 

 5          statewide focus on improving front-line 

 6          supervision of child welfare staff.  We will 

 7          soon unveil a new state-of-the-art project to 

 8          improve training for child welfare 

 9          caseworkers that includes live simulations of 

10          the complex environments and critical 

11          decision-making processes that they are 

12          called to navigate each and every day.  

13                 We also look to adopt best practices 

14          to bring forward new ideas for improving our 

15          system of child protection in New York State. 

16          We're examining the benefits of new 

17          technologies, such as data mining, and 

18          policies that show promise.  And we plan to 

19          launch a child welfare dashboard, which will 

20          display key safety and permanency data 

21          points, which will assist local districts in 

22          their investigations and the state in its 

23          oversight role.  

24                 The Governor's budget includes several 


 1          related proposals to help low-income working 

 2          families.  The Executive Budget maintains our 

 3          critical investment in the Child Care Subsidy 

 4          program at $806 million.  New York State is a 

 5          national leader in directing the majority of 

 6          its entire Child Care Development Fund 

 7          allocation to support childcare subsidies 

 8          that are crucial to our providers and our 

 9          families.  

10                 The Governor has proposed a 

11          $35 million expansion of after-school 

12          programs, which is projected to add an 

13          additional 22,000 slots statewide.  OCFS 

14          looks forward to administering this program.  

15                 In addition, the Governor continues 

16          his commitment to pre-K expansion, with an 

17          additional $5 million investment in this 

18          year's budget.  

19                 This year's budget proposal also 

20          reflects the Governor's continuing commitment 

21          to raising the age of criminal responsibility 

22          in New York State.  It is simply unacceptable 

23          that we have yet to raise the age.  OCFS has 

24          spent the past three years significantly 


 1          modifying our juvenile residential programs 

 2          by enhancing security, expanding educational 

 3          and vocational certification programs, and 

 4          developing a nationally recognized quality 

 5          assurance system.  

 6                 Youth and staff safety is the first 

 7          priority, and I'm pleased to say we're seeing 

 8          an overall decline in youth-on-youth and 

 9          youth-on-staff violence.  We are 

10          ever-vigilant in our efforts to further 

11          reduce these incidents, and we exceed the 

12          national average in staffing our secure 

13          facilities.  

14                 Our youth are required to participate 

15          in a full day of school, college courses or 

16          vocational programming that will increase 

17          their chances of successful reentry into 

18          their communities.  We currently provide 

19          post-release supervision for juvenile 

20          delinquents, and we've created juvenile 

21          offender specialists who are working to 

22          assist parole officers in supervising youth 

23          returned to their communities.  

24                 It is time that we treat all 16- and 


 1          17-year-olds in a system that is specifically 

 2          and specially designed to address their 

 3          unique needs.  It is time for New York to 

 4          finally join the rest of the nation in 

 5          recognizing the potential of our youth, and 

 6          OCFS will be ready to provide that system of 

 7          care.  

 8                 Thank you for the opportunity to 

 9          address all of you today, and I look forward 

10          to your comments and questions.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Mr. Chairman, I 

12          just would like to introduce Assemblyman Mark 

13          Johns, who's joined us.  

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Yes.  We've been 

15          joined by Assemblywoman Fahy.  

16                 And first to ask questions, Chairwoman 

17          Jaffee.

18                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you.  

19          Thank you very much.  

20                 And thank you, Commissioner, for your 

21          conversation the other day -- we had the 

22          opportunity to discuss the issues in children 

23          and families -- and for your testimony today.  

24                 We have so many issues that really are 


 1          impacting our communities at this time.  

 2          Poverty levels in so many areas are really 

 3          shocking and impacting families and our 

 4          children in so many ways.  And we really need 

 5          to consider a very strong response to the 

 6          issues in New York State.

 7                 I wanted to just go back for a moment.  

 8          We had been discussing the situation 

 9          regarding the federal childcare 

10          reauthorization issue, and wanted to know if 

11          you could -- I know there was a conversation 

12          recently.  But if you could address what is 

13          happening and what the state will have to do 

14          if there is no additional financial 

15          assistance provided, or waivers provided to 

16          the state.

17                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes, 

18          certainly.  Thank you, Assemblywoman Jaffee.  

19                 So just to kind of reset from where we 

20          were this time last year, having this 

21          conversation, toward the end of 2016 the 

22          federal government finally, in the last days 

23          of the administration, promulgated final 

24          regulations for the Childcare Development 


 1          Block Grant Act that had passed almost two 

 2          years previously.  And those regulations 

 3          really codified expectations of states, 

 4          particularly with respect to 12-month 

 5          guaranteed eligibility and graduated phaseout 

 6          for families having received subsidy and 

 7          childcare assistance.

 8                 Unfortunately, when our federal fiscal 

 9          year began in October of last year, we 

10          received virtually no additional funds to 

11          help us really maintain our state's 

12          investment of almost a billion dollars in 

13          childcare subsidy -- but I think even more 

14          importantly, in some respects, paralyzing us 

15          from really being able to implement the 

16          $550 million impact that it would take for us 

17          to implement that act in all of its 

18          components in New York State.

19                 And so as I sat here and spoke with 

20          you last year, our plan was to take advantage 

21          of the waivers, the waiver provisions that 

22          were contained in the act.  In 2016 we 

23          applied for 11 waivers, hoping that we would 

24          be successful with the administration in 


 1          gathering more money to implement it without 

 2          having to dip into the $806 million that, you 

 3          know, today 192,000 children count on every 

 4          year.

 5                 So we were successful in receiving 

 6          approval for 10 of those 11 waivers.  The 

 7          11th waiver was related to health and safety, 

 8          which they did not grant to any state.  And 

 9          we're planning to implement the required 

10          training for that this year.

11                 And so, Assemblywoman, at this 

12          particular point our intention is, once the 

13          incoming HHS secretary is appointed and 

14          confirmed by the full Senate, is to really 

15          make a case that if not monetary relief to 

16          implement the act, then certainly regulatory 

17          relief is essential to our state in being 

18          able to maintain our current level of 

19          subsidies that all of our low-income working 

20          families are counting on, and to have them 

21          understand that simply crippling states in 

22          being able to implement the act is not 

23          helping us.  

24                 So that's our intention, is to seek 


 1          regulatory relief.  I also want to be clear 

 2          as we sit here today, and throughout the 

 3          remaining year, we will not face any fiscal 

 4          penalties, so none of our current federal 

 5          funding, CCDF funding, will be at any risk.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  It is certainly 

 7          a challenge, especially given the need for 

 8          childcare in our state.

 9                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  

10          Absolutely.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  I know the 

12          Governor, provided within the context of the 

13          budget, a pretty much flat amount, similar to 

14          what we had last year, in funding for 

15          subsidies for childcare.  And that's a major 

16          concern, given that, from the numbers that 

17          I've seen, that indicates only about 

18          17 percent of the children who actually 

19          qualify for subsidies in our state are being 

20          provided the childcare opportunity.

21                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Which is, you 

23          know, devastating for so many of the families 

24          in New York State, and the children and their 


 1          preparedness for the future, and stability in 

 2          allowing families, and mothers in particular, 

 3          to work.

 4                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So I would 

 5          say that from OCFS's point of view, the 

 6          federal government is really now expecting 

 7          states to essentially self-subsidize their 

 8          subsidy program.  That's the first thing.  

 9                 The second thing I would also like to 

10          say is that I think there are a number of 

11          proposed initiatives in the Executive Budget 

12          that I think hold the promise of relieving 

13          some of the pressure, if not all, but some of 

14          the pressure on the current subsidy programs.  

15          The Governor is proposing an expansion of 

16          pre-K, a $5 million expansion.  And then in 

17          addition to still having the Earned Income 

18          Tax Credit, there is a proposal, which we're 

19          really excited about, to expand after-school 

20          program slots, 22,000 of them.  And again, 

21          those are families now who might be relying 

22          on a subsidy for part of after-school care.  

23          And if we open up more of the school-age 

24          childcare program slots, then we could 


 1          potentially relieve some of the pressure at 

 2          least that we're bearing on the subsidy 

 3          program.

 4                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Another concern 

 5          for many of our municipalities is the 

 6          decision to mandate discretionary Title XX 

 7          funds to be used by the counties, to be used 

 8          towards childcare.  But that then creates a 

 9          continued burden for our municipalities.  So 

10          how will the Office of Children and Family 

11          Services then assist the districts to be able 

12          to eliminate -- let's say, how are they going 

13          to respond if there are human services 

14          programs like senior centers and other 

15          services that they need to provide assistance 

16          to as well?  

17                 So this becomes a major issue, 

18          especially since our municipalities, with the 

19          2 percent cap, are finding it's very 

20          difficult and challenging to be able to 

21          continue to respond to the needs of the 

22          community.

23                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes.  So 

24          when we looked at the Title XX -- and it's 


 1          the "all other," it's not the general 

 2          Title XX which is set aside for domestic 

 3          violence and adult protective services.  But 

 4          that really remaining $26 million of the 

 5          Title XX, all other allocation.  You know, 

 6          today 65 percent of local departments of 

 7          social services already devote part or whole 

 8          of that allocation of childcare.  So again, 

 9          that's not every place.  Certainly New York 

10          City has used a portion of that funding to 

11          fund the senior centers.  

12                 And, Assemblywoman Jaffee, I would 

13          just kind of explain that I think the concept 

14          here in developing this year's Executive 

15          Budget was not just looking at one funding 

16          stream and its impact, but looking across the 

17          spectrum of funding investments that are 

18          going to municipalities.

19                 And so, you know, with respect to the 

20          senior center issue, which is most notable in 

21          New York City, you know, I think when you 

22          look on the Executive Budget as a whole, 

23          there's an additional $400 million that's 

24          going to the city, who is also not held to 


 1          the same tax cap as upstate.  So the thinking 

 2          is that the city will have some flexibility 

 3          within that additional state funding to, if 

 4          they choose, to decide to support those 

 5          programs.

 6                 There are other upstate -- 

 7          Assemblywoman, you know, there are other 

 8          funding streams that could perhaps be tapped 

 9          into.  If they're using -- for example, using 

10          it for some child welfare services part of 

11          the budget.  You know, part of the budget 

12          today calls for the reauthorization of the 

13          open-ended Child Protective 6238 

14          reimbursement, which you've all supported.  

15          And again, you know, that's one funding 

16          stream that has some flexibility.  That 

17          certainly we're more than willing to work 

18          with the districts in identifying potential 

19          other funding streams.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  That would be 

21          very helpful moving forward, because I know 

22          that this will be very challenging for them.

23                 There also was a decision within the 

24          context of the budget to eliminate 


 1          reimbursement for New York City, the CSE 

 2          placements.  Why is that change only focusing 

 3          on New York City and not the whole state?  

 4          Actually, I wouldn't want it to be for 

 5          anyone, but why is it just focused on 

 6          New York City?  

 7                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So there's 

 8          two parts to that.  So one, you know, in my 

 9          testimony that, you know, we're recalibrating 

10          the Foster Care Block Grant because we've had 

11          almost a 60 percent decrease in the past 15 

12          years in the number of children in foster 

13          care, but we've never rightsized the Foster 

14          Care Block Grant allocation.  And so part of 

15          that does pay for the tuition costs for 

16          children.  

17                 The other piece of it are the CSE 

18          placements in New York City that, again, in 

19          the context of the overall budget, the 

20          state's current proposal will bring an 

21          additional $300 million in school aid to 

22          New York City.  And so I think the 

23          expectation is that given that dramatic 

24          increase in state education funding, that the 


 1          city could pay for tuition and education 

 2          costs for its youth determined to need 

 3          placement by the local Committees on Special 

 4          Education as well as children who are in 

 5          foster care in the city.

 6                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  My time is up.  

 8          Thank you.  We'll continue after a while.

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  We've been joined 

10          by Assemblywoman Pam Hunter and Assemblyman 

11          Dave Weprin.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  We've also been 

13          joined by Assemblywoman Malliotakis.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator?  

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

16          much.  

17                 And again, thank you, Commissioner, 

18          for being here.  

19                 I do want to follow up on 

20          Assemblywoman Jaffee's questions regarding 

21          childcare.  You talked about the childcare 

22          subsidy financing change, and as you pointed 

23          out, the Executive Budget maintains the 

24          current $810 million level of childcare 


 1          subsidy funding by requiring the counties to 

 2          allocate the $27 million they currently 

 3          receive in discretionary federal Title XX 

 4          block grant funds to childcare.

 5                 So you're changing it so that they are 

 6          mandated to allocate that towards childcare.  

 7          And as you pointed out in your answer 

 8          previously, that a lot of the localities are 

 9          already using those funds for childcare.

10                 So if the funding is the same but all 

11          of a sudden you're mandating that they 

12          allocate that $27 million -- you require 

13          them -- toward childcare, isn't that going to 

14          result in a reduction of funding to some of 

15          the counties if they're already using it for 

16          childcare and then you're piling additional 

17          costs on top of that?

18                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  The way I 

19          would answer that, Senator, is that typically 

20          each year the way that the subsidy is funded 

21          is a combination of General Fund, CCDF, TANF 

22          funding.  And every year there's a decision 

23          made about where those funding streams -- 

24          which contribute most to it.


 1                 And so I think at the end the 

 2          commitment remains to the $806 million.  The 

 3          difference is how those individual funding 

 4          streams were constructed to add up to the 

 5          $806 million.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So I do think, 

 7          however, this could result in an unfunded 

 8          mandate on some of the counties.  So I would 

 9          urge you to take a look at that.

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Certainly.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Also, related to 

12          childcare -- and again, I thank my colleague 

13          for touching on this -- but there was 

14          discussion regarding the new regulations 

15          coming out of the federal government.  And 

16          I'm glad to hear that you were able to secure 

17          10 waivers.  I think that they could have 

18          been up to three years, but it's my 

19          understanding I just heard that they're only 

20          one-year waivers that you were able to 

21          secure.

22                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  That's 

23          correct.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So if it's only one 


 1          year, and you talked about trying to get 

 2          regulatory or monetary relief out of 

 3          Washington, what are the updated estimates on 

 4          the costs of implementing the following 

 5          provisions?  If we are aren't able to get any 

 6          relief out of Washington, I'd like to know, 

 7          what will it cost for the increased provider 

 8          inspection requirements, for example?  

 9                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So the two 

10          most expensive pieces of the $555 million 

11          total are the 12-month guaranteed eligibility 

12          and the second is the graduated phaseout.  

13          And those two, combined, account for 

14          $441 million of the $555 million.  

15                 And then there are additional costs 

16          for the clearances -- I think that's in the 

17          ballpark of $34 million, $36 million -- the 

18          background clearance checks, and then the 

19          additional inspections, and then staff and 

20          provider training.

21                 But certainly, Senator, when we look 

22          at those two provisions in and of themselves 

23          that are most subsidy-related, that's where 

24          the large cost is.  And that's where, getting 


 1          back to the earlier conversation, it's so 

 2          problematic for us to really implement the 

 3          act, given that there's no new federal 

 4          funding for additional subsidies.  That's our 

 5          challenge.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Will OCFS need 

 7          additional staff to be able to do the 

 8          training and the inspections?

 9                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes.  We 

10          would absolutely need additional staff to 

11          take on the additional requirements.  So, you 

12          know, the act calls for additional visits to 

13          regulated providers, but part of this act 

14          also really focuses on the legally exempt 

15          community.  And currently we do about 

16          20 percent inspections of those.  And if we 

17          were to implement the act, that would be an 

18          additional expense as well.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Have you done an 

20          analysis as to what the cost would be?

21                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Not in the 

22          past year, Senator.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Do you envision 

24          that the state would take on the 


 1          responsibility for the background checks, or 

 2          would that be passed along to the providers?  

 3                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  You know, 

 4          our intention is, to the extent possible, not 

 5          passing along those costs to providers.  

 6          Certainly wholly.  Or, you know, passing them 

 7          along to local departments of social 

 8          services.  We recognize, you know, the 

 9          challenges that they have.  

10                 And again, that's part of what's been 

11          difficult, is not wanting to cut subsidy and 

12          not wanting to implement this bill on the 

13          backs of childcare providers and on the backs 

14          of local departments of social services.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

16                 So studies have shown that New York is 

17          the most expensive state to obtain childcare, 

18          and the costs are already very high.  I've 

19          heard from a lot of my providers about the 

20          increase in the minimum wage and labor costs.  

21                 So is there anything that OCFS is 

22          doing to streamline processes and otherwise 

23          reduce the costs for the providers of doing 

24          business in New York?  Because they need some 


 1          kind of relief.

 2                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yeah.  So, 

 3          you know, I think we have -- at OCFS we've 

 4          adopted the Toyota business reengineering 

 5          process to try and reduce processes that can 

 6          delay providers from becoming licensed and 

 7          expedite their ability to draw down subsidy 

 8          and payment.  

 9                 But with specific respect to the 

10          incremental costs that are the costs of doing 

11          business in New York City -- every two years, 

12          we are required, Senator, to do what's called 

13          a market rate survey.  And so we do 25 

14          percent of our regulated providers across the 

15          state, make sure we cover all of the regions, 

16          and we ask them what is the cost, what are 

17          they charging to private-pay parents.  And 

18          there's a very complicated calculation that's 

19          done.  And based upon that, we set new market 

20          rates in the state.

21                 So at least in part, those new market 

22          rates do reflect the actual costs of doing 

23          business for providers.  So that's one way, 

24          Senator, that we're trying to help, you know, 


 1          mitigate those cost-of-living increases for 

 2          providers by doing that market rate analysis 

 3          every two years.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 5                 Just switching gears, you and I have 

 6          had good conversations about Raise the Age.  

 7          But assuming that the law is passed and takes 

 8          effect, would 16- and 17-year-olds be placed 

 9          in existing secure detention facilities, 

10          along with the current youth population, or 

11          would they be segregated out and placed 

12          separately?  

13                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So there's 

14          two types of detention that would be used in 

15          the new Raise the Age scenario.  So one is 

16          that 16- and 17-year-olds who are now 

17          detained in local jails would be temporarily 

18          detained pre-adjudication in locally 

19          administered secure detention facilities.  

20                 So the answer to that is that, you 

21          know, we have some underutilization in the 

22          state's secure detention facilities that we 

23          think is enough to at least get us started 

24          with having capacity in January of '19.  


 1                 As to the additional, right, the 

 2          post-placement secure facilities which we at 

 3          OCFS would operate, we have some 

 4          underutilization, but we would, Senator, be 

 5          bringing online several new secure facilities 

 6          to specifically serve the newly sentenced 16- 

 7          and 17-year-olds.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Where would those 

 9          be located?

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  We haven't 

11          made that determination yet, Senator.  

12                 Certainly there are, you know, many 

13          facilities across the state.  There's 

14          facilities that we and other state agencies 

15          have decommissioned over the years.  So 

16          again, I think, you know, when we get to that 

17          point, it's really taking a fresh look at 

18          where the physical assets exist throughout 

19          the state and where we can implement building 

20          those facilities in the most responsible and 

21          fiscally prudent way.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  As you know, I've 

23          been deeply concerned for a long time over 

24          the level of violence in the youth 


 1          facilities.  And we know the workers' comp 

 2          cases were exploding because of the violence.  

 3          And I'm very happy to hear you say that the 

 4          incidence of youth-on-youth violence and 

 5          youth-on-staff violence have declined.  But 

 6          do you have any statistics that you could 

 7          share with the Legislature in that regard?  

 8                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Certainly.  

 9          I don't have them here with me today, but 

10          we'd be happy to provide any information --

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So you could do 

12          some kind of comparison of previous years and 

13          what the incidents are now?  

14                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, that would be 

16          great.

17                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Of course.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Well, we've always 

19          had trouble getting that in the past, just so 

20          you know. 

21                 What training do youth development 

22          aides in secure detention facilities 

23          currently receive with regard to how to 

24          handle these violent incidents?


 1                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So today 

 2          in OCFS's system, all newly hired youth 

 3          development aides receive about 200 hours of 

 4          training.  So we call it academy training.  

 5          So they learn a variety of skills.  They 

 6          certainly learn about youth development, you 

 7          know, developmental phases of young people.  

 8          They learn about trauma, which we've all 

 9          talked about.  The brain research certainly 

10          supports that many young people in the 

11          juvenile justice system have come from a lot 

12          of trauma in their lives.

13                 We spend a lot of time, Senator, 

14          training staff on deescalation techniques.  

15          Our goal, when young people are having 

16          trouble in the facilities, is to the greatest 

17          degree possible deescalate them, through 

18          counseling or through individualized 

19          planning, given what an individual youth's 

20          triggers might be.  But we also certainly 

21          employ a wide variety of restraint 

22          techniques, and so those are taught as well 

23          in our academy.  

24                 And then within -- you know, every 


 1          year thereafter, there are a set number of 

 2          additional trainings that we do provide to 

 3          staff as refreshers and further staff 

 4          development.

 5                 So I think, on whole, we have a pretty 

 6          robust training program for our staff.  In 

 7          fact, I think you all know that DOCCS brought 

 8          online the Hudson facility last December, and 

 9          we were very happy to be asked by DOCCS to 

10          assist in training their staff, the 

11          correction aides and their clinicians, on 

12          pieces of our model and our juvenile justice 

13          system.  So we've got a nice relationship 

14          with DOCCS.  

15                 And likewise, Senator, you know, as I 

16          said to you last evening, we are always 

17          looking at ways within OCFS facilities to 

18          make them more safe and more secure for 

19          staff.  And so we've partnered with DOCCS 

20          where they have demonstrated some techniques, 

21          and we've adopted some of those that, again, 

22          we are comfortable with, given that we are 

23          serving juveniles and young people, right, 

24          and not adult prisoners.  


 1                 So I think we've struck a really good 

 2          balance and have a good relationship with 

 3          DOCCS and DCJS and SCOC as well.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 5                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 6                 We've been joined by Assemblywoman 

 7          Didi Barrett and Assemblyman Bronson.

 8                 Next to question, Chairwoman Lupardo.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  We've been joined 

10          by Senator Sue Serino.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Thank you, 

12          Mr. Chair.  

13                 Good morning, Commissioner.  It's nice 

14          to see you.  It looks like our paths are 

15          crossing over the Title XX issue now that I 

16          chair the Aging Committee.  Obviously there's 

17          a lot of concern about this redirecting of 

18          these funds, specifically the New York City 

19          senior center issue, which puts probably 

20          65 centers in jeopardy.  

21                 Not to go over questions that have 

22          already been asked, but do you have a 

23          breakdown of how the counties are in fact 

24          spending that?  Because I know my county uses 


 1          it on adult protective services and have 

 2          expressed a concern that with this 

 3          redirection, it does in fact amount to an 

 4          unexpected cost on their side, an unfunded 

 5          mandate.  

 6                 So do we have that breakdown?  Because 

 7          I know you pretty much --

 8                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  We 

 9          certainly do.  We can tell from claims 

10          submitted.  And again, I want -- you know, I 

11          might have confused folks earlier, but 

12          there's two -- under Title XX, there's two 

13          pots of money.  So the total pot is around 

14          $96 million, $97 million.  Sixty-six million 

15          of it has been and continues, in the 

16          Executive Budget, to be set aside for 

17          supporting protective services for adults as 

18          well as domestic violence services.

19                 But we can tell, to your question, 

20          Assemblywoman, of the Title XX other, from -- 

21          again, we'll have to do a deeper dive into 

22          claims, but which counties are using the 

23          Title XX other, the $26 million for other 

24          reasons.  


 1                 And again, we will work with any 

 2          county in my finance office to figure out 

 3          what other potential funding streams there 

 4          might be to help mitigate some of those local 

 5          impacts.  Maybe there's some FFFS money or 

 6          some other discretionary pot of money that 

 7          they could claim for in a different way.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Yeah, it's 

 9          very hard to analyze the impact without 

10          seeing those numbers, so that would be 

11          appreciated.

12                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Sure.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  But I can tell 

14          you there will be a lot of distress expressed 

15          from those seniors, I can tell you that, in 

16          New York City.  So that will be coming your 

17          way, I'm sure.

18                 I have a question about the 

19          after-school additional appropriation.  So 

20          obviously that's very good news.  And we've 

21          worked very hard to get the concern for 

22          after-school programing and the need for 

23          these slots on the radar for quite some time.

24                 So I'm wondering, what was the 


 1          thinking behind allocating the $35 million 

 2          through the Anti-Poverty Initiative?  There 

 3          are those 15 or 16 communities that have been 

 4          established, and mine is one of them, so I'm 

 5          happy about that.  But I'm curious, how was 

 6          it put together that those funds would go 

 7          through the poverty initiative?  

 8                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Quite 

 9          frankly, I think that the thinking is that 

10          those are our most vulnerable communities and 

11          that when we have additional funding, that we 

12          want to try and point dollars, as much as we 

13          can, to those communities who are in many 

14          instances very service-poor and who need 

15          services like childcare and after-school.

16                 But certainly, Assemblywoman, we 

17          recognize that if we were in a different 

18          place financially, right, there's always a 

19          need for more after-school programs.  But the 

20          intention is to try and be raising up those 

21          identified communities across the state who 

22          have really profound concerns with 

23          homelessness and lack of employment and a 

24          need really for more community-based 


 1          services.  So that's really the intention.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  So how will 

 3          those funds be administered?  Will they be 

 4          administered through existing programs, like 

 5          Advantage After School, or will we be 

 6          creating another entity entirely that will be 

 7          directed towards those united ways --

 8                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Our goal 

 9          is not to create yet another, right, another 

10          model of program.  You know, this money 

11          actually will be in the State Ed Department's 

12          budget, but it will be suballocated to OCFS.  

13                 So, Assemblywoman, as we typically do, 

14          we would issue a request for proposals.  

15          Again, targeted to those 16 anti-poverty 

16          communities, and they would be able to 

17          respond with proposals.

18                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Just one other 

19          track.  If we could go back to the childcare 

20          issue.  Maybe I'm a skeptic, but I'm not 

21          expecting much regulatory or financial relief 

22          coming from Washington, especially these 

23          days.  And you said you were waiting for the 

24          new Secretary of Human Services to arrive.


 1                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  They seem to 

 3          be more focused on tax credits.  And we have 

 4          an initiative in the budget this year for tax 

 5          credits.  I think some of us have felt that 

 6          for a long time we've ignored sort of the 

 7          childcare industry as a whole, where workers 

 8          are underpaid, centers are closing because 

 9          they haven't gotten the reimbursements.  

10          We've discussed the market survey.

11                 So I'm just curious as to -- what is 

12          our ballpark plan?  Because you know where 

13          we're potentially heading.  When we have so 

14          many kids on a waiting list or so many who 

15          are unserved, how do we turn around and cope 

16          with that potential looming crisis?

17                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Those are 

18          the very kinds of questions, Assemblywoman, 

19          that we ask ourselves, you know, at OCFS.  

20                 And again, given that this is a new 

21          administration that we've heard seems to be 

22          leaning toward regulatory relief, we are 

23          hopeful that we will make some progress.  

24                 And the other thing I would say is 


 1          that we are carefully watching other states 

 2          who have gone forward and who have 

 3          implemented some parts of the Childcare 

 4          Development Block Grant act.  And, you know, 

 5          it's concerning what we're already seeing in 

 6          other states.  It's not surprising.  And it's 

 7          in fact the reason why we have chosen the 

 8          path we have in New York today.  States like 

 9          Connecticut and Vermont and even 

10          Mississippi -- Mississippi's waiting list -- 

11          they never had a waiting list prior to 

12          implementing the CCDBG Act, but now their 

13          waiting list, as we understand it, is almost 

14          now as high as the active caseload of 

15          families who are receiving subsidy.  

16                 You know, Connecticut has seen waiting 

17          lists for families growing exponentially.  

18                 And so our hope is that these other 

19          states are now going to join us in really 

20          pressing for some federal relief, because at 

21          some point, right, the bottom is going to 

22          drop out and families are going to be waiting 

23          for very, very, very long periods of time to 

24          be able to access care.


 1                 So again, I think that's a very 

 2          legitimate question that you ask.  But we 

 3          have got to give this our very best shot in 

 4          Washington in helping folks really understand 

 5          what this means to low-income working 

 6          families.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  I think people 

 8          are surprised when they learn -- and I want 

 9          you to correct me if I'm wrong -- that over 

10          80 percent of children who are eligible for 

11          childcare subsidies are not receiving them, 

12          that we really aren't getting ahead in this 

13          game.  We're not able to add new slots, we're 

14          playing catch up.  And with this worry, it 

15          just compounds it.  

16                 Is that correct, that we do have 

17          almost 83 percent of children who are 

18          eligible for subsidies unserved?  

19                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes, I do 

20          believe that's an accurate figure.

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Yeah.  It's 

22          very hard to get ahead when we're playing 

23          catch up like this.

24                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  It is.  It 


 1          is.  And it doesn't help when, again, we are 

 2          getting almost no additional support from the 

 3          federal government.  And on top of which, 

 4          good luck, states, with implementing a 

 5          $550 million Child Care Development Block 

 6          Grant Act.  We're in a very, very tough 

 7          place.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Thanks for 

 9          your work.

10                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

11                 Senator?  

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

13                 Senator Persaud.

14                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Good morning, 

15          Commissioner.  

16                 Getting back to the childcare 

17          financing with the elimination of funding for 

18          kids with special needs and payments for 

19          tuition, have you spoken with the school 

20          districts on how that's going to affect them 

21          and how they'll bridge that gap?  

22                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  No, we've 

23          not had conversations with the local school 

24          districts, Senator.  


 1                 But again, you know, as I said 

 2          earlier, you know, we are -- and the Governor 

 3          has increased the school aid budgets not only 

 4          in the New York City area, but certainly 

 5          statewide.  And again, that's the belief, 

 6          that the local school districts, with the 

 7          increased aid, can take responsibility for 

 8          those costs that to date have been falling to 

 9          the foster care system.

10                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  We know that foster 

11          care has been underfunded, and so now we're 

12          cutting more of their funding.  How is the 

13          municipality going to be able to afford that?

14                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I don't 

15          know what specific aspect of foster care that 

16          you're suggesting is underfunded.

17                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  I think in general 

18          the foster care population has been 

19          underfunded.  There are things that we should 

20          be funding -- for example, more of tuition or 

21          transportation, more of housing.  They're not 

22          receiving that.  And now we're taking away 

23          from another vulnerable part of the 

24          population, the special needs population, and 


 1          we're asking those agencies to fund them.  So 

 2          you are telling them to take away the funding 

 3          from what was already underfunded to take 

 4          care of them.  How should they do that?

 5                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, the 

 6          other thing I think that is again 

 7          important -- and I hear you, Senator.  You 

 8          know, we will never, right, in our lifetimes 

 9          have enough to do everything that we all know 

10          we want to do and could do for our vulnerable 

11          families in this state.  And I think that's 

12          true of every place in the country.  

13                 But something for us to remember and 

14          be proud of is that, you know, we are one of 

15          the very few states that funds preventive 

16          services in as richly a way as we do in 

17          New York State.  If you talk to other states, 

18          you know, there's virtually very little and 

19          sometimes no state support for preventive 

20          services.  That's why their foster care 

21          numbers are exploding, and have been.  We've 

22          had the exact opposite experience in our 

23          state, that because we provide 62 cents of 

24          every dollar to local districts, that we've 


 1          been able to keep down the number of kids in 

 2          foster care and really create across the 

 3          state I think a very rich array of services 

 4          for those families who are vulnerable and 

 5          whose children may be at risk of coming into 

 6          care.

 7                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Thanks for saying 

 8          that New York is, you know, beyond everyone 

 9          else, because we want to make sure that 

10          everyone follows our lead.  We don't want to 

11          be like the other states.

12                 But our foster care population, it's 

13          not a population that we should cut funding 

14          from.  You know, it's a needy population.  We 

15          have too many foster care kids who are moving 

16          to the homeless population.  You know, 

17          they're moving -- when they're aging out, 

18          there are not the services there, and so 

19          they're not being prepared.  

20                 So when we're cutting the funding 

21          while they're in the pipeline, we're really 

22          pushing them out onto the street, into the 

23          homeless population.  And we were trying not 

24          to do this.


 1                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  If I 

 2          could, Senator, just on that point, just add 

 3          a couple of things that we are doing.

 4                 So last year, you know, the Governor 

 5          had the $2 billion supported housing 

 6          proposal, so young people leaving foster care 

 7          and leaving the juvenile justice system are 

 8          in the population to be served in those 

 9          programs.

10                 I think the other thing that we've 

11          been very focused on in New York with respect 

12          to our youth aging out of foster care is to 

13          make sure that those who are in interested in 

14          postsecondary education and college have the 

15          opportunity to go to college and to stay in 

16          college.  And we've really been very grateful 

17          for the partnerships that we've forged with 

18          the Higher Education Services Corporation to 

19          make sure that we in child welfare really 

20          understand the types of financial aid that's 

21          available for youth exiting care.  

22                 And we're doing a lot of work with 

23          SUNY and CUNY because unfortunately, while 

24          we're doing a better job of having young 


 1          people leave care and go to college, there's 

 2          a lot of drop-off when they're there because 

 3          they need a lot of wraparound support.  And 

 4          so we're doing a lot with SUNY to try and 

 5          institutionalize some of those supports that 

 6          our young people need on the campuses.  

 7                 And just this past December we were 

 8          able to, working with SUNY and CUNY, we were 

 9          able at OCFS to allow funding for young 

10          people who didn't have a place to go home to 

11          for the long holiday break.  You'd be 

12          surprised how many young people in 

13          colleges -- and not just young people in 

14          foster care -- have no place to go during 

15          college breaks.  And so the schools were 

16          great in allowing our young people to stay 

17          with them.

18                 Is that enough?  No.  We have more to 

19          do.  But I also think that this is an 

20          opportunity for all of you to hear from me 

21          about the other pieces of work that we're 

22          focused on to try and improve the lives of 

23          young people in foster care.  And we'll keep 

24          at it, Senator.


 1                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Thank you.  I just 

 2          wanted to mention one thing.  You talked 

 3          about the kids not having a place to go over 

 4          the long holidays.  I was a college 

 5          registrar, and both colleges that I was at, 

 6          that's something that they did.  They were 

 7          private colleges, but that's something they 

 8          did.  And I think we should encourage 

 9          colleges across the board to do that for more 

10          of the students.  

11                 Thank you, Commissioner.

12                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Thank you, 

13          Senator.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

15                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblywoman Fahy.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN FAHY:  Thank you, 

17          Mr. Chairman.  

18                 And thank you, Commissioner.  Thank 

19          you for being here today.  

20                 I just want to mention a couple of 

21          things and a couple of questions, couple of 

22          comments.  And I just want to piggyback on a 

23          question earlier from I think Senator Young, 

24          regarding the youth violence in prisons.  And 


 1          I'm encouraged to hear that you mentioned 

 2          that the numbers are coming down.  Are there 

 3          new strategies that have been developed 

 4          that -- I know you said you would follow up 

 5          with the statistics, and I would welcome 

 6          those as well.  Are there some new strategies 

 7          that you want to mention?  

 8                 I have a couple of other questions 

 9          too, so I'll just be brief.

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Sure.  

11          Yes.  So I'm happy to talk about that.  So in 

12          our OCFS juvenile justice facilities, we've 

13          done a lot of things to strengthen our 

14          overall security.  

15                 So we've spent a lot of time making 

16          sure that we have cameras so that we are 

17          watching what's going on both with youth and 

18          with our staff, making sure that folks are 

19          doing the really critically important job 

20          that we need them to do.  

21                 We have made investments in a 

22          statewide facility security director, and 

23          this person goes about several times a year 

24          actually through each facility in great 


 1          detail, again, making sure that contraband is 

 2          not being hidden, that we don't have other 

 3          potential physical risk factors in the 

 4          facilities.  

 5                 We have formed a statewide search team 

 6          that goes into facilities unannounced to 

 7          search for contraband.  Because again, that 

 8          is a -- as you all know very well, when 

 9          contraband starts getting in, that can create 

10          a lot of problems in the facility.  

11                 We are equipping our staff with 

12          state-of-the-art radios that have personal 

13          safety devices on it, it's almost like a GPS, 

14          for staff who are in the facility.  So if 

15          there's an issue, we can tell with great 

16          precision not just what building they're in, 

17          but actually what room or closet they may be 

18          in.  

19                 So we have done -- you know, we have 

20          instituted a clear-bag policy, we call it, so 

21          that both staff and visitors who are coming 

22          into the facility can't bring just their big 

23          backpack or duffel bag, that there are clear 

24          bags that they must put any possession that 


 1          they're bringing into the facility.  So 

 2          again, we're trying to manage contraband.  

 3          Actually DOCCS, you know, consulted with us 

 4          on that, and we were happy to share the work 

 5          that we've done.

 6                 But most importantly, or equally 

 7          importantly, Assemblywoman, is -- and I said 

 8          this to Senator Young last night -- you know, 

 9          safety in the facility is paramount to doing 

10          anything else, right, to running an 

11          educational program, to having youth feel 

12          safe in vocational settings or participating 

13          in treatment.  And we have spent a lot of 

14          time in the past years really building up our 

15          educational programs for young people.  I am 

16          really proud of the work that we've done, 

17          especially in our secure facilities where of 

18          course young people stay the longest, right, 

19          serving out their sentences with us.

20                 So we've had a number of staff obtain 

21          their associate's degrees while they are with 

22          us, within the walls of a secure facility.  

23          We actually have wonderful partnerships with 

24          Colombia-Greene Community College.  They come 


 1          into our Brookwood secure facility and bring 

 2          their classroom, professors and students, 

 3          into the facility so that our youth can 

 4          participate.  

 5                 And then of course not every youth, 

 6          right, has an interest or is able to attend 

 7          college.  And we've done a lot of work on 

 8          creating meaningful certification programs so 

 9          that when young people leave -- and we're 

10          trying to promote successful reentry -- that 

11          they have a greater likelihood of getting a 

12          job.

13                 So we've got an Energy Warrior Program 

14          with Cornell Cooperative Extension where 

15          young people can actually be certified in 

16          installing weatherization -- what do they 

17          call that -- insulation that you blow into 

18          the walls and that, you know, again, they can 

19          get a job.  We have a flagger certification 

20          that they can use with transportation to 

21          assist on road projects.  We have an 

22          aquaponics certification, which I'd love any 

23          of you here to come and visit, particularly 

24          our industry -- limited secure residential 


 1          program.  We have got a phenomenal aquaponics 

 2          program where we grow tilapia and lobsters 

 3          and very expensive lettuce that they're 

 4          turning around as an industry and selling to 

 5          local restaurants.  

 6                 So we're really focused on things that 

 7          are of interest to young people while they're 

 8          with us, because when they're engaged, right, 

 9          they're more successful.  When you have 

10          engaged youth, either in school all day or in 

11          enhancement activities, you are maintaining 

12          safety in the facility.

13                 So we, Assemblywoman, have put 

14          tremendous effort into trying to improve 

15          those components.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN FAHY:  Thank you.  And I 

17          really am pleased to hear you say the focus 

18          is on education and training, especially on 

19          some of the green jobs, where we know those 

20          jobs are growing.  And I think it is -- you 

21          also took a word right out of my mouth, which 

22          is engagement.  And the more we have engaged 

23          youth, the less we have behavioral issues.

24                 So I am encouraged, and I do look 


 1          forward to the statistics.  

 2                 I just -- I know I'm out of time, so I 

 3          just want to mention a couple of other 

 4          things.  The SUNY CUNY childcare subsidy, 

 5          that cut is very disconcerting, because that 

 6          is a need.  Again, we can't keep students 

 7          engaged if those that need it don't have the 

 8          access to childcare.  

 9                 And it is the same with the childcare 

10          subsidy.  I know we've heard it already this 

11          morning, but I think it is critically 

12          important that we not cut the subsidy that is 

13          going to our local social service agencies, 

14          because again that -- it struck me as another 

15          unfunded mandate not to continue that 

16          subsidy.  And I worry that something else 

17          will be eliminated as a result of that.  

18                 And then, just quickly, I was going to 

19          ask the question, but on the after-school 

20          program, very pleased to see the Governor's 

21          proposal with the additional $35 million.  

22          Very encouraging.  As you know, there's about 

23          a million youth that need after-school slots, 

24          not unlike the childcare slots.  But it is 


 1          encouraging.  My only question there would be 

 2          how we would consolidate with the other 

 3          existing ones so that we don't have the 

 4          nonprofits and the school districts tripping 

 5          over themselves with the different 

 6          requirements, because that would bring us up 

 7          to four, as I understand it, among two 

 8          different agencies.  So that's -- it's very 

 9          difficult on the providers, community 

10          providers, as well as the school districts to 

11          monitor different regs, different application 

12          procedures, and different regulatory 

13          requirements.  

14                 So I'm out of time, but I just would 

15          appreciate you being cognizant of that and 

16          open to trying to work together again so that 

17          we can serve more and not have additional 

18          funds caught up in administrative 

19          requirements.

20                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Good 

21          points, thank you.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN FAHY:  Thank you so 

23          much, Commissioner.  

24                 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 2                 Senator.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 4                 Senator Tim Kennedy.

 5                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Thank you, 

 6          Chairwoman.  

 7                 Good morning, Commissioner.

 8                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Good 

 9          morning.

10                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Thank you for your 

11          service.  

12                 I want to talk about Erie County.  

13          This year Erie County's allocation for the 

14          New York State Childcare Block Grant was 

15          $24.6 million.  Comparatively, Monroe County 

16          received $36.3 million; Nassau County, 

17          $52.6 million.  There's a clear disparity in 

18          funding between counties.

19                 Currently in Erie County there's a 

20          waiting list of more than 320 families who 

21          are eligible to receive childcare assistance, 

22          but the county doesn't have the funds 

23          necessary to serve them.  

24                 So I have concerns about the 


 1          methodology that your department is using to 

 2          determine this funding.  And right now a 

 3          county that begins to receive a reduced 

 4          funding amount will always receive less 

 5          funding, unless it dedicates a substantial 

 6          portion of its own budget to filling that 

 7          gap.  

 8                 So I want to know what we can do to 

 9          distribute childcare dollars in a more 

10          equitable fashion and how we can update this 

11          distribution formula so that it reflects 

12          current demand rather than prior usage.

13                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So I would 

14          respond in two ways, Senator, that again, if 

15          a county has not been spending the totality 

16          of its allocation and we look at their 

17          claims, you know, if they're not spending it 

18          on a consistent basis, then presumably over 

19          time that means, right, that maybe someone 

20          else who's spending all of theirs and who has 

21          waiting lists should have it to use.  

22                 I suspect that that has been part of 

23          the issue with Erie County.  And I'll 

24          certainly confirm that when I'm back at the 


 1          office, but I think that there had been a 

 2          period of years, Senator, where Erie was not 

 3          expending all of its childcare allocation.  

