Policy & Advocacy
We work with local, state, and federal government partners to advocate for effective policy decisions that will impact our neighbors and hometowns.
Coaliting & Grass Roots Organizing
We bring together nonprofits, business leaders, and lawmakers to discuss solutions to our region’s challenges.
We operate a series of programs that connect Long Islanders with the services they need.
Welcome to the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island
At the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island (HWCLI), our work is to ensure that our region is a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone to live. We can set the standard for what an equitable region looks like. That means safe communities, decent, affordable housing, healthy food, access to care and an opportunity to thrive. In our quest for improvements and systemic change, we face a unique set of obstacles. In fact, the poverty rate today is at its highest since 1959. Given the current assault on the country’s most vulnerable communities, our work is more important than ever.
People served in 2019 alone
Years Serving Long Island
May 24, 2020
By Craig Schneider Click here to view on Newsday.com They are the faces on the food lines, the callers on hold for hours to get benefits, the mothers and fathers breaking down and asking for help. The coronavirus pandemic cut their lifeline to a salary and benefits, sending many plummeting into Long Island's safety net of food pantries, food stamps and unemployment benefits. They are the first wave of Long Islanders hit the hardest by the COVID-19 shutdown. Some were already on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. But there are those who were doing well who lost their jobs and, after a few months, no longer have the savings to sustain them, said Rebecca Sanin, president of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island. “We’re seeing issues of hunger explode,” Sanin said. “There’s a whole new set of people reaching out for food stamps to put food on the table.” Applications for food stamps have doubled on Long Island — to 17,717 in February through April — compared with this time last year. One food bank, Island Harvest Food Bank, has distributed more than 1 million pounds of food during the crisis. Over the past two months, more than 287,000 Long Islanders — roughly a fifth of all working residents — filed for unemployment. Worse, those running the food banks and other charities said they see tougher times ahead. Adrian Fassett, chief executive officer for the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, said people have received protections from the government, but "wait for three or four months when people have to pay rent and mortgages. It's going to get worse." Here are their stories. Michelle Acompora, 36, Brentwood March was a cruel month for Acompora and her kids. Because of the shutdown, the freelance hair stylist saw her income blow away. In addition, her father had a heart attack March 25 and remained in a coma for 18 days before he died. Even as she grieved the loss, Acompora, a single mom, was having trouble putting food on the table for her two children, Karter, 5, and Krisette, 9. “So much has changed in so little time,” she said. “It’s so hard to think about the future.” Acompora applied for unemployment insurance but was denied because she was self-employed, she said. She said she's trying to reverse that, but it's so hard getting through on the phone. She received a stimulus check for $2,200, but much of that went to her father’s cremation. He had no life insurance, she said. She couldn’t afford a funeral service. The bills, however, keep coming. Her savings of about $5,000 shrank quickly. She’s already late on a month’s worth of bills for the utilities, car insurance and mortgage. “You get a three-month grace period,” she said of the mortgage protections put in place by the state. “But you still have to pay it back.” In April, she applied for food stamps and is now receiving $500 a month. Friends have helped out with cash here and there. The kids are getting free breakfasts and lunches through the schools. “I’m not at rock bottom,” she said. “Actually, I probably am at rock bottom.” Acompora said she tries to hide the stress from the children, but it comes through, sometimes in odd ways. “I’ll start crying — anytime,” she said. The stress of the coronavirus has taken a toll on her son, Karter. He’s used to giving everyone a hug and going outside. For her daughter, Krisette, the stress has expressed itself differently. “She’s taught herself how to pray,” Acompora said. “She asks to be strong, for her grandpa to watch over us.”
May 12, 2020
Community Members Can Call 631-761-7198 or Visit www.tourolaw.edu/tlcresponse For Free Help Central Islip, NY (May 12, 2020)– In conjunction with the Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (LIVOAD), a coalition run by the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island (HWCLI), Touro Law has launched a legal helpline that will be open Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Students and attorneys will provide community members with free assistance or referrals on a myriad of issues including landlord-tenant, civil liberties, bankruptcy, employee rights, unemployment, stimulus payment, insurance, and more by calling 631-761-7198 or visiting www.tourolaw.edu/tlcresponse. Touro Law is coordinating with the non-profit community and has a leadership role in Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (LIVOAD). Community members will be referred to Touro’s clinical program as well as pro bono partners including the practicing bar and not for profit legal and human service organizations. The Health & Welfare Council of Long Island coordinates a disaster planning and response coalition of government, nonprofit, and private sector partners who collaboratively address disasters on Long Island. This coalition, known as the Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (LIVOAD), was formed by HWCLI in 2001 after the September 11 attacks and has worked for almost two decades as an umbrella structure for disaster planning and recovery. This broad coalition is a local version of the National VOAD which is comprised of agencies working through Collaboration, Cooperation, Coordination, and Communication (4 C’s) to respond regionally. The LIVOAD was officially activated by HWCLI to address the current COVID-19 global pandemic and has been holding bi-weekly convening calls with its partners as well as weekly calls with its subcommittees including: Domestic & Family Violence, Emergency Food, Behavioral Health, Philanthropy, and Legal Needs, which leadership from Touro Law runs. Providers and community members alike can find a clearinghouse of resources, updates, and information on its webpage: www.hwcli.com/covid-19.
May 8, 2020
http://longisland.news12.com/story/42102599/gov-cuomo-extends-eviction-moratorium-until-aug-20-bans-fees-for-late-payments?fbclid=IwAR2nSTMqwSP0eZ_jUlRkPOpVMUfcQ8HC2dCytLkEydz7n-fDqNl0rC069oc (AP) - New York’s moratorium on outbreak-related evictions was extended Thursday for two more months by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor in March had issued a moratorium that lasted through June but said he wanted to reduce the anxiety of families struggling through the economic shutdown. It is now extended until Aug. 20. “I hope it gives families a deep breath,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing. The executive order will also ban late payment fees for missed payments and allow renters to apply their security deposit to a payment, though they’d have to pay it back over time. New York tallied 231 virus-related deaths on Wednesday. Though hospitalizations continue to decrease slowly, the daily death toll has hovered around 230 for four days. Briefing Notes:
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Established in 1947, the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island (HWCLI) is a regional, nonprofit umbrella organization for health and human service providers. We are dedicated to improving the lives of Long Island’s most vulnerable residents by responding to their needs through the promotion and development of public policies and direct services.
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