Resources for Advocacy During COVID-19

During these unprecedented times, the Advocacy Institute remains committed to supporting and amplifying the advocacy and organizing work of our partners to the best of our ability. This crisis has truly brought to the forefront how many of the systems, policies, and structures in our society are not designed with our communities’ best interests in mind. In these desperate times, the fight continues more than ever and we are here to support you as much as we can.

Below we have compiled some resources for organizing, advocacy and mutual aid efforts related to COVID-19 that we hope you find useful.

Advocacy Institute Resources

Interactive Maps

Directly connected to our Legislative Directory, our interactive maps show a snapshot of ten legislative bodies (NY Senate, NY Assembly, NYC Council, Dutchess County, Orange County, Ulster County, Putnam County, Westchester County, Suffolk County, and Nassau County).  The Interactive Maps allow you to sort easily the legislators as well as see geographic maps of the districts.

Strategic Campaign Support

Dedicated support to assess the status and strategy of campaigns and coaching to develop and reach 3, 6 and 12 month milestones. Team onboarding, and ongoing consulting on shifting strategies round out AI’s role as a trusted collaborator on campaign work for organizations with a range of experience. Contact membership@advocacy-institute.org.

Emergency Relief

June 17, 2020 With the shortfall in this year’s state budget, many nonprofits, including those that provide services to low-income families, are facing financial uncertainty due to the freezing of their contracts with the state.

April 26, 2020 Reopening of New York Could Begin Upstate After May 15th in a two phase plan. 

April 24, 2020 Governor Cuomo cancels state assembly and state senate special elections, scheduled for June, through executive order. 

April 16, 2020 Twenty-six members of the state Senate have signed onto a letter to the Governor calling for a statewide moratorium on water shut-offs during the pandemic, the restoration of water for New Yorkers currently without water service & financial relief to help pay water bills. 

April 7, 2020 New York Governors plan coordinated economic restart.

Speaker Johnson proposes $12 Billion Relief Plan: Includes Temporary Basic Income, Extra help for impacted NYers, Cover fixed costs for businesses (defer sales, rent, and business taxes; penalty free deferment; expand eligibility of small business loans). Read the CPC response.

The coronavirus relief package being considered in the House would increase funding to NY State’s Medicaid program on the condition that Cuomo allow the state to step up funding for Medicaid, instead of his typical strategy of passing the buck to cash-strapped local governments. This has Cuomo fuming and insisting he can’t balance the state budget. In response, advocates are calling on Cuomo to increase taxes on the rich.

North Star Fund has a page of resources and Giving to Direct Assistance/Mutual Aid.

Philanthropy Resources

As Foundations plan for action in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Engage New York is tracking local, regional, state, and national resources to assist stakeholders across the State. Check back for updates and share information to be included on this page by emailing info@engagenewyork.org.

Philanthropy New York has created a resource page and convened a webinar on March 12th New York based funders on responding to COVID-19.

The Brooklyn Community Foundation has established a Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund.

The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund was created to aid nonprofit service providers struggling with the health and economic effects of the coronavirus. It will give grants and loans to NYC-based nonprofits that are trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city.

The Council on Foundations has compiled a list of response funds and funding opportunities.

The Bridgespan Group has developed COVID-19 Online Resources for Nonprofits and Funders.

Rochester Area Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Rochester: Their Community Crisis Fund will prioritize funding for human services nonprofits in the Greater Rochester area and will not require a formal application process. “We anticipate multiple phases of funding to address both the acute needs from the outbreak and the longer-term impacts of recovery,” reads the webpage dedicated to the fund.

Trinity Church Wall Street: The parish will be providing one-time grants of up to $25,000 for current grantees in New York City who are seeing growing need or disruptions to service as a result of COVID-19. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis through March 26.

No Kid Hungry: Community-based organizations and school districts can submit inquiries for emergency grants to support local nutrition programs.

Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and the United Way of the Greater Capital Region: Their fund will provide one-time operating grants to human services organizations in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties, and possibly those in surrounding counties. Funding will be awarded on a rolling basis with the initial round of grants to be moved within the next few weeks.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy: Its response fund is dedicated to nonprofits in regions with a large number of people affected by COVID-19 who work with vulnerable populations, such as seniors, people with disabilities, immigrants, and hourly workers. The organization also plans on working with non-governmental organizations to support health care workers, quarantined and vulnerable people as well as promoting best hygiene practices.

Robin Hood Relief Fund now accepting applications from all 501(c)(3) organizations in NYC: https://www.robinhood.org/relief-fund-application/

Nonprofit Finance Fund announced they will provide no-interest loans to human services and arts organizations in New York as a part of the Response & Impact Fund efforts.

United Way of NYC is now accepting applications from non-profit organizations that work with communities who are disproportionally impacted by COVID-19 in NYC. There are some funds available for advocacy around COVID-19 needs as well. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as fundraising continues. More information here: https://unitedwaynyc.org/covid19/

Issue Updates

Social Services

What Advocates are Doing

Nonprofit New York is leading an open letter to the City to center black and people of color led organizations in reallocating policing funds. You can sign your organization to the letter here.

The Chinese-American Planning Council and several organizations are leading a “Fund Social Services, Not the NYPD” letter in light of this weekend’s NYPD activity, and in light of a FY21 budget that cuts social services but maintains the NYPD.

