Protecting and Building Communities
Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs
Governor Cuomo proposed and signed into law an initiative to create the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, which transformed how the State protects the more than one million New Yorkers under the care or jurisdiction of state agencies, including over 200,000 children and adults with disabilities who reside in state operated or licensed residential programs.
In order to fight hunger and ensure the availability of fresh food throughout the state, Governor Cuomo created the FreshConnect program that brings fresh food from New York farms to underserved communities across New York. He created the New York State Anti-Hunger Task Force to bring together experts, advocates, and state and local officials to develop and implement recommendations to combat hunger and improve access to locally grown and produced fresh foods. The Governor also ended the finger-imaging requirement for all food stamp applicants and recipients in order to reduce the stigma long associated with this process.
Raising the Minimum Wage
Governor Cuomo and the Legislature raised New York’s minimum wage to $9.00 an hour by the end of 2015 in order to increase the standard of living for our workers, reduce poverty, and strengthen our economy. The increase helps ensure that the lower paid members of the workforce can participate in a robust and sustainable economy.
Rental Assistance for People Living with HIV/AIDS
The Governor created a new affordable housing program for low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. The program provides rental assistance for New Yorkers who are permanently disabled by HIV/AIDS so that they pay no more than 30 percent of their income toward their rent.
Saving SNAP Benefits for 300,000
Under the Governor’s leadership, the State preserved a total of $457 million in federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (i.e. food stamps) benefits for approximately 300,000 vulnerable households in New York and accessed an additional $50 million in heat subsidies.
Increase in Child Care Funding
The Governor secured an increase in child care subsidy funding to nearly $800 million to address the widespread need among low-income working families for affordable child care, benefitting approximately 223,000 children in the state.
In 2011, New York passed the Marriage Equality Act, and became the largest and most influential state in the nation to extend full marriage equality to same-sex couples. For Governor Cuomo, the fight for marriage equality was never just a struggle for rights and benefits under the law. It was about providing same-sex couples the equal ability to protect and care for one another, the equal freedom to express their lifelong commitment to each other, and the equal dignity of having their relationships recognized by the state they call home. Its passage helped restore New York’s reputation as a progressive leader in our nation.
Recognizing the affordable housing crisis facing the State, the Governor launched $1 billion House NY program to create thousands of affordable units across New York. The largest investment in affordable housing in more than 15 years, House NY will preserve thousands of Mitchell-Lama units, extending affordability for another 40 years.
Protections for Tenants
During the Governor’s first term in office, the State enacted the strongest reforms to the state’s rent laws in 40 years, providing protections for one million rent-regulated tenants and dramatically decreasing the number of units leaving the system. Created the Tenant Protection Unit to proactively audit and investigate landlord wrongdoing and take strong action against abusive landlords.
Created the Office for New Americans
Under Governor Cuomo, New York launched a series of efforts to help immigrants contribute to the economy and become a part of the Empire State. The Office’s 27 neighborhood-based Opportunity Centers help New Americans learn English, prepare for the U.S. citizenship exam, and start and grow businesses. Additionally, the Governor issued an Executive Order requiring all State agencies that provide direct services to the public to offer free interpretation and translation services to all New Yorkers, a first for all State agencies.
New York Youth Works Program
To stimulate the economy and reinvigorate inner city communities, the Governor launched a program to help young inner city youth get job training and find employment. The program has helped over 12,000 at-risk young people across New York and was expanded in the 2014-15 Budget.