Coalition Of Nearly 100 Cities & Counties Issues Letter To Senate Leaders
Cities United for Immigration Action, a coalition of nearly 100 mayors, municipalities and counties, issued a letter today to U.S. Senate leaders urging opposition to legislation withholding federal funds to so-called “Sanctuary Cities.”
“We are writing to you today to urge that you vote in opposition to the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act (S. 2146),” the coalition wrote in the letter. “Cities and counties have a deep commitment to protecting public safety and being welcoming to all. Bills like S. 2146 undermine our ability to maintain safe and inclusive communities. S. 2146 would cut much needed federal funding for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) funding to nearly 300 jurisdictions that meet the bill’s broad definition of ‘Sanctuary Cities.’”
“Cities stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in CDBG funding, which currently supports housing, economic development and other critical programs vital to our economy,” the letter continued. “In addition, law enforcement and community policing programs will be significantly hampered, undermining public safety.”
Cities United for Immigration Action also provided data and information to illustrate how these proposed funding cuts would affect a variety of programs that are crucial to cities and would negatively impact a diverse cross-section of residents.
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG): Cities stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for housing and economic development programs as well as homeless services, including over $150 million in New York City, $50 million in Los Angeles, $39 million in Philadelphia, $31 million in Detroit, $16 million in Boston, $12 million in Pittsburgh, and millions in Buffalo, Chapel Hill and other cities.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): COPS funding provides key resources to local and state law enforcement to increase community policing capacity and practices and crime prevention efforts to make our communities safer for all residents including our law enforcement officials. Cities stand to lose tens of millions of dollars for these critical law enforcement policies if this legislation passes.
Below is the text of the letter from CUIA and the memo to Congressional leaders
Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Honorable Harry Reid
United States Senate
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
October 19, 2015
Cities United for Immigration Action (CUIA) is a coalition of nearly 100 mayors, municipalities and counties committed to strengthening our communities by keeping families together, growing our economies, and fostering trust in law enforcement and government. We are writing to you today to urge that you vote in opposition to the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act (S. 2146).
Cities and counties have a deep commitment to protecting public safety and being welcoming to all. Bills like S. 2146 undermine our ability to maintain safe and inclusive communities. S. 2146 would cut much needed federal funding for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) funding to nearly 300 jurisdictions that meet the bill’s broad definition of “Sanctuary Cities.” Cities stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in CDBG funding, which currently supports housing, economic development and other critical programs vital to our economy. In addition, law enforcement and community policing programs will be significantly hampered, undermining public safety.
Please see the attached memorandum containing data and information that further elucidate how these proposed funding cuts would affect a variety of programs that are crucial to our cities and would negatively impact a diverse cross-section of our residents.
On July 23, 2015, twenty-two CUIA mayors published a letter to Congressional leaders to oppose legislation that would withhold federal funding from so-called “Sanctuary Cities.” In the letter, the mayors said that “overbroad immigration enforcement undermines safety for all,” and urged members of Congress to refrain from taking punitive action. And in recent months, CUIA city and county leaders have joined forces to defend and support the President’s executive actions; weigh in on current events in immigration; and advance comprehensive immigration reform by shaping the national debate and welcoming new immigrants.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter,
Cities United for Immigration Action
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
Overall Impact: The CDBG program is crucial to improving a broad and diverse group of constituencies in cities across the country by funding housing and economic development programs. New York City’s Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2015 CDBG Grant Agreement was approved in the amount of $152,405,592. Proposed cuts would result in over 1,000 people losing their jobs in the public sector, as well as an unknown number of non-City positions at private businesses and nonprofit organizations. Los Angeles stands to lose $50 million in CDBG funding given the proposed cuts. Philadelphia receives $39,046,000 in CDBG funding. Boston’s CDBG Grant Agreement for July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 is $16,101,121. Pittsburgh currently receives $12,766,552 in CDBG funding. Buffalo’s CDBG Grant Agreement for this year is $1,900,000. In Detroit, for FY 2016 there is a proposed over $31 million that would be dispersed over 85 programs citywide. And Chapel Hill received $462,400 in CDBG funding this year.