Nonprofit New York is leading a memo in support of A10208/S8169, which would establish the coronavirus pandemic small business and not-for-profit organization loan program. We recommend nonprofits be exempt from the 100 employee cap for loan eligibility. If you would like to  sign on to the memo, email cjindasurat@nonprofitnewyork.org.  

United Neighborhood Houses and several organizations have a sign-on letter for the HOPE Act, which would help states, counties, cities and tribal governments to better use modern technology to make it easier to enable struggling Americans to quickly access multiple unemployment, food, and anti-poverty benefits.

The Human Services Council is working hard at the City, State, and Federal level to make sure nonprofits and our staff have the support they need to continue their lifesaving work through COVID-19. You can support the effort by calling on our elected leaders each week on Fight for the Frontlines Friday.

The Human Services Council and the NYCETC has a survey to understand whether or not the Small Business Association’s Payroll Protection Program (PPP) has benefitted organizations within the human services sectors and workforce development organizations. You can complete the Nonprofit Data Collection for COVID-19 Advocacy: Payroll Protection Program (PPP) to help with that effort.

The Chinese American Planning Council and many human services providers are coming together to lead a sign-on letter to make sure the City knows that human services and the workers that provide them are essential during COVID-19 and during our eventual recovery. You can sign-on to the letter by May 6.

Nonprofit New York is leading a call to action at the City level to call on City legislators to protect City Council discretionary funding for communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Nonprofit New York is leading a call to action at the state level to call on State  legislators to require business interruption insurance to cover COVID-19 losses for nonprofits and small businesses. 

Asian American Federation created a website for their member and partner agencies.

Human Services Council Rapid Response Page and FAQ’s. HSC works closely with our government partners to connect human services organizations with information and access related to disaster preparedness. We will work hard during this period to provide you with up-to-date resources for human service providers from reliable sources. HSC has been asked to assess the demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the social services sector. Please complete the following survey to help us get a sense of the need in the sector.

Nonprofit New York is leading a letter calling on the New York City Council to include nonprofits in economic recovery efforts and assure FY20 Council appropriations will be honored. You can sign on to the letter and participate in a social media campaign with this toolkit by the Chinese American Planning Council.

What the State is Doing

April 7, 2020 The State released guidance for contracted nonprofit human services providers. The guidance outlines performance requirements for funding during COVID-19.

Governor Cuomo issued guidance on essential services which includes many social service providers.

What the City is Doing

City Takes Steps to Stabilize Human Services Nonprofits

Mayor’s Guidance for Health and Human Service Contracts, which includes payment on contracts, increased cash advances, reimbursements.

Mayor’s Office FAQ for Contracted Health and Human Service Providers

Comptroller’s letter to Deputy Mayor Fuleihan

Economic Justice

What Advocates are Doing

July 1, 2020 The NY State Budget Justice coalition, which includes a number of AI members, held a caravan protest in the Hamptons in front of the homes of some of the state’s richest billionaires. The group is protesting in support of increased taxes on the rich.

The New York Caring Majority, a campaign co-led by Hand in Hand and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), held a virtual Town Hall about Care Work, Economic Recovery & the Green New Deal with Naomi Klein and Ai-Jen Poo. In case you missed the conversation, you can watch the livestream here

The Advocacy Institute joined many leaders of colors from member organizations and nonprofits across New York City in a letter to call for action and reform to fight against racial, social and economic injustice.

May 27, 2020 Some of New York’s most powerful unions, which collectively represent more than 1 million workers in the state, are pushing for higher taxes on the rich to alleviate budget shortfalls related to the pandemic.

The Chinese American Planning Council and Make the Road New York are members of the Budget Justice Coalition, which is launching a #PeoplesRecovery campaign with a series of town halls demanding a People’s Recovery that will regenerate society and tackle institutional inequality head-on

Hand in Hand is partnering with Make the Road New York, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and other local domestic workers organizations in launching a social media campaign #AtHomeWithPay to call upon domestic employers to sign The Pledge and demand Governor Cuomo to include domestic workers in the recently passed NYS Paid Sick Leave. To participate email tatiana@domesticemployers.org.

Hand in Hand and leaders in the Hudson Valley region New York Caring Majority campaign have been meeting regularly to provide mutual support and develop a plan to advance their mission to make long-term care services and supports affordable and accessible to all New Yorkers and to make home care jobs good jobs to meet the growing demand. If you are interested in joining the campaign, you can take this Pledge

The National Domestic Workers Alliance has a call to action at the federal level to call on Congress to protect and provide economic support to domestic workers who are the front-line workers of this public health and economic crisis.

Some of our advocacy partners are launching a weekly protest on Fridays demanding that Albany and Washington provide a recovery package that truly benefits and protects the people during this crisis.

Laundromat workers are often left out of NYC’s paid sick leave law, which doesn’t apply to businesses with less than five workers. Join Laundry Workers Centerin demanding paid sick leave for laundry workers. Sign the petition here!

80,000 people are homeless in NYC. People need housing, food and sanitation. Not policing or jails. Read the open letter from VOCAL-NY to Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo.

Home care workers are working 24-hour shifts without proper protective equipment, endangering their health and the health of the people they are caring for. Join Chinese Staff & Workers Association in calling on Governor Cuomo to end 24-hour shifts. Sign the petition here!

New Economy Project is calling for a statewide moratorium on debt collection. Sign the petition here!

Worker Justice Project of New York calls on the Governor and state legislators to swift action to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of New York’s farmworkers. Learn more and sign the petition here!