 4                 And as you know -- do you remember 

 5          rollover, right, from years ago?  We had tens 

 6          of millions of dollars of rollover.  We 

 7          really cracked down on that and said we can't 

 8          have rollover, people need to be spending the 

 9          childcare allocation that we're putting out 

10          to counties.  So that's the first response I 

11          would have.  

12                 The second is that this year, in 2017, 

13          we are going to be opening up our childcare 

14          subsidy regulations.  So we have not looked 

15          at our childcare subsidy regulations in a 

16          good number of years.  And I know that there 

17          have been conversations about methodology, 

18          there have been conversations about market 

19          rate and how rates are set.  And so we will 

20          have the opportunity this year, in opening 

21          that discussion, for obviously public 

22          discourse and stakeholder engagement.  

23                 And that perhaps, Senator, is an 

24          opportunity to have some of your concerns 


 1          spoken about and discussed more fully.  But 

 2          we will be doing that this year.  

 3                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Well, Commissioner, 

 4          I appreciate that.  But what I will tell you 

 5          is the simple fact is there's 320 families on 

 6          a waiting list.  And that has to be 

 7          rectified.  And I think a constant 

 8          communication, where we can resolve that 

 9          issue, I think is imperative moving forward.  

10                 So whatever the distribution formula 

11          is, I think we have to take into 

12          consideration the needs of the community, 

13          regardless of its geographic location in the 

14          state, whether it's Erie County or Monroe 

15          County or anywhere in between.  But Erie 

16          County, I know there's a massive waiting list 

17          of needy families, and that just has to be 

18          rectified, whatever we have to do to resolve 

19          that.

20                 Regarding that same waiting list in 

21          Erie County, last year's budget included 

22          $500,000 for a WDI facilitated enrollment in 

23          Erie County, which was badly needed but was 

24          just the tip of the iceberg.  So due to this 


 1          high demand for the program, not every family 

 2          between 200 and 275 percent of the poverty 

 3          level in Erie County has received assistance.  

 4                 So the proposed budget doesn't add any 

 5          new appropriations to this program.  So I'm 

 6          just curious what we need to do and how this 

 7          budget addresses the growing need for 

 8          childcare costs for families in Erie County, 

 9          specifically for those making up to 

10          275 percent of the poverty level.

11                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So, 

12          Senator, as you may know, all legislative 

13          adds are removed from the Executive Budget 

14          this year, and that is the case.  So all of 

15          the facilitated enrollment projects that 

16          members of the Legislature have put your 

17          money toward do not exist in the Executive 

18          Budget.

19                 To your question about, you know, 

20          subsidy, right, it's the question of the day:  

21          How, without additional federal funding 

22          coming to New York, can we expand capacity 

23          for more subsidy?  And again, I don't have a 

24          great answer for that.  


 1                 I would also just add that the Earned 

 2          Income Tax Credit program, as well as the 

 3          Governor's proposing the middle-class tax 

 4          credit for childcare, you know, may be other 

 5          strategies to help some of those families 

 6          that -- you know, Senator, I don't have all 

 7          those details in front of me, but I would be 

 8          very happy to have a separate conversation 

 9          with you about that.

10                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Thank you.

11                 In Erie County I know you've been very 

12          involved, your office has been very involved 

13          with some horrible, tragic deaths in some 

14          situations.  The county has rectified many of 

15          the issues within Child Protective Services, 

16          with the help of your office.  Unfortunately, 

17          my district still sees a very high rate of 

18          child abuse and a high number of CPS 

19          caseloads.  

20                 So Healthy Families New York works to 

21          prevent child abuse, allowing home visitation 

22          programs and providing resources and 

23          services.  Shouldn't we invest more money 

24          into this program so we can lower the 


 1          back-end costs associated with these 

 2          instances of abuse?

 3                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes.  I 

 4          mean we're always, Senator, looking to, you 

 5          know, expand prevention programs.  You know, 

 6          you mentioned Healthy Families.  We had an 

 7          opportunity to expand our Healthy Families 

 8          program last year using the $5 million of 

 9          adoption assistance that we had.  And then 

10          again this year, with the additional 

11          $2 million, Senator, we again hope to expand 

12          the Healthy Families program.  

13                 So I think we have some good 

14          opportunities on the horizon.

15                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Thank you.  And just 

16          the last question regarding the CPS issues, 

17          the progress that has been made in large part 

18          due to the focus and efforts on reducing the 

19          caseloads in the county -- again, with the 

20          assistance of your office.

21                 But what is OCFS doing to ensure, not 

22          just in Erie County but statewide, that 

23          caseworkers have the resources that they need 

24          to reduce these caseloads and properly 


 1          investigate these reports of abuse and 

 2          neglect?

 3                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So I would 

 4          first of all echo, Senator, your comments 

 5          about the progress that Erie County Child 

 6          Protective Services has made.  You know, they 

 7          were the poster child, right, upstate in 

 8          previous years of high-profile cases and a 

 9          myriad of issues.  And, you know, under the 

10          new leadership there, they -- and with a lot 

11          of help, frankly, from OCFS -- they have made 

12          just tremendous progress, and you should be 

13          very proud of that.

14                 So with respect to kind of caseload 

15          standards, as you all know, the Governor 

16          vetoed the caseload standard bill.  However, 

17          he issued a pretty strong veto message to us 

18          at OCFS.  And so this year, as part of that 

19          veto message, we will be reconvening bill 

20          sponsors, other stakeholders, to come back to 

21          the table and to talk about a way to better 

22          study caseload standards.

23                 The last report was done in 2006.  

24          Again, that was a different governor, and I 


 1          was not here.  So I think we want to really 

 2          be very careful and pay attention to -- you 

 3          know, not every CPS case is the same, right?  

 4          There are sex abuse cases, very complicated, 

 5          there's ed neglect cases, there could be a 

 6          childcare investigation where there's 

 7          25 children who have to be investigated.  You 

 8          know, a case is not a case.  They're all 

 9          different, and I think we need to take that 

10          into consideration.

11                 The other thing I think that we're 

12          also particularly concerned about and we want 

13          to have conversations, you know, with the 

14          stakeholders in this discussion, is about the 

15          issue that we see in our oversight work, that 

16          setting caseload standards in and of 

17          themselves does not equal quality.  In fact, 

18          it can sometimes create the opposite, where 

19          the workers are feeling tremendous pressure 

20          to maintain the 12 or the 15 caseload, and so 

21          they are closing cases without a thorough 

22          safety and risk assessment, without taking 

23          the time to document the work, and without 

24          taking the time to have the preventive 


 1          services.  And we've seen that.  We have seen 

 2          that.  It was an issue in Erie County, 

 3          frankly, Senator, several years ago.  

 4                 So as we think again about caseload 

 5          standards, we want to be having a more 

 6          inclusive conversation and a more statewide 

 7          conversation about what that means.  And 

 8          again, we'll be doing that this year.

 9                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  If I could just make 

10          one request to that point.

11                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Of course.

12                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  If we could have a 

13          representative from Erie County, given the 

14          experience that we've dealt with --

15                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  

16          Absolutely.  Absolutely.

17                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  -- uniquely in our 

18          community, but through the work in your 

19          office as well, I think that would be very 

20          helpful.

21                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  It's a 

22          great idea.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you, Senator.

24                 Assemblywoman Jaffee, to close on this 


 1          side.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you.  

 3          Thank you very much.  

 4                 As you can note, the issue of 

 5          childcare and providing sufficient childcare 

 6          subsidies for our communities is a major 

 7          issue, especially given, as I noted earlier, 

 8          the poverty issues.  And certainly another 

 9          concern is that those families that are 

10          already currently receiving subsidized 

11          childcare from funding streams that were 

12          associated through facilitated enrollment, or 

13          even the SUNY/CUNY childcare subsidies -- 

14          now, the Governor cut that totally from the 

15          budget.

16                 So, you know, how do we at this point 

17          provide them assistance?  Because these are 

18          very essential programs that expand the 

19          opportunities for childcare, especially those 

20          who are continuing their education so they 

21          can move forward in the workforce.  So that's 

22          a very serious issue.  As well as, noted 

23          earlier, we do not have enough funding for 

24          subsidies for the children in our state.  


 1          Eighty-three percent do not get subsidies, 

 2          and these are very needy families.  

 3                 So I just wanted to ask that other 

 4          question and continue to raise concerns 

 5          regarding that.  So what do we do about the 

 6          SUNY/CUNY and facilitated enrollment, zero?

 7                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I think 

 8          those, Assemblywoman, are all part of our 

 9          bigger challenge and ongoing discussion.  And 

10          I don't have the answer for you here today.  

11          Again, this is, right, this is the beginning 

12          of budget discussions.  And we know how much 

13          both houses are interested in childcare.  And 

14          we will continue to be in dialogue with both 

15          of you throughout the rest of the budget 

16          deliberations.  But I appreciate your 


18                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Well, I 

19          appreciate that.  And I hope that as we move 

20          forward, we'll be able to expand the funding 

21          for these essential programs.

22                 Thank you.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

24                 Senator.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Diane 

 2          Savino.

 3                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Senator 

 4          Young.  

 5                 Thank you, Commissioner, for your 

 6          testimony.  We had an opportunity the other 

 7          day to meet, so I'm not going to go over some 

 8          of the conversations we had or reiterate any 

 9          of the questions that have already been 

10          raised.  

11                 I do want to talk a bit about two 

12          things that are important, certainly to me.  

13          One of them is the independent monitor that 

14          has been appointed to oversee ACS.  And I 

15          would just like to state that what I would 

16          hope to come out of this independent monitor 

17          is less of a -- less political 

18          recommendations and more substantive changes 

19          to the agency.  

20                 And so what I would hope comes out of 

21          this is some changes to what goes on in the 

22          CPS field offices, because I don't really 

23          think the public has a sense of the work that 

24          CPS workers really do, and they confuse it 


 1          with the nonprofit sector that also provides 

 2          direct service, more direct service to the 

 3          children and the families than the CPS 

 4          workers in fact may do.

 5                 But there is definitely a need in 

 6          these field offices for social workers.  

 7          Again, there should be social work units, 

 8          there should be screening units.  You and I 

 9          had a conversation the other day of the 

10          number of false cases that are called into 

11          the state central registry.  Which 

12          unfortunately, every one of those cases has 

13          to be treated as if it is a serious abuse 

14          case or neglect case, which detracts from the 

15          work that the CPS workers have to do.  

16                 So years ago when I did the work, we 

17          had screening units that dealt with the 

18          anonymous-anonymous cases, to take those away 

19          from the serious cases.  So we need to kind 

20          of go back to some of that stuff.

21                 Obviously, training is always 

22          important, but supporting the staff is 

23          equally important.  So I would hope that 

24          that's what comes out of the appointment of 


 1          this independent monitor, as well as 

 2          potentially some legislative changes.  We had 

 3          a discussion the other day about some of the 

 4          burdens that I believe the Legislature has 

 5          placed on child welfare.  Whenever there's a 

 6          crisis, we think we can solve it with another 

 7          requirement.  And sometimes we actually make 

 8          it worse, we make it harder to do this job.  

 9                 And so I hope that you would be 

10          supportive of some of the proposals that I 

11          will be moving through the Children and 

12          Families Committee to eliminate some of the 

13          redundant work that I think does nothing to 

14          improve casework practice or to really 

15          investigate abuse and neglect.

16                 So I look forward to that.  And again, 

17          I hope the independent monitor is helpful as 

18          opposed to purely, you know, looking to 

19          penalize an agency that is already struggling 

20          on a day-to-day basis and handles tens of 

21          thousands of cases.

22                 On runaway homeless youth, I was very 

23          happy to see that the Governor included what 

24          is essentially my bill and Assemblywoman 


 1          Weinstein's bill on the runaway homeless 

 2          youth, improving it, expanding it to age 24.  

 3          But if you could -- there's a couple of 

 4          changes that the Governor made in our 

 5          proposal that we're a little confused about, 

 6          where it could be simply drafting, where it 

 7          appears that they interchange "runaway" and 

 8          "homeless" from time to time in a way that we 

 9          don't quite understand.  

10                 And there's also a requirement -- so 

11          on that, you don't have to answer now.  

12          Perhaps someone could look at it and see, 

13          does it -- it might just simply be poorly 

14          drafted.  

15                 But there's something that maybe you 

16          can explain to me and some of the advocates; 

17          we don't quite understand why this is 

18          necessary.  But under the Governor's 

19          proposal, it would require that the Runaway 

20          Homeless Youth Program contact the local 

21          department of social services if it believes 

22          that the youth is a destitute child.  What is 

23          the purpose behind that?  What is the value 

24          behind that?  


 1                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I think 

 2          the value behind it is that a destitute child 

 3          is without, right, any legal guardian or 

 4          anyone who is providing any care to them.  

 5          And so, you know, the local department of 

 6          social services, if the person is under the 

 7          age of 18, right, has an obligation to try 

 8          and make certain that that young person is 

 9          not destitute and out there on their own but 

10          can be, you know, connected with a resource.  

11          I think that's the intention.

12                 SENATOR SAVINO:  You seem a little 

13          confused too.  Maybe we just don't quite 

14          understand what the --

15                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Okay, we 

16          can certainly talk --

17                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Is there a monetary 

18          connection to it?  Is it a shifting of the 

19          funding?  Will someone else pay for the 

20          services?  

21                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I don't 

22          think it's that.  But again, I don't want to 

23          misspeak.  And we can certainly have 

24          conversation about the language in the 


 1          proposed bill.

 2                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Yeah, it just -- it 

 3          doesn't seem to make immediate sense.  There 

 4          could be some explanation for it, but it 

 5          doesn't make immediate sense either to 

 6          myself -- I can't speak for Assemblywoman 

 7          Weinstein now, but I know she and I both 

 8          remarked upon it.  And in discussions with 

 9          the advocates for runaway homeless youth, 

10          they brought it up as well.

11                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Okay.

12                 SENATOR SAVINO:  So I think as we move 

13          forward, we need to clarify the language in 

14          what the Governor has proposed in both the 

15          Article VII and in the budget portion.  

16                 So I want to thank you for your 

17          attention, and I look forward to working with 

18          you on some of these prospective changes.  

19          Thank you.

20                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Same here, 

21          Senator.  

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Liz 

23          Krueger.

24                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Good morning, 


 1          Commissioner.  

 2                 You and I also had a chance to meet; 

 3          there's just a couple of clarifications based 

 4          on some of the answers you already gave 

 5          today.

 6                 So the answer of the Title XX money 

 7          being shifted into mandatory spending on 

 8          childcare versus the various options that 

 9          different locales have taken.  And it would 

10          mandate that money that currently in New York 

11          City is used to fund senior centers would 

12          instead have to be used to fund childcare.  

13          And I asked you in the meeting, but I'm just 

14          going to, for the record, say it now and ask 

15          you again.  Could your agency please analyze 

16          the changing demand for childcare slots in 

17          the different funding streams because of the 

18          impact of universal pre-K?  

19                 I can't speak for anywhere else, but 

20          in New York City, where this would be a very 

21          disturbing impact to take the money away from 

22          the seniors to put into childcare, we know 

23          for a fact, because we moved over 70,000 

24          4-year-olds into UPK -- and I think that 


 1          number is expected to go up in September 

 2          again -- that there's less demand for daycare 

 3          slots for 4-year-olds because they're in 

 4          universal pre-K.  

 5                 So it actually -- I'm not saying we 

 6          don't need more money for childcare, but I 

 7          don't believe the demand is there now, 

 8          specifically because of the significant 

 9          change in the movement of how people are 

10          getting their childcare.  

11                 And I know that I was advised that a 

12          number of the major childcare advocacy 

13          organizations in New York City have actually 

14          signed onto a letter saying please don't take 

15          the seniors' Title XX money away.  So it's 

16          just a public plea, this needs to be reversed 

17          in the budget.  

18                 But I really do think it's important 

19          to get a handle on, because of all the 

20          different funding streams in childcare, are 

21          there changes that reflect the overall needs 

22          in different areas?  Because localities use 

23          the funds in different ways and have 

24          different needs.  


 1                 And following up on that, there's been 

 2          a proposal for several years that I don't see 

 3          it in the budget, and I'm curious what you 

 4          think, there's a mandate for women on TANF to 

 5          perhaps have to do work activities, requiring 

 6          that the state pay for childcare for 1- and 

 7          2-year-olds.  My understanding is childcare 

 8          for 1- and 2-year-olds is the most expensive 

 9          kind of childcare.  And there's been a 

10          proposal made that if you allow the 

11          flexibility of not requiring these women to 

12          participate in the work activities, that you 

13          could actually use that money to provide for 

14          multiple times the number of childcare slots 

15          in the subsidized program for poor families 

16          who are desperately seeking the childcare to 

17          hold the jobs they have with their slightly 

18          older children.  

19                 So has the agency explored that 

20          proposal at all?

21                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  You know, 

22          Senator, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but 

23          that -- I'm going to have to confer with my 

24          OTDA colleague, Mike Perrin, around the TANF 


 1          piece.  But I took good notes and will 

 2          absolutely explore that.  

 3                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 4                 And then, finally, on the discussion 

 5          of reducing the reimbursements to New York 

 6          City only for services for special needs in 

 7          foster care, you stated the Governor's 

 8          position that since New York City is getting 

 9          300 more in education funding, they can pay 

10          for it out of that.

11                 Am I correct that all school 

12          districts are getting some adjusted increase 

13          in education funding, it's not just unique to 

14          New York City?

15                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Mm-hmm.  

16          Mm-hmm.

17                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Right?  Everybody is 

18          getting something?  

19                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  (Nodding.)  

20          Mm-hmm.

21                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And certainly the 

22          education advocates would tell us that what 

23          they're getting is way below what they each 

24          believe they need.  


 1                 So how is it that New York City 

 2          specifically is being told, take the money 

 3          out of your increasing but still inadequate 

 4          public education funding stream to pay for 

 5          this?  

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  The best 

 7          answer I can give you now, Senator, is that 

 8          because the vast -- not the vast, but a 

 9          majority of the drop in the number of 

10          children in foster care by proportion is 

11          attributed to New York City, that that 

12          accounted for the greater shift to New York.  

13                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So that New York 

14          City has fewer kids in foster care and in 

15          these programs, but it's holding onto other 

16          monies from the state that it would 

17          otherwise -- I mean, are we keeping other 

18          money in foster care when we reduce the 

19          numbers in foster care?  

20                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  No.

21                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  We're not.  I didn't 

22          think so.

23                 And so it just seems to me, on the 

24          budget logic that's being offered, New York 


 1          City should just try not to have anybody in 

 2          foster care.  And you and I might agree in a 

 3          perfect world we would want that, but I don't 

 4          think it's either of our position that the 

 5          City of New York should stop placing children 

 6          in foster care who truly need to be there.  

 7          Right?  

 8                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  That's 

 9          true.

10                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  All right.  So yet 

11          again, I do not find a justification for this 

12          budget cut to New York City.  Thank you.

13                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Thank you, 

14          Senator.

15                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator?  

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

17                 Senator Sue Serino.

18                 SENATOR SERINO:  Thank you, Senator.

19                 And good morning, Commissioner.  Thank 

20          you very much for taking our questions today.  

21          And as chair of the Aging Committee, my 

22          question is going to be about adult 

23          protective services.  And just to give you a 

24          little background, I've done quite a few 


 1          series of elder abuse roundtables, and as we 

 2          know, 85 percent of those cases go 

 3          unreported.  Because of doing those 

 4          roundtables, we were able to have Lifespan 

 5          put in the budget, which are 

 6          multidisciplinary teams that have been very 

 7          successful.  And even though that doesn't 

 8          fall under your purview, I'd be remiss if I 

 9          didn't mention it, because we don't want to 

10          lose the funding for that.  

11                 And it's all kind of hand in hand, 

12          because as we know, there's a registry for 

13          child abuse victims but there isn't a central 

14          registry for elder abuse.  So my question 

15          regarding that are numbers.  Are there any 

16          specific statistics that are being documented 

17          with respect to the type of cases that are 

18          being reported, whether it's physical, 

19          financial, sexual or neglect?

20                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I don't 

21          have a full answer for you.  But again, 

22          Senator, we could go back to the local 

23          departments of social services and to my 

24          office, that also oversees the adult 


 1          protective services.  I don't know if you've 

 2          met Alan Lawitz.  He's really led our work on 

 3          financial exploitation and oversees the 

 4          protective service for adults.  

 5                 So I will go back, Senator, and see 

 6          what kind of data that we can provide to 

 7          answer your question.

 8                 SENATOR SERINO:  Okay.  And I don't 

 9          know if you'd have the answer to this 

10          question too, if there's any consistent 

11          documentation of the cases that APS OCFS 

12          receives, and what would be the process for 

13          follow-up to ensure that they're resolved.

14                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I'll add 

15          that to the list, Senator.

16                 SENATOR SERINO:  Okay.  And in the 

17          case where it's sent to a police department 

18          rather than APS, will OCFS have any 

19          notification?  Like if the police are 

20          handling the case, do they report to you, 

21          OCFS, as regards to the case?  Would they 

22          give you any information?  

23                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, they 

24          wouldn't report to OCFS.  They would report 


 1          to the local department of social services, 

 2          who administers the local protective service 

 3          for adults program.

 4                 SENATOR SERINO:  Okay.  And how many 

 5          staffers are responsible for tracking the 

 6          complaints and following up on them with APS?  

 7                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I don't 

 8          have that exact number, Senator.

 9                 SENATOR SERINO:  Okay.  Okay, thank 

10          you.

11                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  You're 

12          very welcome.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  I have 

14          some follow-up questions that I'd like to 

15          ask, and I'd like to follow up on the 

16          independent monitor.  

17                 New York City Mayor de Blasio was here 

18          recently, and I asked him about the numerous 

19          tragic deaths that have occurred under that 

20          agency's watch.  And I know that in your 

21          proposal there's an independent monitor.  You 

22          recently, as OCFS, did a study and identified 

23          numerous lapses, multiple failures on ACS's 

24          part.  


 1                 So when you select the independent 

 2          monitor and he or she is in place, what 

 3          exactly would their roles and 

 4          responsibilities be, number one?  And number 

 5          two.  Who actually is going to select the 

 6          independent monitor?


 8          has identified and made the selection of a 

 9          monitor that's been presented to New York 

10          City, so that process has concluded.

11                 But more specifically to your 

12          question, Senator, about the specific tasks 

13          of the monitor, the monitor will be doing an 

14          overall diagnostic, first and foremost, of 

15          ACS's child protective program, looking at 

16          the adequacy of its policies, looking at how 

17          robust its own quality assurance process is, 

18          looking at its supervisory oversight 

19          structure.  That was one of our findings in 

20          the report, that there were lapses, serious 

21          lapses in supervision.  

22                 They will be looking at data, they 

23          will be doing probes into case records.  They 

24          will be speaking with caseworkers and other 


 1          stakeholders -- again, to try and pinpoint 

 2          with more precision where at the core are 

 3          some of the institutional issues that led to 

 4          these lapses in the handling of the cases.

 5                 And then Phase Two of the engagement 

 6          will be the development and implementation of 

 7          whatever the corrective action is -- whether 

 8          it's policies, procedures, more staffing.  I 

 9          mean, we just -- we don't know yet.  That's 

10          the whole point of the diagnostic.  

11                 And then the third and final phase 

12          will be compliance monitoring.  So we want to 

13          make absolutely certain this time that 

14          whatever changes are made, that they are to 

15          scale across that very large and complex 

16          agency, and that they are sustainable to the 

17          extent possible.  So there will be a period 

18          of compliance monitoring that will be 

19          open-ended, and that monitoring will only end 

20          when we at the state are satisfied that 

21          there's been compliance and that we won't see 

22          the kinds of issues that we unfortunately saw 

23          in these high-profile deaths.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I'm very relieved 


 1          and happy to hear that you'll be doing the 

 2          diagnostics and coming up with policy 

 3          changes.  

 4                 What happens if New York City doesn't 

 5          comply or if things don't get better?

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, we 

 7          have a number of options at our disposal at 

 8          the state.  

 9                 You know, certainly us directing them 

10          to on-board a monitor signals that we mean 

11          business, that we are very focused on helping 

12          them and requiring them to make those 

13          changes.  And we don't have any reason to 

14          believe today, at least, that they too are 

15          not equally committed to fixing their system 

16          and to making children more safe.  That's the 

17          goal all of us bring here every day.

18                 You know, in statute we do have the 

19          authority -- which we're very judicious in 

20          using, for obvious reasons -- but we could 

21          have or would have the authority to withhold 

22          funding to the city.  Obviously, the other 

23          side of that is that they need their funding, 

24          right, to have staff and caseworkers and the 


 1          kinds of services.  

 2                 But, you know, in the event that we 

 3          don't see commitment to this monitor and 

 4          commitment to change, that, you know, OCFS 

 5          and the administration will take whatever 

 6          steps are necessary in order to make sure the 

 7          kids are safe.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  We 

 9          don't need any more fatalities, so thank you 

10          very much.

11                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

12                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Thank you.  

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  We've been joined 

14          by Assemblyman Colton.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

16          Commissioner, by the way.  We appreciate your 

17          testimony.

18                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

19          much.  

20                 Next, Mike Perrin, deputy 

21          commissioner, New York State Office of 

22          Temporary and Disability Services.

23                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Good 

24          morning, Chairwoman Young, Chairman Farrell, 


 1          and Chairman Tedisco -- I think I saw him 

 2          here a moment ago.  He's Senate chair of the 

 3          Social Services Committee.

 4                 My name is Michael Perrin.  I'm the 

 5          executive deputy commissioner for the Office 

 6          of Temporary and Disability Assistance.  And 

 7          I'm first going to convey the regrets of 

 8          Commissioner Sam Roberts, who could not be 

 9          here today.  He is sick today and so he -- he 

10          has asked me to fill in in his stead today, 

11          so I'll be providing testimony and addressing 

12          questions and answers from the committee.

13                 Our mission here at OTDA is to protect 

14          and lift up New York's most vulnerable 

15          residents and help them achieve 

16          self-sufficiency.  Financial independence is 

17          a powerful feeling.  It gives a person the 

18          confidence they need to be able to provide 

19          not only for themselves, but for their 

20          families.  It sets their children on a path 

21          of success, helping the next generation to 

22          succeed.  We want all New Yorkers to 

23          experience that feeling.

24                 OTDA administers vital programs for 


 1          those temporarily unable to work and for many 

 2          working families who simply aren't able to 

 3          make ends meet.  These programs include 

 4          providing food and heating assistance to 

 5          people who need it and creating supportive 

 6          housing units that will provide the 

 7          beginnings of a permanent solution to the 

 8          homelessness issues in the State of New York.  

 9                 We inspect homeless shelters to ensure 

10          safety and security.  We oversee the state's 

11          child support enforcement program.  We also 

12          assist refugees and immigrants who are in 

13          New York in search of the American dream.  

14                 All of these efforts share a common 

15          goal:  to help individuals and families meet 

16          essential needs and quickly get back on their 

17          feet again into self-sufficiency.

18                 OTDA has realized remarkable success.  

19          Just this past year alone, OTDA opened the 

20          doors to over 540 new supportive housing 

21          units.  SNAP benefits now enable over 

22          1.6 million households to purchase healthy 

23          foods at their local grocery store and at 

24          more farmers' markets than ever before.  


 1          Progress is everywhere.  But we have more to 

 2          do, and this budget proposal advances our 

 3          mission.

 4                 The issue of affordable housing is 

 5          critical for the persons we serve.  Both the 

 6          Governor and the Legislature have made access 

 7          to housing a top priority, as evidenced by 

 8          the state's unprecedented $20 billion 

 9          investment in affordable housing.  Over the 

10          next five years, the goal of the program is 

11          to provide 100 new units of affordable 

12          housing and 6,000 units of supportive 

13          housing.  The $20 billion plan includes 

14          $10.4 billion to combat homelessness in 

15          New York State. 

16                 Along with our partners in Homes and 

17          Community Renewal and the Office of Mental 

18          Health, we are pleased to announce today that 

19          1200 units of supportive housing have been 

20          funded, and those projects are underway in 

21          various stages of completion.  This addresses 

22          the Governor's promise late last year to 

23          begin providing supportive housing, and he 

24          laid out a goal of 1200 units late last year.  


 1          And I'm again happy to announce that we're 

 2          well on our way to achieving that goal.

 3                 We're well underway in administering 

 4          the state's housing plan and overall to 

 5          combat homelessness in a sustainable way.  

 6          OTDA is committed to ensuring that persons 

 7          temporarily relying on emergency shelter have 

 8          access to a safe and clean living 

 9          environment.  

10                 Just this past year, OTDA led an 

11          effort to inspect all 916 state-funded 

12          homeless shelters.  The results were 

13          staggering, as well as the response.  Nearly 

14          97 percent of the surveyed shelters were 

15          cited for violations that jeopardized the 

16          health, safety, and the quality of life of 

17          residents.  

18                 OTDA's response has been aggressive 

19          and will become one of ongoing vigilance.  

20          For every violation found, a corrective 

21          action plan has been put into place.  We 

22          continue to work diligently with New York 

23          City and the counties of the state to keep 

24          the quality of life in shelters higher, and 


 1          have begun a multi-year initiative to get all 

 2          shelters in the State of New York certified. 

 3                 At Governor Cuomo's direction, OTDA 

 4          implemented new regulations to enhance the 

 5          state's ability to oversee the conditions of 

 6          homeless shelters and more closely monitor 

 7          shelter security measures.

 8                 This year the Executive Budget will 

 9          also improve safety and security at shelters 

10          by requiring background checks of shelter 

11          workers who are in regular contact with 

12          children being served in those facilities.  

13                 This budget will help low-income 

14          working families attain basic necessities 

15          through a number of anti-poverty programs. 

16          For example, the Home Energy Assistance 

17          Program, known as HEAP, is one of the state's 

18          most important methods to help low-income 

19          individuals and low-income families, 

20          especially elderly New Yorkers.  HEAP helps 

21          qualified individuals and qualified 

22          households to afford the cost of heating 

23          their homes and to reduce energy needs 

24          through energy efficiency programs.  


 1                 This year the Executive Budget 

 2          proposes an additional $14.4 million in 

 3          HEAP funding to support weatherization 

 4          services for low-income households.  The goal 

 5          is to make homes more efficient and reduce 

 6          energy costs, so lower-income households are 

 7          better able to achieve financial stability.

 8                 Likewise, the Supplemental Nutrition 

 9          Assistance Program, known as SNAP, increases 

10          the food purchasing power of eligible 

11          low-income households in order to improve 

12          their nutrition and alleviate hunger.  

13                 Despite the program's success, there 

14          are still thousands of families who do not 

15          access the full amount of assistance for 

16          which they may be eligible.  To address this 

17          situation, the Governor is taking steps to 

18          increase SNAP outreach -- increase outreach 

19          to populations who may be eligible for SNAP 

20          but who are simply not taking advantage of 

21          it.  

22                 The initiative will engage foundations 

23          and the private sector as well as 

24          community-based organizations to develop and 


 1          implement innovative ways to connect 

 2          households with SNAP benefits.  Increased 

 3          awareness and access to nutritious food will 

 4          result in a healthier New York, and improve 

 5          food sales for New York farmers.

 6                 The Governor recognizes also that the 

 7          summer provides an opportunity, especially 

 8          for low-income youth, with the time to have 

 9          an enriching experience through the Summer 

10          Youth Employment Program.  To address this 

11          problem, to improve and to ensure that the 

12          same number of youth are served this year as 

13          were served last year, you'll see an 

14          additional $5 million appropriation for a 

15          total of $36 million to fund this program.  

16          This is largely in recognition of the minimum 

17          wage increase for which many summer youth 

18          will be employed.  So we'll continue to fund 

19          approximately 19,000 slots, which is the same 

20          level as last year.

21                 The Governor has been steadfast in his 

22          support for immigrants and refugees and 

23          believes New York should remain a safe haven 

24          for all, no matter race, religion, country of 


 1          origin, or economic status.  OTDA provides 

 2          support to local resettlement agencies, and 

 3          New York State will continue to welcome new 

 4          arrivals with open arms.

 5                 The State of New York and OTDA are 

 6          stronger than in decades.  Unemployment is 

 7          down, from 8.4 percent six years ago to 

 8          4.9 percent today.  New York State has 

 9          7.9 million private-sector jobs, the most in 

10          the history of the state.  Together we can 

11          all work towards the end goal of building a 

12          better, healthier New York for all. 

13                 Thank you for your time in letting me 

14          provide testimony to these committees, and I 

15          welcome any questions you may have.

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

17          much.  

18                 Assemblywoman Jaffee.

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you, 

20          Deputy --

21                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Chairman -- 

22          chairwoman.

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you, 

24          Deputy Commissioner.  


 1                 I wanted to ask regarding the TANF 

 2          funding, the Temporary Assistance for Needy 

 3          Families, initiatives to that.  Apparently 

 4          when reviewing the Executive Budget there was 

 5          an elimination of the -- in the amount of 

 6          $19.4 million regarding TANF funding for a 

 7          variety of community programs.  

 8                 First of all, you know, what was the 

 9          purpose behind eliminating those initiatives 

10          for the people who need it most in order to 

11          improve their quality of life?  Was there 

12          expectations that the counties would provide 

13          these services for the TANF, in support of 

14          the TANF funds, and that they wouldn't be 

15          getting at this point -- and do you have an 

16          estimate of the number of individuals and 

17          residents and families that would be impacted 

18          by the elimination of these programs and 

19          initiatives because of the cuts?

20                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.  

21          Yeah.  Thank you very much for the question, 

22          Assemblymember.

23                 Just to be clear, the TANF program is 

24          a block grant, and it will continue this 


 1          year, as it has since 1996, at over 

 2          $2.4 billion in federal funding.  So I think 

 3          your question -- and correct me if I'm 

 4          wrong -- your question refers to a number of 

 5          changes in the Governor's Executive Budget 

 6          this year over last year.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Could you just 

 8          speak a little louder?  Or put the microphone 

 9          a little closer.  It's hard to --

10                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

11          thought it was pretty close.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  That's it.

13                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  So I 

14          think you're probably referring to a number 

15          of programs that were added in the budget 

16          process last year, if I'm not mistaken.  I'll 

17          stand corrected if I'm wrong.  

18                 But the Governor's budget is largely 

19          consistent from the Executive proposal for 

20          this year compared to last year.  We're in 

21          the early stages of the budget process, so I 

22          would expect that some of the changes that 

23          were part of the budget process last year 

24          might become an issue again this year.  


 1                 I would also just add that the fact 

 2          that those specific programs do not appear in 

 3          the Executive's budget do not necessarily 

 4          reflect the position of the Governor that 

 5          he's in opposition, given the fact that he in 

 6          fact approved those programs in last year's 

 7          budget.  So I would just encourage the 

 8          committees to work with the Division of the 

 9          Budget and the Governor's Office to address 

10          the issue.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Hopefully we  

12          can move forward with a more positive 

13          response.

14                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

15          understand the comment.  Thank you.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Also, in the 

17          discussion about homelessness, something that 

18          I've had discussions -- I've had 

19          conversations with community groups that 

20          respond to issues regarding, let's say, 

21          domestic violence.  And what's one of the 

22          prime reasons for families entering the 

23          shelter system is the issue regarding 

24          domestic violence.  


 1                 Is there any action or suggestion or 

 2          policy to address the rise in domestic 

 3          violence in our communities?

 4                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Well, 

 5          you're exactly correct, Assemblymember.  I 

 6          think the latest statistics that we've seen 

 7          show that approximately 28 percent of shelter 

 8          placements are the result of domestic 

 9          violence.  

10                 For one thing, I think the social 

11          services community is much more sensitive and 

12          there's a greater awareness of domestic 

13          violence incidents, so I think they're in 

14          some ways -- they're just -- they're simply 

15          being identified, and those individuals who 

16          are subjects of domestic violence are being 

17          served at a rate that is probably higher than 

18          they were in the past.  

19                 As to the actual addressing the 

20          reduction in domestic violence, that's 

21          primarily a matter for law enforcement.  OTDA 

22          has no specific programs related to that 

23          issue.

24                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  It is certainly 


 1          something that we need to continue to focus 

 2          on because of the numbers and the increase.  

 3          And so we obviously need to work on that.

 4                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Yup.  

 5          Agreed.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  The 

 7          anti-poverty initiative, what types of 

 8          poverty-reducing actions are being proposed 

 9          by various municipalities and not-for-profit 

10          partners?  Have there been a number of 

11          contracts that have been approved regarding 

12          this issue?

13                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

14          Assemblymember, I think you refer to the 

15          Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative.  

16          And as you might recall, it was proposed and 

17          designed as a two-phase program.  So each of 

18          the mayors of each of the jurisdictions of 

19          the 16 cities have at this point identified 

20          their chosen not-for-profit organizers who 

21          will coordinate.  

22                 So we are in -- OTDA is in the midst 

23          of approving contracts with those 

24          not-for-profit providers who will be taking 


 1          the next step, and in some cases already 

 2          have -- even before the contracts have gotten 

 3          executed, they've already taken the steps to 

 4          form local task forces and come up with plans 

 5          that will get to your question.  So at this 

 6          point we can't report on what the results of 

 7          those task force planning activities are, but 

 8          I also point out that a very key part of that 

 9          program is for the state, meaning OTDA, to 

10          not be prescriptive in what those plans look 

11          like.  

12                 So I think what we find as guidance -- 

13          as you might be aware from the Rochester 

14          initiative, the key component about that 

15          program that we recognize in the ESPRI 

16          program is really the governance model that 

17          emphasizes cooperation, inclusiveness, 

18          broad-based membership in the task forces, 

19          but also to address the very specific 

20          problems that those task forces identify 

21          within their community.  

22                 So we would expect to be seeing plans 

23          from each of the task forces coming in over 

24          the course of the springtime and early 


 1          summer, for review and approval by the 

 2          agency.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Just going back 

 4          to the homeless issue that you noted.  

 5          Throughout the state we have increasing 

 6          numbers of homeless residents, homeless 

 7          families, in our communities.  

 8                 As a matter of fact, I had received a 

 9          call from a local gentleman, he had four 

10          children, he had a job -- $40,000 a year he 

11          was earning -- and he couldn't maintain the 

12          rent he was paying, and he was homeless with 

13          four children.  

14                 And it's a struggle, and we don't have 

15          the assistance in our local areas outside of 

16          New York City that is necessary to provide 

17          the kind of support when you are faced with 

18          that kind of situation, and it's growing.  

19          And it's becoming a very serious issue.

20                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Yeah.  

21          I think you put your finger on it, right on 

22          the point of what is probably the underlying 

23          base issue of homelessness in the State of 

24          New York, and that's the lack of affordable 


 1          housing and the lack of units of affordable 

 2          housing in the State of New York.  

 3                 You pointed out domestic violence.  

 4          There's also issues that create 

 5          homelessness surrounding substance abuse and 

 6          mental health issues.  But the underlying 

 7          concern, the underlying cause of it is the 

 8          lack of affordable housing.  Which is exactly 

 9          why the Governor proposed a $20 billion 

10          program that, as I mentioned in my remarks, 

11          over five years that will create 100,000 

12          units of affordable housing and 6,000 units 

13          of supportive housing.  

14                 So -- and it's the supportive housing 

15          component that will address those specific 

16          issues such as domestic violence, such as 

17          substance abuse, such as mental health 

18          issues, so an individual or a family can live 

19          in a stable housing situation for a long 

20          period of time with the services that they 

21          would be receiving through that program.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  And it is very 

23          necessary.  That funding that you're 

24          suggesting that's outside of New York City, 


 1          that is for --

 2                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Yeah, 

 3          so just very specifically, OTDA has a program 

 4          called HHAP, it's the Homeless Housing 

 5          Assistance Program, that in recent years has 

 6          been funded at about $63.5 million.  While 

 7          it's not specific to upstate, the majority of 

 8          those housing units and those projects tend 

 9          to be developed outside of the City of 

10          New York, working in very close partnership 

11          with our partner agencies, particularly Homes 

12          and Community Renewal.  

13                 I think Mr. Rubin will be testifying 

14          tomorrow, so he could address the 

15          affordable-housing side of it better than I 

16          can.  But the supportive side of the housing 

17          programs and projects is very much within 

18          OTDA's lane.  I'm happy to report that 

19          another $63.5 million toward HHAP projects 

20          and capital funding is included in the 

21          Governor's budget.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Well, I'll be 

23          looking into that.  Thank you very much.

24                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Thank 


 1          you.

 2                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 3                 We've been joined by Assemblyman FÈlix 

 4          Ortiz.

 5                 Senator?

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 7                 And we've been joined by Senator Leroy 

 8          Comrie.

 9                 Thank you for being here today.  I 

10          just wanted to ask a couple of questions.  

11          Although the Governor's budget assumes a 

12          continued decline in overall public 

13          assistance for this coming fiscal year, 2018, 

14          the Executive proposes a $59 million increase 

15          in appropriation authority for the Safety Net 

16          Assistance Program, which is an increase of 

17          12 percent.  

18                 As you know, the Safety Net Program is 

19          partially funded by the state, but 71 percent 

20          of the burden is put on local governments.  

21          And as you also know, this could be a 

22          lifetime situation for people, and they're 

23          expected to work if they can, but the 

24          assistance can go on for an awfully long 


 1          time.  So I wanted to ask what factors 

 2          increased this amount, and why is it in the 

 3          budget this way?

 4                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Those 

 5          budget amounts that -- those proposed 

 6          appropriations that you see in that program 

 7          are the result of an econometric study that 

 8          is conducted by the Division of the Budget.  

 9          So I can't answer your question directly in 

10          detail.  So it's, again, appropriation 

11          authority going forward.  

12                 But I'm just reminding the committee 

13          that the TANF program is 100 percent fully 

14          funded by the state for the first five years 

15          that folks are on it.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So do you see this 

17          as an ongoing trend, based on your study?  Or 

18          is this an isolated incident?

19                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

20          can't tell you, I can't say that it's an 

21          ongoing trend necessarily.  But it's a 

22          budgeting decision, again, to allow the state 

23          the authority, the agency authority to take 

24          into account the TANF program, the Safety Net 


 1          Program, going forward over the course of 

 2          this fiscal year.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  You hear from local 

 4          governments all the time about the heavy 

 5          burden that's placed on them through unfunded 

 6          mandates and so on.  So if this is an ongoing 

 7          trend that your study may suggest, what steps 

 8          is the agency going to take to address it?  

 9          Because obviously it's better for people to 

10          be -- if they're able to work, to be able to 

11          go out and get a job, and be able to improve 

12          their quality of life.

13                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.  

