HSC in the News


NYC’s Human-Service Providers Press for Changes in City Funding - 5/3/17

According to advocates, the crisis facing nonprofits is visible to City Hall. The Mayor’s Office of Contract Services responds to about 10,000 requests for assistance from non-profit organizations each year. Of those organizations, 18 percent are insolvent, 50 percent are facing deficits and cash flow issues, and while their clients are “living paycheck to paycheck, the employees are living payroll to payroll,” according to Allison Sesso, executive director of the Human Services Council of New York. Read more here.

Scrambling to Solve the Human Services Sector's Fiscal Crisis - 4/28/17

Nonprofit providers on the panel cited escalating rent, health care and technology costs, coupled with new overtime regulations and the need to cover minimum wage increases as just some of the factors weighing on their budgets as they work to deliver the services that government contracts often pay just 80 cents on the dollar to provide. To help address this, the Human Services Council, an umbrella group that represents about 170 social services organizations, has argued for including cost escalation clauses in contracts to guarantee that funders would adjust payments to reflect cost increases – usually related to inflation – that are out of either party’s control. Read more here.

Nonprofit Leaders Respond to Mayor de Blasio's Executive Budget - 4/28/17

Due primarily to underfunded government contracts, many nonprofits operate with deficits and struggle to make payroll and pay rent. The Mayor has acknowledged this problem by convening a Nonprofit Resiliency Committee on which United Neighborhood Houses serves and must now address this problem in the City’s FY18 budget. But a committee alone will not solve a problem caused by underfunding. Read more here.

Eleven things to watch for in de Blasio's executive budget - 4/26/17

The de Blasio administration has proposed a two percent increase for nonprofits’ contracted personnel each year for the next three years, but nonprofits said that measure would do little to address underlying cost increases in rent and infrastructure. They also argue that increase wouldn’t cover the costs of employees they had been forced to hire who are being paid for through donations because current contracts aren’t big enough to cover them. Read more here.

A gender-wage war Cuomo fails to fight - 4/20/17

Gov. Cuomo recently announced a comprehensive study of New York’s gender wage gap, including at least four public hearings to develop recommendations for tackling this problem. We appreciate the sentiment, but if the governor truly wants to address this issue, he should start in his backyard — by looking at his own policies of setting wages barely above the poverty line for social assistance workers under contract with New York State. Read more here.

City Council Calls for Relief for Struggling Nonprofits - 4/12/17

As contract reimbursements have lagged behind the costs of doing business, providers have pushed for increases to cover maintenance, technology and training costs. The financial strain has meant some nonprofits have shuttered and as many as 18 percent of health and human services providers are insolvent. In addition, the government often pays contracted providers late, contributing to the challenge of maintaining fiscal health and stability. Read more here.

Eye on NY: With direct care workers getting a raise, NY human services workers want one too - 4/2/17

The Restore Opportunity Now coalition is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders to allocate necessary funding that will allow human services workers — employees who provide child care, assist the homeless, handle foster care and direct legal services — to earn a living wage. Like direct care workers, human services workers feel they are "underpaid and undervalued," the coalition said. The main reason they're seeking support from the state, though, is because of the $15 minimum wage adopted last year. Read more here.

Threat of Trump cuts does have one benefit for de Blasio - 3/27/17

While Mayor Bill de Blasio and his budget director Dean Fuleihan have said they will fight President Donald Trump's proposed budget cuts rather than slash city expenditures, the mayor on Friday cited the Trump cuts as a reason for the city to be careful about spending. On Brian Lehrer's radio show, he fielded a question from an employee of New York Foundling who said the nonprofit was losing money because of inadequately funded service agreements with the city. Read more here.

How Trump's Budget Cuts Could Hit Brooklyn - 3/24/17

Human-services providers tend to suffer more financial troubles than other non-profits; their insolvency rate in New York City is 18% and may only get worse with the proposed federal budget, said Allison Sesso, executive director of the Human Services Council in New York. “People should expect cuts across the board: job training, health services and the like,” Sesso said. Read more here.

Human services organizations' budget needs - 3/22/17

Listen here.

Nonprofit Report Calls For More Funding in State Budget - 3/22/17

“Most state human services contract have not been adjusted for rising for rising costs in many years,” the report says. “Reimbursement rates for many Medicaid-funded services have been adjusted to increase pay rates for workers, but the same cannot be said for must human services.” Read more here.

Human Services Organizations Say They're Long Overdue for a Raise - 3/22/17

Non-profit human services organizations help millions of New Yorkers every year, and that number has grown significantly in recent years. But people at the agencies say they are being undervalued and underpaid. According to a report from the Fiscal Policy Institute, average income for human services workers ranges from $23,000 to $25,000 upstate. Representatives held a "bake sale" at the Capitol Wednesday. Joining us to explain the idea behind this are Michelle Jackson from the Human Services Council and Ron Deutsch from the Fiscal Policy Institute. Read more here.

N.Y. State has shortchanged nonprofit social-service organizations by at least $1B over past six years, campaign argues - 3/22/17

Nonprofits that provide services for children, the elderly and homeless, among others, have been shortchanged by at least $1 billion over the past six years as state funding has lagged behind inflation, according to a report to be released Wednesday by the Restore Opportunity Now campaign. Read more here.

With City Budget Hearings Set to Begin, Several Points of Funding Contention - 2/28/17

The proposed preliminary budget contains $1 billion in new spending, but elected officials and nonprofit groups have identified a number of priorities they would like to see funded in the next fiscal year. Certain budget requests have even persisted from last year, for instance nonprofit human services organizations that contract with the city are calling for increased funding yet again, and Council members are pushing for full funding for the Summer Youth Employment program. A closer look at those and several other points of significant funding debate... Read more here.

With new homelessness plan, de Blasio gives himself an extraordinarily difficult task - 2/28/17

“My criticism...is the fact that basically you’re asking to put new business into a sector that is financially struggling,” said Allison Sesso, who heads the Human Services Council, which represents hundreds of city nonprofits. Read more here.

