2011-03-18 / Top Stories

Titus Fights To Keep Senior Centers Open

According to a spokesperson, “Assemblywoman Michele R. Titus believes the services provided by New York State should not be cut or changed in any way as to cause any issues for the citizens who utilize them.” The spokesperson continues, “In session, the Assembly voted on a number of budget bills to alleviate some of the deficit felt on the state’s economy, while providing the necessary services that New York has grown accustomed to.

Assemblywoman Titus wants to ensure that there is a balance between the economy’s health and the health of all New Yorkers.”

“That’s why I voted in favor of the Assembly budget that rejects the plan to strip $36 million in Title XX discretionary funding from senior centers. In order to eliminate the state’s $10 billion deficit, difficult decisions have to be made, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of Queens seniors,” said Titus. “Our proposal allows New York City to continue using the discretionary funding to support services like our local senior centers and keep them open. This will ensure that thousands of seniors won’t lose essential services provided by the centers, including nutritious meals, health and wellness activities and socialization.”

Titus says she knew that she and her colleagues were up to a difficult task when it came to deciphering the budget. As the new chair of the Assembly Committee on Social Services, she had an even harder task of ensuring that the services that some citizens of the state depend on remained operational and unchanged.

One such service that Titus says she strongly advocates for are the Senior Centers, which in New York City were threatened with possible closures if Title XX funds were to be cut from the budget as proposed by Governor Cuomo. Title XX provides funding support to many New York City programs such as adult protective services, domestic violence programs and senior centers. Senior centers provide companionship, warm meals and a way of life for many of the elderly.

Many seniors survive through these centers.

According to Titus, more than 100 centers would have to close if it lost the Title XX funds. In Queens alone 22 of those centers were slated to close if they failed to receive the vital funding.

Last year, Titus says, she and her constituents in the South Ozone Park area felt the devastation of the closing of Wakefield Senior Center.

Many of the residents of that center were forced to move to surrounding centers like JSPOA Rockaway Boulevard Senior Center or Brooks Memorial Senior Center, but these centers are on the current list for closure due to insufficient funds.

Those seniors would have had to go through the devastation of losing another center.

“Closing senior centers would dramatically impact the lives of so many in the elderly community. We can’t balance the state budget by cutting services to vulnerable citizens during this economic downturn,” said Titus. “We must protect those who have made lifelong contributions to our communities and continue providing them the services they need and deserve.”

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