14          So a number of programs that the Governor has 

15          proposed this year address particularly 

16          working families and the middle class.  So 

17          we've seen the increase in the minimum wage, 

18          that was adopted last year; we're seeing an 

19          increase in the amount of SNAP benefits that 

20          will be available to SNAP-eligible households 

21          through an administrative change that we'll 

22          be making; and the HEAP program.  And we're 

23          seeing the childcare tax credit and also the 

24          additional funding in high-poverty areas to 


 1          increase pre-K and after-school care.  

 2                 So each of those programs begin to 

 3          address and begin to support the temporary 

 4          assistance -- the TANF program and the Safety 

 5          Net Program -- by providing extra resources 

 6          to get people to become more self-sufficient, 

 7          and then ultimately be able to step off of 

 8          public assistance.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Is this econometric 

10          study that you did, was this just something 

11          recent?  Or do you plan on doing the same 

12          study every year?

13                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  It's 

14          my understanding that the Division of the 

15          Budget does this annually.  So I can't 

16          address the question specifically.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So I mean -- but 

18          you're talking about increased resources, but 

19          yet you think the amount's going to go up.  

20          So it will be interesting to come back next 

21          year and see whether some of the solutions 

22          that you just outlined actually work or not.

23                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  And 

24          that's really the importance that the 


 1          Governor has recognized here.  We've seen him 

 2          talk repeatedly over the course of the last 

 3          few months about supporting working families, 

 4          and while that is -- the real point of that 

 5          from a financial point of view is to get 

 6          people self-sufficient and not have a need 

 7          for safety net and public assistance.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Thank you.

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

10                 Assemblywoman Didi Barrett.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN BARRETT:  Thank you.  

12          Thanks for being here.

13                 I just had a question.  I listened 

14          with interest about your comments about SNAP 

15          and the safety net around food, and I am -- 

16          as are many of my constituents in my rural 

17          district -- smarting under the Governor's 

18          veto of last year at the end of the year of 

19          the Farm To Food Bank tax credit.  

20                 And I'm just wondering if you all have 

21          taken a position on that or are engaged in 

22          trying to find a way for our farmers -- 

23          because we also have serious poverty in our 

24          rural areas, and these are farmers who are 


 1          willing to donate travel to get the food to 

 2          the food banks, make sure that this is fresh 

 3          off the farm, is made available -- and this 

 4          tax credit would go a long way to covering 

 5          some of those costs for them.

 6                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  A 

 7          couple of ways I think that OTDA and the 

 8          Executive is addressing that concern is, 

 9          again, to work -- we're looking to expand the 

10          amount of eligibility.  The amount of SNAP 

11          dollars that households can receive is a 

12          little bit technical, so we're making an 

13          administrative tweak to the HEAP program 

14          which would allow additional dollars for 

15          eligible families to go toward a heating 

16          allowance which is part of a SNAP eligibility 

17          application.  

18                 So -- it's a little bit -- again, a 

19          little bit technical, so we're going to 

20          expand the HEAP heating season to be 

21          yearlong, so individuals who apply for SNAP 

22          at the time of year when they would not 

23          otherwise have been in the SNAP heating 

24          season will be eligible for approximately 


 1          $228 million additional statewide.  

 2                 So that's how we're going to really 

 3          maximize some of the SNAP benefit dollars, no 

 4          additional cost to the state.  That will be, 

 5          again, an administrative change that has 

 6          already gotten a favorable response from the 

 7          United States Department of Agriculture.  

 8                 Secondly, and more directly to your 

 9          question, OTDA has made a concerted effort in 

10          partnership with the Department of Ag and 

11          Markets to connect with and expand the 

12          availability and the use of SNAP benefits at 

13          farmers' markets very, very specifically.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN BARRETT:  So I guess I'm 

15          a little confused, when you're talking about 

16          the SNAP and HEAP -- but how does that really 

17          play out for farmers and getting this fresh 

18          food to the food banks?

19                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.  

20          Between the two items that I just mentioned 

21          there will be, first, additional money 

22          available for SNAP recipients as a whole.  

23          Second, our concern --

24                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN BARRETT:  So the 


 1          recipients would be able to access that --

 2                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

 3          Certainly.  Yes.

 4                 So the effort on our part -- and 

 5          again, Ag and Markets is really carrying the 

 6          load on this in terms of making sure that 

 7          farmers' markets are identified, making sure 

 8          they have the technology that will allow them 

 9          to use the SNAP benefit cards.  We see it as 

10          addressing your question directly.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN BARRETT:  So your 

12          control is really only where there's systems 

13          like that in place.  You're making other -- 

14          making money accessible that doesn't funnel 

15          through a SNAP or some other kind of program, 

16          is not something that you can influence?

17                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I'm 

18          not quite sure I understand the question, but 

19          again, we're working in close partnership 

20          with Ag and Markets --

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN BARRETT:  Okay.

22                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

23          Because to --

24                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN BARRETT:  So that's for 


 1          the farmers' markets.  But for the other side 

 2          of it, for the farmers who want to donate 

 3          where there's a gap --

 4                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Yeah.  

 5          That's not something that we're closely 

 6          involved with, that would probably be a 

 7          question for Ag and Markets.  But again, we 

 8          see the nutrition component of needy families 

 9          as being kind of a continuum of care, if you 

10          will.  

11                 So we've worked to establish the 

12          FreshConnect program in conjunction with the 

13          Department of Health, which in part and in 

14          some ways puts fresh vegetables from local 

15          markets in urban settings by providing simply 

16          a refrigeration unit so a small bodega, if 

17          you will, can make available fresh foods in 

18          their areas.  Together, again, with expanding 

19          SNAP eligibility through outreach, expanding 

20          and maximizing the benefit that we can draw 

21          down from the federal government, together 

22          with making better connections with farmers' 

23          markets.  

24                 We think, all together, it goes 


 1          toward -- and thank you for that question, 

 2          because it was right on target.  That went 

 3          off the top of my head --

 4                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN BARRETT:  Okay.  I see 

 5          I'm just about out of time, but I guess I'm 

 6          still trying to make the link for the safety 

 7          net that's part of -- that's food banks.  And 

 8          that are -- you know, rather than farmers' 

 9          markets.  So, you know, I would love to 

10          continue having that conversation.

11                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

12          Certainly will.  And we'll contact our 

13          colleagues at Ag and Markets to see if we can 

14          get you some more detail on that.

15                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN BARRETT:  Okay.

16                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  So 

17          thank you for the question.

18                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN BARRETT:  Great.  Thank 

19          you.

20                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

21                 Senator.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Kennedy.

23                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Thank you very much.

24                 Deputy Commissioner, you've already 


 1          touched on the upstate anti-poverty 

 2          initiative.  Last year's budget included 

 3          $25 million for this initiative.  You've 

 4          discussed how the contracts are being 

 5          approved as we speak.  Can you talk about the 

 6          funds that the state is looking to commit 

 7          moving forward to ensure the continuation of 

 8          these initiatives once they are implemented?

 9                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.  

10          So you may have noticed that there is no 

11          additional $25 million in new appropriations 

12          in this year's budget.  But last year's 

13          $25 million is proposed to be reappropriated.  

14          So it's simply a timing issue.  

15                 We think that over the course of this 

16          year the lion's share of that $25 million 

17          will be committed to each of the anti-poverty 

18          designated cities.  And hopefully, you know, 

19          our view is that if that is successful across 

20          the state -- that, in my view, is that if it 

21          is successful, the Governor will recommend an 

22          additional $25 million in the following 

23          fiscal year.

24                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  And are we talking 


 1          about an additional $25 million planned for 

 2          next year's budget?  Is that the --

 3                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Yeah, 

 4          and I shouldn't pick a specific number, 

 5          Senator.  So we'll see kind of where the 

 6          program lands over the course of this year.  

 7          And I think that will provide some guidance 

 8          to the Governor and to the Legislature as to 

 9          what that dollar value should be.

10                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  And the timing for 

11          the approval of these contracts with the 

12          various municipalities and the organizations 

13          that are going to be running these 

14          anti-poverty initiatives?  What's your 

15          timing?

16                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Well, 

17          we're contracting agencies, so we're moving 

18          the contracts through our agency together 

19          with approvals from the Attorney General's 

20          office and the office of the Comptroller.  We 

21          don't see any holdup in our end at this point 

22          in time.

23                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Okay.  Very good.  

24          Thank you.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 2                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Yeah, I'm sorry --

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Keep going.

 4                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Last fall, the 

 5          Help Buffalo II Apartments opened with 

 6          47 low-income apartments, 15 units of which 

 7          were for former homeless veterans.  And I 

 8          know that you've spoken to the issue of 

 9          homelessness and the work that OTDA is doing 

10          to do away with homelessness statewide.  This 

11          was a joint project with your agency.  Your 

12          efforts are certainly applauded to reduce 

13          homelessness overall for veterans 

14          specifically.  

15                 But what resources does the proposed 

16          budget set aside specifically for homeless 

17          veterans?

18                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  So 

19          first of all, I was happy to attend that 

20          groundbreaking in Buffalo, and I think you 

21          and I had a chance to meet at that event, so 

22          it was one of the better projects that I've 

23          been a part of.  

24                 But to get to your budget question 


 1          directly, you know, again, the $63.5 million 

 2          that will be appropriated again for OTDA's 

 3          HHAP program is available for veterans' 

 4          housing.  And I can't -- I'll have to go back 

 5          and check with counsel to see if there's a 

 6          specific set-aside.  But again, OTDA was 

 7          happy to have a part of funding that project.

 8                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  What else do you 

 9          believe that we can do collectively to 

10          address this issue of veterans' homelessness, 

11          specifically veterans' homelessness among 

12          females?  

13                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  You 

14          know, I think that might be a better question 

15          for our colleagues at OASAS and OMH, as that 

16          really lands on the human services/social 

17          services and not the capital projects side.  

18          So I'll have to defer to our partner agencies 

19          for a direct answer to the programmatic 

20          question, Senator.

21                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  And just one more 

22          question I'd like to bring up.  The budget 

23          proposed includes $35 million to create 

24          22,000 new after-school slots.  This funding 


 1          is aimed at cities included in this 

 2          anti-poverty initiative.  We discussed this a 

 3          little earlier with the previous speaker, so 

 4          I won't go into all the details, but I'm 

 5          curious if OTDA will be involved in filling 

 6          these after-school slots.


 8          will not have a direct role in implementing 

 9          this program, even though they are targeted 

10          at the Empire State Poverty Reduction cities.  

11          And we think that that's a good investment 

12          and will go a long way toward alleviating 

13          poverty, but I'll leave it to my colleague 

14          Sheila Poole to address the programmatic 

15          questions behind that.

16                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  And I suppose that 

17          just leads me to another question.  Should 

18          your agency be involved or more involved in 

19          filling these slots, since you're so involved 

20          with the anti-poverty initiative?

21                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

22          Again, programmatically, that's a little bit 

23          out of our area, except as it may pertain to 

24          homeless shelter operations.  And we do work 


 1          closely with OCFS on the financial and 

 2          management side of it, because some of the 

 3          money does flow through from OTDA to OCFS.

 4                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Okay.  Thank you.

 5                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Thank 

 6          you.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Deputy 

 8          Commissioner, a few questions.  

 9                 The Summer Youth Program, just could 

10          you give a sense of the approximate numbers 

11          served through that --

12                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  -- and whether that 

14          number is increasing, decreasing?

15                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.  

16          So thank you for the question.  I addressed 

17          it briefly in my opening remarks.

18                 The number of youth that were served 

19          last year, I think, was 18,750 -- that comes 

20          to mind.  So the trick here for making sure 

21          that each and every one of those slots will 

22          be available and funded is to take into 

23          account the minimum wage increase that the 

24          Governor and the Legislature adopted last 


 1          year.  

 2                 So to ensure that that -- to ensure 

 3          those same number of slots are available this 

 4          year as were filled last year, you'll see an 

 5          additional $5 million appropriation for that 

 6          purpose.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  As someone who 

 8          represents mostly rural areas, the sense of 

 9          that being -- you know, I know that's been a 

10          successful program.  But the sense of that 

11          being urban-driven, as opposed to some of 

12          our, you know, also low-income unemployed 

13          youth, that's certainly something that I 

14          think for future policy the state should look 

15          at.

16                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

17          appreciate the comment.  We'll take a look at 

18          that.  Thanks.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you.  

20                 There is a proposal in the budget to 

21          do a Lottery intercept.  Do we have any 

22          estimate on what that should provide in 

23          dollars?

24                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 


 1          don't have that dollar value in front of me.  

 2          We'll get that number to you right away.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Okay.

 4                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  But 

 5          the purpose of the proposal is to bring 

 6          Lottery intercepts in line with other forms 

 7          of intercepts that are made to recoup public 

 8          assistance dollars.  So child support 

 9          payments, for example, and tax returns that 

10          would be coming in from the federal 

11          government.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you.

13                 We have a number of programs in the 

14          state that we continue to focus on trying to 

15          serve people who are in poverty and whatever.  

16          Is there anything in this budget or 

17          initiatives that we're looking -- trying to 

18          get people -- to help people leave poverty?  

19          You know, it's kind of that challenge, I 

20          think, that we have certainly -- people need 

21          the services who are there, but getting them 

22          beyond is the next step.

23                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Well, 

24          overall, that is largely the purpose behind 


 1          the Public Assistance program that is funded 

 2          largely by the federal government and, as was 

 3          pointed out, when we get to the safety net 

 4          assistance with the local share.  So that's 

 5          why as part of those programs there's an 

 6          employment training component.  

 7                 In addition, I mentioned a couple of 

 8          other programs that the Governor had 

 9          initiated that gets to exactly that goal, 

10          such as raising the minimum wage, increasing 

11          the number of childcare slots, increasing the 

12          number of pre-K and after-school slots that 

13          are available.  Not to mention the SNAP 

14          increase that I mentioned a minute ago, on 

15          top of expanding, you know, the HEAP program 

16          across the State of New York.  

17                 So we think as a group, together with 

18          the minimum TANF requirements, we think as a 

19          group that provides a program to get to 

20          exactly what you've mentioned.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Senator Kennedy 

22          mentioned the poverty initiative, and I know 

23          the Rochester area and in that general region 

24          is focused some on that.  


 1                 I was at a forum recently, Catholic 

 2          Charities, where we were talking about some 

 3          of their initiatives and working 

 4          cooperatively on that.  One of the handouts 

 5          at that event was giving a perspective of 

 6          what a single mom, two young children, not 

 7          working -- what benefits might lead to, and 

 8          all the different things to support her and 

 9          her family.  If she was at minimum wage, and 

10          then the chart went out -- if she was at 

11          minimum wage, and adding all those benefits 

12          up.  

13                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Yup.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  And then it goes 

15          out, as you make $12, $15, $18, $20-plus an 

16          hour.  And the issue in there sort of brings 

17          up the whole benefits cliff issue in the 

18          sense that as you make more money, then you 

19          get reduced services.

20                 Are we looking at ways to try to 

21          address the whole benefits cliff issue in 

22          trying to help make it for working 

23          individuals who are also trying to support 

24          families?  


 1                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  So at 

 2          the risk of repeating myself, these are the 

 3          programs that I just outlined that are part 

 4          of the Governor's initiative that are aimed 

 5          at doing exactly that, the smoothing out of 

 6          that cliff and providing supports for folks 

 7          who are coming off public assistance, for 

 8          example.  

 9                 So SNAP dollars are available for 

10          folks who are not necessarily -- the 

11          eligibility rates are different than for 

12          public assistance.  Eligibility is different 

13          for homeless -- for the heating assistance 

14          programs, and eligibility is different in 

15          some respects for the pre-K and after-school 

16          programs.  

17                 So we are thinking, with these 

18          programs, beyond what the basic eligibility 

19          levels are for public assistance for that 

20          exact purpose, so folks can continue to 

21          receive some level of supports in different 

22          areas should they -- and hopefully they do -- 

23          become more self-sustaining and are no longer 

24          on public assistance.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you.

 2                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Thank 

 3          you.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 5                 Senator Krueger.

 6                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Good morning.

 7                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Good 

 8          morning, Senator.

 9                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So many different 

10          directions.  Let's start with -- Senator 

11          Young asked about the Safety Net Program 

12          growth.  And I'm just curious, is that a 

13          statewide growth pattern, or are you seeing 

14          that in specific areas?

15                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

16          That's a statewide appropriation.  I don't 

17          have a geographic breakdown.

18                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  No, the population 

19          growth on safety net.  Was there an actual 

20          population increase on the Safety Net Program 

21          between last year and this year?

22                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  We 

23          haven't seen a fundamental geographic 

24          breakdown of that, Senator.  I could take a 


 1          look and see if we have data that would 

 2          address that question.

 3                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.  Because one 

 4          of the things I know about the Safety Net 

 5          Program is there's disproportionately been a 

 6          growth in the number of people on it, singles 

 7          cases and family cases, where an adult or 

 8          adults are suffering from some kind of 

 9          disability and they're not really able to go 

10          to work.  Is that your understanding?

11                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Well, 

12          I think -- I think, just broadly -- I think 

13          that's probably a fair statement, since the 

14          TANF program is a five-year limited and 

15          safety net picks up after that five-year 

16          eligibility period.  

17                 So I think it would be fair to say 

18          that, you know, a component of the safety net 

19          population -- but again, we'll see if we have 

20          some data specifically on who among the 

21          safety net recipients are in the category of 

22          disabled.  I have to take a look at that.

23                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And then if you 

24          could also look into and perhaps get back to 


 1          all of us on the amount of money we're 

 2          putting into disability advocacy to help 

 3          people move on to SSI/SSD, which is actually 

 4          the more appropriate benefit for them if they 

 5          are suffering a long-term disability.

 6                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

 7          Mm-hmm.

 8                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And also, of course, 

 9          it's federally funded, so it's a win for the 

10          counties in not having local share.  And at 

11          least my experience in New York City is the 

12          programs have been underfunded, but they're 

13          incredibly effective at helping people move 

14          onto the correct benefits.  

15                 So I just -- listening to my 

16          colleagues from the rest of the state, I hope 

17          your agency will take a look at whether we 

18          can do more to help with disability advocacy 

19          to move people onto the appropriate benefits.

20                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

21          would say we would broadly agree, Senator.  

22          So thank you, and we will take a look at 

23          that.

24                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.


 1                 You also talked about SNAP and the 

 2          importance of expanding participation among 

 3          people who are eligible.  I'm a big supporter 

 4          of SNAP, and I used to do that work before I 

 5          became a Senator, including under contract 

 6          with the city and state to assist people to 

 7          get benefits.  

 8                 The research consistently has shown 

 9          that an enormous population who are eligible 

10          but don't participate are people who actually 

11          do come in for healthcare benefits.  So 

12          they're Medicaid-eligible, they may be 

13          Essential Benefits category now through ACA.  

14          Have we done anything to try to provide SNAP 

15          applications through the sites that are 

16          assisting, in the last couple of years, 

17          millions of additional New Yorkers to 

18          participate in Medicaid or Essential Benefits 

19          through the exchange?

20                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.  

21          So it's my understanding that in the most -- 

22          in the cities and in the counties that, you 

23          know -- SNAP is very much part of an 

24          application process should someone come in 


 1          and apply for Medicaid.  So the outreach with 

 2          the social services professionals around the 

 3          State of New York I think is there.  

 4                 Where I think we do see some shortages 

 5          and some shortfalls -- and in my own 

 6          experience, and you might know I spent 

 7          15 years in county government -- is among the 

 8          elderly population and also, in some cases, 

 9          among the rural populations in the State of 

10          New York.  That's one reason why you've seen 

11          the Governor's proposal to make sure that 

12          we're partnering with foundations, the 

13          private sector, to leverage SNAP outreach 

14          dollars in particular for senior citizens, 

15          and I think we'll be looking especially at 

16          the City of New York over the course of this 

17          year.

18                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I would add one to 

19          your list.

20                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.

21                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  In discussions 

22          recently with a group of advocates for 

23          hunting in New York State, a discussion came 

24          out about people hunting to provide food for 


 1          their families.  Why don't we do SNAP 

 2          applications when we do hunting licenses?

 3                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

 4          That's a great idea.

 5                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And fishing 

 6          licenses.

 7                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Why 

 8          don't we talk with DEC about that?

 9                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay, I will.  But 

10          hunting and fishing licenses -- people are 

11          hunting and fishing --

12                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.

13                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  -- both for sport 

14          but also for food, and I think that's 

15          probably, particularly in rural New York 

16          State, a very good way to reach out to a 

17          population that might not ever have been 

18          exposed to this program.

19                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I'll 

20          be sure someone in our agency reaches out to 

21          our counterparts at DEC, so thank you.

22                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

23                 Homelessness issues -- and for my 

24          city, the numbers are terrifying.  You talk 


 1          about it in your testimony, work going 

 2          forward to provide funds for supportive 

 3          housing and for other services involving the 

 4          shelters.  

 5                 So in '15-'16 we approved money 

 6          through a JPMorgan settlement for supportive 

 7          housing.  Last year during this budget 

 8          hearing, that money had not gone out yet.  Do 

 9          you know if that money's gone out?

10                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  You 

11          might be referring to the MOU that was much 

12          discussed?

13                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  No.  It was the year 

14          before that.

15                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Year 

16          before that?  I'm sorry, I can't address the 

17          specific question, Senator.  That was before 

18          my time at OTDA.  And not to make excuses, 

19          but we'll try to get an answer for you.

20                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.  So I'll ask 

21          you to do some follow-up on even earlier than 

22          the MOU, which has of course not been signed 

23          and so those monies have not been spent.  

24                 My understanding is the Governor has 


 1          rolled those unspent monies into this year's 

 2          budget, with some additional money to go 

 3          forward.  So -- but technically, we're way 

 4          behind where we ought to be on providing 

 5          additional funding for supportive housing and 

 6          other forms of affordable housing 

 7          specifically for the homeless population.

 8                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Yeah, 

 9          I would respond then, just coming back to my 

10          testimony, that some of the supportive 

11          housing units -- we are moving forward with 

12          supportive housing development in the State 

13          of New York, as I pointed out.  About 1200 

14          units have already been funded and are in 

15          various stages of progress through monies 

16          that had already been approved.  

17                 So as to the MOU, that has not yet 

18          been fully executed.  As you know, the 

19          Governor directed the budget director to sign 

20          the MOU, so how and why the Senate and the 

21          Assembly -- I can't speak to the reasoning 

22          behind not to -- to full execution, but OTDA 

23          and our partners at HCR and OMH are moving 

24          forward pretty expeditiously.


 1                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Next question.  And 

 2          it does tie into all those agencies you just 

 3          mentioned, but I think I'm going to make OTDA 

 4          the key agency on this.

 5                 So my district has Bellevue Men's 

 6          Shelter in it, the entryway to the singles 

 7          homeless system in New York City.  Bellevue 

 8          Men's Shelter's, I believe, has approximately 

 9          750 to 800 beds.  There's been a skyrocketing 

10          number of people who are released from DOCCS 

11          facilities, State OMH facilities, other state 

12          institutions, with the only discharge plan 

13          being drop them off for entry into the 

14          homeless shelter system in my district.  

15                 That can't be the right answer.  And 

16          it isn't legally the right answer.  And based 

17          on discussions with the city, the number has 

18          been growing.  So it's as if the state 

19          agencies have decided we don't have to deal 

20          with discharge planning.  People will hit the 

21          day we decided they legally can leave or we 

22          want them to leave, and then they just take 

23          them down to 29th Street and First Avenue in 

24          Manhattan.  


 1                 It's a lousy model.  What can we do 

 2          about it?

 3                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Well, 

 4          thank you for the question, Senator.  It's 

 5          been very much top of mind in the short time 

 6          that I've been with OTDA, and we're working 

 7          very closely with our partners at DHS and the 

 8          city and the other districts around the 

 9          state.  It's a question that came up at the 

10          New York Public Welfare Association, 

11          primarily attended by the district 

12          commissioners from outside of New York City.  

13                 This matter was brought to our 

14          attention when I first walked in the door 

15          about a year ago at OTDA.  We invited the 

16          Department of Corrections to address the 

17          association last summer.  We began putting 

18          forward, together with DOCCS and the Public 

19          Welfare Association, a plan to at least 

20          notify the counties when a discharge is being 

21          planned from the prison system.  

22                 Moreover, we've been in much more 

23          close discussions with DHS and with the 

24          Department of Corrections in New York City in 


 1          particular.  OTDA's role here is to work with 

 2          DHS and, more importantly, make the 

 3          connections with the providers who operate 

 4          the facilities to make sure that we're 

 5          facilitating a relationship with the 

 6          Department of Corrections.  

 7                 I would also add that the Governor's 

 8          Interagency Council on the Homeless has 

 9          formed a task force that over the course of 

10          this year will be addressing this issue in 

11          detail with Corrections, with OTDA, with DHS 

12          and the other district providers around in 

13          the counties around the State of New York.  

14                 So it's very much on our radar scope.  

15          We don't have any answers yet, but it's a 

16          thorny issue.  And it's an important one, as 

17          you pointed out.

18                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And correlated to 

19          that, specifically with discharge from DOCCS, 

20          how are we doing with programs so that people 

21          can have their Medicaid applications started 

22          or even completed before they're discharged 

23          so that when they return to their local home 

24          district, and particularly if they've been 


 1          taking meds for both health issues and mental 

 2          health issues while in prison, that they 

 3          don't find themselves literally with a 45-day 

 4          gap before they're eligible for anything?  

 5                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

 6          understand the issue, but I hesitate to speak 

 7          for the Department of Corrections or the 

 8          Department of Health on the matter.  But I 

 9          can tell you that there will very, very 

10          likely be an issue specifically on the agenda 

11          for the Interagency Council Task Force.

12                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  But it is OTDA that 

13          oversees the application process for 

14          Medicaid, right?

15                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

16          Medicaid -- in -- through the DSS offices, 

17          right.  We oversee that and we also 

18          tangentially handle fair hearings issues, you 

19          know, around Medicaid eligibility.  Yes.

20                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

22                 We've been joined by Senator 

23          Velmanette Montgomery.

24                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  


 1                 We have been joined by Assemblywoman 

 2          Tremaine Wright.  

 3                 Next, Assemblywoman Lupardo.

 4                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Hello.  Just a 

 5          couple of quick questions.  

 6                 Let's talk about SNAP just for a 

 7          minute.  I suspect that one group that is 

 8          underutilizing SNAP benefits are older 

 9          adults.  You alluded to that earlier.

10                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

11          Mm-hmm.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  I understand 

13          that a simplified SNAP application is a 

14          possibility, because it's fairly complicated 

15          and I think it's off-putting to older people 

16          in general.  Can you give us an update on 

17          your progress in moving toward a more 

18          simplified approach for older adults?  

19                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  You 

20          may be referring to the IES online system 

21          that will ultimately be available to simplify 

22          and combine the application process, in this 

23          case between SNAP and Medicaid in particular, 

24          since the eligibility information is very, 


 1          very similar.  

 2                 So IES, the IES project is progressing 

 3          very nicely.  We have submitted a funding 

 4          proposal to the federal government, who will 

 5          provide a significant portion of the funding 

 6          for the development of that system.  But I 

 7          think more directly, I think part of the 

 8          solution is ensuring that we have local 

 9          agencies, such as aging service providers and 

10          the districts, who are facilitating the 

11          enrollments and undertaking the outreach 

12          that's necessary.  

13                 We understand the complexity behind 

14          it.  Frankly, I think the SNAP application is 

15          one of the easier ones.  But we think that -- 

16          you know, again, SNAP is a key antipoverty 

17          program, and the greater we can expand it, 

18          the greater chance we have of keeping people 

19          healthy and off public assistance.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  There's also a 

21          built-in reluctance on their part to be a 

22          burden and take advantage of something that 

23          they really should.  And so any assistance we 

24          can provide with education and providing them 


 1          with that comfort level I think would be 

 2          really appreciated as well.

 3                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  You 

 4          know, it's a priority for the Governor, it's 

 5          a priority for OTDA.  And personally, you 

 6          know, it's one of, in my time in the county 

 7          governments, one of my favorites.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Thanks.  

 9                 Could you talk about the HEAP 

10          expansion?  Because I understand the Governor 

11          is suggesting it could be then used for 

12          weatherization purposes.

13                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Yes.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Two questions.  

15          How much of the HEAP grant is currently used 

16          each year?  And is it possible that this 

17          could detract from its primary use?  Just 

18          trying to get the overall landscape on the 

19          funds and this particular diversion, or this 

20          expansion.  

21                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  So 

22          the thinking behind this proposal is taking 

23          $14.5 million and providing it under contract 

24          to NYSERDA.  NYSERDA has, you know, an 


 1          extensive network of contractors who do 

 2          relatively low-dollar-value weatherizations 

 3          in homes.  It's not the only weatherization 

 4          program that's out there.  Homes and 

 5          Community Renewal also has a weatherization 

 6          program, but their model tends to be more of 

 7          a whole-house approach.  

 8                 So by taking some of the HEAP dollars 

 9          and putting it into a NYSERDA program, we 

10          hope to serve many, many more households than 

11          perhaps were in the past.  So the thinking is 

12          to not only touch more households, but to put 

13          the emphasis on energy conservation rather 

14          than simply paying a utility bill.

15                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Understood.  

16                 And I just have one last question 

17          about the Lottery intercept.  You said you 

18          were trying to align this with child support 

19          payments, for example.  Do they have a 

20          similar 100 percent recoupment for 10 years?

21                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

22          believe that's the case, yes.

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  So it's not -- 

24          we understood that the rationale was to cut 


 1          down on illegal purchases that occur while in 

 2          receipt of public assistance.  So that wasn't 

 3          the connection?

 4                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

 5          think there might be two different issues in 

 6          play here, Assemblymember.  The Lottery 

 7          intercept is really a matter of giving the 

 8          state another tool to recoup dollars that 

 9          should be owed back to the state under the 

10          Public Assistance Program.

11                 The EBT card system and the misuse of 

12          EBT cards in locations that are perhaps 

13          suspect and where EBT cards are being used in 

14          a way that they shouldn't be used --

15                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  To purchase 

16          Lottery tickets sometimes, I think that was 

17          the -- 

18                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Oh, 

19          I'm sorry, I misunderstood.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  No, I wasn't 

21          clear.

22                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

23          misunderstood, yeah.

24                 So our enforcement system behind the 


 1          use of EBT cards is really aimed at the 

 2          vendors.  So if we find that an EBT card has 

 3          been misused in any way -- and we have many, 

 4          many ways of finding that out -- our 

 5          enforcement mechanism directly, on top of the 

 6          investigations that are done by the local 

 7          districts, is to work very, very closely with 

 8          some of our state partners.  Including the 

 9          Gaming Commission, which would address the 

10          Lottery issue, and also the State Liquor 

11          Authority, which would address inappropriate 

12          use of EBT benefits in those locations under 

13          their jurisdiction.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Okay.  Thank 

15          you.

16                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Thank 

17          you.

18                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

19                 Senator?  

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

21                 Senator Persaud.

22                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Thank you, Deputy 

23          Commissioner.

24                 My first question to you is pertaining 


 1          to the shelters that you evaluated, and 

 2          97 percent of them had major issues.  Did you 

 3          have the opportunity to close any shelters 

 4          while you were doing the survey?

 5                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Well, 

 6          first -- let me clarify, first of all, that 

 7          97 percent of the shelters that we inspected 

 8          had some level of violation.  So each and 

 9          every one of those violations we kind of 

10          assigned a ranking or a score to.  We used 

11          the numbers 1 through 3, Level 3, Level 2, 

12          Level 1, Level 3 being those violations which 

13          presented a very immediate risk to health and 

14          safety of a resident of that shelter unit.

15                 So those issues were -- in some cases 

16          we demanded the removal of the family and 

17          relocation to another safe location.  In some 

18          cases, we ordered the immediate remediation, 

19          in cases where an issue could be addressed 

20          within hours without having to relocate the 

21          family.  So I think there was a total of 

22          approximately 100 units of housing in 

23          New York City where one of those two things 

24          occurred.  


 1                 So the Level 2 and the Level 1 

 2          violations, being less of a risk to health 

 3          and public safety, were all put under what we 

 4          call a corrective action plan.  And a 

 5          corrective action plan is simply a tool, kind 

 6          of a term of art that we use to hold the 

 7          local districts accountable.  So it would be, 

 8          in New York City, DHS, and in the county, 

 9          departments of social services who are 

10          directly responsible for ensuring that those 

11          violations get corrected.  And we used the 

12          ranking system as a matter of triaging what 

13          was most important.

14                 Enforcement tools that the agency has 

15          include suspension of payments to the local 

16          district should the violations not be 

17          corrected; closure of the facilities; and 

18          removal of the operators, for example, who in 

19          most cases are not-for-profit operators who 

20          operate many, many of the shelters in the 

21          State of New York.

22                 So we've used those tools.  I don't 

23          think we've done a suspension of payment.  

24          Keeping in mind that the overall purpose of 


 1          our enforcement program is one of cooperation 

 2          and one of -- we're very, very conscious of 

 3          not taking shelter units offline, and 

 4          understanding that there is, you know, a 

 5          shortage of available units, especially in 

 6          New York City.  I mean, you know --

 7                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Oh, we know.

 8                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I'm 

 9          sure you all heard the term cluster sites, 

10          and we've all heard the -- are concerned 

11          about the use of hotel-motels.  Nobody at 

12          ODTA and I'm sure no one at DHS thinks those 

13          are the best uses or the best locations for 

14          homeless individuals and families.  But 

15          nonetheless, we're very conscious about not 

16          taking units offline, while being very, very 

17          diligent about enforcing the correction of 

18          violations.  

19                 So toward that end, we've taken an 

20          approach where we will maintain staffing, we 

21          will maintain a regulatory structure, and we 

22          will maintain an inspection process and 

23          schedule that really, really stays on top of 

24          each of the shelters, each of the 


 1          jurisdictions in the state that are 

 2          responsible for these repairs, and ensuring 

 3          that they do in fact get made.

 4                 And in most cases I'm happy to report 

 5          we've had good cooperation, in DHS in 

 6          particular.  We all recognize we're kind of 

 7          in the same business, we have the same 

 8          interests in some ways.  But OTDA will not 

 9          hesitate to use the enforcement powers at its 

10          disposal.

11                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  One other thing.  It 

12          covers the Lottery and the decision that 

13          someone winning the Lottery, if they were 

14          receiving public assistance, has to repay it 

15          a hundred percent.  Can you tell us what was 

16          the justification for that policy?

17                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

18          Again, it's aligning the ability to intercept 

19          income from individuals that would, as I 

20          think we noted, include income tax refunds 

21          and child support payments that might be 

22          paid.  So it's simply to give us another tool 

23          to recoup more money for the taxpayers that 

24          should be paid, that the public assistance 


 1          system should be recouping.

 2                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Okay.  But aren't 

 3          you afraid that sometimes it will force 

 4          someone back into a public assistance role, 

 5          if you --

 6                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I'm 

 7          sorry, Senator?  I couldn't hear you.

 8                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  If you're taking the 

 9          hundred percent, you're asking them to repay 

10          a hundred percent, aren't you afraid that in 

11          some cases you may be pushing someone back to 

12          public assistance?  

13                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  You 

14          know what, I don't think that's a serious 

15          concern on our part.  Keeping in mind that 

16          the public assistance programs are 

17          eligibility-based, to begin with.  So if you 

18          have a source of income, either from Lottery 

19          winnings or an inheritance or, you know, you 

20          sell a car or something like that, all those 

21          assets are taken into consideration in the 

22          eligibility process.

23                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Okay, thank you.

24                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Thank 


 1          you.  

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblyman 

 4          DenDekker.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Thank you, 

 6          Mr. Chairman.  

 7                 I'm going to try to stay on the topic, 

 8          for a moment, of the Lottery intercept.  So 

 9          over the last 10 years, how many New Yorkers 

10          have received some sort of public assistance?  

11                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

12          Public assistance caseload -- I have that 

13          here for you.  The public assistance caseload 

14          is approximately 559,000 at this point.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  And that's 

16          over the last 10 years?  

17                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Oh, 

18          no, that's in the last -- it was as of 

19          July 2016.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Okay, as of 

21          July 2016.  But this intercept goes back for 

22          10 years --

23                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

24          There's a 10-year lookback period, yeah.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  There could be 

 2          many people that 10 years ago were on public 

 3          assistance, have since gotten off and have 

 4          gotten jobs and are now working and doing 

 5          very well and maybe play the Lottery.  And 

 6          they go play a lottery ticket, and they beat 

 7          the odds and they get $700.  And the state 

 8          wants to take all of that money from that 

 9          person to recoup the taxpayer money that we 

10          spent nine years ago?

11                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

12          think that's an accurate characterization.  

13                 If you're looking for a number of 

14          people this might impact, we can get you that 

15          data.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Okay, I 

17          appreciate that.

18                 So now what I want to know is, do you 

19          have on every Lottery terminal in the State 

20          of New York a notice to people saying "Before 

21          you purchase a lottery ticket, if you 

22          received any type of public assistance in the 

23          last 10 years and you win, we're going to be 

24          taking back the money that we gave you"?  


 1          Because of all those hundreds of thousands of 

 2          people, which we know the chance of winning 

 3          the Lottery is so minute -- I would imagine 

 4          you freely take all of their money, but when 

 5          it comes time to give it back to them, we 

 6          don't want to.

 7                 So don't you think it would be 

 8          appropriate, then, to put a notice at every 

 9          Lottery terminal telling residents of the 

10          State of New York that if they received any 

11          money at all in the last 10 years for any 

12          type of public assistance and they win over 

13          $600, then you're going to take all the money 

14          from them?  

15                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Well, 

16          we already have -- the intercept already 

17          applies to 50 percent of Lottery winnings 

18          over $600, so this would simply move it from 

19          50 percent to 100 percent.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  I understand, 

21          but now you're going to 100.

22                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.  

23                 So -- but to your suggestion about, 

24          you know, posting a notice, that's something 


 1          that could be addressed with Racing & 

 2          Wagering and the Gaming Commission.  That's 

 3          not -- would not be an OTDA responsibility.  

 4          We do not have any oversight over the Lottery 

 5          system.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Would that 

 7          also include the video lottery terminals at 

 8          the racinos?  Because they're technically the 

 9          Lottery.

10                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Those 

11          Lottery winnings would -- they would be 

12          subject to this intercept.  But again, to 

13          your point about notification, I think that's 

14          an issue that could be explored with the 

15          Gaming Commission.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  So would it be 

17          maybe safe to say that we should also notify 

18          people maybe if they have gambled at all and 

19          lost, that they should get their money back, 

20          seeing you were going to take it from them 

21          anyway?  Or should that money be deducted 

22          from any of the public assistance money they 

23          received 10 years ago, because they have 

24          given money back to the state.  


 1                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I'm 

 2          not quite sure I understand the scenario 

 3          you --

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  So let's say 

 5          10 years ago I was on public assistance and I 

 6          received -- and by the way, I would imagine 

 7          as people get off of public assistance, we 

 8          don't give them a bill so they know what that 

 9          amount would be, because we're going to leave 

10          it up to you to someday tell them, after you 

11          take their money, how much you gave them.  

12                 I think if someone gets off public 

13          assistance, then you should give them a bill 

14          saying, you know, while you were on public 

15          assistance, we gave you $45,000, and someday 

16          we're going to try to get it back from you 

17          over the next 10 years.  We should tell them 

18          that.

19                 And then what we should also do is if 

20          they are playing the lottery for nine years 

21          and they've lost a thousand dollars a year 

22          for nine years, we should deduct that $9,000 

23          from the $45,000 that you gave them, because 

24          they gave the money back to the state and 


 1          they didn't win.

 2                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

 3          understand the concern, Assemblyman.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  So do you 

 5          think we should take that into consideration 

 6          and follow that data?

 7                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  We'll 

 8          take that under advisement.  You know, I'm 

 9          not prepared to discuss the details of that 

10          scenario that you just laid out today.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  I'm just very 

12          concerned of the hundreds of thousands of 

13          people that are playing lotteries or maybe 

14          going to racino that receive some sort of 

15          public assistance and have no idea that they 

16          could be held liable for it in the future, 

17          and that we are not keeping track -- or not 

18          advising them to keep track of anything that 

19          they spend back to the state that would be 

20          considered giving back the money.

21                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Okay, 

22          I understand the concern very well now.  

23          Thank you.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Okay.


 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 2                 Senator?  

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Montgomery.

 4                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Thank you.  Good 

 5          afternoon, or good morning.  I want to ask 

 6          you -- there are so many things that I would 

 7          like to ask, but because of time constraints, 

 8          I'm going to just stick with the whole issue 

 9          of the housing.  

10                 Obviously, one of the most painful 

11          situations that we have going on in the city 

12          is the large number of homeless families with 

13          children.  Half the homeless people in the 

14          city are actually children.

15                 So in your testimony and in the 

16          Governor's plan, you talk about the 

17          $20 billion proposed investment in affordable 

18          housing, and of the 100,000 units that you 

19          anticipate to result from that funding, 6,000 

20          of those units will be supportive housing.  

21          And you also mention that 540 new supportive 

22          housing units have come online.  Is that this 

23          year, this past year, the 540 units?  

24                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  This 


 1          past year.  And that 540 is not included in 

 2          either the 6,000 or 100,000 units.

 3                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Okay, so this is 

 4          over and above the 6,000.

 5                 And can you give me at some point -- 

 6          maybe not just immediately now, but I would 

 7          like to know, of those 540 supportive housing 

 8          units, how many might be in districts like 

 9          mine in Brooklyn?

10                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

11          Certainly.  We keep track of that data very 

12          carefully.  We'll get that to you directly, 

13          Senator.

14                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  I would 

15          appreciate that.

16                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN: 

17          Certainly.

18                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  And you talk 

19          about a process that I think is really very, 

20          very important and that is that you partner 

21          with HCR and OMH, and together you provide 

22          housing for people with varying needs in 

23          terms of supportive housing.

24                 So the Northwell report, which is a 


 1          report to look at ways and proposed ways in 

 2          which we can improve healthcare delivery in 

 3          Brooklyn, they include in their 

 4          recommendations an area that relates to 

 5          housing.  Because according to them, and I 

 6          certainly agree, that healthcare delivery 

 7          includes, to some extent -- there are 

 8          hospitals in my district where people remain 

 9          in the hospital because they have nowhere to 

10          go when they leave.  So the hospital becomes 

11          a homeless shelter, in a sense.

12                 And I know that the model that you 

13          talk about really does work.  There is an 

14          organization that specifically provides that 

15          model, and it works very, very well.  

16                 So my question to you is, how much of 

17          the process in terms of looking forward at 

18          the 6,000 units -- you mention in your report 

19          that you are looking to support -- to bring 

20          on 1200 units.  So I'm just wondering how 

21          much of that reflects this process that we 

22          know works, that makes a lot of sense for 

23          both providers of services as well as people 

24          who are in need of those services.  So I'm 


 1          just asking you to talk about that a little 

 2          bit.

