Documents Reveal Gaps In City Welfare Data (City Limits)

The Bloomberg Administration prides itself on basing its policies on hard data. But in the case of welfare policy, an analysis of new city documents (and conversations with city staffers) shows that it’s been picking and choosing which data to keep tabs on:

In last week’s State of the City address, Mayor Bloomberg pointed with pride to the fact that despite the economic downtown, his administration has “kept the welfare rolls at historic lows.” Over the past 15 years, cash assistance rolls have shrunk from 1.1 million to barely 350,000—a figure that conveys the city’s commitment to “work first” policies that began under Rudy Giuliani and have continued under the current administration.

But documents released to City Limits reveal that even under the famously data-driven Bloomberg, there’s much that the city can’t answer about who’s applying for welfare—and what happens to them when they do. …[read more]