FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES LAUNCH OF ACCESS NYC WEBSITE TO HELP NEW YORKERS NAVIGATE AND ACCESS CITY RESOURCES
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, October 22, 2006
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Every day the Internet is making people's lives easier. Right now, you can do your grocery shopping, file your taxes, plan a vacation, even find the love of your life, all online. So it only makes sense that we embrace this powerful tool as we work to tackle what is undoubtedly one of the most complex and entrenched problems facing our city - poverty.
"Last week, we unveiled a new web-based system which makes it dramatically simpler for hardworking poor New Yorkers to interact with City government, apply for the benefits they need, and begin the climb out of poverty. I'm talking about parents seeking child care, seniors applying for tax relief, the unemployed looking for Food Stamps. In fact, our new system - which is called ACCESS NYC - ties together more than 20 City, State, and Federal benefit programs.
"Far too often - and for far too long - many New Yorkers who've approached the City for help in overcoming some of life's toughest challenges have had to navigate a convoluted maze of bureaucracy for any kind of aid. If you don't know what I'm talking about - try to recall the most frustrating, time-consuming experience you ever had visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles.
"But now, with just a few clicks of a mouse, city residents can enter their household information and find out which programs they are potentially eligible for, and get step-by-step instructions on how to apply for them. You can do all this anonymously - or you can enter as much personal data as you feel comfortable. The system will automatically copy those details into every application form that's needed for each program - saving applicants from the mind-numbing task of filling out their name and address a half-dozen times.
"Eventually, ACCESS NYC will allow you to actually file applications online. But for now, the site tells you the locations and hours of agency offices and the documents that you will need to bring with you. This will help prevent unnecessary return trips, and the headaches that go along with them.
"How do you access ACCESS NYC? Wherever the internet is available including at community organizations and in public libraries. Just log on to www.nyc.gov/accessnyc. We've also made the system available in seven different languages - Chinese, Arabic, Korean, Russian, Spanish, English, and Haitian-Creole. That goes for every single screen, every definition and every drop down menu - which is really unique for a website of this kind.
"Earlier this year, we launched a bold plan to fight poverty anchored around two key goals: 'Making work pay' for those just starting up the economic ladder, and 'Preparing willing New Yorkers to work.' ACCESS NYC is going to help us achieve those goals by allowing more New Yorkers to more easily apply for the government benefits they need to gain self-sufficiency and climb out of poverty for good. That's good for them - and that's good for all New Yorkers.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958