 3                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.

 4                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  And also you 

 5          should know that some people end up going 

 6          into homeless shelters because it's required 

 7          that they be in a shelter in order to be 

 8          eligible for permanent housing.  That, to me, 

 9          is an absolute disgraceful kind of process.  

10                 So those two issues I would like for 

11          you to respond to, if you will.

12                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Okay.  

13          Well, thank you.  And I'm going to suggest 

14          that perhaps you ask the same question of 

15          Mr. Rubin tomorrow, because a lot of what you 

16          are addressing here has to do with HCR's 

17          programs.

18                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Absolutely.  I 

19          intend to, yes.

20                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  But I 

21          think a key point here is that most of the 

22          supportive housing projects in the State of 

23          New York that I am familiar with are really 

24          part of a large partnership.  In some 


 1          cases -- I was at a supportive housing 

 2          groundbreaking in Troy late last year where I 

 3          think there were 12 separate funding partners 

 4          tied to it.  Together with supportive housing 

 5          providers, it really must be a 

 6          community-based effort.

 7                 So each of the programs has a slightly 

 8          different application process.  HHAP, for 

 9          example, the program run by our agency, has a 

10          rolling RFP process.  So over the course of 

11          the year, we'll take applications that meet 

12          the criteria for the program, and we score 

13          them.  And it's not a ranking, it's just a 

14          pass/fail.  So those programs that, you know, 

15          pass our scoring test -- which include 

16          complete funding, which include an indication 

17          that they can continue to operate the 

18          supportive programs going forward -- if they 

19          pass that test, they get into sort of a 

20          first-come-first-served line for approval by 

21          the board.  

22                 So HCR has a little bit of a different 

23          model.  OMH is operating an RFP process 

24          called the ESSHI, we call it; it's the Empire 


 1          State Supportive Housing Initiative, which is 

 2          their component here.  So it's, again, a 

 3          very, very collaborative process, not just 

 4          within state agencies but with the 

 5          communities.

 6                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  So will you -- 

 7          since this model really works, and we're 

 8          hopeful that based on the Northwell report 

 9          and the possibility of us having 

10          opportunities for supportive housing to be 

11          developed in Brooklyn, and the tremendous 

12          need that we have for it, can you streamline 

13          that process a little bit more so that it's 

14          not so difficult to actually bring online and 

15          implement that kind of program?  

16                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Well, 

17          first of all, I must confess I'm not familiar 

18          with the report you referred to.  

19                 Secondly, due to the funding streams 

20          that I just noted, the different 

21          requirements -- particularly where federal 

22          money is involved, which is the case with HCR 

23          programs -- I would say that what we've done 

24          internally to address the streamlining issue 


 1          is -- I know at OTDA we provide very, very 

 2          hands-on support from our staff to assist 

 3          with the application process, to assist with 

 4          the program, assembling the program, and even 

 5          to keep an eye on the actual project 

 6          development going forward.  So we understand 

 7          the complexities, we understand the 

 8          timelines.

 9                 In OTDA -- I mentioned the scoring 

10          process.  If a project applicant comes in and 

11          does not meet the minimum criteria, we're 

12          more than willing to go work with the 

13          not-for-profit for the project sponsor to 

14          show them where they fell short, suggest ways 

15          that they could put together an application 

16          process that could ultimately be funded.

17                 So I think the way we address the 

18          complexity is in a combination of 

19          understanding the complexity and, secondly, 

20          doing quite a bit of handholding and 

21          advisement to the applicants.

22                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  And I certainly 

23          appreciate that.  

24                 And I'd just like to say that 


 1          hopefully you are looking at, when it comes 

 2          to affordable housing in particular, 

 3          supportive housing and et cetera, that you're 

 4          looking at the not-for-profit housing 

 5          community to lead the way to development of 

 6          these units.  Because it just seems that we 

 7          get more benefit when we remove the profit 

 8          motive, which is what is, you know, inherent 

 9          in a private developer's motivation.

10                 So hopefully we'll see a lot more of 

11          what you just described as your participation 

12          in helping people to apply for this, putting 

13          together this complicated process as well as 

14          relying a lot on the not-for-profit housing 

15          community, some of whom are extremely expert 

16          in doing this kind of housing and 

17          programming.  

18                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

19          Absolutely, Senator.  Thank you for the 

20          comment.  

21                 Most of the projects that are 

22          undertaken by HHAP -- and again, I'm not 

23          speaking for my colleague Commissioner 

24          Rubin -- most of them are -- the project 


 1          sponsors or the key sponsors are 

 2          not-for-profits.

 3                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  And not to be so 

 4          parochial, but I'm going to ask you and 

 5          Commissioner Rubin to come to our district 

 6          and look at some of the projects that we've 

 7          been able to get you to do that work so well.  

 8          And I think it's just important for us to try 

 9          to do as much as we can to eliminate this 

10          problem of homelessness by doing quality 

11          affordable housing programs that really work 

12          for people.

13                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

14          think you're spot on, Senator, so I 

15          appreciate that very much.  And if 

16          Mr. Roberts was here today, he would tell you 

17          how many trips, how many miles he's put on 

18          his car going to ribbon-cuttings and visiting 

19          projects.  I wish I could say I've had the 

20          time to do the same.  But we are very much 

21          hands-on at the top levels of our agency, so 

22          thank you.

23                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Thank you, 

24          Commissioner.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 2                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 3                 We've been joined by Kimberly 

 4          Jean-Pierre.  

 5                 And next to question, Assemblywoman 

 6          Wright.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  Good afternoon.  

 8          I wanted to ask a few questions regarding -- 

 9          well, I have a few questions that I'm going 

10          to lay out for you.  So one I didn't fully 

11          understand, with the Lottery grab-back, what 

12          public benefits are currently recouped at 

13          100 percent?  And if you could just give us a 

14          list of what those benefits are.  So if it's 

15          HEAP, if it's welfare benefits, if it's SNAP 

16          dollars, what -- just so I can get a clear 

17          picture of what exactly the grab-back or the 

18          recouping effects.

19                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I'm 

20          sorry, Assemblymember, I couldn't quite hear 

21          the front end of your question.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  Oh, okay.  So 

23          this is regarding the Lottery recoupment.

24                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  


 1          Lottery intercept, okay.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  Yes.  I wanted 

 3          to understand what public benefits are 

 4          currently being recaptured at 50 percent and 

 5          that are going to be thereafter captured at 

 6          100 percent.

 7                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  I 

 8          know the Public Assistance Program is 

 9          included in that.  I will have to get some 

10          detail from counsel and program staff as to 

11          whether it applies to HEAP or SNAP.  Or 

12          anything else, certainly.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  Okay, just give 

14          us the global picture.

15                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure, 

16          absolutely.

17                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  And while I'm 

18          asking for lists, I am in a district that 

19          overlaps with Senator Montgomery's, and I 

20          would also like to -- I know that you're 

21          preparing a list of supportive housing units 

22          within that district.  So if you could please 

23          provide one to me, specifically, under 

24          District 56 as well.


 1                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

 2          Certainly.  Happy to do that.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  Thank you.  

 4                 And I wanted to ask you about the 

 5          supportive housing for our aging community.  

 6          I know that we said that we have dollars for 

 7          the actual structure.  Do we also have 

 8          dollars and are you providing or doing a 

 9          set-aside so that we can have supportive 

10          services within the building, be it 

11          caretakers, rehabilitation --

12                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Yes.  

13          Yeah.  So that's a very, very important 

14          component of the supportive housing program 

15          that the Governor has initiated, and there 

16          are two main funding sources.

17                 OTDA has a source of funding that 

18          provides -- beyond capital, beyond 

19          construction services.  So we have a program 

20          within OTDA.  

21                 And I mentioned what we kind of 

22          short-term call ESSHI, the Empire State 

23          Housing Initiative, which was another 

24          initiative of the Governor's last year.  That 


 1          is being managed by the Office of Mental 

 2          Health.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  And so they're 

 4          both providing dollars for the --

 5                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

 6          Actual operating and services within 

 7          supportive housing, yes.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  Okay.  And I 

 9          think Senator Krueger was asking you about 

10          discharge plans for those being released from 

11          prisons and jails.  And so I wanted to ask 

12          you to speak a little bit more fully about 

13          the collaborative work that you said that 

14          you're going to be doing with DOC, and -- 

15          because one of the concerns that was raised 

16          in our community was that folks who suffer 

17          from mental illness, particularly I believe 

18          it was bipolar disease, are no longer given 

19          prescriptions upon release because we're no 

20          longer allowed to, and that they are -- and 

21          they also don't have a home to return to, so 

22          they're going into the homeless shelters.  So 

23          they have a prescription waiting at some 

24          pharmacy that may be close to where they used 


 1          to live; however, they have no home in that 

 2          district.  

 3                 And so how are we -- I would like to 

 4          know, how is that going to be addressed?  And 

 5          what efforts are being made so that we can 

 6          capture that population and actually keep 

 7          them on their medications?  

 8                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.  

 9          I think that's an important point, and I 

10          think much more in the lane of the Department 

11          of Health, for example, in terms of 

12          medications and how and where they're 

13          prescribed.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  But aren't you 

15          going to do a -- and I might be wrong; I 

16          thought I saw something that said it's going 

17          to be case management for the formerly 

18          incarcerated here?  

19                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  We 

20          will be putting -- part of that -- I 

21          mentioned the task force that will be formed 

22          as part of the Governor's Interagency Council 

23          on Homelessness.  So they will begin their 

24          work over the course of 2017, make 


 1          recommendations for the Department of 

 2          Corrections, for the human services agencies, 

 3          for the shelter systems.  So I would expect 

 4          that the concern that you mention will be 

 5          very much part of that agenda.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  So who's going 

 7          to be on this -- I'm sorry if I missed that, 

 8          but who's going to be on this task force?  

 9                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  The 

10          Department of Corrections, OTDA, I believe 

11          DOH and OASAS and perhaps OMH.  

12                 That task force is still under 

13          formation.  You might know that the task 

14          force is being led by Fran Barrett, directly 

15          from the Governor's office, and is staffed by 

16          OTDA.  So we'll be happy to, you know, get 

17          you more information as that task force 

18          develops.

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN WRIGHT:  Thank you.

20                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

21          You're welcome.  Thank you.

22                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

23                 Senator?  

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yes, Senator 


 1          Comrie.

 2                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Thank you.  

 3                 Commissioner, I wanted to align myself 

 4          with the admonitions from the other members 

 5          regarding the Lottery winnings.  I think it's 

 6          just unfair and it really needs to be looked 

 7          at.  I think that if -- and I hope that there 

 8          will be some changes made before the 

 9          Executive Budget.  So I just want to align 

10          myself with those thoughts, and also bring up 

11          some other issues.  

12                 Number one, in my mind, the Summer 

13          Youth Employment Program.  I do see a 

14          $5 million cost-of-living adjustment, but I 

15          haven't seen an increase in the number of 

16          slots in the Summer Youth Employment Program 

17          for at least 10 years.  And I wanted to know 

18          why are we still stuck at the same number of 

19          slots that we've had for 10 years when the 

20          need for summer youth to have job 

21          opportunities is consistently increasing?  

22                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Well, 

23          I would say that as a matter of balancing the 

24          budget and maintaining the number of youth 


 1          employment slots that we had last year, it 

 2          was important to the Governor to add 

 3          $5 million to the program.  So, you know, 

 4          just in the context of the entire budget --

 5                 SENATOR COMRIE:  But it doesn't 

 6          increase the number of slots.

 7                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Well, 

 8          that's correct.  But if the appropriation 

 9          stayed flat, that number of slots would have 

10          fallen.  So at the very least, you know, the 

11          Governor wants to maintain the same number of 

12          slots that we had last year with the 

13          additional appropriation.

14                 SENATOR COMRIE:  But in every year 

15          there's at least a three-to-one or 

16          four-to-one number regarding the people that 

17          applied and the people that actually get 

18          jobs.  And hopefully -- you know, I'm a 

19          beneficiary of the Summer Youth Employment 

20          Program.  It gave me my first job experience, 

21          my first opportunity to work outside of home.  

22                 And I just don't understand why we 

23          haven't worked to increase the number of 

24          slots available, not just to increase to 


 1          adjust for inflation or adjust to deal with 

 2          the minimum wage.  The opportunity for young 

 3          people especially, all over the state, to 

 4          have a first work experience that's real and 

 5          valid is really becoming more and more 

 6          difficult, because the number of people that 

 7          are applying and eligible and are frustrated 

 8          by this continues to grow.

 9                 So I would hope that we could increase 

10          the number of actual slots this year.  I 

11          don't think the actual number of slots have 

12          been increased for 10 years, and we need to 

13          take a hard look at that.  And I hope that 

14          that can be done as well.

15                 I'm also concerned about some of the 

16          other things in the budget that are looking 

17          to be eliminated, actually -- the Wheels for 

18          Work program.  The ATTAIN program has been 

19          eliminated altogether.  The Career Pathways 

20          program, the childcare opportunities that are 

21          in here for both CUNY and SUNY, and the 

22          childcare demonstration projects.  Could you 

23          give us some reasons why those critical 

24          programs for especially people that are 


 1          trying to sustain a minimum income are being 

 2          eliminated?

 3                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Sure.  

 4          And thank you very much for the question, 

 5          Senator.  We understand.  

 6                 But I think the Governor's budget is 

 7          fairly consistent from last year to this 

 8          year, and those items, among others, that you 

 9          just mentioned were added in as part of the 

10          budget process last year.  

11                 So I would point out that the fact 

12          that they're not in the Governor's proposed 

13          budget does not necessarily indicate 

14          opposition to those programs.  Indeed, the 

15          Governor did in fact approve the budget last 

16          year including those programs.  So I would 

17          leave it to this committee and the budget 

18          process, together with the Division of Budget 

19          and the Governor's office, to address the 

20          concern.

21                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Okay, so you're 

22          clearly saying that you're leaving it up to 

23          us to put it back in.  I get that.  But I 

24          would hope that we'd make sure that those 


 1          programs are put in at the front end of the 

 2          budget so that those people don't have to 

 3          stress from year and year and be concerned 

 4          about it and are coming to our offices to 

 5          express their shock and disdain that they 

 6          have to be concerned about something, you 

 7          know, that's basic to their quality of life 

 8          is not eliminated as well.  So I hope that we 

 9          can get past that quickly.

10                 And I just also want to align myself 

11          with the issues of trying to make sure that 

12          children and family shelters are given better 

13          opportunities for a smooth transition in 

14          housing.  I have a lot of -- unfortunately, 

15          one of the highest school districts in terms 

16          of foster children and transitional children 

17          in southeast Queens, where we have many 

18          schools that are actually -- actually, 

19          one-third to one-half of the school 

20          population every year is transitioning 

21          because they're moving from shelter to 

22          shelter.  

23                 And I would hope that we can improve 

24          those statistics, working together to make 


 1          that happen.

 2                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  We 

 3          very much appreciate the concern, Senator.  

 4          It's something that's very much on the radar 

 5          scope of -- and OTDA, as the regulatory 

 6          oversight agency, is working with those 

 7          responsible for running the shelter system -- 

 8          in this case, the Division of Homeless 

 9          Services in New York City and the providers.  

10                 So it's a matter that we've brought to 

11          their attention, and I can tell you that it's 

12          also of concern to New York City DHS.

13                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Thank you.  

14                 Is my five minutes up already?  Was 

15          that the full time?  Time flies.  

16                 (Laughter.)

17                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Thank you.  Thank 

18          you, Madam Chair.

19                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

20                 We've been joined by Assemblywoman 

21          Cook and Assemblyman Perry.

22                 Next to question, Chairwoman Jaffee, 

23          to close on this side.

24                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you.  I 


 1          wanted to follow up on a question regarding 

 2          the public assistance proposal to create a 

 3          pilot program that would offer case 

 4          management services for public assistance 

 5          recipients who are formerly incarcerated.  

 6                 And I wanted to understand a little 

 7          more in depth, how will the counties be 

 8          selected for the pilot programs?  What kind 

 9          of case management services do you anticipate 

10          for these programs?  And what kind of 

11          follow-up will there be, and ways to 

12          evaluate?  

13                 I'll tell you, we have an 

14          extraordinary program that began in 

15          Rockland County in 2014 called MADE, Making A 

16          Difference Everyday.  And they, you know, 

17          really attempt to provide transitional 

18          services for formerly incarcerated residents.  

19          Is this a program that would be assisted, 

20          that type of program providing assistance, 

21          through this funding for this pilot program?  

22          And it doesn't say specifically where, but 

23          how will the counties be determined?

24                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Let 


 1          me just describe the program as best we -- as 

 2          best it exists right now.  

 3                 So two counties would be selected, and 

 4          the idea is to select two counties from among 

 5          those counties that already offer their own 

 6          rent supplement programs.  So the idea here 

 7          is to focus on the homelessness issue and 

 8          making sure that folks returning from prison 

 9          are not left homeless, to some of the 

10          concerns that we've heard here today.

11                 So understanding that it's $200,000 

12          and only two counties, I'd like to just 

13          reemphasize that it is a pilot program.  So 

14          that being the case, we're very much looking 

15          for some creative programming.  So OTDA does 

16          not at this point intend to be prescriptive 

17          about what exactly those services are, so we 

18          very much look forward to applications and 

19          proposals from the counties that will be 

20          eligible.

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  You know, 

22          providing them a place to live is 

23          certainly -- taking them out of the homeless 

24          environment is important, but also assisting 


 1          them in terms of guidance, providing 

 2          assistance in terms of maybe they need 

 3          continuing education, assistance seeking 

 4          jobs, that kind of -- and then counseling as 

 5          well, and with the family as well, the kind 

 6          of programs and assistance within the 

 7          community.

 8                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Yeah, 

 9          I think that package of services that you 

10          outline would be well received in an 

11          application by the agency.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  And I know that 

13          would be very helpful, because we can then 

14          take the opportunity to turn their lives 

15          around and provide them with a positive 

16          future and for our community as well.

17                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

18          That's the idea behind the pilot project, so 

19          thank you very much.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  And I like the 

21          pilot programs, but I think -- hopefully we 

22          can then expand and learn that they are 

23          making a difference.

24                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Yeah, 


 1          and some of the concepts that you just 

 2          outlined again are very much subject to the 

 3          conversations between the Department of 

 4          Corrections and especially New York City DHS.  

 5                 So, you know, with all those areas of 

 6          service that I think the community and those 

 7          of us in the human services world understand 

 8          contribute to homelessness and contribute to 

 9          the difficulty of reentry for folks from the 

10          prison system.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you.  

12                 And I just want to go back to 

13          something that's so essential.  You referred 

14          to the middle-class tax credit for childcare, 

15          which is important.  But I also just want to 

16          mention that 83 percent of the children in 

17          our communities throughout the state that 

18          actually qualify for subsidies live in 

19          poverty, very, very low income.  They are not 

20          being provided support.  Only 17 percent.  

21                 So it's something we have to focus on, 

22          something we need to address.  Because they 

23          desperately need the support.  The families 

24          need it because they need to work, the 


 1          children need it because this will prepare 

 2          them as they move forward for kindergarten 

 3          and education in a stable environment.  And 

 4          so I just wanted to mention that because I 

 5          think it's essential.

 6                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  We 

 7          appreciate the comment, and we understand 

 8          that it's a key part of the Public Assistance 

 9          Program, even though it's kind of within the 

10          expertise of my colleague Sheila Poole, who 

11          you heard from a few minutes ago.  

12                 But again, we collaborate very, very 

13          closely with OCFS on these kind of issues.  

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  And hopefully 

15          we can work together to expand that funding.

16                 Thank you.  Thank you very much.  

17                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  

18          Certainly.  Thank you.

19                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

20                 Senator?  

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  We're all set, 

22          Chairman.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  That's it.  Thank 

24          you very much.


 1                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  Thank 

 2          you, members, chairs.  Thank you to the 

 3          chairwoman; thank you, Chairman.  I'd like to 

 4          thank the members of the committee.

 5                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Tell Mr. Roberts I 

 6          hope he feels better.

 7                 EXEC. DEP. COMMISSIONER PERRIN:  We 

 8          very much appreciate the conversation today.  

 9          So thanks very much.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you for being 

11          here today.  

12                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you very much.

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Next, Roberta 

14          Reardon, commissioner, New York State 

15          Department of Labor.  

16                 Good afternoon.

17                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Good afternoon.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Hi, Commissioner.  

19          It's a delight to see you.

20                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.  

21          Nice to be here.

22                 Senator Young, Assemblymember Farrell, 

23          and distinguished members of the committees, 

24          thank you for the opportunity to appear 


 1          before you today to discuss Governor Andrew 

 2          Cuomo's proposed 2018 budget and the work of 

 3          the Department of Labor.  

 4                 During my first year as commissioner, 

 5          I have taken part in events and visited 

 6          Department of Labor offices in every region 

 7          of the state, and I have seen firsthand the 

 8          dramatic economic progress that's been made.  

 9          New York State's unemployment rate stands at 

10          4.9 percent, down from 8.4 percent, and there 

11          are more than 7.9 million private-sector jobs 

12          in our state, the most on record.  

13                 The number of private-sector jobs is 

14          up, and unemployment is down, in every region 

15          of the state, but there's still much more 

16          that we can accomplish together.  A great 

17          example is the minimum wage.  Last year the 

18          Governor and the the Legislature took a 

19          historic step to jump-start New York's 

20          economy and make sure no one works a 

21          full-time job and lives in poverty.  Raising 

22          the minimum wage to $15 will impact about a 

23          quarter of the total workforce, more than 2.3 

24          million New Yorkers.  It will lift more than 


 1          250,000 people and about 110,000 families out 

 2          of poverty.  And it will increase consumer 

 3          spending power by more than $15.7 billion, 

 4          which will return to local economies and help 

 5          sustain even more job growth across the State 

 6          of New York.  And on December 31st, we 

 7          climbed that first rung on the ladder towards 

 8          15.  

 9                 One of our core responsibilities is to 

10          ensure that workers are being paid the proper 

11          wage.  First, we educate, by reaching out to 

12          businesses, workers, organizations, and 

13          advocacy grups.  We recognize that most 

14          businesses want to do the right thing, so 

15          we're working with them to make sure that 

16          they know what that is.

17                 But there are some bad actors who 

18          knowingly profit by taking advantage of their 

19          workers.  It hurts law-abiding businesses by 

20          creating unlevel playing fields and is not 

21          what we stand for here in the State of New 

22          York.  

23                 The Department of Labor is a leading 

24          member of the Joint Task Force to Combat 


 1          Worker Exploitation, and over the past three 

 2          years we have recovered nearly $110 million 

 3          and returned that money to 84,000 workers who 

 4          have been victimized by wage theft.  To put 

 5          this in perspective, that total is more than 

 6          double that of any other state in the nation.  

 7                 In the months ahead, we will continue 

 8          these efforts, making sure that any worker 

 9          who is cheated out of their proper pay is 

10          made whole.  

11                 We also stand by workers who lost a 

12          job through no fault of their own.  Since the 

13          recession ended, we've continued to see fewer 

14          and fewer people needing unemployment 

15          insurance, but it is no less important.  

16                 Three years ago, as a result of the 

17          recession, the state's employers owed the 

18          federal Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund 

19          $3.5 billion.  But because you acted on the 

20          Governor's reform proposal, we were able to 

21          save employers an estimated $200 million in 

22          interest costs.  The trust fund ended 2016 

23          nearly $1.3 billion in the black, and that's 

24          more than four times higher than in 2015.  


 1                 But more reforms are needed.  Current 

 2          unemployment insurance rules discourage 

 3          part-time work.  For each day a claimant 

 4          works now, even if for as little as an hour, 

 5          their weekly benefit is reduced by 25 

 6          percent.  A part-time job serves as a bridge 

 7          to full-time employment, by allowing an 

 8          individual to maintain or even improve their 

 9          skills while they're unemployed.  

10                 The Governor proposes greater 

11          incentives for unemployed workers to work 

12          part-time, potentially allowing them to 

13          return to work more quickly.  

14                 Another major part of what we do 

15          involves connecting job seekers to jobs and 

16          supporting businesses throughout the hiring 

17          process.  For businesses, we offer a suite of 

18          no-cost services, in conjunction with Empire 

19          State Development, to both facilitate and 

20          incentivize hiring.

21                 For job seekers, we offer 96 career 

22          centers strategically located in every corner 

23          of the state.  In each center, we have 

24          seasoned career experts that work with job 


 1          seekers of all experience levels.  We offer 

 2          cutting-edge solutions to help people find 

 3          work, like virtual career fairs, our Jobs 

 4          Express job bank, the Career Zone tool to 

 5          help young people plan their future, and an 

 6          Employability Score, which allows job seekers 

 7          to explore career openings, assess their 

 8          employability, and connect with employers 

 9          online, without leaving home.  

10                 How do we know these tools are 

11          working?  Just ask the nearly 200,000 people 

12          that we helped get a job last year.  And that 

13          number accounts for 25 percent of the people 

14          hired through all career centers nationwide, 

15          and that is far above any other state in the 

16          nation.  

17                 At a time when businesses are 

18          demanding workers, we are working to meet 

19          that demand.  But we are also looking to the 

20          future.  Middle-skill jobs are those that 

21          require more than a post-secondary education, 

22          but less than a four-year degree, and they 

23          represent a significant share of the labor 

24          market in New York and indeed across the 


 1          United States.  

 2                 This is one reason why Governor Cuomo 

 3          has proposed the first-in-the-nation 

 4          Excelsior Scholarship, making college 

 5          tuition-free for New York's middle-class 

 6          families at all SUNY and CUNY colleges, and 

 7          why he's making sure that it also applies to 

 8          two-year colleges.  This will help thousands 

 9          of young people realize their dream, 

10          alleviate the burden of student debt, and 

11          help New York State address the need for more 

12          trained middle-skill workers.  

13                 Let me end on a note of reassurance. 

14          In a time when everyone is doing more with 

15          less across the board, we are assessing and 

16          responding to our changing landscape, 

17          prepared for the future.  As the technology 

18          sector continues to boom across the 

19          United States, we are harnessing its many 

20          benefits here in New York State.  By planning 

21          for 21st-century jobs under the New York Tech 

22          Workforce Development Task Force, we will 

23          ensure a pipeline of skilled workers ready to 

24          grow the businesses and economy of tomorrow. 


 1                 We must identify the baseline for tech 

 2          education and investigate what basic 

 3          technological literacy should look like.  The 

 4          $5 million Tech Workforce Training Fund will 

 5          support innovative training and education 

 6          solutions preparing New Yorkers for 

 7          21st-century jobs.  

 8                 The same technology that's creating so 

 9          many great jobs is also changing the 

10          workforce as we know it.  This change means 

11          that millions of people -- those who work as 

12          caregivers, independent drivers, programmers, 

13          and so on -- don't have reliable access to 

14          things like medical and unemployment 

15          insurance or worker's compensation.  The 

16          existing system for supporting workers is 

17          simply outdated.  

18                 Portable benefits would bind things 

19          like retirement to each individual, instead 

20          of an employer, like in the traditional labor 

21          market.  And the Portable Benefit Task Force 

22          will investigate these issues and make 

23          recommendations to make sure all workers, 

24          regardless of their industry, have affordable 


 1          access to benefits.  

 2                 The gender pay gap is simply 

 3          unacceptable.  So we are going to continue to 

 4          lead the nation, studying how to close the 

 5          gender wage gap.  One estimate predicted that 

 6          closing the gap would add an additional 

 7          $4.3 trillion to the U.S. GDP by 2025, not 

 8          including the effects this would have on 

 9          reducing the cost of social safety net 

10          programs and of course the improvements to 

11          family life, economic output, and overall 

12          productivity.  

13                 This is a time of great uncertainty, 

14          yes, but New York has weathered uncertainty 

15          before.  And our mission is clear.  No matter 

16          what happens on the federal level, we will 

17          maintain our high level of service.  We are 

18          going to make sure all workers are protected.  

19          If you lost your job, you will still get 

20          unemployment insurance benefits.  And if you 

21          are looking for a job, we are still going to 

22          have the resources to help you find it.  

23                 With your help, the Department of 

24          Labor can continue its legacy of leadership, 


 1          which is the pride of this great state.  

 2          Thank you so much, and I would appreciate 

 3          your questions.

 4                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 5                 Questions?

 6                 Assemblywoman Jaffee.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  There is a 

 8          New York Youth Jobs Program.

 9                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes, there is.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Do we have a 

11          sense of how many of our youth actually 

12          participated in the urban youth program since 

13          its inception?

14                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I have the 

15          statistics for this past year, and I know 

16          that when we increased it with an extra 

17          $20 million for young people who are living 

18          outside of urban areas, that the usage of the 

19          tax credit increased 50 percent.  

20                 So we know that there is great 

21          interest in this program.  The interest is 

22          growing.  And as more and more employers are 

23          made aware of the benefit, we are sure that 

24          it will continue to help young people find 


 1          jobs and employers find good new employees.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  That's 

 3          certainly -- do we have any numbers in terms 

 4          of --

 5                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  The numbers 

 6          are -- let me see.  In 2016 we had 20,298 

 7          hires under the program.  And in 2015, we had 

 8          6,808.  So it's a really good increase.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  That does.  

10          What type of jobs does the program generate?

11                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It's a variety 

12          of jobs.  Some of them are part-time, some of 

13          them are full-time.  As you probably know, 

14          there's an additional incentive to retain 

15          them in a second year of employment.  There's 

16          another tax benefit for that.

17                 It's important to remember that 

18          part-time work is also very valuable.  I know 

19          when I began to work, I certainly had a 

20          part-time job, that's where I learned to go 

21          into the workforce.  So we make sure that 

22          whatever is available out there -- the main 

23          thing is we want young people to be connected 

24          to work and understand what the world of work 


 1          is like so they can be successful.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  It's a positive 

 3          incentive, certainly.  And providing them 

 4          with that opportunity and training, it's very 

 5          important.

 6                 Do we have any numbers in terms of how 

 7          many of them actually are maintained in that 

 8          employment?

 9                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I know that we 

10          have statistics -- which I don't have on this 

11          page right now -- of employers who take 

12          advantage of the second-year benefit.

13                 But the important thing is -- 

14          remember, think back to what it was like when 

15          we all first started working.  We often 

16          didn't stay in that first job, but it was the 

17          portal to beginning to make our way into the 

18          world.

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  And certainly 

20          very helpful.  I hope that we can expand 

21          that.  I know they're increasing it this 

22          year, so I'm pleased about that.  I think 

23          it's important.

24                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.


 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Am I correct, 

 2          from about $20 million to $50 million, that 

 3          change --

 4                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Mm-hmm.

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  -- to give them 

 6          more opportunity?  Is it only in the urban 

 7          areas or --

 8                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  No, the 30 

 9          million is for the urban areas, and then 

10          another $20 million was for anyone anywhere 

11          in the state.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Okay.  Thank 

13          you.  Thank you, Commissioner.  

14                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

15                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

17                 Welcome, Commissioner.

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  It's always great 

20          to see you.

21                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It's great to 

22          see you.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I do have several 

24          questions.  I'm so happy you're here, because 


 1          there are several things that we'd like to 

 2          ask.  

 3                 The first one is about a law that was 

 4          passed, it was Senate Bill 7967 of 2016, 

 5          Chapter 325.  It was sponsored by Senator 

 6          Martins.  And it requires the Department of 

 7          Labor to use forward-facing employment data 

 8          and labor market information.  And in the 

 9          past, employment data was by region and it 

10          still was set two years behind.  

11                 So how is DOL implementing this 

12          requirement?  Because we need to make sure 

13          emerging employment sectors have enough 

14          skilled labor to entice businesses to come 

15          here.  So there was an immediate effective 

16          date.  I'd like to know where that's at.

17                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We are working 

18          on implementing it.  I believe we are working 

19          with colleges, two-year and four-year 

20          colleges in this process.  So it's in the 

21          pipeline, we are rolling it out, but it's not 

22          fully effective yet.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  When do you think 

24          it will be in place?  


 1                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I do not know, 

 2          but I can find out for you.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  If you could let us 

 4          know, that would be helpful.

 5                 Another question, in the State of the 

 6          State that the Governor gave around the 

 7          state, who is on the Portable Benefits Task 

 8          Force?  Because he referenced it.  However, 

 9          it's not included in the budget, there's no 

10          language.  And I believe it's for independent 

11          contractors dealing with Uber, Airbnb, and so 

12          on.  So who is on this task force, and what 

13          are the plans for that?  

14                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So I am 

15          actually very pleased to be one of the 

16          cochairs.  Howard Zemsky and I will be 

17          cochairing it.  And we have not assembled the 

18          task force yet, but I know that we will be 

19          looking at people from the insurance 

20          industries, people from advocacy groups and 

21          labor unions, people from current pension and 

22          health plans, people who have experience in 

23          this area.  

24                 There are various -- I know that in 


 1          New York City there's the Black Car Fund, 

 2          which is a grouped benefit for drivers in 

 3          various parts of that industry.  

 4                 We are already receiving inquiries 

 5          from various parts of those communities, and 

 6          we are going to have to sit down soon and 

 7          talk about who's actually going to -- there 

 8          will be people on the task force, and then we 

 9          of course will be taking a lot of testimony.  

10          We want to hear across the breadth of this 

11          area what's being done, what's being thought 

12          of.  

13                 As an actor, I participated in a 

14          multi-employer pension and health fund, very 

15          much like the construction industry has, 

16          because we worked for lots of different 

17          employers and they paid into one fund, and 

18          that's how we got our benefits.  That's one 

19          way -- that was of course overseen by my 

20          union.  But that's one way to provide these 

21          benefits.  It was very significant in my work 

22          as an actor, and newspeople are also part of 

23          my union; they tend to go from employer to 

24          employer.  And it was a significant benefit 


 1          to workers in that area that they didn't have 

 2          16 different pension plans or in and out of 

 3          insurance plans.  It's a great model.  

 4                 But I'm sure there are lots of other 

 5          models out there.  And as we go into -- in 

 6          the gig economy world, it becomes more and 

 7          more important to see what we can do to help 

 8          people who are caught in that limbo of not 

 9          having one employer but working steadily for 

10          many different employers.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So thank you for 

12          that answer.

13                 As far as a membership on the Portable 

14          Benefits Task Force, I didn't hear two words 

15          that we're all fond of here, and that's the 

16          Legislature.  So would there be 

17          representatives from the Assembly and the 

18          Senate included on the task force?

19                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I haven't had 

20          that conversation.  I'm sure we will have 

21          that conversation.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Well, I'm sure that 

23          everyone here would like to be represented 

24          also.  So if that could happen, that would be 


 1          great.

 2                 I do want to ask too about the Minimum 

 3          Wage Task Force.  In early January of this 

 4          year, the Governor announced a 200-member 

 5          task force -- you alluded to it -- dedicated 

 6          to enforcing provisions of the new minimum 

 7          wage.  And you stated that the task force 

 8          will only pursue willful and egregious 

 9          violations, not violations that are the 

10          result of ignorance or error.  

11                 So the first question is, who is 

12          staffing the task force?  Related to that, 

13          are there new FTEs necessary?  And will these 

14          only be employees of the Department of Labor?  

15                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So I'm happy to 

16          say that it is a multi-agency effort.  The 

17          DOL is of course the driving force, because 

18          our inspectors go out every day and enforce 

19          wage regulations, and they're highly trained 

20          in that area.  But we're also working with 

21          the Department of State, with Tax and 

22          Finance, with Worker Comp.  We are working 

23          with the DMV.  We're putting palm cards and 

24          posters in areas where people normally 


 1          gather, so that the information is available 

 2          across the state in various areas.  

 3                 The people from the other agencies are 

 4          being trained in wage issues so that they can 

 5          have those conversations, so it's not just 

 6          DOL inspectors.  We have not hired any new 

 7          people to do this.  But again, our inspectors 

 8          go out every day and do wage inspections.

 9                 We are also working in a lot of 

10          different ways to ensure that the business 

11          community and workers understand what their 

12          proper rate is.  So we're doing advertising, 

13          we're doing a social media barrage.  We have 

14          a dedicated page on the New York Gov website.  

15          We have trained our call center people 

16          specifically about minimum wage issues.  Tax 

17          and Finance is sending out stuffers in the 

18          envelopes that they mail to their customers 

19          with information about minimum wage.

20                 I'm very happy to tell you -- I was 

21          just down in the call center this morning to 

22          talk to them because they have had obviously 

23          an uptick in calls, and they're doing a great 

24          job.  And I took them some doughnuts and said 


 1          thank you and asked them how it was going.  

 2          And they said, you know, it's interesting, 

 3          for many of the people who call, they already 

 4          know what the wage is.  They've seen the 

 5          advertising, they've read the newspaper 

 6          articles, wherever they've gotten their 

 7          information.  They know my rate should be X, 

 8          I'm not sure I'm getting it, what do I do?  

 9                 So that's good.  So the workers know.  

10          And a lot of the businesses also know.  So I 

11          feel confident that the information is 

12          getting out there.  But we are working doing 

13          webinars, we do work with the chambers of 

14          commerce.  We will go one-on-one.  There is a 

15          place on the DOL website that an employer can 

16          go on and say, I would like to have a 

17          personal session with someone to explain this 

18          wage rule to me, and we will go out and work 

19          with them.  It's obviously easier to do if 

20          there's a collective of like-minded employers 

21          that we can reach out to, but we will do 

22          one-on-one counseling if that's what they 

23          like.  

24                 Our objective is not to harm the 


 1          employer, our objective is to make sure that 

 2          everybody understands what the rights and 

 3          responsibilities are and, if there's a 

 4          mistake, we -- you know, they make the worker 

 5          whole and no harm, no foul.  At some point, 

 6          you know, maybe in a couple of months when 

 7          we're going out, if there's a pattern, a 

 8          repeat pattern of underpaying their workers, 

 9          or if this employer, frankly, has an 

10          extensive history of underpaying their 

11          employees, then the outcome will probably be 

12          different.

13                 But we are really concerned to make 

14          sure that everybody understands the law and 

15          that they have an opportunity to do what's 

16          the right thing.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  And so 

18          related to that, but switching a little bit, 

19          I wanted to explore employer resources.  And 

20          the department has been very focused on 

21          enforcement.  And there are questions that we 

22          receive in our offices from employers asking 

23          for assistance in compliance with the myriad 

24          of laws and regulations that are imposed on 


 1          them daily.  As you know, there's a heavy 

 2          regulatory burden in New York State on those 

 3          who provide jobs.

 4                 So do you have a dedicated office for 

 5          employers to use as a resource for 

 6          compliance?

 7                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  One dedicated 

 8          office, no.  But we do a number of things.  

 9          So in labor standards we do have the ability 

10          to have compliance conferences in certain 

11          areas.  

12                 Again, we want to make sure that -- we 

13          understand regulations can be confusing, 

14          often for small businesses.  Larger 

15          corporations have the wherewithal to 

16          understand it, because they have the lawyers 

17          to interpret it for them.  But for a small 

18          business owner, it can be more difficult.  

19          And we certainly make ourselves available.  

20          We understand that for the overwhelming 

21          majority of employers in this state, they 

22          want to do the right thing.  They don't want 

23          to run afoul of the law.  They're not looking 

24          to cheat their workers.  But sometimes it's 


 1          confusing.  

 2                 So we don't have one place.  We have a 

 3          variety of opportunities for people to come 

 4          to us or for us to go to them.

 5                 One of the things that I have looked 

 6          at since I've been here, a little over a 

 7          year, I'm very interested in the 

 8          outward-facing face of the Department of 

 9          Labor.  I think we do a lot of really great 

10          work, and probably not enough people know it.  

11          So I'm looking to improve that kind of 

12          communication, because I think -- I believe 

13          the employers really want to do the right 

14          thing, and sometimes they just need to be 

15          able to ask questions.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Anything that you 

17          can do to be a resource to them, I think that 

18          they would be very appreciative.

19                 I wanted to ask you about the Fast 

20          Food Wage Board order smoothing.  And in this 

21          past year's enacted budget, it allowed you, 

22          as commissioner of Labor, to smooth wages for 

23          fast food workers going forward, to keep our 

24          workers on the same minimum wage schedule.  


 1          As you know, there's a lot of disparity, a 

 2          lot of confusion out there.  

 3                 So that hasn't happened yet.  When is 

 4          it going to happen?

 5                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So as you know, 

 6          the legislation that authorized us to look 

 7          into the fast food wage issue was a year and 

 8          a half, I believe, before the minimum wage 

 9          law was enacted.  And that was a separate 

10          wage board.  They took 2,000 written 

11          depositions and interviewed multiple hundreds 

12          of people on the issue and reached the 

13          conclusion that this was a multi-billion- 

14          dollar industry that could absorb a higher 

15          wage for their workers.

16                 That said, I know that there's 

17          language that allows us to do smoothing.  We 

18          are only five weeks into the minimum wage 

19          rollout.  We have virtually no data to look 

20          at.  We are going to continue to monitor the 

21          effect not only of the minimum wage, but how 

22          it may intersect with the fast food wage as 

23          well.  And we will look at that and study it 

24          as it rolls out.  But again, we're barely 


 1          five weeks into the rollout of the new wage 

 2          order.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Are you planning on 

 4          doing the smoothing?  

 5                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We have not 

 6          made that decision yet.  We are going to 

 7          continue to look at the data and see what it 

 8          tells us.

 9                 And I must say that the information 

10          that was gathered for the Fast Food Wage 

11          Board, to this point, that information has 

12          not changed.  Should that begin to change, 

13          that would be something for us to consider.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  What will the 

15          impact on the economy be to have separate 

16          minimum wages for employees doing 

17          substantially similar jobs?  I mean, that's 

18          why the smoothing was included in the budget 

19          last year.  So what's going to happen?  I 

20          mean, people are doing the same job and 

21          they've got different wages.  

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I think there 

23          are probably many areas in our economy where 

24          people do very similar jobs and earn 


 1          different amounts of money.  It's certainly 

 2          happened in my industry.  But we will 

 3          continue to monitor this and see what the 

 4          effects are.

 5                 I will say that you actually took a 

 6          great step in helping us begin to deal with 

 7          this -- what is seen by some people as an 

 8          inconsistency.  Because if we had not managed 

 9          to raise the minimum wage, the difference 

10          between the fast food wage and the lower 

11          minimum wage would have been much more stark.  

12          So we are in a period, everybody will get to 

13          15.  It depends on what city you're in and 

14          what region you work in, but everyone gets to 

15          15, some sooner than later.  It is a smaller 

16          period of time.  And I thank you for raising 

17          the minimum wage so we're not struggling with 

18          an even bigger gap.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  How are you helping 

20          retailers, convenience stores, places like 

21          that who have fast food businesses within 

22          their business?  So, for example, a Subway in 

23          a gas station or a Starbucks in a Target 

24          store.  Because again, there's a great parity 


 1          disparity there.  So that's the first 

 2          question.  

