There’s good news and bad news when it comes to the future of the area’s senior centers.
The good news is, the city’s Department for the Aging and City Hall announced plans to withdraw their request for proposal (RFP) that would have consolidated the city’s 300-plus senior centers, forcing many to close.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has been vocally opposed to the consolidation effort, and the new Aging Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli announced they would hold off on the RFP in order to re-evaluate the modernization effort.
Area senior centers have been in a panic over the RFP, which pitted centers against one another in the fight to keep their doors open.
Local seniors have been writing letters, making calls and even protesting on the steps of City Hall by the busload for weeks, in an effort to keep their centers open.
Directors of area centers have been working together — despite the competition — to fight the city’s plan. And Community Board 8’s Aging Committee recently signed a resolution opposing the RFP.
“The withdrawal of this misguided plan to restructure senior centers is good news for the city’s aging population,” City Comptroller William C. Thompson said in a statement. “This proves that the voices of seniors across this city count for something. City Hall has finally listened, instead of digging in its heels and moving forward with an ill-considered plan.”
The bad news is, the City Council did not vote to restore funding for the city’s adult day programming, putting Riverdale Senior Services’ Social Adult Day Activities program even more at risk of closing.
Citing the failing economy and tightening budget, the city pulled its funding for the memory-loss program earlier this month. The only hope left, according to Executive Director Julia Schwartz-Leeper, is for the community to raise $30,000 by the end of the month, which will keep the program running until the city’s next funding cycle in July.
So far, the community has raised $20,000.
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