Joint Legislative Public Hearing on 2018-2019 Executive Budget Proposal: Topic Human Services - Testimonies

Hearing event notice and video:



 2  --------------------------------------------------
 4              In the Matter of the
           2018-2019 EXECUTIVE BUDGET ON
 5                HUMAN SERVICES
 6  ----------------------------------------------------
 7                           Hearing Room B
                             Legislative Office Building
 8                           Albany, New York
 9                           February 6, 2018
                             10:09 a.m.
12           Senator Catharine M. Young
             Chair, Senate Finance Committee
             Assemblywoman Helene E. Weinstein
14           Chair, Assembly Ways & Means Committee
16           Senator Liz Krueger 
             Senate Finance Committee (RM)
             Assemblyman Robert Oaks
18           Assembly Ways & Means Committee (RM)
19           Senator Diane Savino
             Vice Chair, Senate Finance Committee
             Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee
21           Chair, Assembly Children and Families 
             Senator James Tedisco 
23           Chair, Senate Committee on Social Services
24           Senator Velmanette Montgomery


 1  2018-2019 Executive Budget
    Human Services
 2  2-6-18
 3  PRESENT:  (Continued)
 4           Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi
             Chair, Assembly Committee on Social 
 5             Services
 6           Assemblywoman Donna A. Lupardo
             Chair, Assembly Committee on Aging
             Senator Susan Serino
 8           Chair, Senate Committee on Aging
 9           Assemblyman Michael G. DenDekker
             Chair, Assembly Committee on Veterans' Affairs 
             Assemblywoman Michele R. Titus
11           Chair, Assembly Labor Committee 
12           Senator Marisol Alcantara
             Chair, Senate Committee on Labor
             Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy
             Senator Timothy Kennedy
             Assemblyman Harry B. Bronson
             Senator Roxanne J. Persaud 
             Assemblyman David I. Weprin
             Assemblyman William Colton
             Senator Simcha Felder
             Assemblyman Andy Goodell
             Assemblywoman Earlene Hooper
             Senator James Sanders
             Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright


 1  2018-2019 Executive Budget
    Human Services
 2  2-6-18
 4                   LIST OF SPEAKERS
 5                                      STATEMENT QUESTIONS
 6  Sheila J. Poole 
    Acting Commissioner
 7  NYS Office of Children 
     and Family Services                     8        3
    Barbara Guinn
 9  Executive Deputy Commissioner
    NYS Office of Temporary
10   and Disability Assistance             127      133              
11  Roberta Reardon 
12  NYS Department of Labor                188      196
13  Greg Olsen 
    Acting Director 
14  NYS Office for the Aging               270      277
15  Kirby Hannon
    Legislative Coordinator
16  Michael Burke
    NYS Commander
17  Veterans of Foreign Wars
18  Linda McKinnis
    Legislative Coordinator
19  Disabled American Veterans
20  Bob Becker
    Legislative Coordinator
21  NYS Council of Veterans
     Organizations                         343      356
    Captain Art C. Cody
23  Deputy Director 
    Veterans Defense Program 
24  New York State Defenders
     Association, Inc.                     362      368 


 1  2018-2019 Executive Budget
    Human Services
 2  2-6-18
 3                   LIST OF SPEAKERS, Continued 
 4                                     STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
 5  Susan Antos
    Senior Attorney
 6  Empire Justice Center                 379       385
 7  Christine Sadowski
    Policy Chair
 8  YWCAs of New York State               386       389
 9  Shelly Nortz
    Deputy Executive Director
10   of Policy
    Coalition for the Homeless            391       398
    Kevin Douglas
12  Co-Director of Policy 
     and Advocacy 
13  United Neighborhood Houses            399       407
14  Kari Siddiqui
    Senior Policy Analyst
15  Schuyler Center for 
     Analysis & Advocacy                  407       414     
    Page Pierce
17  CEO
    Families Together in NYS              417       419
    Ann Marie Maglione 
19  Legislative Chair 
    Association on Aging in NY            420       428
    Sheila Harrigan 
21  Executive Director 
    NY Public Welfare Association         431       432
    James F. Purcell
23  CEO
    Council of Family and
24   Child Caring Agencies                433       


 1  2018-2019 Executive Budget
    Human Services
 2  2-6-18
 3                   LIST OF SPEAKERS, Continued 
 4                                     STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
 5  Mallory Nugent
    Senior Policy Analyst
 6  Federation of Protestant 
     Welfare Agencies (FPWA)              440       445
    Stephanie Gendell
 8  Associate Executive Director,
     Policy and Advocacy
 9  Citizens' Committee for Children
     of New York, Inc.                    449
    Meredith Chimento 
11  Executive Director 
    Early Care & Learning Council         454
    Elizabeth Powers
13  Director of Youth Justice
    Children's Defense Fund - NY          459
    Melanie Blow
15  COO
    Stop Abuse Campaign                   463       466
    Chris Nietzey 
17  Policy Director
    NYS Network for Youth Success         472       476
    Reed Vreeland
19  Policy Director
    Housing Works                         479       485
    Gerard Wallace
21  Director
    NYS Kinship Navigator
22  NYS KinCare Coalition                 487       494
23  Anthony Wells
24  Social Service Employees
     Union Local 371                      497       504


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Good morning.  

 2                 I'm Helene Weinstein, chair of the 

 3          New York State Assembly's Ways and Means 

 4          Committee, and cochair of today's hearing.  

 5                 Today we begin the ninth in a series 

 6          of hearings conducted by the joint fiscal 

 7          committees of the Legislature regarding the 

 8          Governor's proposed budget for fiscal year 

 9          2018-2019.  The hearings are conducted 

10          pursuant to the New York State Constitution 

11          and the Legislative Law.

12                 Today the Assembly Ways and Means 

13          Committee and the Senate Finance Committee 

14          will hear testimony concerning the Governor's 

15          budget proposal for human services.  

16                 I'll now introduce the members of the 

17          Assembly, and Senator Young, chair of the 

18          Senate Finance Committee, will introduce 

19          members from the Senate.  And our ranker on 

20          Ways and Means, Bob Oaks, will introduce 

21          members from his conference.

22                 So we have Assemblywoman Tremaine 

23          Wright; Assemblywoman Michele Titus; 

24          Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, chair of our 


 1          Aging Committee; Assemblyman Hevesi, chair of 

 2          our Social Services Committee; and 

 3          Assemblywoman Jaffee, chair of our Children 

 4          and Families Committee.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

 6          Chairwoman.  

 7                 Good morning, everyone.  I'm Senator 

 8          Catharine Young.  And as was said, I'm chair 

 9          of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance.  

10          And I'm very pleased today that we're joined 

11          by the vice chair of Finance, and that's 

12          Senator Diane Savino; our ranking member, 

13          Senator Liz Krueger; Senator James Tedisco, 

14          Senator Tim Kennedy, and Senator Roxanne 

15          Persaud, who is ranking member on Social 

16          Services and the Committee on Children and 

17          Families.  

18                 And I wanted to extend a very good 

19          morning to Commissioner Poole.  Thank you for 

20          being here.

21                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Thank you.

22                 Good morning, Chairwoman Young --

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Excuse me, we'll 

24          just introduce Assemblyman Goodell --


 1                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Certainly.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  -- who's also with 

 3          us.  Thank you.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  And before you 

 5          start, I just want to remind both the 

 6          witnesses who will be testifying today, and 

 7          the members, to keep your eye on the 

 8          countdown clock.  

 9                 And also a reminder to witnesses that 

10          we have your electronic testimony; we'd 

11          appreciate as much as possible to summarize 

12          your remarks to allow time both for questions 

13          and your answers as well as to make sure the 

14          people at the very end of the list have an 

15          attentive audience by the time we get to you.

16                 Now, thank you, Commissioner Poole -- 

17          acting commissioner, I guess, New York State 

18          Office of Children and Family Services.

19                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Good 

20          morning, Chairwoman Young, Chairwoman 

21          Weinstein, Chairwoman Jaffee and 

22          distinguished members of the Senate and 

23          Assembly.  My name is Sheila Poole.  I'm the 

24          acting commissioner of the Office of Children 


 1          and Family Services.  And I look forward to 

 2          this opportunity to discuss the highlights of 

 3          this year's proposed budget for OCFS.  

 4                 Although we're in a challenging fiscal 

 5          environment, I'm pleased that the Executive 

 6          Budget continues to provide a stable base of 

 7          funding for our state's court child welfare, 

 8          juvenile justice, and childcare programs.  

 9          The Executive Budget maintains $635 million 

10          for child welfare services, which enables us 

11          to continue to provide a substantial 

12          62 percent state-share reimbursement of local 

13          child welfare costs.  This funding supports 

14          vital prevention and intervention services 

15          statewide and ranks New York among the top in 

16          state support of local child welfare 

17          services.  

18                 The Executive Budget includes funding 

19          for the Foster Care Block Grant at 

20          $383.5 million, which will maintain essential 

21          funding support for foster care services, 

22          including kinship/guardianship programs.

23                 This funding level reflects the 

24          dramatic decrease in the foster care 


 1          population over the past 20 years.  The 

 2          number of children in foster care in New York 

 3          State has dropped from a high of 56,000 in 

 4          1995 to under 17,000 at the end of 2017.

 5                 Even with some counties experiencing 

 6          an uptick in foster care placements due to 

 7          the opioid epidemic, the overall number of 

 8          children in foster care in New York continues 

 9          to decline, unlike the upward trend in foster 

10          care placements being felt in many states 

11          across the country.

12                 In keeping with his pledge to provide 

13          100 percent of costs related to Raise the Age 

14          for counties that are under the tax cap or 

15          are experiencing fiscal hardship, the 

16          Governor has included $100 million to 

17          reimburse counties for implementation costs.  

18          In addition, the budget proposal includes 

19          funding to support capital projects at both 

20          the state and local level, to grow needed 

21          capacity in the juvenile justice system.  

22                 The Executive Budget also provides 

23          OCFS with the authority to close the Ella 

24          McQueen Reception Center in Brooklyn.  This 


 1          facility has been substantially underutilized 

 2          at a great cost to taxpayers.  The 

 3          administration is committed to avoiding any 

 4          layoffs for the 58 employees who work there.  

 5                 The Governor's budget helps ease the 

 6          cost of childcare for working families by 

 7          restoring the childcare subsidy program to 

 8          $806 million, and New York continues to rank 

 9          among the highest in the country in using its 

10          federal dollars for direct subsidy support 

11          for working families.  

12                 This year's budget proposes to add an 

13          additional $10 million to the Empire State 

14          After-School Program.  With this new round of 

15          funding, not-for-profits and school districts 

16          will be eligible to apply.  And we anticipate 

17          being able to create 6200 more slots targeted 

18          at homeless children and children living in 

19          areas of Long Island impacted by gang 

20          activity.  

21                 The budget includes the continuation 

22          of $17 million for the Advantage After-School 

23          Program.  And between the Empire State 

24          After-School Program and the continuation of 


 1          the Advantage After-School, we will bring 

 2          New York State to its highest level of 

 3          after-school programming in the state's 

 4          history.  

 5                 As you know, the Governor signed the 

 6          childcare task force bill into law.  The 

 7          formation of this group reflects an 

 8          understanding that we need to analyze the 

 9          availability of childcare, assess 

10          affordability, and identify potential new 

11          solutions for this crucial support for 

12          working families.  Once the chapter amendment 

13          is enacted and the membership is appointed, 

14          this important work will get underway.  

15                 I am proud to be a cochair of that 

16          task force.  I'm excited about the 

17          conversations that we will have.  And we're 

18          all keenly aware of how important this issue 

19          of childcare is to New York's families.  

20                 So thank you again for the opportunity 

21          to address you, and I look forward to your 

22          comments and questions.  

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  And 

24          we'll go to our Children and Families chair, 


 1          Ellen Jaffee, for the first round of 

 2          questions.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you, 

 4          Commissioner.  I am so pleased that the 

 5          Governor has signed the legislation that I 

 6          sponsored, so that we can move forward and 

 7          really have a much more in-depth 

 8          understanding of childcare issues within our 

 9          state so that we can respond appropriately so 

10          that our children and families have a 

11          significant opportunity with childcare.  And 

12          that's a conversation that is essential.

13                 On that note, I understand that the 

14          childcare market rate survey is currently 

15          being conducted and that the analysis of the 

16          data will actually begin this month.  While, 

17          you know, it's obviously too early to have 

18          actual market rate data, do you have any 

19          sense or do you think it's unlikely that the 

20          market rate -- or likely that the market rate 

21          will increase as it has in prior years?  

22                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So it's 

23          hard to say today, Assemblywoman, as to what 

24          the summary of the market rate survey will 


 1          be.

 2                 You know, the one thing that we are 

 3          sensitive to is that this market rate survey 

 4          will begin to pick up the impacts of minimum 

 5          wage on providers.  So again, we'll have to 

 6          wait and see until all those survey results 

 7          come in and do that analysis.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Well, if -- is 

 9          there a clear explanation of how the new and 

10          expected increase in rates -- will it be -- 

11          you know, in terms of being financed, since 

12          it will be completed outside of the budget of 

13          this year?  So how we'll be able to move 

14          forward and respond to that financially.

15                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  That's a 

16          great question.

17                 So the new market rates will take 

18          effect in October of this year, so it's not 

19          like we will be needing to look at a whole 

20          year of funding.  But you're right, the 

21          current Executive Budget does not contemplate 

22          additional market rate money, and we have to 

23          take many things one step at a time, given 

24          our current fiscal situation, and consider 


 1          all the options that we have once we know 

 2          what the market rate survey, you know, brings 

 3          to us.

 4                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  So how will we 

 5          be able to respond to that in terms of -- if 

 6          we're not prepared, will that cause a cut in 

 7          the slots in terms of childcare availability 

 8          slots?  You know, would reducing the market 

 9          rate -- which, as you know, allows providers 

10          to support themselves -- and then also be 

11          able to be receiving subsidizing childcare, 

12          the ability to access quality care will 

13          become an issue as well.

14                 So how can we find a way, a path, 

15          towards responding appropriately so that we 

16          can assure that there is stability within 

17          childcare programs and opportunities to 

18          assure that there are childcare slots?

19                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I wish I 

20          had a better answer, sitting here this 

21          morning, Assemblywoman.  As you said, there's 

22          limited choices immediately that is, you 

23          know, either more funding or decreasing the 

24          percentile rate that we pay, which is now 


 1          69 percent of the market rate.  

 2                 You know, and again I think it's a 

 3          continual challenge for us, right, in the 

 4          area of childcare, given that we are not 

 5          getting any increases from the federal 

 6          government to support, you know, the cost of 

 7          increasing market share or CCDBG, for that 

 8          matter.  So it forces states like us to have 

 9          those tough conversations.

10                 I also think that -- you know, 

11          hopefully the task force which will be 

12          underway, right, sooner rather than later -- 

13          that I think this is one of those issues 

14          that's before us immediately, and perhaps 

15          there are some creative options and ideas 

16          that might spring forth out of the task 

17          force.

18                 But I do appreciate that it will be a 

19          challenge for us.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Maybe within 

21          that context we can work together and provide 

22          more funding within the budget to be able to 

23          consider the response to what may happen in 

24          the market rate.


 1                 Do you think that there is 

 2          consideration at all being given maybe to 

 3          take the market rate to the 75th percentile?  

 4          Which would then actually respond to what the 

 5          federal government is suggesting it should 

 6          be.

 7                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  That would 

 8          be a great goal to achieve, Assemblywoman.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Yes.

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Again, it 

11          will be challenging, given our current 

12          fiscal --

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Well, we know 

14          how essential it is for our families to have 

15          access to quality childcare.  And this is 

16          really economic development as well, in terms 

17          of small businesses and jobs, not only for 

18          the childcare providers but for families to 

19          be able to have the stability in their jobs 

20          if their children are safe and in 

21          environments that really provide them with 

22          social and educational skills as they mature.

23                 Several other questions.  Last week, 

24          the Department of Economic Development, the 


 1          Commissioner, Howard Zemsky, when -- he 

 2          testified there had been childcare projects 

 3          funded through the Regional Economic 

 4          Development Councils.  And as I've noted on 

 5          several occasions, childcare is an economic 

 6          development, actually, reality in terms of 

 7          small businesses and jobs and stability of 

 8          jobs.

 9                 So perhaps we can work together 

10          with -- and the question is, would you 

11          consider working with Commissioner Zemsky to 

12          find innovative ways to expand funding for 

13          childcare through economic development and 

14          through the Economic Development Councils and 

15          the kind of grants that they provide?  

16                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  

17          Absolutely.  We welcome any and all partners 

18          to the childcare table as we find, right, new 

19          ways to increase affordability and access to 

20          childcare.  

21                 And certainly, Assemblywoman, you 

22          have, along with Assemblywoman Lupardo, you 

23          know, drawn the connection to childcare and 

24          its importance in terms of stability for 


 1          working families.  

 2                 So I would welcome conversations with 

 3          ESD and other partners as well.  And I think, 

 4          again, that membership as part of the task 

 5          force will really help us get there.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  That's great.  

 7                 And another issue -- as you know, I've 

 8          been focusing on this as well -- that 

 9          83 percent of the children that are actually 

10          eligible for subsidies are not receiving them 

11          in New York State.  And this is something 

12          that has really been of very serious concern 

13          over the last couple of years, since we've 

14          been focusing on the issues of childcare -- 

15          much more focused now, given what has been 

16          occurring in the federal government as well 

17          with the kind of requirements.  

18                 Is there any plans to expand the 

19          funding so that those families that do 

20          qualify for subsidies are given that 

21          opportunity so these children are in 

22          environments that are safe and productive as 

23          well as the -- especially the women have the 

24          opportunity to maintain their jobs?  And it 


 1          is so essential for those in poverty to have 

 2          that access, to be able to be in those 

 3          positive environments.  Is something being 

 4          considered to respond to that in terms of 

 5          increasing the subsidy opportunities?

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So, you 

 7          know, that issue of increasing access, right, 

 8          is something that we have struggled with as a 

 9          state.  It is one of the top two topics for 

10          us to be working on together in the task 

11          force.  

12                 You know, the other thing I would also 

13          say, Assemblywoman, is that there are other 

14          programs along the early children continuum 

15          that, again, you know, with all due respect 

16          to access to childcare programs, I think do 

17          offer additional support to working families.  

18          So the investments in the after-school 

19          programs, you know, that we have now.  I 

20          mean, we're building 44,000 slots that will 

21          be available, assuming the additional 

22          $10 million is supported, you know, in the 

23          budget.  There's tax credits that remain.  

24                 So I think where we have been able to, 


 1          through other funding streams, sort of fill 

 2          in some of the blanks to have options 

 3          available for families, you know, we're 

 4          trying to do that.

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Yeah, we've had 

 6          roundtables in various areas around the state 

 7          to be able to address some of these issues 

 8          and listen to the concerns.  And it is 

 9          something that's very serious and we need to 

10          respond to, to assure that the children are 

11          in comfortable environments but also the 

12          businesses are able to be sustained -- to 

13          sustain their businesses as well as people 

14          being able to maintain their jobs as well.

15                 We wondered whether -- you know, there 

16          have been various counties and towns that 

17          actually are maintaining waiting lists.  And 

18          some are choosing not to do that.  But 

19          wouldn't that be -- would that be more 

20          helpful, if there were those lists available, 

21          to be able to assure that we understand what 

22          the reality is, what the need is, and maybe 

23          we could then be responsive in a more 

24          positive way?


 1                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  You know, 

 2          this does come up every year when we're 

 3          together.  And it is true, I mean, 

 4          maintaining waiting lists is an option, you 

 5          know, for local Departments of Social 

 6          Services.  There are some districts who do 

 7          maintain those.  

 8                 But the truth of the matter is that 

 9          waiting lists are notoriously unreliable.  

10          Families may place their names on a waiting 

11          list, they may move to another county or out 

12          of state and families, they don't have time 

13          to go back and take their name off of, you 

14          know, a waiting list.  Or their child, right, 

15          might have signed up for part-day daycare but 

16          might have gone to an after-school or 

17          school-age childcare program.  And again, 

18          they are unreliable.

19                 I think we do have to find other ways, 

20          Assemblywoman.  And hopefully we can do this 

21          together in the coming months, you know, to 

22          really better understand, is that 17 percent 

23          or that 22 percent data point that we've 

24          talked about for a number of years, is that 


 1          really right, is it higher, is it lower?  And 

 2          I'm not sure that we could say with absolute 

 3          certainty, you know, as we sit here today 

 4          that 17 or 22 is the right number.  But I 

 5          think we have to work together to figure out 

 6          how do we get better, rich, reliable data 

 7          that really informs us.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you.  

10          Just two more questions, quickly --

11                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Why don't you 

12          come back for --

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Come back?

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes.

15                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Yes, okay.  

16          Thank you, Commissioner.

17                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Thank you.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  We've 

19          been joined by Senators Simcha Felder and 

20          Velmanette Montgomery.

21                 And Commissioner, welcome again.  Glad 

22          to see you.  And I commend Assemblywoman 

23          Jaffee for her questions on childcare, and 

24          I'd like to follow up on some of those 


 1          issues.  

 2                 Now, you and I have had discussions in 

 3          previous years about the new federal 

 4          childcare requirements, which are very 

 5          concerning.  And as you know, the federal 

 6          Childcare and Development Block Grant Act, 

 7          and it was in 2014, imposes several new 

 8          requirements on the state and childcare 

 9          providers, including increased inspections 

10          and enhanced criminal background checks and 

11          training requirements for employees.

12                 Early estimates for the cost of 

13          implementing these changes totaled about 

14          $90 million.  However, the full implications 

15          of the new federal requirements become more 

16          clear as we go, and this estimate has 

17          actually ballooned to approximately 

18          $555 million, and I fear that we're not done 

19          yet.  Given the unlikeliness of additional 

20          funding from the federal government, I'd like 

21          to ask you several questions.

22                 So first of all, has OCFS estimated 

23          what the potential impact of this will be on 

24          the available number of subsidy slots?  And I 


 1          know that Assemblywoman Jaffee asked a little 

 2          bit about that.  But have you done any kind 

 3          of analysis?

 4                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Sure.  So 

 5          if I could, Senator, just to say that, you 

 6          know, we have been waiting for our 

 7          $500 million from the federal government to 

 8          help us implement all the provisions of 

 9          CCDBG, and it has not arrived yet.  So we 

10          have continued to stay the course, which is 

11          the right course for New York, in maintaining 

12          our subsidy dollars for working families, now 

13          restored to $806 million.

14                 To your specific question, Senator, if 

15          we were to go ahead within our existing 

16          resources and implement all the provisions of 

17          CCDBG, which again, just to be clear, we are 

18          philosophically in support of the underlying 

19          principles of CCDBG.  It's not like there was 

20          any disagreement; it's all about health and 

21          safety.  It's a matter of having money to 

22          implement them.

23                 But if we were to proceed and 

24          implement CCDBG within our current funding 


 1          streams, we estimate that the unintended 

 2          impact of doing so would result in between 

 3          65,000 and 70,000 families not having access 

 4          to new childcare slots because of the impacts 

 5          of the guaranteed eligibility and the 

 6          graduated phaseout.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

 8          Commissioner.  

 9                 So what have the conversations with 

10          the federal government -- what have they been 

11          like?  Because -- are they just not getting 

12          back, they're not sending the money, are you 

13          raising concerns about the costs of 

14          compliance and the fact that we would lose 

15          slots?  How is that going.

16                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  We've done 

17          all of the above.

18                 And as many of you will recall, this 

19          federal law allowed states to take advantage 

20          of waivers.  So we've been taking advantage, 

21          as have many states, of those waivers that 

22          are available to us.  We have continued to 

23          watch other states who have taken steps to 

24          comply fully, and they're seeing -- you know, 


 1          they are experiencing exactly what we have to 

 2          avoid here in New York State, which is to 

 3          shut down the front door of access to subsidy 

 4          for working families.  Waiting lists are 

 5          exploding in other states.

 6                 So I think frankly, Senator, the 

 7          federal government is struggling with what to 

 8          do next.  There are so many states who have 

 9          not been able to implement all the provisions 

10          of CCDBG.  And of course we've certainly made 

11          our challenges here in New York State very 

12          clear to our federal partners.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And as you know so 

14          well, there already is a shortage of 

15          childcare providers in the state.  And then 

16          piled on top of that is the fact that we are 

17          grappling with a multi-billion-dollar deficit 

18          this year.  So has OCFS tried to identify 

19          additional sources of funding?

20                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, 

21          we've restored, you know, the $7 million that 

22          we did have last year.  And I think looking 

23          at additional sources of funding leads us 

24          right back to some of the opportunities that 


 1          may come at us with, you know, the childcare 

 2          task force.

 3                 But, you know, we put various pools of 

 4          money into our childcare pot.  So not only do 

 5          we have the federal CCDF funding, we use TANF 

 6          funding, there's Title XX funding.  So 

 7          wherever we can grab and pull from federal 

 8          funding streams, in addition to the local 

 9          maintenance effort, that's why we're able to 

10          have about a billion-dollar childcare 

11          program.

12                 But we're going to have to get pretty 

13          creative to think of other sources.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Right, and I agree 

15          with that, commissioner.  But it's pretty 

16          worrisome that we have this $555-million-plus 

17          figure to deal with.  And my concern is, 

18          where is that money going to come from?  And 

19          if it's put on the providers, I believe that 

20          it will price people from being able to 

21          afford to work.  

22                 So could you give your thoughts on 

23          that?

24                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, like 


 1          I said, we are continuing to take advantage 

 2          of the waivers with the federal government.  

 3          To your exact point, we have refused to put, 

 4          you know, the price of implementation of this 

 5          bill on the backs of providers or on the 

 6          backs of New York's working families.  

 7                 So we're going to have to keep working 

 8          our way, inch by inch, ahead with the federal 

 9          government and see what extensions might be 

10          able to be provided to us.

11                 As you are probably aware, just -- I 

12          think it was last week the new HHS Secretary 

13          was appointed.  We're going to be reaching 

14          out to his office, asking that they undertake 

15          a review of the regulations related to CCDBG, 

16          which it is our assessment in New York State 

17          that the actual regulations that were 

18          promulgated two years after the law's 

19          enactment actually were an overreach of the 

20          federal statute.  So we're going to be asking 

21          Secretary Azar to really take a look at CCDF 

22          and to really deeply understand the impact of 

23          that bill, absent federal funding, on a state 

24          like New York.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So the fear is that 

 2          several of the providers will have to close.  

 3          And what support or assistance does OCFS give 

 4          to providers if they're in danger of closing?

 5                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  That's a 

 6          great question.

 7                 You know, through our regional 

 8          offices, through our own childcare staff as 

 9          well as through our CCR&Rs, our Child Care 

10          Resource and Referral agencies, we can 

11          provide a lot of technical assistance to 

12          daycare providers, looking at their budgets, 

13          looking at their staffing levels -- again, to 

14          provide whatever assistance we can to avoid a 

15          closure.  None of us want to be losing 

16          providers.  We need more of them.  And I 

17          think we do a pretty good job of trying to 

18          work with providers to ensure that they're 

19          able to stay in business.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That's really good 

21          to hear.  And then the flip side of that 

22          question is, what do we do to try to 

23          encourage new providers?  Is there any kind 

24          of outreach program or recruitment program 


 1          that OCFS undertakes?  

 2                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, 

 3          again, I think we do that largely through our 

 4          CCR&R programs, which are in communities, so 

 5          they have a good understanding, because they 

 6          are localized, about when families are 

 7          seeking childcare, what kind of providers 

 8          might be needed.  

 9                 And again, you know, we certainly 

10          support a lot of legally exempt and 

11          family-based providers across our state as 

12          well.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And as you know, we 

14          have vast expanses of rural areas across 

15          New York State.  And while we have a 

16          shortage, I believe, of childcare providers 

17          who are qualified everywhere in the state, is 

18          the process to try to locate new providers 

19          different in rural areas than it is in urban 

20          areas?  

21                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I don't 

22          believe so, Senator.  I think we really try 

23          and when we -- you know, when we know that 

24          there's an unmet need, you know, we try and 


 1          get out there and do whatever we can to 

 2          promote it.  You know, our website, our 

 3          regional offices.  We have a very hands-on 

 4          approach with providers.  

 5                 And actually one of the things that 

 6          we've done in recent years, we took a look at 

 7          how long it was taking us at OCFS to really 

 8          process a childcare application.  And the 

 9          truth is, it was taking us far too long.  So 

10          we went through a business process, 

11          reengineering.  And we have really 

12          dramatically decreased the amount of time 

13          that it takes for a provider to become 

14          licensed.  

15                 So we've gotten very involved.  

16          There's a lot of technical assistance that we 

17          are providing, because we see ourselves 

18          having a really key role in helping folks 

19          understand the application process and all of 

20          the rules and regulations that they'll need 

21          to comply with.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you for that 

23          answer.

24                 How many families are currently 


 1          receiving subsidies in New York?

 2                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  In 2017, 

 3          there were about 112,000 families and about 

 4          186,000 children who received subsidy.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 6                 Has the federal government established 

 7          a time period over which a family subsidy 

 8          must be phased out?  And if they have, what's 

 9          the time frame?

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I'm not 

11          aware of that.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, thank you.

13                 How many counties in the state 

14          currently redetermine eligibility on a 

15          12-month basis?

16                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I'm not 

17          certain of that, Senator.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Could you try to 

19          get that for us?

20                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE: Certainly.  

21          Happy to.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That would be very 

23          helpful.  Because -- what I'd also like to 

24          know is for those counties that don't 


 1          currently do that, are there any estimates of 

 2          what costs to the county, if any, would be 

 3          involved with coming into compliance with the 

 4          requirement?  I think that would be helpful 

 5          for the Legislature to have that information.

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I'd be 

 7          happy to get that.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Thank you.  

 9          I'm out of time.  I have several other 

10          questions regarding other topic areas, but 

11          I'll come back.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So before we go 

13          to our next member for some questions, we've 

14          been joined by Assemblyman Bronson, 

15          Assemblywoman Fahy, and Assemblyman 

16          DenDekker, our Veterans chair.

17                 And now we go to Assemblyman Goodell.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  Thank you very 

19          much.  I have just a couple of quick 

20          questions, I think.

21                 One is dealing with the foster care 

22          funding.  You pointed out that the number of 

23          children in foster care is at a 20-year low, 

24          which I think is probably good news.  Can you 


 1          give us an idea, in terms of your sense, is 

 2          that a reduction in the number of foster kids 

 3          entering the system or an increase in 

 4          reunification with their families or an 

 5          increase in adoptions?  What is your sense?

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I actually 

 7          think it's the first one, more so than the 

 8          other.  I mean, obviously we always work 

 9          toward permanency for those kids who are 

10          currently in foster care, and certainly 

11          adoptions.  But I think the truth is given 

12          New York State's long, rich history of having 

13          primary prevention services at the local 

14          district level, the rich reimbursement we 

15          give them, I think that's really been 

16          instrumental in really what sets New York 

17          State apart from virtually every other state 

18          in the country who does not give localities 

19          that kind of reimbursement.

20                 So that when a family comes to the 

21          attention of the child welfare system -- and 

22          again, as you know, it's at a local level 

23          here -- they have it there at their disposal, 

24          an array of preventive services, again to try 


 1          and keep children safely with their families 

 2          in the community.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  And are you 

 4          tracking that data?

 5                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes, of 

 6          course.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  Are you tracking 

 8          the number of new admissions compared --

 9                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes, we 

10          do.  We sure do.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  Presumably you 

12          could give me that data?

13                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Happy to.  

14          Yes, we can provide you with that data.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  That would be 

16          great.

17                 We have legislation that's pending 

18          that would expand the authority of a Social 

19          Services Department to maintain longer-term 

20          foster cares.  You know, under the current 

21          program they're required to bring proceedings 

22          to terminate parental rights if the child has 

23          been in foster care for 15 out of the last 22 

24          months, with certain exceptions.  And there's 


 1          legislation that is pending that would 

 2          increase the number of exceptions to include 

 3          longer foster-care placement if the child is 

 4          not with their parents due to deportation 

 5          proceedings or immigration proceedings.  Has 

 6          your agency calculated what the potential 

 7          costs of that would be to the state if we 

 8          were going to implement extended foster care 

 9          in those situations?

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yeah, I'm 

11          not familiar with that legislation that you 

12          reference, Assemblyman.  But any information 

13          that I can provide to your office outside of 

14          the hearing, I'd be happy to do that.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  That's great.

16                 By the way, it's Assembly A339.

17                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Okay.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  The second 

19          question I had, as you know, we made a 

20          commitment as part of raising the age to 

21          reimburse counties a hundred percent of the 

22          cost of implementation, but there was a 

23          caveat.  And that is that it would only apply 

24          to those counties that were under their tax 


 1          cap or facing fiscal hardship.  

 2                 Can you give me an idea how many 

 3          counties are over their tax cap?  And what 

 4          would be the fiscal implementation if we 

 5          eliminated that restriction on reimbursement?

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So it is 

 7          my understanding, Assemblyman, that there are 

 8          very, very few counties, based upon the last 

 9          county-enacted budget, that are not complying 

10          with the tax cap.  

11                 And further, you know, it's the 

12          intention of the appropriation language in 

13          Raise the Age that even if they are, that 

14          they can appeal and apply for a hardship 

15          waiver, you know, to discuss how 

16          implementation of the Raise the Age, among 

17          other factors and variables going on at the 

18          county level, you know, requires them to need 

19          additional state support in order to 

20          implement Raise the Age.

21                 So the appropriation language that's 

22          in the bill is very specific and detailed 

23          with respect to the kinds of incremental 

24          Raise the Age costs that we want counties to 


 1          put down in their plan.  That plan will be 

 2          reviewed by the state agencies who are 

 3          involved in implementing Raise the Age, and 

 4          that plan will be subject to final approval 

 5          by the State Division of the Budget director.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  My concern, of 

 7          course is if a county's facing fiscal 

 8          stress -- and maybe not at a hardship level, 

 9          but a fiscal stress -- and can't stay below 

10          the cap, then it's a double whammy to the 

11          taxpayers, because not only do the taxpayers 

12          have to pay more than the tax cap, but we 

13          also cut our funding to them for some of 

14          these critical services.

15                 So I would appreciate your comments.  

16          My questioning is out of time, but I would 

17          appreciate your comments on how many counties 

18          have applied and received a waiver and what 

19          the fiscal impact would be if we eliminated 

20          that cap reference.

21                 Thank you, by the way, for your 

22          testimony.  

23                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Of course.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.


 1                 Our next speaker is Senator Felder.

 2                 SENATOR FELDER:  Good morning.  I just 

 3          want -- I have no question, I just wanted to 

 4          take the opportunity to thank you.  It 

 5          seems -- I used to chair Children and 

 6          Families, and since I no longer chair it, I 

 7          think the agency has been doing a lot better.

 8                 (Laughter.)

 9                 SENATOR FELDER:  So I wanted to just 

10          take the opportunity to thank you and your 

11          staff for some of the issues that we've been 

12          working on recently.

13                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I 

14          appreciate your comment, Senator, and we look 

15          forward to continuing our work with your 

16          office.  So thank you.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, Senator.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblywoman 

19          Lupardo.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Yes, thank you 

21          very much.  Commissioner, it's nice to see 

22          you. 

23                 A comment and a quick question.  I 

24          mean, it's just really great to see our 


 1          attitudes about childcare evolving so that 

 2          it's no longer just segmented into this one 

 3          area, that we really see it as an economic 

 4          development issue, that we're having a bunch 

 5          of people at the table, and I trust business 

 6          folks will be at this task force as well.  

 7          That was really important to us.

 8                 And it dovetails so well into our 

 9          antipoverty initiative.  And childcare is 

10          just so central.  Workforce 

11          development challenges -- I'm preaching to 

12          the choir.  So congratulations, and we're 

13          really looking forward to being involved with 

14          that.  And I'm glad you're going to be, as 

15          you said, cochairing that.

16                 I have one question about 

17          after-school.  Last year the Empire State 

18          After-School Program allocated a nice amount 

19          of money -- unfortunately, a federal poverty 

20          standard was used that allowed for the City 

21          of Binghamton, for example, to eligible, yet 

22          Johnson City and Endicott, which are right on 

23          their borders, weren't eligible but for a few 

24          dollars' difference in their poverty 


 1          standards.

 2                 So it was very tough, because it's an 

 3          urban center that shares very common 

 4          challenges and a high level of poverty, so we 

 5          were surprised.  

 6                 Just curious if you know how this 

 7          expanded version will impact school districts 

 8          that weren't eligible last time.  It does 

 9          expand to nonprofits and school districts.

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  You know, 

11          I appreciate your comments, Assemblywoman.  

12          You know, the funding actually comes through 

13          the State Education Department and is 

14          suballocated to OCFS.  So we've worked very 

15          closely with the State Education Department.

16                 I don't have a specific answer to your 

17          question, but I'm happy now that we will have 

18          this opportunity, hopefully, to have an 

19          additional $10 million really to explore what 

20          other options there are in terms of the 

21          poverty index.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Yeah, I would 

23          implore you to look at how that's being 

24          calculated so that some districts that really 


 1          are so well deserving and who are very poor 

 2          districts would be eligible this time.  So 

 3          that's all.

 4                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Appreciate 

 5          your comments.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Thank you.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senate?

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Our next speaker is 

 9          Senator James Tedisco, who is chair of the 

10          Social Services Committee.

11                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Thank you, 

12          Commissioner, for being here, and thank you 

13          for your testimony.

14                 Just getting back to foster care, 

15          child placement, you mentioned nationally 

16          it's up about -- I don't think you did the 

17          statistics -- about 8 percent over 400,000 

18          placements.  But one of the things they cite 

19          as a reason that has increased from 2012 to 

20          2015 -- about 28 percent, they project, in 

21          2012 up to about 32 percent -- the reasoning 

22          was parental opiate addiction.  

23                 Now, you say we've reduced in terms of 

24          child placement in foster care.  But do you 


 1          have any numbers or percentages in terms of 

 2          the opiate addiction as being a reason for 

 3          any placements in New York State?

 4                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes.  So 

 5          it is true that while our foster care numbers 

 6          are down across the state, that there are 

 7          certainly some counties in particular who are 

 8          seeing an uptick in foster care placements, 

 9          really directly related to the opioid crisis.

10                 We've also seen at the State Central 

11          Registry -- so that's our hotline that we 

12          process about 300,000 calls a year of 

13          suspected abuse or maltreatment -- that the 

14          percentage of allegations related to 

15          substance abuse -- and again, we do not list 

16          every type of drug, but just generally -- we 

17          can see that the percentage of allegations of 

18          maltreatment or neglect related to parental 

19          substance abuse, and I think by extension the 

20          opioid crisis, is also up.

21                 So yes, it is absolutely, as we all 

22          know and read in the papers, unfortunately, 

23          here every day in New York, that that is 

24          being felt among the child protective system 


 1          in a number of counties across the state.

 2                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  And why would you 

 3          project that it's also going up nationally, 

 4          going up in New York State, that there's an 

 5          increase in that addiction being a reason?

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  What I 

 7          thought you were asking me, Senator, is if 

 8          counties are experiencing, you know, an 

 9          impact of opioids in the child welfare 

10          system.  

11                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Yes.

12                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  And the 

13          answer to that is yes.

14                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  And why would that 

15          be?

16                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  But even 

17          with that, overall the number of children 

18          entering foster care is not rising.  So that 

19          means that counties, when they're -- when 

20          families who are struggling with addiction 

21          and who have a child, and there's a concern 

22          about how the parent is caring for them, that 

23          rather than them just, you know, coming into 

24          foster care, that they are bringing services 


 1          or getting mom or dad into treatment, right, 

 2          to keep the child out of foster care.  

 3                 Which I think is -- it speaks to the 

 4          array of community-based services that we 

 5          have in New York State that many other 

 6          states, frankly, do not enjoy.

 7                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  So the addiction is 

 8          increasing, but the dealing with it is better 

 9          in terms of --

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Exactly.  

11          Exactly right, Senator.  

12                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  -- working with it.  

13          Well, credit us for that.

14                 Just -- can I get back to the 

15          cost-of-living adjustment that the Governor 

16          continues and the second floor and the Budget 

17          continues not to put in the -- denies the 

18          appropriations.

19                 How many direct care workers does this 

20          affect, do you think, the lack of 

21          cost-of-living adjustments?

22                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I don't 

23          have an exact figure, Senator.

24                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  You realize that 


 1          we're -- although we've given a very large 

 2          middle-class tax cut, we're the 

 3          third-largest-taxed state in the nation.  Our 

 4          budget is probably going to be beyond 

 5          $160 billion this year.  And one of the 

 6          executive orders that came from the second 

 7          floor was to give -- and I have nothing 

 8          against a good minimum wage for fast-food 

 9          workers, but in a couple of years it will be 

10          up beyond $15 or at $15.  

11                 And the unintended consequences of 

12          that are difficulties finding direct care 

13          workers to stay in employment who are trained 

14          very well to take care of some of the clients 

15          that we're concerned about.  In fact, they're 

16          leaving to sit at cash registers at the 

17          fast-food organizations.  They're getting 

18          burnout.  

19                 We're not sure some of our clients are 

20          being cared for because of the challenge of 

21          keeping, finding and having direct care 

22          workers.  Do you find that to be problem now?  

23          And what do we tell young people who may want 

24          to get into the human service field in this 


 1          industry who are looking at the fact that the 

 2          salaries are where they are and we're doing 

 3          executive orders to give fast-food workers 

 4          $15?  I don't know if we're really walking 

 5          the walk but talking the talk here, it seems 

 6          to me.  

 7                 Do you see that impacting us being 

 8          able to get and retain workers in the field 

 9          of human services?

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yeah, I 

11          mean I think that, you know, there are a 

12          number of industries that are impacted.  And 

13          human services is a very tough -- it's a 

14          noble business that we're all in, but it's 

15          tough work.  And so, you know, absent the 

16          direct care raise impacting OCFS, we, through 

17          our typical rate structure -- so we pay our 

18          providers through what's called an MSAR.  So 

19          last year -- and it is our plan to continue 

20          to do it this year, to provide cost-of-living 

21          increases again through that rate to the 

22          provider.

23                 So again, you know, I think, Senator, 

24          it's one of those situations where we're 


 1          always doing things, in addition to passing 

 2          along rate increases or more money, trying to 

 3          promote a path of staff development, of 

 4          additional training, of providing trauma 

 5          supports to staff who find themselves in very 

 6          difficult situations with families.  

 7                 So again, there's always more work to 

 8          be done, unfortunately.  You know, Senator, 

 9          given our current fiscal environment and all 

10          the other things we have to do, it's been a 

11          challenge to get there.

12                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Yeah.  I understand 

13          our fiscal environment.  A part of that is 

14          we're hoisted on our own petard.  you know, 

15          45 other states aren't really bothered by 

16          what's happening at the federal government, 

17          and that's problematic for us.  But even when 

18          we have a difficult budget year, projected 

19          deficits, I think we have an obligation as 

20          public servants to start any budget with our 

21          most vulnerable.  And in the human service 

22          area, in many instances, we're dealing with 

23          the most vulnerable who need our assistance.

24                 So I think those salaries need to be 


 1          enhanced.  I think we do need a 

 2          cost-of-living adjustment.  And I think it 

 3          doesn't bode well for us to send a message 

 4          that -- although don't get me wrong, any job 

 5          is an important job.  But these people are 

 6          trained, they're caring for our most 

 7          vulnerable.  I think they love to do the work 

 8          they do.  If they didn't have families, they 

 9          wouldn't be sitting at cash registers at 

10          fast-food places, they'd be staying in the 

11          business of serving the people that we should 

12          start any budget to take care of and then 

13          move from there.

14                 So that's just my opinion on the whole 

15          thing.  Thank you so much for what you do for 

16          what you have, though.  Appreciate it.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

18          Hevesi.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Good morning, 

20          Commissioner.

21                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Good 

22          morning.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  How are you?

24                 So let me start here.  Two years ago 


 1          we sat in these exact same seats and while at 

 2          the time I believe I was right on the merits, 

 3          my tone was way out of line, I was actually 

 4          nasty when I questioned you.  I apologized 

 5          the next day.  I think every time I've seen 

 6          you since, I've apologized.

 7                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  You have.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  This will be the 

 9          last time I apologize.  But on the record, I 

10          was wrong and I'm sorry.  I just wanted to 

11          get that on the record.

12                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, 

13          that's very gracious of you.  Thank you.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I'm maturing.  

15          I'm trying.

16                 (Laughter.)

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  But what I was 

18          doing wrong two years ago I believe is going 

19          after you for something that was not your 

20          decision.  

21                 So I am going to make a distinction 

22          here today because the problem I have is I 

23          feel it's my responsibility, as Social 

24          Services chair, to give a macro-picture of 


 1          the budget -- and this goes for my friends at 

 2          OTDA as well; I'm going to have to do this as 

 3          well for them -- give a macro-picture of the 

 4          budget that sort of gets us to where we are 

 5          with these particular cuts.  

 6                 And my questions to you will be about 

 7          preventative services and Close to Home.  But 

 8          I need to get this out, I feel, on the 

 9          record.  It's important for people to 

10          understand the general budget.  And I would 

11          ask you not to defend it.  Out of respect, 

12          please don't defend this.

13                 So here's where I see the state 

14          budget.  So since Governor Cuomo came into 

15          office, he has imposed what he calls a 

16          2 percent cap.  I believe that cap does three 

17          things.  Number one, it intentionally hurts 

18          the most vulnerable New Yorkers.  Number two, 

19          it explodes taxpayer spending in the 

20          outyears.  We're costing taxpayers way more 

21          money.  And then the third thing it does, it 

22          misleads the public about the consequences of 

23          the first two.

24                 I think Governor Cuomo will be seen, 


 1          by the time he gets done, as one of the most 

 2          fiscally irresponsible governors in the 

 3          history of the State of New York, and let me 

 4          tell you how I get to that.

 5                 So the 65 percent of the state budget 

 6          that is covered by the 2 percent cap works 

 7          this way.  It's only for people -- it's 

 8          education, it's healthcare, it's human 

 9          services and some other things.  Education 

10          and healthcare, by definition, grow at a rate 

11          of 4 percent.  Now remember, you have a 

12          2 percent cap.  Education and healthcare grow 

13          at 4 percent.  As a result, something's got 

14          to be held at zero or get cut.  It's always 

15          human services.  That includes childcare, 

16          that includes the homeless, that includes 

17          human trafficking victims, domestic violence 

18          victims.  It is always those people, the most 

19          vulnerable, the people who can't fight for 

20          themselves, that get hurt.

21                 Your agency has been cut, since 

22          Governor Cuomo took office, by 16 percent, in 

23          my estimation -- or maybe that's what OTDA 

24          is, and I think you're comparable.  The most 


 1          vulnerable New Yorkers are always getting 

 2          hurt.

 3                 Plus -- let me get to this other part 

 4          and then I'll get to your questions.  I'm 

 5          sorry, just let me get this out.  So that's 

 6          the part about intentionally hurting the most 

 7          vulnerable New Yorkers.

 8                 On the flip side, we are spending at 

 9          rates that are not at 2 percent.  If you look 

10          at the Daily News today, the Citizens Budget 

11          Commission actually has an article that says 

12          we are spending, in this budget, at 

13          4 percent.  And last year we spent at 

14          5 percent.  And the reason we do that is the 

15          Governor cost-shifts.  So he pretends that 

16          we're not spending certain items -- he moves 

17          them from the 65 percent that he counts to 

18          the other 35 percent he doesn't count.  It is 

19          a budget gimmick.  We're actually spending at 

20          5 percent.

21                 Plus, Governor Cuomo is the only 

22          Governor in the history of the State of 

23          New York that doesn't count tax expenditures 

24          as spending.  He has increased tax 


 1          expenditures by $1.5 billion since he came 

 2          into office.

 3                 Plus, capital expenditures -- and this 

 4          is a judgment that the Governor makes, 

 5          everybody can make their own opinion about 

 6          it -- he's spent more on capital than any 

 7          Governor in the history of the State of 

 8          New York.  Anyone.

 9                 So we are intentionally hurting poor 

10          people, we are blowing expenditures to 

11          taxpayers, and then we're misleading the 

12          public saying we have a 2 percent cap when 

13          the 2 percent cap, in my estimation, is a 

14          fraud.

15                 Okay.  I bring that here as a context 

16          for this backdrop for the decisions that we 

17          have to make at the human services table, 

18          which are very difficult.  And they're always 

19          cuts.

20                 Now let me get to the specific one, 

21          and I want to make sure my tone is 

22          appropriate this time.  The one that is 

23          scaring me the most is preventative services.  

24          And feel free to jump in now because you know 


 1          this much better than I do.  But here's where 

 2          I'm really nervous.

 3                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Mm-hmm.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  In 1995, Governor 

 5          Pataki block-granted what your -- a similar 

 6          proposal, he did the same thing in 1995.  The 

 7          result was the United Way of New York City 

 8          had the citizens committee for children 

 9          publish a study that actually says in the two 

10          years since the implementation of the block 

11          grant, reports of abuse and neglect have 

12          increased, the number of children entering 

13          foster care has begun to climb, children 

14          entering care are reported to be more 

15          severely disturbed and suffering from more 

16          profound emotional and behavioral problems 

17          that require more extensive services.

18                 So the block-granting, by definition, 

19          takes away from money from preventive 

20          services that stop kids from getting into 

21          foster care.  So that policy scares me.

22                 The state woke up, and I will point to 

23          a study by OCFS, if I can find it -- there we 

24          are -- that was done in June of 2002 where we 


 1          woke up and realized that, you know what, 

 2          block-granting is a mistake, and we changed 

 3          the policy and implemented landmark 

 4          legislation.  It's called, according to OCFS, 

 5          the Child Welfare Financing Act.  And that 

 6          allowed uninterrupted expenditures reimbursed 

 7          at 65 percent to the state.  And as a result, 

 8          the localities have been putting in money to 

 9          preventive services.  And that system has 

10          worked.  And that's why you were able to say, 

11          hey, we've dropped the number of foster care 

12          kids.  It's a good system.  

13                 So my question to you is -- and I'll 

14          have a number of questions -- why would we go 

15          back to a capped system when we have evidence 

16          that it didn't work in the past?

17                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So first 

18          of all, Assemblyman, I appreciate your 

19          comments and your passion for our work in 

20          human services.  I have to disagree with your 

21          characterization of the budget cuts to OCFS 

22          and the 17 percent.  You know, I think the 

23          fact pattern there is that in large part 

24          those cuts were due to the fact that your 


 1          juvenile justice system had downsized quite a 

 2          bit, so we went through a couple of years 

 3          where we actually closed a number of 

 4          facilities across the state and accrued a lot 

 5          of savings.

 6                 There's also been changes in terms of 

 7          ITS and other initiatives where there have 

 8          been transfers of staff.  So I just wanted 

 9          to --

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  That's fine.

11                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  -- 

12          respond, you know, to that.

13                 With respect to the preventive service 

14          funding, just to be clear, what is proposed 

15          being capped in this year's budget pertains 

16          only to New York City for preventive service 

17          funding.  So the rest of the state is not 

18          included in that.

19                 And quite honestly, and I know you 

20          probably won't like this answer, Assemblyman, 

21          but the truth of the matter is that the state 

22          is facing a multi-billion-dollar deficit 

23          while the city is right now enjoying a 

24          multi-billion-dollar surplus.  And for the 


 1          past five years, with respect to New York 

 2          City's preventive services, you know, we have 

 3          put in -- and again, this is a state-share 

 4          increase only -- in the past five years, 

 5          $82 million to New York City alone, to 

 6          support its 62 percent share.

 7                 The other thing I would say is that 

 8          the projected -- when you look at New York 

 9          City's claims for preventive services in the 

10          past five years, their rate of growth has 

11          slowed considerably, so that the $320 million 

12          cap that's proposed in the budget for 

13          New York City, based upon all the financial 

14          information that we have available, should 

15          not result in any cut to New York City's 

16          services to kids and families this year.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Okay.  So a 

18          couple of things.  First, I appreciate your 

19          defense of the overall budget.  We're going 

20          to agree to disagree, and I'll move on, for 

21          both of our sakes.

22                 As for the cut specifically to 

23          New York City, a couple of things scare me.  

24          Number one, I'm afraid that it fits a fact 


 1          pattern of being punitive to New York City.  

 2          I understand that they are a financial 

 3          engine.  I'm from the city, I get that.  And 

 4          in certain circumstances I appreciate the 

 5          fact that the city might have to pick up 

 6          more.  But this is an across the board, 

 7          constant hit.  Every year the Governor's 

 8          trying to make the city pick up more as he 

 9          gets out of the business of funding programs 

10          for the most vulnerable.

11                 I'm also afraid of this being the 

12          beginning of a trend that you cap New York 

13          City this year, and then you move on to 

14          upstate counties next year.  

15                 And then I guess just as a 

16          clarification, I understand that your budget 

17          language, as far as I can tell, caps 

18          preventative services.  But what about 

19          protective -- adoption subsidies, after-care 

20          subsidies, and independent living?

21                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So that's 

22          all included in the 62/38 reimbursement.  But 

23          again, that cap only pertains to New York 

24          City.  So there should be no change for the 


 1          rest of the state.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  But they will be 

 3          capped, right?  These programs will now be 

 4          capped when they weren't capped before.

 5                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  No.  No, 

 6          no, no.  No, not rest of state.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Not rest of 

 8          state, only in the city.

 9                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Right.  

10          The 62/38 remains open-ended, uncapped, as it 

11          has been for a number of years now for 

12          everyone else in the state under the proposed 

13          budget.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Right.  But 

15          New York City, all of those five areas will 

16          be capped.

17                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  At 

18          $320 million for this year.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Okay.  And the 

20          reason why the cap in 1995 failed is because 

21          of the lack of reimbursement from the state.  

22          What we found was the city, in this example, 

23          will cut back funds.  The providers will try 

24          to pick up the slack as much as they can; 


 1          they won't be able to.  And let me just put a 

 2          face on this, and you know this way better 

 3          than I do.  The preventative services are the 

 4          way to get the kids from not going into the 

 5          foster care system.  That's -- it's smart 

 6          government.  It's how you catch a disease 

 7          early, and you help people before it 

 8          metastasizes into a disease.

 9                 So I just -- I question the rationale 

10          of going back to that system even though I 

11          acknowledge a tough financial time.  And even 

12          though we agree about how we got to the tough 

13          financial time, I think it really is scaring 

14          me and the providers, and I just want to be 

15          on record.  I would caution you, please be 

16          cautious about this.  If this serves as a 

17          mechanism to stop kids getting preventative 

18          services in New York State, that's a really 

19          big problem.

20                 And I know I'm out of time, but I'm 

21          just going to throw in one more question.  If 

22          you can jump on it, I'd appreciate it.

23                 (Inaudible comment from panel.)

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I'm done.


 1                 (Laughter.)

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Thank you, 

 3          Commissioner.

 4                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Thank you, 

 5          Assemblyman.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  Our 

 7          next speaker is Senator Roxanne Persaud, who 

 8          is ranking member on Social Services.

 9                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Thank you very much.

10                 Good morning, Commissioner.  It's 

11          always great to see you.

12                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Good 

13          morning.

14                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Following up on the 

15          Assemblymember's question about the 

16          cost-shift from New York City, is it true 

17          that the New York City capital results in you 

18          saving $17 million?  And where are you 

19          shifting the $17 million?

20                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So I'm not 

21          sure of the figure that you're referring to, 

22          Senator.  But, you know, just to repeat what 

23          I just said Assemblyman Hevesi, you know, 

24          while the fiscal times were better in New 


 1          York State, the state upheld its share of the 

 2          62 percent reimbursement to New York City at 

 3          a very robust rate for the past five years, 

 4          as I said, you know, for $84.5 million.  

 5                 Given the state's fiscal picture and 

 6          the fact that the city is enjoying a surplus, 

 7          we have to look at the state as a whole 

 8          picture.  And so we are holding the line on 

 9          the spending for New York City's preventive 

10          services at $320 million for this year, in 

11          the context of the overall state climate.

12                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  The city may be 

13          holding, you know -- may seem robust that 

14          they have a lot of funding in reserves, but 

15          the city still has a lot to do.  So by taking 

16          away, you're asking the city to shift funds 

17          because the state sees it fit that New York 

18          City, because the economy is booming, the 

19          state sees it fit to take away from New York 

20          City.

21                 I don't understand that formula.  

22          You're taking away from disadvantaged kids 

23          when you're doing that.  Did you have a 

24          discussion with the city when you decided 


 1          that you were going to shift the cost -- the 

 2          funding from the city?

