More than 20 older adults from our Houston Street Center's HEART Program and from our Neighborhood Center were at a rally downtown at City Hall this morning with New York City Council Member Margaret Chin. Council Member Chin is leading the rally to call upon Mayor Bill de Blasio and her fellow council members to establish greater funding for senior service programs.
As more New Yorkers age - we now have more seniors in the city than ever before - the strain on services grows. In last year's city budget, Mayor de Blasio provided a $23 million boost for senior programming; but after many years of cuts in the previous administration, the demand on providers is very high. Council Member Chin is advocating for $4.3 million for senior center operations, $4.25 million to expand daily care to 500 more low-income seniors, $3 million for support to long-term residents in need of additional resources, and an additional $11.88 million to better fund NYCHA-based senior centers. A full story of Council Member Chin's requests can be found in her op/ed in the Observer.
At the rally, the Council Member and several seniors spoke to the gathered advocates. Our own seniors had words of wisdom to share, too: "They need to know what all seniors need. We are out here fighting for those seniors that can't leave their homes. We need funding and help for them," said Gladys, one of the seniors who frequents our Neighborhood Center at 189 Allen. HEART Program participant Gigi - who was interviewed by SINOvision TV while there - said, "I hope the Mayor will put more money back in the budget for senior services, so that we can continue to have healthy activities and enjoy our lives in a healthy way."