Friday, September 26, 2008

Imminent Closure of City Senior Centers Puts More at Risk for Hunger

Dozens of the 100 senior centers operated in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings will close following extensive funding deficits. NYCHA senior centers offer meals and services to low-income seniors suffering from food insecurity and lack of access to grocery stores.

The closings follow a 2003 memorandum of understanding between NYCHA and the Department for the Aging which would have allocated $30 million in federal funds for senior center operations. The memorandum was not carried out and the city Department for the Aging (DFTA) continued to administer the senior centers until the absence of federal funds and chronic under-funding by the Bloomberg administration resulted in a $195 million overall NYCHA budget deficit.

Lack of funding may also affect other NYCHA-sponsored services including child care and community centers. Prompted by the funding crisis, NYCHA has laid off a number of employees and is considering selling its development rights to private companies, as suggested by Manhattan borough President Scott Stringer.

One in every three NYCHA residents is over the age of 62. For more information about low-income seniors and food access, see the Council of Senior Centers and Services’ report: Hunger Hurts: A Study of Hunger Among the Elderly of New York City.

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