 3                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, 

 4          that's really for the city to decide, 

 5          Senator, given, you know, the fact that in 

 6          the past the city has put in some of its own 

 7          additional funds for child welfare services, 

 8          which we have matched, you know, with the 

 9          62 percent state share.

10                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  But they have to 

11          take it away from something else --

12                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Mm-hmm.  

13          Yup.

14                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  -- to put it in.

15                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, they 

16          have a considerable surplus, Senator, with 

17          all due respect.

18                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  You know, we're 

19          talking about the state, we're going, We have 

20          this, you know, shortfall, but we're spending 

21          a lot more money also.  So we're spending a 

22          lot more money, our budget is going to be 

23          larger.  Why are we taking away from New York 

24          City?


 1                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I think 

 2          because of the state's fiscal situation being 

 3          what it is, that we are at a deficit at the 

 4          state level.  And the city is at a 

 5          significant surplus, and it's a rebalancing 

 6          of the city-state fiscal relationship in the 

 7          context of where we are currently.

 8                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Again, where are you 

 9          shifting the money that would have been 

10          allocated to New York City?  Who are you 

11          shifting it to?

12                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  It's a 

13          cost avoidance.  It's not taking that money 

14          and putting it into someplace else, it's not 

15          spending it in the first instance, where you 

16          might have.

17                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Okay.  Another 

18          thing, talking about the COLA.  Has the 

19          Governor considered increasing the value of 

20          the contracts to help the nonprofits with 

21          their wages for workers?

22                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I'm sorry, 

23          Senator, can you repeat that?

24                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Have you considered 


 1          increasing the value of the contracts to help 

 2          nonprofits in their wages?

 3                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, as I 

 4          said earlier, at OCFS -- I can only speak for 

 5          my agency --

 6                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Yeah, we are 

 7          speaking of your agency.

 8                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  What we've 

 9          tried to do, Senator, is when we have rates 

10          that are coming up for renewal, that we have 

11          been able to, in the past year, build into 

12          those rates cost-of-living increases that the 

13          providers can pass along to their workers.  

14          And again, that's what we've been able to do 

15          and that's what we hope to continue to do.

16                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Well, we're really 

17          not doing that, because the nonprofits cannot 

18          afford to pay their workers adequately.  And 

19          so you have people -- they can't keep the 

20          staff, because you're not paying them.  

21          You're not giving them the funding.  How do 

22          we correct that?

23                 (Applause from audience.)

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Excuse me.  


 1          Excuse me.  People need to restrain 

 2          themselves.  Just smile.  

 3                 (Laughter.)

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Big smiles.  

 5          We'll see it from here.

 6                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Again, could you 

 7          say -- how do we correct that?

 8                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  You know, 

 9          Senator, you make good points.  I mean, you 

10          know, we understand the challenges that we 

11          have with the workforce.

12                 What I can say to you today is within 

13          my agency and with our means, we do our very 

14          best in recognition of the incredibly hard 

15          work that direct care staff do, to pass along 

16          the cost-of-living increases to them.

17                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  So my final 

18          question -- I know my time is running out -- 

19          so the kid is coming out of college now who 

20          wants to go into social services.  Are you 

21          telling them it's okay because we will 

22          provide them with an adequate salary?  Are 

23          we?  Can we comfortably say that, telling a 

24          kid coming out of college, it is okay, we'll 


 1          provide a salary? 

 2                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  My advice 

 3          would be yes, it is.  Because it's noble and 

 4          important work that we do here in New York 

 5          State, Senator.

 6                 SENATOR PERSAUD:  Thank you.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Mr. Oaks.  

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Yes, we've been 

 9          joined by Assemblyman Byrne.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I have a 

11          question, also talking about reimbursements 

12          to the City of New York.  

13                 Five years ago the state authorized 

14          that New York City's children currently 

15          residing in or entering into court-ordered 

16          placements, as adjudicated as JDs statewide, 

17          close to their home communities.  Why does 

18          the Executive Budget eliminate the state's 

19          commitment to the Close to Home program in 

20          terms of New York City's $41 million cut, 

21          while at the same time continuing to 

22          reauthorize Close to Home?

23                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  You know, 

24          I think, Assemblywoman, it gets back to the 


 1          fiscal reality.  We are in support of the 

 2          Close to Home program.  We have submitted an 

 3          extender of the program.  But in light of the 

 4          state-city fiscal issues that we've just 

 5          spent time talking about, you know, we're 

 6          unable to continue the same level of fiscal 

 7          support that we have had to the city in the 

 8          past.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  It's not just 

10          not the same level, it's a total elimination 

11          of the funding.  And if we start adding up 

12          all of these failures -- these retrenchments 

13          of reimbursement, the number starts to get 

14          very large, coupled with some of the funding 

15          restrictions put on the city that the mayor 

16          outlined here yesterday.

17                 I think -- and thank you, is there a 

18          Senate --

19                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Yes.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay, the 

21          Senate.

22                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

23                 Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

24                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Oh, yes.  Thank 


 1          you.

 2                 Good morning, Commissioner.

 3                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Good 

 4          morning, Senator.

 5                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Good to see you 

 6          again.

 7                 I'm going to ask you about Raise the 

 8          Age a little bit and Ella McQueen as well.

 9                 So it was our hope that as we looked 

10          to do Raise the Age, it was really a movement 

11          by our state toward looking at young people a 

12          little bit differently.  That was hopefully 

13          what we were aiming to do.  And so the change 

14          in Raise the Age would have theoretically, 

15          should theoretically result in decreasing 

16          incarceration of juveniles, young people, 16, 

17          17, 18.

18                 But in order to do that, it is also my 

19          assumption that we need quite a bit of 

20          support for the localities, for 

21          organizations, to be able to change the way 

22          that we deal with young people.  And I note 

23          in your statement you talk about diversion 

24          and probation and programming.


 1                 So my question to you is, what is the 

 2          nexus between Raise the Age as a concept, as 

 3          a way of looking at young people, Close to 

 4          Home, as a way of making sure that whatever 

 5          we do with them, they are able to stay in or 

 6          close to their communities and their 

 7          families -- and how do you coordinate the 

 8          agencies that will be involved with that to 

 9          make sure that we're moving in the direction 

10          of reducing juvenile incarceration by 

11          increasing the opportunities for them to have 

12          early intervention, to have much more 

13          support, to have the kinds of activities that 

14          hopefully divert them from negative 

15          involvement and engagement?

16                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  That's a 

17          very thoughtful question, Senator.  And I 

18          think that's exactly what we're endeavoring 

19          to do as we are planning for the 

20          implementation of phase 1 of Raise the Age.

21                 So one of the things that the enacted 

22          bill does allow for is that there are 

23          adjustment and diversion services that will 

24          be available for 16- and 17-year-olds in a 


 1          way that they are currently not available for 

 2          young people who are in front of the criminal 

 3          court system.  So part of that $100 million 

 4          appropriation is intended to, to your point 

 5          of local planning, to allow localities among 

 6          the stakeholders -- probation, social 

 7          services, the not-for-profits, the sheriffs, 

 8          the court system, everyone who it takes, 

 9          right, to serve these young people, and to 

10          create a local plan.  

11                 So what diversion or adjustment 

12          services might they need to work with the 16- 

13          and 17-year-olds so that they are not 

14          penetrating through into detention or into, 

15          you know, one of the placement services?  And 

16          that's one of the great things that I think 

17          we have an opportunity to do here in 

18          New York, is it's wonderful that we'll no 

19          longer be putting 16- and 17-year-olds in 

20          jails, right, or in prisons, but that it 

21          opens up a whole new opportunity of not just 

22          building more juvenile beds, but building 

23          more diversion and after-care and community 

24          support opportunities -- which we know, from 


 1          the data in New York State, you know, the 

 2          arrest trajectory for 16- and 17-year-olds 

 3          has been on a steady decline, and we hope 

 4          that that will continue.  

 5                 But part of our strategy with the 

 6          available Raise the Age money is not just 

 7          building new detention beds or just OCFS 

 8          facilities, but we know these kids eventually 

 9          go back to communities, and that's really 

10          where the best investments are.

11                 So that's what we're hoping to see as 

12          the local county plans start to come forward 

13          and we can make those funding decisions.

14                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  I appreciate that 

15          very much, and I hope that we can at some 

16          point find out what kinds of organizations, 

17          the not-for-profit organizations, you may be 

18          looking at and what they're doing and how you 

19          can be much more involved in providing 

20          support so that they can do more for young 

21          people at an earlier point.

22                 Now, you -- the Executive proposes to 

23          eliminate $41.4 million in Close to Home 

24          reimbursement.  So how is it that we're 


 1          eliminating funding for the thing that will 

 2          help us reach the goal of the RTA, Raise the 

 3          Age program?

 4                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So, 

 5          Senator, my response is similar to what I've 

 6          said before.  It gets really back 

 7          fundamentally to the fact that the state has 

 8          a significant --

 9                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Specifically for 

10          New York City.

11                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Right.  

12                 -- a significant budget deficit, while 

13          the city has a significant surplus.  And 

14          given that Close to Home serves exclusively 

15          New York City's children, that we believe, 

16          now that it's no longer a pilot program, that 

17          we're putting in, right, an Article VII bill 

18          to make it permanent, that the city now has 

19          the financial resources and means to wholly 

20          own it programmatically and fiscally.

21                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  All right.  

22          Obviously I disagree with you.  However -- my 

23          time is up?  I don't have any time.

24                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  You can do a second 


 1          round.

 2                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Let me just say 

 3          this quickly.  Ella McQueen is in my 

 4          district, and I've been talking to people at 

 5          the city, they're very interested in 

 6          negotiating with you to be able to utilize 

 7          Ella McQueen in the same way that you have 

 8          been doing, that you no longer will be doing, 

 9          but the city would like to do that.

10                 So I'm going to want to know where you 

11          are in those negotiations.

12                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So Ella 

13          McQueen has been an important OCFS asset for 

14          many, many years.  But getting back to the 

15          point I made earlier, Senator, just the 

16          number of children coming into the system has 

17          really dropped, and on an average we've had 

18          between 5 and 7 young people in that facility 

19          with 60 staff, almost.  So it's really, you 

20          know, a cost to taxpayers -- several million 

21          dollars a year -- that given our deficit, we 

22          need to use for a different purpose.

23                 So our focus is really making sure 

24          that we take care of the young people who are 


 1          there now as we transition and close the 

 2          agency, as well as making sure that we find 

 3          landing spots for the 58 staff who work at 

 4          Ella McQueen.  And we are ready, in 

 5          partnership with Civil Service, to activate 

 6          all of the options and resources that we have 

 7          available to make sure that there are no 

 8          layoffs for the staff there.

 9                 So that's my consideration right now.  

10          I'm focused on the people and the kids; we 

11          are not focused on the building that's left.  

12          And I'm sure those conversations will be 

13          happening at another time.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

15                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  I would like very 

16          much to know where that goes, the 

17          conversation.  The transfer of that facility 

18          is going to be very important.

19                 Thank you.  

20                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, 

21          Senator.  

22                 We've been joined actually a while 

23          ago, I didn't see her out of the corner of my 

24          eye, by our deputy speaker, Earlene Hooper.


 1                 And now for the second round of 

 2          questions, to Assemblywoman Jaffee.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you.  

 4          Thank you.  There are several questions that 

 5          I had that I wasn't able to respond earlier 

 6          to questioning.

 7                 I just want to follow up on the Ella 

 8          McQueen Center.  They do the evaluations, 

 9          they do evaluations, evaluating youth, 

10          something that I used to do when I was an 

11          educator.  I did educational evaluations.  

12          The question is, since this site is closing 

13          down, how will you then transfer the function 

14          of actually evaluating the youth once it's 

15          closed?

16                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So it's a 

17          great question.  And, you know, we have -- I 

18          can assure you, Assemblywoman, that we have, 

19          within the rest of OCFS's system, certainly 

20          adequate capacity to provide those same 

21          assessment services that kids, frankly, today 

22          are now traveling from Erie County and 

23          Buffalo and Monroe County all the way down to 

24          Brooklyn, you know, for a two-week stay to 


 1          get these assessments before they land in 

 2          their OCFS placement.  So it doesn't really 

 3          make sense as a practical matter.

 4                 So we -- because we have been building 

 5          up our own state system, we've done a lot of 

 6          transformation of our own model within OCFS's 

 7          programs.  We have a lot more clinicians and 

 8          clinical staff, so we have the capacity to 

 9          really replace those reception services 

10          within the greater OCFS system.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Do we have 

12          enough -- is there enough staff, those who 

13          are educated in evaluation and assessment, 

14          actually significant numbers?  I mean, 

15          they're also counseling and mental health 

16          services, is the discussion we've had, that 

17          our -- it's problematic because we don't have 

18          enough youth going into those careers.

19                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  You know, 

20          there may be some of the tests that require a 

21          licensed psychologist, Assemblywoman.  And so 

22          I can assure you we are going to maintain 

23          doing the same assessments that we've done, 

24          where we don't have a licensed psychologist 


 1          on staff, we have plenty of contracting 

 2          capacity where we tap into for those 

 3          specialized services.

 4                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you.

 5                 Now, the families we discussed that 

 6          receive subsidized care for their children, 

 7          their funding streams are usually -- many are 

 8          associated with the facilitated enrollment, 

 9          childcare, and also SUNY/CUNY issues in terms 

10          of the childcare providers there, which I 

11          think are essential.

12                 So otherwise, you know, this is going 

13          to eliminate, since those programs are 

14          eliminated, how are we going to then continue 

15          the subsidies for these families?

16                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, 

17          Assemblywoman, I think as you are aware, 

18          those programs have never been in the 

19          Executive Budget, those have been adds by the 

20          Legislature.  And so that's continuing the 

21          case in this year's proposed budget.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  One more 

23          question, I wanted to follow up on the foster 

24          care issue.  


 1                 When I had the hearing regarding 

 2          foster care and kinship care, and with some 

 3          of the meetings I've had with members of the 

 4          communities throughout -- in various areas in 

 5          the state, one of the issues that has come up 

 6          is that there seemed to have been a cut in 

 7          foster care funding, so our counties really 

 8          didn't have the funds to be able to then 

 9          support foster care programs.  So there was 

10          pushback for families who were seeking foster 

11          care.  And there was very little information 

12          being provided -- there is very little 

13          information being provided by the counties to 

14          the communities regarding that.  And even 

15          those who had -- were involved with kinship 

16          care, wanting to move to foster care, they 

17          were getting pushback as well.

18                 So that's a problem, both in awareness 

19          and it's something that I'm -- you're to be 

20          focusing on, and maybe we can work together 

21          in terms of the counties sharing information 

22          about foster care and kinship and the 

23          services that are provided.  And then, of 

24          course, provide more funding to be able to 


 1          assist that, as well as the sharing that 

 2          families understand what the process is and 

 3          what they can -- what kind of support they 

 4          could get.  That is a major issue, especially 

 5          with the opioid crisis that we've had, in 

 6          terms of so many -- the numbers just really 

 7          are problematic.

 8                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So, 

 9          Assemblywoman, happy to let you know that a 

10          focus on kinship and kin care has been a 

11          priority of ours at OCFS in the past couple 

12          of years.  And I'd like to just share some of 

13          the good things that we are doing and have 

14          done, and some of the results that we're 

15          seeing.  

16                 So we're actually seeing an increase 

17          in kin gap, so the subsidized guardianship 

18          placements were up about 10 percent across 

19          the state last year, so that's good.  

20          Obviously the word is getting out.

21                 And to your point, Assemblywoman, of 

22          families, right, not understanding sort of 

23          the plain language of their legal options, 

24          right, when asked -- I mean, it's 


 1          complicated, right?  When you've been asked 

 2          potentially to care for a child and you've 

 3          got a worker talking to you about direct 

 4          placement, Article 6, 1017, kinship foster 

 5          care, it's a lot to try and take in. 

 6                 So one of the things we've done more 

 7          recently is for potential caregivers and 

 8          relatives to write down "know your options" 

 9          in plain language, so folks sort of in that 

10          heat of the moment of making a decision at 

11          least know, here are some of the options for 

12          you.

13                 We also spend a lot of time meeting 

14          with the kinship advocates.  I know you've 

15          met with many of them too.  And we spend a 

16          lot of time thinking together how we can 

17          better inform the process, you know, through 

18          data.  So last year we made some changes to 

19          our data collection system, and we are now 

20          able to track more clearly and definitively 

21          which counties are using which paths for 

22          families to be involved.  And so when we have 

23          counties who we believe are not appropriately 

24          engaging relatives, offering them kinship 


 1          foster care, we are able to share that data 

 2          with the counties.  

 3                 And something that we've also recently 

 4          done is we are now going to be requiring 

 5          local Departments of Social Services to 

 6          actually think about a specific plan related 

 7          to kinship, to make sure that families who 

 8          step forward with an interest, right, in 

 9          caring for a niece or a nephew or a 

10          grandchild, you know, that they're just not 

11          sent down to Family Court to take an 

12          Article 6 placement without understanding, at 

13          least, all the other options and choices up 

14          to and including kinship foster care and 

15          KinGAP.  

16                 So we are doing a lot of work in this 

17          area.  There's always work to be done.  We 

18          continue to certainly support the Kinship 

19          Navigator, the kinship programs, family 

20          resource centers.  I can sit here before you 

21          and say that I feel like we've put a lot of 

22          good effort into this area of kinship, and I 

23          think good things are going to start to come 

24          out of it.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 2                 Senate?

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Well, let me 

 4          just say thank you, Commissioner, and thank 

 5          you for the roundtables that you did lead in 

 6          the last several months with everyone so that 

 7          we can have the dialogue.  Thank you very 

 8          much.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

10                 Our next speaker is Senator Diane 

11          Savino.

12                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Senator 

13          Young.

14                 Good morning, Commissioner.  Good to 

15          see you.

16                 I'm going to continue on a theme 

17          that's been brought up by several other 

18          members.  As you know, I started my career in 

19          the child welfare system -- in fact, 28 years 

20          ago, at a time when the state was in the 

21          midst of another horrible drug crisis.  Then 

22          it was the crack epidemic, and now it's the 

23          opioid epidemic.  

24                 The difference between then and now, 


 1          though, is never at any point did the State 

 2          of New York say that the children that were 

 3          being served in the City of New York were 

 4          New York City's children.  They're all 

 5          New York State's children.  And there has to 

 6          be a responsibility on the part of the state 

 7          to adequately fund the services.

 8                 A few years ago we asked counties and 

 9          localities to develop a new funding stream, 

10          you know, to be able to provide adequately 

11          for preventive services.  And that has, up 

12          until now, worked fairly well.  So the 

13          proposal now to apply this new 

14          methodology just to the City of New York just 

15          seems somewhat arbitrary and harmful to the 

16          children of the State of New York who happen 

17          to reside in the City of New York.

18                 So I would respectfully request that 

19          the department take a long look at that.  You 

20          know, it's a budget of a hundred and -- I 

21          don't know, 60 billion dollars, if not 

22          more -- I lost track the other day.  But if 

23          we can't find $40 million for the City of 

24          New York to be able to take care of the 


 1          state's children who happen to reside in the 

 2          five boroughs, who are suffering under the 

 3          effects of the opioid abuse epidemic -- and 

 4          we've done such great work in the City of 

 5          New York.  Thirty years ago we would have 

 6          removed all of those children, and they'd be 

 7          in foster care.  Now we understand that 

 8          preventive services works, keep families 

 9          together.

10                 I would respectfully request that the 

11          Governor's office rethink this idea that the 

12          City of New York can fend for itself.

13                 With respect to Close to Home, you 

14          know, you know that in 2012 I introduced the 

15          legislation that created the Close to Home 

16          program, and I was very happy to see the 

17          Governor's office then take it and put it in 

18          the budget, because it really does work.  And 

19          how do I know it works?  In 2012 when we 

20          introduced Close to Home, there were 

21          900 young people incarcerated at Rikers 

22          Island, 16- and 17-year-olds.  Today there 

23          are only 170.  Why?  Because we've turned 

24          them around earlier with direct intervention 


 1          in their own community.  Close to Home works.

 2                 So that's why it's important that we 

 3          continue to fund it at the local level, which 

 4          again is where the majority of the kids who 

 5          are in the program happen to reside.  They 

 6          live in New York City, but they're New York 

 7          State residents. 

 8                 And on Raise the Age, I'm hoping you 

 9          can explain to me how we're going to go 

10          forward on implementing Raise the Age.  And 

11          again, I understand that this is not your -- 

12          you know, you're just the person, the 

13          messenger sent here to explain this.  So we 

14          anticipate that you'll go back and explain 

15          our concern.

16                 Right now -- you know, we took great 

17          pride last year in finally right-sizing our 

18          criminal justice system as it pertains to 

19          young people, hopefully becoming the last 

20          state in the country that incarcerates 16- 

21          and 17-year-olds in adult prisons.  But as we 

22          speak, the City of New York is not prepared 

23          to implement that because there's no 

24          guarantee that they're going to get any 


 1          funding for the implementation of Raise the 

 2          Age, where the majority of the young people 

 3          who would be affected will be.

 4                 So I don't know how we can claim 

 5          credit for being a progressive state and 

 6          saying we're doing right by young people in 

 7          providing them an alternative if we're not 

 8          going to provide the funding to pay for it.  

 9          So there has to be some -- hopefully in the 

10          30-day amendments, an acknowledgement that 

11          the City of New York should not be on the 

12          hook for all of these costs.  Because they're 

13          not just city residents, they are New York 

14          State residents who happen to reside in the 

15          City of New York.  So we really need to take 

16          another look at that.

17                 You and I have spoken also offline 

18          about the tendency in counties outside the 

19          City of New York, upstate, where you're 

20          having a -- as you acknowledge in your own 

21          testimony, a 300 percent increase in calls to 

22          the State Central Registry, and the majority 

23          of them are coming as a result of the opioid 

24          abuse crisis.


 1                 But what we're seeing in counties 

 2          outside the city is that many of these 

 3          children who are being removed from their 

 4          parents are then being dumped on relatives 

 5          without any resources.  I know that later on 

 6          today we're going to hear from the KinGAP 

 7          people, and Gerry Wallace is going to talk 

 8          about it.  And this is a real problem.  

 9          Thirty-five years ago the City of New York 

10          was sued for just that practice, and out of 

11          that lawsuit came the kinship foster care 

12          program.  

13                 So if we're going to drop children on 

14          families in the middle of the night, we have 

15          an obligation to see to it that there's some 

16          security and some permanency and some 

17          services provided to those families.  It's 

18          critically important that we crack down on 

19          counties that are not following the law, that 

20          they're supposed to seek a relative and then 

21          provide services, and we know that's 

22          happening.  

23                 And so I know that was a long 

24          diatribe.  You don't have to answer; you got 


 1          my message, I'm sure.  If you have some 

 2          responses, I'd certainly like to hear them.  

 3          But again, the City of New York cannot be 

 4          treated differently.  Those children are all 

 5          of our children.

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So I guess 

 7          I would say two things, Senator.

 8                 One is that I hope you feel somewhat 

 9          satisfied with the response --

10                 SENATOR SAVINO:  I do.

11                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  -- that I 

12          gave to Assemblywoman Jaffee in response to 

13          the work and the focus on kinship and making 

14          sure that there is not diversion and that 

15          relatives who do step forward are afforded 

16          those opportunities.

17                 In point of fact, on that Raise the 

18          Age, just so everyone does understand that 

19          the appropriation language for the 

20          $100 million does include the option for 

21          New York City to also submit and prepare a 

22          Raise the Age plan outlining its incremental 

23          costs.  They can make their case for the 

24          hardship waiver, which will then, you know, 


 1          be determined by the State Division of the 

 2          Budget.  So the city is welcome, like every 

 3          other county across the state, to submit a 

 4          Raise the Age implementation plan.

 5                 SENATOR SAVINO:  I appreciate that.  

 6          And I know my time is up, but I just want to 

 7          make this point.  

 8                 The statute says that it goes into 

 9          effect October 1st.  The City of New York has 

10          clearly said they will not be ready.  So 

11          something needs to change.  Otherwise, we're 

12          going to have a real problem come October 

13          1st.  There's nowhere, right now, to house 

14          these young people.  If we took them off of 

15          Rikers Island, there's nowhere to put them.  

16                 So we impose this requirement on the 

17          City of New York, I think it's critically 

18          important that we acknowledge that they 

19          should not be left hanging because these are 

20          real lives and real young people that we're 

21          talking about.  Thank you.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

24          Hevesi, briefly.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I can make this 

 2          really brief, because Senator Savino is 

 3          awesome, she just hit on it.  So I just have 

 4          to get this out.  They're all New York State 

 5          kids.

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I'm sorry?

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  They're all 

 8          New York State kids.  They're all New York 

 9          State kids.  It doesn't matter if they live 

10          in Chemung or Chautauqua or New York City, 

11          they're all New York State kids.

12                 And, you know, I was going to bring 

13          this up with a serious point until I heard 

14          Senator Savino.  But Close to Home was the 

15          Governor's idea.  I mean, it sort of makes me 

16          laugh a little that it came from a bill that 

17          he took, but he put it in the Executive 

18          Budget in 2012.  And now his -- the city 

19          wasn't interested in doing it then, they came 

20          along for the ride.  And now Governor Cuomo, 

21          when times get a little tough, walked away.  

22          It was his idea.  You know, that's -- there 

23          seems something wrong about that.

24                 And then I have just one other point.  


 1          The city surplus?  That city surplus is 

 2          projected to be a deficit.  They're not flush 

 3          with cash.  They're not going to be rolling 

 4          in cash for years.  I think the formulation 

 5          is a little bit off.  I understand the logic 

 6          of it, but I've just got to register my 

 7          opposition to it.

 8                 And again, you know, if I had a friend 

 9          who said, Hey, man, can I come over to your 

10          house and we'll watch Pay-Per-View -- and 

11          then when the bill came, left, I'd be pissed.  

12          That's what just happened to Cuomo and 

13          de Blasio.

14                 (Laughter.)

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  So that's my two 

16          cents.  Thanks.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

18                 To the Senate now.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

20                 Our next speaker is Senator Tim 

21          Kennedy.

22                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Thank you, 

23          Commissioner.  Thank you for your service.  

24                 I'm going to get back into an issue 


 1          that my colleagues have been talking about 

 2          today, and that's childcare, childcare 

 3          subsidies, facilitated enrollment, and the 

 4          regular New York State Child Care Block 

 5          Grant.  

 6                 First of all, if you could please 

 7          explain what investment the state is making 

 8          in this budget from the -- what's been 

 9          proposed into facilitated enrollment?

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So as I 

11          said earlier, Senator, those facilitated 

12          enrollment programs have never been included 

13          in the Executive proposal.  Those have been 

14          investments made by the Legislature, outside 

15          of the Executive proposal --

16                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  So every county, and 

17          there are eight of them, every county that 

18          received funding for facilitated enrollment 

19          last year has been zeroed out of what's been 

20          proposed.

21                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Mm-hmm.

22                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  And the expectation 

23          is if we want that, we're going to add it.

24                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes.  As I 


 1          said, Senator, they are not included in the 

 2          proposed budget.

 3                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Okay.  So let's just 

 4          get into the New York State Child Care Block 

 5          Grant.  Last February you stated that you'd 

 6          look into a formula and methodology to see 

 7          about the distribution and make it more 

 8          equitable.  Can you tell us what's been done 

 9          thus far in that regard?

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So our 

11          allocation methodology has remained 

12          consistent, which I think was one of the 

13          goals in the requests of all the local 

14          Departments of Social Services.  So we have 

15          not, Senator, made sweeping changes to our 

16          methodology.

17                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  So it's consistent, 

18          but I would argue that Erie County is 

19          consistently underfunded compared to the rest 

20          of the state.  There is a massive disparity 

21          in childcare funding.  It is a huge inequity 

22          that has to be resolved.  Erie County 

23          receives $89.76 for every resident earning 

24          below 200 percent of the federal poverty 


 1          line, whereas Monroe, our neighbor to the 

 2          east, receives $159.67.  Nassau receives 

 3          almost three times as much as we do in 

 4          Erie County, at $256.85.  This is just a 

 5          massive inequity. 

 6                 And there are people that earn less 

 7          than 200 percent of the federal poverty line 

 8          that qualify for the original block grant 

 9          funding that are on a waiting list, and so 

10          there are families that can't go to work 

11          because they can't afford childcare.  And 

12          that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Can you 

13          talk about what we're going to do?  

14          Because it's been a year, and it sounds like 

15          nothing's been done.

16                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, 

17          Senator, I don't have great answers for you 

18          except to say that we have restored the 

19          subsidy, we've made investments in 

20          after-school, we now have a childcare task 

21          force, which I think will help us hopefully 

22          get at some of those issues that you raise 

23          about access and affordability of childcare.  

24          We're hoping that really good things and 


 1          innovative ideas come out of that task force.

 2                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Sure, and I 

 3          appreciate that.  What I would ask you for, 

 4          Commissioner, is a commitment to make it 

 5          equitable across the state.  These 

 6          disparities, whether it's Erie County or any 

 7          other county, they shouldn't exist.  There 

 8          should be fair and equitable distribution of 

 9          the funds from the federal government through 

10          New York State so that there are people in 

11          any community not on a waiting list because 

12          of a disparity.

13                 I mean, it's really unfair and it has 

14          to be resolved.  It is a huge priority for 

15          our community, especially the community I 

16          represent, and we are and we have prioritized 

17          the state -- Empire State Development, we 

18          talked about it earlier, and from an economic 

19          development perspective, putting people to 

20          work and we're talking about a huge void in 

21          the workforce that's upcoming.  And I think 

22          it's absolutely essential that we have the 

23          proper amount of childcare funding in every 

24          single community, including Erie County.  And 


 1          I'd like your commitment to that effect.

 2                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE: Certainly, 

 3          Senator, what I will commit to you is I will 

 4          work as hard as anyone else on trying to get 

 5          at some of these really pervasive issues with 

 6          access and affordability of childcare.  I 

 7          certainly am happy to commit to that with 

 8          you.

 9                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  Along those same 

10          lines, can you just talk about how your 

11          office is working with Empire State 

12          Development in regard to childcare funding 

13          and making sure that folks have that 

14          available?

15                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So we 

16          don't have a formal relationship with Empire 

17          State Development now, although they are one 

18          of the listed members of the task force that 

19          we will begin working on this year.  Someone 

20          mentioned earlier in the hearing there is one 

21          county, it's actually Monroe County, that 

22          through Empire State Development and an 

23          upstate regional initiative -- actually, this 

24          was at the local level -- decided to make a 


 1          $3 million investment using those economic 

 2          dollars to bring additional childcare slots 

 3          into the county. 

 4                 So again, there's at least one 

 5          precedent where there's been a nexus between 

 6          the need for childcare and tapping into the 

 7          economic dollars that are available to that 

 8          region.

 9                 SENATOR KENNEDY:  So I will leave you 

10          with this -- I'm out of time -- but an 

11          increase in funding clearly for the regular 

12          New York State Child Care Block Grant across 

13          the state, and then distributing it in a 

14          proper equitable fashion I think is extremely 

15          important.  I think we have an obligation to 

16          families across the state, especially in the 

17          community I represent that is being 

18          underfunded.  

19                 At the same time, I'd like the state 

20          to look at focusing on increasing the funds 

21          for the facilitated enrollment program 

22          through Workforce Development Institute, WDI, 

23          where it's been shown to work.  And they have 

24          helped hundreds of families in their 


 1          respective communities.  I'd like to see it 

 2          not only in the eight counties where it has 

 3          been proposed and exists thus far, but it 

 4          should be a statewide initiative.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 6                 So, Commissioner Poole, I had a few 

 7          questions regarding Raise the Age.  And 

 8          you've talked a little bit about it today.  

 9          But as Senator Savino was pointing out, it 

10          takes effect on October 1st of this year, so 

11          the clock is ticking.  And I'm looking at 

12          more of a macro explanation of it.  But could 

13          you please provide an overview of the 

14          planning and implementation of activities 

15          that have taken place to date?

16                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Certainly.  

17          There's been a lot of them.

18                 So I'll just go back to last summer 

19          after the bill passed.  A number of us from 

20          the Executive chamber and state agencies, so 

21          there's a team of us -- OCFS, DCJS, DOCCS, 

22          State Commission on Corrections -- we went 

23          across the state, we did 10 roundtables over 

24          the summer, we met with local stakeholders, 


 1          elected officials, probation, social 

 2          services, as a way to begin the conversation, 

 3          going over the enacted bill, sharing data 

 4          projections, really talking about how the 

 5          local planning can get underway.

 6                 Of course, as you can imagine, we've 

 7          gotten lots of questions, technical 

 8          questions, about it.  So we have stood up a 

 9          website, a Raise the Age website that has all 

10          kinds of information, answers to all the 

11          questions, that we have provided.  

12                 We have participated in numerous 

13          meetings and sessions at both the NYSAC as 

14          well as the NYPWA conferences.  We have 

15          promulgated regulations to stand up the new 

16          specialized secure detention facilities that 

17          will be needed for the adolescent offenders.  

18          We have gone out to a number of counties as 

19          teams together when they are considering 

20          standing up a detention or using Raise the 

21          Age as a way to replace an aging facility to 

22          accommodate the growing need for secure as 

23          well as the adolescent offender specialized 

24          secure detention facility.  So it has been an 


 1          intensive effort to share information, to 

 2          engage local stakeholders.  

 3                 We also, at the request of localities, 

 4          developed a Raise the Age local planning 

 5          guide -- again, it was completely 

 6          voluntary -- but as a way for localities to 

 7          really begin to think about, you know, from 

 8          the point of arrest or contact, you know, 

 9          right through after-care services, what does 

10          Raise the Age implementation mean at a local 

11          level.  And then from there, helping those 

12          localities really figure out so what does 

13          this mean in terms of additional probation 

14          staff, what does this mean in terms of 

15          additional detention beds, et cetera.  So 

16          some of those plans are starting to come back 

17          in to us.

18                 And as I said, we've traveled to a 

19          number of municipalities, you know, from 

20          St. Lawrence all the way down to Nassau and 

21          Suffolk and New York City, really trying to 

22          help folks think about the beds that will 

23          need to be stood up between now and the 

24          initial launch in October.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So I'm glad to hear 

 2          that you're having those conversations across 

 3          the state, but there still seems to be a lot 

 4          of confusion around Raise the Age.  And 

 5          during the discussions, which I took part in, 

 6          when the Raise the Age legislation was 

 7          passed, the Governor's commitment was that 

 8          the counties would be held harmless and that 

 9          they would not have any additional costs.

10                 Could you please address that?  

11          Because I still get a lot of concern from 

12          counties all over the state that this is 

13          going to cost them a lot of money.  And we 

14          just had a discussion the other day with 

15          Acting Commissioner Annucci from the 

16          Department of Corrections, and there was a 

17          discussion about even changing how 

18          transportation is paid for.  Because as you 

19          know, several of these youths will have to be 

20          transported all over the state.

21                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Right.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And in the 

23          Executive proposal, there is a provision that 

24          would require the funding formula be changed 


 1          for local law enforcement who transport these 

 2          youths.  So it won't be based on salary 

 3          anymore, it will be based on mileage.  And 

 4          Commissioner Annucci did concede that it will 

 5          be a higher cost to local governments.

 6                 So those are some of the issues that I 

 7          think are out there.  And so how will this 

 8          actually work, and how will the counties be 

 9          held harmless?

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So again, 

11          the appropriation language to tap into the 

12          $100 million includes the development of a 

13          local plan.  So the appropriation language 

14          spells out all of the incremental costs, 

15          probation, detention.  

16                 And just as a point of clarification, 

17          Senator, under Raise the Age any 

18          transportation costs on the part of sheriffs 

19          for 16- and 17-year-olds is considered a 

20          100 percent Raise the Age cost, so they 

21          should receive full reimbursement for that.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That's very good to 

23          hear.

24                 So in addition to the programs and 


 1          services, counties are also required to have 

 2          access to new specialized secure detention 

 3          facilities for adolescent offenders.  And the 

 4          question is, has OCFS approved any of the 

 5          operating certificates yet, and where are 

 6          those approved, if they are?

 7                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  To date 

 8          we've not approved any.  As I said earlier, 

 9          we've had lots of conversations with a number 

10          of municipalities who I think are getting 

11          close to finalizing decisions about where 

12          those new specialized secure detention beds 

13          will be, but we've not yet finalized any of 

14          those plans as of today.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So what are you 

16          telling counties about deferring their costs?  

17          I mean, so if they have to build a new 

18          facility, what is the message that OCFS is 

19          delivering about that?

20                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So the 

21          message is that, again, any costs related to 

22          Raise the Age, assuming that their plan is 

23          approved, will be covered 100 percent by the 

24          state.


 1                 So in addition to the $100 million, 

 2          there's also a $19 million capital 

 3          appropriation to help jump-start some of the 

 4          detention capital that might be needed.  

 5          Again, that will follow current reimbursement 

 6          streams -- 49 percent local, 51 percent 

 7          state.  And then anything that's left from 

 8          that can be applied to the 100 percent, you 

 9          know, $100 million allocation that remains in 

10          Raise the Age.

11                 So again, we have -- you know, we have 

12          said time and time again that the Governor 

13          has been committed to providing 100 percent 

14          support for Raise the Age-related costs for 

15          those counties who fall within the tax cap or 

16          who can make the hardship waiver argument.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  I just 

18          want to make it very clear, so thank you for 

19          that.

20                 And this past September the Governor 

21          announced bid solicitations for construction 

22          projects at two former OCFS facilities -- and 

23          that would be Industry Residential Center, 

24          which I know well, in Monroe County, and 


 1          Harriet Tubman Residential Center in 

 2          Cayuga County -- with construction 

 3          anticipated to begin actually last fall. 

 4                 So has the construction begun on those 

 5          facilities yet?

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes, 

 7          construction has begun at both of those 

 8          facilities.  I am happy to say that it is on 

 9          schedule.  And both facilities will certainly 

10          be open well in advance of needing to be 

11          ready for Raise the Age.  So both of those 

12          projects are going very well, Senator.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So that's great to 

14          hear.  

15                 And in the announcement it was stated 

16          that these facilities are expected to add a 

17          total of 250 staff positions.  So my question 

18          is, will these be new hires or will people be 

19          transferred around the state?

20                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  No, these 

21          will be new hires in those communities.  So 

22          we will be doing job fairs.

23                 But again, you know, we also run the 

24          state juvenile justice system, so if we have 


 1          staff that it creates promotional 

 2          opportunities for, as we do now, we certainly 

 3          want to support that as well.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, I have some 

 5          questions about Close to Home, but I'll let 

 6          Senator Montgomery go.

 7                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  No, it's my turn.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Oh, it's your turn, 

 9          I apologize.  Senator Krueger is next.

10                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

11                 Hi.  Got skipped.  So there's been a 

12          lot of discussion about Raise the Age and 

13          also communities making sure they meet an 

14          October 1st deadline.  So the City of 

15          New York is specifically asking to be able to 

16          use the Ella McQueen site that you say you're 

17          pulling out of.  Is there any reason why that 

18          couldn't happen?

19                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  None that 

20          I'm aware of, Senator.  But again, our focus 

21          now is closing down the facility to save 

22          money.  No decisions that I'm aware of have 

23          been made regarding the potential future use 

24          of the facility.


 1                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  But following up on 

 2          points Cathy was -- Senator Young was just 

 3          making, we're getting very close to a 

 4          deadline of October 1st.  So hopefully the 

 5          state can move quickly to arrange this.  

 6          Because, again, the City of New York needs 

 7          this facility for exactly the reasons we're 

 8          talking about.

 9                 There's also been quite a bit of 

10          discussion about inequity in funding, and 

11          Senator Savino said they're all our children, 

12          and they are.  Just for the record, state 

13          government also has a reserve and a rainy day 

14          fund.  The federal government does as well.  

15          It's just smart government to have reserves 

16          and rainy day funds, as opposed to the view 

17          that if somebody does have one, you're going 

18          to penalize them in their state process.

19                 In your testimony I add up that 

20          there's $10 million more for Empire State 

21          After-School, making it $45 million; 

22          $17 million continuing for Advantage 

23          After-School Program.  And you say combined, 

24          both programs will serve over 44,000 


 1          children.  So when I take the $62 million 

 2          divided by 44,000 children, I get $1400 per 

 3          slot annual, or $8 per day.  

 4                 Are we actually running after-school 

 5          programs at $8 per day?

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  You know, 

 7          I've never done the math that way, Senator.  

 8          I mean, I'm happy to look into it.

 9                 But again, you know, those are the 

10          number of slots that we are having across the 

11          state.  So -- and again, you have groups of 

12          kids in the classroom, so it may be able to 

13          be done that efficiently.  But I can 

14          certainly look into that information.

15                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So I would really 

16          like you to get back to us about how the math 

17          works, because that's just -- that's assuming 

18          across the board everyone gets the same.  And 

19          as we already heard from some of my 

20          colleagues, sometimes the amount provided by 

21          different parts of the state can vary 

22          extremely.  But it just doesn't seem like 

23          we could possibly be getting the kind of 

24          after-school programs we need at $8 per day.


 1                 I also just finished an article about 

 2          the not-for-profit sector around the country 

 3          and the fact that a disproportionately large 

 4          number of them are literally in fiscal 

 5          crisis.  Because again, as you've heard 

 6          today, we raised the wages -- and I totally 

 7          support that we raised the wages, because if 

 8          we don't then nobody could keep staff.  But 

 9          we are the funder of the budgets of the 

10          not-for-profits, so we find ourselves in a 

11          situation where not-for-profits don't have 

12          adequate money to pay their workers, and they 

13          literally can't meet any kind of emergency 

14          needs.  And we have seen, over the last 

15          couple of years, some large not-for-profit 

16          organizations in the State of New York 

17          literally surprising us by going belly up, 

18          causing crisis for their clients and also for 

19          the state, as the provider of funds to the 

20          not-for-profits who are doing this work for 

21          us.

22                 I asked, I think it was last year -- 

23          and I'm not sure if I asked you, in fairness, 

24          because there are many different 


 1          commissioners that this overlaps -- if the 

 2          state had any kind of forensic analysis it 

 3          was doing to make sure that it's not putting 

 4          the organizations we contract with into such 

 5          a level of crisis that they actually have the 

 6          potential for going belly up, which is a much 

 7          bigger problem.

 8                 And I ask again this year because when 

 9          you look at the federal changes in law, both 

10          reducing federal money and changing the 

11          formula for taxes such that the philanthropic 

12          sector is estimating billions of dollars of 

13          less money being donated to not-for-profits, 

14          are we factoring that all into making smart 

15          decisions?  And is someone looking at this on 

16          the macro level for us?

17                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I am not 

18          aware of, Senator, that there's that kind of 

19          analysis going on.

20                 I can speak to what we try and do at 

21          OCFS is, you know, we also rely on a very 

22          robust group of not-for-profits to carry out 

23          really important work.  And so again, 

24          wherever we can through our rate structure or 


 1          through our contract oversight work, if we 

 2          see that there's a not-for-profit who's in 

 3          some fiscal distress, we work very hard at 

 4          OCFS to dive into the budget to try and 

 5          adjust the work plan wherever possible so 

 6          that we are holding up the not-for-profit and 

 7          that we're not having not-for-profits who we 

 8          depend on go out of business.

 9                 And we've done that.  We do that, you 

10          know, day in and day out at OCFS.

11                 I would also just remind everyone that 

12          there was a $100 million infrastructure grant 

13          put forward for the not-for-profit community, 

14          again recognizing the need for those agencies 

15          to have some additional capacity for 

16          infrastructure.  So that money was made 

17          available as well.

18                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

19                 Next, Velmanette Montgomery in a 

20          follow-up.

21                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Yes, thank you. 

22                 Commissioner, just to pursue a little 

23          bit more.  It seems that, you know, there are 

24          some programs in our state that work very 


 1          well, they have a track record.  And one of 

 2          them that I'm specifically familiar with, 

 3          among many others, is YouthBuild, which 

 4          really is one of those programs -- it doesn't 

 5          fit neatly into your shop or labor or -- but 

 6          it works.  And these are the youth that we 

 7          really are trying to target.  

 8                 So my question for you is, what can we 

 9          do to make sure that those programs that 

10          actually work are ones that we really invest 

11          in, and not look to reduce funding every 

12          year, they have to come to fight for the 

13          funding and they're already underfunded.

14                 So is there any way that we can look 

15          to see what's actually working in our state, 

16          those programs that work?  And let's invest 

17          in them and make sure they become part of the 

18          infrastructure of what we do for young 

19          people.  

20                 And I still am not sure about the 

21          Ella McQueen, but I think you'll get back to 

22          us on that --

23                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes.

24                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  New York City is 


 1          desperate to be able to use that facility as 

 2          part of implementation of Raise the Age.  

 3                 So those two I just want to raise with 

 4          you.

 5                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes.  So 

 6          your point is well taken about the promising 

 7          or evidence models, right, that are effective 

 8          for young people.

 9                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Yes.

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  You know, 

11          YouthBuild is one, Credible Messenger is 

12          another, right?  

13                 As there's more and more youth justice 

14          work done across the country, and the 

15          research that follows, I think the good news 

16          is we're having a wider menu of those 

17          programs and services that we know are 

18          impactful for young people.

19                 And again, I think when we are looking 

20          toward making investments for diversion and 

21          adjustment services as part of Raise the Age, 

22          those are exactly the kind of programs that 

23          we're looking for.

24                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Okay.  I 


 1          appreciate that.  And I'll look forward to 

 2          working with you ongoing to see where you are 

 3          with those and which ones we really want to 

 4          continue to make sure are part of the 

 5          infrastructure, as I said.

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Happy to 

 7          work with you, Senator.

 8                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Thank you.

 9                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And Senator Diane 

10          Savino, for a follow-up round.

11                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.  Thank 

12          you, Senator Krueger.

13                 I just want to go back to Raise the 

14          Age, and I just want to emphasize -- because 

15          in the response to one of the members, it may 

16          have been Senator Young, you talked about how 

17          there was engagement with localities and 

18          various agencies.

19                 So there seems to be a disconnect, 

20          though, with the City of New York.  Packaged 

21          here today is some testimony from the New 

22          York City Corrections Officers union, COBA.  

23          They're not present, but they did submit the 

24          testimony.  And they have raised some serious 


 1          issues about conflict between what their job 

 2          responsibilities are as corrections officers, 

 3          and how it's defined under civil service law, 

 4          with conflicts within the City Charter as to 

 5          where you can house people who are under the 

 6          jurisdiction of one agency or another.  They 

 7          are prepared to vehemently oppose the 

 8          responsibility of their members becoming the 

 9          caretakers of young people who are housed in 

10          facilities that are not designated by the 

11          Department of Corrections.

12                 So I'm bringing this up because I know 

13          also later today we're going to hear from the 

14          Social Service Employees Union, who 

15          represents the staff who are ACS employees, 

16          and they have their own issues.  

17                 The point I'm trying to make, 

18          Commissioner, is there has been little 

19          interaction with the workforce on the 

20          implementation of this incredibly important 

21          new program.  The people have not been 

22          trained, they don't know what their 

23          responsibilities are, there's conflict in 

24          city and state law with respect to these 


 1          facilities, who's responsible, who isn't.  

 2          And I think we need to get that lined up 

 3          straight before we talk about October 1st 

 4          implementation.

 5                 The mayor yesterday said it more than 

 6          once -- you know, when I agree with him, I 

 7          agree with him.  When I don't, I don't, and 

 8          he knows it.  But he said it more than once, 

 9          the city is not prepared to do this, 

10          especially without any funding.  And if we're 

11          going to pull funding out of Child Protective 

12          Services and Child Preventive Services and 

13          unfund Close to Home, this is not going to 

14          work.  

15                 But before we move forward, we need to 

16          have a comprehensive conversation with the 

17          people who are going to be responsible for 

18          the care and custody of these 16- and 

19          17-year-olds.  Because they're not ready, 

20          they don't know what their responsibilities 

21          are, and what we're asking them may in fact 

22          conflict with city law.

23                 So I just want to leave that with you, 

24          because Raise the Age is only going to work 


 1          if everybody understands how it's going to 

 2          work.

 3                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Thank you, 

 4          Senator.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 6                 That's the -- I think you get a break.

 7                 (Laughter.)

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So thank you 

 9          for being here today and --

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Wait, I get to --

11                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Oh, I'm sorry.  

12          Senator Young.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I wanted to delve 

14          into Close to Home a little bit more.  

15                 So the Executive Budget contains 

16          legislation to extend for five years the 

17          Juvenile Justice Services Close to Home 

18          initiative in New York City.  And as I'm sure 

19          you'll remember, the initial rollout of Close 

20          to Home was rather problematic, particularly 

21          surrounding the issue of youth escaping or 

22          being away, being AWOL.  And there were 

23          several high-profile incidents regarding 

24          these youth and additional crimes, 


 1          unfortunately, that they committed.

 2                 So could you give us some background 

 3          information?  What's the current rate of 

 4          runaways in New York City, and how does it 

 5          compare with the programs that are overseen 

 6          by OCFS?  So what I'm looking at is -- what I 

 7          want to explore are the number of youths who 

 8          go AWOL, comparing it to OCFS facilities.

 9                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So I would 

10          say overall you're exactly right, Senator, 

11          that the early implementation of Close to 

12          Home, it was a bit bumpy there.  But that's 

13          not to be -- right, that's not unexpected in 

14          sort of launching such an initiative.

15                 You know, the city has done a very 

16          good job over the course of the past several 

17          years in holding agencies accountable.  

18          They've done a lot of work to strengthen the 

19          core Close to Home program.  And in fact a 

20          lot of their data metrics, the AWOLs, the 

21          assaults, the re-arrests, all of those things 

22          have really evened out and are at least on 

23          par with runaway/AWOL rates in the rest of 

24          the state.  So they've done --


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Is there anywhere 

 2          you can get that information?

 3                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, could you 

 5          send us -- and what I'd like to see, 

 6          Commissioner, is background on Close to Home 

 7          but also as it compares to state-operated 

 8          programs.  If you have that.

 9                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Okay.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That would be 

11          helpful.

12                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes, we'll 

13          do our best.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So with the city's 

15          juvenile justice system, you said that 

16          they've done a very good job in taking 

17          official actions to address deficiencies or 

18          problems.  But could you delve into that a 

19          little bit deeper?  I mean, what exactly have 

20          they done?

21                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Well, I 

22          think that they were able to really determine 

23          which of their not-for-profits really had an 

24          affinity and a strength for doing that work.  


 1          And so now the number of not-for-profits that 

 2          they have, as compared to when they first 

 3          started Close to Home, is much smaller.  

 4          Right?  So for those folks who were not 

 5          performing, you know, despite additional 

 6          technical assistance or support, those folks 

 7          are no longer Close to Home-approved 

 8          providers by New York City.

 9                 And then I think the city's also put 

10          in a lot of its own oversight structures for 

11          the Close to Home program.

12                 So again, strengthening the program,  

13          figuring out who's really good at providing 

14          those services I think -- like many 

15          initiatives, right -- is what leads to 

16          success.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you for that.  

18          But again, so you're going to look into 

19          AWOLs.  But also, is there any data on 

20          outcomes for New York City youth versus for 

21          youth in the rest of the state?

22                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  I'm not 

23          sure that we have an apples-to-apples 

24          comparison, Senator.  We just -- we haven't 


 1          done it that way before.  

 2                 But, you know, certainly I'm happy to 

 3          work to try and get any data that would line 

 4          up in that way.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Well, we want every 

 6          youth, as you know, to have a good outcome.

 7                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE: Absolutely.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So the question 

 9          is -- it would be helpful if there is data 

10          available.  And it sounds like there is, 

11          right --

12                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Mm-hmm.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  -- on outcomes?

14                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Yes.  And 

15          not only OCFS facilities, but again a lot of 

16          other not-for-profits also run residential 

17          programs, foster care programs.  So I think 

18          we -- you know, we can go back and try and 

19          figure out what's a fair comparison, you 

20          know, across those programs and see what data 

21          we can provide to you.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  That 

23          would be helpful.

24                 So in addition to extending the law, 


 1          the Governor's budget proposal also puts 

 2          forward eliminating the state -- elimination 

 3          of state reimbursement to New York City for 

 4          Close to Home-related expenditures, as you 

 5          know.  So does this constitute the 

 6          elimination of all state reimbursement for 

 7          expenses related to youth -- to these 

 8          particular youth, or is the city still 

 9          eligible for reimbursement through other 

10          juvenile justice-related funding streams?

11                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  So it 

12          just -- for New York City's Close to Home, it 

13          pertains exclusively to Close to Home.  

14          However, you know, when they raise the age in 

15          New York City, the 16- and 17-year-olds who 

16          would be part of the Close to Home program, 

17          assuming that New York City submits a plan 

18          and that it's approved -- again, those 16- 

19          and 17-year-olds from New York City who are 

20          in a Close to Home program, assuming that the 

21          plan is approved by the Division of the 

22          Budget, would be eligible for state 

23          reimbursement.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  So the 


 1          proposal from the Governor is to eliminate 

 2          $41.4 million in appropriation authority for 

 3          Close to Home expenditures.  But what is the 

 4          actual anticipated savings for the state in 

 5          this proposal?

 6                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  It's the 

 7          $41 million.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  It's just the 

 9          $41.4 million?

10                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Mm-hmm.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Thank you.  

12          Thank you for being here today.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So again, thank 

14          you for being here and responding to members' 

15          questions.  

16                 And I think there were -- there may 

17          have been a few follow-ups that you had to 

18          get back to us, and we'll share that with all 

19          members.  Thank you.

20                 ACTING COMMISSIONER POOLE:  Thank you 

21          all.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Next we have, 

23          from --

24                 (Protestors in audience.)


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  If people can 

 2          control themselves -- if people can control 

 3          themselves -- otherwise we're going to have 

 4          to ask you to leave.

 5                 (Protestors continue speaking.)

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We need to 

 7          continue the hearing.  We appreciate people 

 8          coming --

 9                 (Protestors continue.)

10                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We're going to 

11          take a five-minute recess of our hearing.  

12                 (Brief recess taken.)

13                 (Protestors continue; discussion off 

14          the record.) 

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So we'd like to 

16          now, as soon as the room quiets down, 

17          continue with the hearing.  

18                 So our next witness is from the State 

19          Office of Temporary and Disability 

20          Assistance, Barbara Guinn, executive deputy 

21          director.

22                 Good morning.  

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Good 

24          morning, Chairpersons Weinstein, Young, 


 1          Hevesi and Tedisco, and to other members of 

 2          the Legislature.  I am Barbara Guinn, the 

 3          executive deputy commissioner of the state 

 4          Office of Temporary and Disability 

 5          Assistance.  I am honored to appear on behalf 

 6          of Commissioner Sam Roberts to discuss the 

 7          2019 Executive Budget and the important work 

 8          of our agency.  

 9                 OTDA's mission is to help vulnerable 

10          New Yorkers meet their basic needs and 

11          advance economically by providing 

12          opportunities for stable employment, housing 

13          and nutrition, working in partnership with 

14          the county social services districts we 

15          oversee.  We administer a range of activities 

16          to reduce homelessness, including homeless 

17          prevention services, oversight of emergency 

18          shelters, provision of rent supplements, 

19          construction and operating costs for homeless 

20          housing, and housing retention services.  

21                 In 2017, we completed inspections of 

22          nearly 900 publicly funded homeless shelters, 

23          and as a result, improvements are being made 

24          in shelter conditions across New York State.  


 1                 The state's Homeless Housing and 

 2          Assistance Program awarded funds for nearly 

 3          550 units of supportive housing for the 

 4          homeless this year, part of the unprecedented 

 5          commitment by the Governor and the 

 6          Legislature of $10 billion toward creating 

 7          and preserving more than 100,000 units of 

 8          affordable housing and 6,000 units of 

 9          supportive housing.  

10                 The Executive Budget advances this 

11          plan and builds on these efforts by having 

12          OTDA work with local social services 

13          districts to establish comprehensive homeless 

14          services plans, including effective outreach 

15          services.  Local districts will be required 

16          to engage with ongoing efforts, set 

17          data-driven goals that are tailored to 

18          community needs, and report regularly on 

19          progress.  

