NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – More than 100 senior centers across New York City could close, unless funding for them is restored to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget.
CBS 2’s Dave Carlin got reaction from some very angry New Yorkers.
Retired crossing guard Willa Streeter was shocked to see the just-released list of 105 senior centers threatened with shutdown, including the one on West 55th Street that she visits nearly every day.
“This is convenient for us, good for us,” she said.
With a full activity board – like card games, billiards, ping pong and yoga – and a full stomach at affordable prices, Streeter relies on the center as a home away from home.
“We don’t have anyplace to go unless we go far away,” she said.
In the governor’s proposed state budget, Title XX funding for city senior centers is being eliminated – more than $25 million.
The same thing was threatened last year, with much of the money restored late in the game. Advocates for seniors worry that they won’t be saved this time around.
“It is a clear sign we are not committing to what we promised our seniors,” Carin Tinney, of United Neighborhood Houses, said.
Tinney said she’s heartbroken that the list of closing centers even exists. Of the 105 closing senior centers, Brooklyn is being hit hardest.
“We want everybody to talk to their assembly members, their senators, and the council members to urge the governor to take this off the table,” Tinney said.
Seniors are pleading with politicians to keep senior center doors open, because leaving them without the centers the gather leaves them at home and isolated.
“Seniors need recreation, to meet with other people,” West Side resident Oscar Rodriguez said. “This is the way they keep functioning.”
For 75-year-old Rodriguez, a former supermarket manager, the next closest center is 11 long blocks away. His disability makes it all but impossible to get there, so he stays put, hoping his center can be saved.
A rally to save the senior centers has been scheduled for Friday morning on the steps of Bronx Borough Hall.
For the entire list of senior centers on the chopping block, click here.