The Systematic Starvation of Those Who Do Good - 2/24/17

Across the United States, nonprofits struggle to pay competitive wages, especially in the human services sector. New York nonprofits have the third-highest prevalence of low wages in the private sector, behind food service and retail. This is in spite of the fact that its human services workforce is highly skilled and highly educated—two-thirds of workers have some college education, and close to half hold bachelor’s degrees or higher. One factor in the widespread acceptance of these low wages may be that, across the state, 82 percent of these workers are women, and 50 percent are people of color. Read more here.

Job Investment Should Start With the City's Nonprofit Sector - 2/22/17

If [de Blasio] really wants to address income inequality, the mayor should look to the nonprofit human services sector, where he can have a direct and immediate impact. Nearly 90,000 individuals are currently working under city contracts to provide essential services, but due to city funding decisions, many of these jobs are not “good paying.” Read more here.

Nonprofit coalition wants more money from Albany for human services sector - 2/3/17

Advocates have long argued that government contracts do not meet the cost of providing services such as food for the hungry and care for the elderly. They have also repeatedly said that social services are on the brink of collapse because they are so underfunded. The latest coalition, named “Restore Opportunity Now,” is made up of 350 organizations... Read more here.

Non-profit groups call for more funding in the state budget for disabled care - 1/27/17

Human service agencies from across central New York have joined the fight to ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo to increase funding in the state budget for the non-profits that help disabled New Yorkers. Spending on human services by New York state has dropped by an average of 1.3 percent every year for the last six years, and it’s making it harder for non-profit organizations to do their job. Tania Anderson runs ARISE, an agency that helps the disabled. Workers there often help these individuals find jobs. “One of the ironies of the current marketplace, is that our employment staff often earns a lower hourly wage than the individuals they are placing,” said Anderson. Read more here.

Nonprofit shouldn't mean nonviable in New York - 1/26/17

Many parts of [Governor Cuomo's] agenda are noble progressive causes to secure the middle class, expand access to education and address social issues plaguing the state, as well as those we see coming with the new administration in Washington, D.C. But without a strong nonprofit sector to stand with him, implement his proposals and be on the front lines of the fight for social justice, his agenda will by stymied and New Yorkers will not get the quality services they need to build strong communities. Read more here.

Local groups push for increased state funding for non-profits - 1/26/17

"Meeting the other requirements of state funded contracts, there's insufficient funding in order to be able to carry out the excellent work that the agencies do to serve our Central New York community," said Loretta Zolkowski of the Human Services Leadership Council of Central New York" Read more here.

State’s proposed overtime rule could pile on another unfunded mandate - 12/27/16

“Though a federal regulation to increase the number of workers who qualify for overtime has stalled, some New York-based nonprofits are responding to a proposed state rule that would grant more workers overtime – but potentially undercut their struggling budgets." Read more here.

Positioning themselves as a bulwark against Trump, nonprofits re-frame funding requests - 12/2/16

“They are desperate to ensure that in this coming wave, given that we are a Sanctuary City and we don’t know what the future holds, that they can be strong and continue to be there for communities,” said Allison Sesso, executive director of the Human Services Council. HSC and other advocates are urging City Hall to add money to the “Other Than Personal Services” (OTPS) budget line, which covers non-staffing costs such as utilities, rents, office equipment and repairs. The proposed $50 million in the preliminary budget expected to be introduced next month, would represent a 5 percent raise. The most recent budget, passed in June, included some discretionary funding increases, but advocates were disappointed it didn’t contain the $25 million they sought at the time." Read more here.

In NY, Nonprofits Push the State to Cover Costs of Living Wage for Workers - 12/1/16

...Earlier this year, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio raised the minimum wage for the 30,000 employees at those nonprofit social services contractors. The move will cost city taxpayers about $200 million through 2020. Nonprofit groups are now calling on New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo to do the same for workers contracted by the state. Crain’s asks, “What happens when those subsidies end? Or when tax revenue drops?” Read more here.

NPQ: Nonprofit Wage Ghettos and What We Should Do about Them - 11/18/16

...Advocating for expansion of necessary services without advocating for a living wage for the workforce needed for such an expansion becomes purposeful neglect of a well-studied inequity. This is inexcusable and entirely counterproductive, in that it does not cleave to the value set that distinguishes nonprofits in the highly sensitive and growing fields in which wage poverty is almost a given... Read more here.

NYN Daily: 11/16/16

HSC to evaluate value-based payments: The Human Services Council will lead an initiative to identify the policy, funding, and other changes necessary to ensure that the human services sector successfully adapts to a value-based payment model. It is forming a commission - chaired by former Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli - comprised of leaders with extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, government, philanthropy, and academia who will work together to unpack the implications of VBP for nonprofit human services providers, construct a viable model for them to operate successfully, and develop a roadmap designed to support this shift. Read more here.

Reforms in the Works for Vendex - 11/4/16

The city is backing efforts to reform the decades-old system that maintains information on billions of dollars of contracts. During a Nov. 7 hearing by the City Council’s Committee on Contracts, Michael Owh, director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, said that with a little fine tuning, the administration could generally support three bills to modernize and streamline the Vendor Information Exchange known as VENDEX. Read more here.

NPQ Editor's Note: Moral Advocacy Needed for Nonprofit Workforce

NPQ has spent a good deal of time over the years looking at the employment practices of nonprofits, and recent policy changes related to compensation have brought the issues of our workforces front and center. We’ve been shocked at times by the reactions in our sector to some proposals meant to ensure the basic wage rights of workers... Read more here.

Who Sets Nonprofit Compensation Levels? A Question of Equity and Justice - 10/18/16

Last month marked an important moment for the nonprofit human services workforce. Members of the District Council 1707 (DC 1707) labor union and a membership organization of childcare providers, Day Care Council of New York (DCCNY), negotiated a four-year contract for 2,700 daycare workers in New York City serving 10,500 children...While this contract will apply only to those daycare workers represented by the DC 1707 union in New York City, it raises important questions about the human services workforce as a whole—a workforce that provides critical services on behalf of government and that is comprised predominantly of people of color and women. Read more here.