20                 Making sure no New Yorker goes hungry 

21          is another commitment that the Governor takes 

22          to heart.  The Supplemental Nutrition 

23          Assistance Program helps nearly 3 million 

24          low-income working people, older adults, and 


 1          other New Yorkers feed their families each 

 2          month.  To further strengthen food security 

 3          with this budget, the Governor is launching a 

 4          "No Student Goes Hungry" initiative that 

 5          requires food pantries on all SUNY and CUNY 

 6          campuses to provide students access to 

 7          healthy locally-sourced meals, and includes 

 8          expanded outreach efforts by OTDA.  

 9                 Adequate home heating during times of 

10          cold weather is another basic need that OTDA 

11          helps to meet.  The Home Energy Assistance 

12          Program helps over 1.3 million low- and 

13          moderate-income households afford heating 

14          costs and reduce energy needs through 

15          energy-efficiency investments.  As a result 

16          of the cold weather this season, we've seen a 

17          40 percent increase in requests for emergency 

18          heating assistance since the emergency 

19          benefit opened early last month. 

20                 I'm proud to announce today that OTDA 

21          is amending its HEAP state plan to permit the 

22          issuance of an additional emergency benefit 

23          to better meet the increased need from this 

24          season's severe weather.  This action will 


 1          enable additional emergency heating benefits 

 2          to help about 18,000 households, and the 

 3          state will dedicate an additional $14 million 

 4          in federal HEAP funds to support 

 5          weatherization services for an additional 

 6          7,500 low-income households.  This is the 

 7          second year in a row that we have dedicated 

 8          additional HEAP funds toward weatherization.  

 9          These efforts will help residents to keep the 

10          heat on through the cold winter months and 

11          achieve financial independence by lowering 

12          future energy costs as a result of 

13          weatherization.  

14                 The Executive Budget also includes 

15          resources to support OTDA's child support 

16          program, which collected more than 

17          $1.8 billion on behalf of nearly 829,000 

18          families last year.  Child support is an 

19          important income source that helps families 

20          achieve financial stability, helps reduce 

21          child poverty, and encourages parents to be 

22          more active in the lives of their children.  

23                 The 2019 budget also provides 

24          $40 million to support the Summer Youth 


 1          Employment Program, which provides low-income 

 2          youth with enriching and constructive work 

 3          experiences that can help even the playing 

 4          field for future success.  This investment 

 5          represents a $4 million increase from last 

 6          year's program to account for the recent 

 7          minimum-wage increase so that we can continue 

 8          to serve over 19,000 youth this summer.  

 9                 The Governor is committed to New York 

10          remaining a welcoming place for all, 

11          regardless of race, religion, country of 

12          origin, or economic status.  OTDA oversees a 

13          range of services for refugees in New York 

14          State which include help with housing, 

15          health, education and employment. OTDA staff 

16          were honored recently to welcome individuals 

17          arriving from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico 

18          and the U.S. Virgin Islands and to provide 

19          information about available assistance.  New 

20          York will continue to welcome new arrivals 

21          with open arms.  

22                 The Executive Budget supports 

23          comprehensive case management for vulnerable 

24          young people, especially immigrant youth.  


 1          This investment is part of a larger proposal 

 2          by the Governor to cut off the recruiting 

 3          pipeline of violent gangs, in particular 

 4          MS-13 on Long Island.  

 5                 OTDA is proud of our work with the 

 6          Governor and the Legislature to support 

 7          strong families and communities and keep New 

 8          York a state of progress, opportunity, and 

 9          hope.  

10                 Thank you again for this opportunity 

11          to speak to you today, and I look forward to 

12          any questions you may have.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

14                 We'll go to Assemblyman Hevesi.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Hi.  Good 

16          afternoon, Ms. Guinn.

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Good 

18          afternoon.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  How are you 

20          doing?

21                 So I have a number of questions.  

22          They're a little all over the place, so bear 

23          with me.  

24                 So right from your testimony, thank 


 1          you for the Governor's commitment to 

 2          supportive housing.  It's great.  And I know 

 3          that in this year's budget there was a little 

 4          bit of a hole in supportive housing, and you 

 5          guys plugged that hole in this year's budget 

 6          by giving some operating funds, I believe.  

 7          And so I'm grateful for that.

 8                 I would just ask that we look out, in 

 9          the next budget year, to do the next round of 

10          funding for the next, I guess, whatever it 

11          is, 6,000 units.  I need the Governor to keep 

12          his commitment on supportive housing.  He's 

13          done well so far.  Nothing in this budget, 

14          which is okay, because it's a long-term 

15          commitment, but next year I hope he will do 

16          that.

17                 (Discussion off the record.)

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  A question about 

19          the -- in your testimony, the $14 million for 

20          HEAP, that's great.  Where did the money come 

21          from?

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  It's 

23          part of our block grant that we receive from 

24          the federal government.  We had some 


 1          additional funds that ended up being 

 2          available primarily based on the lower usage 

 3          last year, as a result of the mild winter.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I didn't know 

 5          about it until this moment.  That's great.  I 

 6          like it for weatherization.  That's well 

 7          done.

 8                 Some of my questions about -- I'm 

 9          going to shift to the nonprofit sector.  As 

10          you know, the state minimum wage is going up.

11                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Yes.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Which is another 

13          victory for the Governor and the Legislature, 

14          which we should all be very proud of that 

15          one.

16                 I'm nervous about our providers not 

17          getting made whole, because they're going to 

18          have to accommodate for the $15 minimum wage.  

19          Is there anything in this budget that will 

20          help the nonprofits deal with the increase in 

21          the minimum wage?

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  I can 

23          only speak to OTDA's portion of the Executive 

24          Budget, and with respect to the nonprofits 


 1          that we contract with and that many of the 

 2          social services districts contract with for 

 3          services that we deliver through our agency, 

 4          most of those nonprofits, as we've looked at 

 5          our contracts, are already paying their 

 6          workers above the minimum wage based on the 

 7          nature of the services that are delivered for 

 8          our agency.  So we're less in the direct care 

 9          than some other agencies.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Okay.  But there 

11          are other nonprofit workers who are not at 

12          the minimum wage, and my understanding from 

13          the sector is they're concerned that once we 

14          get closer to the minimum wage, they're going 

15          to have trouble, you know, keeping up paying 

16          those wages.  

17                 So I would, you know, respectfully ask 

18          that you look in your future contracts to 

19          help them out.  I mean, they were incredibly 

20          supportive in fighting for the minimum wage, 

21          which was a big campaign, and I just don't 

22          want them to get left behind or get hurt by 

23          doing the right thing.

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  I would 


 1          agree.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  The Nonprofit 

 3          Infrastructure Capital Investment Program, 

 4          now forgive me, I normally don't ask 

 5          questions I don't know the answer to, but was 

 6          there any increase in that funding this year?  

 7          I don't think I've seen it.  No, there is 

 8          not.

 9                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  I do not 

10          believe so.  And that is not something that's 

11          funded through our agency.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  That's not funded 

13          through OTDA?  It's a stand-alone, so I'm not 

14          going to ask you about it anymore.  

15                 But let me put in a plug for the 

16          Nonprofit Infrastructure Investment Fund.  

17          It's a very important thing; the sector needs 

18          it.  Okay, so I just plugged it.

19                 You and I have talked a little bit 

20          about the SSP program in a prior hearing.

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Yes.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Just one quick 

23          question about that.  How are we doing with 

24          the SSP program?  I still have advocates who 


 1          are very concerned.

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  We think 

 3          we're doing very well with the SSP program in 

 4          terms of our ability to issue very important 

 5          benefits to disabled individuals.  You know, 

 6          over 690,000 individuals every month are 

 7          receiving benefits on a timely basis.

 8                 In terms of some of the concerns that 

 9          have been raised in the past, I know that we 

10          have been working and staff have been meeting 

11          with the advocate community to see how we can 

12          perhaps make some changes in terms of the 

13          notices that we provide to ensure that 

14          individuals understand what information we 

15          need from them so that we can make sure 

16          everyone is receiving the proper benefits.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Okay.  That's 

18          great, and I appreciate that.  I would 

19          just -- I think I registered this when we had 

20          a hearing on the matter.  The $90 million  

21          cost savings to the state, I again will 

22          recommend that maybe we even introduce 

23          legislation to try to get that cost saving 

24          redirected back to that population.  I just 


 1          think that's equitable.  So just on the 

 2          record for that.

 3                 So homelessness.  It continues to 

 4          rise, and I know the Governor has done well 

 5          with supportive housing, but that doesn't 

 6          prevent the increase in homelessness.  And I 

 7          know you have some programs for prevention, 

 8          but we haven't seen an increase in the 

 9          funding for either the shelter allowance or 

10          another round of rental supplements.  Is 

11          there any thought given to those ideas?  Not 

12          in this budget, just generally.

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Right.  

14          In terms of prevention services, we do 

15          authorize every county social services 

16          district to help families and individuals out 

17          in the event that they are behind in their 

18          rent and a rent arrears payment needs to be 

19          made in order to enable them to secure that 

20          housing and not become homeless.  

21                 With respect to the shelter payments 

22          and also shelter supplements, we permit every 

23          social services district, again, to submit to 

24          us a plan if they would like to provide an 


 1          increased shelter supplement for a particular 

 2          population in the event that they are having 

 3          difficulty accessing housing.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I appreciate 

 5          that.  And I know that that's the standard 

 6          practice of the rent supplements.  I would 

 7          just suggest in a crisis that continues to 

 8          grow, worst since the Great Depression, and 

 9          has grown on the Governor's watch, that the 

10          state may want to consider stepping up with 

11          either a shelter allowance raise or, even 

12          better, a rental supplement.  But that's just 

13          for another day.

14                 So the very vocal ladies and gentlemen 

15          who spoke just a minute ago about the rent 

16          cap, I know that you have acted on that in 

17          the budget, and I'd like to thank you for 

18          that.  One question about that, and then one 

19          little -- it's not nitpicking, but an 

20          objection.

21                 So the cost of living identified for 

22          the HIV rent cap, does that -- how does that 

23          compare to the HUD fair market rent standard?  

24          We don't have the specifics on that yet, so 


 1          I'm just curious.

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  So what 

 3          is included in the budget is to permit, 

 4          again, each social services district the 

 5          option of providing an enhanced shelter 

 6          allowance beyond the enhanced shelter 

 7          allowances currently available to any 

 8          individual with HIV.  And the localities can 

 9          again submit a plan to us if they would like 

10          to -- if they feel that they need an increase 

11          in that supplement, again, to keep that 

12          vulnerable population stably housed, they're 

13          able to do that.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Right.  Which is 

15          a good policy, and I'm glad the Governor's on 

16          board.  The one flaw, I would respectfully 

17          suggest, is that by not making it a mandate 

18          and not funding it, there's no way the 

19          counties are going to do it.  They're 

20          cash-strapped.  So it's a great idea that's 

21          just not going to come to fruition.  And I 

22          would like to see some money behind it.

23                 Am I done?

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Okay.  I'm done.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Our first speaker 

 4          is Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

 5                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Thank you, Madam 

 6          Chair. 

 7                 Good afternoon.

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Good 

 9          afternoon.

10                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  I want to ask you 

11          specifically about the Summer Youth 

12          Employment Program.

13                 So I note that there is an increase -- 

14          what is it, a $4 million increase --

15                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Yes.

16                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  -- for summer 

17          youth employment.  But that doesn't really 

18          reflect an expansion of the program, it just 

19          tries to address the issue of an increase in 

20          minimum wage, is that what that reflects?

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  That is 

22          correct.  The $4 million increase is provided 

23          specifically to make sure that the youth 

24          employed in those programs throughout the 


 1          summer are provided the minimum wage.

 2                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Okay.  So are you 

 3          aware of what the city already matches in 

 4          order to increase the number of young people 

 5          that are served by this program?

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  I don't 

 7          have the city numbers with me, but I am well 

 8          aware that the City of New York contributes 

 9          significant city funding in addition to the 

10          state dollars that are provided for youth in 

11          the city.

12                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Okay.  So the 

13          fact of the matter is that this is really a 

14          major piece as it relates to having young 

15          people have access at least in the summer 

16          months.  Is there any planning or any 

17          discussion in your agency about the 

18          possibility of extending this program?  What 

19          would it take to actually increase the number 

20          of slots, the number of young people we could 

21          serve?  

22                 And especially in light of the fact 

23          that we now have the Raise the Age program, 

24          where we anticipate hopefully having more 


 1          young people be able to be employed with some 

 2          sort of a subsidy making that possible, is 

 3          there any planning that you have been able to 

 4          initiate regarding, one, extending the number 

 5          of slots in Summer Youth Employment, and also 

 6          creating a year-round employment program for 

 7          young people where we can actually count 

 8          them?

 9                 Now, I know you have another youth 

10          employment program at Department of Labor, I 

11          believe, and I will ask them.  But I've never 

12          been able to figure out how many young people 

13          actually benefit from that program.  And we 

14          keep putting more and more money in it, but I 

15          don't see any accountability for it.  

16                 So -- but the Summer Youth Employment 

17          we do at least have some accountability.  So 

18          I'm just wondering if you have started to 

19          talk to the Labor Department, to whatever 

20          other departments as it relates to creating 

21          an infrastructure, if you will, a social 

22          infrastructure that supports employment of 

23          young people in particular, in a way that we 

24          can see that it's accountable to us as 


 1          elected officials, to you as the agency?  Is 

 2          there any planning that's being done around 

 3          that?

 4                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  So, you 

 5          know, we definitely appreciate the time of 

 6          the summer is the time when most youth are 

 7          looking for employment and have the time to 

 8          dedicate to employment.  And so again, we're 

 9          proud to have the summer youth program to 

10          provide those opportunities for youth.

11                 With respect to year-round programs, 

12          many of the summer youth programs are 

13          operated and administered through agencies, 

14          local Workforce Investment Boards or -- and 

15          in the city, of course, the Youth Department, 

16          where there are opportunities for some youth 

17          to continue to have employment throughout the 

18          year based on services that are provided 

19          through that agency.

20                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  So what does it 

21          look like going forward in terms of your 

22          initiating something, a planning process, 

23          especially targeting young people?

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Again, 


 1          the funding that's available for our agency 

 2          is for the summer, it is targeted to the 

 3          summer --

 4                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  I know.  I 

 5          understand that.  That's what we have now.  

 6          But going forward, I'm just looking for some 

 7          kind of --

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  I mean, 

 9          certainly we would be open to having 

10          discussions about what room there may be to 

11          be able to expand that program to provide 

12          more opportunities for year-round employment.  

13                 Again, we certainly encourage not only 

14          the providers of summer youth but other 

15          employment services providers to target 

16          youth, in particular older youth who may be 

17          through with their high school experience so 

18          that they're able to secure full-time 

19          employment or expand on their education.

20                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  I appreciate 

21          that.  We know what's going to be needed, 

22          it's just how do we get ahead by planning 

23          ahead, rather than waiting until the crisis 

24          is there and then we go back to old habits of 


 1          incarcerating juveniles.

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Right.  

 3          And again, you know, obviously individuals 

 4          with a history with criminal justice is one 

 5          target population for the summer youth 

 6          program.  And also a target population for 

 7          the services that are provided both through 

 8          the social services agencies throughout the 

 9          state, but also the local Workforce 

10          Investment Boards.

11                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Okay.  Thank you.

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Thank 

13          you.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Assembly?

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, 

16          Assemblyman Goodell.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  Thank you very 

18          much, Ms. Guinn.  And also, thank you very 

19          much for the openness of OTDA, with 

20          Commissioner Roberts and others, to meet with 

21          us.  It's very helpful and very much 

22          appreciated.

23                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  You're 

24          welcome.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  It seems to me 

 2          that OTDA actually has several missions.  

 3          One, of course, is to help those who are in 

 4          need right now.  But a second mission ought 

 5          to be to help people become successful 

 6          financially so that it connects various 

 7          opportunities in life.  And sometimes I'm 

 8          concerned that those two missions may not 

 9          necessarily mesh, particularly as it relates 

10          to benefit cliffs that trap people from 

11          leaving welfare because, as their income 

12          slowly increases, they reach thresholds where 

13          their benefits dramatically drop.  

14                 Is the department working on that 

15          issue?  And is that reflected in this budget?

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  We 

17          certainly are looking at the issue, both at 

18          the programs and services that we deliver but 

19          also other programs and benefits that are 

20          available to low-income households.

21                 We know that households are better off 

22          when they're able to enter the workforce, and 

23          we want to do everything we can to encourage 

24          individuals to enter the workforce.  As part 


 1          of that, the way our public assistance 

 2          programs are structured do permit a 

 3          significant portion of an individual's 

 4          earnings to be disregarded or not considered 

 5          in terms of determining the benefit level 

 6          that they are eligible for.  

 7                 For households with children, we 

 8          disregard 50 percent of those wages.  Again, 

 9          a very specific policy targeted to 

10          encouraging people to go to work and 

11          supporting working families.

12                 In addition, we -- again, working with 

13          our county social services agencies, do 

14          everything we can do help people to continue 

15          to access any benefits that they may be 

16          eligible for after they go to work, including 

17          the SNAP programs that some incomes at higher 

18          levels may be eligible for.  And those who go 

19          to work are eligible to receive SNAP for at 

20          least a five-month period, which is 

21          considered, again, to help them transition as 

22          they move into the workforce.

23                 And then in addition to that, I guess 

24          just obviously the increase in the minimum 


 1          wage has been particularly helpful for the 

 2          population that we serve, along with the 

 3          ability -- the expanded access to health 

 4          insurance so that people don't have to make 

 5          the choice between staying on welfare and 

 6          going to work and potentially losing health 

 7          insurance.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  While I'm 

 9          certainly appreciative of all those efforts, 

10          as you realize, sometimes those benefit 

11          cliffs can amount to thousands of dollars in 

12          loss of benefits based on a $1 increase in 

13          wage.  So I would encourage the department to 

14          consider and to think innovatively on how to 

15          address that issue.

16                 I wanted to talk a little bit about 

17          the homeless service program.  Certainly  

18          this is a very, very serious issue in 

19          New York City, and I support and encourage 

20          the efforts that the department is making in 

21          that area.  The homeless issue, though, 

22          varies across the state.  I mean, we have a 

23          wealth of different situations.

24                 In my county we have a homeless 


 1          shelter for men; there's no waiting list, and 

 2          they house roughly 20 people.  So it seems 

 3          that a mandated requirement to the social 

 4          services departments across New York State, 

 5          without any funding assistance to come up 

 6          with a comprehensive plan, might be very 

 7          appropriate in some areas and not appropriate 

 8          in other areas.

 9                 Is there any discussion about making 

10          that more flexible to address the homeless 

11          situation that varies dramatically across the 

12          state?

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  We 

14          certainly recognize that the issue of 

15          homelessness varies tremendously from one 

16          area of the state to another.  In some areas 

17          we're seeing increases in homelessness, and 

18          there are areas of the state that are 

19          actually seeing some slight declines in the 

20          number of homeless.

21                 The comprehensive planning process is 

22          really just to make sure that the number 

23          of -- the various both levels of government 

24          and then also the service delivery agencies 


 1          that are out there are talking to one 

 2          another, to make sure that they are 

 3          adequately planning and targeting resources 

 4          dedicated to serving individuals who are 

 5          homeless.  

 6                 Obviously, for an area of the state 

 7          that has few homeless individuals, that 

 8          planning process will probably be much easier 

 9          for them.  And if they have the resources 

10          available, you know, they're in a good place, 

11          and it should be fairly simple for them to be 

12          able to not only provide a plan for us in 

13          terms of the coordinated delivery of those 

14          homeless services but also to see if there 

15          are certain pockets, certain target 

16          populations, perhaps, that they need to focus 

17          on.  And again, to work with others within 

18          their locality to try to address those 

19          specific needs.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  One last 

21          question, at least in this time frame.  I see 

22          the Governor has put aside money for a 

23          comprehensive case management for vulnerable 

24          young people.  It's my understanding it's 


 1          about a million dollars that he's put into 

 2          that.  Is that targeted specifically to 

 3          unaccompanied, undocumented minors?  Is that 

 4          the focus of that program?

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  The 

 6          focus of the program is really vulnerable 

 7          youth, many who are immigrant youth on Long 

 8          Island, to make sure that they have access to 

 9          services and supports that they may need to 

10          stay in school and to move along a positive 

11          path and not be tempted to be influenced by 

12          some of the gang activity on Long Island.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  And do you have 

14          an overall budget impact on what we're 

15          spending for unaccompanied, undocumented 

16          minors?

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  I do 

18          not.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  Okay.  Thank 

20          you.

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Okay, 

22          thank you.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  And 

24          welcome today.  Very glad to have you.  


 1                 I have a few questions that I'd like 

 2          to go over.  

 3                 Although the Executive Budget presents 

 4          a 1.4 percent decline in family assistance 

 5          caseload, it contains an increase in 

 6          appropriation authority of $99.3 million for 

 7          family assistance/ emergency assistance for 

 8          families.  So one of the questions that I had 

 9          has to do with the fact there is a declining 

10          overall caseload.  So in light of that, to 

11          what factors can this increased expenditure 

12          be attributed?  Because it doesn't really 

13          seem to add up.

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Right.  

15          You know, as you know, public assistance is 

16          an entitlement program and we wanted to make 

17          sure that there was sufficient budget 

18          authority to meet any need in terms of, you 

19          know, in the event that there is an increase 

20          in costs associated with the program.  But 

21          you are correct that in general we are 

22          looking at a pretty flat overall caseload.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  So I think 

24          we need a closer look at that particular 


 1          appropriation.

 2                 But do you see this increase as the 

 3          start of an ongoing trend or more of an 

 4          isolated occurrence?

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Some of 

 6          it is associated with the increased rental 

 7          supplement payments in the city that we're 

 8          projecting.  We do not predict that we will 

 9          have -- you know, increased caseload is not 

10          what we're predicting for the future.  We're 

11          hopeful that it will continue to be 

12          relatively flat.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you for that 

14          answer.

15                 And with regard to the Safety Net 

16          Assistance Program, the Executive Budget 

17          proposes an increase -- an appropriation 

18          authority of $14.7 million or, on a projected 

19          caseload basis, an increase of 0.4 percent.  

20          So what do you attribute the increase in 

21          safety net caseload to?

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  And 

23          again, you know, similar to my response with 

24          respect to the families caseload, we are -- 


 1          it's an entitlement program and we just want 

 2          to make sure that there is sufficient 

 3          authority so that we're able to meet any 

 4          needs that may present themselves.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

 6                 Just switching gears, regarding the 

 7          homelessness issue that we have here in the 

 8          state.  As you know, there's been a growing 

 9          problem with increasing levels of 

10          homelessness.  And that's not just in 

11          New York City, it's across the entire state.  

12          Recently the Governor announced new pending 

13          regulations from OTDA to require that local 

14          social services districts develop and 

15          implement comprehensive homeless service 

16          plans addressing activities related to street 

17          outreach and homelessness prevention, rapid 

18          rehousing and ongoing housing stability for 

19          the formerly homelessness.

20                 The Governor's budget also adds new 

21          language to the public assistance 

22          appropriations allowing OTDA to withhold 

23          funding or deny reimbursements to local 

24          districts that fail to implement an effective 


 1          plan.

 2                 So I have several questions around 

 3          this issue.  First of all, when do you 

 4          anticipate these new regulations being 

 5          released?

 6                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  We're 

 7          working now on both the regulations and 

 8          corresponding guidance that will go out to 

 9          the social services districts.  And I would 

10          expect that that would be something that 

11          would be available within a few months.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So will these new 

13          regulations be filed for publication in the 

14          State Register or proposed on an emergency 

15          basis?

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  I don't 

17          know that we've made a decision yet in terms 

18          of how those would be filed.

19                 But in terms of our guidance that we 

20          issue to county social services districts 

21          with respect to implementation of the 

22          comprehensive homeless services plans, our 

23          guidance always goes to the counties in 

24          draft, giving them the opportunity to comment 


 1          and for us to be able to address those 

 2          comments before the policy is final.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I appreciate that 

 4          answer, because I was going to say that we 

 5          need to get stakeholder input on any new 

 6          regulations, so I'm glad to hear you say 

 7          that.

 8                 How does this new directive differ 

 9          from what's already required of local social 

10          services districts?

11                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Right 

12          now, districts have plans for a number of 

13          different program areas, but we do not have 

14          any requirement that they submit to the state 

15          a plan related to the provision of homeless 

16          services.  So this is new.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  It is new, okay.

18                 Are there or will there be established 

19          criteria by which the effectiveness of a 

20          local district's plan will be evaluated, 

21          especially since OTDA would be able to 

22          withhold any -- and I stress any -- public 

23          assistance reimbursements to counties whose 

24          activities are deemed to be ineffective?  So 


 1          if you could address that, that would be 

 2          helpful.

 3                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  You 

 4          know, again, we have information available 

 5          about a number of different strategies that 

 6          are available both for the prevention of 

 7          homelessness as well as outreach services, 

 8          which we particularly want to focus on and 

 9          make sure that there is effective year-round 

10          outreach to make sure that anyone who needs 

11          housing is aware of those supports that are 

12          available.

13                 You know, although the appropriation 

14          language clearly gives us the authority to 

15          withhold reimbursement, that certainly is not 

16          our objective.  We will be working closely 

17          with every county in the development of their 

18          plans, and in the event that they have any 

19          difficulty in terms of moving the needle and 

20          achieving outcomes, we will work closely with 

21          them in order to perhaps amend their plan, to 

22          make sure that we see positive outcomes.

23                 And so, you know, while there is 

24          authority there, we don't expect that that's 


 1          something that we will need to rely on, 

 2          because we know that the counties take the 

 3          issue of homelessness as seriously as we do.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I'm somewhat 

 5          concerned about the one-size-fits-all 

 6          approach, particularly as it pertains to 

 7          street outreach.  So for example, in most 

 8          rural areas of the state there may be some 

 9          people on the streets, but a lot of times 

10          they're hidden in the countryside.  They may 

11          be living in an abandoned barn or chicken 

12          coop.  Certainly in -- one experience that 

13          I've had is my father actually found someone 

14          living in one of his barns.  And so we worked 

15          together to get that person to the county 

16          social services department, got them a place 

17          to live.

18                 But there are certainly people who are 

19          homeless in rural areas, but they're not 

20          necessarily living on the streets.  So 

21          couldn't it be considered, you know, a 

22          problem, especially since we have limited 

23          resources, to require rural counties to 

24          engage in planning and other activities 


 1          related to street outreach?  Aren't there 

 2          other things that could be a better use of 

 3          money and time?

 4                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  I assure 

 5          you it will not be a one-size-fits-all.  

 6          Again, you know, obviously in rural areas the 

 7          need for outreach will differ than from urban 

 8          areas.  In rural areas where there may not be 

 9          large numbers of individuals who are homeless 

10          who are unsheltered, it could be that the 

11          county social services agency is simply 

12          working both with local law enforcement in 

13          terms of making sure that they're aware, 

14          again, of the services that are available for 

15          the homeless, as well as the range of service 

16          providers in the county who may come in 

17          contact with individuals who may find 

18          themselves homeless, again, to work with 

19          those service providers to make sure they too 

20          understand that the county social services 

21          agency can provide help for an individual who 

22          is homeless, and to encourage that individual 

23          to seek those services.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  But you would still 


 1          require the counties to do street outreach 

 2          and do those kinds of planning activities?

 3                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  We would 

 4          expect that they have an outreach plan.  

 5          Again, it doesn't need to look the same way 

 6          in every area of the state.  

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Thank you.

 8                 So are there new resources from the 

 9          state that are being made available to assist 

10          the local districts in tackling the growing 

11          problem of homelessness?

12                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Again, 

13          the state budget permits any social services 

14          agency to put a plan forward in the event 

15          that they need additional help in shelter 

16          payments, to make sure that individuals are 

17          able to be housed.  So -- and the ongoing 

18          public assistance funding streams are 

19          available to provide those services to 

20          individuals.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So it's just the 

22          typical ones that already exist is what 

23          you're saying.

24                 How closely does OTDA work with local 


 1          governments in implementing anti-homelessness 

 2          programs and other activities in order to 

 3          guarantee the most efficient and effective 

 4          use of funding?

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  So we 

 6          work both with social services districts and 

 7          then also through our funding of a range of 

 8          nonprofit providers to provide homeless 

 9          prevention and rapid rehousing services.

10                 Certainly through our new initiative 

11          to develop these comprehensive plans, we're 

12          going to also enhance our staffing in terms 

13          of dedicating existing staff -- additional 

14          staff will be dedicated to this function to 

15          make sure that we're getting information to 

16          the counties about effective outreach as well 

17          as other prevention services for the 

18          homeless.  And also working with them as they 

19          seek to move people out of homelessness and 

20          into permanent housing.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I just was curious 

22          about the different state agencies and how 

23          you interact.  So one of the factors in the 

24          growing homelessness problem has to do with 


 1          this explosion of people who are addicted to 

 2          heroin and other opioids.  So are you working 

 3          closely with OASAS and maybe HCR?  Because 

 4          obviously there are supportive housing 

 5          programs that are out there, there are 

 6          addiction treatment programs that are out 

 7          there.  And how does that interaction happen 

 8          at the top on the state level?

 9                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Right.  

10          So we are working closely with HCR in terms 

11          of the creation of additional affordable 

12          housing, and from our lane, with OTDA, 

13          specifically with supportive housing.

14                 We also have been working with the 

15          Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse 

16          Services.  They have dedicated additional 

17          resources to bring substance use disorder 

18          services into the shelter system -- again, to 

19          try to deal with the underlying cause of 

20          homelessness, or what is one of the many 

21          underlying causes of homelessness.  They have 

22          provided those services already in New York 

23          City, and we are in the process of expanding 

24          that to many other areas of the state, again, 


 1          where those individuals will be pushing those 

 2          substance use disorder services into the 

 3          shelter system to try to encourage 

 4          individuals to access treatment they may need 

 5          so that they are no longer addicted.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you for that.  

 7          And what about the Office of Mental Health?

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Again, 

 9          we also are working with the Office of Mental 

10          Health on a similar initiative where those 

11          types of mental health services -- again, 

12          kind of going outside of the traditional 

13          delivery mechanism for delivering mental 

14          health services, but also to try to push 

15          those services into the shelter system.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I have two 

18          quick questions.  

19                 You mentioned about the additional 

20          resources to HEAP.  Is that to provide 

21          supplements to people who have already 

22          received HEAP grants?  Or is it to expand to 

23          a larger group?

24                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  So it 


 1          would enable someone who may have already 

 2          received an emergency benefit to receive an 

 3          additional emergency benefit later in the 

 4          heating season.  And then -- so that's for 

 5          the emergency benefit component.

 6                 And then with respect to 

 7          weatherization, that would be a new number of 

 8          households that would be eligible to receive 

 9          weatherization services.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  And will you be 

11          issuing some guidelines on how people can 

12          access those funds?

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Yes.  

14          Yeah, we will be issuing guidelines to the 

15          social services districts who are responsible 

16          for delivering those benefits, and then also 

17          kind of getting information out there through 

18          the press about the availability of the 

19          benefits.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Great.  And 

21          then a few questions that I was interested in 

22          have been asked, but I wanted to know what 

23          the status of funding for the refugee 

24          resettlement agencies -- how many people have 


 1          been served and have federal reductions been 

 2          restored, if you're aware?

 3                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  So the 

 4          funding that's available in our budget to 

 5          support the resettlement agencies has been 

 6          issued and made available to them to provide 

 7          services.  

 8                 At this point we -- you know, we are 

 9          kind of on the watch for what's happening at 

10          the federal level.  So far, with the 

11          continuing resolutions, we have not seen 

12          reductions but, you know, in communication 

13          with the federal government we -- you know, 

14          we know that some of that funding is tied 

15          obviously to the number of refugees that are 

16          coming into and settling in the State of New 

17          York.  That number is on the decline, and so 

18          it is certainly possible that, along with the 

19          decline in the number of refugees being 

20          placed in the state, that we will see a 

21          reduction in federal funds.

22                 Again, at this point, that has not 

23          been seen.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.


 1                 Senate?

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Krueger.

 3                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 4                 Good afternoon.  In your testimony you 

 5          talk about expansion of SNAP outreach and 

 6          specifically as part of the Governor's No 

 7          Student Should Go Hungry.  So I know from the 

 8          Higher Ed hearing we discussed food pantries 

 9          at every campus, which really is perhaps a 

10          necessary thing, but not really a solution.

11                 So what are you going to be doing to 

12          help ensure that students at our campuses are 

13          participating in the SNAP program? Because 

14          they have to meet school or work requirements 

15          under the federal law.

16                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  That's 

17          right, Senator.  The federal SNAP program 

18          does have very specific requirements for when 

19          a student in higher education can or cannot 

20          receive SNAP benefits.

21                 So what we're looking to do is to 

22          maximize, within the confines of those 

23          federal regulations, participation by 

24          individuals in higher education, including 


 1          college, their access to SNAP benefits.  Part 

 2          of that -- one of the provisions that would 

 3          make an individual eligible is if they are 

 4          participating in any form of work-study.  And 

 5          so we are working with some of our outreach 

 6          providers to design specific materials for 

 7          that population and other ways of 

 8          communicating with that population for anyone 

 9          who is in work-study, that they know that 

10          they may be eligible for SNAP and to 

11          encourage them to apply.

12                 We are also again looking at the 

13          various provisions within the federal 

14          regulation to see where perhaps we could be 

15          more flexible and take additional steps to 

16          reach out to low-income college students to 

17          see if we can do more to get them to access 

18          SNAP benefits.

19                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  And I 

20          would urge you to also take a look at whether 

21          there's the flexibility under federal 

22          regulations to define assorted forms of 

23          student aid as if it was work-study money.  

24          Because sometimes we give students money 


 1          through a variety of streams to assist them 

 2          with tuition and books, et cetera, and we do 

 3          have work and school requirements on them.  

 4          And I'm just not sure whether there isn't a 

 5          broader way to define work-study as opposed 

 6          to just a federal work-study program.

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Okay.  

 8          That's an excellent suggestion, and certainly 

 9          we'll look into it to see whether or not 

10          there is additional flexibility there within 

11          the federal regulation to do so.

12                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So there was a lot 

13          of discussion with your predecessor here 

14          about how we seem to have different rules 

15          about giving money depending on where you are 

16          in the state.  

17                 So I represent New York City, which I 

18          think does have the highest number of 

19          homeless people, singles and families, in the 

20          state.  And we continue to see that the City 

21          of New York alone has to pay 10 percent of 

22          the share for emergency assistance for 

23          families as our homeless family population 

24          grows.  Is there anything we can be doing 


 1          about that?

 2                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Again, 

 3          as you've noted, that was part of last year's 

 4          enacted budget.  And that 10 percent share 

 5          for New York City, when it comes to services 

 6          for families, is included in this year's 

 7          Executive Budget.

 8                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So it also appears, 

 9          for a variety of different reasons, in 

10          funding formulas that as the city's costs for 

11          homeless families and individuals continues 

12          to rise, that the state has figured out how 

13          to only bear about 5 percent of the cost 

14          increases.  Do you know what the state bears 

15          as the cost increases for services for the 

16          homeless other than in New York City?

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  I'm not 

18          sure about the 5 percent.  Again, when it 

19          comes to services for families who find them 

20          homeless, New York City is fully reimbursed 

21          for those costs.  Other than, again, the 

22          emergency assistance component does have a 

23          10 percent city share.

24                 And then the safety net cost 


 1          associated with that population is treated 

 2          consistently with New York City as well as 

 3          the rest of state.

 4                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So it's not all your 

 5          department, it's many different agencies, but 

 6          we started about three years late on the 

 7          commitment for expansion of supportive 

 8          housing.  And at I think the Housing 

 9          hearing -- it's several weeks ago now, so 

10          I'm -- I've been in this room for many, many 

11          weeks.  I believe it was the supportive 

12          housing providers --

13                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  It seems like 

14          years, actually.

15                 (Laughter.)

16                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  We're also suffering 

17          vitamin A deficiencies, those of us who come 

18          here every day.

19                 The supportive housing providers made 

20          a plea that if we sped up the timeline for 

21          giving money for supportive housing, they 

22          actually could move forward with projects 

23          faster, that they actually have them in 

24          queue, waiting for another round to move.


 1                 Can we do anything about speeding up 

 2          that process?  Because I don't think you and 

 3          I and the Governor disagree we need more 

 4          supportive housing as soon as possible.

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Right.  

 6          And I guess the good news is is that we are 

 7          on target with our projections with respect 

 8          to supportive housing.  So again, you know, 

 9          begun in 2016.  And between 2016 and 2017 

10          we've been able to newly invest in over 2,500 

11          units of supportive housing -- you know, a 

12          portion of that which is funded through the 

13          Office of Temporary and Disability 

14          Assistance through our Homeless Housing and 

15          Assistance Program.

16                 So we are on target toward that 6,000.  

17          I think that again, you know, we're 

18          well-situated.  Last year, with our HHAP 

19          program, we were able to award the funds that 

20          are available, and we look forward to another 

21          round of funding being available, that we 

22          will certainly reopen our application and get 

23          those funds out as quickly as possible.

24                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  We may be on target, 


 1          but because of the growth in demand, we're 

 2          actually -- it seems like we're sliding 

 3          further behind from a supply and demand 

 4          perspective.  And I have a stat here -- and 

 5          you may know if it's incorrect -- that New 

 6          York City dropped to a six-year low of only 

 7          being able to place 1500 homeless single 

 8          adults in supportive housing this year.

 9                 So while I am delighted that the state 

10          has made a long-term serious commitment of 

11          6,000 additional supportive housing units, 

12          moving more quickly I think is imperative.

13                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Okay.  

14          Thank you, Senator.

15                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So my ask is can we 

16          look at reevaluating that timeline? Because 

17          if in fact we have providers who are ready to 

18          move forward with new sites, and we know that 

19          we've made this multiyear commitment, let's 

20          not delay in getting more units online.

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Okay. 

22          Thank you, Senator.  And again, I think, you 

23          know, with respect to the progress that the 

24          state is making, certainly we are making good 


 1          progress.  And I can say again with the funds 

 2          that are available to our agency for 

 3          supportive housing, that we awarded those 

 4          funds fully last year, and I suspect that we 

 5          will quickly award those funds again this 

 6          year after the budget is passed and we're 

 7          able to open up again that application 

 8          process for HHAP.

 9                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I appreciate that.  

10          And I have some fantasy that there's a bigger 

11          universe of people listening to our 

12          discussion here who may represent other 

13          streams of money in the state budget.

14                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  

15          Understood.  Thank you.

16                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

18          Hevesi for a brief question.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I guess my 

20          question will be brief.

21                 (Laughter.)

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  It will be.  Just 

23          a point.  

24                 I just wanted to echo the comments of 


 1          Senator Young.  I actually had the privilege 

 2          of traveling to Olean in the Senator's 

 3          district to talk homelessness, and I too am 

 4          nervous about a one-size-fits-all regulation.  

 5          That's problematic.  I think of homelessness 

 6          as a kid of Queens, but we have to take into 

 7          account the homeless outreach program for 

 8          other counties.

 9                 But I will -- I just want to go on 

10          record as saying that if it gets to the stage 

11          where you're imposing new regulations, I'd 

12          like you to keep that in mind.  However, I'm 

13          against the principle of this, that if a 

14          local social service district doesn't get 

15          somebody off the street quick enough, we're 

16          going to take away public assistance 

17          benefits.  It seems punitive to the social 

18          services district, it seems punitive to the 

19          public assistance recipient, so I'm against 

20          that in principle.  

21                 There's another way to go about 

22          getting homeless people off the street 

23          quickly, it's give the counties some extra 

24          money so they can have homeless outreach.  


 1          That's the other way to do it.

 2                 So that's it.  I just -- I also want 

 3          to end by saying you and the rest of the 

 4          staff at OTDA do a magnificent job under 

 5          really difficult circumstances, and I wanted 

 6          to say thank you for all your work.  

 7                 Thank you.

 8                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Thank 

 9          you very much.  And again, I assure you it 

10          will not be a one-size-fits-all plan.  You 

11          know, again, we work very closely and have a 

12          good working relationship with the counties, 

13          and our goal is to make sure that there is a 

14          comprehensive plan and that there is 

15          outreach.  And we do not anticipate getting 

16          to the point of fiscal penalties because 

17          again, as I said, we believe that the 

18          counties take the issue as seriously as we 

19          do.   

20                 Thank you for your comments.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblywoman 

22          Jaffee.

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you.  

24          Thank you very much.  


 1                 I wanted to just raise awareness, just 

 2          reiterate what was just said, because I think 

 3          it's essential.  I represent large areas in 

 4          Rockland County.  And you know, I think that 

 5          most people would make the assumption that 

 6          there's very little homeless situation.  It's 

 7          suburb, so one would suggest that.

 8                 But the numbers are really outrageous 

 9          and unfortunate and very sad.  There are 

10          many, many not just individuals but families 

11          -- I mean, about a year ago I got a call in 

12          my district from a gentleman who earns about 

13          $40,000 a year and he has a wife and I think 

14          it was two or three children, I don't 

15          remember, and he could not afford any more 

16          the rent that he was paying.  He wasn't 

17          paying it quite at the level, and they threw 

18          him out of the house, of his home, rental 

19          apartment, and he was homeless, with his 

20          three children and his wife.

21                 That is happening all too often.  And 

22          to be able to assist and provide assistance 

23          is very challenging when you don't have sites 

24          that offer that.  But here is someone who is 


 1          working, and there just wasn't the kind of 

 2          affordable housing that made it possible for 

 3          them to sustain that kind of environment with 

 4          their children.

 5                 Rockland County, because the numbers 

 6          have really gone up, we also have now a 

 7          homeless shelter.  And I'm sure that you're 

 8          familiar with that, it's in a site that was, 

 9          from years ago, healthcare facilities.  

10                 But we need support and we need the 

11          kind of financial support that was just 

12          mentioned for our counties, for our 

13          communities, so that we can assure that those 

14          sites are provided staff, the environment is 

15          safe, and that it enables them to provide the 

16          services.  And I hope counseling services 

17          too, which is something that I'm sure that is 

18          not all too often provided, but something I 

19          believe we should so that we can stabilize 

20          their emotional --- provide emotional 

21          stability.

22                 But we do need more assistance from 

23          the state for these sites and for affordable 

24          housing as well.


 1                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Okay.  

 2          Yes, I mean certainly it's a sad situation 

 3          when anyone is homeless, but in particular 

 4          when it's a family with children.  Obviously 

 5          that's a difficult thing and certainly it 

 6          must be extremely painful for the parent to 

 7          be in that situation.

 8                 Again, with respect to homeless 

 9          housing, we do fully reimburse the costs 

10          associated with homeless services for 

11          families.  And so we're doing that and 

12          maintaining that because we do want every 

13          social services district to work closely with 

14          the shelter providers to make sure that not 

15          only the places where families may be housed 

16          temporarily as they're searching for 

17          permanent housing, we want to make sure that 

18          those are safe environments for the families 

19          and that also services are available for the 

20          families as needed, including the important 

21          services of getting that family permanently 

22          housed.

23                 Again, when it comes to permanent 

24          housing, the Governor's primary -- our 


 1          primary investment in order to achieve that 

 2          goal is really through the infusion of funds 

 3          for affordable and supportive housing 

 4          throughout the state.

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  I also just 

 6          want to close by saying thank you.  I know 

 7          that this is a very challenging situation, 

 8          many of them, to be able to be responsive to, 

 9          and thank you for your service.

10                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Thank 

11          you.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

13                 Mr. Goodell.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  Thank you.

15                 I wanted to get a little bit more 

16          information about the HEAP.  You mentioned we 

17          have a second round of emergency HEAP that 

18          we're processing.

19                 From the budget perspective, how much 

20          of the HEAP funding goes for regular HEAP and 

21          what percent goes for emergency HEAP?

22                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  The vast 

23          majority of the HEAP funds go for regular 

24          benefits.  So about 1.2 million individuals 


 1          receive a regular benefit, and a very small 

 2          number of households end up needing an 

 3          emergency benefit.  Last year that was just 

 4          under 100,000 households.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  And from a 

 6          budget perspective, what's the ratio?

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  I'll 

 8          have to look and see if I have those numbers 

 9          with me in terms of the dollars spent.

10                 But again, by and far, almost all HEAP 

11          funds are dedicated to the regular HEAP 

12          benefit program.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  One of the 

14          concerns that I have, as you know, is I want 

15          to focus our efforts on trying to help people 

16          leave welfare and become successful so they 

17          can improve their lifestyles, certainly.  

18          That includes helping them with soft skills, 

19          budgeting skills.  My concern on the 

20          emergency HEAP is that if you pay your bill 

21          on time, you're ineligible, so the only way 

22          you get it is if you don't pay your bill on 

23          time.  If you're just on the threshold, on 

24          the pathway to self-sufficiency, a shutoff 


 1          could result in a financial crisis.  

 2                 When you make an emergency HEAP award, 

 3          do you require that the recipient sign up for 

 4          balance billing or take other steps to 

 5          eliminate that type of emergency situation 

 6          from reoccurring?

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Again, 

 8          you know, as noted earlier, most people who 

 9          receive a regular HEAP benefit are not in a 

10          position of needing the emergency benefit.  

11          But we're glad that the benefits are there 

12          for those times when they do need it.

13                 In some instances, that may be -- in 

14          most instances, we would say that the need 

15          that's there is because the household does 

16          not have the resources necessary to meet the 

17          high energy cost.  We do not require people 

18          to sign up for balanced budget planning -- 

19          again, which would apply for those who have 

20          electric utility service.  

21                 But one thing that we do work -- we 

22          work closely with the Public Service 

23          Commission, and the Public Service Commission 

24          does target households that receive HEAP to 


 1          automatically enroll -- with the ability to 

 2          opt out, but automatically enroll them in the 

 3          balanced budget plan.  And then also to help 

 4          them make sure that they're accessing any 

 5          discount programs that may be available for 

 6          low-income households.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  Thank you very 

 8          much.  

 9                 On a different issue, of course the 

10          only way you can become -- one of the few 

11          ways you can become financially successful is 

12          if you have a job.  Of course you might 

13          inherit money or win the lottery or something 

14          extraordinary, but for most people it's 

15          getting a high-quality job and improving your 

16          income.

17                 If you lose your job, in order to 

18          collect unemployment, you have to report to 

19          the Labor Department weekly what your job 

20          search efforts are.  But if you're on social 

21          services, we don't have any job search 

22          requirement, do we?  And my question is, 

23          should we require individuals who are on 

24          social services to be engaged in active job 


 1          search efforts similar to what we require 

 2          someone who's collecting unemployment, to 

 3          maximize their chance for financial success?  

 4                 Just speaking personally, it's very 

 5          difficult to get a job without asking for 

 6          one.  What are your thoughts on that?

 7                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  We 

 8          provide a lot -- we do have a lot of 

 9          flexibility in terms of social services 

10          districts and the extent to which people are 

11          engaged.  But, you know, in any given point 

12          in time we do have a -- about 90 -- over 

13          90,000 individuals are engaged in various 

14          work-related efforts, whether that be, you 

15          know, working, looking for a job, or perhaps 

16          participating in an education or training 

17          program to help them enter employment.

18                 Again, strong believer and certainly 

19          realize that, you know, living a life on 

20          public assistance if you're capable of 

21          working is not where we want people to stay.  

22          We agree that it is most worthwhile for us to 

23          be able to help individuals engage in efforts 

24          to obtain a job.  And I think that in most 


 1          areas of the state that county social 

 2          services districts are fairly aggressive in 

 3          helping individuals do that.

 4                 I would just add that in addition to 

 5          that we also think that the minimum-wage 

 6          increase is something else that has been very 

 7          beneficial in terms of making work pay for 

 8          people who do go to work so that it provides 

 9          a better opportunity for them.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  I appreciate the 

11          fact that we have about 90,000 people engaged 

12          in work activities.  What's the total number 

13          of people that are receiving assistance 

14          through OTDA?  I mean, you mentioned 

15          1.2 million who are receiving HEAP.  I mean, 

16          is 90,000 like one-tenth --

17                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  No.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  -- of the people 

19          who are receiving assistance?  What's that 

20          ratio?

21                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  We do 

22          not have -- there are no work-related 

23          requirements for the HEAP program.  That's, 

24          you know -- but for public --


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  No, so my 

 2          question is what are the work-related 

 3          requirements as compared to your total 

 4          population?

 5                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Right.  

 6          So for public assistance we have about 

 7          540,000 individuals, but that does include 

 8          children who are in households.  I have to 

 9          look at the number.  I think we have about 

10          200,000 cases receiving public assistance at 

11          any point in time.

12                 And I would say that about 50 percent 

13          of those individuals are engaged in some 

14          level of activity associated with employment.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN GOODELL:  Thank you.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you for 

17          being here.  I think that we have no more 

18          questions.  If there are any, we will follow 

19          up with you at a later time.

20                 EX. DEP. COMMISSIONER GUINN:  Okay, 

21          great.  Thank you very much.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Next we have, 

23          from the Department of Labor, Roberta 

24          Reardon, commissioner.


 1                 Roberta, it's nice seeing you on dry 

 2          land, with all our travels around the state.

 3                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you very 

 4          much.  It's nice to see you as well.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So please feel 

 6          free to begin.

 7                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you very 

 8          much.  Senator Young, Assemblymember 

 9          Weinstein, and distinguished members of the 

10          committees, thank you for the opportunity to 

11          discuss Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed 2019 

12          budget and the work of the Labor Department.  

13                 I am privileged to be directly 

14          involved in many of the issues shaping the 

15          economic landscape and setting a foundation 

16          on which future generations can build.  As 

17          I've traveled to every corner of the state, 

18          one thing is clear:  Governor Cuomo and you, 

19          the Legislature, have made possible the 

20          increased economic opportunity and social 

21          progress so many said was not possible.  

22                 New York State continues to be a 

23          national leader and a role model for 

24          workforce development.  Since Governor Cuomo 


 1          came into office, every region of the state 

 2          has seen a dramatic drop in its unemployment 

 3          rate and has grown thousands of jobs.  But 

 4          there is still a lot of work that we can do.  

 5                 As more people find jobs, those 

 6          remaining in the talent pool have more 

 7          barriers to employment and need different 

 8          services.  The Governor’s groundbreaking 

 9          Unemployment Strikeforce began to address 

10          this head on, starting in 2014 in the Bronx.  

11          For businesses, Strikeforce staff work with 

12          the local economic development players to 

13          package available incentives and no-cost 

14          services.  Strikeforce staff engage with job 

15          seekers more intensively, bringing services 

16          directly to them in their own communities.  

17                 We saw great success, so we expanded 

18          to other areas of the state and then expanded 

19          again.  And I'm happy to say to date, the 

20          Unemployment Strikeforce has engaged more 

21          than 100,000 individuals, with 77,000 finding 

22          work.  

23                 Last March, Governor Cuomo launched 

24          Vital Brooklyn, to transform the Central 


 1          Brooklyn region with strategic investments 

 2          addressing chronic disparities, systemic 

 3          violence and entrenched poverty.  For our 

 4          part, and to augment Strikeforce successes, 

 5          the Governor set a goal of 7,500 hires in 

 6          target neighborhoods.  And I'm happy to say 

 7          in less than a year, we have exceeded that 

 8          goal almost threefold, helping more than 

 9          20,500 individuals get hired.  

10                 We're also proud of our efforts to 

11          help youth enter the workforce.  2018 marks 

12          the sixth year of the New York Youth Jobs 

13          Program, connecting at-risk youth to stable 

14          jobs.  These business tax credits have helped 

15          nearly 83,000 youth find work with more than 

16          2,200 businesses.  This year, Governor Cuomo 

17          wants to build on this success and encourage 

18          even more businesses to participate by 

19          increasing the maximum tax credit available 

20          by 50 percent, meaning businesses could get a 

21          credit of up to $7,500 for a full-time youth 

22          worker and $3,750 for those employed 

23          part-time.  

24                 But these groups are just a small 


 1          portion of the people we serve in many ways 

 2          across the state.  Over the past year, the 

 3          New York State Career Center system served 

 4          nearly 500,000 people.  This includes 

 5          individuals who come into one of our 96 

 6          Career Centers for career counseling and 

 7          basic skills courses, and thousands of others 

 8          who are using our technology solutions like 

 9          JobZone and resource rooms.  

10                 We also pride ourselves on our ability 

11          to help businesses of any size find trained 

12          and qualified job candidates.  Last year, 

13          this agency served 23,000 businesses and 

14          hosted more than 1,100 recruitment events.  

15          We also listed 1 million jobs on the 

16          Governor’s no-cost Jobs Express website for 

17          2017, and that saves businesses thousands of 

18          dollars on each listing.  

19                 But we can't rest on our laurels. 

20          Technology and new generations of consumers 

21          are rapidly changing the nature of work. More 

22          baby boomers are retiring by the hour, and 

23          those retirements are leaving a huge skills 

24          gap.  Governor Cuomo believes we can best 


 1          prepare by coordinating our efforts beyond 

 2          the confines of just our agency.  This year, 

 3          he has proposed creating an Office of 

 4          Workforce Development and investing 

 5          $175 million toward training tomorrow’s 

 6          workforce, with a focus on emerging fields.  

 7          This is still under development, and we are 

 8          very excited to see it progress.  

 9                 Today we celebrate these successes 

10          while living in one of the most progressive 

11          states in the U.S.  As we marked the end of 

12          2017, New York State took another step 

13          forward under the nation's first statewide 

14          $15 minimum wage plan.  Today we are on the 

15          path to raising the wages of 2.3 million 

16          workers and have already lifted more than 

17          200,000 New Yorkers out of poverty since the 

18          Governor took office -- all while seeing a 

19          $15.7 billion infusion into the state’s 

20          economy.  

21                 This year also marks the start of the 

22          nation's most comprehensive paid family leave 

23          policy.  I have been very proud to highlight 

24          this program to groups across the state and 


 1          share the benefits not only to workers, but 

 2          also to businesses who can expect to see an 

 3          uptick in employee retention and a more 

 4          predictable structure that allows time off to 

 5          be with loved ones in their time of need.  

 6                 Last November we advanced proposed 

 7          regulations for on-call scheduling.  These 

 8          practices, which have become more prevalent 

 9          in recent years, leave workers scrambling to 

10          find childcare and force them to miss 

11          appointments, classes, or important family 

12          commitments.  We proactively consulted key 

13          stakeholders and then held four public 

14          hearings across the state, including hours of 

15          testimony from workers, advocates, industry 

16          experts and business owners of all sides.  

17          Their message was clear, that 

18          unpredictability has a detrimental impact on 

19          both employees and employers.  We are 

20          currently reviewing the comments.  

21                 We are very proud of our 

22          lowest-in-the-nation gender wage gap, but we 

23          know there is still more work to be done.  I 

24          am very excited about our gender pay gap 


 1          study, which I conducted last year, with 

 2          Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, to identify 

 3          the root causes of the gender wage gap and to 

 4          make recommendations on how all New Yorkers 

 5          can continue to help close it. We will be 

 6          putting those recommendations out soon.  

 7                 The Department of Labor is a key 

 8          partner in the Joint Task Force on Worker 

 9          Exploitation and Employee Misclassification, 

10          and since 2011 this task force has recovered 

11          a quarter of a billion dollars and returned 

12          that money to more than 215,000 workers 

13          victimized by wage theft and public work 

14          violations.  

15                 We also have no-cost programs that 

16          help businesses understand the labor laws in 

17          their industry and on-site safety and health 

18          consultations that can save businesses 

19          thousands of dollars in potential fines.  We 

20          conduct thousands of inspections of amusement 

21          devices, ski lifts, commercial boilers and 

22          more, and we process thousands of asbestos 

23          work certifications and mold contractor 

24          licenses, all making sure to protect the 


 1          safety of all New Yorkers.  

 2                 One final success I want to mark is 

 3          related to unemployment insurance, a system 

 4          that we boldly reformed together in the wake 

 5          of the Great Recession.  Today, thanks to 

 6          those changes and the improving state 

 7          economy, the trust fund which pays for 

 8          workers' benefits is now healthy.  As of 

 9          December 31, 2017, it has a balance of 

10          $1.9 billion.  And that is a stark contrast 

11          to the $3.5 billion deficit just five years 

12          ago.  

13                 Not only have we increased benefits 

14          for workers, employers today are paying 

15          nearly $200 less per worker in overall 

16          federal and state unemployment insurance  

17          contributions compared to just a few years 

18          ago, and that is true progress.  And again I 

19          want to thank you for the way that you 

20          enabled us to do this.

