City Council grills NYC First Lady McCray over Thrive NYC budget

New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray was grilled at City Hall for hours on Tuesday over funding for Thrive NYC, her mental health initiative.

McCray said Thrive will need $250 million for the fiscal year 2020. The money would be used to fund 55 initiatives including $45 million on a Mental Health Service Corps of counselors, $27 million for services at family shelters, and $15 million for the NYPD Victims Advocate Program.

Several council members questioned McCray about the effectiveness of Thrive NYC.

“The 250 million that we’re spending, we want to make sure the public understands what we’re spending it on,” Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson said.

When asked if Thrive has metrics to measure the effectiveness of their programs, McCray explained, “we’re talking about people. It’s challenging to measure the relief of anguish on a spreadsheet.”

Thrive Director Susan Herman said they’re working on a system to track progress. "Sometimes it takes a long time, but we will know what the outcomes of these initiatives are,” she said.

Meanwhile Comptroller Scott Stringer has launched an investigation into Thrive’s finances and effectiveness.

“Just drill down and tell us the truth,” Stringer said. “If you have metrics then say it.”

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