Advocates were successful this year in getting the biggest budgetary win for senior services in 15 years: $22.8 million additional dollars in the FY18 budget. This funding will support senior centers, homecare services, case management, weekend meals, and caregiver services throughout the five boroughs. Trust grantee LiveOn NY and its members played a key role in securing this victory.
In 2016, LiveOn NY conducted a survey, entitled “Through the Roof” which found that an estimated 200,000 seniors are on wait lists for housing through the HUD202 program in New York City. The lack of affordable housing can have adverse effects on a senior’s health as it forces one to make the difficult choice between skipping meals, going without medications, or avoiding needed healthcare in order to afford rent.
At inception, senior centers, borne out of the Older American’s Act, were aimed at providing nutritional services so often lacking for seniors throughout the United States. Today, this model has expanded to include services that support a senior’s overall health and wellbeing, such as fitness classes, cultural outings and art programs. What has not changed, however, is the value associated with congregate meals for the lives of thousands of older New Yorkers each year.
With the solvency of the entire system at risk, and a growing population of seniors, it is critical that the administration and City Council continue to invest in, and baseline, these proven effective aging programs and supports specific to caregivers themselves. LiveOn NY supports a fair and equitable budget that supports seniors of all backgrounds in a culturally competent, respectful, and accessible manner.