April 1, 2009

Assembly Majority Marks Restoration Of Funding In State Budget For Youth Services And Child Abuse Prevention
Spending Plan Includes Increase in Public Assistance Grant - First In 18 Years

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assembly Ways and Means Chair Herman D. Farrell, Jr., Assembly Children and Families Committee Chair William Scarborough and Assembly Social Services Committee Chair Keith Wright today announced restorations of funding for youth services, homeless shelters, services for low income elderly or disabled individuals, literacy programs and child abuse prevention as part of the SFY 2009-2010 budget.

The budget also includes an increase to the public assistance basic grant for the first time in over 18 years. This initiative, started in the Assembly, raises the basic grant by ten percent each year, over three years, starting this July, for a total of a 33 percent increase, paid for with state funds, not county funds.

"The Assembly said no to budget cuts to essential services for low-income children, the homeless, the elderly and the disabled," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "This budget preserves funding for essential services for runaway and homeless youth, homelessness prevention, disabled New Yorkers who depend on Supplemental Security Income, children at risk of abuse or neglect and includes a historic increase in the basic welfare grant for families in poverty."

"During these times of extraordinary economic hardship, we were able to reject the Executive's proposed youth services block grant and allot $113 million for demonstrated effective programs such as alternatives to juvenile detention and programs to aid runaway and homeless youth," said Farrell (D-Manhattan). "As we look to the uncertain financial future, we are also grateful for the $141 million for homeless prevention from the federal stimulus package."

"In times of financial hardship, most states cut benefits to the needy, but here in New York we know all too well what a financial downturn means for our communities. This year, many of the Assembly Social Services Committee's priorities were enacted in the budget such as raising the public assistance grant, increasing access to food stamp programs, and creating job opportunities via workforce development programs, thus helping to mitigate the unfortunate outcomes of this downturn," said Wright (D-Manhattan).

"We have acted swiftly to ensure that our safety net for families and children can hold during the current recession, by keeping our families healthy through the restoration of $921,000 for the Nutritional Education and Outreach Program. We have also taken strong actions to keep our children away from violence, crime and substance abuse by allotting $30.56 million for Advantage After School which targets low-income children," said Scarborough (D-Queens).

The human and social services portion SFY 2009-2010 budget agreement also includes funding for: The federal stimulus funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes the following programs, with money spread out over the next two years: