On May 23rd, Director of Public Policy, Katelyn Andrews testified to the City Council Committee on Finance and Subcomittee on Capital on the need for additional senior service funding in the FY20 City Budget.
Watch the hearing here and listen to the inspired testimony of dozens of fellow New Yorkers
LiveOn NY testifies at the 4:22:00 minute mark in this 7+ hour hearing
Read our full, written testimony, below:
New York City Council
Committee on Finance, Chair, Council Member Dromm
Subcommittee on Capital, Chair, Council Member Gibson
May 23, 2019
Executive Budget Hearing
Thank you Chair Dromm, Subcommittee Chair Gibson, and the full committees for the opportunity to testify on how we can work together to make New York a fair city for all ages.
On behalf of LiveOn NY, at this pivotal time in our city’s budget negotiations, I would like to clearly articulate the urgent and significant need for increased funding that exists for New York’s senior service providers. I also would like to fully appreciate and thank the Council for your steadfast support of senior programs, and particularly for your inclusion of the necessary increase to meals funding in your preliminary budget response. LiveOn NY is hopeful that this recommendation will rightly make its way into the final budget.
Just this afternoon, lunch was served at senior centers in communities across the five boroughs, thousands of meals were served to seniors, the majority of whom report that this singular meal makes for more than half of their daily intake of food. However, in spite of the clear value of these meals, they have for years been funded far below their worth, with the last across-the-board increase to providers being a mere 25 cents in 2014. Today, providers of both home-delivered and congregate meals in our high-cost city are funded at a rate that is 20% lower than the national average.
The effect? Mission-driven, community-based providers are losing money on every meal they serve or, to put it another way, they are supplementing the City for its true cost of doing business. This is unsustainable and unfair. It’s time to become a fair city for all ages by investing $20 million in DFTA’s congregate meal program and $15 million in home-delivered meals, for a total new investment of $35 million in meals for seniors.
The picture I just painted of the historic and chronic underfunding of meals for seniors is not an anomaly. Across the human services sector, contracts are funded at a rate far below the cost of service provision. In many cases, the culprits behind this pervasive underfunding are inadequate indirect rates and contract reimbursement rates. For this reason, LiveOn NY, is proud to stand alongside the Human Service Council, and providers serving New Yorkers across the lifespan, to call on the city to provide $106 million in funding to begin to rectify this wrong. We are again appreciative of Council’s inclusion of this item in your budget response and are resolute in our efforts to ensure this funding is included in the final budget.
Given that the Department for the Aging (DFTA) budget remains less than ½ of 1% of the overall budget, LiveOn NY remains cognizant of the fact that there are many programs in need of funding increases, including:
1.3 million in new funding for NORCs;
$5 million for services in senior housing; and
$10 million for improved infrastructure across senior centers, an ask that we are appreciative that the Mayor took steps to fulfill in the Executive Budget, earmarking $6 million in new funds for infrastructure expenses, such as air conditioners in senior centers.
A more comprehensive listing of needs is attached to this testimony for your consideration.
As we all grow old, and as the population of older New Yorkers rapidly increases, LiveOn NY remains committed to working with our city partners to make New York a better place to age. We hope that the FY20 budget marks a firm step towards this goal.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify.