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Squadron, Niou Push to Restore Senior Center, NORC Funding

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Good Companions Senior Center, Madison Street.
Good Companions Senior Center, Madison Street.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron and State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou visited a Lower East Side senior center yesterday as part of a campaign to restore funding for NYC senior programs.

They made a stop at the Good Companions Senior Center, located at 334 Madison St. It’s a facility within the Vladeck Houses run by Henry Street Settlement. Also yesterday, Squadron stopped by a center on Bayard Street run by the Chinese American Planning Council.

In Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal, he calls for shifting federal funds from the city’s Department of Aging to child care services. In the past, the city had flexibility in how it allocated those funds. City officials have estimated that the shift could result in a $17 million shortfall in the Department of Aging and force the closure of 65 senior facilities.

On the Lower East Side, 13 centers could be impacted. They include facilities such as the BRC Neighborhood Senior Center at 30 Delancey St., the Grand Street Settlement Senior Center at 80 Pitt St. and the Weinberg Center for Balanced Living at the Educational Alliance.

In a statement, Squadron said, “New York’s senior centers do more than provide food and resources — they create community. Forcing centers to close or cut services would essentially leave seniors out in the cold, plain and simple… I urge Senate Leadership and my Assembly colleagues to ensure funding is protected.”

Squadron, who’s in the middle of a district-wide tour of senior centers, has started an online petition in support of his campaign.

Meanwhile, Assemblywoman Niou is taking up the fight to restore state funding to Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs). The governor is proposing a cut of $700,000 in the the program, which offers services to people who wish to stay in their communities as they grow older. Several NORCs are located on the Lower East Side. She’s also calling on the state to add $5 million to the budget for the expansion of the program across the state.

Finally, Niou is asking legislative leaders to fund settlement houses, which are currently not included in the budget. She wants $4 million to support community-based social services offered by the not-for-profit organizations. There are six major settlement houses on the Lower East Side.

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