To show the widespread support for domestic workers, Hand in Hand has created a Pledge for domestic employers who are able to commit to paying workers they employ throughout this crisis. Taking this powerful stance to care for the workers who care for us, will concretely make a difference in domestic workers’ lives, and will contribute to building a movement that values and recognizes care.We know that taking the pledge isn’t possible for all of us right now. As many businesses slow down or close, some of our members are facing difficult financial realities. For many of us, our incomes have not changed, and continuing to pay the cleaner, nanny or caregiver through the crisis is one easy and powerful action to take. Sign this pledge and urge your friends, neighbors and family to sign it.

Invest in Skills NY – helping the workforce development community survive and embed workforce community in the heart of the recovery effort.  Read their letter to Mayor de Blasio and his DM’s about the impact on NYC’s workforce.

What the State is Doing

Cuomo seeks federal unemployment relief for gig workers

What the City is Doing

Small business COVID-19 assistance

Environmental Justice

What Advocates are Doing

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a dramatic relaxing of environmental rules, citing the decision as a response to the COVID pandemic. The agency will now allow power plants, factories and other facilities to determine for themselves if they are able to meet legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution. The Clean Air Coalition is calling on New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, to respond to the EPA’s order. You can find out more and support the effort here. Want to Take Action on these Cuts To Enforcement? If you would like to sign-on to the letter, please email rebecca@cacwny.org by 10am tomorrow, April 15th

Transportation Justice

What Advocates are Doing

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign and many other community groups are calling on Mayor de Blasio to “expand the size and scope” of the Open Streets initiative. You can see their letter here

Housing Justice

What Advocates are Doing

The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition (which includes Bronx Defenders and Goddard Riverside) is collecting signatures for a Pledge to Resist Evictions and continuing to make calls to keep the courts closed and for a 1 year universal eviction moratorium!

The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition (which includes Bronx Defenders and Goddard Riverside) held a day of action to protest the re-opening of eviction courts statewide and to call for an eviction moratorium. Tenants rights advocates held demonstrations in front of the housing courts in New York City, Albany, Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton, and Hempstead.

The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition (which includes Bronx Defenders and Goddard Riverside) held a day of action to protest the re-opening of eviction courts statewide and to call for an eviction moratorium. Tenants rights advocates held demonstrations in front of the housing courts in New York City, Albany, Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton, and Hempstead.

June 23, 2020 In response to pressure from housing advocates, the eviction moratorium, which was set to expire on June 20, was extended at least until July 7. However, tenants rights advocates are calling for an even longer moratorium on evictions to last for duration of the public health crisis.

June 22, 2020 Housing advocates held a day of action to protest the re-opening of eviction courts statewide and to call for an eviction moratorium. Tenants rights advocates held demonstrations in front of the housing courts in New York City, Albany, Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton, and Hempstead.

May 26, 2020 State Senator Brian Kavanaugh has introduced a bill, the Emergency Rent Relief Act of 2020, which would create a rent voucher program to last the duration of the crisis. However, many housing advocates are not impressed with the bill on the grounds that the means-testing requirements are too burdensome and leave out many needy tenants, and the subsidies only cover a portion of rent, keeping many tenants rent burdened.

The Institute for Justice and Opportunity at John Jay College and 19 other organizations are calling on NYCHA to make temporary changes to its guest and permanent exclusion policies in response to COVID-19. You can support the effort by participating through and sharing the social media toolkit.

Cancel the rent! Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance calls for statewide rent suspension and emergency housing (not shelters) for homeless New Yorkers. Join this effort!

The Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance along with allies won an 90-day statewide moratorium on evictions, so that no one loses their housing or small business during this public health crisis. Check out the FAQ for tenants here.

Make the Road New York is collecting signatures for a petition calling Governor Cuomo and State Legislative leaders to cancel rent for all tenants.

What the State is Doing

May 7, 2020 Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he is extending the moratorium on evictions for those facing pandemic-related economic hardship for another 60 days, until Aug. 20. He also announced banning late fees and allowing for the use of security deposits to pay rent (though tenants will have to pay the deposit back). However, he has not addressed demands from housing groups to enact a rent cancellation nor has he announced a plan for what will happen when Aug. 20 arrives.

A new bill before the state Senate, sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, would cancel rent for tenants across the state. The basic idea is that any person who faces a financial hardship because of the coronavirus would not have to pay their landlords, who could write off that amount from the mortgages they owe.

What the City is Doing

Moratorium on evictions

Criminal Justice

What Advocates are Doing

Communities United for Police Reform (which includes Bronx Defenders, Girls for Gender Equity, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Make the Road NY, VOCAL-NY, Youth Represent and other AI members)  released a report on #NYCBudgetJustice which illustrates specific steps the Council and Mayor can do to reallocate policing funds that address needs of Black, Latinx and other communities of color.

June 25, 2020 Activists and advocates, including those from VOCAL-NY, are camping out in front of City Hall to demand that the NYPD budget be cut by $1 billion.

June 13, 2020 In response to mounting pressure from police reform advocates, the City Council unveiled a proposal to cut an unprecedented $1B from the NYPD’s budget.

June 9, 2020 In a historic vote, the NYS Legislature voted to repeal 50-A, a bill that kept records of police misconduct confidential. This victory was the result of years of organizing and advocacy from the criminal justice reform community, as well as recent protests and heightened public sentiment against police brutality.

