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We need bold action now more than ever.

On Wednesday, just a few weeks after her State of the State Address, Governor Kathy Hochul released a $227 billion budget proposal, which she says is aimed at economic revival in New York State. Thanks in part to a budget surplus of nearly $9 million, Governor Hochul's proposal includes record increases to both education and Medicaid spending and allocates almost $1 billion in funding for New York City to offset the cost of social services for newly arrived asylum seekers.

Despite this, though, Governor Hochul's budget does next to nothing to address the fundamental economic and moral crises we are experiencing in New York State. Her proposal doesn't actually make the investments our communities want or need around housing, healthcare, or climate change, and most notably, rejects common-sense proposals for the billionaires and multi-millionaires living in our state to contribute more to the public programs we all benefit from. The state cannot continue to squeeze money out of working-class New Yorkers (as Hochul proposes to do through SUNY and CUNY tuition hikes, for example), especially not as New York continues to have both the worst income inequality and the highest concentration of extreme wealth in the nation.

We need bold action now more than ever—and New York State has the money to implement programs and services that would make a critical impact on the lives of poor and low-income New Yorkers. The Labor-Religion Coalition is committed to continuing the fight for a budget that meets the needs of the nearly 9 million poor and low-income New Yorkers.

To learn more about how Governor Hochul's budget proposal matches up against our current campaign work, check out these statements from the Invest in Our New York (IONY) and Housing Justice for All (HJ4A) campaigns.

In solidarity,

Rev. E. West McNeill

Executive Director


Join the Labor-Religion Coalition at Two Events in February!

End Medical Debt—Virtual Campaign Forum

Thursday, February 9 at 6:30pm

New York’s non-profit hospitals sued over 53,000 patients between 2015 and 2020. Hospitals are required to offer financial assistance but instead they take patients to court even though these non-profit hospitals get over $1 billion in tax support each year.

There is a growing campaign in New York to #EndMedicalDebt by growing the power of patients and passing laws to protect us from predatory hospital billing. Join this community forum to learn more about the crisis of medical debt and how we can win changes that help patients, prevent debt in the first place, and improve health care access for all New Yorkers. Register here.

Religion in a Time of Crisis

Monday, February 13 at 10am

On Monday, February 13, you’re invited to join faith leaders, both lay and clergy, from across New York State for a day-long convening where we will explore the possibilities and challenges of confronting the multiple crises our communities are facing. In particular, we will reflect on the rise of Christian Nationalism and our response to it, ways to connect programs that meet immediate needs to organizing and movement building, and how strengthening connections across our state can help us break down the divisions that weaken our movement. Register here.

Join the Housing Justice for All Coalition in writing to your state legislators TODAY!

Rents across New York are SURGING. Homelessness is at record-highs and millions of working class families are living pay-check to paycheck. Albany can do something about it—but too many politicians are bought off by the real estate industry. They need to hear from YOU: Join the fight to demand that Albany listen to tenants and homeless New Yorkers and demand a fundamental transformation of our housing system. With your help, we can ensure everybody in New York has a safe and decent home and has the power to fight exploitative landlords and unsafe living conditions.

Together, we will:

  • Pass the Housing Access Voucher Program, and ensure all New Yorkers have access to stable housing

  • Pass Good Cause Eviction, and give tenants the tools to fight against rent hikes and for safe and decent living condition

  • Pass Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, providing an alternative to our profit-driven housing market through social housing

Learn more about the Our Homes, Our Power Campaign and the Housing Justice for All Coalition here.

Housing Justice for All—Faith Leader Sign-on Letter

With New Yorkers facing a housing crisis of historic proportions, tenants and homeless New Yorkers are coming together to demand Albany fundamentally transform our housing system to ensure everybody in New York can afford a safe and decent home and have the power to fight exploitative landlords and unsafe living conditions.

If you're a faith leader interested in getting involved in the Our Homes, Our Power campaign, sign this sign-on letter to voice your support.

Labor-Religion Coalition Welcomes Two New Team Members!

In the last few months, the Labor-Religion Coalition has welcome two new team members! Joe Celestin joined us in November as our new Digital Communications Organizer and Jess Roman joined us in January as our Social Work Intern. You can read more about their work below!

Joe Celestin

Joe is currently a second-year Master of Social Work Candidate at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, with a focus on Community Organizing and Social Policy. Before beginning his MSW, Joe worked at the Immigrant Defense Project, advocating for the rights of immigrants caught at the intersection of the racist immigration and criminal-legal systems; at IDP, Joe held roles in Development and Digital Strategy, and has honed many skills in community organizing, campaign strategy, and policy analysis over the course of his career.

Most recently, Joe has held graduate-level internships at Common Justice, working on their Fair Access to Victim Compensation Campaign, and Brooklyn Defender Services, as a part of their Policy, Advocacy, and Reform Team. The criminalization of people and communities of color has been a throughline in Joe's work, which he hopes to continue in a policy-oriented role after the completion of his degree.

Jess Roman

Jess Roman joins the Labor-Religion Coalition as a Social Work Intern this spring. Jess was born and raised in New York; she's originally from Queens, but currently lives in Saratoga Springs as she completes her BSW at Skidmore College. At Skidmore, Jess is both a tutor and a peer health educator. In addition to her work on campus, Jess has also previously worked on policy proposals for the YWCA of the Greater Capital Region in Troy.

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