21                 I am very proud of the work that's 

22          being done here in New York State, but there 

23          is an important elephant in the room that I 

24          would be remiss if I did not mention.  As you 


 1          know, the Department of Labor is 90 percent 

 2          federally funded, and there is a storm cloud 

 3          currently hanging over Washington, D.C.  At 

 4          risk are not only our life-changing workforce 

 5          development programs, but also unemployment 

 6          insurance administration funds so out-of-work 

 7          individuals can feed their families, and many 

 8          of the safety and health programs that allow 

 9          us to provide no-cost services to keep all of 

10          New York safe.  

11                 But let me reassure you that despite 

12          these many question marks, we are 

13          collectively committed, now more than ever, 

14          to helping all workers and businesses succeed 

15          and thrive and make sure that all New Yorkers 

16          are safe and healthy.  Under Governor Cuomo, 

17          we are running efficiently and, as our motto 

18          states, we are looking ever upward. 

19                 Thank you very much, and I'm happy to 

20          answer your questions.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

22                 The Assembly Labor chair, Michele 

23          Titus.

24                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN TITUS:  Thank you. Thank 


 1          you, Assemblywoman.

 2                 Commissioner, I want to thank you for 

 3          your testimony this morning.

 4                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN TITUS:  You are doing, I 

 6          believe, outstanding work as commissioner of 

 7          the Department of Labor, and there are so 

 8          many highlights we are still I guess 

 9          applauding that you've done with us, like our 

10          minimum wage, paid family leave, scheduling 

11          regulations, the gender pay gap.  These are 

12          all issues, of course you know, that we've 

13          championed here in the Assembly and we're so 

14          happy to now have as reality here in our 

15          State of New York.

16                 We of course love to identify those 

17          programs that are working so that we can 

18          invest and support, and you spoke about the 

19          youth program, the New York Youth Jobs 

20          Program.  Could you, just for the record, 

21          just expand on your description of that 

22          program?  I'm still -- the numbers are 

23          beautiful, the title is beautiful, New York 

24          Youth Jobs Program, but I really want to know 


 1          what industries are these positions in.

 2                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So I don't have 

 3          a full list; I could get that for you.  But 

 4          it is a myriad of businesses across the 

 5          state.  It is not located in one area and is 

 6          in fact used all the way across New York 

 7          State.  

 8                 We are very proud that 83,000 at-risk 

 9          youth have been connected to jobs.  And the 

10          fact that 2200 businesses use this program 

11          really speaks highly of it, because it means 

12          we have a lot of repeat customers.

13                 I had the opportunity to speak with 

14          the manager of Tops Markets in Western 

15          New York recently, and they are a big user of 

16          this program.  And he was very, very excited 

17          to have the program, he acknowledged how 

18          helpful it was for him.  He said they 

19          actually -- with the tax credits, it created 

20          100,000 hours that they could pay for through 

21          this tax program, and he said think of what 

22          that means in western New York, that amount 

23          of employment that they could offer to youth.

24                 So it is a very robust program.  And 


 1          again, 2200 businesses and 83,000 workers 

 2          really says that there are a lot of 

 3          businesses who are happy to come back to it 

 4          over and over again.

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN TITUS:  And so once an 

 6          employer has qualified for this tax credit, 

 7          every year thereafter they will then be able 

 8          to still participate in this program?

 9                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes.  They get 

10          an -- the initial year gets a tax credit.  

11          The second year, if that employee stays a 

12          second year, there's an additional credit.

13                 But they can also hire new youth, and 

14          they can apply for the tax credits for those 

15          youth.

16                 The other thing that's great about it, 

17          I just want everybody to think about what 

18          your first couple of jobs were like, how you 

19          felt when you went out into the workforce and 

20          held a job on your own.  These are young 

21          people who come from disadvantaged 

22          backgrounds, they may not have families that 

23          go to work every day, they may feel 

24          overlooked by their communities, they may 


 1          feel kicked to the curb.  And this is an 

 2          opportunity to get them going into a path of 

 3          work that may change their lives.

 4                 So we are very excited to be able to 

 5          connect these youth with these employers over 

 6          and over again.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN TITUS:  Now, we are 

 8          increasing the tax credit by 50 percent.  Why 

 9          do you believe that the department has -- 

10          what is the department's, I guess, vision in 

11          this?  And the increased oversight that we 

12          are now proposing, why do you believe that 

13          there should be this additional oversight?  

14          Have there been cases of fraud or --

15                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We are hoping 

16          that this will actually incentivize more 

17          businesses to use the tax credit.  It's 

18          interesting that we -- you know, there are 

19          very large employers that use it and we would 

20          like to actually encourage more smaller 

21          businesses to use it, we actually think it's 

22          ideal for small businesses.  So perhaps if 

23          the tax credit is larger, it will attract 

24          them to participating in the program.


 1                 But again, the success on the front 

 2          end of connecting young people to these jobs 

 3          is great, and we are hopeful that this will 

 4          actually encourage more employers to look 

 5          into the program and use it.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN TITUS:  And as a result 

 7          of last year's enacted budget, how much 

 8          funding from the New York Youth Jobs Program 

 9          has been redirected to the Empire State 

10          Apprenticeship Tax Credit Program?  

11                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I believe it's 

12          $10 million, but let me get that answer for 

13          you.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN TITUS:  And the jobs our 

15          youth have been connected to, has there been 

16          any full-time -- are they still working in 

17          those positions?  Have those positions led to 

18          like full-time?

19                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Some of them 

20          are full-time employees, some of them are 

21          part-time employees.  And again, for youth 

22          who have not really been in the workforce, a 

23          part-time job is a good place to start.

24                 One of the things that we hope is 


 1          happening is they get a first job and then 

 2          they move on to a better job, which is what 

 3          happened to me when I first started working.  

 4          So it's a way to begin the process and move 

 5          them along in their career path.  But I can 

 6          get some harder numbers for you.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN TITUS:  Okay, great.

 8                 And also another program, the Pay for 

 9          Success Program is also being increased or is 

10          going to be -- $69 million will be allocated 

11          to that program.  Again, what kind of 

12          outcomes have you seen so far in that 

13          program?

14                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  The Pay for 

15          Success is an interesting program.  This 

16          works with formerly incarcerated people 

17          returning to the workforce.  And it is a 

18          social bond process.

19                 I can get you more detailed 

20          information, but it basically works with 

21          people who are formerly incarcerated and gets 

22          them back into the workforce.

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN TITUS:  Okay.

24                 And then also I guess my final 


 1          question would be what is the role you 

 2          propose for the Department of Labor with the 

 3          new Office of Workforce Development?  Who 

 4          will see that office, and what role will the 

 5          department have in that?

 6                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So it is a very 

 7          exciting new proposal, and I said to some of 

 8          my fellow -- the other day at the office, the 

 9          plywood is up and the netting is on, it's 

10          under construction.  We don't know exactly 

11          what it's going to look like because it's 

12          just proposed.  I don't know who the director 

13          is going to be.  

14                 But it is a great opportunity to take 

15          all of the workforce development programs 

16          that we have in the state -- we have a lot of 

17          them at the DOL, but obviously you just heard 

18          from OTDA today that they also have, and 

19          there are lots of them across the state.  

20          It's a way to have an office that coordinates 

21          the work of all the workforce development 

22          programs and makes it easier for a worker to 

23          find out where they can go to be upskilled, 

24          where those jobs are located.


 1                 One of the focuses of this office will 

 2          be to make sure that the Regional Economic 

 3          Development priorities are acknowledged and 

 4          that all of the workforce programs are 

 5          aligned to support those programs.  So I am 

 6          very eagerly awaiting the development to see 

 7          how this plays out, because it's a great 

 8          opportunity to take the resources that we all 

 9          have in our agencies and really have a robust 

10          way to engage with the people of New York who 

11          need them.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN TITUS:  Okay.  Thank 

13          you, Commissioner.

14                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

15                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

16                 Actually, I'm going to go first today, 

17          as opposed to usually waiting till last.

18                 So the youth employment tax credit, 

19          we've got a $40 million capped program and 

20          you're going to expand the credit per 

21          employer, so we're actually going to be 

22          reducing the number of young people who are 

23          getting jobs this way?

24                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  No.  Actually, 


 1          it increases the incentive for the employer.  

 2          There's no limit on the number of -- I mean, 

 3          it's -- credit is by the year that they are 

 4          in employment, so some of them go into a job 

 5          and they're there for a couple of months and 

 6          they move on.  Some of them stay for the full 

 7          year and the employer gets the full year tax 

 8          credit.  There are a lot of different ways 

 9          that the tax credit works.  

10                 So there's -- we're not limiting the 

11          number of young people who can enroll, we're 

12          actually incentivizing more employers to 

13          participate.

14                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So how does that 

15          work?  Since it's a capped program, when you 

16          hit the cap you can't continue to provide tax 

17          credits.  So did we just have tax credits 

18          going unused under the old system this year 

19          or the year before?

20                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I am not clear 

21          on that.  We -- you know, that is -- I think 

22          that's the Department of Tax and Finance that 

23          handles the back end of it.  We don't handle 

24          the back end of it currently, we handle the 


 1          front end.

 2                 Under the new proposed increase, we 

 3          would have some certification duties yearly, 

 4          so we would know more about how it's playing 

 5          out at the back end.  But I don't know if 

 6          it's been subscribed or not.

 7                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  And the Governor 

 8          also talks about wanting to target this 

 9          program more to the new tech industries and 

10          coordinate with Regional Economic Development 

11          sort of, quote, unquote, identified needs.  

12          So are you going to be changing the types of 

13          jobs that people are approved for in this 

14          program?

15                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  No, we don't -- 

16          I mean, we don't actually approve the jobs, 

17          we certify that the youth are part of the 

18          demographic that's covered by this tax credit 

19          and the business itself is certified.

20                 I think when we talk about encouraging 

21          tech and the REDC industries, it's more of an 

22          engagement process.  So for instance, our 

23          business services workers from the DOL go out 

24          to businesses and work with them to talk to 


 1          them about what kind of workers they need, 

 2          develop a pipeline.  

 3                 But we also help them with tax credit 

 4          programs.  And a lot of their advantages are 

 5          out there for businesses, so one thing our 

 6          business services reps will do is they could 

 7          target tech industry businesses, go out and 

 8          talk to them, what are your needs, what are 

 9          your deficits, what kind of training do you 

10          think your workforce needs -- and by the way, 

11          do you know that there's this plan that if 

12          you hire at-risk youth you can apply for this 

13          tax credit?

14                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So even though you 

15          explain that Tax & Finance handles, quote, 

16          unquote, the back end, in theory Department 

17          of Labor could provide us with a master list 

18          of how many young people got jobs with this 

19          tax credit in a year and how long they kept 

20          the jobs and how much they earned on these 

21          jobs?

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I don't know if 

23          we go all the way into that.  I mean, I know 

24          how many people we have certified and how 


 1          many people have been hired.  Not sure if we 

 2          have all the wage records.  But I can find 

 3          out for you.

 4                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Okay, that would be 

 5          great.

 6                 And you raised a very important 

 7          concern.  If the federal government drops 

 8          another bomb on us, so to speak, because they 

 9          just seem to like to do that, how many staff 

10          would you actually be losing if you lost 

11          federal funds that get used to pay for 

12          Department of Labor staff?  

13                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It's hard to 

14          tell.  We've seen a variety of budget 

15          proposals.  And of course we don't have a 

16          budget right now so, you know, we're sort of 

17          working in the dark a little bit.  And some 

18          of those proposals have been very draconian.  

19          We have seen proposals that zeroed out 

20          Wagner-Peyser.  Wagner-Peyser is a program 

21          that pays for the career center staff across 

22          the state and across the nation.  This isn't 

23          aimed at New York State; this would affect 

24          every state in the nation.  So that would be 


 1          devastating.  

 2                 I doubt that it would be zeroed out, 

 3          because the impact on red states would be 

 4          just as devastating as the impact on blue 

 5          states, but I think we will see some 

 6          reductions.  There's been talk about reducing 

 7          the WIOA money, the Workforce Innovation 

 8          and -- and that pays a lot for workforce 

 9          training and the administrative support for 

10          that.  Again, a national program that would 

11          affect every state in the union.  And it's 

12          hard to see that that would get a whack, but 

13          it might get a haircut.  So we are looking at 

14          ways to handle that, but right now they're 

15          contingency plans.  We do not want to lay 

16          anyone off.  These services are critical in 

17          the State of New York and the businesses as 

18          well.  So we will do as much as we possibly 

19          can to do more with less if less is what we 

20          get.

21                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

22                 Assembly.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

24          Bronson.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Good afternoon, 

 2          Commissioner.

 3                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Good afternoon.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Nice seeing you.

 5                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Nice to see 

 6          you.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Let me start 

 8          with the Empire State Apprenticeship Tax 

 9          Credit.  As you know, we worked together to 

10          put this in the budget last year, and I know 

11          your office launched guidelines at the late 

12          part of the year.

13                 Has there been any outreach to 

14          businesses or marketing to businesses to 

15          inform them of this important tax credit and 

16          try to encourage them to apply for the tax 

17          credit?

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes.  So I 

19          think I sent you the link when it went live, 

20          I hope you got it.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Yup.

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  And we're very 

23          excited about it, because the link is on our 

24          website and there's a separate page that 


 1          explains the whole program.  You know Jane 

 2          Thompson, who is our director of 

 3          apprenticeships, and she has a wonderful 

 4          staff and they have been working in every 

 5          region to make sure that this is a very 

 6          robust rollout.

 7                 Again, the business services people 

 8          are really important in this connection 

 9          because they go out and work directly with 

10          businesses, and they are the front-line 

11          soldiers to bring this information to 

12          businesses in a region and offer them an 

13          explanation of how it works and offer an 

14          explanation of how to apply for 

15          apprenticeship grants, an explanation of how 

16          apprenticeship itself works.  There are, as 

17          you know, some misconceptions about what the 

18          word "apprenticeship" means.

19                 So we have a lot of tools at our 

20          disposal.  As you know, I travel all around 

21          the state -- and am happy to do it, I must 

22          say -- and I meet with a lot of different 

23          groups.  So I meet with workers' groups, 

24          advocates' groups, I meet a lot with chambers 


 1          of commerce and industry and roundtables.  

 2          And I always mention whatever programs we 

 3          have.  So we do talk a lot about what 

 4          apprenticeship means, first of all, and how 

 5          you can apply for this grant. 

 6                 The thing that we're really interested 

 7          in is the New York State Registered 

 8          Apprenticeship Program, which is very robust 

 9          now.  Most of the big programs are the union 

10          apprenticeship programs, which have been 

11          around for quite a while and are the gold 

12          standard, quite frankly.  They do it better 

13          than anybody else.  But we want to take the 

14          model and attract other industries to begin 

15          to pattern on what they've done so that we 

16          can expand apprenticeship beyond the building 

17          trades.

18                 We know that, for instance, healthcare 

19          and tech, IT, are two industries that are 

20          really ripe for this, so we make a point of 

21          really talking to them.  They're also two 

22          industries that are growing, and they need a 

23          pipeline, so it's useful in all of those 

24          ways.  But we make sure that we connect with 


 1          as many employers as we possibly can, and we 

 2          try to do it in groups rather than just 

 3          one-on-one because it's an important message.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  So this is a -- 

 5          I appreciate your enthusiasm about the 

 6          program and, you know, really just especially 

 7          the way this has developed.  You know, there 

 8          is an enhanced tax credit if you are going to 

 9          employ disadvantaged youth, 

10          16-to-24-year-olds.  We're trying to target 

11          it so it's expanding workforces, emerging 

12          workforces, skills gap, and also to link it 

13          to what we're doing with the economic 

14          development programs and the anti-poverty 

15          initiatives.  So those objectives are very 

16          valuable.

17                 I think that a piece of the outreach, 

18          though, needs to be helping businesses to -- 

19          you know, as you indicated, very difficult to 

20          get apprenticeship programs through because 

21          we want them to be good.  So perhaps helping 

22          businesses to adopt similar models to the 

23          union apprenticeship programs.  But since 

24          they don't have employer associations, find 


 1          those industries that don't have it, like the 

 2          Manufacturing Association of Central New 

 3          York --

 4                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  -- and see if we 

 6          can develop models in that area so that we 

 7          can move industries forward.  So I think 

 8          that's vitally important.

 9                 The Governor in his Article VII 

10          language indicated that the proposal is for 

11          business-related tax credit claims for three 

12          years.  Do you know if the intent is to 

13          include this program as well as the New York 

14          Youth Jobs Program?  Or are they excluded 

15          out?  Because I don't think it's really clear 

16          in the Article VII language.  And it would be 

17          extremely problematic, as we're working 

18          toward workforce development, if, you know, 

19          we're doubling the tax credit for youth, we 

20          have this new program that's just getting 

21          launched, and then we say we're going to have 

22          a three-year delay on the tax credits for 

23          businesses.

24                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I don't know 


 1          the answer, but I can get an answer for you.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Okay.

 3                 Next question before we end our time.  

 4          So $175 million for consolidated funding 

 5          applications, it looks to us like none of 

 6          this is new money, it's shifting money 

 7          around.  A little bit contrary to what the 

 8          statement was originally.  But you put in 

 9          there the words -- in several of the streams 

10          of funding the proposal is to add the phrase 

11          "workforce development."  

12                 As you well know, we negotiated a bill 

13          that the Governor signed of mine that would 

14          catalog all the job training programs 

15          throughout New York State, and we had a lot 

16          of back-and-forth on what workforce 

17          development means.

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Yet now we have 

20          language being put into this $175 million 

21          funding stream, but we're not defining it.  

22          How do you define "workforce development" for 

23          this CFA?

24                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So that 


 1          would -- that might be the purview of the 

 2          office of workforce development.  I mean, I 

 3          know how we define it at the Department of 

 4          Labor.  I'm not sure how they're going to 

 5          define it.  So as I said, it's under 

 6          construction and we're waiting to see how it 

 7          rolls out.

 8                 But again, this is an exciting program 

 9          to coordinate all the various programs that 

10          we currently have.  And we have many, as you 

11          know.  We have been working to put together 

12          that list and be able to get it out to the 

13          public to use.  And as you know, these 

14          different programs are scattered throughout 

15          all the agencies.  So the hope is that this 

16          office will be a coordinator of those efforts 

17          and simplify some of the -- simplify the 

18          search for the worker:  How do I find a 

19          training program for X?  You know, how do I 

20          connect with this kind of industry?

21                 And that's the aspiration, and I hope 

22          that we -- I hope that that's what we 

23          actually do, because we really need it.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Okay, my time is 


 1          up, but I'll come back and ask you more 

 2          questions about that office.

 3                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Okay.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Thank you.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 6                 Senate?

 7                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Senator Jim Tedisco.

 8                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Thank you, 

 9          Commissioner Reardon, for your service and 

10          for being here today and for taking the time 

11          to give us your testimony.  

12                 I've got some individual questions on 

13          individual issues I'd like to ask, but 

14          because time is limited, I think I'll ask a 

15          whole list of questions.

16                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Okay.

17                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  You used New York's 

18          motto "Ever Upward" -- also "Still Higher."  

19          It was never meant to mean still higher 

20          taxes, mandates or regulations, it was meant 

21          to be still higher quality of life for the 

22          constituents we represent.

23                 In terms of what you said about the 

24          positive factors in New York State, I want to 


 1          know how it kind of squares with the fact 

 2          that we're the third-highest-taxed state in 

 3          the nation right now.  You've probably seen 

 4          by all the economic indicators we've been 

 5          labeled as if not the worst, one of the worst 

 6          environments for small business in job 

 7          creation.  Last year the dubious distinction 

 8          through some groups evaluating us, one of the 

 9          worst places to retire in the nation as a 

10          state.  

11                 And you're probably familiar with Tax 

12          Freedom Day, what that means.  Tax Freedom 

13          Day is for everybody that's sitting in this 

14          room, all the people who work in New York 

15          State, that's the day when we finally pay off 

16          our taxes for local, state and federal 

17          government and actually take a dollar home.  

18          In May of this year, early on and into the 

19          middle, that's Tax Freedom Day for New York 

20          State -- close to five months.  None of us 

21          take a dollar home from our salaries to pay 

22          our kids' tuition, our mortgage, buy a 

23          Thanksgiving turkey.

24                 In leading on from that, how does it 


 1          square when, of the 50 states in the nation, 

 2          there's three or four who lost population 

 3          over the last decade and over the last year.  

 4          We lost a million in population who left New 

 5          York State, migrated out over the last 10 

 6          years.  You know we lost 190,000 who left New 

 7          York State last year.  

 8                 What is it we're doing wrong that we 

 9          have these indicators in terms of keeping 

10          people in New York State, attracting people 

11          to New York State?  

12                 And when we talk about mandates and 

13          regulations and piling on, recently the 

14          Governor gave out an executive order about 

15          scheduling for small businesses.  You're 

16          familiar with it.  We had a hearing on that.  

17          And it indicates that small businesses like 

18          those who have car washes -- we have Hoffman 

19          in this area -- those who do construction, do 

20          roofing and things of that nature, you have 

21          to schedule two weeks in advance.  And if you 

22          don't bring those employees in and if you 

23          don't follow that schedule, you're penalized.

24                 If I own a car wash, I've got to have 


 1          a crystal ball to know how those next seven 

 2          days are going to probably be.  If it rains 

 3          for seven days straight at a car wash, I got 

 4          31 people sitting there looking at these 

 5          sponges not moving, because nobody's going to 

 6          bring their car in when it rains.  Nobody's 

 7          going to send people up on the roof for that 

 8          second week.

 9                 How can we penalize those small 

10          businesses for trying to follow through on 

11          those guidelines?  They don't have a crystal 

12          ball, they don't know what the weather is.  

13                 So most significantly, I think some of 

14          the actions belie the suggestions you're 

15          making here.  I wish it was the rosy picture, 

16          part of which you paint.  And I just want to 

17          know how that squares with the fact that 

18          we've lost 190,000 in population, we lost a 

19          million -- why did that happen if there's 

20          opportunity in New York State?

21                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So this is a 

22          complicated question to answer because there 

23          are lots of pieces.  Let me start with the 

24          tax part.  As you know, every New Yorker 


 1          today pays lower taxes than they did the day 

 2          that Andrew Cuomo was elected, every single 

 3          New Yorker.   Manufacturing taxes are the 

 4          lowest they've been since 1917.  The 

 5          middle-class tax cut is going into effect for 

 6          the second year.

 7                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Yeah.  I supported 

 8          that, and that's great.

 9                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes, and I'm 

10          sure we're very thankful for that.

11                 So every New Yorker pays a lower tax 

12          rate now than they did when Andrew Cuomo 

13          first came into office.  So he has worked 

14          very hard to bring those taxes down.

15                 I will say I'm sure you're aware of 

16          the economic missile aimed at New York from 

17          the federal government in the tax cuts, which 

18          is actually going to be very devastating for 

19          us --

20                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Well, I've got to 

21          interrupt you there.  That missile hasn't hit 

22          us yet.

23                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It's coming.

24                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  All the indicators 


 1          I've given to you -- I don't know if we're 

 2          lower or not in taxes.  But when you're that 

 3          high -- if we're that much lower and we're -- 

 4          why aren't we attracting people to come to 

 5          New York State rather than losing 190,000 in 

 6          population?

 7                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We are lower.  

 8                 As for the on-call scheduling, we held 

 9          four public hearings, we collected written 

10          testimony from businesses as well as workers, 

11          and we have been open for comments, which was 

12          why I could not attend your hearing, and we 

13          are now going through -- my staff is going 

14          through the comments now.  We have I think 

15          800 comments in this last round, and I'm 

16          going to sit down with them and we're going 

17          to come up with a fair and equitable set of 

18          regulations.

19                 This is a complicated area.  But I 

20          want to remind everybody that on-call 

21          scheduling is a relatively new way of 

22          scheduling in the world of work.  Twenty 

23          years ago, if you worked in retail, you had a 

24          schedule.  Twenty years ago, you know, 


 1          25 years ago when I was -- probably longer 

 2          ago than that -- when I worked in a 

 3          restaurant when I was a young actor, I had a 

 4          schedule.  And people knew what kind of 

 5          schedule they had and essentially what their 

 6          weekly take would be from their job because 

 7          they could figure it out.

 8                 When Walmart started the as-needed 

 9          inventory approach, suddenly people realized 

10          that workers could be fungible, that they 

11          didn't need to have a schedule the way they 

12          used to, that they could plug them in like 

13          robots or pieces into their work pattern.  

14          And that created a great difficulty for 

15          workers.  It also creates a headache for the 

16          employer.  There is -- I read a story several 

17          years ago about a large retailer on the East 

18          Coast, I think it was Ikea, who had the 

19          on-call scheduling software, and their sales 

20          were falling.  And I think it was the stores 

21          here in Elizabeth and New York City, they 

22          were getting a lot of complaints about their 

23          workers, they weren't able to answer 

24          questions, they were having a hard time.


 1                 They decided to try an experiment and 

 2          do what they do in Sweden, where the mother 

 3          company is.  They got rid of the software and 

 4          they gave people shifts.  Their profits went 

 5          up, they had fewer employees walking off the 

 6          job.  And they had comments from their 

 7          customers saying "Your employees are great, 

 8          they know how to put these things together, I 

 9          can go and ask them my questions."  They got 

10          rid of the software and they gave their 

11          people shifts. 

12                 So that is one thing that speaks to 

13          the need for regularity, not just for the 

14          worker but for the employer as well.

15                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

16                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Well, thank you, 

17          Commissioner, I appreciate your testimony.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

19                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

21          Oaks.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Yes, Commissioner, 

23          a few questions.

24                 I know you had mentioned that you were 


 1          doing a pay equity study.  And just in your 

 2          comments on working and different things, 

 3          just had a quick question.  Unemployment rate 

 4          or working rate -- you know, number of 

 5          jobs -- do we separate those by gender to 

 6          know numbers who are working?  

 7                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  So if we look at 

 9          the figures we can figure those out?

10                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes.  There's 

11          an unemployment rate for men, there's an 

12          unemployment rate for women.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you.

14                 In the issue of the family leave 

15          program, you brought that up, is your agency 

16          overseeing that?  Do you have information now 

17          on the number of businesses that have 

18          established the program, who should have the 

19          number of people who are withholding money 

20          and whatever?  Do we have any sense of that 

21          type of compliance at this point?

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So the -- this 

23          is actually overseen by the workers' comp 

24          part of the world, and they -- the Workers' 


 1          Comp Board oversees the issues that arise 

 2          with it.

 3                 But we were very involved at the 

 4          Department of Labor in the rollout, and I did 

 5          a lot of speaking around the state, on behalf 

 6          of the Governor, to explain it to business 

 7          groups and workers.

 8                 I do not have that information.  You 

 9          know, it just went into effect in January.  

10          But it did require all private employers to 

11          begin the deductions unless the worker filed 

12          a waiver.  And the waiver was substantiated 

13          if that worker would never meet the 

14          requirements to test into the family program.

15                 It's weeks worked or hours worked, 

16          depending on whether they're under 20 hours 

17          or over 20 hours.  But that was a mandate for 

18          every private employer in the state.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  And then I just 

20          wanted to ask you a little bit on the 

21          minimum-wage issue.  You talked about it, it 

22          was brought up.  Do we have any numbers -- in 

23          the most affected sectors that were paying at 

24          minimum wage before we started increasing it 


 1          and today, do we have any numbers on job 

 2          gain, job loss in those sectors at all?

 3                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  In the minimum 

 4          wage where -- it's only a minimum wage, it's 

 5          a lower ridge.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  So employers that 

 7          were paying at that rate, are we seeing fewer 

 8          people, more people?

 9                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It's fairly 

10          early to have that data.  So we're one year 

11          in, I know we are gathering the data and 

12          we're analyzing it.  But, you know, labor 

13          stats take a while to put together.  So I 

14          don't have that.  

15                 But I don't think there's -- I would 

16          have heard if there was a lot of volatility, 

17          and I don't believe there has been.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Okay.  And then I 

19          know we had talked some about youth 

20          employment too, job rates for 

21          16-to-18-year-olds, or people with jobs or --

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Unemployment 

23          rates.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  -- unemployment 


 1          rate.  And I know there's two things, people 

 2          working or not.  Any change have we seen in 

 3          that area since the increase?

 4                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So the figures 

 5          that I have across the state -- so across the 

 6          state, unemployment has fallen in every 

 7          region.  And I'm very happy to say that youth 

 8          unemployment has fallen in every region.  It 

 9          is still high.  Let me point out, it is 

10          higher than we want it to be, but it is 

11          definitely lower than it was five years ago, 

12          four years ago.  So it is incrementally 

13          coming down.

14                 So all the programs that we're using 

15          are effective.  Youth unemployment is a 

16          difficult problem not just in New York State, 

17          it is difficult across the country.  And 

18          there are a variety of reasons for that.  

19          Some of it definitely is  disadvantaged 

20          youth, but it goes beyond that.  

21                 But I'm happy to say the unemployment 

22          rate is coming down.  The Strikeforce that we 

23          have in the Bronx and Brooklyn and Western 

24          New York, in various parts of the state, that 


 1          has helped.  The Strikeforce is for youth as 

 2          well as adults.  

 3                 So we have a variety of programs to 

 4          work with young people, and we are assiduous 

 5          in applying those programs.  And they are 

 6          working.  But I am not claiming success.  You 

 7          know, we have a lot more to do, no question 

 8          about it.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you.

10                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  We've been joined by 

11          Senator James Sanders.

12                 And Senator Diane Savino is the next 

13          questioner.

14                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, Senator 

15          Krueger.

16                 Good afternoon, Commissioner.  Always 

17          happy to see you.  

18                 I just want to focus on a couple of 

19          things.  I know you already answered the 

20          question about the new $175 million workforce 

21          investment; so that's existing money that's 

22          now being pulled together and it's going to 

23          be administered through the REDCs, is that 

24          correct?


 1                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Mm, no.  Well, 

 2          it's a CFA program, so it funds an expanded 

 3          CFA program.  And it's administered the way 

 4          the CFA programs are right now.

 5                 So one of the things with the REDCs, 

 6          we want to make sure that the priorities from 

 7          the REDCs are identified appropriately, the 

 8          skill sets that are needed for those priority 

 9          industries are identified as pipelines that 

10          are needing to be filled, and then we want to 

11          align all of the various workforce 

12          development programs that we have to make 

13          sure that we're doing this adequately.  And a 

14          lot of that is middle-skills jobs.

15                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Right.  And, you 

16          know, we've done a lot of work together over 

17          the years.  As you know, I think 2010, 

18          Assemblymember Heastie -- who was then the 

19          chair of the Labor Committee in the 

20          Assembly -- and myself, we passed the Wage 

21          Theft Prevention Act.  I know we saddled your 

22          agency with an awful lot of work as a result 

23          of that.

24                 But one of the things that happens, 


 1          even when you do manage to crack down on a 

 2          bad employer and you get a judgement against 

 3          them, they don't have any money.  Or they've 

 4          reorganized their corporation into another 

 5          entity to get out from underneath paying. 

 6                 So last year, as part of the budget 

 7          discussions -- and it fell off at the last 

 8          minute -- was being able to move the SWEAT 

 9          bill, which is the -- I love these acronyms.  

10          But it stands for Securing Wages Earned 

11          Against Theft.  And it would allow the 

12          imposition of a mechanic's lien so that all 

13          workers would have the right to put a 

14          temporary lien on an employer's property when 

15          they haven't been paid for their work after 

16          there's been a finding and in fact they were 

17          the victim.

18                 But there was some concern on the part 

19          of I guess the administration that the 

20          language in the bill was inconsistent with 

21          the prior underlying mechanic's lien.

22                 So do you have any idea whether or not 

23          we've able to address that underlying 

24          concern?  If you don't know today, that's 


 1          fine, but if you could get that to me.

 2                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yeah, I don't 

 3          know.  That's a good question, and we can 

 4          find out.  I don't know what conversations 

 5          have been had.

 6                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Because again, you 

 7          know, the Wage Theft Prevention Act is 

 8          probably one of the most effective bills 

 9          that's been passed in this state and across 

10          the country.  But if an employer can easily 

11          get out from underneath making good on the 

12          wages because they're just reorganizing 

13          themselves or they're going out of business, 

14          which happens fairly regularly, you know, it 

15          doesn't really help.

16                 With the two minutes I have left, I 

17          want to talk about a program -- and I'm not 

18          really sure where it falls under.  It's 

19          called YouthBuild.  So I know in the state 

20          budget there's a commitment for $300,000 for 

21          YouthBuild, but it's in -- it's probably one 

22          of the most effective evidence-based programs 

23          that I've seen on the ground.  I can hear 

24          Senator Montgomery agreeing with me behind 


 1          us.

 2                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We had a 

 3          conversation last year about it.

 4                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Because it's not a 

 5          diversion program and it's not a requirement 

 6          on young people.  These are young people who 

 7          have finally accepted the fact that they're 

 8          responsible for their own life.  They may 

 9          have not achieved everything they were 

10          supposed to in their primary and secondary 

11          education, but it's like they realize, "I'm 

12          21, and there's nobody going to hold my hand 

13          anymore."  So there's a real commitment on 

14          the part of these young people.  

15                 And if you haven't visited a 

16          YouthBuild, you really should.  You know, 

17          they're training them not just for jobs in 

18          the building trades, which is important, but 

19          kind of training them to understand that, you 

20          know, you're an adult now and there's a 

21          responsibility to plan for your own future, 

22          that the world isn't going to hold your hand.

23                 But what I would like to see is some 

24          of these $175 million, if some of it could be 


 1          directed towards the YouthBuild programs.  

 2          They are, again, evidence-based, they are 

 3          very successful.  And I think that we're 

 4          missing an opportunity.  Most of the money 

 5          comes from the feds.

 6                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It's USDOL 

 7          money.  We don't have it, yeah.

 8                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Right.  And with the 

 9          concerns about the way things are going in 

10          Washington, we're all worried that that money 

11          is going to disappear.  Local governments 

12          sometimes fill the gap.  You know, the City 

13          of New York does a commitment to some of the 

14          YouthBuild programs.  But it would be helpful 

15          if the state recognized that this is a 

16          program that works and that we should be 

17          investing in it directly through the budget.

18                 So if you could take a look at that, I 

19          would really appreciate it.

20                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you.

21                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We had that 

23          conversation last year.

24                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Oh, one other thing.  


 1          And you may not be prepared to answer it yet.  

 2                 I know the Governor has proposed the 

 3          idea of eliminating the tip credit -- or the 

 4          tipped wages across different sectors that 

 5          are covered.  I understand the car wash 

 6          issue; I don't quite understand the 

 7          restaurant issue.  

 8                 There seems to be this impression that 

 9          people who work as waiters and waitresses and 

10          bartenders and banquet don't make any money.  

11          I think you and I have had this conversation.  

12          My first job was a waitress when I was 15, I 

13          made $40 the first day in tips, that was the 

14          job for me.

15                 So I just think we should be careful 

16          about how we apply this issue to the 

17          restaurant industry.

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So let me say a 

19          little bit about the subminimum wage 

20          hearings.  The Governor has directed us to 

21          hold hearings across the state.  We will 

22          holding them in six localities with seven 

23          hearings; I think we're going to do two in 

24          New York City.


 1                 And as you said, this is a great swath 

 2          of tipped workers, not strictly hospitality.  

 3          So I always -- everybody -- I'm sure many 

 4          people here stay in a hotel because you don't 

 5          live in Albany.  When you stay in the hotel, 

 6          do you tip the room attendant when you leave?  

 7          Because they are considered tipped workers.  

 8          And many people don't, or they leave a dollar 

 9          on the dresser.  

10                 Same thing with dog walkers.  I found 

11          out that tow-truck operators get tipped.  Who 

12          knew?  Car washers, obviously.  There's a lot 

13          of them.  

14                 So we are going to hold these 

15          hearings.  We want to hear from all of the 

16          industries.  We want to hear from all of the 

17          regions.  And we want to hear from the 

18          workers and their advocates.  There are 

19          concerns.  We have heard these concerns 

20          often.  

21                 One thing I want to make 

22          crystal-clear, because there is confusion 

23          about this.  This is not about eliminating 

24          tips.  This is about the subminimum wage that 


 1          is allowed to be paid to tipped workers.  

 2          Subminimum wage is your salary from your 

 3          employer.  Tips are given to you by the 

 4          person that you serve, and it is a gratuity.  

 5          And they are very different.  It gets mixed 

 6          up.  We are not talking about tips.  I worked 

 7          for tips; I remember that.

 8                 But it is a convoluted practice.  It 

 9          requires a tremendous amount of bookkeeping, 

10          actually, from the company.

11                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Right.  And as you 

12          know, in the restaurant industry if you -- 

13          you get paid the subminimum, but if you don't 

14          make the difference in tips, the employer is 

15          responsible for making up the difference.  So 

16          you're always guaranteed that you will be 

17          paid, compensated at least the minimum wage, 

18          and then of course most people make far 

19          beyond that.  Let's not talk about who claims 

20          it and who doesn't.  But that's beside the 

21          point.

22                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yeah.  It's 

23          mostly charged now, so they --

24                 SENATOR SAVINO:  It is different, 


 1          though, than the tip credit.

 2                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes.

 3                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Which allows 

 4          employers to keep money.  That's a different 

 5          -- that's more in some of the industrial work 

 6          like car washes.  The car wash industry is 

 7          allowed to claim the tip credit for their 

 8          employees.  Restaurants don't.  So you're 

 9          right, it's a very convoluted issue.

10                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  No, actually 

11          they're the same.  I mean, the subminimum 

12          wage is applied the same.  It's a different 

13          number because of the different wage scale.  

14          But it's the same theory.  And that's one of 

15          the reasons we want to look into it, because 

16          we've actually had a fair amount of cases of 

17          wage theft, some of it on purpose, some of it 

18          inadvertent because of the having to make 

19          sure that you're made whole at the end of the 

20          week or whatever the period is.

21                 So it is a complicated area and we 

22          really want to understand it all the way 

23          around the board.  But again, we are not -- 

24          the USDOL rule about tip pooling --


 1                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Different issue.

 2                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  That is not 

 3          allowed in New York State.  We have laws that 

 4          prevent that.  And we are not talking about 

 5          that.  We are simply looking at the 

 6          subminimum wage.

 7                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 9                 Assemblyman DenDekker.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Yes, hi.  

11          Thank you very much, Commissioner, for being 

12          here.

13                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Hi.  Good to 

14          see you.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Nice to see 

16          you again.

17                 I just basically want to make one 

18          quick comment about the Vital Brooklyn 

19          program.  It sounds great that the Governor 

20          set a goal of 7,500 hires and got 300 percent 

21          back on his original ask.  I would ask that 

22          you please consider a Vital Queens.  If it 

23          worked so well there, I'd like it in Queens, 

24          specifically my area of Queens, but I'm sure 


 1          the chair of Labor, who represents South 

 2          Queens, would also like to get another 20,000 

 3          jobs in her area.  So we would ask that you'd 

 4          please bring that back to the Governor that 

 5          we are asking that you bring Vital Queens and 

 6          make it a priority.

 7                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I will 

 8          definitely bring that message back.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Thank you.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

11                 Hi, Commissioner.

12                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Hi.  How are 

13          you?

14                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I'm well, how are 

15          you?

16                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I'm well, thank 

17          you.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  It's always 

19          wonderful to see you.  

20                 And I did have a few questions, 

21          though.  

22                 So in last year's enacted budget we 

23          authorized you, as Commissioner of Labor, to 

24          smooth wages for fast-food workers going 


 1          forward to keep all workers on the same 

 2          minimum wage schedule.  Hasn't happened yet.  

 3          So is that promise going to be kept?  

 4                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We are studying 

 5          it.  You know, it's preliminary.  We don't 

 6          have any conclusions that would move us to do 

 7          it now, but we are definitely keeping an eye 

 8          on it and we will address it should that 

 9          become necessary.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Well, that was an 

11          agreement that we had, though.  So I do 

12          believe it's necessary.  

13                 But you said you're studying it.  Has 

14          there been any analysis, like formal analysis 

15          conducted on the impact of having separate 

16          minimum wages for employees doing 

17          substantially similar jobs?

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  We are watching 

19          the industries that are impacted and, you 

20          know, tracking them to make sure that there 

21          aren't huge disparities.  

22                 I do know there was a report 

23          recently -- it was New York City only, it 

24          wasn't the rest of the state -- that in fact 


 1          in fast food where that increase happened, 

 2          and it happened highest, I believe, in 

 3          New York City, they have actually expanded 

 4          and there are 23 percent more fast-food 

 5          workers in New York City now than there were 

 6          before the increase.  

 7                 So that seems to indicate that they're 

 8          doing well.  But that again is just New York 

 9          City.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  You know, I would 

11          love to see that, because there's also a lot 

12          of information out there about accelerated 

13          technology, automated technology in fast-food 

14          establishments where many of them are 

15          replacing workers with technology.  

16                 And I've spoken to several businesses, 

17          and they have said that millennials 

18          especially want to wait on themselves.  So we 

19          see this in supermarkets, we see it in 

20          fast-food places.  So has there been any 

21          study conducted on the correlation between 

22          automated technology and fast-food workers on 

23          the minimum wage?  

24                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I'll have to 


 1          look into it.  That's a great question.  you 

 2          know, we are very aware of the impact of 

 3          automation in general on employment.  I know 

 4          in the dairy industry a lot of farmers are 

 5          now using robotic milkers for a variety of 

 6          reasons.  It's, you know, sometimes easier on 

 7          the herd, it's sometimes easier on the 

 8          workers, and it just makes sense.

 9                 I would -- you know, these things 

10          changed everything.  And automation is here 

11          to stay.  So we are trying to stay ahead of 

12          it and see, particularly on the training 

13          side, making sure that when we work with 

14          young people that we can help them find a 

15          path that is going to be productive for them 

16          for the long term and not the short term.  

17          But that's part of it.  

18                 But I will look into it, because it's 

19          a -- actually, it's an area that actually 

20          fascinates me, so -- geek.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  I look 

22          forward to that.

23                 So how are you helping retailers in 

24          convenience stores who have fast-food 


 1          businesses within -- and there are many, when 

 2          you think about it -- but within their 

 3          businesses?  So for example, a Subway in a 

 4          gas station, a Starbucks in a Target store 

 5          and so on.  Most all employees of that Target 

 6          store, for example -- you know, the question 

 7          is, I guess, must all the employees in the 

 8          Target store be paid the fast-food minimum 

 9          wage?  That's question one, because they're 

10          all collocated.  And does the Starbucks have 

11          to have its own security and cleaning staff 

12          because they must make a different wage?

13                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I know that 

14          we've had conversations.  I don't have the 

15          information right here in front of me, but I 

16          can get back to you on that.  Some -- it 

17          depends on the business model.  Some 

18          businesses, the fast food is a separate 

19          entity so they are treated as a separate 

20          entity.  If it's integrated into the store, 

21          it depends on the franchise agreement, I 

22          think.  So it's not really straightforward 

23          and it's not one-size-fits-all.  

24                 But I'd be very happy to have that 


 1          conversation.  Let me get some more 

 2          information on it.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  That would be very 

 4          helpful.  

 5                 So I know Senator Tedisco asked a 

 6          little bit about call-in pay requirements 

 7          that are being proposed.  So in November, as 

 8          you know, the department proposed new 

 9          rule-making regarding employee scheduling 

10          that would require employers to provide four 

11          hours of call-in pay to any employee whose 

12          shift is canceled less than 72 hours before 

13          its start, when the employee is required to 

14          contact the employer less than 72 hours 

15          before the start of a shift to determine 

16          whether they must report to work, or when an 

17          employee is required to be ready to report 

18          for work for an on-call shift.  

19                 So these new rules would require that 

20          employers provide two hours of call-in pay 

21          for any shift that is scheduled less than 

22          14 days in advance.  And these would be the 

23          most restrictive rules in the entire country.  

24                 And in January, in early January I 


 1          took part in a Senate public hearing on these 

 2          proposed regulations, and there's a lot of 

 3          concern in the community.  And I have 

 4          received a lot of information from employers 

 5          in my district and actually from across the 

 6          state that this would be devastating to their 

 7          businesses.  

 8                 So for example, we heard from car 

 9          washes, and it really does not work for them.  

10          Or, you know, oftentimes at nursing homes 

11          people call off a shift and they have to fill 

12          it.  And that's health and safety at risk if 

13          you don't have someone on that shift.  

14                 So in your regulatory filing in the 

15          State Register you state that the department 

16          does not anticipate that this regulation will 

17          have an adverse economic impact upon small 

18          businesses.  Can you please describe in 

19          detail the analysis that the department 

20          conducted in order to reach this conclusion.

21                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So we are right 

22          now in the middle of going through the 

23          comments, the over 800 comments that we got 

24          to the regulations.  And I'm going to be 


 1          sitting down with my staff and digging 

 2          through all of it, because it's a very robust 

 3          comment period, needless to say.  And I hope 

 4          that the people that talked to you wrote to 

 5          us, because that's what we need to hear.  

 6          Those are the people we need to hear from.  

 7                 And we will be issuing regulations 

 8          that we hope will be fair and balanced for 

 9          everyone when we finish this process, but we 

10          are not through it yet, digging.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you, 

12          Commissioner, for that answer.  But I would 

13          point out that you came to that determination 

14          in advance, before it was filed.  

15                 So I guess the question is -- and I'm 

16          glad that you're looking at people's comments 

17          now, but you came to that conclusion before 

18          you got people's comments.  So I would 

19          strongly urge you to make sure that 

20          everyone's concerns are heard, because I 

21          believe that this could be a very, very 

22          detrimental mandate not only on small 

23          businesses but on, you know, nonprofits, 

24          other health providers that have to deal with 


 1          people calling in sick all the time or taking 

 2          time off unexpectedly, and there's only so 

 3          much money to go around.

 4                 So the extended public comment closed 

 5          on January 22nd.  When do you anticipate -- 

 6          you said you're going through it right now 

 7          and it's very robust, because I believe 

 8          there's a lot of concern out there.  But when 

 9          do you anticipate releasing a summarization 

10          of the comments that were received?  

11                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I don't have a 

12          date right now.  But obviously as soon as we 

13          can get through all of the comments and 

14          finalize the regulations, we'll do it.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay.  Thank you.  

16          So again, then, that means the proposed regs, 

17          we don't have a timeline on when those will 

18          be issued.

19                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Not yet.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you for that.

21                 Just to follow up on Senator Savino, 

22          she asked about the elimination of wage tip 

23          credits.  And I had some questions.  So 

24          you're not talking about getting rid of tips 


 1          altogether and just increasing people's 

 2          salaries.

 3                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  No.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  But as you know, in 

 5          December of 2015 the Hospitality Industry 

 6          Wage order increased the cash wage by 50 

 7          percent.  And since that time there have been 

 8          many restaurants across the state that have 

 9          shut their doors and job growth in the 

10          full-service restaurant sector has slowed to 

11          the lowest levels since the Great Recession.

12                 Given these effects and the vital 

13          importance of the sector in providing jobs in 

14          the state, have you given some thought to the 

15          impact that this will have on already 

16          struggling businesses?  Because it sounds to 

17          me, if you're not eliminating tips but you're 

18          looking at this, that you're looking to 

19          impose another mandatory wage increase.

20                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  That's why 

21          we're doing the hearings, because we want to 

22          hear from all of the affected workers and the 

23          businesses.  And in fact in New York City, 

24          where there are enormous numbers of 


 1          hospitality industries, we're going to have a 

 2          hospitality-only hearing for one day and then 

 3          all the other tipped workers' industries on 

 4          another day, just to make sure we have enough 

 5          time.  

 6                 But we understand that this is a 

 7          matter of great concern.  And I'm actually 

 8          very curious to hear the testimony, because 

 9          it is -- we've gotten a lot of input from 

10          various areas, but I would really -- I really 

11          am looking forward to hearing from the 

12          industries and hearing what they have to say.  

13          It is -- as you say, it's an important area 

14          of employment and we want to hear their 

15          concerns from the workers as well as from the 

16          businesses.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  But I do think, 

18          though -- you know, and especially as you 

19          look at areas around the state, they have 

20          different economic thresholds where they can 

21          actually stand an increase in the cost of a 

22          meal.  And in rural areas, for example, we 

23          need to have restaurants available, but at 

24          the same time, if they price themselves out 


 1          of the market, it's a real concern.  And 

 2          obviously we have a lot of job loss that 

 3          would be centered around that also.

 4                 The 2017 enacted budget established 

 5          the cash wage at the greater of $7.50 per 

 6          hour or two-thirds of the established minimum 

 7          wage.  So the question is -- that was 

 8          included in the budget that was passed by the 

 9          Legislature, signed by the Governor.  So what 

10          authority, if any, does DOL have to 

11          administratively alter or eliminate the tip 

12          credit?  I'm curious to hear your answer on 

13          that.

14                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It is in the 

15          regulations.  We've been tasked with 

16          overseeing this.  And it was given to us by 

17          the Legislature because it's in the 

18          regulations.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Well, these cash 

20          wage figures were actually passed in the 

21          enacted budget.  So I'd have to take a look 

22          at that, but I don't -- I believe that these 

23          are issues that should be passed in law and 

24          not just done by regulation.  


 1                 But I appreciate your answers.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblywoman 

 3          Jaffee.

 4                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you, 

 5          Commissioner.  

 6                 I wanted to just mention the 

 7          legislation regarding the tipped workers is 

 8          my legislation as well as Senator Andrea 

 9          Stewart-Cousins'.  We've carried it for a 

10          little while.  And having a discussion about 

11          that is very important.  

12                 Unfortunately, the other aspect of the 

13          tipped workers -- and then I'll move on -- is 

14          that too many of the women are being sexually 

15          assaulted and abused under circumstances that 

16          makes them very vulnerable.  So I'm sure that 

17          you hear the stories.

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I am very aware 

19          of it.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  I wanted to 

21          mention -- to go back to the Career Centers.  

22          And thank you for focusing on the gender pay 

23          gap.  And that's also a study I think is very 

24          important for us to have a sense of.  But 


 1          within the context of the Career Centers, is 

 2          there also discussion and ongoing movement to 

 3          assure that the women who go through those 

 4          Career Centers are given opportunities and 

 5          really encouraged to reach out and engage in 

 6          a variety of careers, rather than just going 

 7          to secretarial -- not that it's bad, but I 

 8          did legislation a number of years ago when we 

 9          found out that in many of the unemployment 

10          sites people would go to, the women were 

11          given just a few jobs that might be 

12          available -- secretarial jobs, that kind of 

13          job, whereas the men were put in front of a 

14          computer with a wide range of opportunities.  

15          And the law that we passed, with my 

16          legislation, requires that women be given all 

17          the opportunities that are available and let 

18          them make the determination of what their 

19          skills are.

20                 But as we move forward too, we need to 

21          assure that all our youth, young women and 

22          men, are given training and opportunities to 

23          be able to move forward in jobs that they may 

24          find very inspiring and because of the 


 1          capability, that was never even suggested 

 2          that was possible.  And you and I both know 

 3          what that world was, and hopefully we can 

 4          begin those challenges certainly with the 

 5          minimum-wage issues.  But also with the 

 6          reality of providing opportunities to explore 

 7          the possibilities of a wide range of jobs.

 8                 So I was just wondering if that was 

 9          also something that was being encouraged and 

10          focused on in the Career Centers, as well as 

11          in the labor opportunities that are provided.

12                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So now you're 

13          singing my song.  I thank you for that.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  We have a duet, 

15          yes. 

16                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Yes.  As a 

17          woman -- I grew up in a family of six, and I 

18          was the only girl.  So I learned very early 

19          about those differences.  And I have resisted 

20          them all my life.  

21                 We make an effort, a very special 

22          effort at all of our Career Centers to treat 

23          each customer who comes in individually and 

24          make sure that they know the panoply of 


 1          opportunities that are available, not 

 2          determined by your gender.

 3                 When we release our gender pay gap 

 4          study, part of the conversation in that study 

 5          is how do you expose young girls and women to 

 6          different opportunities, to nontraditional 

 7          employment opportunities?  

 8                 I often tell young women -- when I 

 9          speak to groups, I say, you know, "Watch what 

10          the boys are doing.  That's where the money 

11          is.  Go do that job."  

12                 It's important.  And it's important 

13          that you encourage girls to think that way.  

14          It's important that you encourage them to not 

15          have barriers, intellectual barriers about 

16          what they can do.  But we do that with all of 

17          our customers.  And we understand how 

18          important it is to open those doors of 

19          opportunity for everyone who comes in a 

20          Career Center.

21                 Working with girls and young women is 

22          especially close to my heart, and we take it 

23          very seriously.  I have a niece who's 

24          graduating from the University of Rochester 


 1          this year, and she's a STEM kid.  She has a 

 2          fabulous future in front of her because she 

 3          wasn't afraid to go into science and 

 4          technology and math.  And that was a very 

 5          thoughtful endeavor on the part of her 

 6          parents, frankly.  

 7                 So we take it very seriously -- I take 

 8          it very seriously.  And the days of handing 

 9          the woman the secretarial pad, gone.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  I remember when 

11          I was in junior high school, way back in 

12          Brooklyn, we were put into either economic 

13          development or industrial arts.  I didn't 

14          want economic development, but they wouldn't 

15          let me go into industrial arts.  And my 

16          father came up to fight for me, but it didn't 

17          work out anyway.  But my husband, when we got 

18          married, bought me a toolkit, so at least 

19          he -- 

20                 (Laughter.)

21                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  I'm the one 

22          with the toolkit in our family, so just say 

23          it.

24                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  But the 


 1          unemployment -- last question.  The 

 2          Unemployment Strikeforce site, where do you 

 3          have that opportunity that you provide?  

 4                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  The 

 5          Strikeforce?

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Yes.

 7                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So it 

 8          originated in the Bronx.  Then we spread it  

 9          out in the 10 counties with the highest 

10          unemployment.  I have a list I can get for 

11          you.  It's in Brooklyn.  

12                 And in Western New York, we tweaked it 

13          because in Western New York -- in Western 

14          New York in general, employment was going up 

15          but there were zip codes where they had very 

16          high rates of unemployment.  In fact, it 

17          wasn't even the unemployment numbers, they 

18          had people who simply didn't work.  

19                 So we tweaked the Strikeforce in 

20          Western New York.  We out-stationed our 

21          Career Center counselors in the community, 

22          because we understand that for many people 

23          who have not worked, they feel left out, 

24          they're afraid to go -- sometimes afraid to 


 1          go into a government office.  They don't feel 

 2          included.  So we wanted to have our career 

 3          counselors in their communities.  They work 

 4          very much with the ministers of faith out 

 5          there.  They were wonderful -- they gave us 

 6          churches, they gave us access to their 

 7          communities, and we made sure that we were in 

 8          the communities where they needed the help 

 9          most.  And that has been very, very 

10          effective.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  How can we 

12          access that --

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

14          We're going to move on.

15                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  I'll follow up 

16          with you.

17                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  To be 

18          continued.

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you.  

20                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Montgomery.  

21                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:   Hi.  How are 

22          you?  

23                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  It's good to 

24          see you.


 1                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:   Thank you.  And 

 2          same to you.

 3                 This is a continuation of Senator 

 4          Savino's questioning.  You know, there's like 

 5          a group of young -- young people are very 

 6          interesting and they are sometimes very 

 7          difficult to figure out.  So that having been 

 8          said, there's a group of youngsters who are 

 9          supposedly -- I don't like the term, but it's 

10          used, I've heard it used -- disconnected 

11          youth.  I think they are probably the same as 

12          in your statement.  They are the at-risk 

13          youth.  I consider them probably the same.  

14                 And whatever group that there is, 

15          they're groups that are more likely to be 

16          suspended.  And they're also probably the 

17          Raise the Age.  So we're talking really the 

18          same children.  

19                 So -- and when I look at some of the 

20          areas that you've talked about that are 

21          really I think just very -- it means that you 

22          are focused on the right things.  For 

23          instance, the Career Centers.  I like that 

24          very much.  The Youth Jobs Program, I don't 


 1          want to talk about that right now except that 

 2          I wish that we could take -- if we could put 

 3          $40 million into that, if we could take 

 4          $10 million of that to do something for an 

 5          organization like YouthBuild, the YouthBuilds 

 6          around the state, the Attain Labs.  

 7                 The YouthBuild program, I know 

 8          Brooklyn is sort of -- they're partnered with 

 9          an Attain Lab.  So that the state -- you're 

10          able to do something -- we're able to do 

11          something where two agencies come together to 

12          strengthen the program that they offer.

