2008-04-18 / Top Stories

Smith Applauds Delay Of Senior Restructuring Plan

State Senator Malcolm A. Smith has joined local elected officials as they praised the City's announcement that it modernization proposal for citywide senior citizen centers. Smith urged New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to find a new course of action to avoid cuts to senior services, including food-delivery to Seniors.

"The recent delay by City officials to postpone the request for proposal (RFP) gives local community groups the opportunity to chime in to improve the proposal," Smith said. "Let's be real clear where the community stands on this. Senior citizens are not against change, but there needs to be a better way of achieving the end result and the abrupt changes that were being proposed was not the right answer."

The proposed plan looked to have local senior center vendors bid against city-wide competitors, including the delivery of hot meals for home-bound seniors. This change threatened the viability of longstanding communitybased organizations such as Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults (JSPOA) and Jewish Association for Services for the Aged (JASA).

Two concept papers released earlier this year by the Department for the Aging (DFTA) outlined plans to redesign two programs of New York City's senior services system. The first was for contracts to manage city-funded senior centers, of which there are currently 325 throughout the five boroughs with an annual budget totaling $94 million. The second was for homedelivered meals, which the City currently provides for more than 15,000 homebound seniors through a network of 97 community-based providers.

"Senior citizens are accustomed to attending daily recreational activities and socializing with familiar faces. Changing this dynamic can have very adverse affects," Senator Smith concluded. "I hope the elected officials take this opportunity to entertain discussions with local organizations in developing a plan that works for all parties involved."

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