Empire Justice Testimony at the 2017 Human Services Budget Hearing

Empire Justice February 08, 2017

Empire Justice Center is a statewide legal services organization with offices in Albany, Rochester, Westchester and Central Islip (Long Island).  Empire Justice provides support and training to legal services and other community based organizations, undertakes policy research and analysis, and engages in legislative and administrative advocacy.  We also represent low income individuals, as well as classes of New Yorkers in a wide range of poverty law areas including health, public assistance, domestic violence and SSI/SSD benefits.

As we all know, we have entered a period of great uncertainty.  At Empire Justice, we have concerns that federal support for human services is precarious, at best.  It is therefore perhaps as critical as at any time in recent memory that the Legislature act assertively to affirm its Constitutional commitment to aid and support the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

My testimony today will span three agencies: the New York State Office for the Aging, the Office of Children and Family Services, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, and the Office of New Americans.  We will discuss the positions set forth below:

  1. Invest a Total of $1.962 million in the Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program;
  2. Restore  the Investment in the Disability Advocacy Program at $8.26M;
  3. Protect homeowners by preserving the Foreclosure Prevention Services Network at $30M for two years;
  4. Enact Home Stability Support initiative to reduce homelessness and save money;
  5. Reject the proposed creation of a central administrative hearing division, which lacks needed detail and protection for clients;
  6. Reject the proposed lottery intercept expansion which is unfair and puts low-income individuals at risk;
  7. Eliminate the requirement that public assistance recipients provide Social Services Districts a mortgage to their homes as a condition of eligibility for receiving public assistance
  8. Respond to the urgent need for information, support and legal assistance for immigrants
  9. Invest $100M for child care assistance

CLICK HERE to read our testimony.

Susan Antos testifies before the Joint Legislative Budget Committee on Human Services on February 8, 2017.