Albany – Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan of Queens wants to ensure the modernization efforts made by New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) do not threaten existing senior centers and senior services in her district and throughout the city. Nolan is concerned about how DFTA will improve the scope of senior services with a budget that is $35 million less that the existing budget.
“So many seniors depend on case management, home delivered meals and senior centers. To compromise these services would have far-reaching negative consequences,” said Assemblywoman Nolan.
According to the DFTA modernization proposal, projected increases in the number of seniors living in the city will rise by 44 percent from the year 2000 to 2030. The agency’s modernization plan calls for a 3 percent budget cut – 3.3 million in FY08 and $5.5 million in FY09 for a total of $8.8 million; a decrease in the number of senior center case managers (from 32 to 23); and the possible closings of some of the 323 senior centers in the City.
One aspect of the proposal which is currently receiving attention is the DFTA plan to initiate market competition by allowing senior vendors to compete city-wide in an effort to improve the quality of senior services such as the delivery of hot meals for home-bound seniors. A March 14 deadline for public comments has been set and the Request for Proposal (RFP) will begin in June, a timeframe some object to as being too rapid.
“While I am intrigued by the streamlining goals of the DFTA Healthy Aging Centers proposal, I believe we should move forward with caution. As the number of seniors increases, it follows that more services not less is necessary. I do not want to loose any of the vital senior centers in my Queens community. My support for the good work of the Ridgewood Senior Center, Glenridge, St. Mary’s, Jacob Riis-Queensbridge, HANAC, Sunnyside Community Services, Ravenswood Senior Center, Peter Dellamonica Community Center, and the other senior programs in the district, is absolute. My office has provided New York State capital funds legislation initiatives and a variety of other funds for these centers for over 20 years,” said Assemblywoman Nolan.
Assemblywoman Nolan plans to monitor all developments and advocate on behalf of the senior citizens of Queens. “I will ensure that senior citizens will continue to receive the essential services that have enabled them to live independently in the neighborhoods which they helped strengthen and build during their lifetime,” said Assemblywoman Nolan.