13                 So then I guess what I want to say to 

14          reinforce what Senator Savino said, I would 

15          hope that we could figure out how do we build 

16          an infrastructure -- and I use that because I 

17          don't know how else to say it -- in our state 

18          that supports young people.  And when we're 

19          talking about Raise the Age, we're talking 

20          about young people who really are basically 

21          working age or just preworking age.  So all 

22          of those things that we do to create a 

23          workforce that is going to be able to carry 

24          our state in the future, into next 


 1          generations, in all of the areas that we 

 2          would like them to be able to do.

 3                 If we can invest in that and think 

 4          about it not as a program but as a policy 

 5          that our state supports them -- and you 

 6          figure it out, because they can't.  They 

 7          really are not inclined to go look for your 

 8          programs.  But if they end up and somehow, by 

 9          word of mouth or however they get to 

10          YouthBuild, I've heard them in other 

11          programs -- where if something works, they 

12          send out their own message, their own word.  

13          They have their own process.

14                 So we need to be able to, when they 

15          appear, wherever they appear, we need to be 

16          prepared to do a comprehensive support system 

17          for them so they don't fall through the 

18          cracks.

19                 So that's all I want to say.  I really 

20          appreciate the fact that you even remembered 

21          that I mentioned it.  And just know that in 

22          any way, I think, that we can be supportive 

23          of your efforts to beef it up, that I 

24          appreciate it.


 1                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Thank you very 

 2          much.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 4                 We've been joined, actually quite a 

 5          while ago -- I missed him -- by Assemblyman 

 6          Bill Colton.  

 7                 And for a second time, Mr. Bronson.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  We've also been 

 9          joined by Senator Marisol Alcantara.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  And 

11          Assemblywoman Pat Fahy has been here for some 

12          time.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Commissioner, 

14          I'm back.

15                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Hello.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  I was going to 

17          ask a series of questions regarding the new 

18          proposed Office of Workforce Development, 

19          simply because it was talked about at the 

20          State of the State, but there's nothing in 

21          the budget on how we're going to fund it, how 

22          we're going to staff it, what agency it's 

23          going to be in, and things of that nature.  

24                 You earlier indicated that the plans 


 1          are under construction.  So I'm not going to 

 2          ask questions because we've got to get to 

 3          some other areas.  But I would make, if I 

 4          may, some suggestions of things to think 

 5          about, and that is what will be the level of 

 6          control that this director and this new 

 7          office will have over existing funding, 

 8          workforce development funding?  And the 

 9          overall workforce development agenda, if you 

10          will, or our approach and our strategy.  

11                 And then the other thing is I'm a 

12          little concerned -- you did indicate that, 

13          you know, we're acknowledging and wanting to 

14          upskill potential employees, that we're going 

15          to also recognize or acknowledge the REDC 

16          priorities.  I'm a little concerned about 

17          this office being under the auspices of REDC.  

18          It's not an agency, statutorily it's not an 

19          agency.  It gets funded.  

20                 But the other problem is there are 

21          many, many employers and businesses that are 

22          left out of REDC, just because of the 

23          limitations of the parameters.  And our 

24          workforce development programs are much 


 1          broader.  So I just want you to be cognizant 

 2          of that.

 3                 On another issue that is not in the 

 4          budget but was mentioned at the State of the 

 5          State, and that is an online one-stop shop to 

 6          help workers and businesses navigate the 

 7          workforce development programs.  

 8                 How is that different than the bill 

 9          that the Governor has signed and we're going 

10          to do a chapter amendment through the 

11          negotiations that we just had in connection 

12          with the catalog, online cataloging of all 

13          the workforce development programs?  Do you 

14          know?

15                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  That is a good 

16          question.  And I've actually thought about 

17          that myself.  And I think that it probably 

18          will combine them, because the catalog is 

19          what's available.  So it gives you an idea 

20          across the state where the various training 

21          programs are, what they are, all of that 

22          information.

23                 The one-stop could also talk about how 

24          you access them, what kind of perhaps 


 1          education level -- it may add to the catalog.  

 2          It's -- so if you have a catalog that has all 

 3          the information, perhaps the one-stop is how 

 4          to read the catalog and how to apply it.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Good.  I like 

 6          that response, and I would encourage you to 

 7          go in that direction.

 8                 The other aspect of this is how will 

 9          that program interplay or work with the 

10          current one-stop programs that are housed 

11          throughout the state?

12                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  So our Career 

13          Centers are called one-stops.  And, you know, 

14          it's -- the portal itself, as I understand it 

15          now -- and it could change, because it's 

16          under construction.  But as I understand it, 

17          the portal is online, I think.  So it would 

18          be additional to the Career Centers.  The 

19          Career Centers -- it wouldn't replace the 

20          Career Centers by any stretch of the 

21          imagination, but it's additive.  And it may 

22          be a portal that says first step, go to your 

23          Career Center and talk to this counselor 

24          about this program.  It wouldn't be one or 


 1          the other, it would be additional.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Okay.  Good.  

 3                 And my last line of questioning also 

 4          relates to a policy statement made in the 

 5          State of the State but no budget 

 6          corresponding language or funding.  And it 

 7          also relates to a bill that you and I have 

 8          discussed in the past that would authorize 

 9          the Department of Labor to subcontract out to 

10          higher education institutions to expand on 

11          and develop a data analysis, in connection 

12          with labor and wage data, to determine what 

13          are our future workforce needs going to be.

14                 So the Governor is now saying he's 

15          going to develop this.  He implies it's going 

16          to be similar to the Monroe Community 

17          College's approach that they're doing, which 

18          is an excellent approach, right.  So my 

19          question for you is if you can expand a 

20          little bit about the strategy of developing 

21          this analysis.  Which by the way, really sent 

22          us back to 2013 when the Legislature 

23          authorized the sharing of information between 

24          various agencies.  


 1                 So my concern is this, or my question 

 2          is this, to see if the strategy comes into 

 3          play here.  So we're going to analyze wage 

 4          and labor data.  I'm hoping that we have 

 5          input from industries in some way so that we 

 6          know what it is.  I'm hoping that that 

 7          strategy, that approach has some kind of a 

 8          regional dimension to it.  And that we really 

 9          look to the experts to analyze this, with the 

10          overall objective that it's demand driven.  

11                 By demand driven, oftentimes I hear, 

12          in workforce development, that's 

13          employer-needs-demand driven.  It can't just 

14          be that.  It also needs to be 

15          potential-employee-demand driven.

16                 So if you could just expand on the 

17          strategy a little bit.  

18                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  The last point 

19          is really excellent.  Because part of what 

20          happens sometimes in discussions of workforce 

21          development and regional economic development 

22          is we forget we're going to develop all of 

23          these systems to train people and analyze and 

24          do all of that -- there's still a pipeline 


 1          issue.  If we build it, they will come.  

 2          Well, maybe not.

 3                 So we need to think about -- and this 

 4          is not so much -- this is probably more an 

 5          education issue, because they're in school.  

 6          It goes back to Assemblymember Jaffee's 

 7          question about how do we incentivize women to 

 8          do things other than the traditional jobs.  

 9          We need to think about reaching into the 

10          school systems and having those conversations 

11          with young people early, and I mean early, 

12          about what work is, what career is, what 

13          skill sets are.  And how do we incentivize 

14          them -- you know, in your region you may need 

15          a particular kind of welder.  Not a sexy 

16          career choice.  But if you can talk to young 

17          people and have them experience what that is, 

18          it may light a fire for people who will have 

19          -- it's a wonderful career, and women are 

20          actually better welders than men in many 

21          circumstances because their hands are 

22          smaller.  Side note.  

23                 But, you know, it -- so there's a way 

24          to build that pipeline appropriately.  So you 


 1          are absolutely correct.  It's not just 

 2          building the training programs and talking to 

 3          the industries.  How do you get young people 

 4          interested in doing the work?  And that is a 

 5          critical part of it.  That's where we're 

 6          going to have to work with SED and CUNY and 

 7          SUNY, to make sure that we're all having this 

 8          conversation.  

 9                 That's the great thing about the 

10          Office of Workforce Development:  They're 

11          part of that.  So again, you know, we have 

12          agency-by-agency program, we have 

13          education-by-education program.  Let's have 

14          that bigger conversation so we can do it 

15          holistically instead of piecemeal.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN BRONSON:  Thank you, 

17          Commissioner.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I think we're all 

20          set.  So great to see you.  Thank you.  

21                 COMMISSIONER REARDON:  Great to see 

22          you.  Thank you very much.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

24                 Now we'll move on to our fourth 


 1          witness for today, Greg Olson, the acting 

 2          director of the New York State Office for the 

 3          Aging.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Welcome.

 5                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Thank you.  

 6          Are you ready for me?  

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Almost.  But I do 

 8          want to make an announcement.  

 9                 And if you're watching and you're 

10          participating in the hearing tomorrow, we are 

11          actually postponing it because of the 

12          inclement weather.  So it will be rescheduled 

13          for Tuesday, February 27th.  And tomorrow's 

14          hearing is the hearing on environmental 

15          conservation, agriculture and parks.  

16                 But we will -- I do -- so 

17          Assemblywoman Weinstein is reminding me, 

18          however, the Taxes hearing on Thursday is 

19          still a go.  Thank you.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Greg.  

21                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Ready?  Great, 

22          thank you.  

23                 And good afternoon, Chairpersons Young 

24          and Weinstein, Chairperson Lupardo and all 


 1          the distinguished members of the Senate and 

 2          Assembly committees.  My name is Greg Olsen.  

 3          I'm the acting director of the New York State 

 4          Office for the Aging.  And I'm always honored 

 5          to be here to testify on the portions of 

 6          Governor Cuomo's budget that affects older 

 7          New Yorkers.  

 8                 As you know, NYSOFA provides 

 9          leadership and direction to an integrated, 

10          coordinated network of 59 county-based Area 

11          Agencies on Aging, and almost 1,200 public 

12          and private organizations that serve to help 

13          empower older adults and their families.  

14          Governor Cuomo's priority to strengthen 

15          service delivery, increase efficiencies, and 

16          improve outcomes has created strong working 

17          partnerships between our office and many of 

18          our sister agencies, including Veterans 

19          Affairs, the Health Department, and Office of 

20          Victim Services.  

21                 Despite a multi-billion-dollar state 

22          deficit and increased uncertainty at the 

23          federal level, Governor Cuomo's commitment to 

24          the state's older population is unwavering.  


 1          The 2019 Executive Budget maintains NYSOFA's 

 2          previous funding levels while including a 

 3          host of new initiatives that address primary 

 4          areas of concern for older New Yorkers and 

 5          their families.  

 6                 Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget 

 7          helps older adults and their families by:  

 8                 Launching a long-term care planning 

 9          council to understand the projected and 

10          desired needs of older adults in New York.  

11          This council will analyze, evaluate, and 

12          identify the existing service gaps in 

13          New York's long-term care system and 

14          determine the most cost-effective, 

15          evidence-based interventions and create a 

16          10-year strategic plan; 

17                 Issuing an age-friendly executive 

18          order that directs agencies to consider the 

19          impact of their policies and procurements on 

20          health and healthy aging, aligned with the 

21          eight domains of age-friendly communities; 

22                 Protecting older and disabled veterans 

23          from deceitful business targeting practices 

24          and scams related to applying for federal 


 1          benefits; 

 2                 Helping better understand, market and 

 3          apply for the paid family leave benefits 

 4          which will support the role of informal 

 5          caregivers; and 

 6                 Strengthening the rural emergency 

 7          medical service system, as well as leveraging 

 8          hospital community benefit investments to 

 9          support prevention initiatives, just to name 

10          a few.  

11                 The 2019 Executive Budget honors the 

12          state's commitment to ensuring those who are 

13          served by NYSOFA have access to 

14          cost-effective, high-quality, coordinated 

15          services that support autonomy, independence, 

16          and access to objective information and 

17          assistance regarding options, benefits, 

18          application assistance, and interagency and 

19          systems coordination and advocacy.  The 

20          budget maintains all funding for key 

21          programs, including EISEP, which you're well 

22          aware of; the Wellness in Nutrition Program, 

23          which is the nation's  leading nutrition 

24          program, providing congregate and 


 1          home-delivered meals as well as nutrition 

 2          counseling and education; and the Community 

 3          Services for the Elderly program, the most 

 4          flexible funding stream we have to meet local 

 5          priorities.  

 6                 And the budget retains the $500,000 

 7          investment from the enacted budget last year 

 8          for the expansion of enhanced 

 9          multidisciplinary teams.  We have partnered 

10          with the Office of Victim Services to use 

11          this investment to draw down an additional 

12          $2 million in federal funds annually for the 

13          next three years.  And I want to publicly 

14          thank Director Cronin and her staff for all 

15          their hard work in working with us.

16                 The Governor's budget proposal also 

17          invests in NY Connects sustainability through 

18          a partnership with the Department of Health.  

19          NY Connects is statewide, locally based 

20          no-wrong-door system that provides one-stop 

21          access to free, objective and comprehensive 

22          information and assistance on accessing 

23          long-term services and supports.

24                 The state office understands, though, 


 1          that we need to continually do more to meet 

 2          new and emerging needs, and through various 

 3          partnerships, we work to meet these needs 

 4          without requiring additional state funding.  

 5          Through innovative partnerships with 

 6          foundations, community partners, and our own 

 7          innovation, we're expanding services and 

 8          testing new models of delivery.  

 9                 These include piloting a home-share 

10          program based on the successful Home Share 

11          Vermont model; 

12                 Implementing the Aging Mastery 

13          Program, in combination with the Health 

14          Foundation of Western New York and other 

15          foundations and partners, which is an 

16          evidence-based intervention to develop 

17          sustainable behaviors and behavior change 

18          across many dimensions to improve health, 

19          create stronger economic security, enhance 

20          well-being, and increase societal 

21          participation; 

22                 Working with the Department of Health 

23          to design a clear pathway for inclusion of 

24          aging network services and value-based 


 1          payment reform; 

 2                 Piloting volunteer transportation 

 3          programs in rural areas that support dialysis 

 4          treatments, cancer screenings, and physician 

 5          visits; 

 6                 Working with the Albany Guardian 

 7          Society and the Village-to-Village movement 

 8          to seed local villages, which organizes 

 9          neighbors helping neighbors; 

10                 Working to expand caregiver and 

11          respite options through the Respite Education 

12          and Support Tools model statewide.  

13                 Our external partnerships have 

14          contributed to a wide variety of services 

15          delivered to more than 750,000 older adults 

16          and caregivers last year.  I'm not going to 

17          read each one, but there's a list in the 

18          testimony that goes through our core 

19          services, which include home-delivered and 

20          congregate meals, case management, personal 

21          care, nutrition counseling and education, 

22          legal services, Medicare counseling, 

23          et cetera.  And our evidence-based 

24          interventions, which we provide over 40 of, 


 1          that served over 20,000 people last year.

 2                 So we'll continue to engage state 

 3          agencies, not-for-profits, and other 

 4          community-based organizations to serve 

 5          New York's older population as effectively as 

 6          possible.  And I want to thank you, and I 

 7          always enjoy being here and the support that 

 8          you provide not only to our agency, but your 

 9          communities and counties and the older 

10          residents of the State of New York.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

12                 Assemblywoman Lupardo, chair of the 

13          Assembly Aging Committee.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Thank you.  

15                 Well, thanks for being here.  I 

16          appreciate your testimony.

17                 And I have a number of questions.  

18          We'll just start off with a couple and see 

19          how much we can get through in this first 

20          segment.  

21                 So becoming chair, I am spending a lot 

22          of time on the community support services for 

23          the elderly and of course the enhanced 

24          in-home services as well.  And I just think 


 1          it probably gives us the greatest value for 

 2          our state investment because it not only 

 3          keeps people in their homes longer, I think 

 4          it's better for them, for their mental 

 5          health, for their outcomes, and it reduces 

 6          hospitalizations or readmissions, which is 

 7          very important to the state.  

 8                 I am struggling to try to assess the 

 9          unmet need.  And advocates are always using 

10          the figure of 16,000 are on waiting lists.  

11          But I'm discovering that not all counties 

12          keep a waiting list.  And those counties who 

13          do keep a waiting list, who used to advertise 

14          more aggressively, have stopped advertising 

15          because they can't meet the need.

16                 So if you could help me think through 

17          how are we currently collecting the data, and 

18          might there be a way of improving that so we 

19          have a more accurate picture of what we're 

20          talking about here.  Because I really think a 

21          strong argument can be made obviously for 

22          more investment in this, for a number of cost 

23          savings across a variety of platforms in the 

24          healthcare and mental health and other areas.


 1                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  And I agree 

 2          with you, Assemblywoman.  

 3                 The first part of your question, I 

 4          couldn't agree more.  I think that, you know, 

 5          this network over the last 40 years has 

 6          proven to be extremely effective in not only 

 7          providing prevention services that are very 

 8          low budget, high yield, but doing exactly 

 9          what you're talking about in terms of 

10          reducing ER admissions, hospitalizations, 

11          having a solid community-based infrastructure 

12          when people are released from the hospital.  

13                 So I think that there's a lot of 

14          partnerships that we have created and are 

15          developing, whether it be through value-based 

16          payments, managed long-term-care contracts, 

17          working more with Medicare and accountable 

18          care organizations to really be able to 

19          demonstrate that value and have an additional 

20          financing mechanism.  

21                 I think what's obviously clear, you 

22          know, for the 11 to 13 years I've been in 

23          this agency and then prior to, is that, you 

24          know, we cannot count on the federal 


 1          government to provide the additional 

 2          resources that it should.

 3                 For a very long time the Governor, the 

 4          Legislature and communities and foundations, 

 5          et cetera, have really picked up the charge, 

 6          because you're seeing individuals in your 

 7          communities day in and day out that have a 

 8          need.

 9                 I think one of the great things is 

10          with some of the additions that we've had in 

11          our budget that have been negotiated over the 

12          last couple of years, just over the last two 

13          years there's been an additional $31 million 

14          in program spending that, you know, you may 

15          not be aware of that we get reported from our 

16          communities.  

17                 So yeah, I also saw in the waiting 

18          list number there's a number floating around, 

19          16,000, 17,000.  I'm really not sure where 

20          that number comes from.  Unmet need is 

21          something that I look at every year.  I 

22          require my staff, when they go and do their 

23          annual visits to the area agencies, to gather 

24          that information.  And the numbers in unmet 


 1          need that I have are well, well below that.  

 2                 And I think part of that reason is 

 3          some of those partnerships, some of the 

 4          foundations, some of the innovations, the 

 5          additional resources and then the additional 

 6          commitments from communities across the 

 7          state.

 8                 And so, you know, people don't also 

 9          just languish on a waiting list.  There's a 

10          lot of other things that can happen to help 

11          connect people to services that may not be 

12          directly funded by the AAA.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  So what data 

14          are we currently collecting, and how might we 

15          do a better job of it, is what I'm trying to 

16          get at.  And before I go advancing all of my 

17          own ideas, I'm looking for some input from 

18          you.

19                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah.  Well, I 

20          think for the most part you're right, most of 

21          the communities do keep unmet need lists.  

22          There's some that don't.  So whether, you 

23          know, that's a political issue locally, you 

24          know, I'm not really that sure.


 1                 I think in terms of the core things 

 2          that our office helps to administer but 

 3          really is provided by our outstanding 

 4          counties and their partners across the state, 

 5          you know, we do ask those questions.  They're 

 6          a snapshot in time.  I think that's worth 

 7          some deeper thought in terms of identifying.  

 8                 But I think the point that I want to 

 9          leave with is, you know, we do have a fixed 

10          budget amount.  But as you know now, as chair 

11          of this committee, it's the most amazing 

12          network of people around, where they go out 

13          of their way to make sure, whether there's 

14          unmet need or not, that there's linkages to 

15          other community providers.  Because what 

16          doesn't get reported to us, for example, are 

17          the towns and municipalities that are funding 

18          look-alike services -- faith-based 

19          organizations, United Way, CAP agencies, 

20          et cetera.  

21                 So there's a variety of other ways to 

22          receive service while people, you know, may 

23          have some unmet need within our service 

24          infrastructure.  And we're looking at a 


 1          variety of other options to really diversify 

 2          funding so we're not totally reliant on 

 3          federal and state funds.  Because this is a 

 4          community solution to a community issue of 

 5          demographic change.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Good.  Well, 

 7          let's continue that conversation.  

 8                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Would love to.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Because I 

10          think the more we can strengthen that data, 

11          the better our case will be for improving and 

12          expanding on this.

13                 So speaking of that network that has 

14          done such a great job, we've obviously spent 

15          a lot of state resources on a public 

16          awareness campaign on the NY Connects.  You 

17          mentioned it in your testimony.  I'm trying 

18          to understand what happened last year, where 

19          we had a tentative allocation I think of 

20          $33 million, yet at the end of the day there 

21          was $14 million less in the final allocation 

22          and counties were assessed and had cuts.  

23                 Can you explain how that happened and 

24          how we were not aware -- at least I was 


 1          unaware of that until just in the last couple 

 2          of weeks.  

 3                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Sure.  Well, 

 4          there are a couple of different funding 

 5          streams that made up the first tentative 

 6          allocation schedule.  And so I just want to 

 7          backtrack a little, because I think what's 

 8          really important is when you're starting to 

 9          build -- you know, we went from a program, a 

10          NY Connects program that was funded at a 

11          little over $3 million to a real robust 

12          systems reform that was inclusive of five 

13          state agencies.  And then at the local level, 

14          as you know, there are the counterparts -- 

15          Mental Health, Substance Abuse, OPWDD, Health 

16          Department, and then a lot of other partners, 

17          including Independent Living Centers.  So we 

18          really developed a robust system, it's not 

19          really a program anymore.

20                 There were a couple of different 

21          funding streams.  We had BIP dollars, the 

22          Balance Incentive Payment, which was really 

23          the primary builder of the enhancements.  We 

24          had state funding within our budget, which 


 1          was the $3 million.  And then there was some 

 2          global Medicaid cap dollars.  

 3                 So when you're trying to build 

 4          something like this, you have to do it based 

 5          on some assessments that seem to make sense 

 6          to you.  And so what are those assumptions?  

 7                 One is how many people do you think 

 8          are going to touch the system.  And, you 

 9          know, we develop that based on clustering 

10          counties into seven different pots based on 

11          population and so forth.

12                 The second is how much time for an 

13          average contact our staff is spending with 

14          customers.  Because this is very much 

15          labor-driven, because there's some very 

16          complex individuals that may have a variety 

17          of needs.  

18                 And then the third being, you know, on 

19          aggregate, what's the average salary of the 

20          worker who's doing that kind of work.  

21                 So the initial allocation schedule is 

22          really based on those assumptions, and hence 

23          it was tentative.  I think after it was 

24          implemented over time, what we learned is 


 1          that some of those assumptions didn't 

 2          necessarily pan out.  The numbers that hit 

 3          the system, while they grew, weren't near 

 4          where our assumptions were.  And based on 

 5          real data from the counties and vouchering 

 6          history, the tentative allocation schedule 

 7          didn't match with reality.  

 8                 And so it was what we have now 

 9          provided as a two-year, $45 million 

10          allocation to the global Medicaid cap, which 

11          we believe is adequate to continue 

12          sustainability.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN LUPINACCI:  So when the 

14          counties talk to us about having to have 

15          eliminated 280 jobs that were terminated or 

16          unfilled, are you saying that is sort of a 

17          response to the fact that they weren't 

18          needed?

19                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I think what 

20          I'm saying is is that when a county got the 

21          tentative allocation schedule, there was -- 

22          the expectation was there would be a buildup 

23          of staff to handle the increase in demand.  

24          There certainly was an increase in demand, 


 1          but it wasn't at the level that our 

 2          assumptions provided for that allocation.  

 3                 And so, you know, frankly, most of the 

 4          counties did not spend the money.  And so 

 5          it's very difficult to come in and ask for -- 

 6          you know, I'm just throwing out numbers -- a 

 7          $40 million program when the actual expense 

 8          was $20 million.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  I totally get 

10          what you're saying.  Their understanding of 

11          the scenario is vastly different.  And we're 

12          going to have to try to reconcile those 

13          stories, because they are really adamant 

14          about the fact that this system is going to 

15          fail under these parameters.  

16                 So we'll revisit this as we go 

17          forward, because we want to try to help 

18          everybody get on the same page.  

19                 I think I'll end for the moment and 

20          regroup after another session.

21                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Assemblywoman, 

22          can I just comment on your last point?

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Sure.

24                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  You know, like 


 1          I said, this was a major systems reform that 

 2          we built.  And we did not build it to make it 

 3          fail.  This program started in 2006.  And we 

 4          had a real great opportunity with the balance 

 5          incentive, because that was one of the things 

 6          that the BIP grant required, was a systemwide 

 7          no-wrong-door.  

 8                 And I'll tell you, you know, I have an 

 9          opportunity here publicly to just really 

10          thank the five agencies and really my staff, 

11          who have working tirelessly for the last four 

12          years.  This is not going to fail.  It can't 

13          fail.  We didn't build it to fail.  People 

14          are relying on it.  Your constituents are 

15          relying on it.  And I don't believe that that 

16          would be the outcome.

17                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  I'm counting 

18          on that.  Thanks.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

20                 We've been joined by Senator Sue 

21          Serino, who does a great job as chair of the 

22          Senate Standing Committee on Aging.

23                 Senator.  

24                 SENATOR SERINO:  Thank you, 


 1          Chairwoman.  And thank you, Greg, for being 

 2          here today.

 3                 Myself and my partner in the Assembly, 

 4          Donna Lupardo, have made combating elder 

 5          abuse a high priority.  And last year we held 

 6          a hearing on the topic.  And as you know, one 

 7          of the things that came out of that hearing 

 8          was the need for a 24/7 hotline to report 

 9          abuse.  

10                 As you know, there's currently no 

11          uniform method of reporting and far too many 

12          cases are known to go unreported, with the 

13          statistics on elder abuse varying wildly.  

14          Your office estimates that for every one case 

15          of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation or 

16          self-neglect reported to authorities, five 

17          others go unreported.  However, other 

18          organizations claim that the number of 

19          unreported cases could be upwards of 20 or 

20          more for each case actually reported.  And at 

21          the hearing, an individual from the Attorney 

22          General's office testified in reference to 

23          financial abuse in particular, and noted that 

24          only one in 44 cases are reported to 


 1          authorities.

 2                 So our goal, of course, is to protect 

 3          vulnerable older New Yorkers and increase 

 4          reporting by streamlining the process so that 

 5          we have a clear understanding of the scope of 

 6          the issue.  And I'm very concerned that the 

 7          hotline was vetoed last year.  However, I was 

 8          encouraged that in his veto message, the 

 9          Governor expressed support for the 24/7 

10          hotline, which passed unanimously in both 

11          houses of the Legislature, but he noted a 

12          lack of resources because the bill passed 

13          outside the context of the budget.  

14                 So this year I've reintroduced the 

15          bill ahead of the budget in hopes that it 

16          will be considered during this process.  I 

17          understand that there are budgetary 

18          constraints this year, which we are all very 

19          sensitive to, but that there are certain 

20          things that should take priority, especially 

21          those things that will help protect some of 

22          the most vulnerable New Yorkers.  

23                 So since that time, have you been able 

24          to determine an estimate for how much you 


 1          think the hotline would cost?  Because I've 

 2          heard varying numbers.

 3                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Well, first, 

 4          great to see you, Senator.  

 5                 And congratulations to you and 

 6          Assemblywoman Lupardo for all your work on 

 7          elder abuse.  I think that this is an issue 

 8          that has been in the dark far too long, but 

 9          due to the great work of organizations like 

10          Life Span and some of the studies that have 

11          borne out the data that you're describing, 

12          you know, hopefully we have a new and 

13          different day.  

14                 What I think is great about aging is 

15          that it's not just necessarily contained 

16          within the State Office for the Aging.  So 

17          you talk about financial exploitation and 

18          what the role is of the banks and DFS and how 

19          we work with APS and OCFS for adult 

20          protective services.  And we're working with 

21          a lot of community organizations.  

22                 So I read the same veto message.  That 

23          bill that you talked about is in OCFS's 

24          budget.  They are running adult protective 


 1          services for the state.  I do know that there 

 2          already is an 800 number within New York 

 3          State's state borders.  So in terms of that 

 4          veto message, it is something that they're 

 5          willing to have a conversation about in the 

 6          context of this year's budget to see what the 

 7          infrastructure costs would be.

 8                 But I think what I'd like to talk 

 9          about, kind of in response to that, is 

10          there's other ways to kind of get at your 

11          points.  And, you know, I think the bill that 

12          you guys passed that was signed last year in 

13          terms of identification within healthcare and 

14          other settings to be able to screen and 

15          identify possible elder abuse, we're working 

16          with the Health Department, OCFS and OTDA, 

17          based on the bill that you guys drafted and 

18          passed last year, to be able to have more 

19          sectors within the community to be able to 

20          identify and make the right referral so that 

21          we can be doing a better job in identifying.

22                 The $500,000 that was agreed upon last 

23          year, as per my testimony, is going to 

24          leverage an additional $2 million a year for 


 1          the next three years, through OVS partnership 

 2          with us, to expand statewide the enhanced 

 3          multidisciplinary team model, which we were 

 4          one of five states in the country to receive 

 5          an innovations grant.  We're the only ones 

 6          that tested this particular model, based on 

 7          California and what was happening in the 

 8          city.  

 9                 And so I'm thrilled at some of the 

10          progress that we're making.  But this really 

11          needs, again, to be a community solution to, 

12          you know, making sure people aren't isolated, 

13          being able to identify the types of issues 

14          and predictors of potential elder abuse and 

15          financial exploitation and then calling upon 

16          the various agencies and their local 

17          infrastructure and partners to work together 

18          to do exactly what you're talking about.  

19                 So I'm hopeful within the context of 

20          this budget, you know, the bill that you're 

21          talking about is discussed a little bit 

22          further.

23                 SENATOR SERINO:  And I love the 

24          multidisciplinary teams.  I think we're 


 1          definitely headed in the right direction.  

 2          But it's really troubling that we don't have 

 3          a number, and the fact that I'm hearing such 

 4          a disparity in the numbers.  

 5                 So how did they do the breakdown?  

 6          Like how did they come up with the number 

 7          when I got the phone call and said it's going 

 8          to cost one number, and I was originally told 

 9          another?

10                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  You know, I'm 

11          not sure.  That fiscal -- because that was 

12          not in the state office, we wouldn't do a 

13          fiscal on that.  So I'm not sure that I saw 

14          the fiscal.  I'm not -- I'm not sure.

15                 SENATOR SERINO:  Because I think I was 

16          told originally that it was going to be 

17          $5 million, and then I was heard it was 

18          $14 million.  So that's quite a disparity.  

19          And I understand that it is OCFS, but SOFA is 

20          responsible for these people.  So don't they 

21          need to see that?  

22                 I'm just -- I'm so concerned about the 

23          elder abuse, that you don't have a specific 

24          place for people to call.  It's a hotline.  


 1          You know, if somebody -- it's 2 o'clock in 

 2          the morning and they want to report 

 3          something, they need to be able to do so.  

 4          So ...

 5                 And then I have -- I know 

 6          Assemblywoman Lupardo had touched on the 

 7          NY Connects also.  But one of the questions 

 8          that I had about that is what happens when 

 9          someone calls and no one answers or they 

10          can't get through?  Because I know that there 

11          was an abundance of phone calls after we did 

12          the big program and got the message out 

13          there.  So what happens --

14                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So under 

15          normal business hours -- so I'm not aware of 

16          people calling during business hours and not 

17          getting through.  If you're aware of 

18          something like that, that's something I would 

19          be very interested in learning.  

20                 So during normal business hours, 

21          there's a couple of hours you can contact 

22          NY Connects.  We have a statewide 800 number 

23          that was part of the deliverables of the 

24          balance incentive payment.  And so if you 


 1          call the 800 number, you can, you know, ask 

 2          it -- if you don't speak English or you do 

 3          speak English or another language, you can 

 4          ask for that language and then you can say 

 5          what county you're from.  If the software, 

 6          which is pretty robust, recognizes the 

 7          county, it will direct you directly to that 

 8          county NY Connects program.  If for some 

 9          reason you don't understand or you can't say 

10          the county, it would go to one of our staff 

11          at the state office.  We use Language Line, 

12          we have interpretation services, and we can 

13          provide the contact to the county.  If it's 

14          off of business hours, the same process would 

15          happen, only there's the ability to leave a 

16          message both on our system and the local 

17          system.

18                 The other way is to contact our -- 

19          through office visits at the county level, 

20          and that can also result in a website as well 

21          as in-home contact once that contact is made.

22                 SENATOR SERINO:  Okay.  I know we just 

23          got an abundance of phone calls, so I wanted 

24          to bring that to your attention.


 1                 And then Assemblywoman Lupardo touched 

 2          on the CSE also, because you have an estimate 

 3          that's quite different from the estimate that 

 4          we're hearing about the waiting list.  I 

 5          think -- what is your number that you have?

 6                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So my source 

 7          is the counties themselves.  I'm not quite 

 8          sure where the other number came from.  But I 

 9          can only get my information from the 59 

10          counties that we oversee.  

11                 And so collectively, again, then these 

12          are all the core services.  So this isn't one 

13          particular service.  So years ago, just as an 

14          example, there were unmet needs of about 

15          7,000 people for transportation.  In this 

16          last year's snapshot -- again, an unmet need 

17          is a snapshot in time.  It doesn't mean that 

18          if that was something six months ago, it's 

19          today -- there's 30.  And so that's less than 

20          one per county.  

21                 Now, we want to serve everybody, so 

22          I'm not minimizing that.  But we are a little 

23          bit above 5,000 in probably 12 core services.  

24          And the primary area is in EISEP for personal 


 1          care, due to the home aide shortage.  And the 

 2          way to deal with some of those things are the 

 3          counties are implementing consumer-directed, 

 4          where they can hire, you know, other people 

 5          to provide that care; using volunteers that 

 6          are trained to provide some of those 

 7          services.  But that's an issue that the state 

 8          I know is collectively taking a look at, both 

 9          within Medicaid, Medicare, and within our 

10          system.

11                 SENATOR SERINO:  Do you have a report 

12          from SOFA on the numbers by county on the 

13          wait lists so that we can have access to 

14          that?  Because I have numbers of 22,000.  I 

15          don't know if -- there are so many people 

16          that are involved, of course, taking care of 

17          the elderly.  Are they not all reporting to 

18          the county?  We definitely have a huge gap 

19          here, and that's a huge concern for me, 

20          so ...

21                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I do have that 

22          information that I can follow up with you.  

23                 Again, I'd be interested to see the 

24          citations for the 22,000.  Like I said, I 


 1          heard the 17,000.  My data comes right from 

 2          the counties.  So I'd be very interested to 

 3          see if whoever is floating those other 

 4          numbers can produce the documentation behind 

 5          them.

 6                 SENATOR SERINO:  Okay.  And we hear 

 7          from various advocates, as you can imagine.

 8                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Understood.

 9                 SENATOR SERINO:  When you're the 

10          chair, everyone -- they reach out to us.  As 

11          they should, because we're the voice for 

12          them.  

13                 But thank you, Greg.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

15          DenDekker.  

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Thank you, 

17          Mr. Olson, for being here.  

18                 And I just want to talk about one 

19          section, specifically, of what you mentioned 

20          today.

21                 You said that they're launching a 

22          long-term planning council to understand some 

23          of the needs of the aging population, and I 

24          appreciate that.  And I actually have a bill 


 1          that I've been trying to do to create a study 

 2          from the Office for the Aging and the 

 3          Department of Health to look at assisted 

 4          living facilities.  

 5                 And the reason why I focus on that is 

 6          a lot of seniors will sell their home when 

 7          they lose their spouse and reach a certain 

 8          age and go into an assisted living facility 

 9          where, when they first walk in the door, 

10          they're told -- say, for example, the person 

11          is 80 years old, they're told their rent or 

12          their cost per month is going to be $3,000 

13          and it includes all their meals and they have 

14          nothing to worry about and they can come and 

15          go as they want.  And as they get older and 

16          their needs change, the rates might change, 

17          blah, blah, blah.  

18                 And they assume, after selling their 

19          home, that they have enough money to be able 

20          to stay there and live out their lives in 

21          this facility, because maybe they don't want 

22          to be a burden to their children, for 

23          example.

24                 And then what we have found or what we 


 1          have heard some stories, in my community, at 

 2          least, and from advocates that have come to 

 3          me, is that the price structure of that 

 4          assisted living facility is not controlled at 

 5          all.  So when they went in and they told were 

 6          told $2,000 or whatever, they look at how 

 7          much money they had and realized they had 

 8          enough to stay.  And then lo and behold, you 

 9          know, they need to start taking medication, 

10          and now they go to the nurse's station to get 

11          their medication because they're not allowed 

12          to take their own medication in that 

13          facility, and then there's a disbursing fee 

14          to give them their own medication.  And 

15          that's like $35.  

16                 And then they get their bill at the 

17          end of the month and it's the $2,000 plus all 

18          these other fees that they added in, and now 

19          it's $4,000.  And they start to worry that 

20          they're not going to have enough money to 

21          stay.  And then the next year the base rate 

22          goes up from $2,000 to $3,000.  And there 

23          seems to be no control.  Because they're 

24          private facilities, they can charge whatever 


 1          they want.  

 2                 And I think what we need to do as far 

 3          as the state's perspective is we need to hold 

 4          them accountable.  They need to come up with 

 5          a financial planning at the time that that 

 6          senior wants to go in there.  And if they 

 7          make some sort of contract with them on how 

 8          long they're going to be able to stay, 

 9          they're going to have to guarantee that they 

10          can stay there even if they want to change 

11          their prices later.  

12                 Because what we find some of those 

13          seniors, after living in that facility for 10 

14          or 12 years, and now maybe they're in their 

15          late 80s or early 90s, now have no more 

16          money.  Now they have to go and move in with 

17          the family that they didn't want to burden 

18          them with their -- taking care of them, and 

19          now they have no finances at all because 

20          they've exhausted it all through the assisted 

21          living.  

22                 So I'd hope that when you look at this 

23          long-term council that you're going to put 

24          together, that you will study that and see if 


 1          we can make recommendations to that area that 

 2          you may not normally think about, of -- this 

 3          is private assisted living facilities that 

 4          can charge anything they want and increase 

 5          their prices month to month, year to year, 

 6          with no notice whatsoever.  And we need to 

 7          kind of be careful here, we need to control 

 8          the senior population that does have some of 

 9          their own funding privately, and make sure 

10          that they're not being cheated.  

11                 To me at times it almost seems like 

12          it's a financial exploitation, because they 

13          have to fully disclose how much money they 

14          have before they go in, and it's almost like 

15          they know how much money they have and 

16          they'll just keep on basing their prices 

17          accordingly.  And I'm very concerned about 

18          it.  

19                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  You know, 

20          Assemblyman, you bring up a great point.  I'd 

21          be very interested in your bill number, if 

22          you can get that to us afterwards.

23                 But, you know, the Assisted Living 

24          Reform Act of --


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  3061.

 2                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  3061?  Okay, 

 3          thank you.

 4                 The Assisted Living Reform Act that 

 5          was passed in 2005 to license and regulate 

 6          assisted living, including the private pay -- 

 7          that was really what it was about -- should 

 8          have had in it, and I will double back, 

 9          because it's been a while since I've taken a 

10          look at that.  That's overseen by the 

11          Department of Health.  But should have those 

12          protections in them.  

13                 And so I guess one of the questions 

14          that I would have pertaining to the issue 

15          that you raised is are there already 

16          regulations on the books that require what 

17          you're talking about that maybe people aren't 

18          aware of or what have you.  So I'd like to 

19          get back to you on that, because I think you 

20          raise a good point.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Thank you.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

23                 Glad to have you here today.

24                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Thank you.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I just want to 

 2          follow up on a couple of comments from my 

 3          colleagues.  And I did want to say that the 

 4          NY Connects program, as you point out, it's 

 5          become a system now -- has become invaluable 

 6          to many people's lives across the state.  And 

 7          recently I had some of the my Office for the 

 8          Aging directors come to me, and they're very 

 9          concerned about the fact that there's a 

10          $40 million plus, I believe, allocation for 

11          NY Connects, but it's not for one year, it's 

12          over two years.  

13                 And I would say to you that their 

14          estimates of $33 million per year is the 

15          right figure.  And I know that your agency 

16          has gone out and done a very aggressive 

17          effort in enrolling people in the program.  

18          And so now to pull the rug on the funding I 

19          think is a mistake, number one.  

20                 And number two, you have to look at it 

21          in the context of an aging population.  And 

22          we see an exploding aging population across 

23          the state.  

24                 So I just want to draw that to your 


 1          attention.  Because you have made a very good 

 2          program and system be put in place, and now 

 3          it seems to me that it's not going to be 

 4          financed correctly.

 5                 Could you comment on that?  

 6                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yeah, I -- you 

 7          know, and I agree with your point.  Our 

 8          three-year financial plan has built-in 

 9          increases based on volume increases.  Of 

10          course, the demographics shift.  I think a 

11          lot of the things that we're working on, 

12          whether it be NY Connects, fits in with 

13          age-friendly state, Health Across All 

14          Policies, trying to really redefine and 

15          reeducate folks on the value of the older 

16          population, what they bring and what they 

17          mean to your community, and so on.

18                 I can only tell you that, again, the 

19          original tentative allocation was based on 

20          assumptions that didn't bear out for the most 

21          part.  And that's what you do when you're 

22          building programs from the beginning.  We 

23          expected around this time, based on our 

24          assumptions, contacts in excess of 600,000 a 


 1          year.  We're not quite there.  

 2                 That doesn't mean that there's not 

 3          support for the systems reform.  I would say 

 4          it's quite the opposite.  But it's very 

 5          difficult to advocate for a certain value 

 6          when the assumptions that -- based on the 

 7          value didn't bear themselves out.

 8                 What I have been remiss to say is 

 9          that, you know, 10 states already -- and we 

10          are working on this vigorously, hopefully to 

11          be there at this point next year, is there 

12          are a lot of tasks that are included in the 

13          no-wrong-door that allow us to apply for 

14          federal financial participation under 

15          Medicaid, which will bring additional 

16          resources to the program.  

17                 And so that's something that -- you 

18          know, 10 states have already applied to CMS 

19          for approval and have been approved, 

20          including some of our neighbor states, 

21          New Jersey -- and we're working with states 

22          like Maryland.  But that's an additional 

23          piece that reflects spending based on actual 

24          work.  So that we're not making judgments 


 1          based on assumptions, but actual, real people 

 2          served.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  And I appreciate 

 4          that.  But with the continued pressures on 

 5          the Medicaid global cap, how could those 

 6          pressures potentially impact the funding for 

 7          NY Connects?  Because you're saying that 

 8          maybe we could expand it through the Medicaid 

 9          program, but we see changes coming down the 

10          pike on the federal level, potentially.  And 

11          so to rely on those dollars I think could be 

12          detrimental going forward.

13                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Well, and I 

14          actually fully agree with that, which is why 

15          I think FFP is the way to go.

16                 So again, the initial assumptions 

17          created a system.  Those now are being funded 

18          out of the global Medicaid cap, which does 

19          fluctuate depending on a lot of different 

20          variables and actions, at the federal level 

21          and others.  

22                 The Medicaid FFP are administrative 

23          dollars based on actual time spent doing 

24          tasks that are reimbursable, which is much 


 1          more secure than fluctuations in a huge 

 2          program -- you know, a $60 billion program.

 3                 I think that there's also a lot of 

 4          other opportunities that, you know, we could 

 5          talk about in terms of value-based payments, 

 6          accountable care organizations, REDCs.  Where 

 7          when you really look at what it's designed to 

 8          do -- prevention, get people to the right 

 9          service at the right place at the right time, 

10          reduce hospital readmissions, there's DSRIP 

11          and PPSs -- that, you know, I think what 

12          we're trying to do is really create a 

13          business acumen case around this just 

14          shouldn't be financed in one particular area, 

15          for exactly the reasons that you're 

16          describing.  

17                 And that's true of the core services 

18          that we provide as well.  If we continue to 

19          rely on one or two sources of funding, that's 

20          a losing proposition.  And I think what we've 

21          tried to do and what I've tried to do is 

22          really tried to establish not only those 

23          agency relationships, but the community 

24          partner relationships so that we can 


 1          diversify our funding streams and not have to 

 2          deal with fluctuations in the market every 

 3          year.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  So what role would 

 5          the REDCs take?  

 6                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Well, I think 

 7          that, you know, in terms of economic 

 8          development, there's a workforce investment 

 9          here.  Certainly by keeping people in their 

10          homes and communities, there's an economic 

11          footprint by keeping viable older people, 

12          people over 50, et cetera, persons of all 

13          ages active in their community, paying taxes, 

14          supporting local businesses, supporting 

15          schools.  

16                 Certainly within the DSRIP realm, that 

17          whole DSRIP is around preventable hospital 

18          readmissions rate by 25 percent.  One of the 

19          core services of the no-wrong-door is care 

20          transitions.  

21                 So I think that there's a lot of 

22          opportunities that we just to need to 

23          continue to work to connect the dots on.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I understand that 


 1          there's an economic footprint, but I'm really 

 2          not sure what the role of REDCs would be in 

 3          addressing these senior citizen issues.  But, 

 4          you know, we can talk some more about that.  

 5                 So thank you.

 6                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Sure.

 7                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Hi.  How are you, 

 8          Greg?  

 9                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Good, Senator.  

10          How are you?

11                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Good.  

12                 So a lot of the questions have been 

13          around adequate care for seniors as they get 

14          older.  And a lot of the programs are 

15          actually run through DOH, and you've got 

16          Medicaid funding, as we just discussed.  But 

17          it's really your agency's job to project, I 

18          think, for us the growth or lack of growth in 

19          need and some demographic projections.

20                 So I'm reading in the Governor's 

21          budget that he wants to change the 

22          eligibility for managed long-term-care plans 

23          to make it harder to get home care services 

24          under Medicaid by changing the -- I guess the 


 1          percentage of whatever standard you have to 

 2          meet before you can get it.  And they want to 

 3          reduce the total number of agencies that 

 4          they're contracting with.  

 5                 And I see this all as leading to there 

 6          will be services for a smaller percentage of 

 7          the total population in need, as opposed to 

 8          what I see as a growing demand based on the 

 9          demographics of our becoming an older 

10          society.  

11                 And then I hold that up also 

12          against -- and again, I know it's regional 

13          differences, but at least in my neck of the 

14          woods in Manhattan and New York City, the 

15          number of nursing home beds are shrinking, 

16          and they are shifting from any kind of 

17          long-term care to short-term rehab.

18                 Now, nobody wants to be in a nursing 

19          home, but sometimes you don't have a choice.  

20          And you were already answering questions 

21          about shortages in home care services, and 

22          now we're going to be reducing who will be 

23          eligible for those in the Medicaid program, 

24          at least based on the Governor's budget.  But 


 1          the alternative, which is really needed by a 

 2          significant number of people, which is an 

 3          actual nursing home bed, is also shrinking.  

 4          So it's a planning exercise.

 5                 Who's looking at the actual counts of 

 6          what we're going to need, knowing what we 

 7          know about population demographics in 

 8          different parts of the state?  

 9                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I think it 

10          depends on the question.  So I think, 

11          Senator, you're raising -- you know, I think 

12          those questions in terms of the Health 

13          Department's budget and changes in program or 

14          policy in Medicaid is really for the 

15          Department of Health when they come and 

16          testify.

17                 What we do is we are not the medical 

18          model.  We help support the medical model.  

19          There's finally a recognition, I think 

20          broad-based, in terms of how important social 

21          programs are in terms of healthcare spending, 

22          that 60 percent of all healthcare spending is 

23          doing to social determinants.  That's what 

24          our network does and does so well.  


 1                 The majority of the folks that we 

 2          serve are Medicare or dual-eligibles.  We 

 3          have quite a few contracts throughout the 

 4          state with MLTCs in terms of provision of 

 5          meals, congregate meals, home 

 6          delivered-meals, non-emergency 

 7          transportation.  But those questions are 

 8          really for the Health Department.  

 9                 In terms of projections, I think what 

10          we're trying to do, at least our agency, in 

11          working with others and our partners, is 

12          prevent people from spending down to Medicaid 

13          by providing cost-effective services in their 

14          community that can help that, that can keep 

15          people out of the emergency room and out of 

16          the hospital and have, again, a 

17          community-based infrastructure -- which is 

18          how we were structured with the Older 

19          Americans Act in 1965 -- to be able to make 

20          those connections and, you know, kind of knit 

21          that service together.  

22                 So we have, as you mentioned, there's 

23          a little over 100,000 nursing home beds, but 

24          we've got 3.7 million people over the age of 


 1          60, 4.2 million people between 45 and 59.  

 2          They're not going to be going into the 

 3          nursing home.  They're going to be needing 

 4          community-based support services.  

 5                 So some of the initiatives that I 

 6          think we saw come out of last year's budget 

 7          that are in this year's budget, and some of 

 8          the plans that we're looking into, like 

 9          creating a private-pay market, for example, 

10          looking differently about maybe tapping -- 

11          how we can figure out how to use home equity 

12          a little bit different.  I'm not talking 

13          about reverse mortgages.  But really finding 

14          ways to incentivize the kinds of programs and 

15          services that our network has been successful 

16          at doing for a very, very long time at low 

17          cost.  

18                 I'm very hopeful that the efforts 

19          around creating an age-friendly state really 

20          begins that dialogue in terms of planning 

21          what these numbers mean.  I mean, I have the 

22          numbers on what the projections are.  I have 

23          the rates of self-care limitations, you know, 

24          by the state.  So we kind of know where we 


 1          need to be.  I just think our focus for too 

 2          long has been clinically driven, medical 

 3          model driven.  

 4                 And I think what the Governor has done 

 5          so successfully with the Prevention Agenda, 

 6          Health Across All Policies, creating an 

 7          age-friendly state and then this year, in the 

 8          executive order, to really look at the 

 9          domains of age-friendly in our planning 

10          documents, in our county planning documents, 

11          in our procurement efforts, can really start 

12          to change the dialogue.  

13                 Because despite the fact that, you 

14          know, we've been duped for a hundred years 

15          into believing that this population is all 

16          the same -- old, frail, Alzheimer's 

17          disease -- I could look around this room, I 

18          could look at, you know, who's running 

19          businesses, who's running nonprofits --

20                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Be very careful.  Be 

21          very careful, Greg.

22                 (Laughter.)

23                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Well, I put 

24          myself in that as somebody that turned 50, 


 1          right.

 2                 We look at the longevity economy.  

 3          This is a very, very important economic, 

 4          social and intellectual population, as you 

 5          know, Senator.  And we just have yet to grasp 

 6          and think about it differently and recognize 

 7          how important these folks are.  Other states 

 8          have recognized that.  I think we've turned 

 9          the corner and are starting to make some real 

10          inroads in terms of recognizing the value of 

11          these folks to our communities and our 

12          families.  

13                 And I'm hopeful that as we start to 

14          change the way we think, then our 

15          interventions start to change along with 

16          that.

17                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  So I don't disagree 

18          that it's not just a medical model.  And I 

19          don't disagree that looking at it in a 

20          different way and recognizing that even 

21          talking about "seniors" can be a 35-year span 

22          of life.  In fact, somebody told me they 

23          didn't like to be called seniors or elderly 

24          and they wanted a new term, so they're 


 1          talking about it as chronologically gifted.  

 2                 (Laughter.)

 3                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Oh, that's 

 4          pretty good.  That's pretty good.

 5                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thirty-five years 

 6          chronologically gifted.  

 7                 But I also -- I really worry that 

 8          we're not actually evaluating what our supply 

 9          and demand is.  And I do think that that is a 

10          responsibility that your agency should have.

11                 So we just heard the discussion back 

12          and forth with Senator Serino about who even 

13          keeps track of the waiting lists.  But I 

14          think it's really important to evaluate what 

15          are the demands and how much of that are we 

16          filling and where do we have the big gaps.  

17                 And if we say, Well, that's over there 

18          in the Health Department, or that's over 

19          there in senior housing in the Housing 

20          Department, or that's over there -- that's 

21          not going to work for us.  So I'm hoping that 

22          SOFA will sort of function as the demographic 

23          planning base for us to be able to draw on 

24          when we're trying to think through, you know, 


 1          the models we need of what's working and 

 2          where we have big gaps.  

 3                 Because I personally feel, even if 

 4          we're all heading in a right direction, the 

 5          gaps are getting bigger, not smaller.

 6                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  You know, I 

 7          agree, Senator.  I didn't mean to leave with 

 8          the impression that, you know, that's the 

 9          Health Department's responsibility.  I think 

10          that there's a lot going on behind the scenes 

11          and publicly to try to connect health and 

12          social services a little bit better.  

13                 But those specific policy decisions 

14          that you had referenced were not ones that I 

15          was involved in, and so I can't comment on 

16          them.  But in terms of the bigger picture, 

17          with changes in the Affordable Care Act that 

18          incentivize Medicare and social services and 

19          being able to share savings, with managed 

20          long-term care, with value-based payments -- 

21          these are all efforts that the Health 

22          Department are undertaking to really bring in 

23          organizations like ours and our network, 

24          because they see the value of what we do in 


 1          terms of addressing social determinants that 

 2          really have a huge impact on healthcare 

 3          spending.

 4                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblywoman 

 6          Lupardo.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Just two areas 

 8          that haven't been touched on yet.  

 9                 We are not leaving without talking 

10          about NORCs, naturally occurring retirement 

11          communities, and neighborhood NORCs.  If you 

12          could give me the simple version of what 

13          happened to the $2 million that we allocated 

14          last year from the Mortgage Insurance Fund, 

15          I'd appreciate it.

16                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yes.  The 

17          simple version is is that our agency did not 

18          have the appropriation authority to spend it.  

19          So we reached out to OSC, the Division of the 

20          Budget, SONYMA, to try to figure out if there 

21          was a mechanism to access those funds, and 

22          the answer to that is -- is negative.

23                 My understanding is as late as late 

24          last week, DOB had been working with Assembly 


 1          staffers and there's been conversations 

 2          behind the scenes to see if there can be a 

 3          solution reached during this budget cycle.

 4                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Okay.  So 

 5          we'll pay attention to that.  

 6                 And also there was some confusion over 

 7          this year's contracts, where some people were 

 8          complaining that they received a lesser 

 9          appropriation.  What happened with this 

10          year's contracts?  

11                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So when the 

12          RFA was withdrawn in October, we let all the 

13          existing contractors know that they  would 

14          continue with the base allocation that 

15          they've received.  All the contract letters 

16          have been signed, I do those personally, and 

17          they're out the door.  So I'm not quite sure 

18          what that means, because we have -- the 

19          dollar amounts that they're receiving are 

20          exactly the same as they were receiving 

21          before.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Exactly the 

23          same.  Okay.  I'll double back on that.

24                 I do have a couple of questions about 


 1          the long-term-care planning councils.  The 

 2          Governor mentioned it in his State of the 

 3          State, but there's no budget language.  

 4          What's the plan?

 5                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  So it's in the 

 6          State of the State book.  And so, you know, 

 7          again I smile because sometimes -- you know, 

 8          sometimes we do things right the first time 

 9          around.  So I'll give you an example of what 

10          I mean by that.  

11                 In 2006 when we launched NY Connects' 

12          no wrong door, we were the only ones in the 

13          country that required every county to have a 

14          local long-term care council.  And I'll 

15          explain how that fits into this.

16                 So we currently now have 2,000 people 

17          that represent the health industry, nursing 

18          homes, law enforcement, legal services, 

19          community groups, civic groups, disability 

20          groups, et cetera, on local long-term-care 

21          councils.  And what they're really designed 

22          to do is do local gaps analysis and 

23          problem-solve.  Again, another way to provide 

24          services where there may not be resources.  


 1          Folks have been problem-solving for years.

 2                 So this long-term-care council, you 

 3          know, I think that the name we have to be 

 4          careful of.  Language is very important.  

 5          Most people think of long term care, they 

 6          think of nursing homes, they think of 

 7          medical.  That's not what I think and that's 

 8          not what this is about.  This is about really 

 9          looking at the demographics as a whole, 

10          understanding what the existing gaps and 

11          needs are for older adults, what are the best 

12          practices moving forward in terms of what 

13          people want.  

