Invest in Human Services, Not Over-policing Our Communities

June 2nd, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio

City Hall

New York, NY 10007

RE: Invest in Human Services, Not Over-policing Our Communities

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified what the community based organizations (CBOs) in the

human services sector have always known about inequities that exist within the institutions that

all New Yorkers rely on. The outrage that has been expressed in our city – and across the

country – over the last few days is not solely representative of an isolated incident, it is a

reflection of the anger and frustration that exists from inequity and injustice being born on the

backs of communities of color, immigrants, and low-income New Yorkers over and over again.

A strong social safety net is the only way that our city survives a crisis. As we experience the

unprecedented intersection of a health crisis, a social justice crisis, and an economic crisis that

could devastate our city for years, even decades to come, not all City agencies are bearing the

burden. We were dismayed to see that the FY2021 Executive Budget makes cuts to crucial

programs and social services that serve the very communities who are being hardest hit by

COVID-19 — communities of color, immigrants, and low-income New Yorkers — while

maintaining funding for the NYPD, an institution that too often fails to protect and serve, and

disproportionately harms, these exact communities.

Services like senior food programs, homeless services, youth development, employment

programs, public health and others – proven tools that help us protect and serve communities –

are experiencing more demand than ever before, but instead of enhancing funding to these

programs, the City is proposing more cuts.

Our social services workforce has been designated as essential by the City, and our services

will be more essential than ever as more New Yorkers rely on them as we move into recovery.

Yet our (mostly women of color and immigrant) workforce is paid poverty wages, sent on the

frontlines with inadequate supplies, and is being asked to meet growing community need with

less City resources.

Echoing the letter from the City Council released on May 31st, the proposed budget cuts are not

equitable. While our social services and discretionary funding (which is a key support for smaller

CBOs and CBOs of color) is on the chopping block, funding for the NYPD has been largely

maintained. Budgets are a statement of values. When we are facing a budget deficit where the

City is emphasizing that difficult decisions must be made across the board, the decision to

decrease funding for social services while maintaining funding for the NYPD is the opposite of

what our values should be. Particularly in light of the actions of the NYPD over the last few

days, it is clear that our city requires diametrically opposite approaches to repair what has been


While this mayoral administration has been working on criminal justice reform, it has also

expanded the role of NYPD into human and social services — including putting cops in schools

instead of counselors, policing the homeless instead of providing adequate supportive services

and housing, criminalizing poverty instead of investing in addressing root causes and uplifting

individuals out of poverty, and over-policing young people of color instead of providing summer

programming. Cutting funding to social services while continuing to over-police our communities

is the opposite of what the City should be doing right now.

As the human services sector is being impacted by budget cuts and as our vulnerable children

and families are struggling, it is unjust that the NYPD can maintain its level of funding and not

be required to change its harmful policing practices. Police reform must be a mandate for the

NYPD in the next fiscal year.

We are proposing a different way, and a new way, to protect our communities – economically,

socially, psychologically. Stop over-investing in policing our communities and start to make real

investments that serve communities in need. This “new way” is cheaper, it’s proven, it’s just.

As community based organizations, we know that it’s not the police that keeps communities

safe. It’s the work that we do to support, enrich, and empower New Yorkers that keeps

communities safe. Our communities are safe when residents have affordable and quality

housing, transportation and food; seniors and people with disabilities are healthy and engaged;

individuals have good jobs and worker protections; youth have summer programming and arts

education; immigrants have language accessible services; and more.

It’s time to invest in supporting our communities instead of policing them. It’s time to be bold by

making targeted cuts to the NYPD. We need to protect investments in human services, the

social safety net, racial and economic justice, and the vision that all New Yorkers deserve to



Comptroller Scott Stringer

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan

Deputy Mayor Raul Perea-Henze

Deputy Mayor Vicki Been

Deputy Mayor Phillip Thompson

Commissioner Steve Banks

Commissioner Marco Carrión

Commissioner Bill Chong

Commissioner Lorraine A. Cortés-Vázquez

Commissioner David Hansell

Budget Director Melanie Hartzog

MOCS Director Dan Symon

Organizational Sign-ons (171):

Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC)

Greenwich House

Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center

82nd Street Academics

Acacia Network

Academy of Medical & Public Health



African Communities Together

Ali Forney Center

Apicha Community Health Center

Asian Americans for Equality

Bannon Consulting Services

Barrier Free Living Inc.

