Gianaris To Bloomberg: Restore Services To Greek Community
State Senator-elect Michael Gianaris is calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg for help to renew a city contract with the Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Coalition (HANAC) that provides home health services to the Greek-American community.
Home Services Systems, Inc., a home care agency that operated for almost four decades by HANAC, is facing extinction after losing a contract it has held with the city since 1979.
Gianaris told the Gazette that their loss of the service is especially troubling for the Greek American community.
The Astoria lawmaker said loss of the contract would compromise health services for dozens of seniors and disabled Astoria residents.
“I don’t know if that was taken into consideration when the city arbitrarily revoked the contract,” Gianaris said. “As you know, for decades, the NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) of the NYC Department of Social Services has contracted with HANAC, a social service organization located in my community dedicated to providing home health services through the employment of qualified and dedicated home health aides that service thousands of people.”
In a letter dated October 22, Gianaris asked Bloomberg to review the process that led to the decision to cancel the contract.
“Recently, despite its years of dedicated service, HANAC’s contract with the City of New York was not renewed, thereby threatening dozens of home health aides, as well as the people to whom their care is provided. If left to stand, this decision will have an especially detrimental impact on my community, as it is my understanding that HANAC is the only social service organization providing Greek-language home health services," Gianaris said. “It is my understanding that questions have been raised regarding the propriety of the decision-making process at HRA regarding this contract. On behalf of the people whose lives will be affected by this decision, I respectfully request that the determination regarding HANAC’s application to continue providing home health services be reviewed to ensure the decision was properly made.”
A spokesperson for Home Services Systems said loss of the contract would also force the agency to lay off more than 2,000 home attendants by December 31.
Home Services Systems filed notice with the state Labor Department in mid-October advising that 2,065 workers would lose their jobs as a result of the lost contract, officials said.
Approximately 1,500 of the workers who are members of 1199 SEIU Health Care Workers Union will be reassigned to temporary positions at other home care agencies, a union spokesperson said.
“That doesn’t help the more than 500 part time Home Services Systems workers who are facing pink slips when the agency shuts its doors. It doesn’t seem the city showed any concern for the needs of these workers.”
Gianaris said his office would do whatever possible to keep the pressure on city officials to renew the contract.
"HRA made this decision without knowing what the people need," he said.