June 3, 2020 The Legal Aid Society has filed a writ of habeus corpus on behalf of the nearly 380 protestors who have been jailed without arraignment for longer than 24 hours in cramped jail cells during a pandemic.

June 3, 2020 More than 200 current and former staffers of Mayor de Blasio published an open letter slamming his mishandling of recent protests and prior police misconduct over the course of his tenure.

May 31, 2020 In response to recent police killings nationwide, Communities United for Police Reform, a coalition of organizations fighting for greater police accountability in NYS, have re-upped their campaigns to repeal 50-A, a state bill that keeps police abuse records confidential, and to fight for cuts to the NYPD’s budget.

COVID-19 has come to NY jails and prisons. Join Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) and allies in calling on Governor Cuomo to release elders and other vulnerable individuals from prison. Sign the petition here! And join the virtual vigil outside Sing Sing at noon today!

Advocates who are opposed to efforts to amend newly-implemented criminal justice reforms are say “New York State’s leadership should be laser-focused on coming together to protect our state from a pandemic,” Katie Schaffer of the Center for Community Alternatives said in a March 23 statement. “Changing the bail law to put more legally innocent people in jail before a trial is simply a non-starter.”

Criminal justice advocates demand a comprehensive plan to protect the state’s criminal justice system against the coronavirus pandemic.

Jews For Racial & Economic Justice and others have joined forces to lead the Let My People Go campaign, to bail people out of jail and immigration detention, and demand that Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio free jailed and detained New Yorkers.

What the State is Doing

June 25, 2020 State Senator Zellnor Myrie plans to introduce legislation that would eliminate qualified immunity, which shields public officials like cops from any legal liability, unless the rights they violated were “clearly established, at the state level.

What the City is Doing

June 29, 2020 Despite earlier opposition to police cuts, De Blasio is nearing a budget with the City Council that would result in $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD. However, many police reform activists are not satisfied with the deal, which achieves the cuts by merely moving school safety agents out of the NYPD and into the purview of the Dept. of Education.

June 17, 2020 The Mayor announced that by July, the city will launch an online database of police disciplinary records after 50-A, the law keeping the records secret, was repealed.

June 4, 2020 The City Council has secured a veto-proof majority for a bill that would criminalize police chokeholds, enabling the bill to pass over the objections of the Mayor, who said he would only sign the bill if it included an exemption for “life or death situations.”

May 31, 2020 Over the course of three days of unrest and protests in the response to a spate of police killings throughout the country, Mayor de Blasio has chosen to side with the NYPD over protestors, even in the case of an NYPD SUV ramming into a crowd of protestors in Brooklyn. This move has angered many of his supporters, especially in light of him winning office on a platform of police reform.

Immigrants' Rights

What Advocates are Doing

Our City, Our Vote coalition, which is being led by United Neighborhood Houses, is supporting legislation that expands democracy in New York City so green card holders and those authorized to work in the United States can vote in elections for city-level offices as long as they have been a resident of New York City for at least 30 days and are otherwise qualified to register and vote under New York State election law. You can learn more and join the campaign here

The New York Immigration Coalition is leading a letter advocating to New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, the New York United platform, which calls for critical investments for our immigrant communities through legal services, literacy education, and cash assistance programs.

The New York Immigration Coalition has launched the New York United Campaign. They are calling for free COVID-19 testing and treatment for all New Yorkers, regardless of status; multilingual COVID-19 hotlines and resources to make sure everyone knows the latest updates; the suspension of ALL immigration enforcement activities; and emergency economic support for all workers—including immigrants impacted by the virus—among others. Read more about their demands here.

The New York State Youth Leadership Council is compiling a live document of resources in NYC around COVID19 support efforts. They are prioritizing resources open to undocumented people. Follow them on social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and email them at info@nysylc.org to add resources.

The Academy of Medical & Public Health Services, is providing weekly COVID-19 updates in Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, and English through our newsletter and Weekly COVID Chat sessions via Facebook Live. Feel free to sign up for these updates here or follow our Facebook page here. Our blog page includes past updates, including a recent post with resources for undocumented immigrants. Through our Virtual Community Health Center, they are also continuing to field inquiries through our (212) 256-9036 hotline and offering FREE social assistance services in Chinese/Spanish/English, mental health therapy in Spanish/English, and Adult Literacy ESOL classes for our neediest populations, including the undocumented and uninsured.

Healthcare

What Advocates are Doing

May 20, 2020 Over 500 people attended a digital rally in support of the New York Health Act organized by the Campaign for NY Health. 

The Campaign for New York Health is leading a letter calling for universal, guaranteed healthcare as central to New York’s recovery from the #CoronaVirusPandemic. The deadline to sign is COB Thursday, May 15th.

The Campaign for New York Health is leading an effort to ask our elected officials to Cosponsor the NY Health Act.

March 30, 2020 The Campaign for New York Health launches its #NoMedicaidCuts digital campaign opposing cuts to healthcare funding in the NY State budget during the COVID-19 crisis. This campaign is part of a larger Budget Justice coalition effort to demand that Cuomo offset cuts to essential services by increasing taxes on NY’s wealthy.

Campaign for New York Health is collecting COVID-19 stories. Share how you have been impacted by the Coronavirus and how you would like to be involved in advocacy for universal, guaranteed healthcare.

What the Federal Gov't. is Doing

Democratic-controlled House of Representatives proposed a new $3 trillion federal stimulus bill. New York would stand to receive tens of billions of dollars in aid if the bill passes, including giving the governor the ability to make his desired cuts to the state’s Medicaid system. 

