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LETTERS FOR VIRTUAL BUDGET ADVOCACY DAY

You can use the template letters below to create a letter to Governor Cuomo and your New York State Legislators.


GOVERNOR CUOMO

The sample letter is available below, or you can download a copy: Sample Letter To Governor Cuomo

February 23, 2021

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Re: New York State Budget FY ’21 –‘22

Dear Governor Cuomo,

I am writing to you today as a/an {advocate, program director, executive director, etc.} at {your organization}.

I’d like to start by thanking you for your efforts to implement a pilot project to identify a new flexible funding model for New York’s domestic violence service providers so we can better assist and empower domestic violence survivors and their families. Transforming New York’s antiquated domestic violence service delivery system is critical to ensuring victims and their families receive the support they need immediately and without conditions. Although OCFS’ pilot project could not be implemented in 2020, we support the effort and are optimistic the pilot will begin this year. We therefore ask you to maintain the $5 million re-appropriation in the Aid to Localities budget so this project can proceed.

Changing New York’s funding model, however, is likely to take several years. More funding is needed now to ensure that no one who is asking for shelter or other domestic violence services is turned away.

I urge you to support:

1. Adding a $10 million emergency fund to ensure sustainability of New York’s domestic violence services during the Pandemic.

Due to New York’s antiquated funding model, domestic violence programs are receiving less funding now because fewer survivors are entering shelter during this public health emergency. Occupancy rates in many shelters have declined as much as 55%, resulting in a corresponding decline in revenues. New York’s domestic violence programs are losing approximately $1 million a month. New York State must provide an influx of funding to domestic violence programs now to ensure services remain available to all who need them.

2.  Increasing TANF funding for non-residential domestic violence services to $6 million.

Non-residential supports for domestic violence victims include critical services such as toll-free hotlines, legal advocacy, workforce skills development, child care supports, language assistance, and counseling. The current
$3 million set-aside of TANF funding included in this year’s executive budget has not increased since it was first proposed and allocated 20 years ago. We support increasing this TANF set aside to $6 million to support New Yorkers experiencing domestic violence.

3. Restoration of $2,356,000 for domestic violence programs and legal services for victims.

Domestic violence survivors turn to legal advocates for assistance obtaining orders of protection, securing child custody orders so that a parent and children can legally and safely leave an abusive parent, and to provide critical assistance during criminal proceedings as well as separation and divorce. The Executive Budget cuts $2,356,000 from the DCJS Aid to Localities budget for these purposes. We ask you to support restoration of these appropriations to maintain critical domestic violence services to victims. 

If you would like more information, I can be reached at {phone number}, or you can contact Joan Gerhardt, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at NYSCADV, at 518-482-5465.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

{Your name and title}


NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATURE

To ensure the strongest impact on Virtual Budget Advocacy Day, we are asking advocates to send letters to Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senators and Assembly members. We have developed the following letter for you to use, or use it as a basis to draft your own personalized letter.


You may use the sample letter below download a copy here: Sample Letter To New York State Legislators 

February 23, 2021

The Honorable {Legislator’s full name}

{Building / Street}

Albany, NY {ZIP}

Re: New York State Budget FY ’21 – ‘22

 

Dear {Assembly member/Senator + last name},

I am writing to you today as a/an {advocate, program director, executive director, etc.} at {your organization}.

As you may know, New York State consistently has the highest demand for domestic violence services, and the highest number of unmet requests for services, in the country. To give you a sense of the demand: on just one day in September 2020, more than 8,300 domestic violence survivors received services. More troubling, on that same day, 1,900 requests for services were received but could not be fulfilled due to stagnant or decreased funding.

Unfortunately, the situation has escalated during the Pandemic. Calls to crisis hotlines, requests for legal advocacy, counseling and other non-residential services, and requests for short-term financial assistance have all increased. Yet funding for these services is either non-existent, decreasing or flat. Many domestic violence programs are barely getting by financially and making difficult decisions regarding how to continue providing high-quality, trauma-informed services with the funding available to them. Many programs are using financial reserves or obtaining lines of credit to keep the lights on and shelters staffed.

In order for New York State to ensure domestic violence services are sufficient to address the growing need, it is critical for New York to make a meaningful investment in domestic violence services in our state. I urge you to support increases to critical funding in the budget so no one who is asking for shelter or other domestic violence services is ever turned away.

This year, we have four budget priorities:

1. Add a $10 million emergency fund to ensure sustainability of New York’s domestic violence services during the Pandemic.

Due to New York’s antiquated funding model, domestic violence programs are receiving less funding now because fewer survivors are entering shelter during this public health emergency. Occupancy rates in many shelters have declined as much as 55%, resulting in a corresponding decline in revenues. New York’s domestic violence programs are losing approximately $1 million a month. New York State must provide an influx of funding to domestic violence programs now to ensure services remain available to all who need them.

2.  Increase TANF funding for non-residential domestic violence services.

Non-residential supports for domestic violence victims include critical services such as toll-free hotlines, legal advocacy, workforce skills development, child care supports, language assistance, and counseling. The current $3 million set-aside of TANF funding included in this year’s executive budget has not increased since it was first proposed and allocated 20 years ago. We support increasing this TANF set aside to $6 million to support New Yorkers experiencing domestic violence.

3. Maintain the Governor’s $5 million re-appropriation in OCFS’ Aid to Localities budget to implement a flexible funding model pilot project.

Last year, the Governor and Legislature appropriated $5 million in the Aid to Localities budget for OCFS to pilot a new flexible funding model that would reduce the barriers and challenges for domestic violence service providers assisting survivors. Unfortunately, OCFS could not implement the pilot project due to the Pandemic. NYSCADV wholeheartedly supports the effort, recognizing it to be the next step to transform New York’s antiquated domestic violence service delivery system. We urge the Legislature to not only maintain the existing re-appropriation, but to consider adding additional funding to assure the pilot can be implemented fully.

4. Restore $2,356,000 for domestic violence programs and legal services for victims.

Domestic violence survivors turn to legal advocates for assistance obtaining orders of protection, securing child custody orders so that a parent and children can legally and safely leave an abusive parent, and to provide critical assistance during criminal proceedings as well as separation and divorce. For several years, the Legislature has restored proposals to eliminate $2,356,000 in the DCJS Aid to Localities budget. We ask you to restore these appropriations

to maintain critical domestic violence services to victims. 

If you would like more information, I can be reached at {phone number}, or you can contact Joan Gerhardt, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at NYSCADV, at 518-482-5465.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

{Your name and title}

Identify who your representative is and find their contact page or email. Check this page to find the related links.


 

Other Legislator Materials

You can attach these materials in your emails to legislators.