November 2012 City Budget Update - HIV/AIDS

VOCAL-NY CITY BUDGET UPDATE- HIV/AIDS

Mayor Bloomberg announced roughly $1.7 billion in new budget cuts over the next two years in his midyear November Financial Plan, which he quietly posted online last Friday. It does not include additional costs from Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery, or factor in the potentially devastating austerity measures being considered by Congress and the White House.

The NYC Office of Management and Budget (OMB) list of Programs to Eliminate the Gap (PEGs), or budget cuts, can be found online at http://www.nyc.gov/html/omb/downloads/pdf/peg11_12.pdf. A list of PEGs in the November Financial Plan that may impact the HIV/AIDS community are listed below.

 >> Please let us know if you have experienced any challenges related to implementation of these PEGs. <<

Department of Social Services / Human Resources Administration
  • HIV/AIDS Program Efficiencies: Applies cash assistance budgeting rules for non-medically eligible adult members of HIV/AIDS households and aligns rental assistance levels with medical necessity.”  This would enact a $470,000 cut in 2013, $2.455 million cut in 204, $3.893 million in 2015 and 2016. [page 15 of the pdf]

Based on conversations with HASA, this appears to be projected savings from implementation of a new policy first announced by a right-wing think thank called the Manhattan Institute via the New York Post last April. It was foreshadowed by HRA Commissioner Doar’s oped for the Huffington Post last December and in an internal HRA reorganization memo obtained by VOCAL-NY last spring.

In explaining this PEG, HASA informed us that they will be reviewing cases with adult children on the caseload and their employment status. Adult children on the caseload who are employed will either have their income towards their parent(s) caseload or the child will be taken off the case. We were told that HASA won’t threaten the close the case. We will ask HASA to issue a public, formal policy regarding this to bring more clarity.

  • Supportive Housing Accruals: Natural delays in the procurement and development of congregate housing units will produce one-time savings.” This represents $3.054 million of projected savings in 2013 and $4.574 million in 2014 due to delays in the development of NY/NY III supportive housing units contracted by HASA. [page 15 of the pdf].

While HASA has pledged to move forward with the remaining units of supportive housing promised under the NY/NY III agreement, the delay has led to savings for the agency during the next two years.

While there were no projected savings included in the PEG document, we have also heard that HASA expects to realize savings by encouraging case managers to direct single, childless HASA clients into efficiencies instead of one bedroom apartments.

Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
  • City Council Funding: The Department will reduce City Council contracts by 5.4%.” This would enact a $1.928 cut in 2013. [page 19 of the pdf]

We are seeking clarification from OMB whether this applies to City Council discretionary initiatives contained in the FY13 Schedule C budget. If so, it may impact HIV/AIDS-related programming supported through City Council discretionary funding, such as the HIV/AIDS Communities of Color, HIV/AIDS Faith Based and Injection Drug Users Health Alliance (IDUHA) initiatives, along with funding for specific community-based organizations providing HIV/AIDS services.

  • “Program Reductions and Efficiencies: The Department will eliminate vacant positions, maximize revenue, and achieve OTPS efficiencies in HIV, Childcare Inspections, Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Epidemiology Services, Mental Hygiene, and other support activities.” It will result in layoffs of 12 staff positions in the current budget year. [page 15 of the pdf]
  • “Program Reductions and Efficiencies – Layoffs: The Department will layoff staff in HIV, Immunization, Childcare Inspections, Veterinary & Pest Control Services, Epidemiology Services, and other support activities. Reductions in HIV staff may lead to delays in partner notification.” It will result in layoffs of 14 staff positions in next budget year.

These last two PEGs are a reminder that our colleagues in government are not immune from austerity. We do not have clarity on what internal DOHMH HIV/AIDS programs and staff positions may be eliminated. [page 15 of the pdf]

Media Coverage of Bloomberg’s Mid-Year Budget Cuts

The Mayor’s November Financial Plan was first posted online last Friday night, although there was no public announcement and reporters did not discover it until Sunday. Here are two articles on the impact of the broader cuts:

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