Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to redirect a chunk of the NYPD budget to help city kids at the behest of his wife, but groups that provide summer jobs and activities for youngsters say they’ve received nothing but radio silence from City Hall on the new. policy.
“The big frustration is to hear the mayor say they are shifting funds from the NYPD to youth services and we as providers have not heard anything,” said Ben Thomases, director of Queens Community Houses that provides summer camp, jobs, volunteer work. and academic help to thousands of kids.
“If I’m going to be meaningful programming for young people over the summer, providers need to be notified as soon as possible, within a number of days,” he said.
Kevin Wei, an advocate for youth services, echoed Thomases’ concerns.
“While I applaud the mayor’s statement, vague promises to fund critical social services enough,” he said.
“Organizations cannot plan ahead or retain summer program staff without a concrete plan of action from the mayor,” Wei said.
In April, de Blasio gutted the entire $ 124 million Summer Youth Employment Program that put 75,000 kids to work each summer, in order to help plug a $ 9 billion hole in city coffers caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, the mayor promised to shift an unspecified portion of police department funds to youth services – after days of refusing demands by activists to “Defund the NYPD.” On Tuesday he credited his wife, Chirlane McCray, with the new direction.
“It’s working through specifics now and will be in touch with stakeholders as soon as possible,” mayoral spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein told The Post.
Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn) urged Hizzoner to act fast.
“I understand there is a lot going on right now but you’ve gotta be able to walk and chew gum at the same time – especially when summer jobs for 75,000 teens of color from low-income families in high-poverty neighborhoods are on the. line, ”Brannan said.
“My colleagues and I sent a proposal outline to the mayor two months ago. We laid out a way we could salvage SYEP by leveraging the city’s relationships with our business and philanthropic communities. We hear a word from City Hall about it and summer starts basically tomorrow. ”