History of Welfare
"Welfare" was once associated with "well-being" and "prosperity." It came to connote the opposite. The change in meaning evolved during the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first thirty-five years of the twentieth century. This was a time period when the United States developed a variety of programs to assist the poor. Public assistance went from being administered by charity organizations to being funded and controlled by government programs. Read More (in PDF)
The Human Resources Administration (HRA) was created on August 15, 1966 by Executive Order No. 28. It was the largest of Mayor John Lindsay's consolidated administrations. It was created to better coordinate and integrate the City's human services programs. In addition to HRA Central Operations and the Department of Welfare, HRA consisted of the following constituent agencies: Manpower and Career Development Agency, Community Development Agency, Youth Services Agency, and Addiction Services Agency.
In June 1985, HRA established a unit to provide services to persons with AIDS. In 1995 it became the Division of AIDS Services Income Support (DASIS). In 2000, the division name was changed to and is known today as the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) offering a wide range of services.
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HRA Commissioners' Timeline
The executive order stated that an Administrator will head HRA. It also stated that "nothing in this order shall be construed to impair the functions, powers, and duties of the Commissioner of Welfare or the Department of Welfare as defined by the New York Social Welfare Law or by any federal statute." Both positions were merged in 1970. At present, the agency is more accurately referred to as the NYC Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services (HRA/DSS). View the Timeline