Mount Vernon NY Patch: Senator Stewart-Cousins Bill Cuts Costs For Counties, Nonprofits - 10/5/16

Albany, NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation, sponsored by Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/I/WF – 35th District) and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D/I/WF/WEP-95th District), which allows nonprofit organizations that provide services for their respective counties to make purchases through use of county contacts. This legislation allows counties to provide opportunities for nonprofit service providers to realize savings without compromising service delivery, so long as the contracts relate directly to the service the nonprofit administers to the county. Read more here.

Senator Stewart-Cousins Bill Cuts Costs For Counties, Nonprofits - 11/5/16

Albany, NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation, sponsored by Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D/I/WF – 35th District) and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D/I/WF/WEP-95th District), which allows nonprofit organizations that provide services for their respective counties to make purchases through use of county contacts. This legislation allows counties to provide opportunities for nonprofit service providers to realize savings without compromising service delivery, so long as the contracts relate directly to the service the nonprofit administers to the county. Read more here.

HSC Sets Out to Make Vital Changes Within the Nonprofit Sector - 9/16/16

The Alliance is joining with Human Services Council of New York to amplify their efforts to address the structural problems facing so many nonprofit organizations with solutions such as creating an RFP Rating System and a Government Agency Contract Management Rater... Read more here.

$2B Housing Fund Inches Forward - 9/15/16

One day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo awarded $150 million of the $2 billion set aside to fund affordable and supportive housing projects, advocates applauded Cuomo for further directing New York State Division of Budget officials to sign a long awaited memorandum of understanding initiating a process to release additional promised funds. But the MOU detailing the governor’s plan to spend those funds is already facing some reluctance from the state Assembly and Senate, where they must be approved... Read more here.

The unintended consequences of ethics reform - 8/30/16

Without question Albany needs to make ethics reform a priority, which is why the goals of the recent anti-corruption bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be supported. At the same time, it’s important that we appreciate the unintended consequences this new law will have on nonprofits and think about how to reduce the growing compliance and financial burdens too many organizations face... Read more here.

Sesso, Palacio open dialogue on serving the vulnerable after disasters - 8/4/16

Nonprofits have become more experienced at responding to emergencies in the nearly four years since Hurricane Sandy, but funding issues, communication gaps and confusion over roles could stymie future responses, according to a report issued Aug. 3 by the Human Services Council, an umbrella group of 170 social services providers...Read more here.

Grant Competition Launches to Fund Nonprofits Using Data to Solve Challenges in New York Communities - 7/21/16

HSC will award grants of $10,000 to 20 nonprofit organizations in partnership with Measure of America with funding provided by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The winning organizations will create data-based portraits that illuminate important issues in their neighborhood or field using indicators from DATA2GO.NYC, a free, online data mapping and visualization tool with 350 indicators of human need and well-being...Read more here.

Bill Would Erode New Overtime Rules – Will Nonprofits Stand for their Workers? - 7/20/16

The nonprofit community has a history of responding with great ambivalence to such fair labor efforts and, as Rick Cohen observed last year, the overtime question was no different. But even as a number of nonprofit groups—ironically, including USPIRG—protested the new requirements, NPQ published a piece by labor lawyer Andy Schmidt that baldly asked “Is Exploiting Workers Key to your Nonprofit Enterprise Model?” The conversation began to work its way from “why we can’t do this” to “how can we do this?” And that “how” question in many cases must involve government funders...Read more here.

Rosenthal Continues Push to Better Fund Social Service Nonprofits - 7/14/16

After a concerted drive to reform procedures for the funding of nonprofits fell short in last month’s adoption of the city budget for the fiscal year that began on July 1, Upper West Side Councilmember Helen Rosenthal and Manhattan nonprofits hope to keep the dialogue alive until the Council makes current year budget adjustments in what is known as the November Plan...Read more here.

Nonprofit heads say city failed to address cost 'crisis' - 6/20/16

De Blasio's $82.1 billion budget, adopted last week, did not provide the $25 million nonprofits had wanted to help pay for the increased cost of supplies and repairs, equipment, technology, food and rent. “The administration has not done anything to address the fact that there is a major crisis in the nonprofit sector,” said Allison Sesso, executive director of the Human Services Council, an agency that works with government on behalf of other nonprofits...Read more here.

Connecting the dots on nonprofit underfunding - 6/17/16

Nonprofit human services providers are on the front lines every day, addressing New York City’s most pressing social issues one resident at a time. The city relies on these organizations to provide a range of services for 2.5 million New Yorkers annually, including those related to homelessness, care for elderly residents, summer youth employment, mental health, domestic violence, and support for children in foster care. The city expects quality services...Read more here.

Nonprofits ‘disappointed’ after budget excludes OTPS funding increase - 6/17/16

“We didn’t win,” New York City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, chairwoman of the Contracts Committee, said last week at a panel hosted by New York Nonprofit Media. It was one day after the mayor and City Council announced a framework deal for the fiscal year that begins next month. Human service nonprofits were disheartened after the city budget didn’t include a 2.5 percent line-item increase – amounting to $25 million – that they said would help them pay for non-staffing costs such as building repairs and technology upgrades...Read more here.

Making Nonprofit Management as Hard as Possible: Absurd Delays in Contracts Plague NY Groups - 6/16/16

Over the past year, NPQ has documented some serious factors that can weaken even the largest nonprofits that have contracted with government in the state of New York. Specifically, we published two pieces (here and here) that looked closely at the combination of external and internal factors that led to the demise of FEGS, the biggest social service agency in New York City. The second of the two pointed to problems that lie in the basic business model of heavily contracted groups—problems that include a lack of full cost reimbursement...Read more here.

Nonprofit Funding Boost, Pre-K Pay Parity Left Out of City Budget - 6/14/16

In the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s budget agreement between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council, a number of Council members decried what they said was underfunding of top Council priorities including summer youth employment, cultural institutions, libraries, senior services, and more. Consequently, the mayor conceded to most of those funding requests in the final deal. Most, but not all. Two major issues -- additional funding for human services nonprofits contracted by the city and funding to ensure pay parity for pre-kindergarten providers -- were absent from the deal, leaving Council members, advocates, and those at relevant organizations reeling...Read more here.