What the State is Doing

The Medicaid Redesign Team put together by Cuomo has recommended $400M in cuts to hospitals in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

$40 million to address the COVID-19 public health crisis

What the City is Doing

Here’s a full list of City Agency Suspensions and Reductions.

NYC Health provides guidance for NYers and Providers

Civic Engagement

What Advocates are Doing

The New York Civic Engagement Table is supporting its members and partners with the transition from in-person organizing and outreach to remote and digital. Here are some tools and resources that they have shared.

What the State is Doing

Democratic Leader has floated canceling the Presidential Primary.

New York Officials Weigh Delaying April Primary Election

New York Republican Primary cancelled

What the City is Doing

Schools and Educational Access

What the City is Doing

Beginning March 27, 2020, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) Regional Enrichment Centers(RECs) will now also serve grocery, food and pharmacy workers. For community members who are serving in these vital roles and have no other means of childcare, the DOE is setting up Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs). RECs are open and operate from 7:30am to 6:00pm (Monday-Friday), and will ensure that students have access to remote learning as well as various art, music, and other activities. If your child is a New York City resident and you would like to enroll in one of these centers, please complete this REC Enrollment Form. Please complete this form for each child you are seeking to enroll. You will then receive an email confirming your child’s center assignment.

What Advocates are Doing

Girls for Gender Equity is leading a Call to Action: Demand NYC Defund NYPD, Including Police in Schools.

United Neighborhood Houses helped to lead an open letter to the Mayor that was drafted by youth service workers demanding that you act immediately to reinstate funding for summer programming for Beacons, COMPASS, Cornerstones, SONYC, and SYEP programs for Summer 2020. While the deadline to sign-on has passed you can still view the letter here.

Girls for Gender Equity released a report on the Mayor’s funding priorities and is advocating for #NYCBudgetJustice. You can support the effort by reading, sharing and demanding #PoliceFreeSchools!

The New York Coalition for Adult Literacy (which includes the Chinese-American Planning Council, Make the Road New York, New York Immigration Coalition, and United Neighborhood Houses) participated in a virtual celebration of Mental Health Awareness Week by sending out Tweets and Instagram messages to our elected officials to support funding for Adult Education and show how our programs support students’ mental and emotional health.

Young Invincibles will hold a forum on CUNY student mental health, and how COVID-19 has impacted students’ well-being. The event will take place Thursday, May 21st from 3pm-4:30pm.

United Neighborhood Houses, a part of the Campaign for Children, launched the #SaveOurSummerNYC campaign to call on a summer recovery plan for New York City’s young people, following the announced cuts to SYEP, COMPASS, SONYC, Beacon, and Cornerstone programs. You can sign on in support here.

Young Invincibles is leading an action urging Governor Cuomo to not cut higher education’s budget.

Call for postponement of district voting on school budgets and school board candidates. Currently being reviewed by the State Education Department.

Young Invincibles will be holding a student-led town hall on April 30th at 1PM, on “Supporting New York City’s College Students Through Crisis and Beyond.” You can register and hear from New York City’s college students on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting their education, and from New York leaders such as NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and NYS Assemblymember Harvey Epstein on how the state can support its students. You can show your support on social media with this toolkit.

LGBTQIA+ Issues

What Advocates are Doing

Gender Equality New York will be holding its 2020 New York State LGBTQI Virtual Day of Action on May 7th at 9am to advocate for policy that impacts the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Intersex (LGBTQI) New Yorkers and their families. You can find more information and register for the event here.

Albany Updates

Albany Power Dynamics

A look at New York State Governor Cuomo’s executive orders and laws he changed since the declaration of a state of emergency in New York.

April 6, 2020 Albany’s balance of power tilts back to the governor.

Election 2020 Updates

June 30, 2020 Due to the immense number of absentee ballots in this election cycle, the process of counting these ballots has been delayed until July 8 by the Board of Elections.

June 25, 2020 With this year’s primaries, the left wing of the Democratic Party continues to build on AOC’s surprise victory from two years ago. Also, the NYC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America has emerged as a formidable power player in NY State politics.

June 24, 2020 While it’s still too early to call yesterday’s primary races due to the large number of absentee ballots that need to be counted, it looks like progressive insurgents are leading in a lot of key races in NY while leftist incumbents such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Julia Salazar are holding their seats with strong leads.

June 23, 2020 Today is Election Day for the NY primaries, but a very large but unknown number of voters still have yet to receive their absentee ballots

The June primary is still slated for June 23rd. If you are a registered voter in New York City, you can apply for an absentee ballot online. You can check out this elections update from AI member, NYIC.

The New York State Presidential Primary was reinstated by a Judge in which the New York State Attorney General Leticia James, later appealed that decision. 

May 6, 2020 Judge reinstates New York State Presidential Primary

April 28, 2020 Congressional and local primaries will still be held on June 23rd, even though the Presidential Primary is cancelled, and all New Yorkers will be sent an absentee ballot application. Read more about what you should know about absentee voting.

April 27, 2020 New York Cancels Democratic Primary 

April 24, 2020 Due to public health concerns, Cuomo announced that he will issue an executive order to mail ballot applications to every New Yorker. Recipients of the application will have to complete it and mail it back to the Board of Elections to receive an absentee ballot in the mail.

Legislative Session Updates

Governor Cuomo has announced that there is no set deadline for when the Division of Budget will announce the cuts to the State budget.

