The New York Supportive Housing Program needs funding

I have spent a decade of my professional career working for the Rochester & Monroe County YWCA providing shelter and supportive services to some of the most vulnerable women and children in our community.

It was an affair of the heart, but also a great challenge – both on a personal and financial level. Helping people in crisis situations is a high stress and traumatic environment, and while no one works in this field for the money, the fact is most of us are grossly underpaid.

Last September I left YWCA to take another job. It was a difficult decision. I stayed because I knew in my heart that my efforts—and those of my colleagues—were making a difference in people’s lives. In the end, I had to put my family first. I couldn’t keep living paycheck to paycheck to support myself and my child while doing this very challenging job.

The YWCA is unable to offer competitive salary and benefit packages in large part because a critical funding stream it depends on, the New York Supportive Housing Program, has not increased significantly since its inception 30 years ago. As a result, nearly 20,000 units across the state are on the verge of being unsustainable — just as the Hochul government has proposed to dramatically increase affordable housing production.