DiNapoli: Majority of Contracts with Not-For-Profit Organizations Still Approved Late - 6/9/16

State agencies were late 61 percent of the time in approving contracts with not-for-profit providers (NFPs) last year, with half of all agencies reporting contracts as late as 90 to 100 percent of the time, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. In 2015, the state paid $129,824 in interest payments for late contracts...Read more here.

City Council Skips Executive Budget Hearings for Several Committees - 6/7/16

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council appear to be on the verge of a budget agreement, establishing the city’s spending plan for fiscal year 2017, which begins July 1...The City Council Committee on Contracts also did not hold an executive budget hearing. On May 26, after executive budget hearings had ended, 47 Council members signed a letter to the mayor asking the administration to fund a 2.5 percent increase for the administrative costs of nonprofits that contract with the city...Read more here.

The Underfunding of Nuts and Bolts at NYC’s Non-Profits - 6/2/16

Underfunded and struggling non-profits across New York that are reliant on municipal contracts are calling for a $25 million increase in city funding to cover the costs of things like rising rent, equipment purchases, capital repairs, and more. In contracts with non-profits, costs outside paying staffers their salary are categorized as “other than personnel services,” or OTPS. The broad category can include expenses like employee health insurance, technology upgrades, or even meals and transportation for their clients...Read more here.

Several Council Asks Remain as City Budget Negotiations Hit Home Stretch - 5/31/16

City budget season entered its home stretch last week when the City Council conducted its final hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82.2 billion executive budget for fiscal year 2017. With a deal between the Council and the mayor due by the July 1 start of the new fiscal year, the parties will largely negotiate behind closed doors, with funding levels for a number of major priorities on the table. There are also lingering questions about savings and how much the de Blasio administration is asking its agencies to trim as spending grows...Read more here.

Administrative Costs Aren’t Sexy, But Are Necessary - 5/31/16

The National Council of Nonprofits included the press conference held on May 27, 2016 calling on the Mayor to fund a 2.5% increase in City contracts to defray growing administrative costs in their Nonprofit Advocacy Matters newsletter...Read more here.

Push Continues for Budget Boost to City Contracted Nonprofits - 5/27/16

On a hot and sunny day, dozens of nonprofit workers took to the steps of City Hall to call on Mayor Bill de Blasio to fund a 2.5 percent increase for the administrative costs of nonprofits that contract with the city. Forty-seven of 51 City Council members have signed on to a letter to de Blasio asking him to baseline the increase, an additional $25 million annually, into the budget as the city moves toward adopting a new spending plan...Read more here.

Nonprofits Call for Contract Increases to Cover Administrative Costs - 5/27/16

Nonprofit organizations that serve millions of New Yorkers warned yesterday that their sector is on the “brink of disaster” unless New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio adds $25 million to next year’s budget to accommodate rising administrative costs...Read more here.

On the Brink—Providers Under Pressure - 5/25/16

In January last year, on the back of a $19 million loss, New York’s largest nonprofit human services provider, Federation Employment and Guidance Services (FEGS), abruptly shut its doors. FEGS was a $250 million nonprofit organization that provided essential services to 120,000 New York households for more than 80 years. And while it hasn’t been the only nonprofit to go bankrupt in recent years, the collapse of an organization at this scale sent shockwaves through the nonprofit community and proved that there remain persistent, systemic issues that threaten the stability of the entire sector...Read more here.

Nonprofit Reactions to New Overtime Rules Run the Gamut - 5/24/16

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor released new rules that increased the white-collar overtime threshold from $455 to $913 per week (or from $23,660 to $47,476 on an annual basis). The announcement of the updated rules implementing the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ended a lengthy process that began in 2014 when President Obama requested the regulations be reviewed to ensure they were consistent with his goal of ensuring workers were paid a fair wage for a hard day’s work...Read more here.

How to Prevent Another Scandal at Queens Library - 5/24/16

On a recent Thursday night, the Queens Library’s board of trustees gathered in an unassuming conference room on the second floor of the library’s central branch. Under discussion were several run-of-the-mill items, like approving contracts for HVAC maintenance and Samsung tablets (which have been incorporated into various library programs, like adult literacy classes)...Read more here.

The Trouble with City Contracts - 5/13/16

In my 27 years at The Fortune Society, there has never been a time when the nonprofit community in New York City has been under so much pressure to achieve results, while restrictions on the government funding we receive continue to increase. All this while the needs of the populations we serve are escalating...Read more here.

Weighing the Risks…Before It’s Too Late - 5/11/16

Too many nonprofit institutions across the country are facing major financial hurdles that put their survival in jeopardy, but too few have systems in place to know just how close they are to the brink.The loss of a major contract, a series of emergency building repairs, or a bad bet on Medicaid Managed Care could easily send them over the precipice and deprive hundreds of individuals, if not thousands, of services on which they depend...Read more here.

First Executive Budget Hearing Sets Stage for Final Negotiations - 5/8/16

Following Mayor Bill de Blasio’s April 27 release of his $82.2 billion Executive Budget for fiscal year 2017, the City Council on Friday held the first of many hearings to look at the latest iteration of the city’s spending plan for the year beginning July 1. As the Council examines the executive budget through a series of agency-focused hearings, negotiations around key priorities and final adjustments will be taking place behind the scenes...Read more here.

Council members, Banks discuss 90-day review’s impacts on nonprofits - 4/22/16

Amid the largest restructuring of city homeless services in decades, members of the city council’s Committee on General Welfare pressed Steven Banks, commissioner of the newly minted Department of Social Services, on the impact that his agency’s sweeping reforms will have on nonprofit providers...Read more here.

Cuomo agrees to pay health care employers millions to raise minimum wage - 4/19/16

"We think raising the minimum wage was the right thing to do," said Allison Sesso, executive director of the Human Services Council of New York, whose organization campaigned for "15 and Funding" in the months leading up to the passage of the minimum wage hikes. "We just want to make sure we maintain career ladders within the nonprofit sector."...Read more here.

Some $230 million to cover minimum wage hikes for behavioral health providers - 4/15/16

Behavioral health and developmental disability providers have not been forgotten in the state’s efforts to cover the direct costs of raising the minimum wage. State and federal supplements for those providers will total more than $232 million in the first three fiscal years of the wage increases. That funding is in addition to money that was appropriated for home care agencies, nursing homes and hospitals...Read more here.