The New York Conference of Mayors has said that 74 million dollars in Aid and Incentives for Municipalities or (AIM) funding will be withheld to 12 cities in New York.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order declaring Juneteenth a holiday for state employees, and said he will propose legislation making the day an official state holiday.

New York State legislators have given little support to New York City’s plans to borrow up to $7 billion to fill revenue gaps, hindering de Blasio’s efforts to reach a budget deal by the end of the month.

New York State legislators are planning to hold hearings on how COVID-19 hit nursing homes across the state. At least two hearings are expected to be held in early July to review what governmental policies and provider practices contributed to poor outcomes.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report that showed the State collected $766.9 million less in taxes in May than it did a year ago, a nearly 20% decrease.

Last week, the New York State Legislature passed the repeal of 50-a, granting the public access to police disciplinary records, along with other police reform legislation. 

The State Legislature also voted to establish a special prosecutor’s unit to investigate police-involved deaths, codifying and expanding an executive order issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo five years ago.

The State Legislature will be considering more legislation that further aims to change policy and procedures for law enforcement, including one aimed at “demilitarizing” police.

Governor Andrew Cuomo reaffirmed his plan to withhold state aid for localities that do not enact policing reform measures by next year.

New York State Legislature announced they are working on bills related to recent protests and unrest and will continue their session next week. 

The New York State Legislature convened and passed a series of legislation that dealt with the coronavirus crisis, and several bills codified parts of executive orders that Governor Cuomo issued in response to the pandemic. It also included a measure that would let New York City borrow as much as $7 billion to fill a budget hole caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Cuomo and State Legislators are facing advocacy from union leaders to pass tax proposals affecting only top bracket earners to make up for approximately $13 billion in revenue loss stemming from COVID-19.

Governor Cuomo and budget officials are hoping the U.S. Senate will take up a bill House Democrats passed earlier this month that is largely in line with New York’s requests, including billions in unrestricted aid to states, before making any State budget decisions

In case you missed it, check out City and State’s profile of NYS Budget Director Robert Mujica. 

As per an executive order issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo last month, June 9th is the scheduled public vote on proposed school budgets that will be conducted by absentee ballots only.

An executive order signed by New York State Governor Cuomo will allow ballots for votes on school district budgets and board candidates to be hand delivered through 5 p.m. June 9 and received by mail through June 16.

The New York State Senate introduced legislation to repeal 50-a, a controversial statute that has enabled New York law enforcement agencies to block the public’s access to police disciplinary records, and is voting on it today. 

This week, the State Senate and Assembly are expected to pass a number of policing reforms. You can view yesterday’s committee agendas in the Senate and Assembly. Yesterday the following passed: 

New York State announced a freeze to more than $1 billion in spending in response to decreased revenue. 

New York State launches $100M New York Forward Loan Fund for small businesses, nonprofits with fewer than 20 full-time employees 

The State Legislature held a hearing on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority communities. You can view the recording of the hearing.

The State Senate is reconvening this week to work on a dozen bills intended to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

May 19, 2020 The state Senate plans to reconvene next Tuesday and Wednesday for the first time since passing the state budget in April. It remains to be seen whether the Assembly will do the same, but a two-way deal appears to be in the works on a dozen bills intended to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. 

Yesterday, the State Legislature held a hearing on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority communities. You can view all the submitted testimonies here.

Last week, the State Legislature held a hearing on the federal response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses in New York State. You can watch the recording here.

New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the Legislature will likely not reconvene in earnest until it’s known if New York is getting direct stimulus aid.

The New York State Legislature is holding a joint hearing on the federal response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses in New York State on May 13th. There will also be a hearing on May 18th on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and the disparities in communities of color. Oral testimony is by invitation only and individuals invited to participate will be notified within 48 hours of the hearing.

New York State Legislature announced that it will hold two virtual joint hearings to address the impact of COVID-19 in New York State.

April 26, 2020 Session may resume in the next few weeks, with few details on voting technology.

April 24, 2020 The state Legislature has made tentative plans to return to session within the next two weeks to deal with legislation related to COVID-19.

April 17, 2020 The State Legislative calendar is still up in the air. The Legislature might reconvene at the end of April but lawmakers have no further details.

Budget Updates

New York State Legislators weighing billionaires tax and other options to address budget shortfall.

Governor Cuomo said the State will need tens of billions of dollars from the federal government to avoid cuts to health care and education.

Here are some key points on the Enacted Budget Financial Plan that was released by the New York State Division of Budget.

April 26, 2020 Cuomo warns of $8.2B in cuts to localities.

April 18, 2020 NYS Legislature wants more power over the budget.

April 8, 2020 The State Budget gave the Governor the authority to adjust the budget in a rolling fashion throughout the year in order to respond to the state’s financial situation. The reassessments will take place at three points during 2020. April 30 is the end of the first “measurement period” when the projected revenue will be compared to updated estimated revenue.

Legislators are still meeting. There is no precedent for the situation the legislators are in, can’t hold committee meetings in person without putting people at risk.  Full legislative bodies aren’t meeting in person, just key leadership.

Worry that Cuomo will muscle decisions into the budget. Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) — the chairmen of Legislature’s health committees — called for “protecting bail reform” as a matter of “racial justice and public health,” in a letter to their colleagues Tuesday.

Cuomo says NY will try to pass a budget ahead of the March 31st deadline amid the virus outbreak and still wants to include legislation.

