New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos today announced the creation of the Task Force on the Delivery of Social Services in New York City. This new initiative will examine the system in place to assist millions of New York City residents each year and facilitate discussions on how to help improve the lives of those in need of public programs that provide social, economic, and health benefits.
The Task Force will be chaired by Senator Tony Avella (D, Bayside). Members will include: Senator Simcha Felder (D, Brooklyn), Senator Martin Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn), Senator Andrew Lanza (R-C-I, Staten Island), Senator Diane Savino (D, Staten Island), and Senator James Sanders, Jr. (D, Rochdale).
Senator Skelos said, “The Senate is committed to promoting economic growth that provides opportunities for all New Yorkers to reach their full potential, while also making sure no one is left behind. This bipartisan task force will play an important role in collaborating with experts in the public and private sectors to help ensure that the critical social services made available by New York City are reaching the children, families, and individuals most in need.”
Senate Coalition Co-Leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) said, “Senator Avella's appointment today as the chairman of the Task Force on the Delivery of Social Services in New York City benefits both the city and the state. Senator Avella is a dynamic public official who thinks out of the box and who can meet the challenge of collaborating with government, non-governmental organizations and advocates to better shape social service distribution in the city to better the lives of residents who need our help.”
The Task Force will: identify and research the challenges and barriers to the effective delivery of public assistance benefits to people in the city, such as the efficiency and effectiveness of delivering shelter assistance; discuss how to address those challenges/barriers; engage in discussion with the City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA), not-for-profit organizations, advocates, welfare clients, and other interest groups; examine best practices from other states/cities; look into how we can strengthen the collaboration between public (HRA) and private non-governmental organizations; provide guidance on improving the process and evaluation method that measures the effectiveness of the delivery of public welfare benefits in New York City on an annual basis; and seek out partnerships with nonprofits/private companies that have expertise in program evaluation.
Senator Avella said, “More than three million New York City residents access a myriad of social services every year, and it is imperative that we ensure that we are reaching each and every person in need. That is why I am proud to accept the position as Chair of the Senate Task Force on the Delivery of Social Services in New York City. As we move forward, our goal will be to identify challenges, as well as provide guidance, on improving access to social services.
I look forward to working with my colleagues to strengthen the effective delivery of public assistance in New York City, so that we can make sure that every New Yorker has the support they need.”
New York City’s overall economy continues to rebound from the recession, however, more than 20 percent of the city’s population continues to live in poverty according to U.S. Census statistics. The city reports that more than three million people access temporary economic and social services each year. As of December 2014, there are 1.7 million people in New York City who receive funding through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. And a recent report about New York City’s homeless population detailed a twofold increase in the past ten years, from approximately 32,000 people in 2005 to 60,000 in 2014.