Council Member Joseph C. Borelli (R-South Shore) has signed onto a letter written by Council Member Margaret Chin, Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Aging, which urges Governor Cuomo to restore the proposed change to the way the state allocates federal Title XX funding, which appears in his executive budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 and would cut $17 million from the Department for the Aging’s (DFTA) budget.
In previous years the state had provided the $17 million in annual funding to DFTA which is used to fund the operation of senior centers all over New York City. This year, if the changes in Cuomo’s executive budget proposal are not corrected, DFTA estimates that 65 senior centers will have to close due to a lack of funding. If equally distributed, every Assembly District will lose at least one senior center.
The 51st Council district is home to the highest number of senior citizens per capita of any NYC Council district, and Staten Island as a whole has the fastest growing population of senior citizens in New York City by far. The senior population on Staten Island is currently at its highest point in the borough’s history, with a surge of more than 30% projected to occur between 2010 and 2020.
In their letter to Governor Cuomo, the elected officials cite the importance of the senior centers to the health and wellness of their constituents and call on him to restore the $17 million.
“I am calling on the Governor and the State Legislature to do the right thing by our elder New Yorkers and restore this crucial federal funding for our senior centers,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin, chair of the Council’s Committee on Aging. “Our seniors utilize these facilities every day for a hot meal, support programs, and perhaps most importantly, for the fellowship these centers provide. I am proud to join this bi-partisan call to amend this year’s budget to ensure that all of our senior centers remain open.”
“The south shore of Staten Island already has a large population of seniors and the numbers are projected to grow more than 30% in the near future with no slowing in sight,” said Borelli. “The senior centers have a huge impact on the lives of many of my constituents and I hope Governor Cuomo will reconsider playing politics with such a meaningful service.”