Lobbying Compliance

The  New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics has released a staff proposal of revisions to the Comprehensive Lobbying Regulations and Source of Funding Regulations. Informal comment from both the regulated community and the general public before beginning a formal rulemaking process can be submitted to Carol Quinn, Deputy Director of Lobbying Guidance at carol.quinn@jcope.ny.gov

Local Updates

NYC Updates

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council agree to a budget deal that includes $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD, some of which is just shifting funds and oversight to other departments, including the Dept. of Education. A number of activists, educators and students are dissatisfied with the failure of the budget to meaningfully reduce the amount of policing in schools. The budget deal also slashes the Fair Fares program by 61%, angering antipoverty and transportation advocates.

Governor Cuomo and State Lawmakers are skeptical of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to borrow $5 billion dollars from the state. 

NYC Mayor de Blasio announced the City may need to layoff 22,000 workers to find $1 billion in savings for FY21.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will create a public, online database of police disciplinary records after a state law keeping the records secret was repealed.

The New York City Council approved a package of legislation aimed at overhauling the New York City Police Department as lawmakers ride a wave of public anger over police-involved killings.

The New York City Council oversight hearing regarding the 2020 Census that was scheduled for yesterday, has been deferred. 

June 26, 2020 De Blasio has warned that there could potentially be 22,000 layoffs of city jobs starting in October if the city doesn’t receive aid from the state or federal government to close its budget gap.

June 22, 2020 In just three months, New York City lost 20% of its jobs, wiping out all the gains of the 10-year economic boom that began in 2009, according to figures released last week by the New York State Labor Department.

June 22, 2020 NYC has entered Phase 2 of their reopening, potentially sending 300,000 people back to work. As part of this phase, restaurants will be open for outdoor seating, and hair salons, barbershops, retail stores, and offices can open with 50% capacity.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will support legislation making it a crime for a police officer to put someone in a chokehold.

New York City Mayor, de Blasio rejected calls to remove the police from city schools, while also announcing a $10 million expansion of a program that uses local residents to “interrupt” violence on city streets. 

New York City Mayor de Blasio  announced support for three summer youth programs, each run out of the NYC Young Men’s Initiative and the Department of Probation Neighborhood Opportunity Network.

Alison Hirsh, a senior aide to Mayor de Blasio, has left the mayor’s office over his handling of recent protests across the city.  

Tomorrow, June 17th at 1pm the New York City Council  Oversight Committee will hold another hearing on the city’s response to the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color.

The New York City Council will be holding an oversight hearing on June 22nd regarding the 2020 Census. You can sign up to testify here.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is looking to borrow as an option to address the City’s budget shortfall. 

New York City Council passed several bills including: removing ‘alien,’ ‘illegal immigrant’ from NYC laws; the putting together of a conditional release commission to oversee the early release of incarcerated individuals, including those who are vulnerable to the coronavirus, who have served a portion of their sentence; and calling for parity in pay for frontline emergency medical services workers who helped the city during the coronavirus pandemic. 

New York City Council released a letter requesting that the Administration identify meaningful savings among city agencies to address the $9 billion budget gap. The letter points to the fact that the Department of Youth and Community Development was hit with a proposed cut of 32% of its budget, while the New York Police Department is only facing proposed cuts of less than one percent.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged for the first time to cut the city’s police funding, which has an annual budget of $6 billion and accounts for more than 6 percent of the proposed $90 billion budget, and divert it to social services.

The New York City Council held a hearing today on Public Safety.  Advocates have 72 hours to submit testimony.

June 17th at 1pm the New York City Council  Oversight Committee will hold another hearing on the city’s response to the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color.

The New York City Council will be holding an oversight hearing on June 22nd regarding the 2020 Census. 

The New York City Council concluded a series of  Executive Budget Hearings. You can watch the video recordings of those hearings.

May 23, 2020 The City Council has released a 10-point plan for opening the city’s beaches safely during the summer, citing public health and equity concerns as temperatures rise in the city. As of now, the beaches are closed for swimming (but not surfing) per the Mayor’s orders.

May 18, 2020 DeBlasio says that NYC could start to gradually reopen in mid-June. NYC has met three of the state’s seven health indicators that regions need to meet to start reopening.

New York City’s Independent Budget Office released a report that predicts tax revenues will be billions of dollars less than what the de Blasio administration has anticipated.

The New York City Council approved part of COVID-19 relief package, which included new protections for commercial and residential tenants.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is looking at areas to make cuts as the City awaits the state government’s first round of budget cuts, which is expected around May 15.

The New York City Council indicated that the city’s $89.3 billion fiscal blueprint will need to undergo another major overhaul before it can be adopted by the end of June.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed members to Advisory Councils that will inform the Administration’s efforts to restart the economy and city life. The councils serve as critical links to disseminate information about re-opening and provide guidance to shape the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  These Councils include: Non-Profit and Social Services, Public Health and Healthcare, Faith-based, Construction and Real Estate, Education, and Surface Transportation & Labor and Workforce; Large Business; Small Business; and Arts, Culture, and Entertainment.

The New York City Council Hearings on the Executive Budget starts. You can see the full schedule and register to testify and submit testimony. Check out this FAQ for City Council discretionary funding COVID-19 related issues. 

In protecting the environment, the New York City Council is looking to save organics recycling amid budget cuts.

New York City has a new webpage of resources for New Yorkers with Disabilities during COVID-19.

