Senior Spotlight By John Toscano
A home sharing program, which brings seniors together to provide affordable housing and companionship, has embarked on a pilot project which will also welcome younger people.
In response to requests from younger, singles 18 years of age and over, the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens' Home Sharing Program is opening its doors to the younger element for the first time in 25 years.
Commenting on the change, City Councilmember David Weprin (D- Hollis) stated: "By offering younger residents the opportunity to participate as hosts, the Home Sharing Program will help additional older and younger New Yorkers gain financial relief and find affordable housing. I am pleased that my continued support of this wonderful resource will now be available to more residents of all ages throughout the city."
City Department For the Aging Commissioner Edwin Mendez-Santiago, also welcomed the move, saying, "The program is one innovative housing option that allows seniors to remain in their communities."
The president of the foundation said it will help both age groups. "We believe younger New Yorkers will enjoy sharing their homes with independent older persons who will contribute to their household expenses and provide other social benefits," Linda Hoffman said.
"For older guests, moving in with a younger person, couple or family, gives them an affordable place to live and possible companionship."
Established 40 years ago, the program involves professional social workers carefully screening applicants to determine compatibility of potential hosts and guests and helps to facilitate and implement matches.
Before a senior moves in, the service offers a license agreement to help hosts and guests clarify the terms of their shared living arrangements. The staff then provides follow up services.
The program is funded by state and city legislators and in New York, by the DFTA and the state Office for the Aging. To learn more about the program, call 212-962-7559, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nyfsc.org.
FREE CELLPHONES FOR SENIORS: Flushing lawmakers Councilmember John Liu, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblymember Ellen Young donated 100 emergency capable cellphones last week to seniors at the Self Help Rosenthal Senior Center in Flushing as part of a collection drive by the Secure the Call nonprofit coalition.
Community leaders and organizational representatives were also present as a month-long cellphone donation drive got underway. This group included Peter Koo of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, who was recently elected a Republican Party district leader; Paul Kline of the Free Synagogue in Flushing; Jiyon Mary Cho, Queens YMCA and Yi-Miao Huang of the Taiwan Center.
Leo Asan, a Self Help Senior Center official, thanked the lawmakers for their donation and for being partners in "our mission of helping seniors live safely in the community".
The Secure the Call organization recycles unwanted cellphones and distributes them to communities for emergency use. This was their first outreach effort in the New York City area.
INVITATION TO BOTANICAL GARDEN: If you're a senior and enjoy gardening, the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing invites you to visit the facility's Senior Garden any Wednesday during October between 9 and 11:30 a.m. Members of the 5 by 15-foot Senior Garden enjoy the company of the community's senior gardeners and welcome chatting with fellow gardeners while tending their own garden. Anyone who is not able to visit but would like more information about becoming a member for the 2008 season can call 718- 886-3800.