 3                 And must all employees of that Target, 

 4          for example, be paid minimum wage?  Or does a 

 5          Starbucks have to have its own security and 

 6          cleaning staff because they must make a 

 7          different wage?  It just, again, seems like a 

 8          lot of confusion.

 9                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  The wage board 

10          was very clear about the definition of the 

11          fast food board impact, 30 franchisees or 

12          more in the state.  And I think the laws are 

13          very clear.  

14                 There's always competition for better 

15          jobs.  I will tell you, as the commissioner 

16          of Labor, I'm always happy when workers have 

17          more money in their pockets.  But, you know, 

18          this again is a short period of time, and 

19          everyone gets to 15.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

21                 I wanted to ask also about the 

22          overtime salary threshold, which you also had 

23          referenced.  But until recently, New York's 

24          overtime salary threshold was $35,100 


 1          annually statewide.  And on December 29th of 

 2          2016 -- so not that long ago -- the 

 3          department adopted its proposed rule 

 4          increasing the threshold beginning on 

 5          December 31, 2016.  

 6                 So during the seven-week public 

 7          comment period, how many meetings or hearings 

 8          were held with the chambers of commerce, 

 9          business organizations, economists, and local 

10          and regional business owners or individual 

11          proprietors, to judge their ability to absorb 

12          an increase in the statewide minimum wage, a 

13          new fast food minimum wage, paid family 

14          leave, and an increase to the overtime salary 

15          threshold?

16                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I'm not quite 

17          sure I -- so let me answer one thing.  The 

18          increase in overtime in New York State is 

19          labor law.  It is pegged to the minimum wage 

20          law.  There are a number of things that are 

21          increased when the minimum wage goes up; 

22          overtime is one of them.  So it's not 

23          anything we did.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  There was a 


 1          seven-week comment period; correct?

 2                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  The question 

 4          is, did you reach out to the employers in 

 5          New York State to figure out how they were 

 6          able to absorb all these new changes that 

 7          were coming down the pike all at once?

 8                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We did receive 

 9          a number of comments during that period.  But 

10          again, remember that that law is a labor law 

11          that we don't have the ability to change.  

12          Unless you do something.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  What is the current 

14          federal overtime salary threshold?  

15                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  The current 

16          overtime -- the number for federal?  

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  The federal 

18          overtime salary threshold.

19                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  For the federal 

20          number, I don't think I have that number.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  So that 

22          actually is $23,660 annually.  Do you know 

23          what the large New York City employer, 11 or 

24          more employees, what's the current overtime 


 1          salary threshold?

 2                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes, I have it 

 3          here.  Let me see if I can find it quickly 

 4          for you.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That's okay, I do 

 6          have it, Commissioner.  So it's $42,900 

 7          annually.  

 8                 And the reason I bring this up is that 

 9          how can New York reasonably attract 

10          businesses from states subject to the much 

11          lower federal threshold?  Because as, again, 

12          you can see, there's an enormous disparity 

13          there between the two -- between the three 

14          thresholds, actually.

15                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  The federal 

16          laws in many areas are lesser than a number 

17          of state laws, not just New York State.  

18                 And again, I would just say that the 

19          overtime law in New York State has been 

20          pegged to the minimum wage labor law for 

21          quite a while.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, thank you.

23                 How many nonprofits -- just one more 

24          question -- many of which operate on fixed 


 1          budgets, are subject to this regulation with 

 2          the overtime salary threshold?  

 3                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  How many 

 4          nonprofits?

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Right.  Are there 

 6          nonprofits, many of which operate on fixed 

 7          budgets, subject to this regulation?  

 8                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I don't know 

 9          how many there are.  But again, it's a law 

10          that I do not have the ability to 

11          unilaterally change.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Well, thank 

13          you.

14                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

15                 Assemblywoman Titus.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN TITUS:  Good afternoon, 

17          Commissioner.

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Good afternoon.  

19          It's good to see you.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN TITUS:  Good to see you 

21          also.  

22                 I want to thank you, since you've been 

23          commissioner, for taking the time off-session 

24          to sit down and meet with me.  I look forward 


 1          to our continued partnership as this session 

 2          progresses.  

 3                 I want to go now to the Executive 

 4          Budget.  The Executive has proposed the 

 5          creation of a Division of Central 

 6          Administrative Hearings which would be headed 

 7          by an administrative law judge appointed by 

 8          the Governor.  This division would be tasked 

 9          with the consolidation of administrative 

10          hearings between 18 agencies, in an attempt 

11          to improve efficiency and access.

12                 I would like for you to discuss -- how 

13          do you intend to make this work?  And like 

14          what agencies in particular will be included 

15          in this proposal?  What considerations are 

16          being made to ensure that those judges will 

17          be properly trained in the areas that require 

18          more specialized knowledge?  And what type 

19          hearings do you believe can be shared between 

20          agencies?  And will this reduce, in fact, the 

21          number of ALJs in the system?

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It's a great 

23          question.  You know, we have two boards, the 

24          UI Appeals Board and the IBA.  At this point, 


 1          there is no final decision.  This thing is 

 2          being studied.  I don't think it was fully 

 3          fleshed out in the budget.  

 4                 The idea is there.  No decisions have 

 5          been made, and I think the conversations are 

 6          just beginning.  It is a serious question, 

 7          but we have not really engaged in the 

 8          drill-down yet.  I can get back to you when 

 9          that begins, but it hasn't happened yet.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN TITUS:  Okay.  I'm 

11          finished.  Thank you.

12                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator?

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Savino.

15                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.  

16                 Thank you, Commissioner.  Good to see 

17          you, as always.

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Good to see 

19          you.

20                 SENATOR SAVINO:  I want to ask you a 

21          bit about the proposal in the budget on 

22          expanding the Wage Theft Prevention Act.  As 

23          you know, it's near and dear to my heart.  

24          And I'm just curious, because I'm somewhat 


 1          confused.  In my reading of it, it looks like 

 2          we're going to expand our efforts to pursue 

 3          out-of-state LLCs.  How will we do that?

 4                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So this is 

 5          really an administrative fix.  This was 

 6          changed a number of years ago for 

 7          corporations that were formed out of state.  

 8          Remember that this is for a corporation or an 

 9          LLC that was formed out-of-state -- Delaware, 

10          whatever -- but they have businesss in 

11          New York.  And it allows us to go after -- 

12          this would allow us to go after the top 

13          10 members of the LLC.  They would be 

14          personally liable for those wages.  

15                 We've already done that for 

16          corporations that are formed out of state but 

17          have businesses in New York State.  And if we 

18          don't change it, it actually has the effect 

19          of disadvantaging New York LLCs, which is why 

20          I believe it originally was changed for 

21          corporations.

22                 SENATOR SAVINO:  But isn't the purpose 

23          of establishing an LLC is to protect your 

24          personal assets from the action of your 


 1          business entity?  Again, I'm not a lawyer, I 

 2          don't play one on television --

 3                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Me either.

 4                 SENATOR SAVINO:  -- but I would 

 5          imagine that's what the concept of a limited 

 6          liability corporation is.  

 7                 I mean, I'm all for it if you can find 

 8          a way to collect wages that are due to 

 9          workers.  That's the whole purpose behind the 

10          Wage Theft Prevention Act.  I'm just somewhat 

11          confused as to how you're going to accomplish 

12          it.  I hope you're successful at it, I just 

13          question how we're going to accomplish it.

14                 But I want to actually talk about the 

15          gig economy issue, the portable benefits 

16          issue, the tech workforce.  You and I have 

17          had this discussion.  And I have been saying 

18          this for years now, the world of work is 

19          changing.  We can pretend that it's not and 

20          do nothing and, you know, abide by the fact 

21          that we have two very distinct definitions in 

22          labor law -- which in most respects is 

23          actually very young.  You know, labor law is 

24          not that old.  Workers are pretty old, but 


 1          labor law is not.

 2                 But we need -- I believe it's time for 

 3          us to find a new definition for the workforce 

 4          that is neither an employee or an independent 

 5          contractor.

 6                 And so I have a bill that I've been 

 7          working on with Assemblymember Morelle, the 

 8          Handy bill, it's about the -- but I think we 

 9          need to do something bigger.  Because this is 

10          not just one sector of the economy, it's not 

11          just the Ubers, it's not just -- you know, 

12          it's the platform economies, the gig 

13          economies, the freelancers.  

14                 We have a hodgepodge, I think over the 

15          years, of people attempting to solve this 

16          problem, but I think we have an opportunity 

17          to get it right.  Work is different now.  We 

18          have a new workforce that likes the 

19          flexibility of the independent contractor 

20          model, but yearns for the protection of the 

21          employer-employee model.  And I think we have 

22          a responsibility to find what that sweet spot 

23          is and get it right.  

24                 Because if not, we're going to wind up 


 1          with working people, you know, going in and 

 2          out of this area and winding up at a later 

 3          point in their life where they have income 

 4          insecurity in their later years and they 

 5          can't make it up, and they become dependent 

 6          on the state.  

 7                 So I look forward to that.  I've had 

 8          some discussions with the Executive about 

 9          this.  And, you know, I agree with Senator 

10          Young, I think the Legislature needs to be 

11          involved in this, because we're going to 

12          write the next, you know, major step in labor 

13          law, I believe right here in New York State, 

14          and I think we need to be part of that.

15                 And finally on the closing the gender 

16          pay gap.  I will say this as many times as I 

17          can.  The best way to close the gender pay 

18          gap is to put more money into daycare.  

19          Because what keeps women in the workforce is 

20          access to quality, affordable childcare.  

21          Gaps in our employment history is what leads 

22          to gaps in our economic reality.  Because if 

23          you have to take time off from work, and then 

24          you lose seniority, you lose training, you 


 1          lose opportunity -- that's what really hurts 

 2          us in the long run.  It hurts us in our 

 3          Social Security, in our retirement.  That 

 4          will go a long way towards closing the gender 

 5          gap a lot faster than doing another study.

 6                 So I want to thank you for the work 

 7          you're doing, and I certainly look forward to 

 8          working with you going forward.

 9                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

11                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Shelley Mayer.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Good afternoon, 

13          Commissioner.  Thank you.

14                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Good afternoon.

15                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Questions on the 

16          Wage Theft Act.  Do you know how much the 

17          Department of Labor has recovered in 2016 

18          under the Wage Theft Prevention Act?  

19                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We have 

20          collected, in the last three years, 

21          $110 million.  Let me see if I have the 2016 

22          number.  It's -- we have been quite 

23          successful, and it's an escalating amount, 

24          which is good.  I don't know if I actually 


 1          have the breakdown for the individual years.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Maybe you could 

 3          get that.  I'd be interested.

 4                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I will.  I'll 

 5          get that for you.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  How much staff 

 7          of the department is assigned to work on wage 

 8          theft issues?

 9                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We have the 

10          second-largest number of inspectors in the 

11          country.  These are highly trained, committed 

12          professionals.  We have, I believe, 125 

13          inspectors, and they do an amazing job -- 

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Not to cut you 

15          off, I just want to clarify.  They inspect on 

16          a variety of labor law violations, not 

17          exclusively wage theft, is that correct? 

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  How many of 

19          them exclusively do wage theft?  Let me get 

20          you the number.  I don't know what that is.

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Okay.  And some 

22          number of these enforcement actions go to the 

23          Attorney General, I assume for litigation if 

24          they can't get resolved through the 


 1          department.  It would be helpful if you could 

 2          provide the breakdown of the amount that's 

 3          recovered through the Attorney General's 

 4          actions versus the amount that's recovered 

 5          administratively by the department.  If you 

 6          could give that to me.

 7                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Okay.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Second is on 

 9          this issue of the gender pay gap.  And I 

10          concur with Senator Savino about the real 

11          solution, which is increased investment in 

12          childcare.

13                 But what do you mean when you say "we 

14          are going to study how to close the gender 

15          wage gap"?  Is there a task force?  

16                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We are going to 

17          do a study this year.  We are committed to 

18          doing that.  One of the reasons we need to do 

19          the study is it's different for different 

20          industries and it's different in different 

21          regions.  And it just seems that it makes 

22          sense to understand -- dive into those 

23          industries and regions so we can actually 

24          come up with a better formulaation.  


 1                 You know, when I was a working actor I 

 2          did a lot of commercials, so I auditioned all 

 3          the time, and we all took care of each 

 4          other's children because nobody could afford 

 5          childcare.  And you'd go into an audition 

 6          room and there would be three baby buggies 

 7          and one toddler, and they'd go, I'm going in 

 8          next, and everybody would take care of those 

 9          children.  We were lucky because we had a 

10          built-in force of babysitters.  That's highly 

11          unusual out in the workforce.  And I have a 

12          great deal of empathy for men and women who 

13          struggle everyday to figure out how am I 

14          going to take care of my family, and how do I 

15          take care of my family.  And it is a huge 

16          problem.

17                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Right.  I just 

18          wonder, are the details of the study 

19          available yet, or they will be?  

20                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Oh, they will 

21          be.  We've just started, so it's going to be 

22          an interesting year.

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  And my last 

24          questions are on the Workforce Investment and 


 1          Opportunity Act.  I think in the Executive 

 2          proposal the Governor would have 15 percent 

 3          of these funds for discretionary use, and I 

 4          believe he did last year as well.  

 5                 Do you know how those discretionary 

 6          amounts were allocated?  

 7                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I believe last 

 8          year there was $3 million dedicated to middle 

 9          skills.  And we've actually put that towards 

10          the apprenticeship programs, because that's 

11          actually one way to really develop middle 

12          skills is through apprenticeships -- not just 

13          in construction trades, in many different 

14          industries -- and sort of encourage 

15          businesses and help build those programs.

16                 And this year I think $5 million of it 

17          goes to the Tech Training Fund.  So he's very 

18          -- you know, we're very aware that the 

19          training funds are necessary, particularly 

20          for these new areas.

21                 The apprenticeship program is very 

22          promising.  And for those of us who know the 

23          building and construction trades, they have 

24          done a remarkable job at educating their 


 1          workers.  And they're multiyear programs that 

 2          are supported by the employers.  People have 

 3          a job, they're paid a wage, they learn on the 

 4          job, they have classroom as well.  And at the 

 5          end of that period, they have a certificate 

 6          and they have a career.  And it is a really 

 7          remarkable program.

 8                 We would like to expand that across 

 9          industries.  We are looking into home 

10          healthcare, IT.  There's some advanced 

11          manufacturing, optics.  And of course the 

12          tech industry is a great opportunity to 

13          develop apprenticeships.  So we are using 

14          some of these funds to help workers and their 

15          employers figure out how to do that.  

16                 They have to have -- when you 

17          establish an apprenticeship, you're saying to 

18          these apprentices, You have a job now, you'll 

19          be working in this job, but at the end of 

20          your work, when you get the certificate, you 

21          will also have a job out there waiting.  Now, 

22          the worst thing you can do is put someone 

23          through an apprenticeship when there's no job 

24          at the end of it.  So we understand that.


 1                 And it's also -- there's related 

 2          instruction, which they go to classrooms and 

 3          they learn the skills that they need to do 

 4          the work.  It is a marvelous way to educate 

 5          people for a career.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  I think you 

 7          would find that there's a joint commitment by 

 8          many in the Legislature to expanding 

 9          apprenticeship programs, particularly as they 

10          continue to reflect the diversity of the 

11          communities we serve, and as a pathway to a 

12          middle-class job.  And I would just encourage 

13          the department to think of that as a 

14          collaborative effort rather than the 

15          Governor's discretionary judgment.

16                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I would love to 

17          think of it that way.  And, you know, as you 

18          know, it's an opportunity -- and again, the 

19          building trades have been excellent at this 

20          recently.  The diversity that they have in 

21          their apprenticeship programs is remarkable.  

22          And it's a way to give opportunity to young 

23          people who might not think that that's a job 

24          that they could even do.


 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MAYER:  Right.  Thank 

 2          you very much.

 3                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

 4                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 5                 Senator?  

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 7                 Senator Montgomery is next.

 8                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:   Thank you.  

 9                 Thank you.  Good afternoon.

10                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Good afternoon.

11                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Commissioner, 

12          thank you so much for being here and 

13          answering our questions.

14                 I'm going to just try to stick to the 

15          one sector, although there's many questions 

16          that I could ask about your presentation.  

17          But I want to just talk about what happens to 

18          young people.

19                 So, you know, there's a lot of talking 

20          this session and in times past about what do 

21          we do with 16- and 17- and 18- and 

22          21-year-olds.  And I've talked to a lot of 

23          young people in that age category in 

24          particular, and some a little bit younger, 


 1          and one of the big issues for them is work.  

 2          They don't have access to jobs, they are not 

 3          trained, they have no skills, and so it sort 

 4          of compounds the problem for them.

 5                 So now I notice in the Governor's 

 6          proposal and your presentation you talk about 

 7          something that is referred to as the Urban 

 8          Youth Employment program, tax credit program.  

 9          And it targets private corporations, 

10          apparently, that hire at-risk youth.

11                 And there's an identification of 13 

12          areas where you have targeted for an 

13          expenditure of $50 million in tax credits.  

14          And it sounds like you are looking to renew 

15          that program.

16                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes.

17                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  And of course in 

18          the process you have changed the name of it 

19          from Urban Youth to New York State Youth 

20          Employment.

21                 So that then appears from this going 

22          forward as New York State is investing 

23          $50 million in youth employment programs.  

24          However, I have asked, over the years, What 


 1          are the corporations that actually are 

 2          participating, and how many youth?  Because 

 3          I'd like to see how many of my young people 

 4          are actually able to participate in that 

 5          program.  

 6                 And where have you the largest 

 7          investments?  I notice you have most of the 

 8          Big 5, so to speak, and then some others as 

 9          well.  But what percent of the funding 

10          actually goes to the areas where there's the 

11          highest need, largest number of young people, 

12          and so forth and so on?  

13                 So I would really like very much to 

14          hear what exactly are we getting in the form 

15          of youth employment, numbers of young people, 

16          and which corporations are actively 

17          participating based on this $50 million that 

18          we've been spending for the last few years 

19          and, going forward, expected to spend for the 

20          next five years at least.  

21                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

22                 So I can get you some specific 

23          breakdowns.  I don't have them in the book 

24          right now.  


 1                 As I said earlier, the youth tax 

 2          credit is expanding.  We have expanded it 

 3          last year -- we didn't, you did -- expanded 

 4          from urban youth to $20 million for youth 

 5          anywhere in the state, and we've seen the 

 6          uptick.  It is a really good improvement, so 

 7          we're very pleased with that.  I can get you 

 8          some specifics.

 9                 But there's another thing that -- we 

10          do a lot of work with young people.  We are 

11          very painfully aware of the unemployment in 

12          young people, both urban and rural.  And it 

13          is a significant problem.  

14                 So our career centers around the state 

15          are equipped to work with young people, 

16          whether they have a degree or not.  If they 

17          don't have a degree, we can help them get a 

18          GED or whatever they need.  If they have a 

19          degree but they need training, we can assess 

20          what their skills are, what their needs are, 

21          what their interests are.  And we also assess 

22          what the businesses are in that area.  Who 

23          are they looking for?  You know, what kinds 

24          of skills do they need?  And we try to match 


 1          the young people with the jobs.

 2                 We have the Strike Force, which was 

 3          started in the Bronx in 2014, where we 

 4          understood that there was very deep poverty 

 5          in the Bronx and a lot of it, frankly, was 

 6          young people.  And we went into the Bronx and 

 7          we did a very focused way of working with the 

 8          population in the Bronx.  We worked 

 9          intensively with individuals to do that 

10          assessment, but really drill down and see 

11          what did they need.  We also worked with the 

12          businesses and did a map of what kinds of 

13          jobs were available in the Bronx.  And then 

14          we began to match them up.  

15                 That was a very successful effort, and 

16          the unemployment in the Bronx came down 

17          significantly.  Then we expanded it to the 

18          counties with the highest poverty.  Again, 

19          the same approach.  It is a successful 

20          approach.  Last year, in May, we did the 

21          Western New York Strike Force, where we did a 

22          slightly different approach.  So Western 

23          New York's economy is beginning to come up 

24          again, and unemployment numbers are falling.  


 1          But we knew that there were zip codes with 

 2          very deep poverty, so we focused on those zip 

 3          codes.  

 4                 We have five out-stationed centers 

 5          outside of our career centers.  They are in 

 6          the communities.  We're working very closely 

 7          with the faith leaders in the communities, 

 8          because they have very tight relationships 

 9          with the communities.  They are helping bring 

10          people to us who may -- you know, there are 

11          people who won't think to come into a career 

12          center because they think, I don't have any 

13          hope.  Or they think, That's just for people 

14          on unemployment, and I'm not on unemployment 

15          anymore.

16                 We are there for every worker in the 

17          state who wants help, at whatever age, at 

18          whatever level.  And we have worked very 

19          hard -- I just spoke to my deputy 

20          commissioner for workforce development before 

21          I came in, and she said, looking at the 

22          strike force numbers -- keeping Western 

23          New York aside, because that's a brand-new 

24          program -- but for the rest of them, we had 


 1          75 percent placement of people who came 

 2          through the program and completed the 

 3          process.  It is a very, very powerful tool.

 4                 And I want to assure you that we learn 

 5          every day from what we do.  You know, the 

 6          strike force in Western New York is a 

 7          different approach.  It's a zip code 

 8          approach.  It's out-stationing.  It's working 

 9          with community leaders to get people in.  

10          It's successful.  We're going to be able to 

11          take that program and replicate it.  

12                 At the end of the day -- not the end 

13          of the day, at the beginning of the day -- we 

14          want New Yorkers to succeed, we want them to 

15          thrive.  We want them to be able to feed 

16          their families and have comfort in their 

17          homes and success on the job.  And they 

18          should never be held back by where they live, 

19          the circumstances of their family, the color 

20          of the skin or the people they love.  We 

21          think that everybody needs that opportunity, 

22          because New York can't thrive if the citizens 

23          don't thrive.  

24                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Yes, thank you 


 1          for that.  

 2                 And listen, I have the Brooklyn Navy 

 3          Yard, and I also have Southwest Brooklyn 

 4          Industrial Park and all in between.  And so I 

 5          would like to know if the businesses in those 

 6          particular areas are able to and are in fact 

 7          participating.  And if that's the case, what 

 8          do we need to do to help them to do more, to 

 9          reach out to more young people?  Because when 

10          we talk about workforce development and 

11          developing workers with skills that will have 

12          careers in the future, those are the kinds of 

13          places that we certainly hopefully want to 

14          focus on.  So I'm very --

15                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I can get you 

16          some information.  I must say the Brooklyn 

17          Navy Yard is an amazing place.

18                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  It is amazing.

19                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  There are 

20          wonderful innovative industries there --

21                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Absolutely.

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  -- and they do 

23          work with the community.

24                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  And therein is an 


 1          excellent opportunity for us to do a lot of 

 2          this.

 3                 Lastly, let me just say what about the 

 4          possibility, through your agency, of doing 

 5          something like creating a larger expanded 

 6          opportunity in the cultural institution 

 7          community for internships, fellowships, and 

 8          what have you as also a part of your intent 

 9          to create jobs and opportunities for young 

10          people in this category?  

11                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So, you know, I 

12          come out of the arts and entertainment 

13          sector.  I'm very familiar with it.  And I 

14          have often thought that apprenticeships are 

15          actually a unique way for people in that 

16          industry to get training.  

17                 And I'm having conversations with some 

18          people in the industry -- very early days, 

19          not ready to have any public conversations -- 

20          but there's definitely some interest there.  

21          I know that there are two high schools I 

22          believe in New York City that focus on the 

23          industry, there's the Ghetto School in the 

24          Bronx, and then there's another school I 


 1          think in Long Island City, next to one of the 

 2          studios, and they focus on training 

 3          inner-city youth for that industry.  

 4                 The tax and film credit has really -- 

 5          it's a booming industry across the state, and 

 6          they need more workers.  So that's a great 

 7          opportunity to make sure that everybody has 

 8          an opportunity.

 9                 When I did some teaching -- you know, 

10          all actors teach, and I did some teaching at 

11          one point, and you always work with young 

12          people.  And I used to say to them acting is 

13          the door you walk through to this industry, 

14          because it's the door you know.  But once 

15          you're through it, you need to pay attention, 

16          because it's a huge and varied industry and 

17          you can find wonderful careers that are not 

18          necessarily the person in front of the 

19          camera.

20                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  So the museums 

21          and all of those cultural --

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes, music 

23          and --

24                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  -- they do a lot 


 1          already, but we would like to see much more 

 2          support for that sort of thing.  Therein is a 

 3          whole different world for young people, as 

 4          well as jobs.

 5                 And let me say -- I want to thank you.  

 6          You know, we have a groundswell in the City 

 7          of New York.  Those kinds of programs which 

 8          offer young people an opportunity to express 

 9          their talents as well as have a job are 

10          extremely important.

11                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I agree.

12                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  And as we move to 

13          try and address what happens to keep young 

14          people out of the criminal justice system, 

15          that's I think where we're going to be most 

16          successful in that.  So thank you very much 

17          for your attention to that.

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you very 

19          much.  

20                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

21                 Assemblyman Bronson.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Good afternoon, 

23          Commissioner.

24                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Good afternoon.


 1                 ASSEMLYMAN BRONSON:  Very nice seeing 

 2          you.

 3                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

 4                 ASSEMLYMAN BRONSON:  So I'm just going 

 5          to chime in on a couple of things that some 

 6          of my colleagues said and make a similar 

 7          request.  

 8                 First of all, on the numbers of 

 9          inspectors in connection with the wage theft, 

10          if you could also supply to us the number of 

11          inspectors in connection with enforcing 

12          prevailing wage as well, so that --

13                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So the public 

14          work and the -- yes.

15                 ASSEMLYMAN BRONSON:  And I would ask, 

16          in that area, if you would also make it -- 

17          well, for all of them, if you could do it 

18          geographically, so we know where these folks 

19          are going out.

20                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Absolutely.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Second, the 

22          Portable Benefits Task Force, I would concur 

23          with Senator Young in that we should have 

24          legislative representation on that task 


 1          force, and ask for you and the others to 

 2          consider that representation.  

 3                 And then the third that has been 

 4          brought up regarding -- we have a workforce 

 5          that's in transition.  And as I believe 

 6          Senator Savino indicated, people don't 

 7          clearly fit in under the employee category or 

 8          the independent contractor category.  And we 

 9          know that different agencies have different 

10          standards for determining that.  And so we 

11          really do need to do some work on -- and 

12          that's kind of tied in with the benefits area 

13          as well.

14                 So on that, I'm going to turn to 

15          workforce development.  And in particular, 

16          the New York Youth Works tax credit, which is 

17          called, once again -- that's what it was 

18          called back in 2012.  It went to Urban Youth.  

19          I presume the changes related to the 

20          expansion to all of the State of New York.  

21                 But do you have any numbers or 

22          statistics on the age breakdown of the youth 

23          who have been employed under that program?

24                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I'm sure we do.  


 1          I don't have it right here.  You know, it's a 

 2          pretty narrow -- it's 16 to 24.  We assume 

 3          that if they're going to be employed 

 4          full-time, it's 18 to 24.  We don't want to 

 5          encourage 16-year-olds to drop out of school.  

 6          But I can find that information for you.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  If you could 

 8          find that out, along with the average length 

 9          of time and how many jobs are seasonal, that 

10          kind of information.

11                 And as I understand, under this 

12          program the Department of Labor is required 

13          to issue a certificate of eligibility for 

14          employers on this.  So I would presume in 

15          your review of that you're looking -- and 

16          then you have to say how much of a tax 

17          credit, and that gets sent over to the 

18          Department of Taxation.  So I presume, under 

19          that, we could get more specific data.  

20                 But also under the statute it requires 

21          an annual report from the Department of 

22          Labor.  And as I can tell, I don't believe 

23          that annual report has been done.  It 

24          certainly hasn't been accessible to the 


 1          public.  Can you let me know where we stand 

 2          on that?

 3                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Sure.  So I'm 

 4          here a little over a year, and so I'm not 

 5          sure that I've seen the annual report, 

 6          because it may have been done before I got 

 7          here.  But I will find out for you.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Yeah, that's 

 9          vitally important, because it really gets 

10          into whether or not this is a successful 

11          program.  

12                 But we do have some information from 

13          the Department of Taxation that I think 

14          challenges whether or not this program is 

15          being successful as it's adopted.  And the 

16          Department of Taxation indicates that -- and 

17          by the way, there's a three-year delay in 

18          getting information from the Department of 

19          Taxation, just because of the way the tax 

20          credits can be utilized.  But in 2012, of 

21          the, at that point, the amount allotted, only 

22          $2.3 million was taken advantage of by 

23          employers for this program.  

24                 2013 -- we have numbers for that year 


 1          too -- 700,000.  That's it.  So we're looking 

 2          at numbers -- we don't have 2014, we don't 

 3          have 2015.  2016, for some reason, the 

 4          Department of Taxation is estimating 

 5          $20 million, yet I don't see where that's 

 6          historically based.  Can you explain that at 

 7          all?

 8                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  As I understand 

 9          it, it is the phenomenon of people qualifying 

10          for the tax credit and then not putting it on 

11          their taxes.  That's part of it.

12                 So we overcommit, because people 

13          want -- you know, they put in their paperwork 

14          but for some reason they don't do it at the 

15          end.  

16                 My guess is, and this is strictly a 

17          guess, if you have a large corporation, 

18          you've got tax accountants doing it and they 

19          know exactly what it's all about.  If you're 

20          a smaller industry, you may not be as 

21          sophisticated, so they're not putting in for 

22          it.  

23                 But there is a lot of commitment.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  All right.  


 1          Well, I may be missing that, because the 

 2          Department of Taxation's report actually does 

 3          have an estimate of the credit claimed and 

 4          the credit used, and for the 2012 number the 

 5          difference there was $1.3 million versus 

 6          $1.2 million.  So we're not talking a lot of 

 7          money there.  I'm not sure.  We should 

 8          investigate that.  

 9                 One way we could investigate it, 

10          though, is if we could get our hands on the 

11          annual reports so we know how many employers 

12          are being certified as eligible under the 

13          program.

14                 That being said, there's also another 

15          issue I think we should look at when we're 

16          looking at this.  Because ultimately the idea 

17          here is to get our young people employed, 

18          right?

19                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Right.

20                 ASSEMLYMAN BRONSON:  And so in looking 

21          at that, Young Invincibles did a survey at 

22          the end of last year and really found that 

23          most of the employers didn't feel that a 

24          small tax credit was sufficient enough to 


 1          impact their decision whether or not to hire 

 2          or to retain young employees.  And instead 

 3          they said having a skilled workforce and 

 4          folks who are willing to dedicate themselves 

 5          was a more important or significant 

 6          indicator, if you will.

 7                 So now I'm going to turn to a topic 

 8          that you know I love, which is the Empire 

 9          State Apprenticeship Program, which is a bill 

10          I carry.  We negotiated it in the budget, it 

11          didn't survive the budget last year.  But the 

12          benefit of that program is it has progressive 

13          increases in tax credit if a person who is 

14          employed is employed as an apprenticeship and 

15          they're actually graduating through the 

16          apprenticeship program.

17                 And some of my colleagues mentioned 

18          hard-to-place youth or people who are trying 

19          to work out of poverty.  The other benefit of 

20          this program is there is an enhanced tax 

21          credit if you also have a mentoring program 

22          that will help that employee be successful 

23          through the apprenticeship program.

24                 So what I'm going to ask you to think 


 1          about, and ask the administration to think 

 2          about, is since we have a situation where 

 3          we're not utilizing all of the tax credit 

 4          under the now New York Youth Tax Credit 

 5          Program, and we have some indication that 

 6          employers are more interested in having an 

 7          ability to train a skilled workforce, might 

 8          it not be a good opportunity for us to use 

 9          some of those tax credit dollars and try to 

10          encourage and incentivize employers to hire 

11          young people as apprenticeship.

12                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It's an 

13          interesting suggestion.  I will certainly 

14          look into it.  Thank you.  You know, I love 

15          apprenticeships too.  We're together on this.

16                 ASSEMLYMAN BRONSON:  I know we are.  I 

17          know we are.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  We're out of time.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Okay.  Thank you 

20          very much.  

21                 Thank you, Mr. Chair.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

23                 Senator Persaud.

24                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Thank you, 


 1          Commissioner.

 2                 I just have a couple of questions for 

 3          you.  The first is to do with -- I'm 

 4          continuing in the vein of the Urban Youth 

 5          project, the credit.  Do you have any 

 6          evidence as to how many youth have become 

 7          advanced in their lot in life after going 

 8          through this program?  

 9                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  That would be a 

10          difficult thing to measure because that's a 

11          pretty broad measurement.  We do know --

12                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Well, basically --

13                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We do know that 

14          young people -- oh, okay, sorry.

15                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  -- they move from 

16          where they were, really at the poverty level, 

17          to higher.

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We do know that 

19          across the board when young people are 

20          exposed to work, whether it's part-time or 

21          full-time, that it actually puts them on a 

22          better course.  And there is a fair amount of 

23          study that says if young people are involved, 

24          even in the Summer Youth Works program while 


 1          they're in high school, that their 

 2          advancement through life is better.  The 

 3          earlier we can connect young people to 

 4          training and to jobs, even a part-time job, 

 5          the more likely it is that they will succeed 

 6          in later life.  

 7                 That is some of the thinking behind 

 8          the tax credit program, because it encourages 

 9          employers to hire them.  It may not be the 

10          job they hold forever.  It probably won't be.  

11          I certainly didn't stay where I started out.  

12          But it does give them the experience of 

13          getting up and going to work, of having to 

14          perform tasks for somebody else, of having 

15          some money in their pocket that they earned.  

16          It is a self-respect measure as well.  

17                 And so anything we can do to help put 

18          young people on that path I think is very 

19          impactful.  The Summer Youth Program itself 

20          is a great, great program for young people 

21          because, again, it gives them a structured 

22          environment, work to report to, self-respect, 

23          working in a community of other people -- 

24          very few people work alone -- and it sets you 


 1          up on a good path for life.  

 2                 So I think that the -- although I 

 3          don't have the data that you're asking for, I 

 4          think the larger data says that when you 

 5          connect young people to work, they have a 

 6          better prospect.

 7                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Do you have any data 

 8          as to after the tax period for the company, 

 9          that these youth remain employed?  And for 

10          how long do they remain employed?  

11                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Chances are, 

12          for some of them, they do not stay in that 

13          job because they're young.  And so they may 

14          get a job at local retail store, which helps 

15          them understand what that's all about.  When 

16          they go to get their next job, they've got a 

17          resume and they've got some skills and 

18          they've got some information to give that 

19          employer, and that's very valuable.  

20                 One of the things we do at the Career 

21          Center when people come in -- so let's say a 

22          young person comes in and they've been hired 

23          under the tax credit and they worked for a 

24          year for a local retailer, and they come into 


 1          the Career Center and say, Now what do I do?  

 2          Our career center person -- and it's a 

 3          one-on-one experience -- will sit down and 

 4          look at what exactly did they do on the job, 

 5          what can we list on a resume, do you have any 

 6          recommendations from your employer?  What 

 7          were your experiences?  What else are you 

 8          interested in?  Do you want to stay in the 

 9          area or do you want to move?  And do you need 

10          more training?  Do you have your high school 

11          diploma?  Is there some kind of certificate 

12          program that would help you advance?  And, 

13          interestingly, do you know what the world of 

14          work offers you?  

15                 We have Career Zone, which is an 

16          online program at the Career Centers, and 

17          young people -- anybody, but mostly young 

18          people -- go on, and it has descriptions of 

19          jobs and half of them have videos to show 

20          this is what you do when you work in a clean 

21          room in advanced manufacturing, this is what 

22          you do when you work in a pharmacy, this is 

23          what you do when you work on a construction 

24          site.  


 1                 So they get an idea of the job, it 

 2          tells them what kind of training they have to 

 3          have, what -- the expectation that you might 

 4          have to pay for that training in some 

 5          circumstances.  It will tell you what the 

 6          salary ranges are.  And are those jobs 

 7          available in the area they're in, or will 

 8          they have to move.  It is an incredible tool 

 9          that I only wish every high school student in 

10          New York State used, because I think often 

11          young people don't know how to make those -- 

12                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Maybe we should ask 

13          the Department of Education to include it.

14                 A question for you.  I haven't heard 

15          you speak to anything on the Youth Build 

16          Program.  Can you give us some updates on 

17          Youth Build?  Are we putting additional money 

18          in there?  What are we doing with the Youth 

19          Build?  

20                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I'm sorry, 

21          which is the program?

22                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Youth Build.

23                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Youth Build?  I 

24          don't think I know it by that name.  I might 


 1          know it by another name.

 2                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  It's the program 

 3          where kids who have to go through the court 

 4          system, they're given an alternative program 

 5          and they're taught, you know, sciences and 

 6          jobs.

 7                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Would this -- 

 8          it might be more of an Education problem, not 

 9          a Department of Labor program.

10                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  In the Department of 

11          Labor and the Department of Education.  You 

12          collaborate on the program.  

13                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I'm sorry, I 

14          don't know about it.  I'll have to find out.

15                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Yeah.  Because we 

16          just need to know how is the funding on it.  

17          And, you know, is there continued funding, 

18          and are there any additions to the program.

19                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I'll find out.

20                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  And finally, there's 

21          a program that was zeroed out that's -- OTDA 

22          covers it.  It's the ATTAIN program.  And I 

23          see that you have something that's called the 

24          Tech Workforce Task Force.  Can you give us 


 1          some information on that?  

 2                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So it's 

 3          brand-new.  It's in this year's State of the 

 4          State.  And the Tech Workforce Task Force is 

 5          going to look at what are the basic -- what's 

 6          the baseline that young people need if they 

 7          want to go into the high-tech sector.  

 8                 So I wish I had my cellphone with me; 

 9          I used to pick it up and go, "This changed 

10          everything."  And it did.  

11                 So we are living in a world that's 

12          very connected with digital technology, and 

13          there is a wealth of work out there.  People 

14          often talk about the high-tech sector like 

15          it's one sector.  It's everything.  Everybody 

16          has high-tech in their industry.  

17                 But what do young people need to do at 

18          the elementary school level, at the middle 

19          school level, at the high school level, in 

20          order to be ready to go into that industry?  

21          And what's the specialized training that 

22          they're going to need?  Once they graduate 

23          from high school, where do they go?  It might 

24          be a four-year college program.  There are a 


 1          lot of them.  But it might also be a two-year 

 2          certificate program.  We want to find out 

 3          what those needs are so that we can help 

 4          prepare our citizens for that work, because 

 5          that is the work of the future.  

 6                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  And are you working 

 7          with SUNY to cultivate the --

 8                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We will be 

 9          working, I'm sure, with everybody in the 

10          sector.  I mean, it's brand-new.  It was just 

11          announced in the State of the State, so we're 

12          just putting our shoes on.  But I'm sure that 

13          we are going to be working across the 

14          spectrum with everybody in that area, because 

15          it's exciting and it's what people want to 

16          do.  And, you know, in entertainment you can 

17          be a CGI illustrator; in medicine, you can do 

18          robotic operations.  It's not just computer 

19          keyboards.

20                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  In technology now, 

21          every kid wants to make an app, to create an 

22          app.

23                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes.  And they 

24          should.


 1                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Thank you very much.

 2                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.  

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Assemblywoman 

 5          Lupardo. 

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Thank you very 

 7          much.  

 8                 Hello.

 9                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Hello.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Nice to see 

11          you.

12                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Good to see 

13          you.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  I want to talk 

15          about the retirement cliff.  So we're hearing 

16          a lot about the number of people who are 

17          leaving the workforce.  And that's why your 

18          focus on young people and workforce 

19          development is so appreciated.  But I'm also 

20          interested in the retirement cliff for the 

21          people who are retiring.  

22                 So I understand at one time there was 

23          a Mature Worker Task Force or a focus on 

24          those mature workers who want to stay 


 1          vibrant, want to stay active, perhaps as 

 2          mentors, perhaps as new entrepreneurs, 

 3          because I understand that they're very active 

 4          in creating new companies -- probably more 

 5          than any other sector, it turns out.  And 

 6          they also want to basically be a part of 

 7          their community for as long as possible.  

 8                 So I was curious if the Department of 

 9          Labor has any initiatives or interest in 

10          working with us on that particular topic.

11                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  That is a very 

12          good question.  

13                 We all know the baby boomers are aging 

14          and starting to retire.  And many of the baby 

15          boomers I know have no interest in retiring, 

16          or at least fully retiring.  So there is a 

17          wealth of highly skilled people, very 

18          connected people.  We're not -- you know, 70 

19          is not the 70 it was 30 years ago.  People --

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  It's the new 

21          50.

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  -- age 

23          different.  Yes.  

24                 So it's a great resource that frankly 


 1          is underused.  I have had some conversations 

 2          at the DOL about it.  It's something that I 

 3          want to continue to look into.  You know, age 

 4          discrimination for people -- the terrible 

 5          thing is if you lose your job in your 

 6          mid-fifties, you're probably never going to 

 7          have the chance -- you're rarely going to 

 8          have a chance to replace it with a similar 

 9          job, and that's just wrong.

10                 But we need to look at -- we talk a 

11          lot about how do we help young people, and we 

12          should talk about that.  But we should also 

13          pay attention to the rest of our communities, 

14          because people have a lot to offer.  Age is 

15          just a number.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Okay.  Let's 

17          work on that together, then, shall we?

18                 Thanks.  I'm good.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Senator?  

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Comrie.

21                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Thank you, Madam 

22          Chair.  

23                 Good afternoon, Commissioner.  I 

24          wanted to ask you about the workforce 


 1          initiative and what is being done to linking 

 2          the workforce initiative with the 

 3          opportunities at the airports.  Can you 

 4          describe for me what is being done to ensure 

 5          that there -- with the expansion of JFK and 

 6          LaGuardia, what is being done specifically to 

 7          link and create opportunities to bring people 

 8          there?  

 9                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  To those jobs.

10                 So there's a very thoughtful 

11          program -- we are the first state in the 

12          nation to have a state-sponsored 

13          preapprenticeship program.  That was in last 

14          year's budget, I believe.  And we have named 

15          six training providers for that 

16          preapprenticeship program.  

17                 And the idea is that young people at 

18          risk will be put into these preapprenticeship 

19          programs, where they receive the kind of 

20          training -- often they have educational 

21          deficits for the work that they want to do.  

