Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday his and his administration’s plan for new initiative “NYCBenefits”, a program that utilizes multi-agency and cross-sector efforts to connect thousands of eligible New Yorkers to billions of dollars of government benefits due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our administration is committed to breaking down silos and clearing the barriers that hindered access to benefits that New Yorkers rely on,” said hizzoner in the July 26 announcement. “The new NYCBenefits program will fundamentally re-imagine the system that connects New Yorkers to benefits like low-cost health insurance, rental assistance, food programs, direct cash assistance, and others in partnership with community-based organizations that serve our neighbors each and every day.”
New Yorkers have been hard hit by the pandemic and the economic consequences of COVID-19, with one in 20 children (8,600 total) having lost a parent or guardian to the pandemic; 30,000 NYC students experiencing homelessness; and another 70,000 are housing insecure (doubled up with relatives, etc.).
Yet, despite being eligible for assistance, the Adams administration says that some 300,000 New Yorkers haven’t applied for public health insurance; another 70,000 haven’t signed up for half-priced MetroCards through the “Fair Fares” program; some 230,000 residents have deprived themselves of low-income energy assistance; and another 150,000 people are due cash assistance for which they’ve yet to apply.
NYCBenefits aims to ensure all eligible New Yorkers are made aware of the supportive programs available to them and that accessing those supports is easy and efficient.
In order to make this benefits access system possible, NYC leaders have committed to invest in outreach, enrollment, case management, coordination, and collaboration. The Research Foundation of the City University of New York (RFCUNY) is also partnering with the office of the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives (DMSI) and the Human Resources Administration (HRA) in this effort.
Some of RFCUNY and the city’s goals include increasing the number of New Yorkers enrolling and staying enrolled in all of the benefits programs for which they are eligible; making access to benefits easier and more efficient; improving benefits-related coordination among City agencies and between City agencies and CBOs; expanding the benefits access capacity of community-based organizations (CBOs); leveraging heretofore underutilized federal, state and city dollars for poverty alleviation and economic stability; and creating a culture of dignity and respect for those that administer and receive government benefits.
Mayor Adams and his administration hope NYCBenefits will bring together city agencies and community-based organizations that inform and administer benefits programs by providing funding and enhanced collaboration and coordination.
The current proposed budget for NYCBenefits CBO Grants is currently up to $250,000 per year for three years, as well as $200,000 to $350,000 per year for three years for Deliverables for Technical Assistance & Backbone Providers.
These funds are all contingent upon proof of a 501 (c)(3) or contract with fiscal sponsors.
Organizations interested in applying should have long provided benefits access services to the communities they serve, and already have an existing, robust structure and staff to provide those services, and who are interested in expanding that work by increasing their workforce.
Organizations that are new to benefits access work are welcome to apply, however are strongly encouraged to include a detailed plan for how their existing staff and structures can be expanded upon to enter benefits access work.
Applicants must provide all information required in the application, which can be accessed by Sept. 13 on.nyc.gov/nycbenefits; they must answer the questionnaire to be eligible for application.
Last updated 7/26/2022 5:42 pm