Planning Council Meeting Minutes May 27, 2021

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Thursday, May 27, 2021

3:05-4:30 PM

By Zoom Videoconference

M I N U T E S

Members Present: G. Harriman (Governmental Co-chair), D. Walters (Community Co-chair), P. Carr (Finance Officer), A. Abdul-Haqq, S. Altaf, F. Alvelo, M. Baney, D. Beiling, L. Best, A. Betancourt, R. Bruce, M. Caponi, B. Cockrell, M. Diaz, J. Dudley, J. Edwards, B. Fields, R. Fortunato, T. Frasca, M. Gilborn, C. Graham, B. Gross, D. Martin, J. Natt, D. Powell, J. Reveil, M. Rifkin, L. Ruiz, J. Schoepp, F. Schubert, C. Simon, M. Singh, S. Spiegler (for G. Plummer), M. Thompson, T. Troia, R. Walker

Members Absent: M. Bacon, R. Brown, P. Canady, E. Casey, R. Chestnut, M. Domingo, B. Fenton, MD, A. Lugg, A. Roque, B. Zingman, MD

Staff Present: DOHMH: D. Klotz, M. Lawrence, J. Colón-Berdecía, K. Mack, D. Ferdinand, G. Navoa; Public Health Solutions: A. Feduzi, G. Ashby-Barclay

Agenda Item #1: Welcome/Moment of Silence/Introductions/Minutes

Mr. Harriman and Ms. Walters opened the meeting followed by introductions and a moment of silence.  The minutes of the April 22, 2021 meeting were approved with no corrections.  Mr. Harriman announced that meetings will continue to be virtual through the end of the planning cycle.  Starting June 1st, there will be a new Zoom link.  He also encouraged participation in the Forum on Older PWH on June 4th

Agenda Item #2: Public Comment, Part II

Mr. Gross announced that SAGE is recruiting for a new 8-week support group for LGBTQ PWH over 50.

Mr. Fields thanked the Council for their support after his recent loss.

Ms. Fortunato noted that the issue of consent in data collection was supposed to be addressed at this meeting, but can be brought to the Integration of Care Committee.  Mr. Harriman explained that the data collection presentation had to be postponed to autumn.

Ms. Lawrence announced that Ms. Fortunato will be interim co-chair of IOC while Ms. Beiling is on maternity leave. 

Agenda Item #3: Recipient (Grantee) Update

Mr. Spiegler reported that the FY2022 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part C Early Intervention Services Program: Existing Geographic Services Areas NOFO was released on April 2nd. The purpose of the program is to provide comprehensive primary health care and support services in an outpatient setting for low income, uninsured, and underserved people with HIV.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) released a NOFO through the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program for housing assistance and supportive services for low-income people with HIV and their families.  On May 19, HRSA commemorated National Asian/Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

On April 30th, the DOHMH BHIV Care and Treatment Program (CTP) submitted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Progress Report to HRSA.  In 2020, CTP received $1M in CARES Act funding providing critical support to Ryan White Part A (RWPA) Short-term Rental Assistance programs in NYC and Short-term Rental and Utility Assistance programs in the Tri-County region.  The $1M CARES Act funds received from HRSA was fully spent in the grant year.  CTP also will soon submit to HRSA the FY 2020 Part A Annual Progress Report and Expenditures Report, Federal Financial Report (FFR), and Unobligated Funds (Carryover) report.  The FY 2020 carry-over is going to be larger than usual due to COVID.  The Grantee expects over $4M (compared with about $250K from FY 2019).  The PSRA will develop a carry-over plan for review and approval by the Executive Committee and full Council.  HRSA has parameters around the use of carry-over funds.  All carry-over must be spent by the end of the subsequent fiscal year (e.g., FY 2020 carry-over must be spent by February 28, 2022).  All carry-over must be used for existing service categories and must be used for programs.  Other upcoming conditions of award are the FY 2020 Federal Financial Report (FFR) and Progress Report.

The Care and Treatment Program’s Quality Management and Technical Assistance program will hold its annual RWPA Provider Meeting (virtually) for all RWPA-funded programs in July 2021.  On April 29th, DOHMH’s HIV Care and Treatment Program and CUNY’s Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH) received a notice of award for the collaborative “APPLI” project aimed at optimizing the rollout of long-acting injectable (LAI) antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the Ryan White population. 

