New York City Council Header
File #: Res 1901-2013    Version: * Name: Prohibiting work experience programs in New York. (A.7119/S.05120)
Type: Resolution Status: Filed
Committee: Committee on General Welfare
On agenda: 8/22/2013
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign A.7119/S.05120, legislation that would amend the social services law, in relation to prohibiting work experience programs in New York.
Sponsors: Darlene Mealy, Charles Barron, Ruben Wills, Ydanis A. Rodriguez
Council Member Sponsors: 4
Res. No. 1901
 
 
Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign A.7119/S.05120, legislation that would amend the social services law, in relation to prohibiting work experience programs in New York.
 
 
By Council Members Mealy, Barron, Wills and Rodriguez
Whereas, The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ("TANF") program provides public assistance including, but not limited to, cash assistance and work opportunities to families in need by granting states federal funds through the TANF block grant; and
Whereas, States receive the TANF block grant and are given the flexibility to design and implement their own programs to accomplish the goals of TANF; and
Whereas, The goals of the TANF program are to: 1) assist families in need so that children can be cared for in their own homes; 2) reduce the dependency of parents in need by promoting job preparation, work and marriage; 3) prevent out-of-wedlock pregnancies; and 4) encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families; and
Whereas, TANF places an emphasis on working for one's benefits and requires each state to meet a 50 percent work activity engagement rate for all families receiving public assistance in order for the state to receive the maximum TANF grant amount; the remaining 50 percent of a state's caseload is work-exempt and does not need to be engaged in a work activity; and
Whereas, The Work Experience Program ("WEP"), is a work program in New York City administered by the Human Resources Administration ("HRA"), designed to place public assistance recipients in work experience assignments in order to receive cash assistance and help meet the state's  mandated work engagement requirement; and      
 
Whereas, As of May 19, 2013 there were 11,109 people enrolled in WEP receiving public assistance in New York City; and
Whereas, According to Community Voices Heard ("CVH"), WEP participants are not considered employees, do not receive a paycheck, are not eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, collective bargaining, unemployment or social security benefits; and
Whereas, Additionally, WEP participants do not receive education or training and rarely advance from their assigned position; and
Whereas, According to CVH, WEP provides New York City with a source of inexpensive labor because WEP participants are not paid by their employers and instead are subsidized by TANF; and  
Whereas, According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, TANF benefit levels are not high enough in any state to raise a family's income above 50 percent of the poverty line and TANF does much less to help families overcome deep poverty than it did prior to welfare reform, which required recipients to work in to order to receive public benefits; and   
Whereas, Therefore, because WEP does not provide enough financial resources to help a family overcome poverty and also does not provide training or education so a recipient could become qualified for a higher wage job, its effectiveness is questionable; and
Whereas, State legislation (A.7119/S.05120) aims to improve work activity options to public assistance recipients in New York by prohibiting counties within the state from using WEP to fulfill TANF work requirements now, therefore, be it
 Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign A.7119/S.05120, legislation that would amend the social services law, in relation to prohibiting work experience programs in New York.
EH
LS # 4792
6/20/13