State funding for senior centers under the state’s Title XX program has been restored in the final budget approved by the governor, assembly, and senate.
The new budget restores about $103 million of state funding in Title XX grants for social services throughout the city, which should result in the restoration of about $36 million in funding to 107 senior centers that would have otherwise closed, including 22 in the Bronx.
It is now up to Mayor Bloomberg and the Department for the Aging to decide how much of the restored money will go to the senior centers, said Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, who also said he was very glad that the Governor Andrew Cuomo came to his senses and restored the funding.
“We restored the $36 million in its entirety,” Benedetto said. “It was a big win because no one relished the idea that senior centers, which are so important to the well-being of our senior citizens, would have to be shut down.”
In both of the assembly and the senate budget recommendations, the full amount of money slated for senior centers was restored, and Governor Cuomo eventually agreed when the final $132.5 billion budget was adopted far ahead of schedule on Friday, April 1.
Department for the Aging spokesman Christopher Miller confirmed that Title XX money had been restored and stated that his agency was happy about this development.
“The seniors immediately mobilized, and the council launched a massive petition drive, which I was a part of,” said Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who had three senior centers in his district slated for closure. “
Members of the state legislature were able to cast aside their own agendas and pet projects and do the right thing by stopping “draconian” cuts to senior centers, which may have borne an unfair brunt of fiscal shortfalls hitting the state and City hard, said Franck Strongbow, associate director of James Monroe Senior Center.
If all of the money is restored to senior centers, the following 22 senior centers that would have closed will remain open: Kips Bay Castle Hill at 625 Castle Hill Avenue; Mechler Hall at 2158 Watson Avenue, East Concourse at 236 E. Tremont Avenue; Parkside Senior Center at 644 Adee Avenue, RAIN Nereid at 720 Nereid Avenue; Sister Aunnunciata Bethel at 243 E. 204th Street; Van Cortlandt at 3880 Sedgwick Avenue; Arturo Schomberg at 1315 Franklin Avenue; RAIN College Avenue at 1020 College Avenue; City Island at 160 Pilot Street; JASA Throggs Neck at 2705 Schley Avenue; RAIN East Tremont at 2405 E. Tremont Avenue; Thomas L. Guess Community at 2070 Clinton Avenue; Einstein at 135 Einstein Loop; RAIN Boston Secor at 3540 Bivona Street; RAIN Gun Hill at 3445 Holland Avenue; Mitchell Houses at 188 Lincoln Avenue; Pio Mendez at 1291 Lafayette Avenue; PSS-Davidson at 950 Union Avenue; CCBA Bentances at 401 St. Anns Avenue; Millbrook at 201 St. Ann’s Avenue and Marble Hill at 5365 Broadway.