Investment in the Human Services Sector

HSC has fought for investments for the human services sector since 1991. Year after year, we ward off cuts to the sector and push for targeted new investments through our strong advocacy efforts. By developing and maintaining strong relationships with key policy makers, HSC protects and strengthens the investments and policies that affect New York's human service delivery system.

Working as a liaison between government and the provider community, HSC maximizes the resources dedicated to the delivery of human services by demonstrating the soundness of these public investments. Regular investments in our sector lead to:

Studies show that clients receive the highest quality care when their providers are well trained, experienced, and stay in their positions long enough to develop stable relationships with them. Recruiting and retaining qualified workers to care for our most vulnerable populations is becoming increasingly difficult due to depressed salaries and diminished benefits. Regular COLAs help reduce the adverse effects of high turnover rates and attract higher quality staff, ensuring the provision of excellent client care.

Low retention rates among employees not only impede the delivery of quality services, but also results in a loss of efficiency. When a program has a high turnover rate, there are both direct and indirect costs. The indirect costs that result from reduced supervision, employee burnout, and the learning curves of new employees, and direct costs, which include expenditures on overtime pay and job advertisements, shift funds away from core mission work. In the presence of high turnover rates, it often costs more to provide lesser quality services to fewer clients.

Despite the clear importance of the work of social service providers, they remain poorly compensated. Even more discouraging is the fact that these low salaries also fail to reflect changes in the cost of living. When these adjustments are not made, the value of a salary is lowered. 

HSC’s efforts have consistently led to additional workforce investments.

In 2002-03, HSC’s Workforce Campaign was successful in advocating for an $86 million cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and rate increase package for the mental health, child welfare, alcoholism/substance abuse, and developmental disabilities sub-sectors, from New York State. In 2005, the City of New York agreed to a $70 million COLA package that included a 14 percent increase and $1,000 employee bonus for staff in the aging, child welfare preventive, and homeless services areas.

In more recent years, there have been many challenges to our sector, including budget cuts and the economic downturn of 2008. After six years without reinvestments, HSC was successful in securing a statewide 4% salary increase for direct care workers, .a multi-year COLA in a number of areas, including aging, child welfare, health, and mental health. In 2015 we also secured a $50 million dollar infrastructure fund for nonprofits from New York State, to help them make much needed technological and building upgrades, repairs, and more. We are also proud to announce that in 2015, after more than six years without one, HSC and its allies have successfully lobbied for a 2.5% COLA for the human services sector and a wage floor of $11.50 for social services.

Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature took a monumental step towards strengthening our human services delivery system when they established the Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment Program (NICIP). This unprecedented program, which is currently funded at $100 million, will help qualified service providers across the State make much-needed capital improvements and technology upgrades, which will enhance their ability to serve New Yorkers. HSC calls on you to join us from Monday, October 31, through Friday, November 4, for Nonprofit Infrastructure Week, during which we will celebrate this important investment and advocate for its expansion. This will build momentum for our lobbying efforts once the legislative session gets underway. Click here to find out how to participate.  

Recommitting to the Nonprofit Sector: Creating a Path to Sustainability through Policy Change

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Investing in Human capital: How Investments in Human Services Support a Strong Economy

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Dangerous Moves: How Public Funding Cuts to Human Services Hurt Women and Children

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A Lose-Lose Proposition: The Economic Impact of Lost Human Services in New York State

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