22          So math, reading, whatever it is, they come 

23          up to skill level, as well as some basic 

24          skilling.  And they are able, in the 


 1          preapprenticeship program, to preview all of 

 2          the various trades that are available in 

 3          apprenticeship programs.  

 4                 When they graduate from the 

 5          preapprenticeship program, they go into -- 

 6          they have a direct entry into an 

 7          apprenticeship program where they have that 

 8          wonderful opportunity to have a job, make a 

 9          living, and learn at the same time.

10                 And they will be placed on work sites 

11          at those places.  So JFK, LaGuardia, 

12          Penn-Farley, Javits.  We are going to be 

13          placing those young people in those jobs so 

14          that they have access to that work.  It's a 

15          really great opportunity to use the resources 

16          of the state and help young people at the 

17          same time.

18                 SENATOR COMRIE:  And do you have any 

19          numbers on how many people have gone through 

20          the apprenticeship program for JFK or 

21          LaGuardia?  

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We just started 

23          the preapprenticeship program, so there's 

24          nobody -- nobody has graduated from it yet.  


 1          But of course these buildouts are years long, 

 2          so there will be a significant number of 

 3          people.  There may be a number of -- the 

 4          number 800 sticks in my mind, but I'm not 

 5          sure if that's right -- proposed into this.

 6                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Right.  Do you have 

 7          the location in Queens that it's being done, 

 8          or is it being done at your existing 

 9          workforce centers?

10                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  The people who 

11          are working now at the airports, that's --

12                 SENATOR COMRIE:  No, where do you plan 

13          on doing these training apprenticeship 

14          programs?  

15                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  The 

16          preapprenticeships, we've just granted the 

17          six training providers.  I assume they're 

18          downstate because the work is downstate.  And 

19          then the apprenticeship programs for the 

20          various unions are located down there as 

21          well.

22                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Okay.  Also, as you 

23          know, there's still a lot of problems with 

24          the issue of minimum wage being provided by 


 1          subcontractors at the airport, and we still 

 2          have regular demonstrations from the labor 

 3          unions that it hasn't trickled down yet.

 4                 Can you let us know what the 

 5          Department of Labor has done in monitoring 

 6          that, or if there's any enforcement from your 

 7          agency regarding the fact that people at the 

 8          airports, despite an agreement with the 

 9          Governor, are still not getting paid proper 

10          wages?  

11                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  If they're not 

12          being paid their proper wage and they have 

13          lodged a complaint, we will absolutely 

14          investigate it.  And I know we have been out 

15          at the airports.  But absolutely, if a worker 

16          feels that they've been cheated of their 

17          wage, all they have to do is call the contact 

18          center and give them their information, and 

19          the case will be handed over to our 

20          inspectors and we inspect it.  Because we 

21          take that very seriously.  

22                 SENATOR COMRIE:  But you don't have 

23          any specific inspections that you've done out 

24          at the airport recently?  


 1                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Oh, I'm sure we 

 2          do them on an ongoing basis if there's a 

 3          problem.

 4                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Okay, great.  

 5                 And then just finally, you've 

 6          mentioned the Excelsior program in your 

 7          testimony.  Do you have any details on how 

 8          the Excelsior Scholarship Program for -- the 

 9          tuition-free idea from the Governor, is going 

10          to help you in the Department of Labor?  And 

11          how would that be exampled?  Have you spoke 

12          about it regarding middle-skill workers?

13                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It actually 

14          offers us a great opportunity.  So 

15          middle-skills workers are people with more 

16          than a high school diploma and less than a 

17          four-year college degree.  And the Excelsior 

18          scholarship offers free tuition to 

19          middle-class families in the State of 

20          New York at SUNY and CUNY, and that includes 

21          the two-year colleges.  So they'll have the 

22          opportunity to go to school, get their degree 

23          without crushing student debt, which we all 

24          realize is just off the charts.  We need 


 1          those skilled workers.  So the Excelsior 

 2          Scholarship Program really enables young 

 3          young people across the spectrum, across the 

 4          state -- you don't have to live in New York 

 5          City, you can live anywhere.  And in fact I 

 6          think the overwhelming majority of families 

 7          that will really benefit from this actually 

 8          live upstate.  

 9                 But it's a wonderful opportunity for 

10          young people to get an education, have a 

11          career path, and not be burdened with 

12          $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 of debt.

13                 SENATOR COMRIE:  So you're going to be 

14          advocating for middle-skilled workers that 

15          are in two-year programs to get the Excelsior 

16          program?  Because my understanding, it was 

17          geared for four-year graduation.  So I would 

18          hope that you are advocating for two-year 

19          opportunities for especially community 

20          colleges to take advantage of the program, 

21          because I find that most of the people that 

22          are in need are people that are working 

23          parents or working adults that are trying to 

24          get a leg up.  So I hope that is something 


 1          that is done as well, so that those part-time 

 2          students can be able to take advantage of the 

 3          scholarship so --

 4                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It's a great 

 5          opportunity.

 6                 SENATOR COMRIE:  -- it would truly be 

 7          an opportunity for all students, and not just 

 8          these students that are already excelling and 

 9          could get scholarships anywhere else to do 

10          any other endeavor.

11                 Thank you.

12                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

13                 SENATOR COMRIE:  Thank you, Madam 

14          Chair.

15                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

16                 Assemblyman Oaks.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you, 

18          Commissioner.  

19                 Actually, just a quick question on the 

20          unemployment insurance, the plan to allow 

21          individuals to work and not have their 

22          benefits totally impacted like they would be 

23          today.  A number of people -- I'm interested 

24          in seeing that proposal going forward, and 


 1          hopefully that will make an impact.  

 2                 Do we have any sense, though, of -- an 

 3          estimate if that's going to have an impact on 

 4          the fund, whether we're going to then be 

 5          paying out more because of that or not?  Have 

 6          we done that analysis?  

 7                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We have done 

 8          that analysis, I can assure you.  

 9                 One thing I should point out is that 

10          New York State is the only state in the union 

11          now that does the 25 percent deduction for 

12          one day of work.  Every other state does the 

13          income disregard.  So it seems to be working 

14          pretty well other places.  But we've looked 

15          very closely at our own fund, and the 

16          determination was that it would be neutral, 

17          which was great.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Okay.  Thank you 

19          very much.

20                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

22                 Senator Montgomery.

23                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:   Thank you, 

24          Commissioner.  Thank you, Madam Chair.  


 1                 (Inaudible comment.)

 2                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  I did.  This is 

 3          my second time.

 4                 I just want to ask -- I want to follow 

 5          up, if I may, on the Youth Build program.  It 

 6          may not be familiar to you, but I certainly 

 7          would welcome an opportunity to talk to you 

 8          more about it.  And I just want you to know 

 9          that it has been around for a very long time, 

10          but formerly basically funded through the 

11          federal process.  It is statewide, they have 

12          programs across the state.  Not nearly 

13          enough, but the ones that do exist are 

14          extremely important and effective.  

15                 And the thing about this program is 

16          that it combines an opportunity for young 

17          people to develop skills in certain areas -- 

18          the one in Brooklyn that I'm aware of, I've 

19          visited any number of times, young people are 

20          gaining skills in the building trades.  So -- 

21          and they're also in the process of rebuilding 

22          their own communities.  And I met a young man 

23          who went through the Youth Build program who 

24          now, based on his experience there, was able 


 1          to be hired by a housing developer, a 

 2          for-profit developer, in fact, was mentored 

 3          by him and is now doing electrical work in 

 4          his own community, based on the skills that 

 5          he gained.

 6                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  That's great.

 7                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Yes.  And these 

 8          are young people who, but for the Youth Build 

 9          experience, would have gone further into the 

10          criminal justice, juvenile justice system.

11                 And so it is an extremely important 

12          program, and several of us have been 

13          communicating, we're trying to figure out -- 

14          it doesn't fit neatly in one place or 

15          another.  It is obviously -- you know, it's 

16          monitoring, it's a diversion program for 

17          young people, it's a work program.  Young 

18          people have a stipend that goes along with 

19          their participation in it.  Very, very 

20          important, because many of them absolutely 

21          need it.  And it's part of workforce 

22          development.  So trying to fit it one place 

23          or another is sometimes difficult.  

24                 But it seems that it would be very, 


 1          very important for your department to really 

 2          be supportive in spearheading it.  We 

 3          certainly wish that it would.  And what has 

 4          happened in the last few years is that that 

 5          the Legislature has put in a small amount, it 

 6          doesn't go nearly far enough.  The New York 

 7          City Council has put funding into it.  But we 

 8          don't have a place where our state actually 

 9          is preparing to fund and support this 

10          important program.

11                 So I would really -- we would ask, and 

12          I'm just taking the liberty of including my 

13          colleagues up here, because we've put money 

14          in, we talk to each other every year, 

15          scrounge up a little money for it.  But this 

16          really is something that we would like to see 

17          done.

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It sounds 

19          fascinating.  I'll look into it.  Thank you.

20                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Thank you very 

21          much.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Assembly?  

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Yes.  Assemblyman 

24          DenDekker.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Thank you very 

 2          much, Commissioner.  I also want to thank you 

 3          for your service when you served as 

 4          co-president with Ken Howard.  I'm a 

 5          SAG-AFTRA member myself, --

 6                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  That's right.  

 7          Thank you.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  -- and I 

 9          appreciate the service that you gave us 

10          during that time of transition.

11                 So I wanted to ask a question 

12          specifically about when unionized labor and 

13          management in a non-public-employee 

14          relationship in the private sector are -- 

15          during a dispute.  For example, I know CWA up 

16          in Waterford right now is having an issue.  

17          Is there any specific period of time when 

18          those two parties don't meet that the 

19          Department of Labor will get involved and at 

20          least try to get management and labor to the 

21          table?  

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  That's an 

23          interesting question, actually.  There are 

24          federal mediators, so they may actually be -- 


 1          they may ask for a federal mediator.  I know 

 2          that when we had the commercial strike in 

 3          2000, we had a federal mediator for that 

 4          strike.  So that may happen.  Sometimes it's 

 5          imposed on them; sometimes it's asked for.

 6                 The Department of Labor, we do not go 

 7          into that area.  But I do know that -- you 

 8          know, anything we can do, of course, to 

 9          facilitate conversations, we would do.  But 

10          to officially mediate, I don't think that 

11          would be a position we could do.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Okay.  So I'm 

13          just going to make a recommendation, rather 

14          than put it into a bill format.  But maybe 

15          you could look at just looking when these 

16          actions are taking place between management 

17          and labor, and not necessarily mediating, but 

18          just requiring them, like after 30 days of no 

19          communication, that they have to at least sit 

20          down and talk for an hour and then they can 

21          leave.  But just to force them, both sides, 

22          to come to the table and at least have a 

23          talk.  

24                 Because when you're going on strike or 


 1          having a labor dispute for 90-some-odd days, 

 2          and in many cases it can be even longer, for 

 3          someone not to hold one side or the other 

 4          side accountable to at least sit at the table 

 5          and have a discussion, I think we're doing a 

 6          disservice to those employees and those 

 7          employers.  First of all, they need the 

 8          employees back at work to do their job, and 

 9          the employees want to go back to work in some 

10          cases.  But I just think we should look at 

11          that.  It would be an interesting thing.

12                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  The other 

14          thing I wanted to ask is the Executive Budget 

15          proposes the creation of a Division of 

16          Central Administrative Hearings.  Is that 

17          under the Department of Labor?  

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  The ALJ -- 

19          that's not under us.  That's separate.  

20                 We have two boards that might 

21          potentially be involved in that, but that's 

22          in very early stages, the discussion is just 

23          starting.  I think there's a discussion about 

24          doing a test with maybe a selection of the 


 1          boards, but not all of them at first.  But 

 2          we're very, very early in the conversation.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  The only real 

 4          concern I have about this is that many 

 5          agencies that have -- and those judges that 

 6          have expertise in a specific area, whether it 

 7          be environmental issues or labor issues, that 

 8          these administrative judges are going to get 

 9          lost in the system and we're just going to 

10          have people with some sort of general 

11          knowledge and not have the expertise that is 

12          required of those judges.  

13                 And that's what I'm afraid we're going 

14          to lose, and I think we should leave it the 

15          way it is.  And if -- I don't see why the 

16          consolidation would be so great to now have 

17          someone whose expertise in an environmental 

18          issue is now going to be maybe hearing cases 

19          in labor.  I just -- I would be afraid that 

20          there wouldn't be proper representation and 

21          it wouldn't be there.

22                 So those are my two major concerns.  

23          And my last concern is I'm the chair of 

24          Veterans in the Assembly, and we are working 


 1          on a program -- I'm glad you like the 

 2          apprenticeship programs in the building 

 3          trades.  Both of my children graduated from 

 4          those programs --

 5                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Excellent.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  -- and have 

 7          jobs that pay more than me.

 8                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes, of course.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  So I'm very 

10          very happy for them --

11                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  You're a happy 

12          father.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  -- that my 

14          children are making more than me.  

15                 However, there's a program called 

16          Helmets to Hardhats in New York City --

17                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes, excellent 

18          program.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  It's a great 

20          program.  And actually last year we got some 

21          funding, in the veterans portion under the 

22          Division of Veterans, to support that project 

23          to expand outside of New York City.  However, 

24          this year that so far has been cut.


 1                 So I would like to know, is the 

 2          Department of Labor doing anything for 

 3          veterans specifically that may not have -- 

 4          you maybe haven't communicated to me.  Or, if 

 5          not, maybe we could look at taking this 

 6          project out of the veterans area and putting 

 7          it into the labor area and somehow creating 

 8          more opportunities for veterans.  

 9                 And the reason why I am so concerned 

10          about that is the expense that we have or 

11          that we could incur when we find out -- our 

12          studies and our hearings have shown that 

13          veterans that don't get a job when they 

14          return run into sometimes other issues, which 

15          can cost us, as a state and as a society, 

16          much more damage.  And anything we can do to 

17          help them when they transition back would be 

18          the best thing.  

19                 And it's all about jobs.  Every single 

20          group I go to, the first word out of a 

21          veteran's mouth is I just want to work.  I 

22          just want to work.  

23                 So I don't know why we have to have 

24          cuts like this, but I'd love to know any 


 1          programs that are specifically designated to 

 2          veterans under your department.  

 3                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We have a lot 

 4          of programs at the DOL for vets.  We have -- 

 5          in our Career Centers, we have dedicated 

 6          career counselors for returning vets and then 

 7          for disabled vets.  That's two separate 

 8          programs.  And we make sure that they get 

 9          their individual appointments so they're not 

10          coming -- they have first service, they come 

11          to the front of the line.  We are very 

12          focused on that.  

13                 I should tell you that before I was 

14          here, I did some consulting with the AFL-CIO, 

15          and they have the Veterans Council, and a 

16          good friend of mine became their executive 

17          director when I got this job.  And I said, 

18          "Tell me what we can do."  He said, "New York 

19          State DOL does better than most states, 

20          period, when it comes to veterans."  

21                 So we take it very seriously.  There 

22          are a lot of programs.  There are tax credits 

23          for hiring vets, there are training programs 

24          for vets.  And they do step to the front of 


 1          the line in any Career Center that they come 

 2          into, because we all really respect the 

 3          service they have given us.  And it's the 

 4          least we can do to make sure we help them.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Okay, thank 

 6          you very much.

 7                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.  

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 9                 Senator Krueger.

10                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

11                 Afternoon, Commissioner.

12                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Good afternoon.

13                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So many of my 

14          colleagues brought up the Urban Youth Jobs 

15          Tax Credit, or the newly titled model.  But I 

16          don't think we've talked about another 

17          program, the Minimum Wage Subsidy Program for 

18          youth employment, and that's costing the 

19          state almost the same amount of money.  And I 

20          was never really big on that program, I will 

21          say that to you now.  But I'm curious, since 

22          we're running two programs of approximately 

23          the same dollar cost to the state, both 

24          targeting youth, tell me a little bit about 


 1          the Minimum Wage Subsidy Program and how it 

 2          contrasts or compares to the Urban Youth Job 

 3          Tax Credit.

 4                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So they are 

 5          different.  The minimum wage subsidy says 

 6          that if you hire youth I believe up to -- I 

 7          don't know if it's up to 19 --

 8                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I think 16 to 20, 

 9          maybe? 

10                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yeah, something 

11          like that.  And they are paid the minimum 

12          wage, you can get $1.35 an hour in a tax 

13          break.

14                 So an interesting story, actually, 

15          with Commissioner Ball from Ag and Markets; 

16          we've had this conversation.  The farmers use 

17          this, and some of the farmers have come and 

18          said, "You know, the problem with that 

19          particular tax credit is I can't give them a 

20          raise.  Because if I give them the raise, I 

21          lose the tax credit."

22                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Exactly.

23                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So that's one 

24          difference.


 1                 The New York Youth Works is not simply 

 2          for minimum wage.  It's for being hired.  So 

 3          we're not saying you can only make this 

 4          minimum wage in order to qualify, we just 

 5          want you to hire the youth, employ them.  If 

 6          they stay a second year, you get a second tax 

 7          credit.  It really is about keeping that 

 8          youth on the job.

 9                 So they are very different.  They are 

10          both useful.  And they kind of serve slightly 

11          different purposes.  For some industries, 

12          where they feel that the minimum wage is a 

13          burden, they can take advantage of this tax 

14          break.  The New York Youth Works is a 

15          different kind of program, really encouraging 

16          people to look at youths that they might not 

17          normally think of hiring.

18                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And can you tell 

19          us -- so I have the same concern, that this 

20          was not the supplemental program for minimum 

21          wage but it was a never-can-get-above- 

22          minimum-wage model.  

23                 And second was that it would be used 

24          by the large institutional fast food 


 1          companies who want to hire youth anyway, and 

 2          were going to hire youth anyway, and would 

 3          just be the people of New York giving $1.35 

 4          an hour towards the wages that they were 

 5          paying.  

 6                 So can you tell me what industries 

 7          besides farmers -- because I had not thought 

 8          about farmers -- are actually using that 

 9          credit?  

10                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I don't have 

11          that information.  I can find out.  

12                 I mean, I've had the conversation with 

13          Commissioner Ball because we have a lot of 

14          conversations, and that was part of it.  And 

15          I honestly have not read the law, so I don't 

16          know if there's any bar to the size of the 

17          company that gets to use it.  I don't know.

18                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So there's also been 

19          a number of discussions about annual reports 

20          coming or not coming.  And I'm not always so 

21          big on making enormous demands on annual 

22          reports, but it seems to me on both of those 

23          programs the questions we really want to 

24          know, since we're putting more money into 


 1          them, we're continuing the programs, is 

 2          what's working?  Are they continuing to keep 

 3          these jobs after the credit is used up?  Are 

 4          they -- is it just a way for some companies 

 5          to figure out how to use the tax dollar to 

 6          subsidize the wage they would have paid the 

 7          exact same people anyway?  I think that's 

 8          actually very important information for us to 

 9          know.

10                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  That's an 

11          interesting question.  Yeah, thank you.

12                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Finally, most of 

13          your job training and workforce development 

14          money is federal.  What happens if and when 

15          it gets cut out at the federal level?  What 

16          are you going to be closing?

17                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It's a serious 

18          question.  As you know, a very large part of 

19          the DOL budget is the federal budget, because 

20          of unemployment insurance and various 

21          programs.  Of course we're concerned about 

22          that.  It's hard to plan for a future when 

23          you don't know -- you know, we're so early in 

24          this new administration we don't know what to 


 1          expect.  So we're thinking about it.  But 

 2          until something more develops, it's hard to 

 3          really plan anything.

 4                 I will say if we think about the 

 5          majority, frankly, of our training programs, 

 6          the training dollars that we get from the 

 7          federal government, these are programs that 

 8          are there to train people in need and lift 

 9          them into the middle class.  And the 

10          conversation in the election was lifting 

11          people into the middle class.  And it is 

12          continuing to be a conversation.  And I just 

13          think -- I hope, I pray -- that people will 

14          not do something that will actually eliminate 

15          those opportunities to lift people into the 

16          middle class.

17                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And if the WIA fund, 

18          say, disappeared, how much money is that to 

19          the State of New York each year?  

20                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  The WIA funds 

21          are a lot of our training dollars.  I don't 

22          have -- I can look at it, it's in here.  

23                 But I would be very surprised if the 

24          money disappeared.  It would be a huge impact 


 1          across the country.  I mean, every state in 

 2          the union depends on these funds to train 

 3          their citizens.  So you're the politicians, I 

 4          think you can assess the risk.  But it might 

 5          get cut.  That's a real possibility.

 6                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I think that it's a 

 7          real possibility, and it's a very disturbing 

 8          one for this -- you're right, every state in 

 9          the nation, but particularly for us.  Because 

10          I think that you have been successful in 

11          redirecting and using these funds very 

12          effectively, and it would be a tragedy for 

13          the efforts we're making to lose that federal 

14          money at this time.

15                 Thank you.  

16                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.  

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

18                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

19                 Assemblywoman Jaffee, to close.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you, 

21          Commissioner.

22                 I wanted to just briefly thank you for 

23          your incentives for jobs for our youth and 

24          for our communities.  There was a 


 1          conversation here, or a comment, about gender 

 2          equity in terms of pay equity, something 

 3          we've been discussing --

 4                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  For a long 

 5          time.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  -- in the 

 7          Assembly for a long time.  But I wanted to 

 8          just raise awareness of a piece of 

 9          legislation that I passed several years ago, 

10          which it's not just about pay equity, it's 

11          about opportunity as well.  In too many of 

12          our employment sites, they were not providing 

13          women with the knowledge about various jobs 

14          that might be available because they were 

15          setting aside those jobs for the men.  And 

16          primarily women were given information about 

17          secretarial jobs and that kind of job status.

18                 So the legislation really requires 

19          that the state, at these sites, provide women 

20          with the same opportunities that are offered 

21          to men, as well as making them aware that 

22          training is also available.  That will expand 

23          our workforce for women as well as providing 

24          the kind of pay equity that is absolutely 


 1          necessary.

 2                 So I wanted to share that with you.  

 3          And hopefully we can take a look at whether 

 4          or not -- how that has been implemented and 

 5          what kind of impact that has had for women 

 6          and job availability.

 7                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  You know, those 

 8          are really important opportunities.  We know 

 9          probably personally how important those 

10          opportunities are.

11                 I will say in the construction trades 

12          in New York City, there's a group called 

13          Nontraditional Employment for Women, because 

14          the construction trades offer incredible 

15          opportunities for a solid career path.  But 

16          that's a path that many women would not 

17          choose for a variety of reasons -- their own 

18          bias, to start with:  I don't want to swing a 

19          hammer.  But it's a preapprenticeship program 

20          that brings them in, they are introduced to 

21          the trades, they make a selection, they go 

22          into an apprenticeship and they have a 

23          career.  And the more programs that we can do 

24          like that, which doesn't exclude men, it just 


 1          simply says women should think about being an 

 2          electrician as well, or a painter or 

 3          whatever.

 4                 So I'm very supportive of those 

 5          programs.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Well, I would 

 7          have wanted to be an electrician or work like 

 8          that, but they didn't suggest that happen.  

 9          So when I got married, my husband bought me a 

10          tool kit, because he knew I liked to do that 

11          kind of thing, and I started to build things 

12          in the house.  

13                 But thank you.  That's an interesting 

14          idea.  I will certainly take a look at that.

15                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.  

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

18          Commissioner.  I think we're done.  So again, 

19          thank you for being here.

20                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

21          much.

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you very 

23          much.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Good job.


 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Greg Olsen, 

 2          New York State Office for the Aging.  

 3                 We did a lot of it today.

 4                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I know.  I'm 

 5          impressed.  I'm impressed that you guys are 

 6          still hanging with me here.

 7                 Well, good morning, Chairpersons Young 

 8          and Farrell and all the distinguished members 

 9          of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and 

10          Means Committees.  Chairperson Serino, it's 

11          good to see you.  And Chairperson Lupardo, 

12          welcome to Aging.  I'm really excited to be 

13          working with you.

14                 I am Greg Olsen, I am the acting 

15          director of the New York State Office for the 

16          Aging, and I'm really honored to testify on 

17          the portions of Governor Cuomo's proposed 

18          budget that affects older New Yorkers.

19                 The New York State Office for the 

20          Aging administers programs and services for 

21          New Yorkers 60 years of age and older, as 

22          well as their families, friends, and 

23          neighbors who help them remain as independent 

24          as possible, for as long as possible, in 


 1          their homes and communities of choice.  

 2                 NYSOFA provides leadership and 

 3          direction to an integrated, coordinated 

 4          network of 59 county-based area agencies on 

 5          aging and more than 1,200 public and private 

 6          organizations that serve to help empower 

 7          older adults and their families.  Further, 

 8          Governor Cuomo's priority to de-silo state 

 9          agencies to reduce duplication, strengthen 

10          service delivery, increase efficiencies, and 

11          improve outcomes has created very strong 

12          working partnerships and relationships with 

13          the Department of Health, Office of Persons 

14          with Developmental Disabilities, Mental 

15          Health, Office of Children and Family 

16          Services, Alcoholism and Substance Abuse 

17          Services, Victim Services, Division of 

18          Veterans' Affairs, and the Office of Court 

19          Administration, among others.

20                 The 2018 Executive Budget includes a 

21          host of initiatives that address primary 

22          areas of concern for older New Yorkers and 

23          their families.  Governor Cuomo's Executive 

24          Budget helps older adults and their families 


 1          by expanding transportation options 

 2          throughout the state by proposing to expand 

 3          rideshare; extending the Home Energy 

 4          Assistance Program season to increase access 

 5          to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance 

 6          Program; leveraging additional federal funds 

 7          to significantly increase outreach for SNAP 

 8          to reduce the number of older New Yorkers who 

 9          are eligible but not receiving the benefit; 

10          increasing the number of low-income homes 

11          that are weatherized to reduce energy costs, 

12          save money, and prevent dangerous home 

13          heating situations, such as the use of ovens 

14          and stoves -- carbon monoxide, which can 

15          certainly -- fire hazards and health hazards; 

16          advancing a "Health Across all Policies" 

17          approach that includes lower prescription 

18          drug costs; increasing access to healthy 

19          foods and locally-grown commodities; 

20          increasing opportunities for physical 

21          activity via the Empire State Trail; and 

22          encouraging healthy behaviors; taking 

23          additional steps to make New York State the 

24          first Age Friendly/Livable Community state, 


 1          as designated by the World Health 

 2          Organization and AARP, and building the 

 3          elements of Age Friendly/Livable Communities 

 4          into the second round of Downtown 

 5          Revitalization grants; modernizing the 

 6          workforce by focusing on skills development 

 7          and training for the jobs of today and 

 8          tomorrow, which will benefit older workers 

 9          and workers of all ages; advancing efforts to 

10          combat financial exploitation of older 

11          adults, modernizing cybercrime and identity 

12          theft laws and safeguarding older adults from 

13          the risks of reverse mortgages; eliminating 

14          the wage disparity, which will have a 

15          significant positive impact for future older 

16          New Yorkers in terms of retirement income; 

17          and implementing a "Silver Line" program 

18          modeled after the United Kingdom to reduce 

19          social isolation and the negative health 

20          outcomes that result from it.

21                 The 2018 Executive Budget honors the 

22          state's commitment to ensuring that those who 

23          are served by NYSOFA across the state have 

24          access to cost-effective, high-quality, 


 1          coordinated services that support 

 2          independence.  The budget preserves key 

 3          programs including the Expanded In-Home 

 4          Services for the Elderly Program, which 

 5          provides non-medical in-home services, case 

 6          management, respite, and ancillary services 

 7          to those who are just above the Medicaid 

 8          limit but can remain in their homes and 

 9          communities.  The Wellness in Nutrition 

10          Program funds home-delivered and congregate 

11          meals and provides nutrition counseling and 

12          education to frail older adults who may be 

13          unable to shop or prepare meals for 

14          themselves.  

15                 The Executive Budget includes the 

16          $1 million increase that was added last year 

17          to the Community Services for the Elderly 

18          Program and consolidates the $1.121 million 

19          transportation appropriation into the CSE to 

20          streamline reporting.  CSE is designed to 

21          improve the ability of communities to 

22          identify priorities, gaps, and needs, and 

23          assist older adults who need help to remain 

24          in their homes and communities for as long as 


 1          possible.  

 2                 The Governor's budget proposal also 

 3          makes a significant investment in NY Connects 

 4          sustainability, which is our state's No Wrong 

 5          Door, by a partnership with the Department of 

 6          Health.  NY Connects is a statewide, locally 

 7          based no-wrong-door system that provides 

 8          one-stop access to free, objective, and 

 9          comprehensive information and assistance on 

10          accessing long-term services and supports.  

11          The partnership with the Health Department 

12          will provide an investment of almost $20 

13          million to the 59 county-based area agencies 

14          on aging, and an additional almost $6 million 

15          to our five regional disability partner 

16          organizations.

17                 The Executive Budget increases the 

18          Health Insurance Information Counseling and 

19          Assistance Program to meet increased demand 

20          for objective, personalized, one-on-one 

21          counseling and assistance.  HIICAP is 

22          available to all Medicare beneficiaries of 

23          all ages, providing free, confidential 

24          counseling about Medicare and health 


 1          insurance benefits, options, paperwork, and 

 2          resources; programs that can help pay for 

 3          Medicare and prescription costs; Medicare 

 4          covered costs, deductibles, and programs; 

 5          information on insurance products that can 

 6          help wrap around such as a Medigap; and how 

 7          to evaluate Medicare plans, Part B 

 8          prescription drug programs, and so on.  

 9                 These state-certified counselors, 

10          along with our MCAP partners, helped 

11          low-income Medicare beneficiaries realize 

12          $104 million in savings last year by helping 

13          them apply for the Medicare Savings Program 

14          and the low-income subsidy.  More than 20,000 

15          applications were approved by CMS.

16                 NYSOFA has and will continue to build 

17          partnerships with our sister agencies to 

18          increase access to services and meet needs 

19          that are across systems.  One such 

20          partnership -- and I'd really like to thank 

21          Commissioner Cronin -- is with the Office of 

22          Victim Services, to increase statewide 

23          funding for our elder abuse mitigation.  This 

24          partnership, when fully realized, will 


 1          utilize $7.5 million over three years to 

 2          expand our very successful federal pilot over 

 3          the last three and a half years to expand the 

 4          Enhanced Multi-Disciplinary Teams to combat 

 5          financial exploitation along with other 

 6          efforts, as I mentioned earlier, with the 

 7          Department of Financial Services.

 8                 Almost 700,000 older adults last year 

 9          received services through our network.  They 

10          received home and congregate meals; received 

11          care and other services in their homes to 

12          help them remain independent and autonomous; 

13          accessed transportation services to medical 

14          appointments, dialysis, pharmacies and other 

15          community outlets; received legal assistance 

16          and legal services; received Medicare plan 

17          and prescription counseling and assistance; 

18          and received support services such as respite 

19          and other caregiver support so they can 

20          continue to care for a husband, a spouse, or 

21          other loved one.

22                 We will continue to work smart by 

23          engaging other state agencies, 

24          not-for-profits, and community-based 


 1          organizations to serve all of New York's 

 2          older population.  

 3                 And with that, as always, I'm thankful 

 4          for your ongoing support, and I'm happy to 

 5          answer any questions that you have.

 6                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

 7          much.  

 8                 We begin with Ms. Lupardo, chair.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Thank you, 

10          Mr. Chair.

11                 Well, thanks for your testimony.  In 

12          the 10 minutes that I have, we have together, 

13          I want to quickly go through some basic 

14          budget questions and then I want to ask you 

15          some bigger-picture questions as well.

16                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Sure.

17                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  So let's 

18          quickly just try to get through some easy 

19          stuff, I hope, which is the rationale for 

20          moving that senior transportation operating 

21          expense into the Community Service for the 

22          Elderly program.

23                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah, so one 

24          of the things that we've been engaging in to 


 1          try to reduce the administrative burden on 

 2          the counties is making their reporting and 

 3          responsibility to us a little bit more 

 4          streamlined and easier.  

 5                 So one of the requirements that the 

 6          counties have to fulfill each year is 

 7          providing us with a plan.  It used to be a 

 8          very, very large, labor-intensive, really 

 9          thick document talking about how they were 

10          going to meet federal and state regulations, 

11          laws, their fiduciary responsibility, 

12          monitoring, oversight, targeting for specific 

13          populations that are included under the elder 

14          law.  So this move to move the transportation 

15          in there is a reporting efficiency.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  I'm a little 

17          concerned about the shift of ongoing 

18          operations funding for NY Connects, which you 

19          just spoke about, from the SOFA budget to a 

20          pool of federal funding.  I'm nervous about 

21          that.  

22                 It seems, under current circumstances, 

23          a risky move, given how critically important 

24          this is, connecting people up, as you 


 1          mentioned, to long-term-care services.  So 

 2          why would we want to potentially jeopardize 

 3          that funding at this point?

 4                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  You know, I 

 5          think if we looked three years ago, the 

 6          entire pool of funding to support the 

 7          operations of NY Connects was $3.35 million.  

 8          What's going out the door in this fiscal 

 9          year, '17-'18, is a combination of BIP funds, 

10          the Balancing Incentive Payment program, and 

11          funds contained under the global Medicaid 

12          cap.  That is going to equal about $26 

13          million.  

14                 So it's not that the money has 

15          disappeared.  We're using two sources that 

16          are contained within the Health Department, 

17          because the Health Department is a major 

18          partner in designing, developing, and helping 

19          implement, along with the Office of Mental 

20          Health, the Office of Substance Abuse 

21          Services, and OPWDD.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  So -- but it's 

23          possible that that Balancing Incentive 

24          Program fund could run out, in which case --


 1                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Well, they 

 2          will run out.  And so we have a --

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Sure.

 4                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  -- we have a 

 5          sustainability plan that was part of the 

 6          deliverables in receiving the grants to begin 

 7          with.  So we have a multiyear plan that we 

 8          have put together.  This year the BIP funds 

 9          run out in '18, March of '18, and that's when 

10          the global Medicaid cap dollars kick in.  And 

11          then we have again a sustainability plan 

12          further on.  

13                 I mean, I think what's really 

14          important to point out about this system -- 

15          this is really a systems change and not a 

16          program -- is really what it's designed to do 

17          and how important it is, I think, for all of 

18          you to help us get the word out about it, 

19          because it's a really great constituent 

20          service for people of all ages to utilize to 

21          help with their benefits.  

22                 As I was listening to some of the 

23          other testimony, how do we increase some of 

24          the benefits that people are eligible for but 


 1          aren't participating in?  That's one of the 

 2          core deliverables of what the No Wrong Door's 

 3          designed to do.  And so, you know, we can be 

 4          very helpful throughout the state, because 

 5          this system's reform is happening in every 

 6          county in helping your constituents access 

 7          some of those services.

 8                 So we didn't build something to see it 

 9          fall apart.  This is a major systems change, 

10          again, that not only involves five state 

11          agencies but regional disability 

12          organizations and then a variety of other 

13          partners that are delivering services that 

14          are underneath the level of the area agencies 

15          on aging.  

16                 And so, you know, as I had mentioned 

17          as part of the sustainability of 

18          deliverables, we had to develop a 

19          sustainability plan.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  So speaking of 

21          sustainability, a lot of us are alarmed about 

22          the Title XX shift and the impact that will 

23          have not only on New York City's senior 

24          centers but on counties that rely on that 


 1          funding for Adult Protective Services.  I 

 2          know that's not in the budget, but it 

 3          certainly is going to have a big impact on 

 4          your constituency.  What are your thoughts on 

 5          this?

 6                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Well, I think, 

 7          you know -- and listening to Commissioner 

 8          Poole's response this morning, I have had a 

 9          conversation with her about this issue.  You 

10          know, I think that they're willing to take a 

11          look at some of the other funding structures 

12          and mechanisms to potentially offset that.  

13          My understanding is there is a net plus for 

14          the city and some counties because of some of 

15          the Medicaid admin takeover actions and some 

16          other tax.  But this is an issue that I think 

17          isn't going to be settled today --

18                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  No.

19                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  -- and it's 

20          going to be a subject of conversation over 

21          the next month and a half.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  No, we were 

23          just highlighting how important it is to the 

24          members, that this particular issue be on the 


 1          front burner.

 2                 A couple of other quick budget items.  

 3          On the COLA, I'm a little confused about 

 4          that.  Our understanding is that it was 

 5          discontinued because it was considered too 

 6          difficult to administer and get out.  

 7                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So you're 

 8          talking about the direct care worker funding?

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  I'm sorry, 

10          yes.

11                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  The direct 

13          service workers.

14                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  You know, in 

15          the original budget appropriation, the 

16          estimate for our agency was about 

17          $7.4 million.  And that was an estimate based 

18          on the titles that were included within the 

19          direct care worker proposal.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Right.

21                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  That was a 

22          large overestimate, to say the least.  And a 

23          lot of our counties opted not to participate, 

24          due to title-matching issues and some other 


 1          issues.  

 2                 So we are in the process now of, you 

 3          know, looking at the counties, looking at the 

 4          vouchers to gauge what the impact of that is.  

 5          But a lot of our counties opted not to take 

 6          advantage.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Okay.  And one 

 8          other question about the multidisciplinary 

 9          teams.  So it looks as if that funding was 

10          not continued.  And I'm wondering, what's 

11          your assessment on how it has gone so far?  

12          Because it seems, again, I'm just learning 

13          about these programs.  It seems very 

14          important.

15                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah, and this 

16          is one of the most exciting projects for an 

17          area that is frankly horrific.  Right?  We 

18          had been successful in getting the only grant 

19          in the country that tested an enhanced 

20          multidisciplinary team model.  

21                 And, you know, multidisciplinary team 

22          is really what it says it is.  It's pulling 

23          the expertise of a variety of different folks 

24          from, you know, the court system to the DA to 


 1          law enforcement, APS, human services, 

 2          housing, so on and so forth.  What makes the 

 3          enhancement is the funding of a coordinator 

 4          for the -- to keep that group together, a 

 5          financing forensic accountant, and a 

 6          geropsychiatrist.  

 7                 The funding that was -- so we did a 

 8          three-year pilot in eight upstate counties 

 9          and then in Manhattan.  That was very, very 

10          successful.  

11                 That we're still -- you know, groups 

12          are still meeting and talking and figuring 

13          out ways to expand.  The $500,000 that was 

14          added last year was really a great first step 

15          in the expansion.  We weren't able to 

16          obviously go statewide with $500,000, so part 

17          of that money was used to sustain the two 

18          pilot programs and then begin the process, 

19          over a three-to-five-year period, of looking 

20          at how we could expand.  The partnership that 

21          we have with OVS is going to turn this 

22          program into a $7.5 million program.

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  OVS?

24                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Office of 


 1          Victim Services.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Got it.

 3                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So that was 

 4          really why I was thanking Commissioner 

 5          Cronin, who is jumping in right with us.  I'm 

 6          sending her a proposal, in fact, this 

 7          afternoon.  

 8                 But this would be over a three-year 

 9          period, to really take that next step in 

10          expanding some regional hubs and then the 

11          EMDTs within the counties throughout the 

12          state.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  I would very 

14          much like as many details as you can provide 

15          us on that.  That sounds like a very positive 

16          move.

17                 I may ask for additional time later, 

18          but I'd like to hear your thoughts on two 

19          programs that to me seem like hugely 

20          important investments, and a big money saver 

21          to the state.  That would be, of course, the 

22          CSE program and EISEP programs.  

23                 So how cost-effective are those?  And 

24          surely I'm going to be making a case that we 


 1          should be investing more, not less, in those 

 2          programs.

 3                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I think the 

 4          people that utilize those programs -- they're 

 5          mostly individuals in their eighties for 

 6          EISEP, late seventies for CSE.  CSE is the 

 7          most flexible funding stream, so whether 

 8          you're in your community or anywhere else in 

 9          the state, you have the opportunity to 

10          identify locally determined needs and then 

11          fill those gaps.  So it's a real important, 

12          flexible funding stream.  

13                 But I think, you know, the value of 

14          the network, the area agencies, and the 

15          various entities that they work with, whether 

16          they be faith-based organizations, other 

17          vendors, community action, town and municipal 

18          government agencies that provide similar 

19          services, is that the intervention line for 

20          many of the people that might need some 

21          assistance in their home is earlier.  So you 

22          can get in and you can stop somebody from 

23          declining, you can prevent hospital 

24          readmissions.  


 1                 You have a network that's built from 

 2          the ground up --  when you're discharged from 

 3          a hospital or from rehab, that they can 

 4          succeed when they get back into the 

 5          community, you know, get out of bed in the 

 6          morning, make sure they're taking their 

 7          medications, get to the doctors appointment, 

 8          those types of low-budget high-yield 

 9          services.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  How low of a 

11          budget?  What's the average that you spend or 

12          we can see across the state that's spent on 

13          someone in this type of setting?

14                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So if you took 

15          the average EISEP client, you know, they 

16          would have some personal care or home health 

17          care in their home to do those tasks that I 

18          had mentioned, and they all are provided with 

19          case management.  You're looking at under 

20          $10,000, which is shared jointly, which is 

21          another great way that this partnership is -- 

22          it's a federal/state/local partnership, and 

23          also a partnership with the customer 

24          themselves to share the cost.  So it doesn't 


 1          cost a lot of money.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  That's 

 3          amazing.  Just one more time -- under 

 4          $10,000, as opposed to the high cost of 

 5          long-term care in a facility?  

 6                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Well, they 

 7          haven't triggered that need for that 

 8          higher-level cost yet.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Sure.  Because 

10          it's been -- they've been taken care of in 

11          that setting.  Thanks.

12                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

13                 Senator?

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

15          Mr. Chairman.  

16                 Our first speaker will be the chair of 

17          the Senate Standing Committee on Aging, and 

18          that's Senator Sue Serino.

19                 SENATOR SERINO:  Thank you, Senator.

20                 Hello, Acting Director.

21                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Hi.

22                 SENATOR SERINO:  Thank you very much 

23          for being here today.  

24                 As I was appointed to serve as the 


 1          chair of the Aging Committee in 2015, since 

 2          that time I have seen the waiting list for 

 3          the Community Services for the Elderly grow 

 4          by thousands.  In fact, despite adding funds 

 5          to CSE, we have seen the list grow by at 

 6          least one-third in one year's time, from 

 7          9,700 people to an estimated 15,000 this 

 8          year.  And as I understand it, this number 

 9          could actually be much larger, as not all 

10          counties keep and/or report the number of 

11          individuals on their waitlist.  

12                 Given that the waiting lists continue 

13          to grow, it astounds me that more money is 

14          not allocated to provide these services.  And 

15          in your estimation, how much do you think 

16          would be needed to eliminate having elderly 

17          individuals on a waitlist for basic services 

18          such as meals, in-home services, and 

19          transportation?

