The welfare caseload in New York City is at its lowest in 40 years, according to new statistics from the Human Resources Administration. March of this year saw 419,825 New Yorkers on welfare, nearly a thousand less than in March 1965, when the city had 420,860 open cases; the numbers dropped further still last month. (And, since welfare caseloads rose steadily throughout the 1960s, it’s likely that contemporary New York will widen its lead even further.) Agency spokesperson Bob McHugh called the steady decline “a direct result of the Mayor’s commitment to creating a city of opportunity for all New Yorkers.” While the milestone could bolster Bloomberg’s appeal to conservatives, who’ve lambasted the administration for softening its approach to welfare, not everyone finds the news appealing. “Those people who are no longer on welfare, what’s happened to them?” asked Yvonne Shields, a board member of Community Voices Heard, a low-income advocacy group. Citing rising food stamp and Medicaid enrollment, she added, “The numbers are low, but the need’s still there.” (T. McMillan)