14                 And so I think that the idea is -- and 

15          we've had some preliminary conversations with 

16          the Health Department, because it's under our 

17          two auspices to run this -- is to really 

18          engage not only the long-term-care councils 

19          but the EMDTs, other coalitions, certainly 

20          groups, you know, that you would recommend, 

21          to really get an idea, if you're talking 

22          about aging, there's much more to it than 

23          just clinical Medicaid services.  There's all 

24          the other things that happen, from 


 1          information to training to understanding what 

 2          aging even means, and the types of 

 3          evidence-based programming that's already out 

 4          there that has proven dividends, and then 

 5          create really a larger plan so that, as the 

 6          demographics change over time, we're ready as 

 7          a state, an age-friendly state -- which again 

 8          isn't old age, it's age across the 

 9          spectrum -- to be able to create communities 

10          and support people where they want to be, 

11          which is in their homes.  

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  So do we have 

13          a time frame for this?  And will there be a 

14          need for funding to support this?  

15                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  We're going to 

16          be able to manage this within our existing 

17          funding.  It's mostly going to be a staffing 

18          issue, both on my side and the Health 

19          Department's side, but that's something that 

20          we can manage.  

21                 We've developed a tentative plan, and 

22          work plan, and so we're having those 

23          preliminary conversations now.  But I think 

24          the first thing that we want to do is do a 


 1          real data-gathering effort at the local 

 2          level.  And what I'm personally not 

 3          interested in as much as the 30,000 foot 

 4          advice -- but as I mentioned, we've got 2,000 

 5          people who are doing this kind of work in a 

 6          variety of settings every singe day, and 

 7          those are the people that we want to hear 

 8          from.  

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  So I'm 

10          assuming, then, that consumer advocates and 

11          people on the ground --

12                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Absolutely.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  -- will be 

14          involved in this.

15                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Absolutely.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN LUPARDO:  Very good.  

17          Thank you.

18                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Sure.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

20                 Assemblyman Oaks.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you, 

22          Commissioner.  Just following up a little bit 

23          with that, with Assemblywoman Lupardo and 

24          talking about the communities but also 


 1          individuals wanting to age in place and 

 2          issues around that.

 3                 You don't specifically, I don't think, 

 4          in your remarks speak to that, but clearly 

 5          with the planning council you think that 

 6          that's where there will be some addressing of 

 7          that.  I know that most families who have 

 8          parents that get to an age where they have to 

 9          make determinations, it's something that 

10          everybody ends up going through and trying to 

11          figure out how to manage that, how to meet 

12          the needs of the individual and their 

13          desires, how to meet the needs outside of 

14          that, what works for them.  

15                 And sometimes you come into conflict 

16          with what the healthcare entity might feel.  

17          Someone has a fall, they want to go back 

18          home, people are questioning whether the 

19          spouse, the family, more of a less formal 

20          setup works.

21                 But I think that whole issue is one 

22          that kind of grinds at society, because there 

23          is no exact answer for that, and it may be 

24          very different from, you know, person to 


 1          person.  And if you know your healthcare 

 2          person well, they may make a different 

 3          decision than if you know them extremely 

 4          casually or this is the first event.  

 5                 And so I have, you know, interest in 

 6          that just because I hear that from 

 7          constituents.  Again, most people go through 

 8          it at some point in their lives.  So my 

 9          interest and hopefully the agency's is 

10          working to hopefully come up with a way that 

11          serves individuals and those who are aging as 

12          best we can, but also takes the complicated 

13          situation of where families are and tries to 

14          make this work.  Sometimes intrusion of 

15          government in the midst of that is difficult.

16                 So just -- I don't know any --

17                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  No, I hear 

18          you, Assemblyman.  And I think, you know, 

19          you're hitting on a point that I think a lot 

20          of folks gloss over.  And this is really, 

21          really complicated personal stuff.  Older 

22          people a lot of times -- this is not older 

23          people, this is all of us -- we don't ask for 

24          help.  We think we can go.  You know, pull 


 1          yourself up by your bootstraps.  There's 

 2          family dynamics that may not be the ones that 

 3          we think of.  There are very trying 

 4          relationships.  There may be nobody there.  

 5          There are needs and complications.  This is 

 6          not easy stuff.

 7                 I think that one of the real positive 

 8          things, at least about the network that we 

 9          provide, is that it's really focused in on 

10          being person-centered, trying to look at 

11          positives, trying to engage family members 

12          where appropriate and where they exist -- 

13          because it doesn't always exist -- and trying 

14          to mediate some of these very difficult 

15          conversations to help people the best that 

16          you can.  But it's not always easy.  The 

17          results aren't always the way that we want 

18          them.  But, you know, what you're raising is 

19          exactly right, this is difficult stuff.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Is the goal of the 

21          group that's going to meet, the council, is 

22          it their goal to propose legislation or 

23          entertain that which might give some greater 

24          clarity or give greater latitude in 


 1          decision-making around that area?  

 2                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  You know, I'm 

 3          not sure we're there yet.  

 4                 But let me give you an example.  When 

 5          you engage a broad group of diverse 

 6          individuals on what they're seeing -- so if 

 7          I'm -- for example, we have a really good 

 8          working relationship with the Office of Court 

 9          Administration.  So issues associated with 

10          accessing the courts and hours and are they 

11          ADA-compatible, things of that nature are 

12          going to be very different than a social 

13          worker that visits the home.  

14                 So I am hopeful that we're going to 

15          get a very, very diverse and thoughtful 

16          response to looking at people's lives 

17          holistically so that we can come up with 

18          whatever the plan may be in order to support 

19          people living in their community.  And it's 

20          much more than medical care and simple social 

21          services.  Those are major components, but 

22          there's more to it than that.  You know, 

23          there's a law enforcement perspective, 

24          there's a courts perspective, there's a legal 


 1          perspective, there's a housing perspective, 

 2          there's a transportation perspective, there's 

 3          a family perspective, and so on and so forth.  

 4                 And so that's why I think I'm really 

 5          excited about this State of the State 

 6          proposal, because I think a lot of the things 

 7          that we see on a day in and day out basis 

 8          will wind up being the type of 

 9          recommendations of how communities can 

10          reorganize and support the people that live 

11          there independently.

12                 So whether it winds up being 

13          legislation, I really don't know because I 

14          don't think we're that far along in the 

15          process.  We're really just trying to think 

16          through how we can begin the process of 

17          gathering that type of information to make a 

18          -- you know, begin to evaluate what's out 

19          there and what needs to happen.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN OAKS:  Thank you.

21                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Senator Velmanette 

22          Montgomery.

23                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:   Yes, hello.

24                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Hi, Senator.


 1                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  First of all, I'm 

 2          just glad to see you again.

 3                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  You as well.

 4                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Thank you.  

 5                 I know you were in my district a few 

 6          years back, it's been some time.  But you 

 7          said something very profound, and I never 

 8          forgot that.  And that was the importance of 

 9          creating, as you said, I think, an 

10          age-friendly and supportive environment.  

11                 And I'm just wondering, do you have an 

12          update of just to what extent we are sending 

13          funds out of the state and resources are 

14          leaving the state because the elderly are not 

15          able to really manage the environment in New 

16          York State?  New York City in particular, I 

17          guess.  

18                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  You know, we 

19          don't have the information in terms of 

20          out-migration.  What we do know, and I think 

21          Senator Tedisco kind of alluded to that 

22          earlier -- I wasn't sure if it was regarding 

23          retirees or younger people.  You know, we 

24          know that nine out of 10 people want to 


 1          retire in New York State.  There's a variety 

 2          of reasons that they choose to do that or 

 3          choose not to.  I think the common myth is 

 4          people are moving to Florida.  Certainly 

 5          that's one of them, but that's not where -- 

 6          you know, the other top five are Connecticut, 

 7          New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.  So they're 

 8          right on the border.

 9                 I think there's a lot of indicators 

10          and studies out there that peg New York as a 

11          bad place to retire.  But when you look at 

12          scales that look at much more than just 

13          taxation and cost of living, many New York 

14          communities, including the city, Syracuse, 

15          Ithaca, Saratoga, Cornell, Corning -- and I 

16          could go on and on and on -- actually rank 

17          very highly when you look at scales that are 

18          in demand by older people and also 

19          millennials.  You know, mixed use, access to 

20          enabling housing, affordable transportation, 

21          not having to use a car everywhere, close to 

22          amenities, things of that nature.

23                 So I think what I'm most excited about 

24          over the last couple of years has been, 


 1          again, the Governor's commitment on this 

 2          Prevention Agenda, which we're part of the ad 

 3          hoc committee.  I mean, I think what our 

 4          entire network does is really prevention in a 

 5          whole variety of ways.  The Health Across All 

 6          Policies, which is engaging non-health 

 7          agencies to help improve population health.  

 8          A lot of that fits in with the domains of 

 9          age-friendly communities, and then moving 

10          New York towards an age-friendly state.  

11                 You'll be seeing an executive order 

12          this year that really directs the state 

13          agencies in their planning and procurement 

14          documents to start to think through those 

15          kinds of things and plan for them.  

16                 And I think the last couple of years a 

17          demonstration of how that actually works is 

18          that in the Downtown Revitalization 

19          Initiative, the $200 million that went out, 

20          we were able to build into those procurement 

21          opportunities the concepts of smart growth 

22          and age-friendly communities.  So that's kind 

23          of an example of how you go about doing that.  

24                 I know that many communities around 


 1          New York State have chosen on their own to 

 2          sign on to AARP and the World Health 

 3          Organization's age-friendly communities, 

 4          including the City of New York.  I think 

 5          that's great.  Because as we start to think 

 6          about the population -- but more importantly, 

 7          redefine it in terms of the value -- not that 

 8          everybody is old, sick, frail, in a nursing 

 9          home, because that's not who they are -- then 

10          I think we start to -- you know, when you 

11          develop that value proposition, you start to 

12          think about the population differently and 

13          what they need and what they mean to the 

14          community.  

15                 And that's -- I'm really excited about 

16          that, because I think those kinds of things 

17          are policy changers and game changers for 

18          communities to support one another.

19                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  So I appreciate 

20          your vision and look forward to the outcome 

21          of the vision.

22                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Thank you, 

23          Senator.  Thank you for all your support as 

24          well.  


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you for 

 2          being here this afternoon.  And we look 

 3          forward to continuing to work with you.

 4                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Oh, Sue Serino has 

 5          one more question.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Oh, I'm sorry.

 7                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I apologize.

 8                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  And I never 

 9          congratulated you on your new chair, so 

10          congratulations.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, 

12          Greg. 

13                 So Senator Serino.

14                 SENATOR SERINO:  Thank you very much.  

15                 And it's very short, Greg.  You know, 

16          I was very excited when Uber and Lyft, we 

17          passed it.  And people would think about our 

18          young children -- you know, college-age -- 

19          but I always thought about our seniors.  The 

20          only issue with that is you have to kind of 

21          be able to handle the technology.  

22                 So I have a bill with Assemblywoman 

23          Lupardo that would actually allow people that 

24          they can turn in their cars for 


 1          transportation credits so that they'd be able 

 2          to get around.  I know it's worked quite well 

 3          in other states.  

 4                 Is there anything that you guys are 

 5          working on, like maybe to think outside of 

 6          the box, or something that we can address the 

 7          transportation issue?  Because it's been 

 8          probably one of the top three complaints that 

 9          we hear from seniors.

10                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I couldn't be 

11          more thrilled to hear you say that.  Has the 

12          bill been introduced already?

13                 SENATOR SERINO:  Yes.

14                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  All right, so 

15          we'll track that down.

16                 So I was equally as excited with Uber 

17          and Lyft, because not only is that 

18          potentially a transportation solution to the 

19          million people that give up their keys every 

20          year, but it's also a job opportunity for 

21          people that want to do that.

22                 The credit idea that you describe was 

23          part of a larger system that was developed -- 

24          I think you and I might have talked about it 


 1          a few years ago -- the Independent 

 2          Transportation Network out of Portland, 

 3          Maine.  Years ago I thought this was the 

 4          greatest model, because again it's a 

 5          community-organizing model to address the 

 6          transportation problem from a community 

 7          perspective.  Right?  Can't get to the 

 8          doctor's office or to the mall or to other 

 9          outlets if you don't have transportation, and 

10          that affects the business model of a lot of 

11          these folks.  

12                 And so they had a variety of different 

13          ways to fund raise.  One was if you can't 

14          drive anymore and your car is worth $7,000, 

15          you could donate it to the program and get 

16          $7,000 worth of rides.  If you were -- you 

17          know, like the -- remember the old McDonald's 

18          coupons at Christmastime, they gave you a 

19          little booklet.  You know, you could buy 

20          those.  Or as a caregiver or a spouse or, you 

21          know, a son, you could buy those on behalf of 

22          your parents.  

23                 So there was a variety of those types 

24          of ways.  And so it sounds a little bit like 


 1          that's kind of where you're going with that.  

 2          And I think that's pretty innovative and good 

 3          thinking out of the box on your behalf.

 4                 The driverless cars scare the heck out 

 5          of me.  I know the technology's good, but 

 6          again my -- I have to reboot my phone.  And 

 7          so that's just a personal thing.  But again, 

 8          I think that's another great innovation that 

 9          I know has been tested and people really 

10          think it's going to be the next best thing, 

11          but we do have to be thinking about those.

12                 We've also been piloting a couple of 

13          transportation volunteer models in some rural 

14          areas, one particularly in Franklin, where 

15          they're really utilizing volunteers to bring 

16          people to dialysis and cancer treatments 

17          where, without that service, these folks 

18          would not be able to remain in their homes 

19          and communities.  

20                 So I think a combination of these 

21          types of things is really what we have to get 

22          to.  It's not a one-size-fits-all, but it's 

23          multiple tools in the toolbox to address 

24          transportation issues.


 1                 SENATOR SERINO:  I know another issue 

 2          that kind of wraps around with that too is 

 3          some of the home healthcare providers with 

 4          problems with transportation too.  So we need 

 5          to include everybody in the conversation.  

 6          But thank you.

 7                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Thank you.

 8                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Jim Tedisco.  

 9                 You thought you were getting away, but 

10          you didn't make it.

11                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Thank you, Director, 

12          for your testimony and for being here.  I 

13          missed some of it because I had to be at 

14          another hearing.

15                 Long-term healthcare, long-term 

16          healthcare partnership policies in New York 

17          State.  Are you familiar with those?  

18                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  I am.

19                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Are you familiar 

20          with what's happening with those --

21                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  In terms of 

22          the costs going up?

23                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Yeah.

24                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yes, I am.


 1                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Sixty-four percent, 

 2          70 percent, 80 percent.  

 3                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Yup.

 4                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  Is there anything 

 5          that can be done about that?  I mean, a lot 

 6          of seniors have called me and said, We don't 

 7          know if we can afford to pay this now.  And 

 8          we've paid our mortgage, it took us 30 years.  

 9          We're not sure we can afford to pay the taxes 

10          on our long-term healthcare policies, and 

11          they're thinking about turning it in.  

12                 I mean, there was a lot of promises 

13          made from a lot of individuals when that was 

14          courted by us by a governor way back.  And 

15          I'm wondering, is there anything that can be 

16          done to mitigate the cost for these 

17          individuals?

18                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  You know, I'm 

19          really not sure.  I'd love to follow up with 

20          you on that.  I know that the actuarials were 

21          wrong.  They thought that people wouldn't 

22          live as long, they wouldn't tap them, and 

23          that they wouldn't pay the premiums and would 

24          drop off, and that obviously didn't happen.  


 1          We have a lot of folks, even with my agency, 

 2          who have retired who reported that to us who 

 3          had bought partnership plans.  So ...

 4                 SENATOR TEDISCO:  But they used the 

 5          wrong rhetoric with a lot of people.  I mean, 

 6          the rhetoric was they may go up in premiums, 

 7          but just a little bit, they won't go up much.  

 8                 They just went up last year 

 9          64 percent.  And if you're in the middle of 

10          all that, you've already invested a lot of 

11          money.  And we know what the cost is going to 

12          be in another 10, 15 or 20 years for one year 

13          in a nursing home -- it's going to be in the 

14          hundreds of thousands of dollars.  So we'll 

15          have to think about that, I guess, and see 

16          what we can do about it.  

17                 Thank you.

18                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  Thank you.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Now I think 

20          it's really thank you.

21                 ACTING DIRECTOR OLSEN:  All right.  

22          Well, I want to thank you all again for all 

23          your support for our agency and your 

24          constituents back home.  I really appreciate 


 1          it.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you very 

 3          much.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 5                 So we've reached a point in our day 

 6          where our commissioners have all testified.  

 7          And to refer back to the previous testimony, 

 8          so we don't all continue to age in place --

 9                 (Laughter.)

10                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We've adopted a 

11          policy, and I think all the witnesses coming, 

12          the remaining 20-plus witnesses are aware 

13          that we have your testimony and to make sure 

14          that people at the end of the list can have 

15          an attentive audience and be able to be here, 

16          we ask -- we'll be putting 5 minutes on the 

17          clock and ask that you try and summarize your 

18          testimony as best as possible, and that way 

19          we'll also have opportunities to be able to 

20          ask questions.

21                 So we're actually going to call two 

22          groups together, and they'll have 10 minutes.  

23          The New York State Veterans Council:  Linda 

24          McKinnis, peer specialist, Disabled American 


 1          Veterans; Jim Ader, legislative committee, 

 2          Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Also the New York 

 3          State Veterans of Foreign Wars, represented 

 4          by Kirby Hannan, legislative coordinator, and 

 5          Bob Becker, legislative chair.

 6                 And while they're taking their seats, 

 7          we've been joined by Assemblyman David 

 8          Weprin.

 9                 So just as you begin, identify 

10          yourselves.  And be mindful that you have to 

11          share the time, so leave something for the 

12          last person.

13                 MR. BECKER:  Is this on?  Are you 

14          ready?

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We're set.

16                 MR. BECKER:  Good afternoon, Chair, 

17          and members of the Human Services Budget 

18          Subcommittee.  My name is Bob Becker; I'm 

19          legislative chairman for the New York State 

20          Council of Veteran Organizations -- we call 

21          it the Vets Council -- and I would like to 

22          thank you for this opportunity to bring 

23          important veterans' budget programs before 

24          you for consideration.  


 1                 The Vets Council consists of more than 

 2          25 veteran service organizations that meet 

 3          monthly to discuss issues of significant 

 4          importance to the veterans in the State of 

 5          New York.  The following individuals I have 

 6          here with me is the state commander of the 

 7          VFW, Mike Burke; Disabled American Veterans 

 8          legislative representative Linda McKinnis; 

 9          and legislative coordinator for the VFW, 

10          Kirby Hannan.

11                 Our purpose today is to ensure 

12          continuance of the 2017 funding, to stress 

13          the value of the continuous funding this 

14          year, 2018 and 2019, to veterans' activities, 

15          and to draw attention to the appreciation 

16          that last year's committee appropriated and 

17          redirected monies for crucial veterans' 

18          programs:  Veteran Service Officers, VSOs; 

19          Peer-to-Peer Mentoring; Veterans Defense 

20          Program; and money for mentoring within the 

21          Office of Court Administration for veteran 

22          treatment  courts.  

23                 I'll let Mike here take over.

24                 MR. BURKE:  Yes.  A special hello to 


 1          Senator Serino.  I'm in her district.

 2                 As he said, my name is Michael Burke, 

 3          and I'm the department commander for the 

 4          State of New York Veterans of Foreign Wars.  

 5          I'm going to address the funding for our 

 6          veteran service officers, but before I do 

 7          that, I need to take you back to where we 

 8          were when I was coming through the system and 

 9          then fast-forward it.

10                 Okay, this is when the regional office 

11          in New York was down on 24th Street and 

12          7th Avenue.  When I got hurt in Vietnam, I 

13          spent one week in the hospital in Vietnam, a 

14          month in a hospital in Japan, and six months 

15          in a hospital, the Walter Reed Medical 

16          Center.  When my sister passed away, I had to 

17          catch a flight from Washington to New York.  

18          When I got to LaGuardia, I got spit on.  I 

19          didn't get the memo not to wear your uniform.

20                 When I started going down to the 

21          regional office on 24th and 7th Avenue, it 

22          was like entering a police station.  We had 

23          to go up to the 13th floor.  When you came 

24          through the doors, they had metal detectors.  


 1          When you went up there on the 13th floor, 

 2          they had numerous police officers up there.  

 3          That's because the counselors there did not 

 4          know how to take care of the Vietnam veteran.

 5                 And that's why after 41 years, after 

 6          41 years, I finally got my Agent Orange.  

 7          Okay?  It took me 41 years to do it.  There 

 8          was no one there to guide me.  They put in 

 9          the wrong claim, the claim went in wrong, 

10          they just -- over and over and over.

11                 Our VSOs today in Buffalo and in 

12          Albany, they do a heck of a job.  And they 

13          are needed.  And they don't just do it for 

14          VFW veterans, they do it for all veterans.  

15          As I travel around the country -- Florida, 

16          Virginia, North Carolina -- I have run into 

17          veterans, and they say -- they ask me things, 

18          I get into conversations with them, or a 

19          parent will ask me, What can I do?  I pick up 

20          the phone and I call our VSOs here and 

21          said -- Tommy TiDero {ph}, Marlene, John -- 

22          they answer the phone, I said I need a VSO 

23          officer in such-and-such a place in North 

24          Carolina or such-and-such a place in Florida, 


 1          and they get me the information right there 

 2          on the phone.  

 3                 I'll get a call from these people who 

 4          I'm helping, thanking me for our VSO 

 5          officers, okay?  I had my kids call me:  

 6          Daddy, there's a veteran here, they need some 

 7          help.  I pick up the phone and I call our VSO 

 8          officers.  

 9                 So our VSO officers are very, very 

10          vital to our organization.  And when they say 

11          no one does more for veterans than the VFW, 

12          we mean it.  Okay?  

13                 I want to thank you for having us 

14          here, and I hope we can continue being 

15          funded.  Thank you.

16                 MS. McKINNIS:  Hello, chairs and 

17          members.  Thank you for listening to me.  

18                 My name is Linda McKinnis.  I am the 

19          legislative officer for the Disabled American 

20          Veterans.  I am the senior vice-commander of 

21          my post.  I am also a two-time war veteran, 

22          and I am also a peer-to-peer specialist.

23                 Last year I testified before this 

24          committee and told you what a VSO does and 


 1          how peer-to-peer mentoring works at the post 

 2          levels and with the courts.  We can go over 

 3          again -- at the bottom line, veterans assist 

 4          veterans, that must be true.  They counsel 

 5          anonymously at the post level as veterans, 

 6          and sometimes seek certification as a career 

 7          path.  But the most important ingredient is 

 8          the veteran-to-veteran contact. 

 9                 Current funding for the PFC Joseph 

10          Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Mentoring is directed at 

11          the very important connection of veterans to 

12          other veterans at the post level.  As of 

13          today, the Dwyer program has over 16 counties 

14          from when we last met last year.  And they 

15          had 11, now they're up to 16.  So that 

16          program in itself is a very successful 

17          program.

18                 This is where mentoring begins. Later, 

19          as counseling and mentoring progress to more 

20          formal settings, such as veteran treatment 

21          court, there is frequently a need for 

22          additional accreditation, which is why I am a 

23          peer specialist today.  

24                 New York State has a peer specialist 


 1          program, but it's not geared for veterans.  I 

 2          can describe the course's content offered by 

 3          the New York State Office of Mental Health, 

 4          but I would also like to focus on what I 

 5          think is needed to make an excellent course 

 6          which is veteran-friendly.  

 7                 This course should be offered by the 

 8          OMH for free for veterans.  This course 

 9          should be readily available either online or 

10          through a classroom setting, and veterans 

11          should be considered as a pre-qualified 

12          candidates for this course.  

13                 This will give the Office of Court 

14          Administration the initial training courses 

15          and serve as a pipeline for qualified mentors 

16          to counsel veterans during alternative 

17          sentencing.  

18                 As of this moment the NAMI, which is 

19          the National Alliance for Mental Health, has 

20          offered three classes under their 

21          organizations that are geared for veterans.  

22          One is called the Peer-to-Peer, one is called 

23          Family-to-family, and one is called Home 

24          Front.  These classes basically talk about 


 1          mental illness for veterans, how to deal with 

 2          mental illness as far as the family member, 

 3          how to go seek out help for the veterans, and 

 4          all the resources that are available within 

 5          your county.  These classes are free to 

 6          anyone that chooses to do so.

 7                 Again, as I stated, New York State 

 8          does have a peer specialist certification; 

 9          however, it's not geared to satisfy veterans.  

10          We are asking that these courses kind of be 

11          redirected or constructed where veterans are 

12          able to take these classes to be able to get 

13          on a career path so that we can be peer 

14          specialists, that we can be mentors -- better 

15          to our veterans, not only on a post level but 

16          also in the court level or whatever level 

17          that we need to be in.

18                 So today I'm asking you and I'm 

19          thanking you for giving us this opportunity 

20          to be heard.

21                 MR. HANNAN:  Thanks, Linda.

22                 I'm Kirby Hannan --

23                 MR. BURKE:  Kirby, Kirby, Kirby -- I 

24          just got one more thing, please.


 1                 MR. HANNAN:  Yeah.

 2                 MR. BURKE:  One more thing, yeah, one 

 3          more thing.

 4                 I've heard a lot of speakers before us 

 5          with their testimony.  We -- our Buffalo 

 6          office, the VSOs, which kind of goes 

 7          hand-in-hand with what she was talking about 

 8          today, our VSO offices in Buffalo, they bring 

 9          in $3 million a month getting claims for our 

10          veterans, which takes the burden off of the 

11          State of New York.  Okay?  So I just wanted 

12          to put that out there for you to remember 

13          that.  

14                 And that's just in that one office, 

15          $3 million a month, we have our veterans 

16          getting claims.  Which takes it away from 

17          your homeless program -- which, by the way, 

18          that's my special project as commander, is 

19          the homeless veterans.  And it takes a lot of 

20          other things which you may not see affecting 

21          other agencies, where you have the veteran 

22          not going outside the VFW for their finances.  

23          Thank you.

24                 MR. HANNAN:  I'm Kirby Hannan, the 


 1          volunteer coordinator for legislation for the 

 2          Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Some of you might 

 3          remember me as a lobbyist here for 45 years; 

 4          I'm mostly retired now.

 5                 But I just wanted to thank you, 

 6          because I'm going to say that this committee 

 7          last year, when we spoke to you, all I can 

 8          say is you listened.  Because the Governor 

 9          started out last year with $1 million to be 

10          placed in the Office of Court Administration 

11          for peer-to-peer mentoring.  We didn't oppose 

12          that, but we did want to know, you know, 

13          where are those mentors coming from?  

14                 Because you've been funding the 

15          peer-to-peer mentoring program at the post 

16          level for a while now, and it's matriculating 

17          beautifully, all right?  But now, okay, the 

18          court system has a need for it, and we love 

19          that.  Veterans' treatment courts and 

20          peer-to-peer mentoring really means 

21          veteran-to-veteran mentoring.  

22                 And so having said that, what we're 

23          trying to do is take the million dollars from 

24          last year, which this budget -- by the way, 


 1          we're not asking for more money.  This budget 

 2          has -- it's all in there, all right?  And 

 3          it's because of what you did.  

 4                 You recast the language, you put it 

 5          into the language of veterans' treatment 

 6          courts, you put it into the language of 

 7          veteran service officers, you put it into the 

 8          language of peer-to-peer mentoring, so -- you 

 9          did it.  And so then last year's budget had 

10          the language in.  And then, lo and behold, 

11          this year's budget's got it in.  So we don't 

12          have to ask for more money.  All right?  This 

13          is great.  

14                 And I guess where I wanted to go with 

15          this is that -- two things.  One, you heard 

16          Linda, and she started to talk about an 

17          educational process.  If veterans treatment 

18          court is going to be eminently successful, 

19          and we want it to be, then we're going to 

20          have to have educational access to mentors, 

21          vet-to-vet, and I think that OCA is probably 

22          going to ask for accreditation.  And so, you 

23          know, if they do that, which we get, then we 

24          really need to go ahead and -- excuse me.  


 1                 (Cellphone interruption.)

 2                 MR. HANNAN:  My bad.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We need a 

 4          musical interlude every so often.

 5                 MR. HANNAN:  Sorry about that.

 6                 We need to make sure that we've got 

 7          some type of a career pathway.  We want the 

 8          volunteer activity at the post level because 

 9          it's anonymous, it's like AA.  It works.  But 

10          there needs to be a career path.  

11                 So having said that, I would encourage 

12          you folks to look at a bill -- it's the 

13          Parker-Ortiz bill, it used to be Senator 

14          Larkin who had it for quite a few years.  

15          Assemblyman Ortiz is a vet, he understands 

16          this.  It's urging OMH, OASAS, and the 

17          Division of Veterans Affairs to go ahead and 

18          look at how they might be able to use 

19          existing resources to shape this very program 

20          that Linda was talking about.  

21                 OMH is already light-years there, so 

22          this is good.  But it does need to be tweaked 

23          and it needs to be something where, as Linda 

24          said, it needs to be -- have access, it needs 


 1          to be basically more veteran-oriented and 

 2          not, you know, counseling-oriented.

 3                 And so having said that, that's my 

 4          message for today.  I'll go a step further.  

 5          Jim Ader, an Afghan war vet who couldn't be 

 6          with us today -- you'll see his name in the 

 7          testimony -- he had two principal points.  

 8          One is that the Veterans Defense Program -- 

 9          you're going to hear from Art Cody, so I'm 

10          not going to belabor this, except to say that 

11          it's the last line of defense for veterans 

12          who need help beyond veterans treatment 

13          court.  In other words, the veterans 

14          treatment court is largely misdemeanors.  So 

15          when we get to the felony level, you know, 

16          you do need that last line of defense, and 

17          that's what the Veterans Defense Program, in 

18          addition to all the education they do and 

19          everything else, that's what it's all about.

20                 So, you know, for the last three years 

21          the Legislature -- thank you again -- and 

22          it's in this year's budget, has appropriated 

23          $500,000 -- both houses, 250 -- and, you 

24          know, we need to keep the critical program 


 1          going.  The money is in there, it's a line 

 2          item in there, what else can I say.  Thank 

 3          you very much.

 4                 MR. BECKER:  I'd also --

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes.

 6                 MR. BECKER:  We asked for continuous 

 7          funding in support of veterans and veterans' 

 8          programs.  We need it.  And a timely rollout 

 9          of the million dollar RFP and an educational 

10          track for veterans mentors to work on all 

11          levels of mentoring and more funds for the 

12          VSOs, Veterans Service Officers, and a 

13          continuation of the Dwyer Peer-to-Peer mentor 

14          program and a continued appropriation for the 

15          veterans defense program.  

16                 We thank you very much for listening 

17          to us, and if you have any questions we'd be 

18          more than happy to answer them.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We do.  And 

20          I -- just on behalf of all the members -- 

21          want to thank you for your service to our 

22          country, and call upon our chair of our 

23          Veterans Committee, Assemblyman DenDekker.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Thank you.  


 1                 Thank you very much for your service.  

 2          And I've told that you hundreds of times when 

 3          we've met before.  But we're still forever in 

 4          your debt.

 5                 So I guess my first question will 

 6          quickly just be to Mr. Hannan.  And if you 

 7          could just give us an idea, what was the 

 8          budget last year for the VSOs specifically?

 9                 MR. HANNAN:  Well, the way it worked 

10          out -- and I should have gotten into a little 

11          more detail -- the way it worked out last 

12          year, it was a million dollars.  And $500,000 

13          of it would go towards an RFP within the 

14          Division of Veterans Affairs, and another 

15          $500,000 would go directly to the Office of 

16          Court Administration.  

17                 We didn't find out about this until 

18          you had your hearing, Assemblyman.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Right, but 

20          that was when we were speaking for the 

21          peer-to-peer and the treatment courts, 

22          correct?

23                 MR. HANNAN:  Correct.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  What about the 


 1          veteran service officers, the VSOs?

 2                 MR. HANNAN:  Well, that was part of 

 3          that language.

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Part of that 

 5          language.

 6                 MR. HANNAN:  That where this committee 

 7          really defined veteran-to-veteran activities 

 8          in four basic areas:  Veterans Defense 

 9          Program was one, treatment courts was 

10          another, peer-to-peer was another, and 

11          finally the veteran service officers.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  How many 

13          veteran service officers are there right now?

14                 MR. HANNAN:  About --

15                 MR. BECKER:  About 20.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Twenty in the 

17          entire State of New York.

18                 MR. BECKER:  But we've got 800,000 

19          veterans in the State of New York.  

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  And we have 

21          estimated that these veteran service officers 

22          save the State of New York, or you find 

23          benefits for approximately $3 million a 

24          month.


 1                 MR. HANNAN:  Yeah, yeah.  Exactly.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  So that's 

 3          $36 million a year that we're getting in 

 4          federal benefits for veterans that they 

 5          didn't know they were entitled to, and then 

 6          that takes the burden off the state.

 7                 MR. HANNAN:  It does.  

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  So it would 

 9          probably, I would imagine, be in our best 

10          interest to have more VSOs so that we'd be 

11          able to connect veterans with the benefits 

12          that they so rightly deserve.

13                 MR. BURKE:  Absolutely.  And if you -- 

14          I don't know if you have the statistics, but 

15          I think it may be worthwhile, since the 

16          Vietnam veteran wasn't treated right when 

17          they came home.  A lot of these claims are 

18          going to the Vietnam veteran who didn't have 

19          the VSO back during that time.  

20                 It's like I said, the calls I get -- 

21          and that's what I put out there.  And they 

22          are very, very vital to this organization.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  And again, I 

24          thank you very much.  And I'll let any of my 


 1          other colleagues ask some questions if they 

 2          still have them.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 4                 And I'd like to join the chorus of 

 5          thanking each and every one of you for your 

 6          incredible service to our country and also 

 7          for your continued service to help improve 

 8          the lives of veterans.  That's such an 

 9          important calling, and you do it very well.  

10          And we truly appreciate when you come to 

11          speak with us and give us your insights.  So 

12          thank you for that.  

13                 Our Senator Sue Serino has some 

14          questions.

15                 SENATOR SERINO:  Good afternoon, and 

16          thank you so much for coming here.  And thank 

17          you all for your service.  Mike is part of my 

18          Veterans Advisory Committee that I put 

19          together and was very helpful with helping us 

20          to obtain the Peer-to-Peer Program, the Dwyer 

21          program, for Dutchess County.  We already had 

22          it in Putnam County.  

23                 But they're doing an amazing job, and 

24          I can't stress enough for it to spread.  Like 


 1          you said, I think it's 11 counties that have 

 2          it right now.  It's just such a great 

 3          program, and it goes through our Mental 

 4          Health America, they do a wonderful job.

 5                 Mine are just more comments, not 

 6          questions, because I know you do a great job.  

 7          And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the 

 8          Honor Flight when I have veterans in front of 

 9          me, and I just always ask you -- as you know, 

10          Mike -- to spread the word.  Last year they 

11          had three Vietnam people on the plane and out 

12          of Newburgh, and it was amazing.  A lot of 

13          tears and cheers.  Great day.

14                 MR. HANNAN:  The next Honor Flight is 

15          for our Vietnam vets only.

16                 SENATOR SERINO:  Excellent.  Great.

17                 Thank you.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, and 

19          thank you for being here today.

20                 MR. BURKE:  Thank you.

21                 MR. HANNAN:  Thank you.  

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Next we have 

23          Captain Art Cody, retired U.S. Navy and 

24          deputy director of the Veterans Defense 


 1          Program of the New York State Defenders 

 2          Association.

 3                 CAPTAIN CODY:  Thank you.  

 4                 Good afternoon.  I'm Art Cody, as 

 5          mentioned.  I'm the deputy director of the 

 6          Veterans Defense Program, sometimes called 

 7          the VDP, as was mentioned by the last group 

 8          of speakers.  The VDP is part of the New York 

 9          State Defenders Association, and it's a 

10          statewide organization.  

11                 In addition to being the deputy 

12          director, I'm also a retired Navy captain.  I 

13          was a helicopter pilot with over 30 years of 

14          service.  My last tour was in Afghanistan 

15          from 2011 to 2012, and I mention that because 

16          while I was there, I got the opportunity to 

17          really see what our troops go through and get 

18          some firsthand experience of the root causes 

19          of many of the maladies they face when they 

20          return home.

21                 I thank you for the opportunity to 

22          speak today -- again, not only as a deputy 

23          director but, I think more importantly, as a 

24          veteran.  In particular, I'd like to thank 


 1          the Senate and Assembly Veterans Affairs 

 2          Committee Chairs Senator Croci and 

 3          Assemblyman DenDekker for their instrumental 

 4          support of the VDP for the last three years.  

 5          They have sponsored a legislative add in the 

 6          Executive Budget of $500,000 for the VDP.

 7                 The state funding for the VDP has 

 8          allowed us to help hundreds of our wounded 

 9          warriors suffering from the mental health 

10          conditions -- commonly posttraumatic stress 

11          disorder, traumatic brain injury.  It helped 

12          them to obtain treatment.  And I'd like to 

13          briefly give you an update of how we used the 

14          state's money during 2017.

15                 During that year we assisted 

16          228 justice-involved veterans.  We trained 

17          577 public defense attorneys and provided 

18          mentoring to 203 veterans and their families.  

19          In many of these cases our veteran clients 

20          received treatment and probation and avoided 

21          incarceration.  

22                 And I think, as it was pointed out 

23          before, most of this treatment, the vast, 

24          vast majority of this treatment comes from 


 1          the VA.  And that's important for a couple of 

 2          reasons.  One, the VA is specifically 

 3          designed to help our combat veterans to 

 4          understand the posttraumatic issues that 

 5          they're going through and also, from a fiscal 

 6          point of view, is at no cost to the State of 

 7          New York.

 8                 In the past two years we have helped 

 9          veterans be diverted into treatment and 

10          probation, avoiding at its maximum 518 years 

11          of incarceration.  Now, that's a savings to 

12          the State of New York of somewhere in the 

13          neighborhood of $31 million, to take veterans 

14          out of prison, put them in treatment, and the 

15          way we like to think about it is bring them 

16          all the way home.

17                 I'm here today to ask you for your 

18          support for a legislative add to the 

19          Executive Budget of about $500,000 for the 

20          VDP.  Our budget request is supported by over 

21          70 veteran, mental health, and public defense 

22          organizations, many of whom you just heard 

23          speak.  

24                 This year we also have two regional 


 1          strategic budget extension needs.  We are 

 2          inundated with requests for help, 

 3          particularly in the Southern Tier region, 

 4          which includes the 14 counties along the 

 5          Pennsylvania border from Chautauqua to 

 6          Delaware, and on Long Island as well.  

 7                 We are hopeful that the Southern Tier 

 8          Senators will consider sponsoring a 

 9          $182,000 add to hire an attorney and a case 

10          manager, and Long Island Senators consider 

11          adding $220,000 to open a Long Island VDP 

12          office with an attorney and case manager.

13                 Our proposed work plan there will 

14          include substantial assistance to over 

15          40 Southern Tier justice-involved veterans, 

16          and 40 on Long Island as well.  By the second 

17          year, we expect those attorneys will be 

18          trained up and will be able to do over 

19          80 cases per attorney assisting veterans.  In 

20          addition to that, mentoring support and 

21          expert referrals will be provided.

22                 Lastly, on that note, we will also 

23          develop a veterans criminal justice practice 

24          manual, a very hands-on, nuts-and-bolts 


 1          approach to representing veterans.  

 2          Literally, how does one get DD214 discharge 

 3          papers?  How do you read what those papers 

 4          mean?  

 5                 I think, importantly, and just to give 

 6          you in a nutshell what the VDP does, our big 

 7          job really is to translate what this veteran 

 8          went through.  To tell this veteran's story.  

 9          As you may know, only about 7 percent of the 

10          population of the United States are veterans.  

11          And having been a reservist -- that is, 

12          having a foot in kind of both camps -- I can 

13          tell you the cultures are very different.  

14          And sometimes what is -- the skills that we 

15          teach our soldiers, our marines in 

16          Afghanistan, in Iraq, don't necessarily play 

17          out that well in the United States.  

18                 So part of our mission is to help the 

19          DAs, help judges, help them understand why it 

20          is that this veteran is in this particular 

21          situation, and tell the whole story about 

22          that veteran.  Because I think our experience 

23          has been when we're able to do that, we can 

24          bring about a sea change for that veteran's 


 1          life.  

 2                 While it is important to acknowledge 

 3          that some of the offenses our veterans are 

 4          charged with are serious -- certainly there 

 5          are weapons charges issues, there are driving 

 6          under the influence issues.  But that's not 

 7          the whole story.  And what we want to do is 

 8          change the narrative to not just one about 

 9          the crime, but to one about the entirety of 

10          these veterans' experience.  How did this 

11          veteran come to this place?  To explain to a 

12          district attorney or to a judge, when we say 

13          someone is an 11B, an infantryman, okay, what 

14          does an infantryman do?  The guy -- combat 

15          action vet, what does that mean?  They were 

16          in Kandahar, what does that mean?  They were 

17          in Anbar Province in Iraq in 2006, what was 

18          that experience like?  To help that judge, to 

19          help that prosecutor understand what that 

20          veteran went through.  

21                 And what we have found when we're able 

22          to do that, we're able to bring about a sea 

23          change.  Literally our cases commonly go on a 

24          Monday, the offer will be at the low end.  It 


 1          will be 3.5 years of a potential 3.5 to 

 2          15-year C-class felony.  But once that 

 3          mitigation memorandum is read, the mitigation 

 4          that we produce, once that district 

 5          attorney and that judge understand how this 

 6          veteran came to be in this place, the 

 7          conversation turns not from one of how many 

 8          years, but how do we get this veteran into 

 9          treatment, how do we get this veteran into 

10          VA, how can we bring this veteran all the way 

11          home.

12                 I appreciate the help that this 

13          committee and members of this committee have 

14          given to us in the past, and I ask you to 

15          continue your support this year because I 

16          think not only do we provide a cost savings, 

17          but in many, many cases we provide a life 

18          savings.

19                 I'm happy to take any questions you 

20          may have.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, thank you.  

22                 And Assemblyman DenDekker.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  Thank you, 

24          Madam Chair.  


 1                 Thank you, Captain Cody.  And on 

 2          behalf of Senator Croci, who I know isn't 

 3          here -- he couldn't make it today, but he 

 4          also appreciates all the service you've 

 5          given.

 6                 So the ask today is to maintain the 

 7          add of $500,000 and possibly look for an 

 8          increase of $182,000 from the Southern Tier 

 9          members that may want to be able to help to 

10          get an attorney over in that area, and then 

11          for Long Island members to maybe look for the 

12          $220,000 to get an attorney out to help the 

13          Long Island area in these veteran support 

14          situations.

15                 CAPTAIN CODY:  Certainly a renewal of 

16          the 250/250.  

17                 But also what we have found -- and a 

18          lot of that is due to our training.  When we 

19          go out and do trainings, it's very, very 

20          common -- I think we discussed this the last 

21          time you and were together in this room -- 

22          it's very common at the end of that training.  

23          We expect and indeed we encourage it.  When 

24          we have taught the fundamentals, the basics 


 1          of this is the discharge papers, these are 

 2          the kind of questions, when asked, this is 

 3          what you want to find out -- very, very 

 4          commonly an attorney or -- not just an 

 5          attorney, sometimes literally moms and dads 

 6          will call us, the individual veteran will 

 7          call us.  The requests come from all over.  

 8          Literally from all over.  

 9                 And we will never -- and as I 

10          mentioned the last time I was here, we will 

11          never turn a vet down.

12                 However, the amount of requests we're 

13          getting, we're now at the point where we can 

14          no longer profile the amount of training that 

15          we'd really like to provide to each veteran.  

16          To understand what that veteran went through, 

17          to reach out, to get those forms records, to 

18          interpret those forms records, to reach out 

19          to that chain of command, to get the 

20          affidavits that talk about what this veteran 

21          went through -- because many times veterans 

22          can't talk about it themselves -- and be able 

23          to present that to a court takes an awful lot 

24          of effort.


 1                 So to get to your point, yes, we'd 

 2          like a renewal of the previous budget numbers 

 3          as well as, because of this expanded demand, 

 4          additional funding for both the Southern Tier 

 5          as well as Long Island.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  We only have a 

 7          few minutes left, and I don't know if anyone 

 8          else has any questions, but if you can -- 

 9          there's one particular story, one particular 

10          case that you had worked on and you shared 

11          with me, and I'd really like to see if you 

12          could quickly tell that incident that 

13          happened with the gentleman with the weapon 

14          in the trunk.

15                 CAPTAIN CODY:  Yes.

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  It's just a 

17          powerful message, so my colleagues can 

18          understand what exactly we're talking about 

19          and the challenges of the people who are out 

20          there.

21                 CAPTAIN CODY:  Certainly, and I think 

22          for us that's a very archetypical case.  

23                 We were dealing with a veteran, and 

24          this was in Queens, and when we got involved 


 1          in the case it was nearing -- it was just 

 2          about to start trial.  This particular 

 3          veteran had served in a base called the 

 4          Detainee Facility in Parwan, which I suppose 

 5          is the government's euphemism for the Taliban 

 6          prison, right outside of the huge air base in 

 7          Afghanistan, Bagram.  

 8                 And this veteran -- and it's very 

 9          typical of our clients -- I expected, when I 

10          first came on, to see a lot of what I think 

11          of as the hard-core active duty -- active 

12          duty 101st Airborne, 82nd Airborne, Third 

13          Marine Division.  But who we see more than 

14          anybody else is New York Army National Guard.  

15                 And I think there's a couple reasons 

16          for that.  One, I think when soldiers who are 

17          active duty come home, they may not love 

18          their first sergeant or their platoon leader 

19          or their platoon sergeant, but that person's 

20          still there.  When our National Guardsmen 

21          come home, often they go back to their towns, 

22          which may be a hundred miles away from base 

23          and a hundred miles away from that first 

24          sergeant who looked over them while they were 


 1          in Kandahar, Kunduz, or whatever province.  

 2                 So they have a tendency, while they're 

 3          trying to get back into society -- they don't 

 4          have the support system.  And that's what was 

 5          happening with this -- with the soldier that 

 6          Assemblyman DenDekker is talking about.  He 

 7          was Army National Guard, came back, is 

 8          wrestling with a lot of what happened to him 

 9          over in Afghanistan -- literally, his job was 

10          a medic.  He was ministering, if you will, to 

11          Taliban prisoners behind three locked gates 

12          with no armed guards.  So he's literally -- 

13          people who we just pulled off the battlefield 

14          because they want to kill Americans, that's 

15          who he's with.  That's who he's with eight to 

16          ten hours a day.

17                 He serves two months in that capacity, 

18          he comes back, after that he gets transferred 

19          back to Kandahar.  Kandahar's not normally 

20          considered the best place to be transferred 

21          to, but coming from Bagram it was.  So 

22          anyways, he comes back to Kandahar, there 

23          he's working in a facility where literally 

24          he's seeing soldiers, civilians, et cetera, 


 1          shot up every day.  One of the soldiers he 

 2          administered to or he worked on in July was 

 3          killed in August.  And so he's seeing all 

 4          that.  

 5                 He comes home and literally, from the 

 6          day he is discharged from the Army, the VA 

 7          gives a hundred percent PTSD rating.  He 

 8          could not have gotten a higher rating.  So 

 9          he's still dealing with this, he gets himself 

10          into treatment, but he still -- he becomes 

11          suicidal.  

12                 So he's carrying around a weapon, as 

13          some of the men are taught that -- he's 

14          carrying around a weapon in the back of his 

15          car, okay?  Because he decides he may reach a 

16          point where he wants to kill himself.  He 

17          gets pulled over, the car gets searched.  So 

18          then literally where he's at is criminal 

19          possession of a weapon second.  He's 

20          potentially looking at 3.5 to 15 years.  And 

21          that's the offer on the table when we get 

22          involved.

23                 We're able to sit down, talk with that 

24          veteran, reach out to his chain of command in 


 1          the Army National Guard, gather those 

 2          affidavits, gather that memorandum, and 

 3          explain his DD214, explain the treatment he's 

 4          undergoing in the VA.  And literally on 

 5          Monday the offer is 3.5 years, on Wednesday 

 6          the judge asked the prosecutors is that -- 

 7          no, not the prosecutors.  I think they're 

 8          trying to do the right thing, they just 

 9          didn't understand this guy's circumstances.  

10                 By Wednesday, the judge from the bench 

11          says:  Is this the message you want to send 

12          to the community that guards our country?  By 

13          Friday, the message is:  I know we were 

14          talking about 3.5 years, but what I really 

15          meant to say was probation.  

16                 This veteran has since completed -- 

17          this veteran ended up getting on probation, 

18          getting treatment from the VA, now he is 

19          finishing his master's degree, I think at 

20          Marist.  He's going to become a history -- 

21          he's going to become a history teacher.  And 

22          his life turned out different.  

23                 If we don't get involved, does that 

24          happen?  Probably not.  And that's why I say, 


 1          you know, it certainly is a cost savings, 

 2          absolutely.  But is it a life savings for 

 3          people who deserve to have their lives 

 4          restored?  Absolutely.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  So I just 

 6          think what I also want to stress is so when 

 7          the police officer pulls over this veteran 

 8          and finds the weapon, he had no idea at the 

 9          time -- not that he was even thinking of 

10          this, and neither does anyone in the court 

11          system.  All they know is they pulled over a 

12          car, there's a weapon in the trunk -- boom, 

13          arrest, boom -- we're going to go into court, 

14          3.5 to 15.  And normally you wouldn't have -- 

15          and probably the veteran said nothing that he 

16          was going to trial until you got involved, 

17          where you found out what the purpose of the 

18          weapon was --

19                 CAPTAIN CODY:  Absolutely.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  And that he 

21          was contemplating to kill himself and not to 

22          hurt anybody else or rob anybody else with 

23          the weapon.

24                 CAPTAIN CODY:  And part of it is,  


 1          fortunately for us -- and I should point out, 

 2          I think we talked about this the last time 

 3          you and I were together in this room -- we're 

 4          doing this currently with two attorneys.  The 

 5          entire state.  

 6                 Which, you know -- so we really do try 

 7          to maximize the $500,000.  But your point is 

 8          well taken, because in many cases, you know, 

 9          certainly the crime meets the elements of 

10          criminal possession of weapon second.  

11                 And I think in many cases the DA may 

12          think, hey, I'm giving this guy a break.    I 

13          understand he's a veteran, and I'm going to 

14          try to do the right thing.  But the right 

15          thing in their mind is 3.5.  But we try to -- 

16          no, no, let's change the narrative.  This 

17          isn't about incarceration, because 

18          incarceration is probably not the right 

19          answer here.  What the right answer is here 

20          is treatment, and let's bring this vet all 

21          the way back.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN DENDEKKER:  I just want to 

23          thank you so much for everything you do, 

24          Captain Cody.  And I don't know if any of my 


 1          other colleagues have any questions, but 

 2          thanks again.

 3                 CAPTAIN CODY:  Thank you.  

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.  

 5                 I too want to thank you, and also I 

 6          had a question about part of your testimony.  

 7                 You talked about the fact that in the 

 8          14 Southern Tier counties there's quite an 

 9          issue.  Is it because we have a higher 

10          density of veterans, or is it because there 

11          are lack of services, or is it both?

12                 CAPTAIN CODY:  More both.  You have a 

13          high density of veterans.  The population 

14          itself -- it's not Manhattan.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I know that.

16                 CAPTAIN CODY:  However -- but the 

17          density's high, okay?  And I think that what 

18          you see is the -- it is somewhat untapped, if 

19          you will, in terms of the number of veterans 

20          who are there who are not receiving the 

21          services.  And it is an area where, if we 

22          were to go in, I'm firmly of the belief you 

23          will see the same kind of things that we've 

24          been able to do in -- certainly in the Hudson 


 1          Valley, in Queens, in Long Island.  You'll 

 2          see the same kind of results, the same kind 

 3          of cost savings, you'll see the same kind of 

 4          life savings in the Southern Tier.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Okay, thank you.

 6                 Anyone else?

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  No.  

 8                 Thank you for being here.

 9                 CAPTAIN CODY:  Thank you.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Next we have 

11          Empire Justice Center, Susan Antos, senior 

12          attorney.

13                 MS. ANTOS:  I'll be brief.  I'll be 

14          brief, I promise.

15                 Good afternoon.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Good afternoon.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Good afternoon.

18                 MS. ANTOS:  Thank you so much --

19                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Just keep an 

20          eye on the clock.

21                 MS. ANTOS:  I will.  Thank you.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay.  Thank 

23          you.

24                 MS. ANTOS:  I'm here representing the 


 1          Empire Justice Center.  We're a 

 2          not-for-profit legal services organization 

 3          with offices in Rochester, Albany, Central 

 4          Islip, Long Island, and Westchester County.  

 5          We're a multi-issue organization.  And as you 

 6          can see from our testimony, we are 

 7          highlighting seven different areas which I'm 

 8          just going to briefly touch on because I know 

 9          I don't have much time.  So mostly I'm just 

10          going to give you bullet points, and a couple 

11          I want to go into a little more depth.  

12                 We're asking that you restore $200,000 

13          to the Managed Care Consumer Assistance 

14          Program, MCAP, which provides seniors and 

15          people with disabilities critical assistance 

16          in navigating the Medicare system.  This 

17          would restore it to its level in 2008 and 

18          2009.  The details of why we so strongly 

19          support this program are in our testimony.

20                 We're also asking you to restore the 

21          Disability Advocacy Program funding over the 

22          Governor's budget to an additional $3 million 

23          over -- let's see if I got this right -- 

24          $3 million on top of the $5.26 million which 


 1          was proposed in the Executive Budget.  That 

 2          would bring statewide funding to 

 3          $8.26 million.  

 4                 The Disability Advocacy Program is 

 5          actually a money maker for the state.  We 

 6          take people off of public assistance 

 7          benefits -- and these are people who are 

 8          disabled -- and put them into the SSI or 

 9          sometimes Social Security system where the 

10          benefits are higher, their lives are more 

11          stable, and the funding for their benefits 

12          are paid for with federal, not state, 

13          dollars.

14                 I also want to say a few words about 

15          the Home Stability Support program.  

16          Homelessness in this country has decreased 

17          about 10 percent nationwide.  In New York 

18          State, it has increased 36 percent over the 

19          last couple of years.  There are 150,000 

20          homeless children in New York State, and the 

21          statistics are staggering.  

22                 Part of the problem is that our public 

23          assistance benefits are so low that housing 

24          for low-income families is not affordable.  


 1          In the County of Albany, the shelter grant is 

 2          $306 -- $306 for a family of three.  I don't 

 3          know if any of you have looked at the rental 

 4          market, but there's nothing you can afford 

 5          for $306.  

 6                 Families become homeless.  When we 

 7          know, from looking at federal health and 

 8          Human Services data, that the fair market 

 9          rent for homes in the City of Albany are 

10          about $1,200 a month and -- I'm sorry, $1,000 

11          a month.  But the cost of housing a family in 

12          a homeless shelter is double to triple that.  

13                 So it almost is a no-brainer to invest 

14          in a program that is going to help families 

15          maintain their housing, keep children stable 

16          in their schools, keep children stable in 

17          their families, and not lead to homelessness.

18                 So we are urging the Legislature to 

19          invest $40 million in the Home Stability 

20          Support program, to create a new statewide 

21          rent supplement program for families and 

22          individuals facing eviction, homelessness, or 

23          loss of housing due to domestic violence -- 

24          and I want to point out that domestic 


 1          violence is an increasing cause of 

 2          homelessness in this state.

 3                 Since I have less than a minute, I'm 

 4          going to jump over to my last impassioned -- 

 5          my last passion is childcare assistance.  We 

 6          are asking that the Legislature invest 

 7          $100 million in childcare assistance.  

 8          Childcare is a cornerstone of people being 

 9          able to maintain employment.

10                 We were glad to see that the Governor 

11          restored the $7 million cut from last year, 

12          but more needs to be done.  Families -- and 

13          if you look at page 10 of our testimony, 

14          counties have lowered eligibility to 

15          unconscionable levels.  There are other 

16          counties who say they are at 200 percent of 

17          poverty, but they have closed intake.  They 

18          don't take applications.  

19                 Families who cannot afford childcare 

20          either can't keep their jobs or they put 

21          their families in places that are not safe.  

22          Childcare has to be affordable.  If you look 

23          at the chart on page 12 of our testimony, 

24          you'll see that there are only six counties 


 1          in which families pay less than -- 7 percent 

 2          or less of their income as their copayment.  

 3          That's the federally recommended amount.

 4                 You can see that in the majority of 

 5          counties, families pay between 15 and 

 6          17.5 percent of their gross income for their 

 7          childcare copayments.  That's their 

 8          copayment.  And they can't afford then to 

 9          keep their children in high-quality 

10          childcare.