20                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So let me 

21          answer that by saying two things, what a 

22          waiting list is and what a waiting list is 

23          not in our network.

24                 So I believe that the data that you 


 1          have would probably be the most recent data 

 2          from the counties from December of 2015.  

 3          Their plans that are submitted to us have 

 4          estimates based on a snapshot in time of 

 5          individuals that may or may not be able to be 

 6          served by the waiting list.  So there were 

 7          additional resources put into CSE last year 

 8          and some other strategies that we have 

 9          undertaken both within our network and with 

10          some of the other sister agencies, too, that 

11          I think will have an impact on trying to 

12          reduce any waiting list.  

13                 What a waiting list doesn't mean, 

14          though, in our network is that older adults 

15          and their families are not being served.  So 

16          let me give you an example.  If an individual 

17          is in need of a home-delivered meal, it goes 

18          through the assessment and is deemed 

19          eligible.  If that community does not have 

20          the resources to provide that meal based on 

21          that assessment, there are other things that 

22          the network can and does do.  

23                 So, for example, we could have 

24          transportation to bring that individual to a 


 1          senior center or a congregate meal site to 

 2          get a meal there and then to, you know, 

 3          interact with others.  There's other 

 4          programming, there's health promotion and 

 5          other types of real important evidence-based 

 6          interventions going on in the centers.  

 7                 If that individual is eligible or 

 8          appears to be eligible for SNAP, Supplemental 

 9          Nutrition Assistance Program, we would help 

10          that individual apply and receive those 

11          benefits.  Those benefits could actually be 

12          used to pay for the cost of the 

13          home-delivered meal.  Or, again, you could 

14          use a volunteer corps -- which the counties 

15          really rely on the volunteers extensively -- 

16          for service delivery to possibly shop and 

17          prepare meals for that individual.  

18                 So that's just an example of ways 

19          that, you know, just because a person may not 

20          be able to receive that service, that there's 

21          not other ways to do it.  

22                 Now, what gets reported back to us is 

23          probably, in terms of data, maybe a third of 

24          what actually is going on out there.  So 


 1          there are town programs -- the Town of 

 2          Colonie, all of Long Island -- where the 

 3          whole aging infrastructure is done by towns 

 4          who are providing similar types of services 

 5          that we don't get data from them in terms of, 

 6          you know, what they're able to do or what 

 7          they're reporting.  

 8                 But those are other avenues that we 

 9          can refer people to to try to meet their 

10          needs.

11                 SENATOR SERINO:  Because that is what 

12          I worry about.  You know, I have -- my area 

13          is pretty rural, and I can't even imagine 

14          upstate.  Transportation is a huge issue.  So 

15          I think that there are probably a lot that 

16          aren't reporting.  They might just say "We 

17          don't have the dollars for this function for 

18          you," and that's what I'm really concerned 

19          about.  

20                 With the Executive Budget removing the 

21          25 percent waiver on the CSE program, it 

22          places an undue fiscal burden on counties.  

23          This proposal also rolls the transportation 

24          services into the CSE line, also making it 


 1          subject to the local match.  And I was very 

 2          happy that my Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, 

 3          who co-chairs the Aging Committee with me, 

 4          mentioned about the direct care workers.  And 

 5          you said it was $7.4 million, which was a 

 6          large overestimate on -- a lot of the 

 7          counties didn't participate, but I can see 

 8          this -- going forward, that they're not going 

 9          to participate if they have to make that 

10          match, because already they're stretched to 

11          the limit.  

12                 We cannot have this waiver go by the 

13          wayside.  So I really hope that we're going 

14          to reconsider that.  And especially 

15          transportation is the number-one issue, I 

16          think, in all of our counties, and we 

17          really -- we can't afford to do that to our 

18          seniors.

19                 And then also you spoke about -- no, 

20          this is about the Adult Protective Services.  

21          And I don't know if you were in the hearing 

22          room earlier today when I asked the 

23          commissioner of OCFS a few questions 

24          regarding APS and the staff allocated to 


 1          elder abuse cases.  She was unfortunately 

 2          unable to answer my questions on the data 

 3          collected or the staffing available in her 

 4          agency assigned to address the number of 

 5          elder abuse incidents alleged and 

 6          investigated statewide.  I was very 

 7          disappointed with that.

 8                 I bring this up because, as you know, 

 9          I and many others fought hard to include 

10          funding to expand Lifespan, which I know 

11          you've talked about the multidisciplinary 

12          teams going through OVS.  Will they be 

13          working with Lifespan too, or how is that 

14          going to work?

15                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah, so your 

16          first question -- the Offices for the Aging 

17          work very closely with local APS, for obvious 

18          reasons.  I mean, not every individual that 

19          touches APS winds up being an APS client.  

20          And then what other resources are there that 

21          are -- again, are across systems, that can 

22          assist that individual, depending on what it 

23          is.  Lifespan is our primary partner in all 

24          things elder abuse.  


 1                 You know, our model in federal grant 

 2          was a partnership with Lifespan as well as 

 3          the New York City Elder Abuse Coalition, 

 4          Weill Cornell Medical Center.  There's no 

 5          reason to not go and support an 

 6          infrastructure that has experience in this 

 7          very complicated area and a successful track 

 8          record.  So I would anticipate that Lifespan 

 9          would continue to be a major partner in that 

10          as well.

11                 You know, Commissioner Poole and 

12          myself and the Commissioner of DFS have done 

13          a couple of regional listening sessions on 

14          elder abuse globally, financial exploitation 

15          specifically.  We have just completed a model 

16          MOU not only in how we work with the state 

17          APS, but also how the local AAAs can be 

18          working and sharing information where -- 

19          obviously, with HIPAA compliance, standards 

20          being met -- but how we can tighten those 

21          relationships a little bit better so that 

22          we're serving individuals holistically.

23                 SENATOR SERINO:  Okay.  And also, 

24          there's no case managers assigned if people 


 1          are on a waiting list for CSE?  That's a 

 2          question I failed to ask earlier.

 3                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  You know, in 

 4          some counties there are, actually.

 5                 SENATOR SERINO:  Okay.

 6                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Case 

 7          management is a -- you know, I'm glad you 

 8          raised that.  It's a really, really important 

 9          service for somebody who can help people not 

10          only navigate extremely complex systems but 

11          also to help them apply for some of the 

12          benefits or entitlements that they are 

13          eligible for.  

14                 So you hear that we have 59 different 

15          area agencies throughout the state, including 

16          two Native American reservations.  While they 

17          all meet similar standards, they all do it 

18          very differently.  And so I don't have at my 

19          fingertips which ones do and which ones 

20          don't.  But some of them absolutely do.  

21                 And as a former case manager myself, 

22          in Monroe County, we did have waiting lists 

23          for EISEP 20 years ago when I worked there.  

24          And there were things that we were able to do 


 1          with the people that might have been on a 

 2          waiting list to ensure that they were still 

 3          receiving other types of services.

 4                 SENATOR SERINO:  Okay.  And finally, 

 5          regarding the Long-Term-Care Ombudsman 

 6          Program, which relies on dedicated 

 7          volunteers, it remains flat in this year's 

 8          budget.  What is the coordination between the 

 9          LTC Ombudsman office and the Department of 

10          Health?

11                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So you will 

12          remember, Senator, that we completed a 

13          regionalization and reorganization of the 

14          program.  What we were finding at the time 

15          was, you know, counties were struggling, 

16          vendors were struggling to provide the 

17          service based on, you know, the scale.  So we 

18          went through a regionalization proposal that 

19          significantly expanded the resources and 

20          allowed us to make some major improvements in 

21          terms of dedicated staff that didn't occur 

22          prior to, and some of the other tasks that 

23          the ombudsmen have to do.  

24                 We do have a new state ombudsman that 


 1          at some point I'd love for you to meet.  

 2                 But in addition to the funding that 

 3          was retained this year that was added last 

 4          year, you know, we are working with the 

 5          Health Department for another two-year 

 6          commitment to have -- the Assisted Living 

 7          Reform Act of 2005 has funding dedicated from 

 8          the assisted living licenses in it provided 

 9          into the budget.  There's a couple of other 

10          discretionary federal pots that we provide 

11          additional resources in.  So there is a 

12          couple hundred thousand, up to $600,000 more 

13          than what you might see in the appropriation 

14          line.  

15                 On the second part, in terms of 

16          working with the Health Department, you know, 

17          we work very closely with the Health 

18          Department in a lot of different areas, 

19          whether it be the AIDS Institute, on chronic 

20          diseases, lowering sodium intake for our 

21          meals and things of that nature, as well as 

22          all the NY Connects and Medicaid-type 

23          long-term-care-related issues.  

24                 This one is one that we have regained 


 1          speed in terms of what the value is of the 

 2          program in terms of what the state is trying 

 3          to accomplish.  We have upwards of 800 paid 

 4          and highly-trained volunteers that are 

 5          visiting facilities every day during the 

 6          year, through most of the nursing homes and 

 7          enriched housing and assisted living 

 8          facilities.  They can be the quality eyes and 

 9          ears for the state.  And so we're in 

10          conversations now on how we can kind of ramp 

11          that up a little bit more.

12                 SENATOR SERINO:  Yeah, I know that's 

13          such a great program.  

14                 So the new person that you hired, are 

15          they charged with overseeing the long-term 

16          care facilities?

17                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  No, they're 

18          responsible for overseeing the Long-Term-Care 

19          Ombudsman Program, which --

20                 SENATOR SERINO:  Just the ombudsman 

21          program?  

22                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  -- which is a 

23          federal requirement under the Older Americans 

24          Act that is contained within our office.  


 1          Yeah.

 2                 SENATOR SERINO:  So who is charged 

 3          with overseeing the long-term care 

 4          facilities?

 5                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  The Health 

 6          Department.

 7                 SENATOR SERINO:  The Health 

 8          Department, okay.

 9                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Which is why 

10          that partnership is so important.

11                 SENATOR SERINO:  Okay.  

12                 Okay.  Thank you very much.

13                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Sure.  Thank 

14          you, Senator.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

16                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

17                 Assemblyman DenDekker.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Thank you, 

19          Director.  I really appreciate your answering 

20          just a couple quick questions.

21                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Sure.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  The money for 

23          the NORCs, which is the Naturally Occurring 

24          Retirement Communities, I noticed the funding 


 1          is there, but the extra $700,000 that was put 

 2          in last year through the Mortgage Insurance 

 3          Fund has been cut now.  And I don't 

 4          understand why we put in $700,000 last year 

 5          to expand services to then just cut it this 

 6          year.  I'm wondering if you can give me some 

 7          information on that.

 8                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I think that 

 9          that was a one-time amount that came from the 

10          trust fund that you talked about for 375 for 

11          each of the pots, the Neighborhood NORCs and 

12          the NORCs.  So our appropriations remain as 

13          they were last year.  

14                 As you had raised it, I think it's 

15          going to be a topic of conversation and 

16          something that will play itself out in the 

17          next month and a half.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Yeah, because 

19          it's going to be difficult.  If we gave them 

20          that funding to expand the services, and now 

21          we're just going to stop the additional 

22          services that we provided for one year, I 

23          don't think that's a good way to go.  

24                 I think it's very dangerous to the 


 1          elderly community that is using those 

 2          services now, and who now are going to find 

 3          out that the services that I just got are not 

 4          going to be available anymore.  I think it 

 5          was a very bad message to send.  I hope we 

 6          can reach an agreement on that so that we can 

 7          continue the funding somehow.

 8                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah, and I 

 9          think that's a good conversation to have.  

10                 I also think that the modernization 

11          proposal that was passed in last year's bill 

12          will help expand some of the services.  So 

13          what's happened over the last 20 years with 

14          the traditional NORC program, and since 2004 

15          with the Neighborhood NORC program, is they 

16          were bid once -- in 1995, where NORC is 

17          concerned, and never again until actually the 

18          RFA that's out now -- and with the 

19          Neighborhood NORCs in 2004.  

20                 I think one of the things that we 

21          learned -- and this is certainly not 

22          suggesting that any program is not doing what 

23          it was supposed to be doing -- but there were 

24          some areas where I think the intent of what 


 1          the NORC was -- in terms of a bottom-up 

 2          community organizing health and social 

 3          services partnership that leveraged 

 4          resources, that included older adults in 

 5          terms of what services are provided, how 

 6          they're provided -- got lost in some places.  

 7                 And so this gave us an opportunity to, 

 8          you know, take the demonstration out of it, 

 9          because we demonstrated that it worked for 

10          20 years, and memorialize some of the lessons 

11          that we learned over time.  

12                 So what I'm actually hoping, as the 

13          RFA plays itself out, is that we're going to 

14          see additional services being able to be 

15          provided because of the clarity of the intent 

16          of what the program design is supposed to 

17          look like.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  I just will 

19          reiterate that I hope that we find a way to 

20          continue those services.  I have a NORC in my 

21          community, it's extremely successful, it's 

22          vibrant, the seniors in that community rely 

23          on the services that they get, it actually 

24          saves us money because it keeps them in their 


 1          own home.

 2                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Which one's in 

 3          your district?

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Northridge/ 

 5          Southridge.

 6                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Okay.  Thank 

 7          you.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  So -- and I'm 

 9          just concerned that any cut to the NORC 

10          program would affect those seniors directly, 

11          and I don't want to see that happen.

12                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Okay.  I'll 

13          take that back.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  The other -- 

15          the one thing I want to just touch on quick 

16          is you mentioned about the transportation 

17          issues.

18                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yes.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  So I want to 

20          know if I got this right, because I was told 

21          by a couple of entities that they're very 

22          concerned about something that they said was 

23          going to happen, and I want to know if this 

24          is coming from that area.


 1                 So currently right now they contract 

 2          with a transportation company that is picking 

 3          up seniors or clients and bringing them in 

 4          for their services, whether it be daycare 

 5          services or whatever, and they've been told 

 6          that now, starting I believe in October, that 

 7          there's a Governor's proposal that will now 

 8          be like a community way of getting services 

 9          and transportation so they wouldn't have the 

10          same company picking them up every day.  It 

11          might be a different company, it might be a 

12          different driver, et cetera, et cetera.  

13                 There's real concern, both in the 

14          elderly community as well as my veteran 

15          community that relies on those services, that 

16          they want the same company and the same 

17          driver to pick them up every day.  That's the 

18          way it's always been.  They know where they 

19          are, they know them by name, and especially 

20          seniors as well as my veteran population are 

21          extremely concerned about any change that -- 

22          I don't know who this person is now, and I 

23          don't feel comfortable getting in that 

24          vehicle.  And also the previous company knew 


 1          exactly where to pick me up, et cetera, 

 2          et cetera.  Are those concerns --

 3                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  That proposal, 

 4          I've got to be honest, I'm not aware of.  

 5          It's not our proposal.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Okay.

 7                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So I'm not 

 8          sure exactly what that might be.  I really 

 9          don't know.  That is not us.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  I will want to 

11          find out more about it --

12                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I think the 

13          big thing that has been raised in this 

14          hearing is the move of our $1 million of 

15          transportation into CSE.  That is a drop in 

16          the bucket in terms of what's provided around 

17          the state in terms of transportation for all 

18          older adults, but that's a decision that's 

19          made by, in the city, the Department for the 

20          Aging, and then in the rest of the state, the 

21          county Offices of the Aging.  

22                 So this -- the proposal that you 

23          described, and the concern, is not --

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Okay.  That's 


 1          what I wanted to know.  Thank you very much.

 2                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 3                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Thank you.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 5                 Thank you for being here, Director 

 6          Olsen.  

 7                 I have several questions that I just 

 8          want to drill down a little bit deeper on a 

 9          couple of the topics that we may have touched 

10          on already.  And the first has to do with the 

11          discontinuation of the direct care worker and 

12          service provider cost of living adjustment, 

13          COLA.  

14                 And as you know, the 2015 enacted 

15          budget provided for a wage increase for 

16          direct care workers and service providers.  

17          In the 2018 Executive Budget, it proposes 

18          that the elimination of funding for direct 

19          care workers and service providers is 

20          warranted.  According to the Governor, DOH 

21          and the State Office for the Aging providers 

22          have underutilized this COLA, citing the 

23          complexity of identifying eligible workers.  

24                 Direct care workers and service 


 1          providers have low salaries, as you know, and 

 2          would be negatively impacted by this cut.  

 3          According to the Governor, elimination of the 

 4          COLA would save the state $2 million in this 

 5          fiscal year of 2018.  

 6                 So first of all, can you explain the 

 7          primary reasons why the State Office for the 

 8          Aging providers have not adopted this COLA 

 9          for direct care workers and service 

10          providers?  And can you provide the COLA 

11          amount and an estimate of how many direct 

12          care workers and service providers would be 

13          impacted by this discontinuation?

14                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah, so the 

15          latter two questions are information we're 

16          also gathering, so my staff behind me or 

17          watching on TV are jotting that down, we'll 

18          get that information to you.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  When do you -- 

20          Director, when do you think we can get it?  

21          Because as you know, the clock is ticking and 

22          we have to pass a state budget on time.  So 

23          today's a hearing, but when can we get that 

24          information?


 1                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I think that 

 2          what we're trying to figure out among our 

 3          counties is why were the titles -- why didn't 

 4          the titles match, and why was it difficult to 

 5          implement.  We are reviewing the vouchers 

 6          that are coming in to see who did and who 

 7          didn't.  

 8                 Our anecdotal information from our 

 9          fiscal department, who talks to the counties, 

10          is that it's been underutilized.  So it's 

11          something that I can try to get to you as 

12          quick as we have it, but we need to reach out 

13          to our counties as we have been doing to try 

14          to get what the impact is.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So you're reaching 

16          out to the counties now.  But this was passed 

17          in 2015.  So has there been outreach, you 

18          know, when you started to see signals that 

19          maybe it was being underutilized?

20                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  The direct 

21          care worker part for our agency, after the 

22          getting out the program instruction, doing a 

23          training, answering questions, et cetera, 

24          took some time to implement.  Not all the 


 1          counties voucher on a monthly basis or even 

 2          on a quarterly basis, and so -- but it's -- 

 3          sometimes by the time you get your reports in 

 4          in terms of where there may be an issue and 

 5          where there's not an issue, some time has 

 6          gone by.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  So if 

 8          there is a time element here, and it sounds 

 9          like there is, if the direct care worker and 

10          the service provider COLA were extended for 

11          one year, would that give you ample time to 

12          reexamine and approve the process for 

13          targeting potential workers?

14                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I think if we 

15          understood, you know, why the titles were 

16          difficult to identify and what part of the 

17          program was difficult to implement, that 

18          could provide some guidance.  

19                 But again, as I've been listening to 

20          the hearings the last week or two and 

21          certainly this morning, I know this is an 

22          issue that's been raised at multiple areas 

23          and, you know, is of concern to --

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Can I -- I know you 


 1          care about seniors deeply, I know the 

 2          Governor cares deeply about seniors.  We want 

 3          to deliver the best services possible, and we 

 4          want to help the counties.  So if there's a 

 5          way that you could work this out, I think it 

 6          would be very beneficial.

 7                 Can you provide details on the savings 

 8          for this initiative, specifically for the 

 9          state and the localities?  So where would the 

10          savings be around the state?

11                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah.  I 

12          believe we can.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  You can get that 

14          for us too?  Okay, that would be great.

15                 Switching gears a little bit, I would 

16          like to discuss the NY Connects.  And as you 

17          know, the 2018 fiscal year Executive Budget 

18          proposes a funding shift for NY Connects from 

19          the General Fund to the Medicaid global cap 

20          and the federal Balancing Incentive Program.  

21          So it's called BIP funding?

22                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yes.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yup.  NY Connects, 

24          as you know -- and I remember when it was 


 1          established in 2006 -- it's an information 

 2          hub that provides access to comprehensive 

 3          information and assistance for people of all 

 4          ages that require long-term services and 

 5          support.  

 6                 So this funding shift would remove NY 

 7          Connects from the SOFA budget and place it in 

 8          the DOH budget.  And according to the 

 9          Governor, the shift would create 

10          $3.35 million in savings for this year.  

11                 So the questions are these.  

12          Approximately how many individuals are 

13          annually served in the NY Connects program?  

14          And do you see this number increasing in the 

15          future?

16                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yes.  There 

17          are about 200,000 --

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That's a lot.

19                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  -- contacts 

20          this past year.  We do expect the volume to 

21          rise.  We hope it does rise, and our 

22          sustainability -- the longer-term 

23          sustainability plan that we've constructed 

24          with the Department of Health and our 


 1          partners there recognizes that.  

 2                 I don't necessarily look at it 

 3          necessarily as a shift but as a 

 4          sustainability effort.  So the BIP funds run 

 5          out, we all knew that those were going to run 

 6          out in March of '18.  One of the deliverables 

 7          of receiving the $600 million for BIP was to 

 8          develop the sustainability plan, which we 

 9          have.  

10                 As you mentioned, you know, this 

11          program was originally put into place in 

12          2006.  It's not really a program anymore, 

13          it's a major systems change and reform.  And 

14          in this state fiscal year, the allocation to 

15          the counties and our regional disability 

16          partners is almost $26 million.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

18                 If there's a decrease in the Medicaid 

19          global cap, however, which very well could 

20          happen, what happens to NY Connects?

21                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Well, I think 

22          that's a larger conversation.  That's a big 

23          cap.  There's priorities under that cap.  I 

24          think that this systems reform is also a 


 1          priority because of what it does, who it does 

 2          it to, and what it potentially saves.  In 

 3          addition to consumers and family members that 

 4          utilize the No Wrong Door, about 25 percent 

 5          of the contacts are from providers who have 

 6          difficult individuals that they're trying to 

 7          get served.  And, you know, a lot of those 

 8          happen on Friday when people are being 

 9          discharged from the hospital.  

10                 So I think that by connecting people 

11          with the right service at the right time in 

12          the right place, helping individuals get 

13          screened for SNAP and veterans' benefits or 

14          Medicaid to be able to do home visits, to 

15          intervene earlier, that that has tremendous 

16          cost savings.  And that's really what this 

17          systems reform is designed to do, is to get 

18          people to where they need to get to, to make 

19          sure that we have very strong partnerships 

20          with our specialized hubs in mental health 

21          and substance abuse.  

22                 So I would hope, and I don't have any 

23          reason to believe otherwise, that this 

24          systems reform is a state priority.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  We have a large 

 2          increase in the aging population in New York.  

 3          Could you talk about what the projections 

 4          are?

 5                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah.  And I'm 

 6          glad you asked that question, because I think 

 7          when we're in the helping profession, we have 

 8          a visual of what we mean by older people.  

 9          And unfortunately it often takes a negative 

10          turn.  

11                 And that's not necessarily what aging 

12          is globally.  There are certainly individuals 

13          with need, and that's a lot of what our 

14          agency does, but there's a lot of very 

15          active, healthy people over the age of 60 in 

16          the Legislature --

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Now, watch it here.

18                 (Laughter.)

19                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  -- in 

20          Congress, leading businesses -- and I mean 

21          that with all due respect.  I've seen 

22          positive aging and negative aging in my own 

23          immediate family and surrounding family.  

24                 So at this point we have about 


 1          3.7 million people over the age of 60.  In 

 2          the next 15 to 20 years, that will go to 

 3          about 5.2 million.  This is a population that 

 4          is very -- brings a lot of social, 

 5          intellectual, and economic capital to their 

 6          communities, which is why we're so excited 

 7          about the age-friendly livable community 

 8          pieces in the Governor's budget that really 

 9          recognize how communities ought to be 

10          structured for positive aging regardless of 

11          age.  

12                 But it's not -- my point is it's not 

13          all doom and gloom.  These are individuals 

14          that are important, and we should see them as 

15          much in the positive instead of in a negative 

16          light.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Right.  We all want 

18          seniors to be able to enjoy healthy 

19          longevity, be able to participate in 

20          communities, stay at home, everything that is 

21          positive for them.  But at the same time, the 

22          reality is that with many more seniors in the 

23          population, there's going to be a greater 

24          need for long-term care.  Would you agree 


 1          with that?

 2                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I would agree 

 3          with that based on the numbers.  I think that 

 4          the efforts of not only our agency but some 

 5          of our other partners and community partners 

 6          are trying to help stave some of that off, 

 7          with preventing hospitalizations and 

 8          premature discharges, embedding the highest 

 9          level of evidence-based interventions in the 

10          community to help control chronic diseases, 

11          fallen injury preventions, ensuring good 

12          nutrition.  

13                 If you're socially isolated, the 

14          impact that that has on mental health and 

15          physical health, how we can engage healthier 

16          individuals to volunteer and be civically 

17          engaged, all that has a very positive impact 

18          on your longevity.  And I think that those 

19          are important strategies for overall 

20          population health.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  Now, 

22          just a couple more topics.

23                 I wanted to explore the changes in the 

24          Community Services for the Elderly, the CSE 


 1          program.  And as you know, this year's budget 

 2          proposes to combine $1.1 million in 

 3          transportation funding into the CSE program.  

 4          And it was separate this past year, so the 

 5          action doesn't result in a decrease in 

 6          funding.  

 7                 However, the Governor also proposes 

 8          removing 25 percent of the county share 

 9          exemption of the $3.5 million in funding that 

10          has been invested into the CSE program for 

11          the past couple of years.  So as you know 

12          very well, this program serves approximately 

13          122,500 people annually in New York State and 

14          supports many service options for the 

15          elderly, and I hear about this program all 

16          the time locally.  These options include 

17          transportation and home services, meals, and 

18          access to case management.  

19                 So many problems could result from 

20          these proposed changes.  Moving the 

21          25 percent waiver will shift costs to local 

22          municipalities, which already face 

23          significant pressure because of the property 

24          tax cap.  This action may prevent additional 


 1          CSE funding enacted in past years from being 

 2          accepted by local governments, which will 

 3          negatively affect the elderly who rely on 

 4          these services.  

 5                 The Governor's proposal to consolidate 

 6          the $1.1 million into distinct transportation 

 7          funding makes that funding subject to a local 

 8          match.  And so therefore when you have 

 9          localities already under pressure because of 

10          the property tax cap, because of unfunded 

11          mandates and other issues that they face 

12          every single day, we could have a reduction 

13          in services to our most vulnerable 

14          population.  

15                 So right now there are 15,000 older 

16          adults waiting for community-based aging 

17          services in New York State.  Do you have 

18          plans in place to help decrease the number of 

19          older adults on this waiting list?

20                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Well, I think 

21          that was a similar question that Senator 

22          Serino had raised in terms of other ways that 

23          we assist people who may or may not be on a 

24          waiting list.  


 1                 So there's a laundry list of things 

 2          that may not appear in our budget that help 

 3          provide additional resources to the county.  

 4          So for example, we were notified last week 

 5          that we're going to be receiving almost a 

 6          2 percent increase in our federal funding, 

 7          which is great, because our federal partner 

 8          frankly has been --

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That is great.  We 

10          like to hear that.

11                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  -- has been 

12          the least of our partners in providing 

13          services.  

14                 And I gave a couple of examples of if 

15          an individual might be on a waiting list, how 

16          we can assist with, you know, getting SNAP 

17          benefits, with volunteers getting an 

18          individual to a senior center so that we can 

19          still provide services.  

20                 We do a lot of applications and 

21          benefits assistance.  We serve 12,000 

22          veterans over the age of 60 in New York 

23          State, so we have a project that we're 

24          working on with DVA to identify those 


 1          veterans and make sure they get to the 

 2          Veterans Administration, because there's a 

 3          ton of supports and funding and benefits that 

 4          they're eligible for.

 5                 The Health Department last year and 

 6          the year before put out $15 million in grants 

 7          to provide caregiver and respite support, for 

 8          example, to the Alzheimer's chapters.  Those 

 9          Alzheimer's chapters turned around and 

10          contracted with our county Offices for the 

11          Aging --

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Like the 

13          Legislature was very supportive of the --

14                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Absolutely.  

15          Absolutely.  We have invested, in my 

16          office -- one of the things I'm really 

17          interested in is there's a respite training 

18          model called REST out of Chicago.  And it's a 

19          train-the-trainer type of proposal to train 

20          master trainers to train others to provide 

21          respite and caregiving support.  

22                 So in just the last couple of weeks 

23          I've met with Commissioner Camara at the 

24          Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, the 


 1          New York State Office of National Community 

 2          Service, to look at how we can begin to not 

 3          only reach areas that we potentially haven't 

 4          before, but to gain some volunteers.  Because 

 5          I'd really like to believe, despite what you 

 6          hear and watch on TV, that people are 

 7          inherently good and want to do good for 

 8          others, for the most part.  And I think 

 9          expanding our relationships with faith 

10          communities, faith leaders, where we could 

11          tap individuals that are within those 

12          structures who want to volunteer, who want to 

13          give back, that there's other ways that we 

14          can provide service.  So we're constantly 

15          looking for those opportunities.  

16                 The enhanced multidisciplinary teams, 

17          part of those dollars will be to be able to 

18          fund things like EISEP and transportation and 

19          CSE.  So we have a litany of those types of 

20          things that we are constantly trying to work 

21          on, facilitate, and expand, knowing that 

22          there are needs across the board no matter 

23          who comes up and talks.  There's something -- 

24          there's needs everywhere.  But we don't stop 


 1          based on the amount of funding that we get.  

 2          We're looking for partnerships, and I think 

 3          that's what we do very well.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  So 

 5          we're hopeful that you'll work with the 

 6          Legislature to try to mitigate any negative 

 7          impact on county budgets so that they will 

 8          continue to provide the services that are 

 9          necessary.

10                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah, and I'm 

11          glad you raised that as well.  You know, 

12          you're going to hear more about the shift of 

13          the $1 million, that money's going to be left 

14          on the table and counties aren't going to be 

15          able to afford it.  

16                 You know, Senator, the numbers really 

17          just don't bear that out.  The counties have 

18          been a great partner to the Executive and the 

19          Legislature in terms of understanding the 

20          value of these programs and putting resources 

21          there.  The counties are way overmatched at 

22          this point to the point where, practically 

23          speaking, a million dollars added to CSE 

24          would result in a match requirement of about 


 1          $350,000.  Forty-five percent of that 350 

 2          would be responsible for New York City, who 

 3          is overmatched by $180 million at least.  So 

 4          they already are meeting -- they're already 

 5          overmatched.  The next 10 big counties would 

 6          take a large chunk out of that; they're 

 7          already overmatched.  The overwhelming 

 8          majority of counties, and I would say in the 

 9          98 percent, are overmatched.  

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  What about little 

11          counties?  Poor counties?  Rural counties?

12                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Those as well.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  So Allegany 

14          County, for example?

15                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yes.  So I 

16          really don't anticipate any additional 

17          financial hit on the counties through that 

18          proposal.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

20                 And then just one final thing, and I 

21          know it's Department of Health too, but 

22          telehealth services.  They can be very 

23          valuable in helping people age in place, stay 

24          at home, avoid costly long-term care, which 


 1          in many cases people -- I don't hear people 

 2          saying "Pick me, pick me, I want to go to the 

 3          nursing home tomorrow."

 4                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Right.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  They only go if 

 6          they have to.  

 7                 So are you involved in telehealth 

 8          services?  And could you tell us how those 

 9          things are going as far as improving people's 

10          lives?

11                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah, I mean, 

12          I can just tell you -- we're not really all 

13          that involved on the health side in putting 

14          telehealth in.  

15                 I can tell you, just philosophically, 

16          it's absolutely the future.  I've seen some 

17          physicians' practices, for example, up in 

18          Maine who are using not exactly telehealth -- 

19          parts of it could be telehealth, but also 

20          even just being able to monitor somebody over 

21          a 24-hour period that doesn't need to be in a 

22          nursing home, and you surround those 

23          individuals with a core support of what could 

24          be family members or volunteers that are able 


 1          to keep people at home.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Plus technology.

 3                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Right.  

 4          Absolutely.  So, you know, philosophically, 

 5          absolutely, we're supportive.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 7                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Sure, thank 

 8          you.

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

10                 Mr. Weprin.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Thank you, 

12          Mr. Chairman.  

13                 Director Olsen, good afternoon.

14                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  How are you.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  In our great 

16          concern about the $17 million cut, 

17          $17 million to Title XX -- 

18                 (Microphone not working.)

19                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I can actually 

20          hear you the best without that.

21                 (Laughter; cross-talk.)

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  -- the 

23          $17 million cut to Title XX money, and I get 

24          contacted by a number of seniors' advocates 


 1          who have indicated that that will result in 

 2          about a 30 percent closing of senior centers 

 3          in New York City.  

 4                 I have a large senior population.  Can 

 5          you comment on that cut?  And, as you know, 

 6          the Democratic Assembly majority is majority 

 7          New York City-based, despite the leadership 

 8          of our chair, who's north of New York City, 

 9          but we certainly in our conference are very 

10          concerned about that cut.

11                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah, and I 

12          know it came up this morning and it came up a 

13          little earlier.  

14                 You know, again, it is an issue that I 

15          have spoken with Commissioner Poole about.  I 

16          think her answer this morning was -- and I 

17          agree with -- that within her structure I 

18          know that they're going to be looking at are 

19          there other ways within their funding streams 

20          to offline some of their funding or voucher 

21          differently.  

22                 I think that, you know, this isn't the 

23          last time this issue will come up.  So I 

24          think it will -- you know, it's going to be a 


 1          conversation over the next month and a half.  

 2                 My understanding is, and I'm not an 

 3          expert on New York City budgeting, is that 

 4          there are -- there is going to be a net plus 

 5          for the city in terms of, you know, Medicaid 

 6          admin, state takeover of Medicaid admin, some 

 7          of the sales tax changes.  But if the city 

 8          took no action, then certainly those Title XX 

 9          funds do support the ongoing operations of 

10          the centers.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Yeah, and kind of 

12          as a follow-up on that, I have a very large 

13          immigrant population in my Assembly district, 

14          particularly a large South Asian population 

15          from Bangladesh and India in particular.  And 

16          we have a lot of culturally sensitive senior 

17          centers, and I've supported working very 

18          closely with my Councilmember as well as 

19          New York City.  

20                 For example, we have a senior center 

21          in the Jamaica Muslim Center which mostly 

22          serves a Bangladeshi population, and special 

23          halal food and culturally sensitive 

24          activities, and we also work very closely 


 1          with India Home for a lot of Indian-based 

 2          services and vegetarian food at that 

 3          particular senior center.  And of course we 

 4          have, you know, kosher food at our JASA 

 5          Senior Center.  

 6                 What can the state do in particular to 

 7          help some of these immigrant seniors who are 

 8          particularly afraid of some of the 

 9          pronouncements and executive orders that are 

10          coming out of Washington?  I know my 

11          Bangladeshi population, and particularly that 

12          particular senior center -- I mentioned that 

13          it's in Jamaica Muslim Center -- are very 

14          concerned about the anti-immigrant -- from 

15          Muslim countries -- Bangladesh is not on that 

16          list, but I spoke at that senior center 

17          recently and, you know, they expect -- 

18          they're fearful that Bangladesh will be next.  

19                 What can the state do to help out with 

20          some of these special immigrant senior 

21          centers and activities and programs?  Can the 

22          state, you know, get involved in that?

23                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  You know, 

24          Assemblyman, I think the issue that you're 


 1          raising is beyond unfortunate.  I can't tell 

 2          you exactly what we can do.  

 3                 What I can promise you, though, is 

 4          that we should have a follow-up conversation.  

 5          Because if there is a role for our agency, if 

 6          there's a role for the Office for 

 7          New Americans -- which we've started a 

 8          partnership with -- you know, I'd love to be 

 9          a part of that.  

10                 So what I can commit to doing is to 

11          understanding a little bit deeper what some 

12          of the concerns are.  I mean, what we're here 

13          to do is help, and that's both at the state 

14          level and certainly our counterparts at the 

15          local level.  And that's what we'll do.  So 

16          I'll commit to following up with you 

17          personally and getting some folks together 

18          that can express more in terms of -- when you 

19          say what can we do to help, maybe they can 

20          articulate a little bit more of that and 

21          figure out a way for us to be helpful.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN WEPRIN:  Thank you, 

23          Mr. Olsen.  I will follow up with you.

24                 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


 1                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Okay.  Thank 

 2          you.

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.  

 4                 Senator?

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 6                 Senator Liz Krueger.

 7                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Hi.

 8                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Hi, Senator.

 9                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Good afternoon.

10                 Just following up, now, on a number of 

11          questions.  You were asked about the shift 

12          from the federal BIP, Balancing Incentive 

13          Program, to -- excuse me, shifting from 

14          General Fund money to the federal BIP 

15          balancing fund.  How much money would be 

16          shifted?

17                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So that's -- 

18          let me clarify that.  So the General Fund 

19          allocation for the No Wrong Door is 

20          $3.35 million.  When we received the 

21          Balancing Incentive grant, that was a 

22          $500 million -- almost a $600 million grant.  

23          Not all of it was for the No Wrong Door, but 

24          that was one of the three components that had 


 1          to be implemented.  

 2                 So we've been using BIP money, and a 

 3          substantial amount of BIP money, to meet the 

 4          deliverables of BIP, which is to expand and 

 5          enhance it statewide.  We didn't have No 

 6          Wrong Door in New York City, we do now.  

 7          There are a couple of upstate counties, but 

 8          then there's additional tasks and 

 9          deliverables that have to go along with that.  

10          We built a statewide reporting system.  We 

11          enhanced a statewide resource directory --

12                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  No, that's okay.  

13          Skip that.  Just -- what are we not paying 

14          for anymore with BIP because we're going to 

15          use this BIP money instead of our own money?

16                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So the BIP 

17          money runs out in March '18 --

18                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Yeah.

19                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  -- which was 

20          the plan.  Part of our sustainability plan 

21          was how do we sustain it after those BIP 

22          dollars go.  And so the sustainability 

23          dollars -- so we will continue to use BIP 

24          funding through March 31 of '18, and then 


 1          there's dollars to take us the rest of the 

 2          fiscal year through the global Medicaid cap.

 3                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  Okay.

 4                 In the Governor's Article VII language 

 5          there is a requirement for banks to stop 

 6          financial transactions if it believes that 

 7          vulnerable adults' assets may be at risk.  

 8          Explain to me what will happen, exactly, at 

 9          that point.  So a bank determines:  We think 

10          someone's trying to take this elderly 

11          person's money out of their account, so they 

12          say, No, we won't do it.  Then what do they 

13          do?

14                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So I think, 

15          Senator, that's a question for our Department 

16          of Financial Services friends.  That's 

17          legislation that's under their jurisdiction.  

18                 I can tell you, from our perspective, 

19          that the conversation on that language has 

20          just begun, so I don't have an answer to how 

21          that's going to be operationalized or 

22          implemented at this point.

23                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  But would you agree 

24          that we need that language operationalized 


 1          before we complete the budget process?

 2                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I would agree 

 3          that if we're looking for banks to play a 

 4          more proactive role in good faith to stop the 

 5          draining of resources when it potentially is 

 6          identified, that that's an important policy 

 7          for New York State.

 8                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And I think the 

 9          language is critical, because I've 

10          experienced both sides of the story -- where 

11          banks don't, and I think perhaps they should, 

12          and times when banks do and they absolutely 

13          should not, and they disrespect the rights of 

14          senior citizens to make decisions over their 

15          own money.

16                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Right.  Which 

17          is why I don't want to comment on how that's 

18          written, because there's lots of --

19                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  But you and I agree 

20          it's important how that language is written.

21                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yes.  Yes.

22                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.  And I would 

23          argue that needs to be carefully written and 

24          seen before vague language is passed in an 


 1          Article VII bill.  Okay.  

 2                 The number-one issue I get from 

 3          seniors that I have no answers for:  "I'm 

 4          looking for a job, and no one will hire me.  

 5          I need the job because I can't afford to 

 6          continue to live in my home without a 

 7          supplemental wage because I'm not making it 

 8          on Social Security and savings."  And I won't 

 9          say it's the number-one question I get; the 

10          number-one question is "Help, I'm being 

11          evicted from my home because I can't afford 

12          it."

13                 So -- but this Part 2 is, Help me find 

14          a job.  I can't find any programs in the City 

15          of New York that actually operate and try to 

16          assist seniors to move back into the labor 

17          market.  Do you have a secret stash?

18                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  There isn't a 

19          secret stash, but there is a program that 

20          I'll connect you to.  It's called Title V.  I 

21          know it didn't come up when the Commissioner 

22          of Labor was here, but we work very closely 

23          with the Department of Labor in terms of -- 

24          we have a certain number of slots in New York 


 1          State.  So there are some national sponsors, 

 2          like NCOA, AARP, and some others, that 

 3          operate 80 percent of the state's slots.  Our 

 4          office is responsible for about 20 percent of 

 5          the slots in the state.  And these are for 

 6          individuals who are age 55 and older who are 

 7          re-entering or having trouble with jobs, so 

 8          it's skills development and so on.  

 9                 We have some good relationships with 

10          the One-Stop centers, but I can definitely 

11          connect you with our city Title V program.

12                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay.  Because in my 

13          experience, people who are supposed to have 

14          these programs tell you there's nothing they 

15          can do and there's no more people they --

16                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Okay.

17                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  -- can even talk to.

18                 All right?  Thank you.

19                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yes.  Thank 

20          you.

21                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

22                 That's it.

23                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  That's it.

24                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Great.


 1                 Well, hey, thanks for hanging with me.  

 2          I appreciate that.

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

 5          Director, for coming.  And thank you for 

 6          everything you do for seniors.

 7                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Thank you.

 8                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  New York State 

 9          Veterans Council, Kirby Hannon, legislative 

10          coordinator, the VFW; Linda McKinnis, 

11          legislative coordinator, Disabled American 

12          Veterans; John Lewis, legislative committee 

13          chair, VFW; Bob Becker, legislative 

14          coordinator, New York State Veterans Council.  

15                 And they have 10 minutes.  Somebody on 

16          my staff has a good sense of humor.

17                 (Laughter.)

18                 MR. BECKER:  Good afternoon, sitting 

19          chairs and members of the Human Service 

20          Budget Subcommittee.  I am Bob Becker.  I'm a 

21          retired Marine and legislative chairman for 

22          the New York State Council of Veterans 

23          Organizations.  

24                 I'd like to thank you for the 


 1          opportunity to bring the veterans issues 

 2          identified by the New York Veterans Council 

 3          before you for consideration.  The New York 

 4          Veterans Council consists of about 25 

 5          veterans associations, and we meet monthly to 

 6          discuss the key issues of importance to 

 7          veterans.  It is the 25 member organizations 

 8          and associations that have ultimately 

 9          developed our budget request today.  These 

10          requests are to strengthen and sustain 

11          critical programs that have proven essential 

12          to caring for the sometimes very unique needs 

13          of veterans.  

