Letter to Gov. Cuomo on Title XX Funding

November 21, 2011
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Executive Chamber
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Re: Use of Social Services Block Grant (Title XX) Funds

Dear Governor Cuomo:

As you formulate the Executive Budget for SFY 2012-13, we urge you to retain the flexibility in use of Title XX discretionary funding for reimbursement of all eligible Title XX services.

While we understand that you will continue to look for cost-effective solutions to provide necessary services to New Yorkers in the face of difficult financial conditions, we believe that limiting or eliminating the flexibility in the use of Title XX funds will jeopardize the ability of local districts to provide critical services to our most needy populations.

As you know, Title XX monies are allocated for the reimbursement of local social services district expenditures for (i) adult protective services and domestic violence services, and (ii) 22 eligible Title XX services (“discretionary funding”). New York also has the right to authorize the use of discretionary funding for any allowable Social Services Block Grant service as defined by the Federal Administration for Children and Families.

New York City, which last year received approximately $22.4 million or 61.8% of approximately $36.2 million in discretionary funding, utilized all of such funding to support 105 senior centers in the City. In many other local districts, discretionary funding is utilized for low income day care, while others utilize the monies for any of the other services included in the wide gamut of eligible services, from adoption support, aftercare, employment, foster care, residential placement, homemaker, transportation, and domestic violence services, to preventive and protective services for children and adults.

The flexibility in the use of discretionary funding affords the local districts the ability to meet gaps in funding as budget cuts or shortfalls in particular programs occur. If, however, the use of discretionary funding is limited to reimburse only certain designated services, a local district may be forced to eliminate a non-designated service because there is no other funding stream available, or the local district, able to find an alternative funding stream to reimburse the non-designated service, will be forced to cut monies for the services then being funded under that funding stream, in both cases endangering services to vulnerable families.

Accordingly, we ask that you retain the current methodology for allocating Title XX monies so that local districts can continue to have maximum flexibility to use the discretionary funding provided to them under the Social Services Block Grant.

We are available to discuss this further with you or your staff and to provide additional information you may require. Please contact Assembly Member Amy Paulin 914-723-1115 or ext. 5585 or Assembly Member Joan L. Millman at 718-246-4889 with any questions.

Very truly yours,

Joan L. Millman
Assembly Committee on Aging

Amy R. Paulin
Assembly Committee on Children and Families