11                 Just one last thing; I know my time is 

12          up.  I urge you to look again at 

13          Assemblymember Titus' bill, Assembly 4662, 

14          which would require districts that do not 

15          have enough money to provide childcare for 

16          all working families to prioritize their 

17          funds by not putting public assistance 

18          families in make-work programs but instead 

19          using childcare dollars for families who need 

20          childcare and have jobs but are on a waiting 

21          list or can't get childcare.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, and 

23          we're going to go to Assemblyman Hevesi.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Hi, Susan.


 1                 MS. ANTOS:  Hello.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I'm just going 

 3          to -- first of all, you're right on 

 4          everything.

 5                 MS. ANTOS:  What?

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  You're right on 

 7          everything.

 8                 MS. ANTOS:  Oh, thank you.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Thank you -- no, 

10          thank you.  Because if you're not right, I'm 

11          not right, and that's a big problem.  So 

12          you're right on everything.

13                 I just want to say thank you to you 

14          and also to Kristin, to you and Decima {ph}, 

15          and I miss Ray -- but you guys are doing 

16          great --

17                 MS. ANTOS:  We miss Ray too.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I know, he's the 

19          best.

20                 Thank you for your guidance and 

21          friendship.  You guys are doing great work, 

22          and I appreciate it.  Thank you.

23                 MS. ANTOS:  Thank you.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Anybody on the 


 1          Senate side?

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  I don't -- oh, 

 3          okay.  Senator Savino says you're right, so 

 4          we're done.

 5                 MS. ANTOS:  Thank you.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, and 

 7          thank you for all your help over the years.

 8                 MS. ANTOS:  Thank you.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Next we have 

10          Christine Sadowski, policy chair, YWCAs of 

11          New York State.

12                 MS. SADOWSKI:  Good afternoon.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Good afternoon.

14                 MS. SADOWSKI:  Thank you so much for 

15          your time and particularly for your 

16          perseverance in listening to all of us talk 

17          to you and ask you for things.  

18                 I am here on behalf of 16 YWCAs 

19          throughout New York State, and we are 

20          thrilled that while we have been working 

21          together collaboratively for decades, if not 

22          generations, we're thrilled that this year we 

23          have been able to officially incorporate, 

24          which means that we've been able to kind of 


 1          formalize the work that we've done together.

 2                 YWCAs share a mission, both nationally 

 3          and across the state, of empowering women, 

 4          eliminating racism, and promoting peace, 

 5          justice, freedom, and dignity for all.  And 

 6          one of the two kind of hallmark programs that 

 7          all of us look at are economic empowerment, 

 8          particularly working with single moms or 

 9          female-headed households.  This is the 

10          population that makes up 90 percent of our 

11          constituency and our program participants, 

12          whether we are doing housing, providing DV 

13          services, childcare -- including both young 

14          children as well as after-school -- and 

15          workforce development.

16                 And one of the things that we have 

17          been working on pretty aggressively for at 

18          least five years or more is the issue of 

19          workforce development, specifically for this 

20          population, and workforce training programs 

21          for this population.  Because what we find is 

22          that while there are many good workforce 

23          development training programs out there, 

24          they're not effective with this particular 


 1          constituency.  

 2                 And that has lots of reasons, but one 

 3          of the things that we're most focused on are 

 4          the fact that many of these women are trying 

 5          to move forward with their workforce goals 

 6          and at the same time dealing with a lot of 

 7          other issues -- whether that be leaving a DV 

 8          situation, whether that is mental health or 

 9          substance abuse, whether that is housing 

10          instability -- and YWCAs specialize in 

11          providing multiple programming to get women 

12          moving towards economic self-sufficiency.

13                 So what I'm here to ask you for today 

14          is to consider carefully and to please join 

15          us in carving out a piece of the $175 million 

16          in workforce funding specifically for this 

17          population.  Because we know that it is only 

18          with long-term, targeted -- both workforce as 

19          well as wrap-around services -- that we'll be 

20          able to truly get a woman who is trying to 

21          raise her kids and reach economic 

22          independence really to make that goal and be 

23          able to live on her own and get off of any 

24          services that she may be receiving.  


 1                 So in the past we have been able to 

 2          have some good conversations with the 

 3          Governor's office about this, as well as many 

 4          legislators.  And we just really hope that 

 5          this year will be the year that we can make 

 6          sure we carve out attention to this group, 

 7          because it is too often that they are lost in 

 8          the larger workforce programming, and then 

 9          we're not able to have the resources to move 

10          forward in a way that is successful.

11                 Thank you.  I'll take any questions.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Any questions?  

13                 Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

14                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:   Well, just 

15          very -- hi.  I know some of the Y's also 

16          sponsor YouthBuild.

17                 MS. SADOWSKI:  They do.

18                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  I believe --

19                 MS. SADOWSKI:  Not as many in New York 

20          as around the rest of the country.

21                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  So -- okay --

22                 MS. SADOWSKI:  But certainly we work 

23          with young kids too.  Particularly kids of 

24          color and from underserved communities.


 1                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Yes, and of 

 2          course my office is in a Y in Brooklyn --

 3                 MS. SADOWSKI:  Mm-hmm.

 4                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  And the question 

 5          that I have is, what about young women in 

 6          particular?  And what strategy are you 

 7          looking at specifically?

 8                 MS. SADOWSKI:  Well, I think when you 

 9          talk about young women who are also facing 

10          multiple issues like I'm referring to, I 

11          don't think it matters if they're working 

12          moms yet or not.  The attention is still the 

13          same.  And that's the reality that for the -- 

14          again, the population we serve, these women 

15          are facing a myriad of issues and they need a 

16          very holistic approach.  

17                 So I think probably the shortest 

18          answer to you is that we are looking to make 

19          sure that we can get them multiple services 

20          at the same time, or else they're not able to 

21          sustain work.  And what happens in a 

22          traditional workforce program is that we 

23          measure it by gaining employment -- which is 

24          wonderful, and I understand that goal -- but 


 1          we don't necessarily look at how long that 

 2          employment is sustained and how much it 

 3          really has increased their household income.  

 4                 Whether they're single heads of 

 5          households or they're on their own, we've got 

 6          to be able to sustain employment, to teach 

 7          skills to overcome barriers to sustained 

 8          employment so that for many future years they 

 9          really are economically self-sufficient.

10                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Thank you.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

13          Thank you for being here today.

14                 Next we have Shelly Nortz, deputy 

15          executive director, Coalition for the 

16          Homeless.  

17                 And just for the people who are in the 

18          back of the room, the next few people up is 

19          United Neighborhood Houses, Schuyler Center 

20          for Analysis, Families Together in New York 

21          State, and then the Association on Aging in 

22          New York.  People might want to move down if 

23          you're any of those groups.

24                 Thank you.


 1                 MS. NORTZ:  Thank you.  And 

 2          congratulations, Chair Weinstein, on your 

 3          appointment.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 5                 MS. NORTZ:  I'm going to summarize my 

 6          testimony.  

 7                 All of you spent a good deal of time 

 8          yesterday and today talking about the issue 

 9          of homelessness, and we're grateful for the 

10          attention that you're paying to it.  We do 

11          want to recognize that there are a couple of 

12          good bits of news in the last year, the most 

13          important of which is that these bodies 

14          approved and released the first billion 

15          dollars for supportive housing, with last 

16          year's budget for the first 6,000 units of 

17          the state housing to be built.  

18                 But as you point out, it took us three 

19          years to get there, and now we're behind the 

20          eight-ball.  So the idea of accelerating the 

21          production schedule, and getting the rest of 

22          the 14,000 units to make the full 20,000 

23          commitment that the Governor made, I think is 

24          vitally important over the next year or two.


 1                 Secondly, we settled a very important 

 2          federal class action lawsuit called Butler 

 3          vs. The City of New York with our colleagues 

 4          at the Legal Aid Society and the Center for 

 5          Independence of the Disabled in New York and 

 6          White & Case -- which, over the next five 

 7          years, will result in a thorough planning 

 8          process and major changes to the New York 

 9          City shelter system to better accommodate 

10          people with disabilities.  Long overdue.

11                 Unfortunately, we again had record 

12          homelessness in New York City in 2017 -- as 

13          you heard, over 63,000 men, women, and 

14          children staying each night in the shelters.  

15          More people than ever before turned to the 

16          shelter system in New York City, 130,000 of 

17          them in 2017.  Most homeless people in the 

18          New York City shelters are members of 

19          families, including 23,700 children.  

20                 But the number of single adults in the 

21          shelters actually approached and then 

22          exceeded 16,000 men and women for the first 

23          time ever back in December.  The average 

24          length of stay for all household compositions 


 1          now exceed 12 months in the New York City 

 2          shelters -- we've never seen that before -- 

 3          for two years in a row now.

 4                 And the percentage of single adults 

 5          receiving supportive housing placements in 

 6          2017 fell to a 12-year low, fewer than four 

 7          in 100.  And as you know, the reason we did 

 8          the supportive housing investment is because 

 9          supportive housing is a solution and the most 

10          proven solution to address homelessness, 

11          particularly for the single adult men and 

12          women population in New York.

13                 Unfortunately, political disputes 

14          delayed the agreement to release those funds.  

15          And this obviously contributes to a greater 

16          demand for shelter and record homelessness.  

17          If we're not moving people out of the 

18          shelters, the sense is it's going to continue 

19          to rise.  And so we need all hands on deck to 

20          begin to really bring all of the solutions to 

21          scale.

22                 We also have, contributing to greater 

23          shelter demands, steeply rising rents, kind 

24          of faster than usual; stagnant wages; as 


 1          Susan mentioned, domestic violence -- a very, 

 2          very prominent cause of displacement right 

 3          now -- and also substantial discharges from 

 4          hospitals and nursing homes.  And as 

 5          Senator Krueger mentioned, that's partly a 

 6          result of shifts in how that industry is 

 7          operating.  And also the pressures that 

 8          should not be dismissed from how Medicaid 

 9          reform is working in New York.  The metrics 

10          that have been chosen are good metrics, but 

11          hospitals discharging lots of people to 

12          homeless shelters is not exactly a great 

13          solution.

14                 New York State continues to shift the 

15          cost of sheltering and housing homeless 

16          New Yorkers to localities, including New York 

17          City.  As was mentioned earlier, I will just 

18          say that the answer to the question that was 

19          posed to Ms. Guinn earlier was incomplete.  

20          The state is reimbursing the cost of 

21          sheltering homeless families, she says 

22          fully -- to the extent that they are in 

23          receipt of TANF.  

24                 But the process of the TANF block 


 1          grant is that families are only eligible for 

 2          five years, and at the end of five years they 

 3          are shifted to the safety net caseload, which 

 4          is 71 percent local share, 29 percent state 

 5          share.  Hence the metric that Senator Krueger 

 6          mentioned, that 5 percent of the growth in 

 7          New York City shelter costs, which grew by 

 8          $698 million, was borne by the state; the 

 9          rest was borne by the City of New York -- and 

10          the federal block grant was not borne by the 

11          state.

12                 These cost shifts have also affected 

13          the localities.  I know Assemblyman Hevesi is 

14          well aware of that, having talked to the 

15          counties.  And our budget maintains a status 

16          quo.  We have no new supportive housing 

17          investments, notwithstanding the fact that 

18          it's going to cost more to build them later 

19          than it would cost to build them now and, as 

20          Senator Krueger mentioned, there are projects 

21          ready to go in the pipeline.

22                 The fiscal penalty that Senator Young 

23          mentioned earlier we think is extremely 

24          ill-advised.  We see no reason to take public 


 1          assistance benefit dollars away from 

 2          localities when the state isn't even funding 

 3          homeless outreach efforts.  That just seems 

 4          rather preposterous and one more example of 

 5          the state shirking its responsibility.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Can you just 

 7          conclude?

 8                 MS. NORTZ:  Yes, ma'am.  I apologize.  

 9          I will leave the rest of our budget 

10          recommendations for your review.  

11                 But I would say there is one thing 

12          that we need in the realm of solutions that 

13          we haven't talked about before, and that is a 

14          way of regulating this thing that is evolving 

15          called medical respite.  And it is a place 

16          for people to be when they're getting out of 

17          hospitals and nursing homes but aren't 

18          appropriate for shelters.  

19                 And it's not regulated in New York 

20          right now, but it's happening and it needs to 

21          be regulated.  Otherwise we're going to have 

22          unregulated nursing homes for homeless 

23          people.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 


 1          Hevesi for a question.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I will be brief.  

 3                 Shelly, just thank you for everything 

 4          you do, taking me under your wing and 

 5          teaching me about the stuff -- not only how 

 6          bad it is.  And I'm going to encourage not 

 7          just my colleagues here but all of my 

 8          colleagues to really read through this and 

 9          get a sense of the numbers and the magnitude.  

10          Because I feel like, you know, I say it 

11          constantly, it's the worst since the Great 

12          Depression.  But that doesn't grab it as 

13          well.  

14                 And also the state response.  The 

15          state response has been to walk away.  It's 

16          the county's problem, it's the city's 

17          problem, it's everybody else's problem -- the 

18          state has walked away from this problem.  

19                 So thank you for illuminating what a 

20          crisis we really are in, and I appreciate it.  

21          Thanks.

22                 MS. NORTZ:  And thank you for the Home 

23          Stability Support proposal, because that has 

24          the power to help solve a big part of this 


 1          problem.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Thank you, 

 3          Shelly. 

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 5                 MS. NORTZ:  Thank you very much.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  United 

 7          Neighborhood Houses, Kevin Douglas, 

 8          co-director for New York State policy and 

 9          advocacy.

10                 MR. DOUGLAS:  Good afternoon.  Thank 

11          you, Chair Weinstein and Chair Young and 

12          members of the Senate and the Assembly.  I   

13          appreciate the opportunity to testify this 

14          afternoon.  

15                 My name is Kevin Douglas, and I'm 

16          co-director of policy and advocacy with 

17          United Neighborhood Houses of New York.  We 

18          are an association of settlement houses.  We 

19          have 38 members serving 750,000 New Yorkers 

20          every year across the five boroughs of 

21          New York City.  We also have partners working 

22          in Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, and Buffalo 

23          to provide similar services.  

24                 Before I talk about the asks, I just 


 1          want to talk about our model a little bit so 

 2          you understand the variety of programmatic 

 3          areas that I want to present to you.  

 4                 The idea of a settlement house is that 

 5          it's a multiservice, multigenerational 

 6          neighborhood-based facility where someone can 

 7          walk in and receive any of the services they 

 8          need.  So for instance -- for example, this 

 9          morning we heard from four different 

10          government agencies.  We might have a woman 

11          walk into one of our settlement houses and 

12          enroll her mother in a home-delivered meals 

13          program that's funded by SOFA and put her son 

14          in the Summer Youth Employment program funded 

15          by OTDA and put her daughter in an early 

16          childhood program funded by OCFS and put her 

17          cousin in a job training program funded 

18          through DOL.  

19                 The whole idea of the settlement house 

20          model is that someone walks in, they get any 

21          service or support that they need.  So the 

22          variety of programmatic areas in the state 

23          budget that is important to our network is 

24          tremendous and across the board.


 1                 I just want to mention a couple of 

 2          things that are not in my testimony, just 

 3          very quickly, that we strongly support and 

 4          ask for your support as you're negotiating 

 5          the budget.  

 6                 Many of the people who go through our 

 7          programs have educational challenges, and so 

 8          we would strongly urge you to support 

 9          proposals in the budget to extend tuition 

10          assistance to young undocumented learners as 

11          well as restore funding for adult literacy 

12          education.  Those are both important 

13          components of community-based human services.  

14                 We also strongly support the Home 

15          Stability Support proposal, which would help 

16          make housing more affordable for New Yorkers 

17          who go to our settlement houses.  

18                 And finally, because many of the 

19          individuals we serve deal with the tipped 

20          wage issue, they're working hard and coming 

21          to our programs for services, they have 

22          challenges getting to the polls on Election 

23          Day, and so we certainly support early voting 

24          and hope you work with the Governor to 


 1          support the funding for that proposal.

 2                 In terms of the state budget for the 

 3          agencies that were here before you today, we 

 4          do have a few priorities.  In the Children 

 5          and Youth section we appreciate that the 

 6          Governor restored $7 million for the 

 7          Childhood program, but as you know, that's a 

 8          restoration of a cut and didn't actually 

 9          expand access.  We would echo the Empire 

10          Justice Center and push for $100 million for 

11          early childhood education.  

12                 For the Child Care Block Grant, we're 

13          specifically asking for $24 million beyond 

14          the Executive Budget, which would really help 

15          us keep pace with inflation relative to 

16          investments from a few years ago.

17                 We also heard the REDC mentioned 

18          several times today.  The Governor is very 

19          interested in putting lots of money into that 

20          at the expense of other program areas, many 

21          of which we heard about today.  So we 

22          definitely support the use of creative 

23          reallocation of economic development funding 

24          to support the workers doing that economic 


 1          development and make sure there's childcare 

 2          for their children.

 3                 Similarly, after-school is an 

 4          important support for a parent as well as the 

 5          youth, and we're very glad again that the 

 6          Governor is proposing to expand the Empire 

 7          After-School Program.  At the same time, 

 8          somewhat curiously, he has proposed reducing 

 9          the Advantage After-School Program, pulling 

10          back the legislative add that this body had 

11          made.  And that really is problematic, 

12          because although there's a net increase in 

13          funding, if you compare those streams -- as 

14          you know, the Empire State After-School 

15          Program is not available in all counties, and 

16          many jurisdictions throughout the city would 

17          not be eligible for after-school there, so 

18          it's important to retain support for 

19          Advantage.

20                 Moving on to SOFA, I was very 

21          interested that we got as far as we did 

22          before talking about NORCs, naturally 

23          occurring retirement communities.  We were 

24          very disappointed with the way this has 


 1          played out over the last year.  We 

 2          appreciated that an additional $2 million had 

 3          been put in to support this important service 

 4          which keeps older adults healthy and aging 

 5          with dignity in their homes.  We saw that 

 6          that $2 million was not renewed in the 

 7          Executive proposal, and we would ask that 

 8          this body restore that.  

 9                 But more importantly, we're also 

10          asking for a $1 million enhancement to begin 

11          doing some pilot programs in other regions of 

12          the state that weren't able to expand 

13          programs in this last round of the RFA that 

14          had been put out and then pulled back.

15                 As I come to the closing part of my 

16          testimony here, I talked a little bit earlier 

17          about the sort of neighborhood-based, 

18          multiservice, multigenerational approach of 

19          settlement houses.  And one of the things 

20          that we really are grateful to this body for 

21          is their support of the Settlement House 

22          Program.  This is flexible funding that goes 

23          to settlement houses around the state to fill 

24          the gaps.  


 1                 So we know that state funding is very 

 2          categorical.  We had four state agencies here 

 3          today that have dozens of divisions, dozens 

 4          of programs, this age, this day of the week, 

 5          this hair color.  Settlement house funding 

 6          goes to those nonprofits and allows them to 

 7          look at what the need is in their community 

 8          and come up with creative solutions.  Whether 

 9          it's culturally competent domestic violence 

10          services for the Arab-American population, 

11          financial support for families dealing with 

12          bereavement issues in the high-crime areas, 

13          the settlement houses really take that 

14          funding and use it to do creative services.  

15                 And so we'd ask for that to be 

16          restored.  It was removed by the Governor at 

17          $2.45 million, and we're asking for it to be 

18          increased to $5 million, which doesn't get it 

19          quite to where it used to be, but we would 

20          appreciate the ability to expand that 

21          program.  

22                 I know I'm over, so I'm going to go 

23          into speed-talk mode.  Very quickly, we are 

24          proud members of the Strong Nonprofits for a 


 1          Better New York campaign, and you'll hear 

 2          more about that from my colleagues.  I 

 3          support everything they're about to say.  The 

 4          Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment 

 5          Program is critical to keep human service 

 6          spaces in good working order.  We know that 

 7          the BFair2DirectCare effort last year was 

 8          vitally important and successful.  We want 

 9          that extended to the rest of the nonprofit 

10          workforce.  We recognize when the state 

11          increases the minimum wage, as we support, 

12          they need to include that cost in state 

13          contracts.  

14                 And finally, the state has been in 

15          noncompliance with federal guidelines for 

16          about four years now regarding indirect costs 

17          when the state is using federal dollars in 

18          pass-through to contracts.  We'd urge this 

19          body to work with the state to resolve that 

20          and make sure that providers are getting the 

21          appropriate and direct overhead.  

22                 Thank you.  

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:   Thank you.  

24                 Senator Krueger?


 1                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you, no -- I 

 2          just appreciate everything that you raised in 

 3          your testimony.  

 4                 And for those of us who come from New 

 5          York City, I'm not sure we could imagine our 

 6          communities being what they were if not for 

 7          the settlement houses and the fact that you 

 8          offer such an incredibly diverse group of 

 9          programs.  And also, unlike many, you can 

10          sort of turn on a dime, so to speak, to 

11          respond to new issues in communities.  So I'm 

12          just glad you're all there.  

13                 Thank you.

14                 MR. DOUGLAS:  Thank you.  

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:   Thank you.

16                 Next is the Schuyler Center for 

17          Analysis and Advocacy, Kari Siddiqui.

18                 MS. SIDDIQUI:  Good afternoon.  I 

19          would like to thank you all for the 

20          opportunity to testify today.  

21                 I am a senior policy analyst with the 

22          Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.  

23          We are a 146-year-old nonprofit organization 

24          dedicated to providing analysis and advocacy 


 1          in support of public systems that focus on 

 2          people in need.  

 3                 As you have my written testimony 

 4          before you, I will just try to highlight some 

 5          of the most urgent pieces.

 6                 While New York's economic indicators 

 7          have seen steady improvement since the 

 8          Great Recession, the state continues to 

 9          struggle to provide for many of our children 

10          the supports they need to grow, learn, and 

11          thrive.  We can and must do better by our 

12          children to provide them the steppingstones 

13          they need to set on a path to achieving their 

14          full potential.

15                 The Executive Budget proposes a few 

16          important investments for children, including 

17          allocating funds for the development of 

18          recommendations of the state's trailblazing 

19          First 1,000 Days on Medicaid initiative.  

20          However, there remains much to do.

21                 I had hoped to sit before you today 

22          requesting additional funding to expand 

23          primary prevention and child welfare.  

24          Instead, I am sitting here asking you to 


 1          ensure that no damage is done to existing 

 2          services.  

 3                 The Executive Budget proposes to place 

 4          a cap on reimbursement to New York City for 

 5          child welfare services which include 

 6          preventive services, those services 

 7          specifically designed to strengthen families 

 8          and keep children safely at home whenever 

 9          possible; child protective services; and also 

10          adoption administration, independent living, 

11          and aftercare services.  

12                 This funding stream was intentionally 

13          structured to be uncapped and open-ended to 

14          incentivize services that keep children 

15          safely out of foster care instead of 

16          incentivizing foster care.  The current 

17          structure was enacted in 2002 after the state 

18          saw foster care increase when preventive was 

19          not financially incentivized.  Since that 

20          time, we've seen foster care caseloads 

21          decrease while more and more families receive 

22          preventive services.  

23                 In fact, the 2006 OCFS report to the 

24          Legislature cited the impact that uncapped 


 1          preventive reimbursement had had on expanding 

 2          and strengthening preventive services and 

 3          driving down foster care numbers.  

 4                 This proposed cap comes on the heels 

 5          of a $62 million cut to foster care in last 

 6          year's budget.  And while the cap is only 

 7          proposed for New York City, as was said many 

 8          times today, approximately half of our 

 9          children in foster care live in New York 

10          City, and introducing this path will 

11          fundamentally change the way we approach 

12          child welfare in New York.  

13                 It will also result in a cut to 

14          New York City and remove all incentive for 

15          the city to innovate and expand preventive 

16          services.  And, in my opinion, it establishes 

17          a dangerous precedent for capping spending in 

18          counties that have far fewer resources.  

19                 So we strongly urge the Legislature to 

20          reject the Governor's proposal to cap 

21          reimbursement to New York City and ensure 

22          that this funding remains uncapped and 

23          open-ended.

24                 What is more, the Governor's budget 


 1          proposes to eliminate all funding for 

 2          Close to Home, New York City's successful 

 3          juvenile justice program that places youth in 

 4          small residential facilities near their 

 5          homes.  This comes just as New York is 

 6          preparing for Raise the Age implementation, 

 7          which will cause an influx of 16- and 

 8          17-year-olds into the juvenile justice 

 9          system.  

10                 We urge the Legislature to reject the 

11          proposal to completely defund Close to Home, 

12          and we also urge the Legislature to ensure 

13          that all counties, including New York City, 

14          have access to the funding necessary to 

15          successfully implement Raise the Age.

16                 While it is essential that the state 

17          shore up and strengthen the programs 

18          associated with our child welfare system, we 

19          cannot forget the hundreds of thousands of 

20          New York children living in informal kinship 

21          arrangements.  The Kinship Navigator and 

22          kinship programs offer important supports to 

23          kin who care for related children outside of 

24          the formal system.  These programs are 


 1          becoming increasingly important as two issues 

 2          face New York and the nation:  The rise in 

 3          parental opioid use, and the federal 

 4          administration's focus on detention and 

 5          deportation.  Providing kin caregivers with 

 6          information and support may enable more of 

 7          these children to remain safely with kin and 

 8          speed up reunification with parents when 

 9          appropriate.  

10                 We urge the Legislature to restore 

11          funding for kinship programs and increase 

12          funding for the Kinship Navigator so that 

13          they may respond to these instances. 

14                 And finally, as I mentioned, the 

15          budget includes funding for the First 1,000 

16          Days on Medicaid, which includes a home 

17          visiting component, and we urge the 

18          Legislature to support that important 

19          component of expanding universal access to 

20          home visiting.  And we also urge you to 

21          expand the state investment in home visiting 

22          programs.  

23                 I said finally; I have one more 

24          thing -- 


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay.

 2                 MS. SIDDIQUI:  -- which is childcare.  

 3                 For many New York families with young 

 4          children, childcare is their largest monthly 

 5          bill.  New York State ranks among the most 

 6          expensive states in the nation for childcare.  

 7          The average cost for full-time center-based 

 8          care is $15,000 a year, and more than $13,000 

 9          for a toddler or preschooler.  I have an 

10          18-month-old, I know this is true.

11                 Many working families simply cannot 

12          afford quality childcare without subsidies.  

13          But subsidies, as you've heard, are only 

14          available to about 20 percent of eligible 

15          families.  We appreciate the $7 million 

16          restoration of childcare funds from the 

17          Governor's budget, but as you all know, more 

18          is needed to ensure that families have the 

19          support they need.  We urge you to maintain 

20          the Governor's restoration and to expand 

21          access to childcare funding.

22                 Thank you.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

24                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I do have one 


 1          question.  I know we're not supposed to --

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  No, you get 

 3          this one.

 4                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 5                 I think you're the first one to 

 6          mention it today, so -- the Governor moves 

 7          the Nurse-Family Partnership, I think, into 

 8          the Department of Health.  I know you're 

 9          asking for more money for it.  Is there any 

10          reason people should be worried or excited 

11          about it moving to DOH?

12                 MS. SIDDIQUI:  So it's always been 

13          kind of like the money was in OTDA and then 

14          got transferred to DOH, so really it's just 

15          sort of streamlining things.  

16                 I think the thing that folks should be 

17          aware of is that it looks like a lot more 

18          money than there was last year, but really 

19          it's old -- a good portion of it is old money 

20          that is being kind of transferred over.

21                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Being 

22          reappropriated --

23                 MS. SIDDIQUI:  Right.

24                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  -- because it didn't 


 1          get spent.

 2                 MS. SIDDIQUI:  Right.

 3                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Do we know why it 

 4          didn't get spent?

 5                 MS. SIDDIQUI:  I don't know that 

 6          offhand.

 7                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 8                 MS. SIDDIQUI:  Sure.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblywoman 

10          Jaffee, and then Assemblyman Hevesi.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Just briefly, I 

12          want to thank you for your continued advocacy 

13          for so many of these programs, but what we've 

14          been really working on together, the 

15          expansion of funding for childcare, so 

16          essential for our communities, our children 

17          and families, as well as the issues impacting 

18          the kinship care and foster care.

19                 Thank you.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

21          Hevesi.  

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  So, Kari, I just 

23          want to say thank you.  I didn't understand 

24          the magnitude of what the Governor's 


 1          proposing this year, and one of the dangers 

 2          of being a politician, the way you're trained 

 3          is you solve one problem at a time.  You only 

 4          look at one thing at a time, and you can't do 

 5          that.  

 6                 And you illuminate in your testimony 

 7          the fact that, look, last year $62 million 

 8          was cut from foster care, it was a big hit 

 9          for those kids, then this year we're going to 

10          cut preventative services in a way that has 

11          been proven historically in the last 20 years 

12          to be monumentally stupid.  It hurts kids and 

13          serves as a disincentive for localities to 

14          give money.  It's just bad public policy.  

15                 We zeroed out Close to Home, even 

16          though it was the Governor's idea -- one 

17          after the other -- bang, bang, bang.  And the 

18          question has to come at some point, what is 

19          the motivation here?  This is not financial.  

20          There's something else going on here that 

21          this population, these kids are taking hits, 

22          hits, hits.  

23                 And I didn't realize the magnitude of 

24          it.  I've wanted to get on the record saying 


 1          it, but now that I do, I wanted to thank you 

 2          for illuminating how bad this really is.

 3                 Thank you.

 4                 MS. SIDDIQUI:  Thank you.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 6          Thank you for your testimony here today. 

 7                 Next, Paige Pierce, CEO, Families 

 8          Together in New York State.

 9                 MS. PIERCE:  Good evening.  Thank you 

10          very much for your patience.

11                 I'm Paige Pierce.  I'm the CEO of 

12          Families Together in New York State.  We 

13          represent families of young people with 

14          behavioral health needs.  And as you can 

15          imagine, our children are involved in 

16          multiple systems, including child welfare, 

17          juvenile justice, special education, alcohol 

18          and substance abuse, mental health.

19                 I just want to say first, Assemblyman 

20          Hevesi, you've just said everything I was 

21          going to say, so I don't need to repeat it.  

22          Thank you very much, you were right on.  

23                 And I thank a lot of you today -- 

24          thank you for asking the right questions of 


 1          the commissioner from OCFS, specifically 

 2          about funding for the Raise the Age and 

 3          Close to Home initiatives.

 4                 As someone who worked very hard on the 

 5          Raise the Age bill over many, many years, we 

 6          did that for all the kids in New York State, 

 7          for the entire state, not just for the 

 8          upstate kids.  And it is critical that the 

 9          city have the ability to implement Raise the 

10          Age.  It was promised to everybody along all 

11          of the years that we worked on it; that was 

12          always a promise from the second floor.  So 

13          we would just urge you to hold them to that 

14          promise.

15                 I just also want to say you have my 

16          written testimony, so I don't need to get 

17          into it too much, but the main things that 

18          Families Together works on is family-peer 

19          support.  And you've heard throughout today 

20          and many times before that those kinds of 

21          soft services like family-peer support and 

22          peer support in general can save a lot of 

23          money and can reduce adverse childhood 

24          experiences, which we know, when we look at, 


 1          you know, social determinants and what the 

 2          long-term effects are, we have the ability, 

 3          if we invest now -- we have the ability to 

 4          cut costs for many decades out.  

 5                 And when we hear about, you know, 

 6          veterans that have major issues, I think, you 

 7          know, we can avoid some of the traumas.  We 

 8          can't avoid veteran traumas, but we can avoid 

 9          the traumas that we know our children 

10          sometimes face, and we can avoid a lot of 

11          expensive healthcare issues -- not just 

12          mental health and substance abuse issues, but 

13          healthcare issues.  The ACE study shows that.

14                 So I just want to say one other thing, 

15          and that is when we think about -- as 

16          Assemblyman Hevesi said, you know, something 

17          else is going on.  If there's going to be 

18          bickering between the state and the city, 

19          please do not let it be on the backs of the 

20          children and families.  That's all I ask.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

22          Hevesi.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Just thank you 

24          for your testimony.  


 1                 I would like to connect with you 

 2          offline to talk more about ACEs.  I think 

 3          that's an area that's ripe for public policy 

 4          moves on our part, and I'd like your 

 5          guidance.  So thank you.

 6                 MS. PIERCE:  Great.  Thanks.

 7                 And Assemblywoman Jaffee, 

 8          congratulations, you're going to be our 

 9          Legislator of the Year at Families Together's 

10          Legislative Awareness Day next Tuesday.  So 

11          you're all invited.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thanks for that 

13          promo.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you.

15                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you very much.

16                 MS. PIERCE:  Thank you.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Next, Ann Marie 

18          Maglione, Association on Aging in New York.  

19                 And she'll be followed by Sheila 

20          Harrigan, then Jim Purcell, Mallory Nugent, 

21          Stephanie Gendell.

22                 MS. MAGLIONE:  Good afternoon.  Thank 

23          you for the opportunity to testify on the 

24          impact the 2018-2019 Executive Budget 


 1          proposal will have on New Yorkers and the 

 2          aging network in New York State.  

 3                 My name is Ann Marie Maglione, and I 

 4          am the legislative chair of the Association 

 5          on Aging in NY, and I'm also the director of 

 6          the Orange County Office for the Aging.  

 7                 You have my written testimony, so I'm 

 8          just going to touch base on a few of the 

 9          points.

10                 I'd like to thank Senator Young and 

11          Assemblywoman Weinstein for chairing these 

12          hearings, as well as extending our 

13          appreciation to Senator Serino and 

14          Assemblywoman Lupardo for their strong 

15          leadership on aging issues.

16                 The Association on Aging in New York 

17          represents the 59 mostly county-based area 

18          agencies, AAAs, and they're also known as the 

19          Offices for the Aging throughout New York 

20          State.  The programs, services and supports 

21          we provide allow older New Yorkers to live 

22          independently in the community and also 

23          support their caregivers.  The services 

24          provided by the aging network address 


 1          prevention and the social determinants of 

 2          health that help delay, and possibly prevent, 

 3          the need for more medically intensive 

 4          services. 

 5                 As you are all aware, the 60-plus 

 6          population is exploding and has complex needs 

 7          which are putting a strain on the aging 

 8          services network.  We fully recognize the 

 9          fiscal challenges the state is facing, but we 

10          need to ensure the supports are there for 

11          older New Yorkers.  

12                 So our priorities for the budget are 

13          certainly NY Connects, and I wanted to 

14          just -- before I go into this, I wanted to 

15          chat for a minute, because NYSOFA and the 

16          association are a little bit on different 

17          pages with this.  There's a few reasons that 

18          we are.  Those few reasons -- our wait lists 

19          are different, there's a few reasons our 

20          NY Connects numbers are different.  There 

21          were system issues that caused delays, and 

22          the delays really then prevented -- poor 

23          timing with the contract.  So the contract 

24          was delayed so that we really couldn't 


 1          implement in a timely manner, and that really 

 2          reflected on the numbers.  We also -- the 

 3          state initiated a statewide reporting system 

 4          which had a couple of hiccups.  So taking all 

 5          of that into account, that's why we differ a 

 6          little bit.  

 7                 You know, finally, an official state 

 8          report is quite different from the informal 

 9          local reports that we're standing by.  But 

10          we're certainly going to be talking with 

11          NYSOFA to make sure that we're on the same 

12          page.  We really value them and we work very 

13          closely together, so we're going to be doing 

14          that.

15                 NY Connects is a locally coordinated 

16          system of specialized information and 

17          assistance on long-term services and supports 

18          for the age-60-plus individuals with physical 

19          disabilities, caregivers, and providers.  

20          New York State has spent years building this 

21          multiagency cross-systems approach to service 

22          access, and last year more than 230,000 calls 

23          came in through NY Connects.  And we're 

24          seeing a drastic increase since the launching 


 1          of the statewide public awareness campaign.  

 2                 Just to give you an example, Monroe 

 3          County alone, in 2016 they had 13,000 calls 

 4          that came through NY Connects.  In 2017, they 

 5          had 21,000.  So there's quite a bit of a 

 6          difference.

 7                 But unfortunately, after years of 

 8          building this system, it's not adequately 

 9          funded.  In 2016 the tentative allocation was 

10          $33 million.  The 2017 final allocation was 

11          only $19.3 million, 14 less than what was 

12          promised.  The Governor's proposed budget 

13          only provides $44.5 million for two years.  

14          The NY Connects system requires $41 million 

15          annually in order to fully function:  

16          $33 million for the AAAs, and $8 million for 

17          the Independent Living Center run systems.  

18                 So what does that mean?  Because of 

19          the reduction of funding in 2017, 280 jobs 

20          were either terminated or left unfilled, and 

21          those in need were having difficulty 

22          accessing services.  People were falling 

23          through the cracks as they were left on hold 

24          and ultimately they hung up after they didn't 


 1          get a response.  

 2                 So we respectfully request the 

 3          NY Connects allocation in the global cap be 

 4          adjusted to provide $41 million annually, or 

 5          $82 million over a two-year period, in order 

 6          to sustain the system. 

 7                 Community Services for the Elderly, 

 8          CSE.  The Executive proposes to cut CSE by 

 9          $875,000, which is what the Legislature added 

10          last year.  Total funding is proposed at 

11          $28.9 million.  Waiting lists continue to 

12          grow as the population of older New Yorkers 

13          grows, and with increased public awareness of 

14          these services through the promotion of 

15          NY Connects.  

16                 In order to fully address the waiting 

17          lists and ensure individuals are receiving 

18          the services they need, an additional 

19          $24 million in funding is requested. 

20                 Elder abuse.  While we were pleased 

21          the Governor maintained funding for enhanced 

22          multidisciplinary teams so they may be 

23          sustained and expanded throughout the state, 

24          we are concerned with the $200,000 cut to 


 1          baseline elder abuse services.  Elder abuse 

 2          affects an estimated 260,000 older adults 

 3          annually and is consistently underreported.  

 4          We respectfully request restoration to the 

 5          $200,000 as well as a $10 million investment 

 6          in community-based efforts to address elder 

 7          abuse. 

 8                 Home care crisis.  This issue has been 

 9          at the forefront of numerous legislative 

10          hearings and discussions.  The association 

11          conducted a survey of our members, and almost 

12          every county is facing an inability to fill 

13          homecare hours.  Without a workforce of 

14          homecare providers, the ability of elderly 

15          New Yorkers to remain in the community will 

16          simply be lost.

17                 Now, we're certainly not coming here 

18          tonight and asking you to solve the problem.  

19          We realize it's a multifaceted problem, and 

20          my colleagues and I across the state continue 

21          to look for innovative ways to fill the 

22          demand for home healthcare hours.  

23                 And I'll give you an example.  In my 

24          county, Orange, we recognized that we really 


 1          needed to do something.  We are working with 

 2          Mount Saint Mary College to utilize 

 3          social-work students as personal care 1 aides 

 4          as part of their curriculum.  This will allow 

 5          us to move home care aides to the personal 

 6          care level 2 for the more intensive work to 

 7          address --

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Can you just 

 9          summarize, very quickly, the remainder?

10                 MS. MAGLIONE:  Oh, yes.  

11                 -- to address the growing need.  

12                 So I want to talk one more time 

13          about -- last about transportation.  Wait 

14          lists for transportation have also increased 

15          dramatically over the past year.  In 

16          addition, there are maintenance and 

17          operational requests, and we respectfully 

18          request $2.5 million to address these needs 

19          across the nation.

20                 The association is committed to 

21          working with Governor Cuomo and the 

22          Legislature to support New York State's 

23          designation as the first age-friendly state, 

24          and we're so proud of that.  By ensuring 


 1          health across all policies, by requiring all 

 2          state agencies to consider health and 

 3          wellness outcomes in their policy 

 4          decisions -- as part of this, we need to 

 5          ensure that the services that keep older 

 6          New Yorkers in the community are funded.

 7                 I want to thank you again for these 

 8          important hearings and for allowing the 

 9          association the opportunity to testify.  We 

10          very much look forward to working with you in 

11          the coming weeks and months to address all of 

12          these issues of critical importance to older 

13          New Yorkers and their families.  

14                 Thank you so much.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

16                 Thank you for your work and the work 

17          of your colleagues around the state on behalf 

18          of our senior populations.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Serino.

20                 SENATOR SERINO:  Thank you.

21                 Hi, Ann Marie.  How are you?

22                 MS. MAGLIONE:  How are you?

23                 SENATOR SERINO:  I just want to say 

24          thank you for all your advocacy.


 1                 MS. MAGLIONE:  Oh, thank you.

 2                 SENATOR SERINO:  You're doing a great 

 3          job, and it's a pleasure working with you.

 4                 My question is going to be about CSE, 

 5          because there's such a discrepancy in the 

 6          numbers.  Now, what number -- do you have a 

 7          number?  I know you heard the earlier 

 8          testimony of people on the waiting list.

 9                 MS. MAGLIONE:  Well, we -- you know, 

10          waiting lists are fluid.  So it's a snapshot 

11          right then.

12                 SENATOR SERINO:  Okay.

13                 MS. MAGLIONE:  And since what we do is 

14          so diverse, what may be of need right now may 

15          not be a need later.

16                 But we really do stand by the 16,000, 

17          and there's reasons for that.  The population 

18          is growing by leaps and bounds, we know that.  

19          We see this all the time.  We report 

20          differently, and everybody -- what the state 

21          may be reporting, or what the state may be 

22          seeing, we may not be seeing.

23                 So if in my county I'm counting the 

24          numbers that are waiting for aides -- but 


 1          there may be another county that's reporting 

 2          the people that haven't even been assessed.  

 3          So there's different numbers.

 4                 SENATOR SERINO:  Okay.  Is there a way 

 5          that we can, like, work together to get a 

 6          more accurate -- do you guys have some ideas?  

 7          Because it's a little frustrating, right?

 8                 MS. MAGLIONE:  Yeah, and I can 

 9          absolutely understand that.  That's what 

10          we're going to be working with.  We're going 

11          to get together with NYSOFA, but we did do an 

12          informal -- we did do an informal one with 

13          our association, and it really did show that 

14          the need is there.

15                 SENATOR SERINO:  Yes.

16                 MS. MAGLIONE:  It continues to grow.  

17          So -- but we're going to get together so we 

18          can all have the same number and we can all 

19          work together with the same number.

20                 SENATOR SERINO:  Great.  Thank you.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you 

22          again.

23                 Next, the New York Public Welfare 

24          Association, Sheila Harrigan, executive 


 1          director.

 2                 MS. HARRIGAN:  Thank you so much.  

 3                 I'm here with one message today, and 

 4          that is we're all in this together.  We're 

 5          all one state.  This is not "A Tale of Two 

 6          Cities," as in Charles Dickens' story about 

 7          Paris and London; it is -- I hope -- not "All 

 8          My Sons" where the father learns too late 

 9          that to save money in one place, he hurts 

10          everyone.  This is very serious.

11                 The New York Public Welfare 

12          Association represents social services 

13          statewide, and we are deeply, deeply 

14          concerned about the cuts to New York City 

15          child welfare programs.  We do believe they 

16          could set a precedent statewide, and we're 

17          one state.  We need to hang in there and keep 

18          together.  

19                 On one other issue of homelessness, 

20          our members, grassroots, helping homeless 

21          people every day, very important -- the 

22          outreach language requiring an extra 

23          administrative layer of oversight and 

24          planning is counterproductive.  It's hurtful.  


 1          It stops us from helping the people who need 

 2          help.  It takes away funding from people on 

 3          assistance.  In terms of reimbursement to 

 4          counties, it's the wrong thing to do.  

 5                 Our members are collaborating with 

 6          OTDA, we feel that we have it covered.  The 

 7          language should be removed.

 8                 On geriatric parole, we understand the 

 9          intent.  We need the state to step up to the 

10          plate and not just cover the medical 

11          expenses, but all the related needs for 

12          geriatric parolees.

13                 And that sums it up.  Thank you.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Great.

15                 Assemblyman Hevesi for a brief 

16          question.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Very brief.

18                 Ms. Harrigan, I just want to say thank 

19          you for your testimony.  And also I agree 

20          with you wholeheartedly about the policy to 

21          punish local social services districts and 

22          public assistance recipients if they don't 

23          comply.  The state could have just as easily 

24          have given you a little money to help for 


 1          outreach and gotten the same conclusion.

 2                 So yeah, I'm -- as well as you are, 

 3          I'm tired of the state being punitive with 

 4          the local social services districts.

 5                 Thank you.

 6                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  I also -- hi.  I 

 7          also want to thank you for highlighting a 

 8          concern that some of us raised during the 

 9          Public Protection hearing, that one can 

10          support, philosophically, geriatric parole, 

11          but one must make sure that you are not 

12          simply paroling elderly, sick people into a 

13          homeless shelter system somewhere.

14                 So thank you.

15                 MS. HARRIGAN:  Thank you.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you for 

17          being here today.

18                 Next, Jim Purcell, CEO of the Council 

19          of Family and Child Caring Agencies.

20                 MR. PURCELL:  Thank you very much.  

21          I've been here as long as you have, and I'm 

22          surprised you're all still awake.  Well, most 

23          of you are awake --

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  A presumption 


 1          on your part.  

 2                 (Laughter.)

 3                 MR. PURCELL:  We set out this year to 

 4          talk with you about key issues related to the 

 5          nonprofit foster care agencies, the need that 

 6          actually Senator Tedisco spoke to earlier 

 7          about the fact that we have to pay them a 

 8          wage that allows them to stay in their jobs.

 9                 Our turnover rate for these front-line 

10          workers is over 40 percent.  And when you 

11          deal with traumatized people, especially 

12          kids, what they need is that constant 

13          caregiver who they can come to trust.  And 

14          we're failing in that as our workers leave 

15          for better jobs, constantly.

16                 I would have spoken to that longer.  

17                 Last year we asked for a $1 million 

18          from the Legislature to fund a half a million 

19          for tuition support for our staff and another 

20          half-million for loan forgiveness so that 

21          people with high student loans could stay in 

22          this field.  You were able to add $100,000 to 

23          the budget, which actually allowed HESC to 

24          put together the mechanisms to make that 


 1          work.  

 2                 And what I'm sure is a surprise to all 

 3          of us, that 100,000 is in the Governor's 

 4          budget this year.  I mean, we all know that 

 5          the Governor -- any governor very seldom puts 

 6          legislative adds in his budget, but that was 

 7          in.  And so we're back asking you simply to 

 8          again try to fund it at a more realistic 

 9          level of something on the order of 

10          $1 million.  

11                 And finally, our residential agencies 

12          take quite a beating from a dozen young 

13          people who can be hard on walls and carpets 

14          and furniture.  And given the fact that prior 

15          to the last couple of years we've had no rate 

16          increases, the deferred maintenance on those 

17          buildings is quite serious, and so we need 

18          some capital money.  And so we would have 

19          talked about that.  

20                 But instead, I'm going to take the 

21          rest of my three minutes and 48 seconds and 

22          talk about what you've been talking about all 

23          day, which are the absolutely horrendous cuts 

24          in this budget for New York City.


 1                 I've been around a long time in child 

 2          welfare.  I was here in the '90s when 

 3          Governor Pataki block-granted foster care, 

 4          protective and preventive -- altogether, cut 

 5          $130 million.  I worked for the state, I was 

 6          not allowed to mention that number anyplace 

 7          at the time.  Within six months, Elisa 

 8          Izquierdo was killed by her caregivers in 

 9          New York City.  Many of you remember that 

10          case.  A month later, the Governor had the 

11          good sense to pull child protective services 

12          out of that block grant, recognizing that he 

13          was probably very lucky he didn't get blamed 

14          in some way for that death.  

15                 And then, as you also heard today -- 

16          brilliant history that Assemblyman Hevesi 

17          provided on this -- when OCFS looked at what 

18          had happened over the intervening years from 

19          '95 to about 2002, what happened is what you 

20          would have predicted to happen.  Foster care, 

21          being a relatively predictable, required 

22          cost, was squeezing child preventive services 

23          out of the funding stream.  Maybe less so in 

24          New York City, but certainly in upstate 


 1          counties that's what we saw.  

 2                 And so in 2002 or '03, Governor Pataki 

 3          pulled the preventive services out of the 

 4          block grant, put them with protective at 

 5          65 percent.  Now it's 62.  The important 

 6          thing about that appropriation is that it's 

 7          open-ended.  It's a statement by the state:  

 8          You write the laws, you decide which children 

 9          should be protected, which children should 

10          have mandated preventive services, which 

11          children need to be in foster care.  

12                 And then the state conditions its 

13          support for foster care through the block 

14          grant -- which I personally abhor -- but now 

15          turns its back on the very programs that have 

16          successfully lowered the foster care numbers.  

17                 And then, on Close to Home, this was 

18          an agreement between the city and state five 

19          years ago, written into the state budget.  It 

20          has been more successful than anybody would 

21          have dreamed.  The ability to keep these kids 

22          out of residential care, with their families, 

23          safely, witnessed by the continuing drop in 

24          the juvenile crime rate -- it hasn't gone up 


 1          because fewer kids are placed.  And the kids 

 2          who are placed are fewer than anybody would 

 3          have anticipated.  

 4                 And after a rocky start in the first 

 5          year, for some reasons that I won't go into 

 6          now, but some of them were structural in the 

 7          way it was implemented -- nobody's fault, we 

 8          just sort of didn't think it through, I 

 9          think -- there were a number of AWOLs and 

10          other problems.  Those numbers are way down.  

11                 These programs host -- one of them 

12          hosts a Thursday movie night and invites the 

13          parents of the kids to come in and watch some 

14          movie with their kid.  

15                 One agency, when they first said they 

16          were going to do an ice cream social in the 

17          local park and invite the parents on a Sunday 

18          afternoon, they then invited the city and 

19          state overseers.  And I got a call saying, 

20          "But what should we do?  The kids will AWOL." 

21          And the executive director of the agency 

22          said, "Why would they AWOL?  They're with 

23          their parents, and we're giving them ice 

24          cream."  There were no AWOLs.  


 1                 And so this program of engaging 

 2          families in the care of these kids has been a 

 3          huge success.  Now we're going to do it with 

 4          the 16- and 17-year-olds.  Except the state 

 5          has decided it's not going to pay.  I hear 

 6          the arguments about the shares, it's all 

 7          about the shares.  And as my testimony says, 

 8          nobody is going to ask in eight or nine years 

 9          did we balance the shares in 2018.  That will 

10          not be the question.  

11                 These are permanent cuts.  The one in 

12          preventive is deadly.  And in years to come, 

13          especially if this spreads across the 

14          state -- as you just heard from Sheila 

15          Harrigan, it's the fear that all of us 

16          have -- we're going to be asking why there 

17          weren't services for some family, why this 

18          child got hurt, why this county had child 

19          protective caseloads that were way too high.  

20          And the answer will be because we balanced 

21          the shares in 2018.  

22                 I think that's an unacceptable answer.  

23          If the state and city need to work out how 

24          much each is going to pay for the big picture 


 1          of $168 billion for the state and $88 billion 

 2          or whatever it is for the city, I'm sure you 

 3          all can help them find other places except on 

 4          the backs of our most vulnerable kids and 

 5          families to do that balancing.

 6                 And I thank you for all your attention 

 7          to this today.  It leaves us a bit hopeful, I 

 8          will say.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

10                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

11                 MR. PURCELL:  Thank you, Senator.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you for 

13          being here.

14                 MR. PURCELL:  Thank you.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Next, Mallory 

16          Nugent, senior policy analyst, Federation of 

17          Protestant Welfare Agencies.  

18                 To be followed by Stephanie Gendell, 

19          Meredith Chimento, Elizabeth Powers, and Jenn 

20          O'Connor.  If those people could make their 

21          way down.

22                 Yes, thank you.

23                 MS. NUGENT:  Hello.  Thank you for the 

24          opportunity to testify tonight.  And I 


 1          appreciate you all sitting through what I 

 2          know is a very long day.  

 3                 I'm Mallory Nugent.  I'm a senior 

 4          policy analyst at FPWA.  We're a New York 

 5          City-based membership organization with about 

 6          160 faith- and community-based organizations 

 7          as our members.  Most of our advocacy work 

 8          focuses around issues of economic justice and 

 9          alleviating poverty.

10                 We're also the co-lead of the Strong 

11          Nonprofits for a Better New York campaign.  

12          You may have seen our bake sale and our 

13          infrastructure fair in recent weeks, and one 

14          of these fancy buttons probably appeared in 

15          your office yesterday.  

16                 Strong Nonprofits is a coalition of 

17          about 350 human services nonprofits from 

18          across the state that have come together to 

19          advocate for increased funding for the human 

20          service nonprofits that serve our communities 

21          every day, specifically around the issues of 

22          workforce and infrastructure.

23                 The human services workforce is highly 

24          educated and are highly committed.  They are 


 1          also 81 percent women and 46 percent people 

 2          of color, making fair wages for them an issue 

 3          of equity.  And when we talk about closing 

 4          the gender pay gap and fair wages, this is a 

 5          workforce that the state has a lot of control 

 6          of because they fund most of these 

 7          nonprofits.  

 8                 They're vastly underpaid currently.  

 9          There's a chart in my testimony that shows 

10          the average human services salary versus what 

11          the United Way says is a basic cost of living 

12          in many areas of our state, and then you will 

13          see that it is vastly lower than it should 

14          be.

15                 This leads to, as Jim Purcell 

16          mentioned, very high turnover in these 

17          organizations, which is very costly to the 

18          organizations themselves and very detrimental 

19          to the clients that they serve.  

20                 Last year we applaud the investment 

21          that was made in the direct care workforce.  

22          That was much needed and much deserved.  

23          Unfortunately, that left out a lot of direct 

24          service providers.  Workers that do similar 


 1          jobs but that are contracted through OCFS, 

 2          OTDA, NYSOFA, did not receive an increase and 

 3          have not received an increase.  

 4                 These are the same workers that are 

 5          eligible for the statutory cost-of-living 

 6          adjustments that is yearly removed from the 

 7          Executive Budget.  This has led to a 

 8          "savings" of about half a billion dollars.  

 9          Our savings for the state should not be 

10          coming out of the pockets of these 

11          hardworking human services workers.

12                 We are also aware of the reality of 

13          budget, and therefore are not here to ask for 

14          half a billion dollars.  We are advocating 

15          for $65 million to allow for a 3.25 percent 

16          increase for these workers for this year, 

17          which is the same that was provided to the 

18          direct care workers last year.

19                 Additionally in the area of workforce, 

20          nonprofits stood for the minimum wage.  We 

21          believed in it both for our clients and for 

22          our own staff.  Unfortunately, it remains an 

23          unfunded mandate for nonprofits that contract 

24          with the state.  They're having to make 


 1          difficult choices about cutting staff hours 

 2          or cutting programs in order to fill that 

 3          gap.  And as the minimum wage rises, that 

 4          hole gets bigger in their budget.  So we are 

 5          advocating for $23 million to be included in 

 6          this year's budget to help them address that 

 7          gap.

 8                 As my colleague Kevin Douglas 

 9          mentioned, overhead and indirect costs for 

10          nonprofits are low to nonexistent, which 

11          means that they're often putting off a lot of 

12          very vital infrastructure needs in terms of 

13          their repairs and their technology.  They go 

14          without things that are critical to their 

15          function.  We have disability services 

16          organizations that have broken elevators or 

17          heating and cooling centers with broken 

18          HVACs -- things that they need in order to do 

19          their jobs.

20                 We applaud the $120 million that was 

21          allocated over the last three years for the 

22          Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment 

23          Program, and we are asking for that to 

24          continue at $100 million for this year and 


 1          make that fund recurring.  Six hundred 

 2          thirty-five organizations applied for the 

 3          initial $100 million, and 237 received 

 4          grants.  So while that's a great first step, 

 5          it's definitely just a first step.

 6                 And I will note that none of these 

 7          items were included in the Governor's 

 8          Executive Budget, despite ongoing 

 9          conversations for several years on some of 

10          these items.  So we really need the 

11          Legislature's support in order to make sure 

12          that these ongoing issues are addressed.

13                 In the interests of time, I won't go 

14          through all the programmatic items that FPWA 

15          supports, but it echoes many of my 

16          colleagues' requests in the areas of 

17          childcare, child welfare, aging, and housing 

18          stability support.  The specifics are all in 

19          the written testimony.  But we strongly 

20          support those items with our members in the 

21          communities that we serve.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

23                 Assemblywoman Jaffee.

24                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Just in 


 1          response to one item in your folder here, 

 2          your testimony -- the Governor did sign my 

 3          legislation regarding the childcare task 

 4          force.

