Brooklyn, NY – After weeks of leading a vigorous advocacy campaign, Councilman David G. Greenfield, Chair of the New York City Council Senior Center Subcommittee, praised Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers for restoring $27 million in Title XX funding to New York City’s senior centers in the state’s final budget, which was announced yesterday. The elimination of Title XX would have shuttered 105 of the city’s 265 senior centers at a time when the senior population is growing exponentially and demand for access to centers continues to increase. Greenfield was informed today by senior state elected officials that funding for senior centers was restored as part of the budget deal.
“Last month, when I was told by City Hall that numerous senior centers would be closed, I immediately traveled back to my district to speak with each center personally,” explained Councilman Greenfield, who was faced with the closure of three of the eleven senior centers in his district, including two glatt kosher senior centers. “I recognized the human toll that this cut would have in my district and across New York City, and I saw it in the faces of my constituents who were grappling with losing a center they rely on for companionship and a hot meal. My goal throughout the state’s budget negotiations was to ensure that Albany understood that Title XX is more than just $27 million in savings; its elimination would mean displacing thousands of seniors who gave this great city and state so much and, too often, receive so little in return.”
At the beginning of the month, as part of a coordinated advocacy campaign, Councilman Greenfield traveled to Albany with Department for the Aging Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli to meet with top state lawmakers to encourage their support for the restoration. Following Greenfield’s trip, Council Members joined in rallies at threatened centers across the city, which culminated in a large demonstration at City Hall on March 11 where hundreds of seniors and advocates gathered to demand that Governor Cuomo restore Title XX.
“Governor Cuomo kept our seniors in limbo for several weeks, but ultimately made the right decision in putting Title XX back where it belongs: our senior centers,” said Councilman Greenfield. “My colleagues in the Council immediately understood the devastating impact these closures would have on the aging population in New York City, and our colleagues in the state Senate and Assembly were quick to lend their support. I am grateful to our state lawmakers especially Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and Senator Marty Golden for making this restoration a top priority and helping convey to Governor Cuomo that our seniors deserve respect.”
In the coming days, Councilman Greenfield will travel to the centers in his district that were slated for closure to personally deliver the good news.
“I have received personal assurances from the Commissioner for the Department for the Aging that none of the 105 centers threatened with closure throughout the state’s budgeting process will face closure due to shortfalls in the city’s budget. As the Chair of the Senior Center Subcommittee, I plan to hold the Department for the Aging to that promise. I wont accept any excuses – we need to keep our senior centers open.”