Adams’ MyCity plan would create a single online portal, application for all City services, coordinate assistance programs across public and non-profit providers, put City workers on the ground in communities most in need
New York____Borough President Eric Adams today released his MyCity plan to connect New Yorkers to vital services as the City fails to meet an increased need and demand due to its inefficient bureaucracy of overlapping agency requirements and time-consuming verification processes. He made the announcement in a speech to the Association for a Better New York.
“It is a full-time job to be poor in New York; families in need have to spend hours dealing with multiple agencies, all just to prove again and again that they deserve benefits. Billions of dollars in vital services that New Yorkers need desperately right now is being left on the table simply because the system for accessing them is too complicated and too time-consuming. Government inefficiency is the dumbest and most unacceptable reason for failing New Yorkers in need during a dual health and economic crisis,” said Borough President Adams. “My MyCity plan will connect New Yorkers to the services they qualify for by utilizing technology and prioritizing service delivery by bringing these benefits directly to the communities that need them, rather than waiting for New Yorkers to come to the City.”
Right now, a New Yorker qualifying for government benefits – including SNAP, Section 8, WIC, and Cash Assistance – spends, on average, 13 hours just signing up for benefits, according to Hunger Free America. This includes four different interviews at three different agencies during the workweek when government offices are open. So, most people – low-income people – actually have to miss work and lose pay to qualify for help. They also have to spend many hours more completing multiple applications, online verifications, and speaking with various agencies by phone. And those who qualify must then continually recertify their eligibility.
Incredibly, there are separate applications for many of these benefits – that require separate forms, interviews, and follow-ups – even though they require the same exact documentation and qualifications as each other. The average New York applicant provides the same five pieces of documentation seven times. More than half of public assistance programs require the exact same personal identification documentation.
MyCity would also create a single portal for access to all City agencies and functions, from everything to updating a business license to filing paperwork with the Department of Buildings. And each New Yorker would have a unique online account linked to their City ID card, which could be issued with a chip to New Yorkers who request one that would provide a secure, contactless method of interacting with any City office or official.
Adams’ MyCity plan would streamline and simplify the benefits process by:
Creating one online portal with a universal application and verification process so that New Yorkers can qualify for multiple benefits simultaneously.
Combining all City agencies’ data onto one universal platform so that any agency can assist any New Yorker with any benefit.
Bringing the City to the community by equipping City workers with computer tablets that are connected to the City’s unified digital platform and sending them into the areas with the greatest need for City services, setting up shop in open storefronts, NYCHA complexes, and even parks.
Coordinating the delivery of services – food, health, employment, housing, public assistance – across both government agencies and non-profit groups through real-time reporting and a unified dashboard.
Since the pandemic began, there have been multiple reports of the City’s “Access HRA” site crashing and long waits on 311 and with agencies to access benefits. These benefits add up the thousands of dollars a year for the average family, much of which is subsidized by the State and federal governments. New York sends more than $20 billion in tax dollars to Washington each year than it gets back in services.