Stay up to date on our current campaigns to drive change and empower New Yorkers.

New Yorkers for a Better HRA

Our members speaking to people going to the HRA Hunts Point Center on Barretto St.

The Safety Net Activists' current campaign, New Yorkers for a Better HRA, seeks to advance respectful, professional, efficient, and equitable customer service for all New Yorkers who seek public assistance at HRA.

We envision a City in which the half a million New Yorkers who seek public assistance every year receive the high-quality support and resources that they need to weather difficult times and move forward.

In 2015, the Activists organized four meetings with top HRA officials, including one with Commissioner Steven Banks. Changes that have been implemented as a result of these meetings include the purchasing of nameplates for HRA staff at all Centers to increase accountability, training for staff on emergency grants, training for staff on interview skills, and a new policy for use of security at Centers.

We also conduct outreach at HRA Centers to speak to New Yorkers about their experiences within the Public Assistance system and inform them of their rights.

Group photo after meeting with HRA to discuss the critical issue of customer service in the Centers!

Ending Homelessness in nyc

The Safety Net Activists are committed to supporting efforts to ensure dignity and compassion for homeless New Yorkers towards a goal of ending homelessness in NYC. We believe that all New Yorkers have a right to high-quality housing, regardless of income.

In February 2016, the Safety Net Activists met with then-HRA Commissioner Steven Banks regarding our experiences with the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) as part of his 90 day review of homelessness policies. We recounted our mostly painful and inhumane experiences with this broken City agency. SNA membership described the duplication or lack of efforts across multiple City agencies and the subsequent chaos and strife imposed on the homeless resident. The results of the 90 day review were announced on April 11, 2016. The Safety Net Activists voices were heard and many of our suggestions were included in the planned reform of the City of New York Department of Homeless Services. However, much more change is needed to ensure that people who are homeless are treated with human dignity and to create permanent housing for homeless and low-income New Yorkers. On April 20, 2015, the Safety Net Activists testified at the City Council’s Hearing regarding these changes. 

In December 2015, we voted to endorse Picture the Homeless’s Gaining Ground proposal. Gaining Ground proposes a permanent housing solution by building on and renovating vacant properties to house homeless and low-income families, couples, and singles. They also demand that the City convert cluster-site shelter units back into rent-stabilized housing. Safety Net Activist members attended the press conference in support of this important project in January 2016.

In December 2015, Safety Net Activists member Wendy O’Shields testified before the City Council General Welfare Committee. She provided a number of recommendations for the creation of permanently affordable housing for homeless New Yorkers, including adding new extremely low income HDFC Co-ops’s to the existing permanent HDFC housing stock. This will expand the number of current HDFC’s and provide stable homes for many homeless New Yorkers.