DOHMH announced seeking community partners to award up to $9 million in funds to increase vaccine awareness, information, and access. 

Agenda Item #4: Presentation: The Burden of COVID-19 on Non-profit Organizations

Mr. Harriman introduced Eli Dworkin, Policy Director of the Center for an Urban Future, a nonpartisan policy organization that promotes sustainable policies that reduce inequality, increase economic mobility, and grow the economy in New York City. 

Mr. Dworkin presented on the impact of COVID-19 on the safety net and the organizations that provide human services in NYC.  NYC’s non-profit sector has over 177,000 workers in over 3000 organizations.  In many areas the non-profit sector comprises over 9% of the workforce.  Demand for safety net services has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic (e.g., one organization experienced a 3700 percent increase in its emergency food distribution program since March 2020).  Community-based organizations (CBOs) have launched entirely new programs to meet growing demand (e.g., of the over two dozen organizations surveyed for this report, 40% began providing food and/or cash assistance for the first time).  Human services nonprofit organizations report budget shortfalls of between 15 to 50% due to decreased revenues and increased COVID-related costs.  Human services nonprofits have incurred a range of unanticipated costs during the pandemic, including for cleaning services and PPE.  Many organizations were forced to lay off employees, even as they try to expand services to meet growing demand. 

A deeper crisis is the chronic public disinvestment and faltering government support throughout the pandemic.  Slashed indirect costs rate leaves nonprofits with budget deficits of up to $1 million.  In 2019, the City Council committed to covering more than 10% of nonprofits’ indirect costs per city contract.  Many nonprofits went through the expensive and time-consuming process of being approved for a new indirect cost rate (ICR) and created budgets to match, but last August, the city approved a budget that would cut $20 million per year from the indirect cost rate initiative, ultimately slashing those newly established ICRs by 40 percent.  In April, Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson announced that the city would fully restore the Indirect Costs Rate Initiative launched in 2019 with an investment of $120 million over two years. The city’s latest investment is an important step forward at a time when a record number of New Yorkers continue to rely on basic safety net services.  New York State withheld 20 percent of funds from local assistance grants, which include payments for many nonprofits contracted throughout the state.  We believe that the fiscal cliff that’s coming for the city and the state in FY22 and beyond are going to lead to further erosion in government programs. 

Recommendations from the report are: 1) End the chronic practice of underfunding human services nonprofits; 2) Restore Indirect Costs Rate increases and make them permanent; 3) Make permanent recent changes that gave nonprofits greater administrative flexibility; 4) Allow for greater contract modification; and 5) Support digital skills training and professional development for human services staff.

A summary of the discussion follows:

  • RWPA providers rose to the occasion in a difficult year.  Some non-profits tried to negotiate an increase in the administrative allowance for City contracts, but the amount was actually reduced.
  • Non-profits need more transparency in the City contracting process.  They often need to take out bridge loans, which means added expense to pay interest.  Also, contracts often do not cover the full costs of services (performance-based reimbursement partially remedied that, but not fully).
  • While it’s difficult to exactly quantify the amount that non-profits in NYC are underfunded, the City and State currently budget $16 billion for human services, but only $6 billion goes to contracts to community-based organizations.  At least twice that is needed to meet the needs.  Government agencies take too large a portion of human services funding for themselves.
  • There needs to be more resources for training (ones that come to mind include NY Community Trust).
  • The City should incorporate stakeholder feedback (from both providers and end users of services) like the RWPA model.
  • Small organizations need capacity building in order to compete for funds with larger groups that can afford grant writers and other fundraising infrastructure.
  • Social service workers, who are heavily women of color, have always been underpaid and pay equity must be addressed across the board.
  • Less funding in many sectors is going to agencies who do not provide clinical services.

Agenda Item #5: Public Comment, Part II

V. Velazquez (Exponents): The next cycle of ARRIVE trainings starts next week.  Trainings cover HIV, treatment adherence, stress reduction and other topics. 

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.