May 27, 2020
Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) is a 75-year-old independent child advocacy organization in New York City whose mission is to ensure that all children are healthy, housed, educated and safe. We maintain one of the largest municipal data sets on children and families in the country – data.cccnewyork.org. Through an examination of community-level indicators, our data illustrate child and family well-being across the city, by borough, and within each community district.
Critically, we know that Black and Latino New Yorkers are hospitalized and dying from the COVID-19 virus at about twice the rate of White and Asian residents. In fact, the pandemic has revealed in stark terms how poverty, overcrowded housing, poor health, lack of access to primary care or insurance coverage, as well as work in essential sectors, place some residents at far greater risk than others. Social distancing, working remotely, and purchasing multiple weeks’ worth of food to shelter in place are also privileges unavailable to many New Yorkers. Moreover, at a time when people are being asked not to leave their homes, an estimated 500,000 households lack internet access, impeding not only remote learning for children in these homes, but preventing families from accessing basic health and safety information, tele-health and tele-therapy, and safety net programs.
Sadly, the pandemic has triggered declining child and adolescent mental health, deeper economic and housing insecurity, increased hunger, student learning loss, and has heightened risks to child safety and violence in the home. Unfortunately, as child and family needs are rising rapidly because of the pandemic, the economic fallout has resulted in multi-billion-dollar reductions in the State’s FY’21 Adopted Budget with an additional $10 billion in statewide cuts now on the table. The City’s Executive Budget must close a budget gap of nearly $7 billion with additional cuts on the horizon.
In the face of the incredible human toll wrought by the pandemic and the economic fallout challenging the State and City government’s capacity to respond, there is no question that greater direct aid through federal stimulus is urgently needed. The magnitude of the pandemic’s impact also makes clear that additional tools should be pursued to make certain the City of New York has the capacity to meet the needs of children, families, and communities – ensuring not only their survival but ultimately their and the City’s recovery.
CCC urges state leaders to enact proposed legislation S8418/A10520 that would authorize additional bonds of the New York City Transitional Finance Authority to finance or refinance costs or deficiencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic.