2017-03-01 / Features

Protest Governor’s Proposed Cuts to Senior Centers


Assembly Member Edward C. Braunstein, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assembly Member Nily Rozic held a rally with seniors and civic leaders at Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center against Governor Cuomo’s proposed cuts to senior centers in New York City. Assembly Member Edward C. Braunstein, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assembly Member Nily Rozic held a rally with seniors and civic leaders at Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center against Governor Cuomo’s proposed cuts to senior centers in New York City. Assembly Member Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) was joined by Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) and Assembly Member Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows) at a rally with over 100 seniors at Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center in Bay Terrace on Thursday, February 23. The rally was held to protest Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal redirecting Title XX funding that is used to support senior centers to other budgetary purposes. If NYC is mandated to allocate the Title XX funds for other expenses, $17 million in funding would be lost, and 65 senior centers could be forced to close.

“I strongly urge Governor Cuomo to reconsider his budget proposal, which would have a devastating impact on thousands of seniors in New York City,” said Assembly Member Braunstein. “Senior centers provide vital services to the elderly, including a place to socialize, as well as meals, and health and recreational programs. While we agree that funding for child care is important and should be increased, it should not come at the expense of the health and welfare of seniors who are already worried about potential cuts on the federal level.”

“Selfhelp Community Services provides over 10,000 seniors a year with recreation, health and wellness programming, meals, and social activities throughout our five senior centers in Queens,” explained Sandy Myers, Director of Government and External Relations, Selfhelp Community Services.

“I am disappointed by the governor’s proposal to redirect funds from our senior centers,” Senator Stavisky said. “For many seniors, coming to facilities such as Selfhelp is an important part of their daily routine, acting as a source for socializing and learning. It is not fair to leave seniors and employees uncertain of their senior center’s fate. We must find an alternative way to come up with the funding that won’t deeply impact the people of New York.”

Assembly Member Rozic said, “These social services are a lifeline, and we need to ensure senior centers and other crucial programs are fully funded. New Yorkers should know the State is providing for all people, and I pledge to stand with our seniors and my colleagues in government in fighting these cuts from being included in the final state budget.”

“Without this funding, New York City will be forced to close 65 senior centers, stranding 6,000 seniors who go to the centers to have a meal, socialize with friends, and access vital services,” said Council Member Paul Vallone, Chair of the Subcommittee on Senior Centers. “Our state and city budgets must reflect our commitment to the needs of our rapidly growing senior population.”

According to Bobbie Sackman, Associate Executive Director of Public Policy, LiveOn NY, “While Governor Cuomo’s announcement to make New York the first age-friendly state in the nation is laudable, it is disturbing that his budget would then close 65 NYC senior centers. Governor Cuomo failed to respond to the 13,800 seniors from 104 NYC senior centers who sent him letters urging him to change his budget language to prevent the $17 million cut to Title XX funding…The closing of 65 senior centers would deprive 6,000 seniors a day of a local senior center, 1.5 million meals annually would be lost, and 24,000 hours of case assistance to help seniors access public benefits, housing concerns, and other necessary aid in their own language would disappear… LiveOn NY and our partners will continue to work to return the Title XX funds to senior centers which they have funded for four decades.”

Assembly Members Ron Kim and David Weprin, and Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik expressed similar sentiments.

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