Nonprofits still facing challenges in city contracting process - 4/12/16

If we were looking up the phrase “procurement reform” in the dictionary, the definition would be the Human Services Council Report, “NY Nonprofits in the Aftermath of FEGS: A Call to Action.” New York City spends roughly $4 billion on human service contracts. These nonprofit groups take care of our seniors, children, and disabled. The Federation Employment Guidance Service was a $200 million social service umbrella agency that went bankrupt a year ago, and the Human Services Council – a consortium of nonprofit providers for city services – initiated a task force to determine why. The report identifies multiple problems and prescribes three critical steps for reform. While the report is a “call to action” for all levels of government – city, state and federal – the New York City Council Committee on Contracts is focused on procurement reform on the city level...Read more here.

NYC Service Providers Getting Squeezed by Problematic Government Contracts - 4/11/16

Human services nonprofits in New York serve the city’s most vulnerable populations through critical programs like foster care, homelessness services, after-school programs, mental health care, childhood education, senior care, job training, and food pantries. But, reports the Gotham Gazette, “many of these organizations are faltering due to problems with the ways in which government approaches contracting.”...Read more here.

City Approach to Nonprofit Contracting Questioned - 4/6/16

Human services nonprofits serve the city’s most vulnerable populations, providing a range of critical programs like foster care, homelessness services, after-school programs, mental health care, food pantries, and more. But, many of these organizations are faltering due to problems with the ways in which government approaches contracting...Read more here.

Council Hearing Examines Nonprofit Financing Concerns - 4/4/16

City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal held a hearing on Monday to discuss the financial viability of the human services sector, admittedly “not a sexy topic,” she said, but one that needed to be addressed in light of the growing number of nonprofits facing insolvency...Read more here.

NY City Council Reexamines Nonprofit Contract Policies - 4/4/16

In response to calls from New York City nonprofits to revisit procurement policies that they say have contributed to a “harsh and threatening” operating environment, the City Council’s Committee on Contracts held an oversight hearing on Monday to discuss potential improvements to how the city does business with nonprofit human services providers...Read more here.

The Financial Health and Viability of Human Services Nonprofits - 4/2/16

Two recent reports have given us an important perspective on this critical situation in a timely, comprehensive and professional fashion. It would serve nonprofits well to reflect on and understand the implications of these reports and to use them in advocating for the construction of a service sector that responds to the shortcomings, pitfalls and risks that are faced today...Read more here.

How to Keep Troubled Charities From Failing - 3/31/16

The bankruptcy last year of New York’s largest social-service charity, FEGS, sent shock waves through the nonprofit world. Nobody expected that a venerable, $250 million organization could go down so fast...Read more here.

N.Y. Nonprofits Seek $200 Million to Cover Minimum-Wage Hike - 3/23/16

Leaders of government-funded New York social-service charities called on legislators Tuesday to approve Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed minimum-wage increase and to include $200 million in the state budget to help cover their higher payrolls, Newsday and the Albany Times Union report...Read more here.

In Minimum Wage Push, Supporters Hope No One Is Left Behind - 3/23/16

Legislative supporters of increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 are conducting a parallel campaign: Ensure no one is left out to dry in a minimum wage agreement. The push includes upstate and suburban lawmakers who worry an agreement could only include the New York City region...Read more here.

Advocates push for minimum wage funding for nonprofits - 3/23/16

Read more here.

Minimum wage advocates seek $200M in budget for nonprofits - 3/22/16

Supporters on Tuesday made a public plea to attach $200 million in additional state spending to a budget proposal that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour as a way to cover the costs of the higher wage for nonprofit social service groups...Read more here.

Nonprofits want $15 wage, and the state funding to pay for it - 3/22/16

Saying they don’t want to be “scapegoated” for a failure to pass an increase in the minimum wage, representatives of publicly funded nonprofit service providers held a news conference at the Capitol on Tuesday morning to press for approval of the boost as well as the increase in state support needed to pay for it...Read more here.

Advocates of minimum wage hike rally against cost argument - 3/22/16

With 10 days until a final agreement is due, advocacy groups are ramping up their efforts to include a $15 minimum wage in the state budget. Several nonprofit organizations, advocates and Democratic legislators are slated to hold a rally outside of the Senate chambers in the Capitol Tuesday calling for a $15 minimum wage...Read more here.

What we learn when a nonprofit closes its doors… - 3/16/16

A year after the largest human services provider in New York City suddenly collapsed and closed its doors after 80 years, we can learn valuable lessons through two “post-mortem” reports...Read more here.

Second report in wake of FEGS collapse urges nonprofit boards to ‘do better’ - 3/15/16

Board members of the city’s nonprofits must take more responsibility and become better stewards of their organizations, says a new report released Tuesday, the second self-examination of the sector to come out in the past month...Read more here.

New report highlights nonprofit risk management in post-FEGS climate - 3/15/16

Late last month, New York’s nonprofit community turned its attention to the Human Services Council’s examination of the pressing challenges facing nonprofits in the state...After just a few weeks, another report has come along to pick up where HSC left off. “Risk Management for Nonprofits” – the result of a partnership between SeaChange Capital Partners, a merchant bank that focuses on the nonprofit sector, and Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm – acknowledges the same environment that HSC highlighted, but focuses its recommendations on point-by-point steps that nonprofits and their trustees should take to stay afloat in a turbulent operating environment...Read more here.

Another Voice: Reform is needed now for state's nonprofit sector - 3/15/16

In late 2014, the New York City social services mega-agency FEGS (Federation Employment and Guidance Service) suddenly closed, to the dismay of funders, service recipients, staff and investors. How could the failure of a $250-million social service agency occur overnight? Read more here.

Helping New York Nonprofits in a Time of Crisis - 3/14/16

It has been nearly a year since Federation Employment and Guidance Services (FEGS) filed for bankruptcy, leaving 120,000 New York households without essential services, 1,900 employees without jobs, and unpaid creditors holding more than $47 million in debt...Read more here.

