“It is concentrating a series of policies that lift economic burdens and open up the pathway to economic stability and reward work more,” de Blasio said.
The rate of near-poverty in the city has dropped by a percentage point, Mayor de Blasio announced Tuesday — the first statistically significant drop since the 2008 recession and the largest drop since 2005.
The near-poverty rate includes those New Yorkers living below the poverty line, as well as New Yorkers near the poverty line — making up to 50 percent above it, or $31,756 for a family of four.
The near-poverty rate dropped from 45.1% in 2014 to 44.2% in 2015, the newly released New York City Government Poverty Measure report found.
The rate of New Yorkers in actual poverty also dropped, from 20.6% in 2014 to 19.9% in 2015.
The administration said that between 2013 and the end of 2017, an estimated 281,000 people in the city will have moved out of poverty or near-poverty, based on an analysis by the mayor’s office of 2013 Census data. The mayor has set a goal of moving 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty by 2025, as part of its OneNYC program — formerly known as PlanNYC, an environmentally focused report that de Blasio broadened to focus on inequality. He argued it had been a risky goal to set.
“The alchemy of coming to the decision, forcing yourself to a decision that you know is ambitious and then locking it in by making it public tends to bring out the best in people and the government,” de Blasio said, during a discussion with Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem Tuesday.
De Blasio said the city estimated that would happen by 2020, ahead of schedule, thanks to initiatives like the state’s minimum wage hike, universal pre-K, affordable housing and legal services for people facing eviction.
“It is concentrating a series of policies that lift economic burdens and open up the pathway to economic stability and reward work more,” he said.
But not everybody was celebrating. Allison Sesso, executive director of Human Services Council, said the city is underfunding non-profit groups that make up “the infrastructure that is used to deliver poverty fighting programs in this city.”
"Theoretically it’s good,” she said of Tuesday’s discussion of the city’s efforts to fight poverty. “But realistically we have a huge problem in this city."
The council has asked for a 12% increase to human service contracts, most of which haven’t been increased for years. Almost 20% of non-profits in human services are insolvent, meaning they have more liabilities than assets, Sesso said, and the city pays on average 80 cents on the dollar of what it actually costs to provide the services required.
"They’re really living on the brink,” Sesso said of the non-profits.
De Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein called the nonprofit sector a “key partner” of the city.
"This administration recognizes the city’s long history of underinvesting in this sector and we have made big strides in turning this around,” she said. “While solutions to these problems take time, we’re committed to working together to ensure quality services remain."