January 9, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
Mariah McGough, firstname.lastname@example.org, 203 470 9979
VOCAL-NY RESPONDS TO 2022 STATE OF THE STATE, CALL ON GOV. HOCHUL AND LEGISLATURE TO GO FARTHER
NEW YORK — Today, VOCAL-NY members and leaders gathered virtually to watch Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2022 State of the State address, a preview of what’s to come this legislative session, and the release of the State of the State Briefing Book. In response, VOCAL-NY released the following statement, attributable to Jawanza Williams, Director of Organizing:
“It’s no longer a question of if low-income New Yorkers are in crisis, it’s about how much worse it will get. Marginalized communities across the state need care and compassion to improve their daily lives, and we need Governor Hochul and the legislature to expand on the initial proposals in the State of the State.
For the first time in the state’s history, our Governor named harm reduction specifically as an intervention in addressing preventable overdose, and scaling up evidence-based solutions by investing in building an infrastructure of care to curb the overdose crisis. We are calling on Governor Hochul and the legislature to include authorizing Overdose Prevention Centers — which have already saved over 80 lives in New York City — as part of the proposals laid out today.
Although New York’s top official took time during the State of the State to center housing and homelessness, her proposal of creating 10,000 units of supportive housing is even less than what Cuomo long promised of 20,000 units. Our state was in need of rapidly increasing supportive housing then, and the need is even greater now. We are glad the governor included street outreach, which we have long called for, however these resources are most successful when people are linked to immediate, deeply affordable, and permanent housing. The legislature can provide this through the passage of Housing Access Voucher Program and increasing funding to fully implement the Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act.
While New York’s incarceration crisis was completely overlooked in the State of the State, addressing public safety needs with proven solutions centered on meaningful investments in community-based resources is a good start. While we will need to see more specifics, access to healthcare, community-based gun violence intervention programs, workforce development and re-entry services is the right approach to responding to public safety needs, particularly in communities that have been long-starved by intentional government neglect and disinvestment.
Governor Hochul and state lawmakers must go farther than ever before this election year to address the intersecting crises of homelessness, mass incarceration, overdose and HIV and AIDS in New York State.”