Media cheer lawsuit against state ethics board - 3/9/16

PR firms responded to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics' designation of PR professionals' attempts to persuade editorial boards to opine on government matters as lobbying with a lawsuit. Anat Gerstein and Allison Sesso criticized the rule as an infringement on the non-profits' ability to voice concerns against misguided bills, programs, and funding proposals...Read more here.

Social Bankruptcy in the Era of 'Too Big to Fail' - 3/3/16

Most New Yorkers are aware of the homelessness crisis because they see people sleeping on the sidewalks and read tragic stories of families in terrible shelter conditions. Largely unnoticed, however, is another crisis: the impending insolvency of many of the nonprofit human services agencies that we depend on to care for the homeless and 2.5 million other struggling city residents...Read more here.

Rush to the rescue of NYC’s nonprofits: It's a crisis moment - 3/2/16

Most New Yorkers are aware of the homelessness crisis because they see people sleeping on the sidewalks and read tragic stories of families in terrible shelter conditions. Largely unnoticed, however, is another crisis: the impending insolvency of many of the nonprofit human services agencies that we depend on to care for the homeless and 2.5 million other struggling city residents...Read more here.

The FEGS Autopsy: Bad Nonprofit Business in a Tough Operating Environment - 2/26/16

When the New York social services mega-agency FEGS (Federation Employment & Guidance Service) suddenly declared its closure at the end of 2014, onlookers were shocked and more than a little confused. How could the failure of the largest social service agency in New York occur overnight? Within a few months, we heard the Human Services Council was to do a forensic report on the causes of the $250M/year, largely government funded agency, and at least some of us have been waiting for its analysis with some curiosity...Read more here.

Nonprofit and government leaders grapple with post-FEGS realities - 2/25/16

One year after the shocking failure of FEGS, at a time when the human services sector is facing increasing uncertainty, leaders from nonprofits and government convened in lower Manhattan on Wednesday to assess the systemic threats to New York’s nonprofit providers...Read more here.

Will state ethics reforms silence nonprofits? - 2/25/16

You’ll be hard pressed to find someone to argue against the need for ethics reform in Albany. However, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, the government entity spearheading ethics changes, recently took a curious step toward what they deem ethics reform by requiring public relations firms that talk to the press about government issues to register as lobbyists and report their conversations. We find this troubling, and so should the thousands of nonprofits across the state. Nonprofits add a valuable perspective on legislative matters, often giving voice to the voiceless. We believe they could very well be silenced by JCOPE’s move...Read more here.

Wall Street Journal - Nonprofits Grow Wary of Financial Squeeze - 2/23/16

On Wednesday, the Human Services Council, a New York-based nonprofit trade group, is expected to release its recommendations for the organizations and agencies that have some part of the $5.8 billion in government-funded human-services contracts in the state this fiscal year...Learn more here.

Politico - In the aftermath of FEGS, human service providers warn of crisis - 2/23/16

The collapse of the Federation Employment & Guidance Service a year ago sent shock waves through the New York nonprofit world, with executives wondering who might be next. FEGS, the largest human services provider in New York, was thought to be too big to fail and its bankruptcy, officially declared last March, highlighted how precarious the entire sector had become...Read more here.

N.Y. Charities Find Government Contracts Don't Cover Costs - 2/24/16

With the collapse last year of the large and mostly taxpayer-funded New York City charity FEGS, other area nonprofits are growing wary of the financial squeeze that can come with relying primarily on government human-services contracts, The Wall Street Journal reports...Read more here.

Cuomo Spotlights Proposed Anti-poverty Initiatives

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo offered a variety of state help in his speech and budget proposals Wednesday for New Yorkers who may have felt left out of the state’s recovery: the poor and homeless, the young, people isolated in rural areas, and the aging and disabled and their caregivers...also, a Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment Program would have $50 million to invest in capital projects for nonprofits to improve their efficiency and quality...Read more here.

Nonprofits: Governor’s Goals Require More Funding, Details

The plans that Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out in his State of the State address and budget lack the details and funding to make them a reality, nonprofit leaders told New York Nonprofit Media.Many expressed optimism that the hurdles could be cleared and were generally happy with the governor’s direction, but warned that poor planning and underfunding could derail his well-intentioned initiatives...Read more here.

$15 minimum wage for health care, human services not funded in Gov. Cuomo's budget

A gradual minimum wage increase to $15 an hour is not fully funded for health care and human services workers in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget. The lack of funding is likely to become an issue as the budget moves forward in the Legislature, where some Senate Republicans have expressed concern about the potential effects of a higher minimum wage on businesses and non-profits...Read more here.

Nonprofits Welcome Palacio, an “Unknown Quantity”

Many nonprofit human service providers are cautiously optimistic about Herminia Palacio, the new leader appointed to manage the problems of poverty and homelessness in New York City...Read more here.

IDC unveils New York 2020 Agenda: A Blueprint for a Better New York

The Independent Democratic Conference released the New York 2020 Agenda: A Blueprint for a Better New York on Thursday, a comprehensive policy package focused on improving education, housing, employment and quality-of-life in every corner of New York State...Read more here.

As Head of Homeless Services Steps Down, Nonprofits Wary About What’s in Store

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday that Gilbert Taylor, the commissioner of the city Department of Homeless Services, is stepping down, marking a major shake-up in the city’s human services leadership and inspiring mixed reactions from the nonprofit human services sector...Read more here.

Coalition Presses the Issue of Minimum Nonprofit Workers’ Wage in NY

A coalition of advocacy groups led by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the Fiscal Policy Institute, and the Human Services Council are leading an effort to have state-funded nonprofits pay workers at least $15/hour. The request is backed up by a report, “A Fair Wage for Human Service Workers,” released this month...Read more here.

Nonprofits Launch Statewide Campaign for $15 Minimum Wage

More than 200,000 people work in day-care centers, senior centers, homeless shelters and other service providers in the state. More than two-thirds have some college education. But according to Allison Sesso, director of the Human Services Council, half are paid less than $15 an hour and almost a third make less than $10.50...Read more here.

