Culture-of-Deterrence

jarrettmurphy

Culture-of-Deterrence

executive summary

CULTURE OF DETERRENCE provides an

unobstructed view of the average customer

experience while seeking assistance at a

New York City Human Resources Administration

(“HRA”) Job Center.

In order to craft a report that reflected the

experiences of this population, the Safety

Net Project (SNP) surveyed a total of 130

public assistance customers across each

of the twenty-five HRA Job Centers between

October 2013 and February 2014.

For the purpose of this report, we use the term “customer” to refer to pu b-

lic assistance applicants and recipients who go to Job Centers seeking

assistance.

This report illustrates both the scope and pervasive nature of the problem

as well as the concrete steps that HRA must take to begin to address it.

The report and its recommendations also rely upon a recently formed Pu b-

lic Assistance Action Committee comprised of twenty-five public assistance

customers. This was an intentional method modeled on the belief

that these individuals are uniquely placed to provide valuable and often

concealed information gleaned from firsthand experiences. These custo m-

ers offer insight and suggestions through an organic and practical a p-

proach. This process can be impossible for researchers and policy advocates

to undertake alone, as they often lack firsthand experience of the

problems on the ground.

The report’s findings are as follows:

1. INTERACTIONS WITH JOB CENTER STAFF ARE OFTEN

HOSTILE AND CONFUSING

A vast majority of respondents reported that HRA workers sp oke to

them in a hostile manner, that responses to questions were often confusing,

contradictory or sometimes nonexistent and that hostile security

personnel often escalate problems and make customers feel unsafe rather

than secure.

C U L T U R E O F D E T E R R E N C E : V O I C E S O F N Y C P U B L I C A S S I S T A N C E R E C I P I E N T S 7