Unemployment is ravaging many of the low-income communities in New York that have faced long-term public disinvestment, with increasing numbers of working families unable to make ends meet and those without work finding it harder and harder to come by. Since the recession began in December 2007, New York City has seen a loss of 238,700 jobs, while even among those families that currently have fulltime, year-round work, a full 1 in 5 still live in poverty.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) was intended to put people back to work and prevent the American economy from falling even further behind through even more drastic cuts to public services and needed infrastructure investments. Any honest assessment shows that the country’s economy, as well as New York State’s economy, is better off because of this historic injection of public investment.
As you read this, the Recovery Act is funding jobs that would otherwise not exist, such as transitional jobs funded through the Temporary Aid for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund. It is providing long-term investments to support a new economy and a new workforce, including funding for weatherizing homes of low-income residents of the Northwest Bronx, with the work itself being conducted by low-income residents of those very same communities. And the Recovery Act is providing critical public services, such as child care subsidies provided to working families in Erie County that would otherwise be unable to work. These are desperately needed investments.