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Senior Centers - Funding, Challenges, and Value to the Community

To evaluate the current sources of funding for senior centers, the challenges that senior centers face across the state, the effect of the cuts and restorations of funding in the 2010 state budget, and how senior centers provide value to their communities.


November 16, 2010
10:00 a.m.

250 Broadway
Assembly Hearing Room 1923, 19th Floor

Senior centers are the center of many communities across the state for older residents. Senior centers provide a place to go where they can socialize with their peers and avoid isolation. Senior centers provide contact with the community so others can check on the older adults' well-being. Senior centers provide a place for services to be delivered to older residents that can range from meals to case management to health screenings to informational seminars on issues that especially affect them, such as Medicare and fall prevention. Senior centers provide activities to enrich the lives of seniors, such as classes, trips, and other group activities.

Older adults across the state rely on their senior centers. However, senior centers cannot perform their many functions in the community without assistance. Funding, whether in the form of assistance from the county, city, or state, is more difficult to obtain due to the current economic downturn. Finding private sources of funding is also more difficult as more organizations compete for less money.

Senior centers face other challenges as well, such as attracting and keeping volunteers, ensuring adequate space for their needs, and making sure that the older adults that need their services have transportation to get to the senior center. Some of these challenges vary across the different areas of the state while others are constant throughout the state.

Senior centers offer more than just a room for the older adults who use their services. Their services often keep older adults in their homes and in their communities by keeping them active, in contact with their community, and connected to services provided for them. It is important to examine and understand the integral role that senior centers play in their communities.

This hearing will examine the funding of senior centers across the state, the challenges they face, as well as the value they bring to their communities.

Please see the reverse side for a list of questions in response to which witnesses may direct their testimony.

Oral testimony will be limited to five minutes. Time limits will be strictly enforced. Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committees would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements. Written testimony will also be accepted and may be sent to the contact persons listed on the reply form. In order to publicize the hearing further, please inform interested parties of the Committees' interest in receiving written testimony from all sources.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with their policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Senate and Assembly facilities and activities.

  1. What are the different methods of funding senior centers across the state?

  2. Are there different funding mechanisms for upstate senior centers, downstate senior centers, and senior centers in New York City?

  3. The Executive proposed eliminating discretionary Title XX funding, which New York City utilizes to fund senior centers. The Legislature rejected the proposal and ensured that the proposed cuts were not enacted. What would have been the effect of the shift in that funding stream?

  4. How much of an impact does the Congregate Services Initiative have on senior center funding?

  5. New York City made cuts to their senior center funding due to budget constraints. What has been the result of those cuts?

  6. How have seniors been impacted by cuts to community programs and services provided at senior centers?

  7. Are there funding alternatives to municipal funding available for senior centers?

  8. Is private funding becoming more difficult to obtain in the current fiscal climate?

  9. Do sources of funding, such as grants, affect the priorities of senior centers and the services being provided?

  10. What challenges do senior centers face beyond funding difficulties?

  11. Are there challenges that are more pronounced in upstate areas or downstate areas, rural areas or urban areas?

  12. Are there creative ways these challenges can be overcome?

  13. What services do senior centers offer to the older adults in the community?

  14. Could services provided in senior centers be provided as conveniently and cost-effectively in another setting? What benefits and costs would accrue if another setting were used?

  15. Do priorities for services provided differ among the different areas of the state? If so, how do those priorities differ?

  16. What would be the effect on older adults' quality of life if senior centers are forced to curtail the services they offer?

  17. How do community-based programs impact the need for costlier services or higher levels of care?

  18. What has been the result of recent cuts to services on communities and the ability of older adults to remain in their communities?


Persons interested in presenting testimony at the public hearing on Senior Centers - Funding, Challenges, and Value to the Community to be held on November 16, 2010, or who wish to submit written testimony only, are requested to complete and return this reply form to:

Erin Cunningham
Assembly Committee on Aging
Alfred E. Smith Office Building
80 South Swan St., Floor 22
Albany, New York 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4355
Fax: (518) 455-7250
I plan to attend the public hearing on Senior Centers - Funding, Challenges, and Value to the Community to be conducted by the Assembly Committees on Aging and Children and Families on November 16, 2010.
I plan to make a public statement at the hearing. My statement will be limited to 5 minutes, and I will answer any questions which may arise. I will provide 10 copies of my prepared statement.
I will address my remarks to the following subjects:

I do not plan to attend the above hearing.
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