No Seniors, No Budget
By Masiel Veras, Entitlement & Benefits Coordinator
On May 3, four members from the Center for Adults Living Well @ the Y participated in LiveOn NY’s 22nd Advocacy Day at City Hall with the aim of restoring funding for senior services. Their message: "The answer is simple. More funding leads to stable and balanced services, the result of which is healthy and happy seniors.”
LiveOn NY is an organization whose mission is to promote healthy aging through advocacy, policy making, and partnerships. Advocacy Day draws hundreds of seniors from various centers throughout the city to meet at City Hall in order to have their voices heard. The seniors are granted the opportunity to meet with their local representatives to discuss pressing issues within the aging community.
LiveOn NY reports that the funds allocated for the Department for the Aging were reduced by $150 million during the Bloomberg administration, however those funds have yet to be fully restored. This year, four brave seniors from the Y went to City Hall to demand for an allocation of $60.6 million dollars for senior services in New York City, ranging from: case management, senior centers, congregate meals, Naturally Occurring Retiring Communities (NORC), adult day services, mental health services, transportation, and caregiver support programs.
This is not the first time that these seniors have participated in Advocacy Day, some have been going consistently for the last 5+ years. This year’s theme was “No Seniors, No Budget.” While the seniors were unable to speak to Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez this year, they met one-on-one with his chief of staff in order to address the aforementioned issues. During the meeting the seniors were able to advocate for themselves and discuss the importance of baselining the funding for senior services as well as the importance of setting a safety net in order to secure funding for the next few years. The seniors also used this opportunity to touch on other issues within the community, some of which included the disparity of mental services in the area, lack of affordable housing in Council District 10, and the lack of resources for immigrant populations.