Group of nonprofits calls for state to fund $15 minimum wage in social services contracts

A group of New York nonprofits wants to see the minimum wage for state social service contract workers increased to $15 an hour. The move, if paid for by the state in contracts with nonprofit service providers, would cost the state about $300 million when fully phased in, according to a Fiscal Policy Institute estimate. That's an increase of about 20 percent from the current $1.5 billion in state contracts for human services...Read more here.

Report: $15 wage floor for nonprofits will cost $250-$300 million yearly

To fund a $15-an-hour wage floor for nonprofit human services workers in New York, the government will have to increase annual spending on contracts by 20 percent, or an additional $250 to $300 million, according to estimates released today in a joint report by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Fiscal Policy Institute and the Human Services Council...Read more here.

Investing in New York's Human Capital

Recently, New York's Governor Cuomo announced he will establish a mandatory $15 minimum wage for all state workers...this is a welcome policy change and Governor Cuomo should be applauded for his efforts. Now, it's time for the governor to do the same for the thousands of human service employees working on state contracts...Read more here.

Rev. Calvin Butts seeks salvation for the church-based organization that resurrected Harlem

Michelle Jackson, HSC's Associate Director, was quoted in the above article on Abyssinian Development Corp., the church-based housing and social-services organization. Regarding Abyssinian's current situation, she says, “Many local nonprofits are finding that government support isn't keeping up with demand.” Read more here.

New York Times Letter to the Editor

Allison Sesso's Letter to the Editor regarding New York Times's “Cuomo Raising Minimum Pay for State Jobs” has been posted. Read the letter here.

Radio / Audio

NYN Media Podcast: Surveying the Nonprofit Operating Landscape - 6/9/16

For NYN Media's inaugural podcast, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s former Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services; Jeremy Kohomban, Executive Director of Children’s Village, which serves struggling families throughout Southern New York state; Susan Stamler, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses, which represents over 38 settlement houses in New York City; and Lewis Zuchman, Executive Director of SCAN NY, which serves high-risk families in East Harlem and the South Bronx, weigh in on challenges facing nonprofits in the human services sector. Whether it’s overbearing regulatory and reporting requirements, underfunded government contracts or a forced embrace of business models that emphasize outputs over life-changing outcomes, the panelists encourage the nonprofit sector to leverage the power of its voice to craft solutions and demand respect...Listen here.

Allison Sesso Interviewed by Liana Downey - 5/16/16

Liana Downey, author, speaker and strategic advisor, interviews Allison Sesso, Executive Director of the Human Services Council about the collapse of a $250m nonprofit organization; the Commission the Human Services Council spear-headed to investigate this and other industry bankruptcies; and the Commission's findings. A must-listen podcast with major ramifications for policy makers, government, funders and nonprofit leaders...Listen here.

What Hurricane Sandy Left Behind - Latino USA, October 25, 2013

One year after Hurricane Sandy, many residents are still struggling to get back on their feet, particularly low-income and immigrant New Yorkers. Latino USA producer Diana Montaño goes to Staten Island, one of the hardest hit parts of the city, to check in with residents one year after Sandy.

Listen to the full segment here.

HSC Radio Show Returns Better than Ever! Sept 12, 2013

For the past two months, HSC has been presenting a weekly radio show, Voices of Human Services, on WWRL 1600 AM. We spread our message about the value of human services – and the critical role played by nonprofit provider agencies – far and wide to a broader audience. This initial series of programs has been highly successful and has attracted many listeners to both on-air broadcasts and subsequent online podcasts.

Now, we’re taking this effort a step further!

HSC has joined forces with the region’s leading human services-focused media group, New York Nonprofit Press (NYNP), to co-produce a new and expanded program – Human Services News and Views. We’re very excited about our partnership with NYNP, which will enable us to add new content to the program, increase our outreach, and expand our audience. The show will be promoted in the NYNP E-Newsletter, which goes to 17,000 recipients each day, as well as in the hard-copy edition of NYNP, which is distributed to 30,000 individuals each month.

Our new program format will re-cap human services news for the previous week, highlight upcoming events, examine local and national human services issues, and feature on-air interviews with leaders in the local nonprofit human services community. The series will be hosted by HSC’s Michael Stoller and Allison Sesso, and Fred Scaglione, Editor of NYNP. Human Services News and Views will air on WWRL 1600 AM at 5:00 p.m. every Sunday for 10 weeks, starting on September 15.

Besides tuning into 1600 AM on your radio, you can listen to our show by:

· Clicking on “Listen Live Now!” in the top right corner of WWWRL 1600's Website
· Downloading WWRL’s free app from the iTunes or Google Play stores and listening live.
· Downloading the free TuneIn Radio app from iTunes or Google Play and searching for “Voices of Human Services” (for past shows) or “Human Services News and Views”
· Visiting the Podcast section of our website.
· Following us on Facebook and Twitter.

We hope you’ll tune in and tell your friends and colleagues about our show!

Click Here for the press release.

"Voices of Human Services" – WWRL-AM, June 26, 2013-July 3, 2013

Listen to all of our podcasts here

We are thrilled to announce that HSC will present its first-ever radio series, “Voices of Human Services,” on WWRL-AM 1600, 11 pm to 12 midnight every Wednesday night from June 26 to August 28. WWRL’s talk-radio programming focuses on progressive issues and reaches a diverse audience of more than three-quarters of a million listeners in the New York area.

Featuring guests from the nonprofit, government, and private sectors, “Voices of Human Services” will explore a range of topics related to the provision of human services and the needs of New Yorkers, such as the effects of budget cuts and the role of nonprofits in disaster recovery. The series is an important opportunity for HSC to shape public conversations about the value of human services to New York, raise the profile of human services programs, highlight the issues that nonprofit service providers encounter, and promote HSC’s work as the voice of the human services community.
The radio program will be streamed online at www.wwrl1600.com, available via podcast, and promoted via social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

To read the full release, click here.

We hope you will tune in and help us get the word out about this exciting new series!

City Watch – WBAI-FM, July 7, 2012

Allison Sesso joined City Watch to discuss the city budget.

