The City Council will pay more than $4 million in services for sex workers this year — despite slashing $5 billion from its recently passed 2021 budget.
The funds will pay vendors for housing, medical care, job training, legal services, and street outreach to prostitutes.
While COVID strains have forced the city to cut up to ten figures from agencies, non-profits providing services to sex workers say they’re more in need than ever.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an influx of sex workers who are reaching out asking for assistance with paying rent, utilities and food,” said Sean Coleman, executive director of the Bronx LGBTQ Center Destination Tomorrow, whose $460,000 contract with the city was renewed in the 2020-2021 budget.
The Council also renewed $500,000 in funding for Sanctuary for Families. The organization said it will use at least some of the money to help fund the new Empower Center, which provides healthcare and social services to sex workers. The city’s public hospital system also received $700,000 to support people in the sex trade.
The Council allocated money for sex workers for the first time last year. That $4.38 million in funding will decrease slightly to $4.1 million in 2021.
The city has seen a revenue shortfall of $9 billion this year due to the pandemic.
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