Housing Programs: Proposed cuts to CDBG funding would have a tremendous impact on affordable housing programs throughout our cities. In Philadelphia, more than 21,600 households have benefitted from the City’s CDBG-funded affordable housing programs. Of those, slightly more than 6,400 were homeowners and more than 15,000 were served by programs that served both homeowners and renters. In addition, housing counseling services including pre- and post-purchase, mortgage delinquency, pre- and post-rental delinquency, and problem resolution were provided to 11,433 households through CDBG funds. In Boston, CDBG funds contribute to the rehabilitation of 1,910 existing affordable housing units and are used to increase the supply of affordable housing by 94 new ownership units and 412 new rental units. The funds also provide home ownership workshops and courses for 4,000 individuals and foreclosure counseling for 250 homeowners. In New York City, CDBG allows for targeted code enforcement, and if the cuts were to proceed, an estimated 442,000 housing units could go without inspections, while over 300 inspector and support staff positions could be eliminated. Without this funding, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) would fail to perform emergency repairs to correct immediately hazardous violations on over 40,000 units, and 177 emergency repair staff could be eliminated. Finally, HPD provides emergency shelters to over 2,300 families forced to vacate their homes due to dangerous conditions that could be denied if funding is cut.
Economic Development: CDBG funds support 20 designated Main Street commercial districts throughout Boston, creating or retaining 500 jobs and assisting 2,880 businesses. They also help provide technical assistance to 1,400 small businesses. The City also provides employment programs and services focused on long-term economic stability for 3,130 individuals. Without CDBG funding in New York City, 3,818 new and existing small businesses would not receive business training programs or technical assistance, and over 30 local development corporations would not receive commercial revitalization grants. Philadelphia’s largely CDBG-supported economic development activities are aimed at improving the quality of life in Philadelphia by stimulating community revitalization, leveraging additional neighborhood economic investments, and creating an environment for job creation. For example, job training counseling services were provided to over 100 high school students using these funds.
Public Services: As a result of these cuts, up to 81,600 crime victims and their families in New York City would not receive counseling and court-based assistance through a non-profit, and 1,176 individuals that lack basic skills would not receive education services to increase their employment potential through an adult literacy program. In Boston, 30 community-based non-profits receive physical improvements to their facilities through CDBG funding.
Homeless Issues: In Los Angeles, CDBG funds various Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) programs. The New York City Department of Homeless Services uses CDBG funds to provide security services at a shelter for homeless adults, and 7,916 homeless individuals would be subject to reduced services if these funds were cut. In Boston, this funding provides permanent housing assistance to 1,150 households and supportive services to 1,050 households.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS)
Overall Impact: COPS funding provides key resources to local and state law enforcement to increase community policing capacity and practices and crime prevention efforts to make our communities safer for all residents including our law enforcement officials. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) received $7,028,312; the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) currently has two grants under COPS totaling $3,625,000; the Boston Police Department’s (BPD) COPS received $3,515,340 over three years; the City of Pittsburgh received $1,675,000; and the Detroit Police Department (DPD) grant totals $1.8 million.
COPS Hiring Program: PPD received $3,125,000 in COPS Hiring Program Grant funding through November 2016, which is used to reimburse the City of Philadelphia for costs associated with the hiring of 25 police officers who are military veterans. The City of Pittsburgh was awarded $1.875 million to hire 15 new community oriented police officers starting in 2015. Boston received a COPS Hiring Grant to address gun violence and gangs in “hot spot” areas. The funds allow BPD to hire and support the base salary and fringe of 15 Military Veteran Status Officers (Safe Street Team) for a period of three years. These highly visible officers interact with community members, respond to community concerns, develop partnerships with local businesses and CBOs, and conduct outreach with high-risk youth, all while maintaining the safety of the neighborhood. LAPD’s COPS Hiring Program Grant totals $6,428,350, and pays for salaries and fringe benefits for 25 new hires who backfilled the police officers assigned to the public housing communities where they aim to enhance the safety, security, and welfare of the residents.
COPS Technology Grant: LAPD’s $500,000 COPS Technology Grant funds the implementation of NotifyLA, the city-wide emergency mass notification system, which will deliver emergency alerts, warnings and instructional messages during natural or man-made disasters. PPD received a COPS Technology Grant for $500,000 through December 2015 to construct an acoustic analysis system which alerts the Police Department of the possibility of gunshots.
COPS Community Policing Development Grant: The LAPD received $99,962 to fund the LISTEN (Leveraging Innovative Solutions to Enhance Neighborhoods) program to pilot a “smart” mediation in partnership with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and the University of Southern California. The program will incorporate procedural justice and responsivity screenings to ensure effective, efficient, and economical resolution to police bias complaints.