In 2014, the Safety Net Project organized a series of meetings to discuss concerns about citywide public assistance (also known as welfare or cash assistance) policies that affect more than half a million low-income New Yorkers each year. The meetings were attended by many concerned New Yorkers from all boroughs that had experienced inhumane and nasty treatment, at times were given false information, or had their entitlements withheld at the public assistance centers run by the City of New York’s Human Resources Administration (HRA). The Safety Net Project also collected over a hundred surveys from public assistance recipients to get their feedback about the Public Assistance system. In 2014, the Safety Net Project released a comprehensive report documenting the problems with the public assistance system run by the HRA. The report showed citizens that the current public assistance system all too often strips New Yorkers of their legal rights, entitlements, and dignity while denying or short-changing them of their benefits. As a result, unemployed, under-employed, extremely low income, and fixed income New Yorkers teeter on the brink of hunger, homelessness, and paying for the necessities of daily life. A comprehensive, clear, and forthcoming HRA process of delivering entitlements is the lifeline most needed during economic depressions.
The momentum generated from these meetings and the release of the report “Culture of Deterrence” led to the birth of the Safety Net Activists in 2015. Our goal is to fight for a simpler, transparent, and dignified HRA process, which will open entitlements to struggling, eligible New Yorkers. A better HRA safety net will assist and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of deserving New Yorkers without bias!
Please lend a hand and join the Safety Net Activists with our efforts to simplify and make available HRA entitlements to those who qualify.
The Safety Net Activists build power among and within low-income people, particularly those dealing with the public assistance and food stamp systems in New York City. We believe that all people have a right to a safety net that includes quality food, homes, and a livable income. We have lived the trauma and frustrations of poverty and homelessness and demand a city that values human needs and human dignity over profits. Our strategies for change include grassroots organizing, policy advocacy, media campaigns, building relationships with allies, and public education to empower New Yorkers and make them aware of their rights.