Evening News - WBAI-FM, March 28, 2012

HSC's Executive Director Michael Stoller talks about the recent restorations in the state budget. Although some restorations were made, most people won't see any improvement.
You can listen to the show and Michael's interview at 20:00 here .

Evening News – WBAI-FM, Jan 18, 2012

HSC Deputy Executive Director Allison Sesso joined WBAI Radio 99.5FM Evening News to discuss the recent impact of budget cuts on NY human services, the Governor's FY13 Executive Budget, and HSC's report: "A Lose-Lose Proposition: The Economic Impact of Lost Human Services in New York State". You can listen to the show and Allison's interview at 15:30 here.

City Watch – WBAI-FM, Nov 19, 2011

Michael Stoller and Allison Sesso joined City Watch to discuss Who Cares? I Do., HSC's grassroots effort to make the government accountable to the needs of all New Yorkers. Who Cares? I Do. raises awareness of the impact funding cuts will have on New York's individuals, families, communities, and economy.

Nicole Sandler – Radio or Not!, May 11, 2011

Nicole speaks with the president of Florida Atheists and Secular Humanists about their Rapture Party on May 21 and the intrusion of religion in politics; Allison Sesso of the Human Services Council of NYC about OnMay12.com; and Huffington Post's Ryan Grim about the insanity of Alan Simpson and his catfood commission findings.

Click here to listen to Allison Sesso's interview

Click here to download the full April 11 program, or listen online at radioornot.com.

Television / Video

HSC Commission Report Panel at NYN Media's OpCon - 6/9/16

City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, Allison Sesso, HSC's Executive Director, and Gordon Campbell, Chair of HSC's Commission to Examine Nonprofit Human Services Closures, spoke at NYN Media's OpCon on June 9. The panel discussed the recommendations from the report as well as HSC's upcoming RFP and Government Agency rater. Councilmember Rosenthal expressed her support for fully funding human services nonprofits for our work as well as the need to educate City Council about the importance of fully funded contracts...Watch the video here.

Represent NYC: Funding Human Service Nonprofits with NYC Council Member Helen Rosenthal - 6/5/16

Over 2.5 million New York City residents rely on nonprofit agencies that provide critical services such as food pantries, after school programs, mental health support, and senior services. Yet these agencies are grossly underfunded, putting millions of New Yorkers at risk. On this episode of Represent NYC, District 6 Council Member Helen Rosenthal welcomes Allison Sesso, Executive Director of the Human Services Council, and Fred Shack, CEO of Urban Pathways, to discuss the importance of addressing this funding crisis...Watch the video here.

PhilTV: Funder Advocacy Is Powerful in Conversation on NP Sector Sustainability - 5/24/16

With the high-profile collapse of FEGS last year, New York's nonprofit sector has been seriously investigating and documenting what went wrong, with an eye toward changing harmful funding practices that contributed to its, and others’ demise. Nonprofit and foundation leaders are now actively working on issues such as full-cost budgeting, OMB Guidance on Indirect Costs, funding for the increased minimum wage and a host of other interrelated topics...Watch the panel here.

Clock Ticking for Budget Deal Between Lawmakers, Gov. Cuomo - 3/22/16

The clock is ticking for a budget deal between lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Advocates were at the state capitol Tuesday, once again rallying for a higher minimum wage. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has the latest from the Capitol Bureau...See it here.

CEO Corner: Allison Sesso, Human Services Council - 3/21/16

Allison Sesso, executive director of the Human Services Council, came by the NYN office to speak about her agency's new report on the pressures facing the New York nonprofit sector in the wake of FEGS' closure, as well as the challenges in communicating nonprofits' message in support of a $15 minimum wage...See it here.

Nonprofits support minimum wage hike - 3/22/16

Nonprofit organizations give their own tips at the Capitol. They teamed up with some lawmakers to cheer on Gov. Cuomo's push for a $15 an hour minimum wage...See it here.

NY1 Online: Panel Talks Lessons for Nonprofits After Collapse of Social Services Agency FEGS - 3/3/16

Errol Louis discussed the collapse of the social services agency FEGS, and the lessons for nonprofit organizations, with Allison Sesso of the Human Services Council; Gordon Campbell from New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service; and Frederick Shack of Urban Pathways...Watch the panel here.

Wage Warriors: A Minimum Wage Forum with FPWA, HSC and FPI

Jennifer Jones Austin, chief executive officer and executive director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, James Parrott, deputy director and chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute, and Allison Sesso, executive director of the Human Services Council, visited New York Nonprofit Media’s office to discuss their push for a government-funded $15-per-hour minimum wage for the human services sector...Click here to watch the interview.

HSC's Reinvestment Campaign on City and State

Allison Sesso, HSC's Executive Director, and Bobby Watts, HSC Board Member and Executive Director of Care for the Homeless were recently on City and State TV discussing HSC's State campaign for reinvestment in the human services sector.

Watch it here...

“Contributing to Social Welfare and Cultural Affairs”, January 23, 2014

HSC's Michael Stoller as well as several other HSC members spoke on a panel exploring the City Council's role in supporting the nonprofits and the ways in which the Council can improve its support of the vitality of the nonprofit sector…read more....

City Council Members Trash Various Sanitation Department Plans - Mar 13, 2012

A typical budget hearing turned into a turf war Tuesday as City Council members ripped into sanitation projects they said would destroy their neighborhoods. via ny1.com

Nonprofit Groups Face Challenges Under State Law On Licensed Workers - Feb 9, 2012

Many nonprofit groups in NYS employ licensed social workers, but as of last week, this means that they're commiting a felony. Michael Stoller speaks on the issue. via ny1.com

Unions, Nonprofits Team Up to Oppose Disclosure of City Campaigns' Independent Spending – Oct 24, 2011

The disclosure could violate the First Amendment and restrict their ability to communicate with their members. via ny1.com

Austerity Breakfast at Tiffany's – Oct 13, 2011

Michael Stoller spoke at the Austerity Breakfast at Tiffany's. For video of the event, click here. Additional footage can be found here.

Conference Focuses on Millionaire's Tax – Oct 3, 2011

Allison Sesso speaks on Capital Tonight in a conference on Millionaire's Tax to voice support for progressive revenue generation. Click here to watch this video.