In the last four months, we have faced a public health crisis, an economic crisis and a crisis of injustice. With the city on shutdown, we have been working around the clock to negotiate a budget like none we have ever negotiated. I thank Speaker Johnson for his leadership, for his vision and for his support in getting us through these three crises and to a point where we have negotiated an on-time budget that impacts our most vulnerable communities and restores cuts to the social safety net.
Today’s budget is a small but important step forward, significant in that this is the first time that funds have been taken from the NYPD budget to provide programs that empower youth, not imprison youth. I have said throughout this fight that our young people do NOT need more policing. They need support, guidance and opportunity — and that is what this budget provides. After weeks of round-the-clock negotiations, we have an agreement that saves the Summer Youth Employment Program and other youth programming that offers young people positive opportunities to learn and to grow to their full potential.
In April, the mayor abruptly announced that all summer youth programs would be totally cut from this budget. Zeroed out. We immediately began to fight to reinstate them. I heard the loud, strong voices of thousands of young people and spent weeks negotiating a budget that restores many of these cuts, not allowing our youth to be collateral damage. This budget makes a direct investment in the lives of 100,000 New York City youth.
This adopted budget restores $128.2 million in youth programming -- $116 million in summer programming and $12.2 million in Council-funded initiatives. Specifically:
At least 35,000 SYEP slots restored
At least 2,000 Work, Learn, Grow slots restored
At least 70,000 summer camp slots restored, with flexibility to allow families personal options through in-person or online camp models
$12.2 million allocated in Council-funded initiatives servicing youth through enriching afterschool programming, workforce certification programming, youth-mentoring and civic-focused education citywide through
$5.9 million for Afterschool Enrichment Initiative
$1 million for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of New York City
$460,000 in Civic Education in New York City Schools
$1.9 million for COMPASS
$1.3 million for Sports Training and Rolemodelsfor Success (STARS)
$1.7 million for YouthBuild
Other vital youth programming funded in this budget includes:
$16.3 million to the Council-funded Peter F. Vallone Academic Scholarship at CUNY affording over 25,000 students with scholarships to study all of CUNY’s senior and community colleges
$34 million restored to avoid the imminent cut to CUNY’s ASAP program (Accelerated Study in Associate Programs) that helps students to stay on track and graduate by providing financial and academic supports, including waivers for tuition and textbooks, and give students with MTA MetroCards. This program supports over 25,000 students who can now receive these vital services.
$4 million for the Department of Probation to support the NeON program (Neighborhood Opportunity Network) for 1,700 youth this summer to gain workplace skills in paid internships. An additional 40 youth will participate in the Each One Teach One program, providing youth jobs to work on a safe practice's COVID-19 response media campaign and at least 500 youth will support 22 community-based organizations in the Community Crisis Response Initiative.
$600 million in capital funds will now be redistributed from the NYPD and reinvested in Community Centers, citywide, through this historic budget negotiation.
This budget is unlike none we have experienced before. The Covid pandemic has not only taken an immense toll on the lives and livelihoods of New Yorkers, but also on the services our city can provide to its residents. As the city faced a $7 billion budget shortfall, the fight to protect youth programs has been an uphill battle, and I thank the many young people, advocates, providers and protestors who raised their collective voices with demands to reinstate these programs. This budget is evidence that your voices have been heard. You sent a powerful message to every level of city government.
Again, I thank Speaker Johnson for his dogged unwavering support, I thank my colleagues on the Budget Negotiation Team for never backing down from the fight to restore youth jobs, and all my Council colleagues, the City Council Finance Team under the leadership of Latonia McKinney, with special kudos to Regina Poreda Ryan, Eisha Wright and Michele Peregrin. I want to thank my Council staff for their work on this budget, and the thousands of New Yorkers, the protestors, the people who relentlessly advocated for a budget that makes investments where they are most needed. I encourage my colleagues to vote yes on this budget.