Sen Squadron, AM Niou, Seniors Urge Sen Leaders To Protect Sr Service $$

Squadron Senior Center Tour Organizing Seniors to Oppose State Budget Cuts to Sr. Centers

Squadron: “Senate Leaders must not leave seniors behind.”

NEW YORK  TODAY, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou announced that in just two days, over 300 New Yorkers have signed Squadron’s petition to Senate Leadership opposing a state budget proposal that could require dozens of NYC senior centers to close or cut back services. This week, Squadron launched a senior center tour across his district to alert seniors to the potential impacts of the proposed cuts (see his letter here) as well as encourage seniors to join the fight, joined by Niou. Squadron’s petition can be viewed online here and photos from the stops can be viewed here. Niou is leading a push in the Assembly to restore and expand funding for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs), which provide comprehensive services to seniors.  

Squadron is organizing, along with Niou and the community, to protect funding for senior centers. Under the preliminary budget proposal, $17+ million in discretionary state Title XX dollars would be redirected from senior centers and other Department for the Aging-funded services, without any replacement funds to fill the gap. The Senate's budget proposal is expected in the coming weeks and Squadron is urging Senate Leadership to restore the proposed cut.

“New York’s senior centers do more than provide food and resources -- they create community. Forcing centers to close or cut services would essentially leave seniors out in the cold, plain and simple,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “In a state budget of billions, the $17+ million at stake here is a drop in the bucket, but makes a very real impact for on older New Yorkers. I urge Senate Leadership and my Assembly colleagues to ensure funding is protected. Thank you to Assemblymember Niou, United Neighborhood Houses, LiveOn NY, the Department for the Aging, my colleagues in government, our seniors, and senior center staff.”

“The message is simple: our senior centers are lifelines in our community and they must be properly funded by the state,” said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “Cuts to senior centers ould have immediate impacts on the daily services provided to our older adults, with potential closures of centers on the horizon. My office received dozens of calls and letters from seniors worried about potential cuts to centers, and it is critical that we don't let them down. I will continue to lead the push in the Assembly to restore funding for our seniors, from restoring and expanding NORC funding to fighting for Settlement House Program funds. I thank Senator Squadron for his leadership in the State Senate, all of the seniors who are organizing and pushing against cuts, my colleagues and advocates.”

“This budget cut will cause 6,000 older adults to lose out on meals, social services, and the opportunity to be with their community members every day as 30 percent of the overall neighborhood senior center network in NYC will disappear. Senior centers are often the first place older adults go when they need help. The role these centers play in neighborhoods is essential, and closing them is a shortsighted move that puts older adults at risk,” said Nora Moran, Policy Analyst, United Neighborhood Houses.

Bobbie Sackman, Associate Executive Director of Public Policy, LiveOn NY, said: “LiveOn NY commends Senator Daniel Squadron for meeting with seniors from all the senior centers in his district to ensure their voices are heard to oppose the possibility of 65 NYC senior centers closing. 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 14,800 seniors from 114 NYC senior centers who sent him letters urging him to restore the money to Title XX funding. This unnecessarily leaves thousands of seniors, many immigrants, in high anxiety that their beloved local senior center will close. 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. Seniors are understandably fired up and left asking why the Governor would do this. We are concerned that senior centers will become a political football when they should be treated as the life sustaining programs they are. 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.”