14                 With me today are fellow veterans 

15          Kirby Hannan, John Lewis, Linda McKinnis and 

16          Scott Westcott.  Kirby will frame the issues.

17                 Kirby?

18                 MR. HANNAN:  Thank you.  You probably 

19          have our testimony in front of you, so I'm 

20          not going to read it to you.  I'm going to 

21          kind of run through this quickly.  I'm the 

22          volunteer legislative coordinator for the 

23          VFW, as Chairman Farrell, a veteran himself, 

24          has said.  


 1                 The Veterans Defense Program is for 

 2          veterans who get themselves into serious 

 3          trouble with the law, as distinguished from 

 4          veterans treatment courts, where it tends to 

 5          be more of a lower level, perhaps a 

 6          misdemeanor.  The program's working.  You're 

 7          going to hear more about it from Scott 

 8          Westcott.  But the program is working, and my 

 9          job here is to try to show you some 

10          interdependency between these four things 

11          that we want to talk about, even though they 

12          don't appear related.  All right?  

13                 That's a $1.4 million ask, but it can 

14          save a lot of incarceration time at the other 

15          end, and we can demonstrate that.  

16                 The Veterans Service Officer funding.  

17          Linda McKinnis is both a veteran service 

18          officer and a peer-to-peer mentor, a 

19          certified peer-to-peer mentor.  What she does 

20          is she's an ombudsman, or an ombudswoman.  

21          And what she does is basically act as a 

22          traffic cop.  She fields what's going on at 

23          the post level.  She interfaces with the 

24          Joseph Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Program.  There's 


 1          about 15 of them out there, and we'd like 15 

 2          more.  We'll put them in spots where they're 

 3          not there now.  All right?  

 4                 The Joseph Dwyer Peer-to-Peer, you 

 5          funded that -- and by the way, you funded the 

 6          Veterans Defense Program to the tune of 

 7          $500,000 for the last couple of years.  So we 

 8          want to thank you very much for that.  That's 

 9          made a big difference.  And thank you.  

10                 You've also funded the Joseph Dwyer 

11          Peer-to-Peer.  And I believe that's 

12          somewheres in the neighborhood of $300,000 

13          for the last probably five or six years.  

14          Highly successful program.  And Linda can 

15          actually get into a little bit of detail.  

16          She's done some back-of-the-envelope figuring 

17          on how it's working out, how it's getting 

18          distributed.  And she can also tell you that 

19          at the post level, this is where the 

20          mentoring occurs.  

21                 So when I mention the Veterans 

22          Treatment Court and I talk about the million 

23          dollars that the Governor has set aside for 

24          mentoring in the Peer-to-Peer -- he calls it 


 1          peer mentoring -- that's great.  But we want 

 2          to make sure that that mentoring has a feeder 

 3          line from the mentoring that's actually going 

 4          on in an anonymous fashion at the post level.  

 5          You know, in other words, if it's just tucked 

 6          away in the court, then we don't know whether 

 7          we've got people like Linda, John, and 

 8          everybody around here who's actually talking 

 9          to the vet, you know, and getting them where 

10          they need to be.  Sometimes coaching them 

11          where they need to be.  

12                 All right, so having said that, what 

13          are we talking about charitable gaming for in 

14          this -- what am I saying here?  Well, what 

15          I'm saying is that all these programs have 

16          been in place for the last 50 years.  And 

17          charitable gaming in many, many, many 

18          posts -- most -- is the sole source of 

19          funding for all of these things that we're 

20          asking for additional money for now.  

21                 So I'm going to suggest to you that -- 

22          and by the way, the revenue has dropped 

23          $54 million, the charitable gaming revenue 

24          has dropped $54 million in the last 15 years.  


 1          And that basically is why we're here asking 

 2          you for money.  We did an RSL and self-funded 

 3          long before this.  

 4                 So what we want -- the Governor 

 5          mentions modernization of charitable gaming.  

 6          We hope that we can follow up with you folks 

 7          and give you some specific proposals that are 

 8          actually already sponsored.  Assemblyman 

 9          Pretlow, Assemblyman Cusick, Senator 

10          Bonacic -- there's things that have been 

11          going on in the Legislature for a while.  

12                 We would hope that you could make that 

13          budget process a little more specific with 

14          the language that largely comes from those 

15          two bills that we talk about.  One is an 

16          enhanced bell jar machine, which we already 

17          have in the posts, and the other is charity 

18          poker.  

19                 So there's my pitch.  They all 

20          interrelate.  And I'd like to turn it over to 

21          Scott Westcott for a little bit more about 

22          the Veterans Defense Program.

23                 MR. WESTCOTT:  Good afternoon.  My 

24          name is Scott Westcott.  I'm a Marine 


 1          veteran.  

 2                 I'd also like to tell you that I'm 

 3          extremely supportive of the Veterans Defense 

 4          Program, or the VDP, as we call it.  The VDP 

 5          has stepped in and helped a number of our 

 6          most vulnerable veterans who have suffered 

 7          from PTSD, traumatic stress or stress-related 

 8          disorders.  Currently 152,000 veterans in 

 9          New York State are estimated to have mental 

10          health problems related to their service.  

11          And unfortunately, less than half of those 

12          are getting assistance with that.  

13                 I can tell you firsthand that some of 

14          the VDP provides a second chance for veterans 

15          who have lost their way, either through 

16          criminal behavior or what results in some 

17          civilian court interaction.  I can relate 

18          stories of depression so severe that one 

19          service member contemplated suicide as he was 

20          traveling around with a gun in his car.  

21                 The Veterans Defense lawyers and case 

22          managers help the courts fully realize that 

23          veteran's circumstances and understanding, so 

24          that they can provide a more tailored 


 1          sentence and a better disposition for him and 

 2          for his family.  

 3                 Last year, for the second time, you 

 4          folks in the Legislature were able to provide 

 5          $500,000 of funding for the VDP.  Today we're 

 6          here asking for an additional $950,000.  This 

 7          additional funding would go toward a 

 8          downstate office and provide four family 

 9          court and criminal court defense attorneys 

10          and a related support staff member.  It would 

11          also increase our Batavia office, which is 

12          overburdened, with one more attorney and an 

13          additional staff member.  

14                 I'd like to turn it over now to John 

15          Lewis for further comments.

16                 MR. LEWIS:  Yes, good afternoon.  I am 

17          John Lewis.  I'm the legislative chair for 

18          the VFW Department of New York and a 22-year 

19          Navy veteran.  I am also a post commander.  

20          And I'm here to talk about the role of the 

21          accredited Veteran Service Officers and to 

22          explain why we are asking for $1 million in 

23          order to bolster our service officers.  

24                 Too often the Veterans Defense Program 


 1          is the first point of assistance contact for 

 2          the returning veteran.  Ideally, it should 

 3          come last.  The job of the accredited Veteran 

 4          Service Officer is to act as an ombudsman, 

 5          creating synergy with the highly successful 

 6          Veterans Defense Program and with an equally 

 7          successful peer-to-peer mentoring process at 

 8          the post level.  

 9                 The Veteran Service Officer submits 

10          claims based on the veterans service 

11          connection and assists with coordination to 

12          other veteran service agency resources in 

13          each county.  Peer mentoring in the post 

14          identifies the needs during anonymous 

15          sessions.  Anonymous mentoring must continue 

16          in the post, because it works.  

17                 There are approximately 15 active 

18          accredited Veterans Service Officers in place 

19          in organizations such as the VFW, Disabled 

20          American Veterans, the American Legion, 

21          amongst others.  Funding for these officers 

22          comes from VSOs themselves, and the state.  

23          Our request would double that cadre of 

24          officers and create ground-level, properly 


 1          staffed, geographically diverse service 

 2          officer placement.  It would be in a manner 

 3          completely compatible with existing veteran 

 4          service agencies in each county.  The funds 

 5          would be budgeted and disbursed by the 

 6          Division of Veterans Affairs.  

 7                 Linda?

 8                 MS. McKINNIS:  Good afternoon, 

 9          everyone.  My name is Linda McKinnis.  I am 

10          an Army veteran and, as my comrades have 

11          said, I am a peer officer.  I am also an 

12          advocate for veterans services, and I am an 

13          ombudswoman.  

14                 I'm here today to talk about two 

15          issues.  Again, my comrade here talked about 

16          the VSOs.  I am also a VSO in the Rensselaer 

17          area, so I take care of all my Troy areas and 

18          every city within the Troy area.  So I do 

19          take care of my veterans.  

20                 As that individual and that VSO, I go 

21          out of my way to be an advocate.  So what I 

22          mean by that is I actually do the benefits, I 

23          actually try to get whatever DD214 forms that 

24          they need.  I make sure that whatever 


 1          resources are in that community, these people 

 2          get their resources, and also link them up 

 3          with the nearest VA system.  If for any 

 4          reason they have any problems with the VA 

 5          system, again, this is where I come in as 

 6          being an advocate.  

 7                 As far as the Peer-to-Peer Program is 

 8          concerned, again, the Peer-to-Peer, which is 

 9          called now the Joseph Dywer program, is a 

10          successful program.  How do I know?  I've 

11          been through the program myself.  You 

12          understand?  When I first came here, I 

13          suffered with all the ailments of being out 

14          of the military, and I happened to get into 

15          the Dwyer program, and they helped me 

16          significantly.  So I know that the outcome is 

17          greater.  And a lot of men and women that 

18          have gone through this program, they have a 

19          successful life.  I am one of those 

20          successful stories.  

21                 At this moment there has been budgeted 

22          $300,000 for this program.  Well, at this 

23          moment there's 14 counties -- if you do the 

24          math, there's 14 counties that money has to 


 1          be distributed to.  If you look at the math 

 2          on that, that's really not much funding for 

 3          all 14 of these counties.  And I'm asking, 

 4          along with this, that $1 million also be 

 5          advocated to these counties as far as the 

 6          whole budget, so that these 14 counties can 

 7          get these resources that they need.  

 8                 These veterans need help.  And the 

 9          only way to get these veterans is a veteran 

10          must reach another veteran.  Okay?  With this 

11          money, we not only service the veterans, but 

12          we get them out of the house.  And you know 

13          for sure that one of our problems that we 

14          have with veterans is isolation and 

15          depression.  You know what I'm saying?  So 

16          with the Peer-to-Peer program, what we do is 

17          we actually go in, we talk with the veterans, 

18          we see what their needs are, we see how we 

19          can service the need, we get them out of the 

20          house, we get them to do volunteer services, 

21          we get them to do activities that they 

22          normally wouldn't do.  But that's okay, 

23          because it gets them out and doing something 

24          instead of being at home.  


 1                 If you haven't noticed lately, the 

 2          count for suicide has gone down from 22 down 

 3          to 20.  I do give credit to the VA system, 

 4          but also to the Peer-to-Peer program because 

 5          we're going out there, reaching these 

 6          veterans, and making sure that they're not 

 7          doing -- committing suicide and also not 

 8          being a repeat offender in the court systems 

 9          also.  

10                 We also, as the Peer-to-Peer program, 

11          work with the VDP program.  One of my 

12          questions that I have is when the VDP program 

13          comes along and when we do this, one of the 

14          my questions is, where do we get these 

15          mentors?  Well, where do we get these 

16          mentors?  From the Peer-to-Peer program.  

17          Okay?  So the Peer-to-Peer program works 

18          alongside with the VDP program so that we can 

19          get these veterans back into society, we get 

20          the resources that they need and do what we 

21          can over a period of time, and hopefully you 

22          will have better successful stories with 

23          these veterans.  

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you.


 1                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

 2          much.  

 3                 Questions?

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Any questions?

 5                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Yes, Mr. DenDekker.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Thank you, 

 7          Mr. Chairman.  

 8                 First of all, thank you all for your 

 9          service, and I greatly appreciate that.

10                 I have to tell you I am a little 

11          ashamed and embarrassed that there is nobody 

12          here from the Governor's office for us to 

13          talk about the veterans budget.  Because as 

14          you have identified, there is a great need 

15          for increases in funding.  However, the 

16          proposed budget that the Governor has made 

17          has decreased overall funding by 1 percent.  

18          It has cut all of the money that you just 

19          talked about.  The New York State Veterans 

20          Defenders Program has been completely cut.  

21          Helmets to Hard Hats.  The funding to Vietnam 

22          Veterans of America.  The Veterans Medical 

23          Center.  Warriors Salute.  All those programs 

24          have been completely zeroed out.  And I have 


 1          nobody to sit here in front of me to ask them 

 2          why they did that and why they make proposals 

 3          in the budget to do things that we would like 

 4          to know how they're being handled.  

 5                 So for example, we put in $250,000 for 

 6          the burial of indigent veterans two years 

 7          ago.  None of that money was ever disbursed.  

 8          There was no mechanism that was ever put in 

 9          place for the congressionally chartered 

10          organizations to get access to the funds.  

11                 And now, in this proposal, he says, 

12          oh, but I'm putting $100,000 into the burial 

13          services of indigent veterans.  But there was 

14          no mechanism on the 250; none of it was ever 

15          disbursed.  Now he's lowered it to 100.  So 

16          did he cut $150,000?  Because he's never 

17          disbursed a dime of the money.  

18                 So I have no idea, because there's no 

19          one on the other side of the table sitting 

20          there that can answer all these questions 

21          that I have about the veterans budget.  And 

22          when you all come to me on a regular basis 

23          and explain to me how those programs are 

24          successful and how they're helping veterans 


 1          and how we need more money, unfortunately I 

 2          don't have an answer for you.  

 3                 So on the first hand, I want to 

 4          apologize that there is nobody here and that 

 5          I can't answer the questions.  I can only 

 6          read all this off a piece of paper that the 

 7          Governor has given us in a proposed budget.  

 8          And I think it's shameful, shameful that 

 9          there's nobody here from the Governor's 

10          office representing this division of the 

11          budget.  I think it shows disrespect to the 

12          approximately 900,000 veterans -- 5 percent 

13          of the total population of the State of 

14          New York.  There's no one here to answer to 

15          them, there's no one here to give a question, 

16          to explain.  There's just no information at 

17          all.  And I do apologize.  And I think it's 

18          total disrespect of our veterans that there's 

19          no one here to answer those questions.  

20                 I can tell you the members of the 

21          Veterans Committee are dedicated to trying to 

22          find every penny we can to bring more 

23          services to veterans, direct services to 

24          veterans.  And the problem that we have with 


 1          the veterans is they fall over so many 

 2          different areas of the budget.  Some of it is 

 3          in mental health, some of it is in aging, 

 4          some of it is in housing.  So because it's so 

 5          spread out, that's why we would require 

 6          someone from the Governor's office to 

 7          specifically talk about how all of this is 

 8          going to work for our veterans and how they 

 9          can access those services.

10                 I would love for you, if you can, just 

11          to spend a minute and just explain to me how 

12          the Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Program would be 

13          expanded if we gave an additional million 

14          dollars.  And if you could start that, that 

15          would be helpful.

16                 MR. HANNAN:  Can I just -- I think 

17          Linda's got the -- and I would definitely not 

18          want to steal her thunder.  But she has the 

19          grassroots side of this.  

20                 From the other side of it, from kind 

21          of like your side of it, looking down at how 

22          services are delivered, the one thing to 

23          remember is that any monies that come into 

24          the veteran community, particularly in the 


 1          Peer-to-Peer Program, save the government 

 2          money.  All right?  Because it's counseling 

 3          that would have to be given by other 

 4          agencies.  It's a Department of Health 

 5          saving, it's a Labor Department saving, it 

 6          just goes on and on and on.  

 7                 You know, but Peer-to-Peer 

 8          specifically?  Yes, it should be funded.  And 

 9          the million dollars, I think -- in the first 

10          instance, going into the court system, I 

11          don't know how that would work.  But if we 

12          had a million dollars going into 

13          Peer-to-Peer, it should go to the counties, 

14          it should be distributed by the Division of 

15          Veterans Affairs.  Budget it however you 

16          want, but I would make it a -- go into a 

17          sensitive agency where they know where the 

18          Peer-to-Peer mentoring needs to be bolstered.  

19          And I think that's the Division of Veterans 

20          Affairs.  So I hope I answered your question.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  I don't know 

22          how we're going to get the attention of the 

23          Governor, and we had talked about this.  

24          Maybe it's time for some of the 900,000 


 1          veterans to come over to the Capitol one day 

 2          and explain to the Governor that not only are 

 3          you here, but that you also vote and you 

 4          would like to have some more services and 

 5          you'd like to at least have a representative 

 6          sitting here.  

 7                 I know the Director of Veterans 

 8          Services has been going around the state 

 9          doing budget presentations for the Governor.  

10          It would be nice if he was here in front of 

11          us so we could ask him how we're going to 

12          move this budget going forward and how we're 

13          going to be able to bring more services 

14          directly to our veterans.  If you have 

15          anything else to add --

16                 MR. HANNAN:  I hope your office is on 

17          the third floor, because we'll jam the 

18          elevators for you.

19                 (Laughter.)

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  You know where 

21          my office is, because you were there 

22          yesterday.

23                 (Laughter.)

24                 MR. HANNAN:  I know. I know  where 


 1          your office is.  I'm just kidding.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  And as you ask 

 3          for more money, I tried to explain to you --

 4                 MR. HANNAN:  You did.  You did a hell 

 5          of a job.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  -- I have no 

 7          idea how we're going to get it --

 8                 MR. HANNAN:  And we appreciate it.  

 9          Thank you.  

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  -- and we're 

11          trying.  That's all I can tell you.

12                 MR. LEWIS:  And we thank you for your 

13          steadfast advocacy.  We really appreciate 

14          that, sir.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Well, thank 

16          you all for coming.  And again -- 

17                 MR. LEWIS:  And we will continue to 

18          fight.  It won't be our first fight.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  -- thank you 

20          for your service.

21                 Mr. Chairman, I don't know if anybody 

22          else has any question, but thank you.

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Senator?  

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Yes.  


 1                 Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

 2                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Yes, just very 

 3          quickly.  Thank you for your service to each 

 4          and every one of you.  

 5                 PANEL MEMBERS:  Thank you.

 6                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  And my question 

 7          is -- I think I've asked you this before, so 

 8          I just keep asking my same question every 

 9          time I see you.  You know, I have a VSO 

10          organization.  And it's Black Vets for Social 

11          Justice.  I don't know how connected you are 

12          to them, they are to you.  So that's one 

13          question.  

14                 And what -- how much of this activity 

15          could be also part of what they offer 

16          veterans in Brooklyn, at least, and in the 

17          city.  And also a very, very large number of 

18          the homeless men, especially, that I've met 

19          in my district -- and I have several very 

20          large homeless shelters for men 

21          specifically -- so many of them are veterans.

22                 So are you talking to us about doing 

23          something targeting housing for veterans as 

24          well?


 1                 MS. McKINNIS:  As far as the 

 2          homelessness for veterans, upstate does have 

 3          an issue, just like downstate does also.  And 

 4          it's shameful -- don't get me wrong, it is 

 5          shameful that our veterans, they come home 

 6          and they don't have a place to live and they 

 7          end up in the streets.  And it's for a long 

 8          period of time until someone discovers that 

 9          they are a veteran.

10                 I can tell by experience, because I've 

11          been there and done that and I've lived on 

12          the streets myself.  But because I had people 

13          that helped me, which was a good thing, what 

14          I would say is that most of these men that 

15          are homeless, have them get into a program.  

16          The VA system now has a homeless department 

17          in the VA system.  I know the Albany Stratton 

18          one does now.  They have a homeless agency in 

19          their building, and they will help you right 

20          on the spot as soon as you come there.  Not 

21          only will they help you with some type of 

22          housing you for the moment, but they will 

23          also help you with the basics.  Okay?  

24                 They also have a coordinator there 


 1          that can help you if you have legal problems.  

 2          So if you have whatever legal problems, they 

 3          have somebody in the VA office, again, that 

 4          can help you.  If you need counseling, either 

 5          you can go to the VA -- and that's your 

 6          choice if you choose to, okay, or if not, you 

 7          can go through the Dwyer program, okay, which 

 8          will also do that.

 9                 If these veterans end up staying in a 

10          certain community or county or such, again, 

11          the 14 counties, wherever he or she may go, 

12          okay, there's a Dwyer program there.  All 

13          they would have to do is just link up with 

14          them, and the representative will walk them 

15          through everything, whether it be 

16          unemployment, whether it be housing, whether 

17          it be trying to just get around in their 

18          community.  That's what the Peer-to-Peer 

19          Program is.  It's not just, you know, we sit 

20          around and we talk.  No, it's trying to 

21          figure out what do you need at this moment.  

22          And then not only what do you need, they set 

23          goals for you so you can get to that 

24          well-being of your life so you don't have to 


 1          turn back and be homeless again.

 2                 MR. LEWIS:  If I may add -- 

 3                 MR. HANNAN:  Candidly, the 14 counties 

 4          are mostly upstate.

 5                 MR. LEWIS:  Yeah.  You know, if I may 

 6          add --

 7                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  That's what I 

 8          thought, and I wanted to --

 9                 MR. LEWIS:  If I may add, the 

10          underlying fundamental issue must be 

11          addressed of why these folks, why these 

12          homeless veterans are homeless.  And I can 

13          speak for the VFW.  We only have two 

14          accredited Veteran Service Officers, and 

15          they're located out of Buffalo.  We lost our 

16          Veteran Service Officer here in Albany, and 

17          she covered all the way down in the New York 

18          City area.  And that veteran service officer 

19          is now not down and available into the city 

20          to help and assist with some of those claims.  

21                 So we're happy to partner with and 

22          work with any agency in the State of New York 

23          in filing claims and holding hands, if need 

24          be, to ensure that these veterans are made 


 1          whole once again.

 2                 MR. HANNAN:  And right now those VSOs 

 3          are actually being paid out of our service 

 4          officer funding.  That's self-funded.  We do 

 5          get some help from the state, but it's a 

 6          complicated application process and we're 

 7          still kind of waiting on stuff that happened 

 8          three years ago.  So -- and I'm not 

 9          complaining, you know --

10                 MR. LEWIS:  I am.

11                 (Laughter.)

12                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:   I join my 

13          colleague in saying this is embarrassing and 

14          shameful.  And I just wanted you to know that 

15          I will be asking to what extent the 

16          organization certainly that's in my district 

17          and serves a lot of the people down there, 

18          how do they -- are they able to join with you 

19          in trying to get more funding.  I appreciate 

20          the defense project that you're talking 

21          about.  

22                 And just as an aside, I have a brother 

23          who is a veteran.  He lives in Texas.  I sent 

24          him some of your information.  He was ever so 


 1          grateful, because the information for 

 2          veterans -- wherever they are, it's very 

 3          important that they have the information.  So 

 4          thank you very much for what you do.

 5                 MR. BECKER:  I'll just add one thing.  

 6          So our veterans don't have time to complain 

 7          about the state.  We have to take care of 

 8          veterans, the ones that really need it.

 9                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  I understand.

10                 MR. BECKER:  That's our job today.  

11          That's what we're doing, we're asking for 

12          some help.

13                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Thank you.  I 

14          understand.

15                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Assemblywoman 

16          Lupardo.

17                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Yeah, I don't 

18          have a question, I just wanted to thank you.  

19          Thank you for your service, but also thank 

20          you for taking the time to come up and make 

21          this very impassioned plea.  You have a very 

22          strong advocate here.  And all of my 

23          colleagues are very supportive.  

24                 It's really astonishing what you are 


 1          proposing to deliver for the amount of money 

 2          you're asking for.  And I'm just thinking 

 3          what more you could do with even twice that 

 4          amount.  So I'm personally committed to 

 5          helping the cause, and I'm sure the rest of 

 6          us will try as well.  So thank you very much.

 7                 PANEL MEMBERS:  Thank you, ma'am.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  And I 

 9          too want to give my personal regards and 

10          deepest gratitude to all of you and all of 

11          the veterans that you represent across the 

12          entire state.  You are the best of the best.  

13          We owe you just the deepest debt of gratitude 

14          for everything that you've done to protect 

15          our freedom.  

16                 And I'm glad that you spoke about very 

17          important programs -- for example, our 

18          Peer-to-Peer Program that the Senate started 

19          several years ago.  I mean, there's really 

20          good things going on.  But there's a lot more 

21          work to do.  And in the Senate, in our 

22          conference, we're very committed to 

23          continuing to support our veterans.  So I 

24          just want to let you know that.


 1                 MR. BECKER:  We're very aware of that, 

 2          Senator.

 3                 PANEL MEMBERS:  Thank you.  

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you so much 

 5          for your testimony.

 6                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you very 

 7          much.

 8                 MR. HANNAN:  Thank you, sir.

 9                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  David McNally, 

10          director of governmental relations, AARP.  

11                 MR. McNALLY:  Good afternoon.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Good afternoon.

13                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Good afternoon, 

14          sir.

15                 MR. McNALLY:  I have provided you 

16          riveting, lengthy testimony which I'm not 

17          reading today, but I'm sure you'll enjoy 

18          reading it.  I have a brief statement to 

19          make, however, summarizing our 

20          recommendations and concerns.

21                 Good afternoon, Senator Young, 

22          Assemblyman Farrell, and members of the 

23          committee.  My name is David McNally and I'm 

24          the director of government affairs and 


 1          advocacy for AARP New York.  I would like to 

 2          submit the following testimony regarding the 

 3          human services portion of the Executive 

 4          Budget and issues facing older New Yorkers 

 5          and their families.

 6                 Unfortunately, the Executive Budget 

 7          would require the discretionary $27 million 

 8          to support childcare subsidy costs, enabling 

 9          the state to maintain the current level of 

10          childcare subsidies while reducing the 

11          General Fund cost for this program.  It is 

12          our understanding that the hardest hit by 

13          this shortsighted budget proposal would be 

14          New York City's senior centers.  I've heard a 

15          lot of talk about it today; I'm sure you're 

16          well aware of the issue.  So I won't go into 

17          any further detail, except that our 

18          recommendation is the Legislature should 

19          reject the Governor's change to Title XX and 

20          allow discretionary spending to continue and 

21          be allowed to fund much-needed senior center 

22          services.

23                 I'd now like to talk a little bit 

24          about help for the middle class.  The 


 1          Governor's fiscal year 2017-2018 Executive 

 2          Budget does not provide sufficient funding 

 3          for the New York State Office for the Aging's 

 4          non-Medicaid-funded home and community based 

 5          programs for older persons and their family 

 6          caregivers.  These programs are vital for 

 7          keeping older persons out of expensive 

 8          taxpayer-funded institutions and are a great 

 9          value to the millions of caregivers in our 

10          state as well as those receiving the care.

11                 Unfortunately, there is a statewide 

12          waiting list.  Today I heard the number 

13          15,000; yesterday I heard the number 17,000.  

14          It's probably much more than that.  These are 

15          people seeking non-Medicaid-funded home and 

16          community-based services through programs 

17          such as the Expanded In-Home Services for the 

18          Elderly program, senior transportation, and 

19          home-delivered meals.

20                 This may sound familiar to you because 

21          we come every year and have this discussion 

22          about this issue.  There are 500 New Yorkers 

23          turning 65 every day.  These lists continue 

24          to grow, and the costs continue to grow.  We 


 1          have to get ahead of this problem.  We have 

 2          to address these needs to keep the middle 

 3          class in the middle class, in their homes and 

 4          out of expensive taxpayer-funded 

 5          institutional care.  

 6                 And this year we're asking that you 

 7          find $25 million to invest in non-Medicaid 

 8          home and community-based care that would not 

 9          only assist the older persons but also their 

10          family caregivers as well.

11                 The next topic I'd just like to 

12          briefly touch on is senior financial 

13          exploitation.  The Executive Budget proposal 

14          includes an initiative to train and legally 

15          authorize bank employees to place a hold on 

16          the bank account of a vulnerable adult if 

17          there is a reasonable basis to believe that 

18          the adult is a victim of actual or attempted 

19          financial exploitation.  We support this 

20          initiative, and we strongly recommend that 

21          DFS and SOFA chair a task force on elder 

22          exploitation to lead a multidisciplinary 

23          approach that could bring a more concerted 

24          approach across service systems and agencies, 


 1          as well as creating emphasis on cross-system 

 2          collaboration to ensure that the limited 

 3          resources are used wisely to identify and 

 4          serve elderly abuse victims.  

 5                 Finally, two other quick items that 

 6          are very important to us.  To further empower 

 7          New Yorkers in their retirement, AARP 

 8          supports a proposal championed by Senator 

 9          Savino and Assemblyman Rodriguez to create a 

10          state-facilitated retirement savings option, 

11          known as the Secure Choice Savings Program 

12          Act, to help many of the more than 

13          3.5 million private-sector workers who have 

14          no way to save for retirement through their 

15          employer.  That leaves more than half the 

16          state's 18-to-64-year-old private-sector 

17          workforce without access to a retirement 

18          savings plan at all at the workplace.  

19                 In addition, workers are 15 times more 

20          likely to save for retirement if their 

21          employer offers a plan, according to the 

22          Employee Benefits Research Institute.  That's 

23          why it's vital that all workers in the state 

24          have access to a payroll deduction savings 


 1          plan.  

 2                 We strongly recommend the Legislature 

 3          include language in the final State Budget 

 4          that includes the Secure Choice Savings 

 5          Program Act.

 6                 Kinship care.  Kinship care refers to 

 7          non-parents, grandparents, and other 

 8          relatives who care for children when parents 

 9          are unavailable.  The major cause of kinship 

10          care is parental drug abuse.  

11                 Many of these families need access to 

12          additional resources, especially when they 

13          first take on the responsibility of caring 

14          for children.  Grandmothers usually assume 

15          the role of raising their grandchildren.  

16                 We recommend that in order to maintain 

17          the progress the state has made in the last 

18          three years in kinship services, and to 

19          address the opiate crisis in rural New York, 

20          it is important for the state to maintain 

21          level funding for kinship support services at 

22          $1.9 million in about 22 programs across the 

23          state, and add $89,500 for Kinship Navigator 

24          outreach to rural counties.  


 1                 And I thank you for taking this time 

 2          to hear our testimony.

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

 5          much.

 6                 MR. McNALLY:  Thank you.

 7                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Shelly Nortz, 

 8          deputy executive director, Coalition for the 

 9          Homeless New York City.

10                 MS. NORTZ:  Good afternoon, and thank 

11          you for inviting us to testify today.  I have 

12          abbreviated my presentation and will try to 

13          respect the time limits here.

14                 Thank you again.  My name is Shelly 

15          Nortz, and since 1987 I have had the 

16          privilege of working for the Coalition for 

17          the Homeless in Albany to secure state 

18          support for programs and policies that 

19          prevent and address homelessness and the 

20          socioeconomic problems that cause 

21          homelessness.

22                 Last year I reported to you that none 

23          of the new JPMorgan settlement funds 

24          programmed to address homelessness via 


 1          supportive housing in the 2015-2016 budget 

 2          year were spent, nor had the New York City 

 3          plan for rent supplements related to the 

 4          allocation of youth facility reimbursement 

 5          savings been approved by the state.  

 6          Therefore, the two largest state budget 

 7          initiatives to address homelessness were not 

 8          actually available to help homeless 

 9          New Yorkers move out of shelters into 

10          housing.  

11                 Much the same as last year, the great 

12          majority of the $2 billion that you approved 

13          in last year's budget to build supportive and 

14          affordable housing lies idle, due to 

15          political disputes about unrelated matters. 

16          It is unsurprising, therefore, that the 

17          shelter census in New York City has continued 

18          to climb.  

19                 As we have previously warned, city 

20          investments alone are not sufficient to bring 

21          the shelter census down substantially, and 

22          greater state investments are required.  

23                 I want to make sure that you 

24          understand this fact and that it sinks in.  


 1          Many of you have heard it before.  New York 

 2          State informed the United States Department 

 3          of Housing and Urban Development that over 

 4          19,000 more people enter homelessness each 

 5          year than exit homelessness each year.  

 6          Nineteen thousand.  That is as if everyone in 

 7          Oswego moved into a homeless shelter last 

 8          year, and everyone living in Plattsburgh 

 9          moved into a shelter this year, and 

10          two-thirds of the population of Glen Cove 

11          were to move into a shelter next year.  This 

12          is simply unsustainable on multiple levels.  

13                 I'm going to focus on the crisis in 

14          New York City today, and I'm going to take 

15          you through a series of tables and charts.

16                 We had another record year of 

17          homelessness in New York City:  over 62,000 

18          men, women and children in shelters, equal to 

19          the population of Utica.  The unduplicated 

20          number of people using New York City shelters 

21          rose 52 percent between 2002 and 2016, to 

22          over 127,000 individuals -- more than the 

23          population of Smithtown.

24                 The single largest subset of the 


 1          New York City homeless shelter population:  

 2          the 24,000 children in shelters.  That's the 

 3          population of Rockville Centre.  Their 

 4          companions at school were the 63,000 children 

 5          living in doubled-up families -- a little 

 6          more than the population of White Plains.

 7                 Nearly 16,000 homeless families in 

 8          December; half of them in regulated shelters, 

 9          the rest in hotels and cluster sites.  

10          Roughly the population of Binghamton or 

11          Niagara Falls.  

12                 We had a record number of single 

13          adults in shelters.  Some also now in hotels, 

14          because there are too few shelter beds for 

15          the newly homeless population coming in.  

16          About half the population of Poughkeepsie.  

17                 So why new record after new record 

18          after new record?  I'm going to take you 

19          through the reasons why.  

20                 The cumulative deficit in the number 

21          of federal housing placements, for one.  The 

22          last multiyear decrease in the New York City 

23          shelter census occurred in 2004 and 2005.  

24          The number of public housing and Section 8 


 1          placements for homeless families then 

 2          averaged about 5,000 per year.  These are by 

 3          far the most stable housing placements, and 

 4          therefore these families rarely return to 

 5          shelters.  The shelter census then was about 

 6          half its present size.  In 2016, the number 

 7          of such placements was only 2,612 in New York 

 8          City.  The result is that federal housing 

 9          placements are still down by half compared 

10          with 2004-2005.

11                 And we have the lost decade.  As we 

12          recently reported in our family policy brief, 

13          from 1999 to 2005, New York City provided an 

14          average of 3,989 federal housing placements 

15          per year for homeless families.  From 2006 to 

16          2014, only a few hundred units were provided.  

17          On average, 3,548 fewer homeless families 

18          received stable housing placements over nine 

19          years.  And that's an accumulated deficit of 

20          31,935 fewer federal housing placements made 

21          over the nine-year period in which that 

22          policy was in place with the Bloomberg 

23          administration.

24                 You can see on the next chart the 


 1          absolutely devastating effect that that had 

 2          on access to housing.  And as a direct result 

 3          of that, the shelter census in New York City 

 4          doubled.

 5                 We also have, as was discussed 

 6          earlier, persistently high rates of eviction 

 7          and rising shelter demand due to domestic 

 8          violence, as well as institutional 

 9          discharges, as Senator Krueger was 

10          discussing.

11                 We have reduced supportive housing 

12          placements because the supportive housing 

13          pipeline has been effectively frozen for the 

14          last three years.  There were 545 fewer 

15          people in homeless shelters to receive 

16          supportive housing placements last year, 

17          compared with 2014.

18                 And then we had, despite the happy 

19          talk earlier about employment, we had a very 

20          sudden spike in unemployment in New York City 

21          this last year -- 35,000 more unemployed in 

22          October than in June.  The drop in employment 

23          left 129,000 out of work, and only a third of 

24          those jobs have been recovered as of 


 1          December.  

 2                 And I would point out that the August 

 3          unemployment rate for the Bronx, where 

 4          homelessness among families is concentrated 

 5          more than any other borough, reached an 

 6          alarming 7.8 percent, up dramatically from 

 7          its low of 6.1 percent last May.  There's no 

 8          doubt that that is in part why we've seen 

 9          such a great increase in the shelter 

10          population starting this fall.

11                 In addition, rapidly rising income 

12          inequality causes housing instability and 

13          homelessness.  A fundamental of the economics 

14          of homelessness is that in cities with low 

15          vacancy rates, high housing costs, and 

16          extreme income inequality, the people at the 

17          lowest end of the income spectrum fall out of 

18          the housing market entirely.  New York City 

19          is such a city.

20                 According to the Fiscal Policy 

21          Institute's budget analysis, the percentage 

22          of all income going to New York City's top 

23          1 percent has grown from 12.2 percent in 

24          1980, when modern mass homelessness emerged 


 1          as a serious problem, to 40.9 percent in 

 2          2015, as the crisis of homelessness again 

 3          became a cause for widespread concern, as you 

 4          can see on the following chart.  Income 

 5          inequality in New York City is the worst in 

 6          the nation.

 7                 And then lastly, the New York City 

 8          population has reached a level projected for 

 9          2020 in 2015, five years early, and it could 

10          surpass the 2025 projection as early as this 

11          year.  And yet we're not really prepared to 

12          build the kind of housing that we need to 

13          accommodate a population that is growing that 

14          quickly.  It grew at nearly 71,500 per year 

15          between 2010 and 2015.  And so if we keep on 

16          that pace, as you can see, we are going to be 

17          in very, very dire trouble.

18                 My last table:  With rising 

19          homelessness, we also have rising reported 

20          deaths among homeless New Yorkers.  And that 

21          increased recently as a direct result of the 

22          increase in homelessness and displacement in 

23          New York City.

24                 The Governor replaced the expired 


 1          executive order on Code Blue protections 

 2          during inclement weather for homeless people 

 3          with a proposed regulation, an emergency 

 4          regulation.  And we're pleased that there is 

 5          an emergency regulation, although it is 

 6          pegged to a temperature of 32 degrees, 

 7          including wind chill, which is far too low to 

 8          protect people from hypothermia, which can 

 9          hit people in the 50s and 60s.  And it also 

10          does not require that shelters be open 24/7.  

11          So to the extent that shelters are just night 

12          shelters, it's little protection during the 

13          freezing cold days.

14                 So we are urging that the regulation 

15          be modified to a higher temperature 

16          threshold, and that it protect people better 

17          during the day.

18                 As we indicated last year, the 

19          coalition is also very pleased that the 

20          Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance 

21          is taking the issue of shelter conditions 

22          seriously.  We're glad that the state is 

23          seeking to play a greater role, and we have 

24          no doubt that there will be a need for much 


 1          greater investments in the capital needs of 

 2          some of these aging facilities.

 3                 You can see my budget recommendations 

 4          at the end.  I think I'm going to probably 

 5          skip over the first three, and you can read 

 6          those at your leisure.  And we'll just talk 

 7          about the two big items on the agenda, the 

 8          first being that we are urging the inclusion 

 9          of Assemblyman Hevesi's Home Stability 

10          Support rent subsidy program to help families 

11          keep their homes and avoid displacement into 

12          the shelter system, and also to help them 

13          leave shelters.

14                 And then also we're really asking that 

15          the Governor and the Legislature release the 

16          $2 billion appropriated for affordable and 

17          supportive housing last year.  We've got to 

18          get this housing built.  And if my 

19          presentation doesn't argue for that, I don't 

20          know what does.

21                 And lastly, Senator Young, you were 

22          asking about the safety net assistance 

23          increase.  I just wanted to make sure that 

24          you understood that the reason for that is 


 1          really structural and relates to how the 

 2          funding shift happened a few years ago when 

 3          the Safety Net Assistance Program went from 

 4          being a 50/50 state-local split to being the 

 5          71 percent local/29 percent state split.  

 6                 It's structural because the TANF time 

 7          limit is five years.  There are no local and 

 8          state shares on TANF anymore; it's all 

 9          100 percent federally funded for that 

10          caseload until we hit Year 5.  And then, over 

11          time, that means that the TANF population 

12          gets shifted to localities.  

13                 And so the very first time this was 

14          done, it was said to be a cost relief to 

15          localities that was then replaced by saving 

16          the state from having localities have too 

17          much of a windfall if you didn't change the 

18          safety net formula.  But the long-term effect 

19          of that is to shift more of the caseload cost 

20          to the Safety Net Assistance Program, and 

21          therefore to localities. 

22                 So that's why that's happening.  

23                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Thank you.

24                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 2                 MS. NORTZ:  Thank you very much.

 3                 CHAIRMAN FARRELL:  Just a little 

 4          information.  Tomorrow's program will not be 

 5          on.  We are going to do it on the 17th of 

 6          February, which is next week, Friday.  We 

 7          think the weather is not very good for us to 

 8          be here tomorrow.  So that will just be for 

 9          the record.  Thank you.  

10                 Sheila Harrigan, executive director, 

11          New York Public Welfare Association.

12                 MS. HARRIGAN:  Good afternoon, and 

13          thank you.  I'll just make a few points.  

14                 I represent the 58 local departments 

15          of social services across the state.  We look 

16          at every policy issue in terms of its impact 

17          on vulnerable people and on taxpayers.  

18                 I'll bring a few issues to your 

19          attention.  The first has to do with everyone 

20          needs a place to call home.  So our written 

21          testimony includes our recommendations for 

22          what you as legislators can do to further 

23          support local efforts to address 

24          homelessness, prevent homelessness, and 


 1          provide emergency placements when they're 

 2          needed.  In order to address homelessness, we 

 3          really need better permanent housing options.  

 4          And I know both the Assembly and Senate are 

 5          very dedicated to that goal.

 6                 In addition, when there are new 

 7          requirements such as the expansion of SNAP 

 8          and HEAP, we look to the Legislature and to 

 9          the Governor to provide the administrative 

10          dollars for implementation.  These programs 

11          are not funded by the state in terms of 

12          administration, so the federal government 

13          pays part of the cost and the rest is all 

14          local.  So when there's an expansion, it is a 

15          new burden.

16                 On the child welfare/childcare side, 

17          the Executive proposal would restrict 

18          $26.1 million of Title XX for childcare.  

19          Currently this funding is used by counties in 

20          many different ways.  It was mentioned 

21          earlier that New York City uses it for senior 

22          services.  Most counties use it for 

23          preventive services and child welfare.  So by 

24          targeting childcare, it is creating cuts in 


 1          other programs.  

 2                 And certainly we support the state's 

 3          commitment to childcare subsidies, but that 

 4          should happen with ongoing state and federal 

 5          resources, not through a cost shift.  

 6                 In terms of foster care, the Executive 

 7          proposal would decrease funding by 

 8          $62 million statewide.  Our position is why 

 9          mess with success, this program is working.  

10          Counties use those savings to fund preventive 

11          services to keep kids out of foster care or 

12          to reduce the length of time in placement.  

13          So by cutting $62 million, they're certainly 

14          hurting our abilities to do that.  We'd like 

15          to see that funding restored.  

16                 Raising the age of juvenile 

17          jurisdiction to age 18, we simply ask for a 

18          commitment, a guarantee of 100 percent state 

19          funding.  The Executive made that commitment 

20          last year; that commitment is not made in his 

21          proposal this year.  There's lots of loops to 

22          go through.  None of our suggestions for 

23          adding language to secure the financing last 

24          year were included in the proposal.