Addabbo Cosponsors Bill On Closing Senior Centers
The bill would require the Department for the Aging (DFTA) to provide 60 days written notice about any closing, relocations or consolidations to City Council members, Community Boards and Borough Presidents representing the affected neighborhood.
According to Addabbo, the proposed bill was drawn up after DFTA officials said they would request new bids this fall to help "modernize" the 325 city senior centers. Some advocates for seniors said the "modernization plan" could lead to the closing or consolidation of centers deemed "underutilized." DFTA has refused to rule out that possibility. DFTA projects that senior New Yorkers (defined as age 65 or older) will increase by 44 percent between 2000 and 2030 and they will make up more than 15 percent of the city's overall population.
The agency's modernization plan calls for a three percent budget cut - $3.3 million in fiscal year 2008 and $5.5 million in fiscal year 2009; a decrease in the number of senior center case managers (from 32 to 23); and the possible closing of some of the 325 senior centers in the city.
Opposing the closing of senior centers, Addabbo said that he and his council colleagues want to prevent the city's senior citizens from being left out in the cold without a center to attend, the services they require and the meals on which they depend. "As an elected official, I must do whatever I can to keep our senior centers open during these difficult financial times," Addabbo concluded.