Beachwold Residential LLC

Black LGBTQ Migrant Project

Boys & Girls Club of Harlem

BRC (Bowery Residents Committee)

Bridge Builders

Broadway Housing Communities

Bronx House


Brooklyn Community Services

CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities

Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center

Capitol Hall

Carroll Gardens Association

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York

Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens

Catholic Migration Services

Center for Family Life

Center for Independence of the Disabled,


Center for the Integration and Advancement

of New Americans, Inc. (CIANA).

Chinese Methodist Center Corporation

Chinese Progressive Association

Citizen Action of New York-NYC Chapter

Citizens’ Committee for Children of New


Citymeals on Wheels

Coalition for Asian American Children and

Families (CACF)

Coalition for Homeless Youth

Community Access

Community League of the Heights. Inc

Community Resource Exchange

Comunilife, Inc.

Covenant House New York

Cypress Hills Local Development


Day One

East Coast Asian American Student Union


Educational Alliance

Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities

Emerald Isle Immigration Center

Empire State Indivisible

Empire State Progressives


F.Y. Eye

Faith in New York

Fifth Avenue Committee


Girl Vow

Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)


Goddard Riverside

Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and

Northern NJ, Inc.

Graham Windham

Grand Street Settlement

Hamilton-Madison House


Hartley House

Heights and Hills


Henry Street Settlement

Here to Here

Hetrick-Martin Institute

Hudson Guild

Human Services Council

India Home

Indochina Sino-American Community


Iris House, Inc.

Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement

JCC Staten Island


JGM Consulting

Kingsbridge Heights Community Center

Korean Community Services of Metropolitan

New York, Inc.

Laal NYC

Lantern Community Services

Literacy Assistance Center

LiveOn NY

Lower East Side Family Union

Lutheran Social Services of New York

Make the Road New York

Martin De Porres Youth and Family


Mekong NYC

Mercy Home for Children

MinKwon Center for Community Action

Mixteca Organization, Inc.

MMCC (Mosholu Montefiore Community


Morningside Heights Resistance

Nazareth Housing Inc.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Neighbors Together

Neighborhood Care Team, Inc

New Settlement Apartments

New York City Anti-Violence Project

New York Immigration Coalition

Nonprofit Finance Fund

Nontraditional Employment for Women


New York City Employment and Training

Coalition (NYCETC)

NYS Harm Reduction Association

OCA New York Chapter

Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow

Options Center

OutRight Action International

Partnership for After School Education

Partnership with Children

Phipps Neighborhoods

PHNP- NY Metro

Project Hospitality

Providence House, Inc


Queens Community House

Red Hook Initiative

Riseboro Community Partnership Inc.

Rising Ground, Inc.

S.T.O.P. - The Surveillance Technology

Oversight Project

Sadie Nash Leadership Project

Safe Horizon


Sakhi for South Asian Women

Samaritan Daytop Village

Sanctuary for Families

Sapna NYC, Inc.

SCAN-Harbor, Inc.

SCO Family of Services

Service Program for Older People, INC

Sheltering Arms


South Asian Youth Action

St. Francis Friends of the Poor

Sunnyside Community Services

Supportive Housing Network of NY

The Brotherhood/Sister Sol

The Center for Anti-Violence Education

The Children’s Village

The Coalition for Behavioral Health

The Data Union

The Door

The Fortune Society

The Jewish Board of Family & Children’s


The Korean American Family Service


UJA Federation of New York

Unique People Services

United Chinese Association of Brooklyn

United Community Centers

United Neighborhood Houses

University Settlement

Urban Justice Center

Violence Intervention Program

Vision Urbana, Inc.

Voces Latinas

Welllife Network


Wingo NYC


Women Creating Change

Women's Center for Education and Career


You Gotta Believe

Youth Action Programs and Homes, Inc.

Youth Action YouthBuild

Youth Communication

YWCA Brooklyn