 5                 MS. NUGENT:  Okay.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  And we did put 

 7          some amendments in, but that will move 

 8          forward because we discussed -- we worked 

 9          with the Governor on that.

10                 MS. NUGENT:  Wonderful.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  So it will be 

12          moving forward.

13                 MS. NUGENT:  Thank you.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  I just wanted 

15          to let you know.

16                 MS. NUGENT:  And thank you for your 

17          work on that.

18                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Senator Montgomery.

19                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:   Yes, thank you.  

20                 I know that people who work in 

21          childcare are still the worst off of any 

22          group of people.  And of course, depending on 

23          how you view it -- I view it that they do the 

24          most important job.  


 1                 So are you going to be -- is FPWA part 

 2          of the Governor's task force?  Or how do you 

 3          propose that we should address that issue in 

 4          particular?  After all of these hundreds of 

 5          years that we've been talking about, it's 

 6          still the same problem.

 7                 MS. NUGENT:  The childcare workforce 

 8          issue?  

 9                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:   Yes.

10                 MS. NUGENT:  I mean, I think it starts 

11          with investing money into these nonprofits so 

12          that they can provide appropriate salaries, 

13          because we can't continue to raise -- 

14          obviously, you know, we talked about the 

15          expense of childcare, putting that on to 

16          New York families, people who -- you know, we 

17          end up in a situation where childcare costs 

18          more than person makes when they go to their 

19          job.  

20                 But we also need to make sure that 

21          these workers are getting paid appropriately.  

22          So I think that involves putting significant 

23          investment in from the state and localities.

24                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:   So are you -- is 


 1          FPWA going to be on that task force?  Have 

 2          you been invited to be on it or --

 3                 MS. NUGENT:  I would have to get back 

 4          to you on that.  One of our colleagues 

 5          handles our childcare portfolio.  But I can 

 6          definitely look into that and get back to 

 7          you.

 8                 SENATOR MONTGOMERY:  Oh, okay.  I 

 9          would like to know.  Thank you.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

11          Hevesi.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Hi, Mallory.

13                 MS. NUGENT:  Hi.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I just want to 

15          say thanks for all of the work you're doing 

16          in advocating and not letting us forget that 

17          the nonprofit providers in New York State 

18          have been systematically underfunded for the 

19          last seven years and it's done under phony 

20          budget pretenses.  But you guys are getting 

21          hurt, and you are on the front line.  And 

22          you're exactly who we should be helping, 

23          because the people that you serve are the 

24          most vulnerable New Yorkers. 


 1                 So thank you for the work you're doing 

 2          and for advocacy.

 3                 MS. NUGENT:  Thank you.  We appreciate 

 4          it.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  We'll be fighting 

 6          with you.  Thanks.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 8                 Next, Stephanie Gendell, Citizens' 

 9          Committee for Children.

10                 MS. GENDELL:  Good evening.  My name 

11          is Stephanie Gendell.  I am the associate 

12          executive director for policy and advocacy at 

13          Citizens' Committee for Children.

14                 We are deeply, deeply disappointed 

15          that this Executive Budget is balanced by 

16          cutting the services for the most vulnerable 

17          children and their families, particularly 

18          those from New York City.  Never in a million 

19          years did I think that is what this budget 

20          was going to look like this year.

21                 Albert Einstein said the definition of 

22          insanity is to doing the same thing and 

23          expecting a different result.  That is what 

24          we are doing here with this budget.  As we've 


 1          gone through the history already today, it 

 2          was my organization that did the report in 

 3          1998, long before my time there, that found 

 4          that, lo and behold, if you block-granted and 

 5          cut all of the child welfare services, you 

 6          see an increase in foster care, a decrease in 

 7          prevention, and more children getting hurt.

 8                 We are headed right back in that 

 9          direction in New York City, where the most 

10          vulnerable children are living, and it -- 

11          just to be clear, these are children of 

12          color.  And it is just very upsetting that 

13          this is where we're heading.  

14                 There is a discrepancy in how much the 

15          cut is to New York City between what the 

16          state estimates and what the city estimates.  

17          But at the end of the day, it's less about 

18          the money and more about the cap.  

19                 This child welfare services funding 

20          stream is an incentivized funding stream to 

21          incentivize counties to invest in services 

22          that produce good outcomes.  The city has 

23          done that.  That is why they are being 

24          penalized.  They have one of the most 


 1          extensive arrays of preventive services in 

 2          the country, and they have lower child 

 3          protective caseloads.  If we remove that 

 4          incentive, we don't know what exactly they 

 5          will do.  

 6                 It is important to note that actually 

 7          a year ago the state required New York City 

 8          to have a monitor, Kroll, because they were 

 9          concerned about whether or not the city was 

10          actually doing a good enough job for child 

11          safety.  A year ago, Commissioner Poole said:  

12          "The monitor's responsibility will be to 

13          evaluate all policies, practices, and 

14          procedures and determine the reasons for the 

15          troubling failures we have seen.  OCFS will 

16          work with the monitor and ACS to strengthen 

17          child protection programs across New York 

18          City."

19                 Cutting their funding and capping the 

20          incentive does not strengthen child 

21          protection in New York City.  

22                 At the same time, the Administration 

23          for Children's Services, the same city 

24          agency, also handles juvenile justice.  The 


 1          budget proposes to cut all of the funding 

 2          they currently receive for the very 

 3          successful program Close to Home, where the 

 4          younger children are currently in placement, 

 5          at the same time that we're expecting the 

 6          population in Close to Home to triple with 

 7          the implementation of Raise the Age.

 8                 In addition, there's $100 million in 

 9          the budget to Raise the Age, and our 

10          understanding is that New York City will not 

11          be able access any of the Raise the Age 

12          funding because it requires the county to be 

13          under the 2 percent property tax cap, which 

14          New York City does not have, and to prove 

15          financial hardship -- which I would argue, 

16          after this budget, they will have.  But the 

17          word on the street is that New York City has 

18          a lot of money, so I don't think they're 

19          going to be able to prove financial hardship.

20                 We do city advocacy as well.  I've 

21          looked at the city budget.  I do not think 

22          they have as much of a budget surplus as is 

23          being reported.  But even if the city really 

24          does have additional funding as has been 


 1          stated earlier, balancing the budget by 

 2          cutting services for the most vulnerable 

 3          children and families is not the way to 

 4          resolve any sort of budget dispute between 

 5          the state and the city.

 6                 In addition, New York City is 

 7          currently facing a homelessness crisis.  

 8          There are over 27,000 children living in 

 9          homeless shelters in New York City.  Half of 

10          those children are not even living in 

11          shelters built to house the homeless, they 

12          are in cluster-site apartments and hotels, a 

13          growing number in hotels.  

14                 We were disappointed that the budget 

15          didn't do anything to try to address the 

16          homelessness crisis in New York City.  We had 

17          hoped to see some version of 

18          Assemblymember Hevesi's Home Stability 

19          Support program or any sort of additional 

20          rental programs to help prevent homelessness, 

21          as well as other innovative ways to address 

22          the well-being of the children and families 

23          who are currently homeless in New York City.

24                 Finally, as has been mentioned before, 


 1          we also desperately need additional childcare 

 2          resources, which feels very challenging to 

 3          ask for in this moment where we're trying to 

 4          protect the services for the most vulnerable 

 5          children and families.

 6                 Thank you.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you 

 8                 Mr. Hevesi.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Stephanie, I just 

10          want to say thank you -- and Jim and Kari and 

11          everybody else -- for teaching me how bad 

12          this really is.  Thank you for all your work.

13                 MS. GENDELL:  Thank you.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, 

15          Stephanie.

16                 Meredith Chimento, executive director, 

17          Early Care and Learning Council.

18                 MS. CHIMENTO:  Good evening.  As 

19          mentioned, I'm Meredith Chimento, I'm the 

20          executive director of the Early Care and 

21          Learning Council.  We are the statewide 

22          membership organization for the 34 childcare 

23          resource and referral agencies in New York 

24          State, covering all 62 counties.


 1                 You've heard this all before, but I 

 2          wanted to touch on a few different points 

 3          that are in my testimony.  

 4                 The first is that we are part of the 

 5          Winning Beginning NY and the Empire State 

 6          Campaign for Quality Childcare, and we fully 

 7          support the proposals set forth in the 

 8          First 1,000 Days on Medicaid initiative and 

 9          the Board of Regents' Early Childhood 

10          Workgroup blue ribbon committee, which 

11          includes funding for locally based strategies 

12          that strengthen communities and promote early 

13          literacy. 

14                 Each day our CCR&R agencies help 

15          families navigate the barriers to finding 

16          high-quality childcare.  These include high 

17          cost, limited access to childcare subsidies, 

18          and limited access to actual centers.

19                 I wanted to reference -- which is not 

20          in my testimony -- that 61 percent of 

21          New Yorkers live in a childcare desert, and  

22          that a childcare desert is defined as 

23          community with no childcare or so few 

24          providers that there are more than three 


 1          children for every licensed childcare slot.

 2                 I've spoken with Assemblymember Jaffee 

 3          about this before.  I, when I had small 

 4          children, drove an hour and 15 minutes to 

 5          bring my child to a licensed childcare 

 6          center.

 7                 Another part in my testimony that I'd 

 8          like to touch base or point out is testimony 

 9          from a mom in Erie County.  Her name is 

10          Christina.  She needed to find care that 

11          opened before 7 a.m. and closed after 6 p.m., 

12          because she had to drive 20 miles a day one 

13          way.  The cost of care for her, for her 

14          preschooler and her school-ager, for just 

15          summer camp, was $11,200 a year.  And this is 

16          for a single mother that made too much to 

17          receive any subsidies.

18                 The second piece in our testimony 

19          talks about the battles a childcare provider 

20          is actually having:  High rates of turnover, 

21          paying staff just a little over a minimum 

22          wage.  Their staff themselves are on the 

23          brink of financial ruin.

24                 According to the 2017 report issued by 


 1          Childcare Aware of America entitled "Parents 

 2          and the High Cost of Care," as mentioned 

 3          before, New Yorkers pay an average annual 

 4          cost of $15,000 a year for infant care, and 

 5          over $10,000 for infant care in a family 

 6          childcare home program.  It's unaffordable.  

 7                 We are appreciative of the work that 

 8          is being done and do ask for, as referenced 

 9          before, the $100 million.  This would include 

10          the maintenance or the restoration of the 

11          $7 million, which is wonderful but still is 

12          not enough.  We recognize that counties 

13          regularly exhaust their childcare funding 

14          allocations and are unable to influence -- or 

15          meet the needs of new families.

16                 We ask to reinstate the 75th 

17          percentile, to establish reimbursement rates 

18          that have been essentially flat-funded since 

19          2015.  Anecdotally, 59 percent of families 

20          who care for young children participate in 

21          some sort of public income support program.  

22          Again, this goes to the fact that we aren't 

23          able to pay our workforce enough.

24                 We encourage you to look at the use of 


 1          economic development funding to reduce the 

 2          number of qualified families who were denied 

 3          subsidy, and we ask for you to take a look at 

 4          the child independent care tax credit for 

 5          maximum benefit.  By adjusting this to be 

 6          allocated on a monthly or quarterly basis, 

 7          our low-income families who live paycheck to 

 8          paycheck might be able to receive money 

 9          throughout the course of the year.

10                 As we begin 2018 with the Paid Family 

11          Medical Leave Act, it's excellent -- we're a 

12          leader in our nation.  Parents are able to 

13          stay home and bond with their children for 

14          eight weeks.  However, when they return to 

15          work, the cost of childcare is something that 

16          they cannot afford.

17                 By supporting local government through 

18          subsidies and more substantial tax credits, 

19          New York can ensure that parents can stay 

20          working while their children are learning and 

21          growing.  

22                 Thank you for the opportunity to 

23          provide you comments.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.


 1                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you for 

 3          being here.

 4                 Next we have Elizabeth Powers, 

 5          Children's Defense Fund, director of youth 

 6          justice, and then to be followed by Jenn 

 7          O'Connor, Melanie Blow, and Chris Neitzey.

 8                 Thank you.  Go ahead.

 9                 MS. POWERS:  Hi.  Thank you for the 

10          opportunity to testify this evening.  

11                 I want to just reiterate two things 

12          that really resonated with me that I've heard 

13          today.  One is that balancing the budget by 

14          cutting services for the most vulnerable kids 

15          is unacceptable.  And the second is something 

16          that Senator Savino said, that kids in 

17          New York City are indeed in New York State.

18                 So I'm with the Children's Defense 

19          Fund, and we provide an independent voice for 

20          all children who cannot vote, lobby, or speak 

21          for themselves.  And we pay particular 

22          attention to the needs of poor children, 

23          children of color, and those with 

24          disabilities.  And we are a lead member of 


 1          the Raise the Age New York campaign.  

 2                 And I'm going to speak quickly to 

 3          three points that are of importance to us 

 4          this year.  One is regarding Raise the Age.  

 5                 So we are pleased with the inclusion 

 6          of $100 million to implement Raise the Age in 

 7          the Executive Budget proposal.  However, for 

 8          Raise the Age to be successfully implemented, 

 9          it's critical that all counties, including 

10          New York City, have access to appropriate 

11          funding across the entire continuum for which 

12          young people intersect with the justice 

13          system.  

14                 And Stephanie just clearly identified 

15          the reasons that we think New York City might 

16          be in jeopardy of not receiving this funding, 

17          despite the fact they have nearly half the 

18          arrests of 16- and 17-year-olds in the state.  

19                 This includes but is not limited to 

20          funding for community-based alternatives, 

21          probation, court resources, youth facilities, 

22          with comprehensive services and programing 

23          and training for all stakeholders in the 

24          system.  


 1                 And as a result of Raise the Age 

 2          taking effect, the majority of 16- and 

 3          17-year-olds will be processed through the 

 4          juvenile justice system as opposed to the 

 5          adult justice system.  Thus the functioning 

 6          of the juvenile justice system, or Close to 

 7          Home in New York City, is critical in order 

 8          to absorb these older youth.  

 9                 We're greatly alarmed at the 

10          elimination of state funding for Close to 

11          Home, New York City's juvenile justice and 

12          aftercare program.  The passage of Close to 

13          Home marked a significant improvement in the 

14          way New York responded to the needs of 

15          justice system placed youth.  Young people 

16          now have access to evidence-based models and 

17          programs in small home-like settings in their 

18          communities.  They're able to engage with 

19          family for recreational purposes, such as 

20          what Jim mentioned, but also for therapeutic 

21          purposes like family therapy.  They go to 

22          Department of Education schools every day and 

23          earn credits and take Regents exams.  These 

24          are things that were not possible in the 


 1          previous system.

 2                 And Close to Home represents an 

 3          incredible improvement in the way we respond 

 4          to young people, and we strongly support 

 5          reauthorization of Close to Home and urge 

 6          continued state reimbursement for this 

 7          program.

 8                 And the third thing I'll comment on, 

 9          in addition to Raise the Age and Close to 

10          Home, is the preventive funding that we've 

11          heard so much about.  So while we're opposed 

12          to the cap on the child welfare services and 

13          preventative funding stream, and while this 

14          is predominantly aimed at child welfare, this 

15          stream also includes funding for preventative 

16          services for youth at risk of entering the 

17          juvenile justice system, such as alternatives 

18          to placement, which are critical to ensure 

19          that the numbers are not greatly increased 

20          when Raise the Age is implemented.  

21                 So we urge you to reject the proposed 

22          cap on preventative funding for New York City 

23          to help ensure that youth can continue to 

24          receive preventative services to keep them 


 1          from ever entering the justice system.

 2                 So just wrapping up, in conclusion, we 

 3          urge the adoption of a budget that includes 

 4          Raise the Age funding for all counties and 

 5          New York City, removes the proposed cap on 

 6          funding for prevention, reauthorizes Close to 

 7          Home, and restores state funding for Close to 

 8          Home.  Thank you.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

10                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you so 

12          much for being here today.

13                 Is Jenn O'Connor here?  I believe not.  

14                 Melanie Blow, Stop Abuse Campaign.

15                 MS. BLOW:  Thank you so much, 

16          everybody, for having me here.  

17                 My name is Melanie Blow.  I'm the 

18          chief operations officer of the Stop Abuse 

19          Campaign.  My testimony is short, but I will 

20          make it shorter.  

21                 Most of the things we have talked 

22          about here today -- the Medicaid expenses, 

23          foster care, homelessness, poverty, 

24          et cetera, et cetera -- most of the things we 


 1          talk about every year are largely caused or 

 2          at the very least adverse childhood 

 3          experiences contribute to them.  These are 

 4          10 childhood traumas after which, if somebody 

 5          experiences them, their life is different.  

 6          The ACEs affect the way a child's brain, 

 7          their endocrine system, their immune system, 

 8          their circulatory system, their DNA develop.  

 9          These are completely and utterly 

10          life-altering traumas.  

11                 The good news is we can prevent them 

12          to a large extent.  Maternal home visiting 

13          programs are our single best bet when it 

14          comes to preventing these traumas.  That's 

15          the good news.  The bad news is they're 

16          available to 5 percent of eligible New York 

17          families and we've been okay with that for 

18          over a decade.  These programs have been 

19          flat-funded for over a decade.

20                 We would never justify denying 

21          children something that saves lives, 

22          something that saves their potential, 

23          something that increases their quality of 

24          life throughout their life and that increases 


 1          their parents' quality of life throughout 

 2          their life, simply from lack of availability.  

 3          But we do this every year with maternal home 

 4          visiting programs.  

 5                 These programs have been 

 6          flat-funded -- Healthy Families New York has 

 7          been flat-funded for more than a decade.  

 8          That means workers are being paid the same as 

 9          they were more than a decade ago.  The price 

10          of gas and everything else in the world is 

11          not what it was a decade ago, so this is 

12          horrifyingly damaging for these programs.

13                 We heard how important it is for 

14          traumatized children to have stability in 

15          their caregivers.  The families who the home 

16          visitors are working with, these are those 

17          same traumatized children who've grown up a 

18          little bit and become parents.  They need 

19          that stability too.

20                 We are asking for an increase in 

21          overall maternal home visiting.  We are 

22          asking for specific funding for two pilots 

23          where everyone in a specific geographic area 

24          would be able to -- every eligible parent 


 1          would have access.  We don't have that right 

 2          now.  But if we could get people in specific 

 3          zip codes, specific counties, et cetera, 

 4          et cetera -- every willing and eligible 

 5          parent, offer them a slot, get them going -- 

 6          it would change school districts.  You would 

 7          see what ACE prevention looks like in real 

 8          time, in a cohort.  No one has ever done that 

 9          before.  We need to start.  

10                 As we've heard for hours and hours 

11          today, New York is not doing its children -- 

12          it's not making children priorities right 

13          now.  This is an incredibly significant 

14          chance for us to help, to save taxpayer 

15          money, to be efficient, to be intelligent, 

16          and to do the right thing.

17                 Any questions?

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblywoman 

19          Jaffee.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you.  

21                 This is very interesting and very 

22          important.  When -- services that you 

23          provide -- is this working?

24                 MS. BLOW:  I can hear you.


 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  The services 

 2          that you provide, does that include mental 

 3          health counseling?  Psychologists?

 4                 MS. BLOW:  The home visitor refers the 

 5          parents to these services.  And not just 

 6          refers like hands a pamphlet, but can say:  

 7          Okay, you know, you seem like you've got 

 8          postpartum depression, you really should get 

 9          treated for it.  

10                 And then since this person builds a 

11          long-term relationship with the parent, they 

12          come back the next week and they ask:  Okay, 

13          how's that therapy going?  Oh, you haven't 

14          enrolled?  Well, what's -- they can provide 

15          the motivation, often even the 

16          transportation, often even help with the 

17          logistics to get them to these things.  They 

18          can help with the bureaucracy of insurance or 

19          whatever else these families need.  

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Well, is there 

21          also an issue regarding access to mental 

22          health services?  Do we have -- my 

23          understanding is there are a very limited 

24          number of psychologists, those that provide 


 1          mental health services in our state.

 2                 MS. BLOW:  There are.  And that is an 

 3          issue.  And mental health professionals 

 4          who -- I mean, we talk about that like 

 5          they're one-size-fits-all, and it's very, 

 6          very different.  

 7                 Yes, mental health care is something 

 8          we need more of, absolutely.  And these 

 9          programs can only, to some extent, can only 

10          function as well as the community gives them 

11          the opportunity to.  If there is absolutely 

12          no mental health care services, then these 

13          families are going to be suffering because of 

14          that.

15                 But even when there are services, 

16          there are individual barriers to going.  And 

17          those barriers can often -- are the 

18          manifestation of the mental illness itself.  

19          It's the stigma.  It's, Oh my gosh, I've 

20          never done this before, and I'm scared.  

21          Which that sounds patronizing, but that 

22          really is an issue, if anyone's ever gone to 

23          therapy.

24                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  What is 


 1          required among those that do go to the homes?  

 2          What kind of -- do they have some 

 3          certification, if any?

 4                 MS. BLOW:  I think with Healthy 

 5          Families New York -- I'll get back to you on 

 6          that.  Health Families New York, which is the 

 7          biggest one, they're paraprofessionals.  I 

 8          think everybody has a four-year degree.  And 

 9          often, if they can, they recruit women who 

10          have been through the program themselves, 

11          women who have put their lives back together 

12          and understand it and then they get specific 

13          training in working with these women.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  I'd like to 

15          follow up and have a further conversation 

16          with you regarding this service, because it 

17          is essential.  There are so many youth that 

18          are really being impacted, and they need the 

19          kind of support that you're mentioning.

20                 MS. BLOW:  Yeah.

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  So I'd like to 

22          follow up.

23                 MS. BLOW:  Info@stopabusecampaign.  

24          That's me.


 1                 Anyone else?

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes.  

 3                 Mr. Hevesi.  

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I too would also 

 5          like to chat with you to follow up.

 6                 First, I'm a big believer in the 

 7          two-generation programs and the 

 8          two-generation models --

 9                 MS. BLOW:  I can't hear you clearly.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Oh, I'm sorry.  

11          I'm a -- wow -- is this better?

12                 MS. BLOW:  Yes.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  First, I'd like 

14          to chat with you offline like Assemblywoman 

15          Jaffee.

16                 MS. BLOW:  Absolutely.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I'm a big 

18          believer in the two-generation programs.  

19          Also I have a bill about the intersection of 

20          ACEs and particularly executive function 

21          skill sets for kids, so we should talk about 

22          that.

23                 MS. BLOW:  Okay.  Absolutely.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  And unless I'm 


 1          missing my guess, the intersection of ACEs 

 2          and social services policy is the next 

 3          untapped public policy area that we really 

 4          need to start exploring.  That's the  

 5          ultimate preventive way to look at social 

 6          services.  So we need to put our heads 

 7          together.

 8                 MS. BLOW:  Yes.  Absolutely.

 9                 And I agree 100 percent.  The ACEs -- 

10          the science behind ACEs has been around for 

11          20 years, but our policy structures have been 

12          around longer.  So it's a matter of who's got 

13          the more inertia, you know. 

14                 But yes, absolutely.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Yeah, I'd like to 

16          break that inertia with you.  Thank you.

17                 MS. BLOW:  Thank you.  

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

19          Thank you for being here.

20                 Next we have Chris Neitzey, policy 

21          director, New York State Network for Youth 

22          Success.  Followed by Reed Vreeland, director 

23          of policy, Housing Works, followed by Gerard 

24          Wallace and Ryan Johnson.


 1                 MR. NEITZEY:  Good evening.  Thank 

 2          you, Chairwoman Weinstein, and thank you, 

 3          Chairwoman Young, for the opportunity to 

 4          present testimony this evening.  

 5                 I'm Chris Neitzey, policy director for 

 6          the Network for Youth Success.  

 7                 I think I want to use my time -- and 

 8          I'll try to keep it briefer than five 

 9          minutes, but I want to use my time to focus 

10          on one particular program that is an issue 

11          area of ours, and that's the Advantage 

12          After-School Program.  

13                 We are the statewide after-school 

14          network, so we focus in on after-school 

15          programs and summer programs.  I want to, I 

16          guess, back up to the commissioner of the 

17          Office of Children and Family Services 

18          earlier today mentioned that there was a 

19          continuation of the Advantage After-School 

20          funding in the budget.  

21                 That's not incredibly accurate.  There 

22          is continuation of funding; however, there is 

23          a cut to that funding level from the previous 

24          year's budget.  Right now it's projected to 


 1          be a $5 million cut from two years ago and a 

 2          $2.5 million cut from last year.  

 3                 What we're looking for in this year's 

 4          budget is a restoration of $22.3 million, 

 5          which would be a $5 million addition, but 

 6          that keeps us level with what our funding 

 7          level was two years ago.  

 8                 If there is not a full restoration, we 

 9          will lose services, we will lose access to 

10          high-quality programs in this year's -- 

11          starting next school year.

12                 While last year's budget did include 

13          an addition of $35 million for the Empire 

14          State After-School program -- that's the 

15          Governor's initiative they put out -- that is 

16          a highly targeted program.  It was only 

17          available to 35 school districts in the 

18          entire state.  We know there's around 

19          700 school districts total, so it's 

20          incredibly targeted.  

21                 Looking at the numbers of Advantage 

22          After-School programs versus the Empire 

23          State-eligible areas, there's 103 out of 177 

24          Advantage After-School Programs that are 


 1          located outside of the Empire State 

 2          After-School programs target area.  That is 

 3          around 9100 students out of the estimated 

 4          16,000 that are served.  So around 60 percent 

 5          of those students served are located outside 

 6          of that area.  

 7                 So we just want to draw attention to 

 8          that.  There are distinct discrepancies 

 9          between the two programs.  It's not the same 

10          eligible areas in the Advantage Program 

11          versus the Empire State After-School Program, 

12          so we just want to draw attention to that.

13                 Also, Senator Krueger actually asked a 

14          really good question of the OCFS 

15          commissioner, looking back to doing some math 

16          there around the average per-student rate for 

17          those two programs:  1375 per child for 

18          Advantage, 1600 for Empire State, averaged 

19          out to 14-something -- and I think it was 

20          like $8 a day that you came up with.  And you 

21          asked her, Is that enough money to run a 

22          high-quality program?  

23                 No, it's not.  We estimate, using the 

24          Wallace Foundation -- it's a leader in the 


 1          out-of-school-time field -- the Wallace 

 2          Foundation's out-of-school-time cost 

 3          calculator, we come up with around $2,300 to 

 4          $4,000, depending on where you live, 

 5          depending on a cost-of-living adjustment to 

 6          those areas, as the median range for a 

 7          high-quality program.  

 8                 So right now, we're funding those at 

 9          half the rates.  We could certainly use 

10          increased addition to the per-student rate.  

11          However, we want to caution that if you're 

12          going to raise the per-student rate, we need 

13          to raise the overall funding level, because 

14          what we don't want to do is cut slots for 

15          children that are currently in programs.

16                 So I think those are the two most 

17          distinct points that we want to make, looking 

18          to restore the Advantage After-School 

19          Program, the $22.3 million in this year's 

20          budget, or else we will be looking at around 

21          3,600 to 5,100 students at risk of losing 

22          programs.  And again, those are areas outside 

23          of the current Empire State After-School 

24          Program where those 35 school districts are 


 1          being targeted.  

 2                 At a time like now, we should not 

 3          talking about taking away opportunities from 

 4          our children but, instead, thinking how best 

 5          we can support all of those children, all 

 6          across all different regions of our state.  

 7          We urge you to please restore that funding 

 8          for Advantage After-School in this year's 

 9          budget.  

10                 And thank you for your time.  Happy to 

11          take any questions.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.   

13                 Assemblywoman Jaffee?

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  You do also 

15          discuss childcare subsidies and the increase 

16          of subsidies, and thank you for mentioning 

17          that.

18                 MR. NEITZEY:  Absolutely.

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  We need to 

20          obviously find a way to significantly 

21          increase the funding for the subsidies so 

22          that we have so many more of the children 

23          being in a placement that is so significant 

24          in terms of social skills and security as 


 1          well.  And academic skills.  But the parents 

 2          being enabled to maintain their -- in jobs.  

 3                 So thank you for --

 4                 MR. NEITZEY:  Absolutely.  I think 

 5          it's also important to remember that about a 

 6          third of those childcare subsidies are used 

 7          for school-age children.  It's not just for 

 8          younger children.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  But if we're 

10          putting them in an environment which is very 

11          productive --

12                 MR. NEITZEY:  Absolutely.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  -- and very 

14          helpful.  Thank you.

15                 MR. NEITZEY:  Thank you.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

17                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Senator Krueger.

18                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Hi.  Thank you for 

19          listening this morning.

20                 MR. NEITZEY:  Absolutely.

21                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  We were all here all 

22          day -- the whole week.

23                 So you can't really be running 

24          after-school programs on an average of $8 per 


 1          day.  So how are you doing it?  Are they 

 2          subsidizing with other money?

 3                 MR. NEITZEY:  There are programs that 

 4          are running on that $1,375 -- that is, there 

 5          are programs.  It's not enough.

 6                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Yeah.

 7                 MR. NEITZEY:  What you are -- 

 8          sometimes those are bare-bones programs 

 9          because you can't afford supplies, you can't 

10          afford enrichment activities to come into 

11          those programs.  

12                 Some programs are able to charge a 

13          small fee, weekly fee, if they're located in 

14          an area where parents can pay.  But a lot of 

15          these programs are in very underserved 

16          communities where the parents can't actually 

17          always pay.  

18                 Sometimes, if you're a very fortunate 

19          program, you can blend funding streams.  You 

20          can have Advantage programs run with 

21          21st-Century Community Learning Centers -- 

22          that's the federal funding stream that flows 

23          to the state level.  Some programs are able 

24          to leverage multiple funding opportunities.  


 1          But that's certainly more of an exception to 

 2          the rule.  

 3                 Programs are doing it -- I think 

 4          sometimes they might be subsidizing their 

 5          staff salaries with other parts of their 

 6          budgets.  Maybe not so much with the 

 7          Advantage funding, because they blow through 

 8          that pretty quickly.

 9                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Because we want 

10          after-school programs to be quality, 

11          providing supplemental education and arts and 

12          other things.  We don't just want a bunch of 

13          kids to sit in a room and watch the TV for a 

14          couple of hours, right?

15                 MR. NEITZEY:  We agree.  Absolutely.

16                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

17                 MR. NEITZEY:  Thank you.  

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Next, from 

21          Housing Works, Reed Vreeland, director of 

22          policy.

23                 MR. VREELAND:  Hello, Senators and 

24          Assemblymembers.  Thank you so much for 


 1          hearing this testimony today.

 2                 My name is Reed Vreeland.  I work in 

 3          the policy department in Housing Works, and 

 4          I'm someone whose mother died of AIDS.  I'm 

 5          here today representing Housing Works -- 

 6          which is a provider of medical care and 

 7          services for people with HIV and AIDS, as 

 8          well as housing and employment services -- 

 9          specifically to talk about one issue.  And 

10          that is HIV rental is expanding, HIV rental 

11          assistance, and the 30 percent rent cap 

12          statewide.  

13                 Some of you might be familiar with the 

14          fact that we have a statewide plan to 

15          dramatically decrease or end the state's 

16          HIV/AIDS epidemic by the year 2020.  Two 

17          years in a row, we have a 9 percent decrease 

18          in new HIV diagnoses.  But that has been 

19          driven by New York City.  

20                 So New York City sees 9 percent, which 

21          is a historic, revolutionary thing -- 

22          9 percent decrease year after year, so two 

23          years in a row.  But in 2016, the rest of the 

24          state outside of New York City only saw a 


 1          1 percent decrease in new diagnoses.  

 2                 And one of the big differences we're 

 3          seeing is lack of access to HIV rental 

 4          assistance and the 30 percent cap in upstate 

 5          New York.  

 6                 We are pleased to see that there is 

 7          language in the Executive Budget that would 

 8          expand the HIV rental assistance and 

 9          30 percent rent cap outside of New York City, 

10          but there are two very big problems with the 

11          language in the budget.  One is that it's not 

12          a mandate.  It allows local social service 

13          districts to opt out.  

14                 And the second major problem is that 

15          it caps the allowable rent at 80 percent of 

16          fair market rent, and that's 20 percent lower 

17          than anyone who needs this benefit can find 

18          an apartment with.  So if you're looking for 

19          an apartment, you'll likely find a few at 

20          FMR, but I think you will have a very hard 

21          time finding anything appropriate for 

22          20 percent below FMR.

23                 So I want to really focus on a few 

24          things in this testimony, and I do have the 


 1          written testimony to fill in the blanks for 

 2          you.  

 3                 But I do want to go back -- so for a 

 4          person with HIV, housing is one of the 

 5          strongest determinants of effective 

 6          treatment, viral load suppression, and 

 7          mortality.  So people are much more likely  

 8          to die of AIDS if they do not have housing.

 9                 Housing is also one of the biggest 

10          causes of racial and ethnic disparities in 

11          HIV health outcomes.  So we see tremendous 

12          racial and ethnic disparities with people of 

13          color bearing the burden of the HIV/AIDS 

14          epidemic, and providing that housing support 

15          really does help reset and equalize that 

16          burden.

17                 So outside of New York City, 3,700 

18          people with HIV are homeless or unstably 

19          housed.  So we have HIV rental assistance in 

20          New York City, and they do offer at fair 

21          market rent, but if you look at the state and 

22          see that there's a lot of space outside of 

23          those five boroughs, and there are homeless 

24          people outside of those five boroughs -- and 


 1          right now they feel very ignored, they feel 

 2          very hurt that there's one standard for 

 3          New York City and another standard for them.  

 4          And they feel, quite frankly, like their 

 5          voices are not being heard.

 6                 A peer from Rochester, Pedro, told me 

 7          that being homeless felt to him like being a 

 8          wild animal.  And he couldn't wash, he 

 9          couldn't take care of his basic needs, and he 

10          certainly could not take his HIV meds.  He 

11          was homeless at 15 different times, and 

12          finally did find stable housing and was able 

13          to get back on track with his life.  But many 

14          people in areas like Rochester do not have 

15          that same access to stable housing because 

16          there's such an unmet need.

17                 Another important thing to realize is 

18          that this is actually not an unfunded 

19          mandate.  So in the budget, the state 

20          Medicaid has scored -- through Medicaid 

21          savings, they can allocate $7,000 per person.  

22          So because when somebody with HIV has 

23          housing, they're less likely to go to the 

24          emergency room and receive costly medical 


 1          care, $7,000 per person can be taken from 

 2          Medicaid savings toward HIV rental 

 3          assistance.

 4                 So this money would go straight to the 

 5          districts' share.  And since this is being 

 6          provided, we need to make it a mandate.  

 7                 And we also cannot insult people with 

 8          HIV who are homeless and unstably housed 

 9          outside of New York City by saying that we're 

10          going to put this in the budget, but we're 

11          going to make it only 80 percent, to make it 

12          basically a useless rental assistance, 

13          because they're not going to be able to find 

14          anything.

15                 So I'm going to urge you to do two 

16          things.  One is to reach out to the 

17          Governor's office and ask him to correct this 

18          language in the 30-day amendments.  Number 

19          two is, if that does not happen, to make it a 

20          public issue -- and you have people upstate 

21          who will do that -- and put it in the 

22          Assembly one-house and the Senate budgets to 

23          correct those two quick fixes.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.


 1                 MR. VREELAND:  Thank you.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 

 3          Hevesi.

 4                 Sit for a moment.

 5                 MR. VREELAND:  Sorry.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I have one 

 7          substantive question.

 8                 MR. VREELAND:  Yes, absolutely.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  So first, thank 

10          you for the emotional testimony that sort of 

11          puts a face on it.  I appreciate it.

12                 Second, I totally agree with you about 

13          the opt-in.  No county's going to do it, 

14          there's no chance.  

15                 But here's the substantive question.  

16          So I asked the commissioner this morning this 

17          specific question about what percentage of 

18          the fair market rent standard was this new 

19          subsidy, and she danced a little bit.  I 

20          never got 80 out of her.  Did you get that 

21          from the budget language?  Because I haven't 

22          seen that.

23                 MR. VREELAND:  The budget language, 

24          yes, actually.  


 1                 So the budget language specifically 

 2          says -- caps the allowable rent at 80 percent 

 3          of fair market rent, and there really is no 

 4          reason for that.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  Yeah, I --

 6                 MR. VREELAND:  So especially because 

 7          the Medicaid savings will cover it, in 

 8          addition to the existing enhanced shelter 

 9          allowance.  

10                 So those two things together reaches 

11          fair market rent in every county basically in 

12          the whole state.  So --

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I'm with you.

14                 So I appreciate you bringing it to my 

15          attention.  I missed it, I think my guys 

16          missed it, and I don't even think that the 

17          fair market rent standard is a good standard.  

18          I think it's incredibly low.  If you only go 

19          to 80 percent of that standard, nobody's 

20          finding housing.

21                 MR. VREELAND:  Right.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN HEVESI:  I think we're on 

23          the same page.  So we'll continue 

24          conversations.  But thank you for bringing 


 1          that to our attention.

 2                 MR. VREELAND:  Great.  Thank you so 

 3          much.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 5                 Next, New York State Kinship 

 6          Navigator, Gerard Wallace, director, Ryan 

 7          Johnson, program development.  I guess you're 

 8          one of the two.

 9                 MR. WALLACE:  Committee chairs and 

10          Assembly and Senators, thank you very much 

11          for the opportunity to talk about kinship 

12          care.  I'm a one-issue guy.  This is the only 

13          thing I ever talk about.  Some of you know 

14          that already.  

15                 I am Gerard Wallace.  I'm the director 

16          of the Kinship Navigator.  I've been the 

17          director since its inception 11 years ago.  

18          For seven years prior to that, I was at 

19          Hunter College running the Grandparent 

20          Caregiver Law Center.  I've worked for AARP 

21          as a consultant on this and with a number of 

22          national organizations.  

23                 With me today was Ryan Johnson, but I 

24          said, Ryan, go home, we have so little time.  


 1          And he would have been here to tell you some 

 2          stories about calls to our Navigator, but 

 3          please reach out to him if you're interested 

 4          in knowing more.

 5                 The Kinship Navigator covers all 

 6          62 counties in the state.  We provide 

 7          information, education, and referrals.  We 

 8          did 118 educational presentations last year, 

 9          mainly upstate; 3,300-plus callers; and over 

10          50,000 web views.  We also do advocacy on an 

11          individual and on a state level.

12                 Some of the work we do centers on 

13          helping families stabilize when they first 

14          take on children, and that involves telling 

15          them about the public assistance child-only 

16          grant, which is a specific grant around since 

17          1950 that doesn't take into account the 

18          caregiver's income, it is based only on the 

19          income and the resources of children.  

20          According to Chapin Hall, only 15 percent of 

21          eligible families in New York State are 

22          getting that grant.  And we beat the national 

23          average.  

24                 We also help with custodial issues.  


 1          There are a range of ways in which kin can 

 2          care for children, and all of it's pretty 

 3          obscure law.  And to try helping them to make 

 4          the right decision, understanding the 

 5          difference between their authority, their 

 6          security, and keeping a child, what benefits 

 7          there are available to them, both federal and 

 8          state benefits, is really a mouthful.  And we 

 9          do all that.  

10                 On our website, we have extensive 

11          helping tools.  We have over 50 legal fact 

12          sheets.  Just recently, as Assemblywoman 

13          Jaffee knows, we've been working on 

14          deportation.  Parents who are going to leave 

15          the country are going to leave their children 

16          behind, and those children will become 

17          kinship children.  And we're working on ways 

18          to enable them to leave children behind 

19          successfully with the least amount of court 

20          interference and the most amount of 

21          opportunity to provide for them in a good 

22          home environment.  

23                 Regarding the child-only grant, we 

24          have extensive information on how to make out 


 1          the 29-page application.  And there are 

 2          barriers to getting that grant that are 

 3          county-specific, and we deal with those 

 4          barriers and we advocate for folks to get 

 5          those grants in places where they run into 

 6          unfortunate circumstances.

 7                 Kinship care -- it refers to 

 8          grandparents, aunts and uncles, family 

 9          friends raising children.  About 65 percent 

10          of it is grandparents.  How many in this 

11          state?  More than 200,000 children, according 

12          to the census data and Kids Count.  How many 

13          of those kinship children are in foster care 

14          with relatives?  Less than 3,400.  The simple 

15          arithmetic is we may be looking at more than 

16          295,000 children living with relatives, and 

17          they're not in foster care.

18                 Particularly today I want to mention 

19          the heroin-opioid crisis that is really 

20          strangling upstate New York particularly.  

21          And I brought in my testimony, which I'm 

22          really looking at pages 3, 4 and 5, some 

23          information on it for you.  If you turn over 

24          to page 4, you'll see a laundry list of 


 1          recent articles published in national 

 2          publications, and I'll read you a few of the 

 3          headers here:  Opioid crisis forces 

 4          grandparents to raise their grandchildren -- 

 5          you can see the rest of them.  I'm looking at 

 6          the clock, and I'd better go faster, right?

 7                 All right.  So based on all that, and 

 8          the fact that the ACE factors, Assemblyman 

 9          Hevesi, are very high here -- there's CDC 

10          data saying really extraordinarily high ACEs 

11          for this population -- we have three 

12          recommendations.  

13                 One is the Navigator wants to focus in 

14          on the 40 rural counties where there is not a 

15          kinship program and perform three new duties.  

16                 We want to collaborate with those 

17          counties so that kinship families don't fall 

18          through the cracks and we don't hear "CPS 

19          gave me my grandson eight years ago, this is 

20          the first time I found out there's help."  

21          That's a quote.  

22                 We want to hire an attorney to help 

23          with what we can do in consultations and 

24          legal presentations, and we need more help to 


 1          get stronger online resources.  

 2                 So there's dollars in here for our 

 3          program.  We also hope that you would fully 

 4          fund the 22 local programs covering 

 5          22 counties, mostly in municipalities.  They 

 6          do great work.  The idea of getting a county 

 7          program in every county, it's a bigger lift.  

 8          So we think we're the only game in town for 

 9          the remaining counties.

10                 Social Services Law 392.  Assemblyman 

11          Hevesi, Assemblywoman Jaffee, and Senator 

12          Tedisco are looking at this.  It requires the 

13          county to provide information to caregivers, 

14          but they don't do it.  I'll give you a couple 

15          of facts out of the New York State American 

16          Bar Association report for child welfare 

17          workers.  Only 40 percent of child welfare 

18          workers inform the way they're supposed to, 

19          and only 30 percent of the judges in 

20          Family Court ask the questions they're 

21          supposed to regarding telling caregivers 

22          about their options when a child is removed.  

23                 Regarding the public benefits, we had 

24          a recent case in Rensselaer County that went 


 1          to court where a caregiver received benefits 

 2          for two years, she received food stamps, and 

 3          was never informed that she was eligible for 

 4          this grant.  She lost out on $430 a month for 

 5          that child, and for folks at a poverty level, 

 6          that's a lot of money.  It's crazy that we're 

 7          only at 15 percent of eligible families 

 8          getting that grant.

 9                 I have one more statement and I'll be 

10          done, okay?  All right.

11                 The last thing is diversion.  It's a 

12          big topic, way beyond the scope of what we 

13          can talk about here.  In New York State, 

14          there is a -- there are statistics from OCFS 

15          at the back, in Appendix A, showing the 

16          relative placements upstate and showing the 

17          amount that are diverted into something 

18          called direct custody.  You can read about 

19          direct custody and the other ways children 

20          don't go into foster care with relatives, but 

21          sum and substance is that a significant 

22          amount of the population is not getting the 

23          services they probably qualify for.  

24                 Here's the last line.  Thirty percent 


 1          of eligible -- 30 percent of relative -- in 

 2          New York City, 30 percent of foster care is 

 3          relatives.  Upstate, it's 8 percent.  Why?  

 4          We can talk about it later.  Okay?  

 5                 Thank you.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you for 

 7          being -- Senator Savino.  

 8                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.  Thank 

 9          you, Gerry.  

10                 And you heard me earlier today ask the 

11          commissioner about this, and she kind of 

12          danced around it, but she's acknowledged in 

13          my discussions with her that this is a 

14          problem and that OCFS needs to crack down on 

15          the counties and really get an accounting of 

16          what they're doing with these young families 

17          as they separate them.  But you and I both 

18          know that that's probably not going to happen 

19          quick enough.  

20                 So I'm working on legislation to 

21          actually direct caseworkers and social 

22          workers to hand to a relative the Kinship 

23          Navigator brochure, which will outline for 

24          them any and all information that they're 


 1          entitled to so that these children that are 

 2          separated from their parents do get the 

 3          services that they need.

 4                 MR. WALLACE:  We really would like to 

 5          see a referral to kinship programming so that 

 6          kids don't fall through the cracks.

 7                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Yes.  Absolutely.

 8                 MR. WALLACE:  Thank you very much.  

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Hold one moment 

10          for -- Assemblywoman Jaffee has a question.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  I want to thank 

12          you, Gerry, for joining us here and for your 

13          continuing work on behalf of the youth.  

14                 And I did also speak with the 

15          commissioner today and mentioned the concern 

16          about the counties not providing the 

17          awareness about the possibilities of kinship 

18          care, the support that's available, and also 

19          foster care.  

20                 And so I'm hopeful that we can work 

21          together, moving forward at this point with 

22          the Senate, to be able to put in place some 

23          language in legislation that would require 

24          the counties to be more effective --


 1                 MR. WALLACE:  We've got to do a better 

 2          job.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  -- in terms of 

 4          the outreach.  And I think that would 

 5          certainly be helpful, along with additional 

 6          funding that I know would be necessary.  

 7                 MR. WALLACE:  Thank you.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  But thank you.  

 9          And thank you for coming to Rockland to 

10          provide that kind of assistance for the 

11          families in raising awareness -- the 

12          possibilities of them -- they're leaving, you 

13          know, and then leaving the children here.  

14          And we'll be doing more of that.

15                 MR. WALLACE:  Thank you very much.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JAFFEE:  Thank you.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

18                 And actually a number of people had to 

19          leave, so I really appreciate that Anthony 

20          Wells, the president of the Social Service 

21          Employees Union Local 371, has stayed with 

22          us.  And you have our full attention.

23                 PRESIDENT WELLS:  I would never leave 

24          Diane, never. 


 1                 (Laughter.)

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay.

 3                 PRESIDENT WELLS:  I've never left in 

 4          28 years, you know.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  You are our 

 6          last speaker, but we are all ears.

 7                 (Laughter.)

 8                 PRESIDENT WELLS:  I'm the only person 

 9          standing between myself and dinner?

10                 (Laughter; cross-talk.)

11                 PRESIDENT WELLS:  How are you?

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Good.

13                 PRESIDENT WELLS:  Good.  So it's just 

14          me, right?  I've got you all to myself.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  You've got us 

16          all to yourself.

17                 PRESIDENT WELLS:  Good.  I'm not 

18          reading that testimony, you all can read it 

19          yourself.  

20                 I'm Anthony Wells.  I'm the president 

21          of Social Services Union Local 371 -- 18,000 

22          strong.  And we're Diane Savino's union.  

23                 Actually, I met Diane 28 years ago.  I 

24          was an organizer.  She was driving me crazy.  


 1          I said you -- she'd go, "Hey, you, union guy, 

 2          come here."

 3                 (Laughter.)

 4                 PRESIDENT WELLS:  I said, "Why don't 

 5          you get involved?"  And 28 years later, here 

 6          she is with you guys.

 7                 First, let me commend you guys, 

 8          seriously.  I commend you guys for the work 

 9          that you do.  We take an awful beating all 

10          the time.  But your concern today -- I saw 

11          the whole thing, and your concern and your 

12          real concern came across.  So I really thank 

13          all of you.

14                 Someone told you that all the 

15          stakeholders are being involved.  Well, 

16          that's not quite true.  Because the workers' 

17          voice is not being heard.  We're involved 

18          somewhat, but not to a level that we should 

19          be.  

20                 I represent juvenile counselors, 

21          caseworkers for juvenile justice.  I myself 

22          started my own career in juvenile justice.  I 

23          started with the Juvenile Center back in 

24          1980.  I also worked for BCW.  We represent 


 1          the counselors.  

 2                 You, Diane, talked earlier about the 

 3          correctional officers' position on being 

 4          involved with Raise the Age.  We actually 

 5          want to do this job.  We think that our 

 6          members are best qualified to do this job 

 7          working with this population.  They have been 

 8          doing it since the establishment of juvenile 

 9          justice back in 1980.

10                 There's a couple of factors.  First of 

11          all, Diane's comments were right on time in 

12          terms of these children of New York City are 

13          also the children of New York State.

14                 There's a double standard.  When we 

15          had conversations, they're making more 

16          requirements of New York City than any place 

17          else.  For example, they pushed to move the 

18          kids off of Rikers Island -- it's a great 

19          push.  But they're not having the same push 

20          in other facilities.  For example, the ones 

21          in Valhalla, they're not being forced to move 

22          on October 1st.  

23                 New York City is not ready for this 

24          program. October 1st is not a real deadline.  


 1          They haven't picked a staff yet.  They're 

 2          going to need special training.  The 

 3          facilities, other than the one they talked 

 4          about in East New York, they're not ready.  

 5          There are two juvenile facilities -- we have 

 6          advised the city, hopefully you guys will 

 7          listen too -- you cannot commingle this 

 8          population, the juvenile population that you 

 9          already have.  It is not a lot for OCFS, but 

10          it's just not a practicality.  

11                 This population, the older population, 

12          have been in a different setting, so they've 

13          had different relationships.  There are no 

14          juveniles that are already in secure 

15          detention.  

16                 So the city is working towards this, 

17          but I think it's an unreal deadline.  And 

18          aside from the funding, I think this 

19          Legislature and the Governor need to take a 

20          look at the date.  You don't want to 

21          implement a program that's doomed to fail 

22          because it is not prepared.  There's no 

23          programs in place.  Once again, there's no 

24          staffing.  So you're going to train staff?  


 1          There's an issue about who's going to 

 2          supervise.  

 3                 Diane showed earlier about civil 

 4          service issues.  Correctional officers cannot 

 5          be in ACS.  ACS, when we went to Corrections 

 6          two years ago to say we would want to do this 

 7          and work with these kids while they were at 

 8          Rikers, they didn't pick our -- they said, 

 9          Oh, you know, you're not in Rikers.  

10                 Well, you know what?  We're prepared.  

11          We pride ourselves, in our local union, on 

12          being a conscience.  We care about our 

13          members, but we also care about our 

14          communities.  Our belief is that our members 

15          live in communities.  There's no separation 

16          of the two.  

17                 You talked about, earlier, Close to 

18          Home.  Let's talk about child welfare.  

19          BCW -- ACS -- went through a traumatic year 

20          and a half a year ago.  You could not pick up 

21          a paper without the agency and particularly 

22          the workers being vilified in the paper, 

23          whether it was elected officials, whether it 

24          was the mayor himself.  


 1                 And I said to them, every elected 

 2          official, ACS is an agency made of people.  

 3          Who would want that job if every day you go 

 4          to work, all you hear about is how horrible 

 5          you are?  I've been in this business 

 6          38 years.  No worker has ever killed a child.  

 7          No worker.  

 8                 And over the last year, the mayor, the 

 9          new commissioner, the union, and other 

10          elected officials -- some of you in this 

11          room -- have recognized what a difficult job 

12          this is.  And now ACS has turned itself 

13          around.  

14                 There's two ways to deal with 

15          caseloads, folks.  One, you do policies that 

16          work and get rid of some of that paperwork 

17          that's redundant, that was meant to cover 

18          your -- can I say that here?

19                 SENATOR SAVINO:  No.

20                 PRESIDENT WELLS:  I can't?  I can't 

21          say cover your ass here?  Good.  You got it, 

22          right?  

23                 And you hire more workers.  On Friday, 

24          I'm going to an orientation.  ACS is hiring 


 1          this month the largest ever, 200 workers.  

 2          They have a high attrition rate, over 

 3          23 percent.  And now you want to say, as they 

 4          turn around, cut their budget, cut the 

 5          services for preventive?  

 6                 We -- Jim Purcell was right on time.  

 7          There's not even a dichotomy now between the 

 8          public and the private sector.  We're 

 9          together on trying to provide the most 

10          effective services to this population.  

11                 ACS.  When the merger came to merge 

12          ACS -- I'm done, okay?  Real quick.  ACS-DJJ 

13          should never have happened.  It should never 

14          have happened.  But it happened.  And one of 

15          the successful programs is Close to Home.  

16          And now you want to cut that funding.  

17          Doesn't even make any sense, as you heard all 

18          day today.

19                 So I'll say this to you, a couple of 

20          things.  You guys, the elected officials, you 

21          know your responsibility.  I'm not going to 

22          tell you how to do your job.  You know your 

23          job.  You care.  Everyone here today told you 

24          how bad this is.  I have faith in you to 


 1          understand the issue and to fight for the 

 2          issue.  I listened to you all day.  I would 

 3          stay here until 9 o'clock with you, because 

 4          it's that important.  

 5                 We actually need to look at this and 

 6          take the politics out of it.  I understand 

 7          the politics too.  We're not part of that 

 8          game.  I told the city that, I told the 

 9          Governor that, I'll tell you.  This union has 

10          no interest in being a part of that political 

11          game.  No one gets helped by that political 

12          game.  These kids are being hurt enough.  

13                 Raise the Age is the right thing to 

14          do, but you've got to do it the right way.  

15          You do not cut child welfare when they're 

16          finally getting on their feet and workers are 

17          beginning to understand that change is 

18          coming.  And you don't cut a program that's 

19          successful and say that's it.

20                 I thank you for your time.  I do 

21          appreciate it.  And thank you.

22                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senator Savino.

24                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Yes.  Thank you, 


 1          President Anthony Wells, for sitting here all 

 2          day.  I do appreciate it.  

 3                 And the reason I reached out to you 

 4          last week is because I knew that the state 

 5          was on a fast track and that there was a 

 6          complete disconnect with the locality, after 

 7          having spoken to you and having spoken to 

 8          Elias from the corrections officers, and the 

 9          discussions I also had with the commissioner 

10          of ACS, David Hansell.  

11                 The city is not ready, and --

12                 PRESIDENT WELLS:  No.

13                 SENATOR SAVINO:  -- if this program is 

14          going to work, the workforce has to be 

15          engaged and they have to be trained and there 

16          has to be a clear delineation of who's 

17          responsible for what aspect of the service 

18          delivery.  And that is clear after listening 

19          to people today, that it's just not 

20          happening.  

21                 And then of course, as you pointed 

22          out, cutting the legs out from underneath the 

23          programs by eliminating the funding will doom 

24          them to failure.  And at the end of the day, 


 1          we're not talking about widgets, we're 

 2          talking about kids.  Whether they're young 

 3          kids or whether they're teenagers or whether 

 4          they're young adults, we're still talking 

 5          about children.

 6                 PRESIDENT WELLS:  And we all agree.  

 7          Like I said already, we all understand it.  

 8          You sit in the position to be effective.  And 

 9          that's the real -- I mean, I'm -- you know, 

10          we provided ourselves on being straight 

11          talkers.  You know Charles Ensley, you know 

12          us.  Back to you.  We come here, people come 

13          here because you have the power and the 

14          ability to make a change.  

15                 And I just hope that you do what you 

16          feel is right for these citizens, downstate 

17          and all over the state.  Because our kids are 

18          our future.  You can't just say it, you got 

19          to show you.  And do how you show it?  By 

20          doing things that you know work.  

21                 So Diane, I appreciate the 

22          opportunity.  I'm happy that we're -- I'm 

23          surprised that we are the only union.  We to 

24          spend more time up here because we need to 


 1          put faces to our names and understand who we 

 2          are.  And we need to understand who you are.  

 3          So thank you for the opportunity.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you for 

 5          being here.  Thank you for the work that all 

 6          of the members of your union do to help 

 7          protect the children in our city.  Thank you.

 8                 PRESIDENT WELLS:  We appreciate it.  

 9          Thank you very much.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN YOUNG:  Thank you.

11                 SENATOR KRUEGER:  Thank you.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So this 

13          concludes the joint budget hearing on Human 

14          Services.  

15                 A reminder for anybody paying 

16          attention that we have postponed tomorrow's 

17          hearing on EnCon and Agriculture to 

18          February 27th because of the weather.  And 

19          we'll be reconvening the joint budget 

20          committee on Thursday, February 8th, on the 

21          subject of taxes.  

22                 (Whereupon, the budget hearing 

23          concluded at 6:17 p.m.)