April 28, 2020 The City Council announces it will be holding a hearing on how the COVID crisis has impacted communities of color. Members of the public can testify if they register to do so 24 hours in advance of the hearing.

April 26, 2020 Mayor de Blasio announces Fair Recovery Task Force.

April 22, 2020 City Council holds the first stated meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown

April 16, 2020 Mayor de Blasio Unveils Executive Budget Plan.

April 15, 2020 According to an Independent Budget Office report, NYC could face worst recession since the 1970’s.

April 7. 2020 NYC Council Budget Response Letter

April 6, 2020 10 Ways the New State Budget Impacts New York City.

March 23, 2020 De Blasio Discusses His Call for City Agencies to Cut Spending

Predictions of a $5B loss in revenue to the city from the Citizens Budget Commission.

Comptroller Stringer predicted a $3.2 B hit to the budget. Tax revenues are down in real estate, retail, hotels.

City Council Budget hearings are shut down-hearings were put on hold and members were told they didn’t need to submit budget proposals.  Can still pass legislation and have meetings via teleconference. Speaker Johnson is committed to secure a budget. While hearings are on hold, advocates can always submit testimony to financetestimony@council.nyc.gov.

Western New York Updates

The City of Buffalo is to borrow $18.5M to close budget gap.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced changes to police policy following protests last week.

Buffalo City Comptroller Barbara Miller-Williams was critical of Mayor Brown’s budget, which the Comptroller said includes more than $80 million in uncertain revenues and nearly $15 million in expense savings that might not materialize.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown promised “new policies” after meeting with advocates on police reform. 

May 18, 2020 Cuomo announced that Western NY will begin the process of gradually reopening this week. This means that nonessential construction, manufacturing and wholesale trade businesses, along with agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, as well as curbside pickup at retail businesses may resume operations.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced a $519 million dollar budget for the City of Buffalo. 

Erie County Executive Mark Polocarz called on the County department and independently elected county office to submit a budget plan within the next two weeks that would cut costs by 13.1%. 

April 27, 2020 Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced the launch of a new city website that will serve as an information hub for COVID-19. 

April 17, 2020 Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz issued a statement in response to COVID-19 and the impact on the local budget.

Long Island Updates

Suffolk County Budget Director Eric Naughton warned legislators of layoffs, spending cuts due to budget crisis.

Nassau County legislators introduced legislation calling for a committee to study the feasibility of a specialized unit in the Nassau County Police Department to respond to emergency calls for people in mental health crisis.

In Nassau County, advocates demanded that the County government provide more transparency, accountability and safety measures, as well as the release of incarcerated people who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

Suffolk County is expected to face a cumulative budget shortfall of up to $1.5 billion over three years because of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report by the county’s COVID-19 Fiscal Impact Task Force. 

The Suffolk County Legislature passed legislation that “bans the box” and restricts employers from asking about criminal histories in job applications, which will take effect on August 25, 2020. 

Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman releases analysis of COVID-19 potential impact on sales tax revenues and county finances. 

Nassau County will offer $500,000 in loans to help small businesses, nonprofits and landlords struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. 

April 27, 2020 Suffolk County Executive Steve Ballone responded to the State’s reopening plan and the increase in domestic violence during COVID-19 in Suffolk County.

April 1, 2020 Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman Announces Financial Impact Analysis of COVID-19 on County Finances.

Hudson Valley Updates

Ulster County legislators endorsed a plan to cut aid to nonprofits amid looming budget shortfall.

In the Hudson Valley, $1.2B in spending proposed amid uncertainty for local leaders for the upcoming public vote on school budgets.

Kingston lawmakers seek $800K in first cuts as loss estimates rise to up to $6.47M.

Newburgh City Comptroller Todd Venning and other officials provided an update on the local budget.

Town and city government officials in the Hudson Valley responded to the Governor’s financial plan for the 2021 fiscal year, in which state aid to municipalities could be cut by more than $8 billion.

Southern Tier Updates

Finger Lakes and Southern Tier State Legislators are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to give counties in those regions the green light to begin work on transportation projects.

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick says the municipal budget deficit is five times larger than its greatest deficit in the city’s history. 

Steuben County officials spoke on the local budget resulting from loss of sales tax revenue and funding from the State.

Central New York Updates

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh signed into law a package of police reforms aimed at updating police training and policies and improving transparency within the department.

The City of Syracuse would receive $363M from House coronavirus bill.

Finger Lakes Updates

The Rochester City Council unveiled plans to cut its next police recruiting class in half and to direct the $750,000 saved by the move toward plans of revamped policing.

Federal Updates

Senate Democrats introduced a bill to boost the nonprofit workforce as coronavirus crushes resources. 

May 20, 2020 A Columbia University study showed that over 17,000 deaths could have been prevented in the NY metro area if social distancing measures had been put in place and adopted nationwide just a week earlier.

Senator Chuck Schumer announced New York will get $1.5 billion for coronavirus testing.

April 23, 2020 A coalition of nonprofit organizations is joining Gov. Cuomo to call on the Federal government to provide hazard pay to essential workers in the human services sector.

Senator Gillibrand released a Guide to COVID-19 Disaster Funding.

Nonprofit New York is leading an effort to get Congress to pass a fourth phase of COVID-19 federal legislation that includes funding for the New York State and local budget deficits, expands coverage for sick and family leave, and other items on behalf of our communities. Sign on to this support letter to Congress