Chirlane McCray says ThriveNYC data exists but doesn’t provide stats to City Council

First lady Chirlane McCray arrives for a hearing on the ThriveNYC budget in front of the City Council at City Hall on Tuesday.
First lady Chirlane McCray arrives for a hearing on the ThriveNYC budget in front of the City Council at City Hall on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Li Yakira Cohen

First lady Chirlane McCray on Tuesday said her ThriveNYC initiative does have data that tracks the progress of its programs.

McCray’s defense followed more than two hours of testimony in front of the City Council, where she insisted that the mental health program was created with metrics in mind. She failed, however, to provide any statistical data. Her testimony followed a report by city Comptroller Scott Stringer in which he found the city doesn’t track the progress of 75 percent of the programs included in ThriveNYC, according to reports.

"We have solid numbers. I think part of the problem has been what people define as a solid number. We have lots of data … this was not something that was done haphazardly," she said after the hearing "We will have short term data — that is what is available to us right now — which is very good and very helpful for us in informing how we move forward. We will have different types of data going forward and that is totally natural."

During her testimony, McCray said "It’s important to us to make sure we’re measuring everything … but we’re talking about people here, not numbers." She went on to say that as the programs "ramp up, we have more indications" of how to measure how effective a program is. She added that the program was "working toward more standardized measures."

Susan Herman, who is responsible for ThriveNYC’s day-to-day operations, said the program has some outcome measures, and is focused on refining them.

"Every initiative, where it’s appropriate, and that’s almost all of them … will have one or two of the appropriate number of outcome measures," she said.

According to ThriveNYC spokeswoman Marcy Miranda, those that began treatment were screened again three months later. Fifty-six percent of clients dealing with depression had improved and 65 percent of seniors suffering from anxiety had improved.

After the hearing, Herman also said that the program already has a lot of metrics in place, but also gave no specifics on what they were.

"We have been committed to evaluating the impact and the reach of Thrive from the beginning. What we have now are external evaluations conducted on several of our initiatives, internal evaluations on others, several programs need to refine their outcome measures. But everybody knows where these initiatives are headed."

ThriveNYC was first launched by McCray in 2015. In January, the city announced the creation of the Office of ThriveNYC.

"We have made it quite clear today in this hearing that everyone loves what we’re doing and they want more," McCray said after the hearing. "We’ve got a lot more to do and that’s fine. I’ve wanted this kind of high-level conversation for quite a while."