CSS is committed to the goal of increasing access to quality, affordable health coverage as a means to improve individual and community health outcomes, promote health equity, and alleviate barriers to employment.
54 percent of low-income households spend more than half their incomes on rent. Such extraordinary rent-income pressures have a destabilizing effect on poor communities and place millions of New Yorkers at risk for housing hardships, eviction, and economic insecurity. CSS conducts strategic research and advocacy to build public will for investments in affordable housing and economic opportunity for low-income residents.
In order to bridge the widening opportunity gap and help more New Yorkers find quality jobs, we must first understand the complex forces shaping our urban workforce. CSS is a trusted source of information and analysis on poverty and employment trends in New York City. We put this insight to work by proposing actionable policy solutions that improve economic opportunities for poor and marginalized New Yorkers.
The CSS Office of Legal Counsel has represented low-income New Yorkers ever since its inception. Early legal battles concerned voting rights for people of color, environmental justice, and public housing and benefits for people with mental illnesses.
More than a million working New Yorkers—most often low-wage workers—lack even a single day of paid leave to care for their own or a family member’s health. As a result, they are either forced to work sick, spreading illness to co-workers and customers, or risk the loss of a paycheck or even their jobs. CSS has vigorously advocated for a paid sick days standard for all New York City workers.
At CSS we advocate for education and employment as ways out of poverty and the criminal justice system.
Since 2002, the Community Service Society has sought to better understand the views and experiences of low-income New Yorkers through a groundbreaking public opinion survey, "The Unheard Third." We use the insights gleaned from our annual survey to elevate the concerns of low-income New Yorkers in the public policy debate and advocate on their behalf.
CSS research helped define the problem of disconnected youth—young people ages 16 to 24 who are not in school and not working. Now, our advocacy and policy analysis are helping to galvanize public support for programs and policies that help New York City’s more than 175,000 disconnected young people reconnect to education and work.