City budget deal underfunds aging programs
Less than one percent of the current New York City budget goes toward senior services, and what appears to be a modest increase at best under the new budget agreement is not enough if we are to ensure a livable city for New Yorkers of all ages – especially as our population continues to age.
The city’s seniors are struggling with unaffordable housing and tight finances. The affordable housing plan is a great first step, but AARP is calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to fully fund cost-effective services that help people age at home, rather than in far more costly, taxpayer-funded institutional settings.
AARP appreciates that the mayor and City Council have added $1.9 million to baseline spending for one key aging program: in-home services. But that’s hardly a blip in the nearly $400 million they added to overall baseline spending in the new budget. And other important aging programs – from transportation to family caregiver support to naturally occurring retirement communities – appear to have gotten little or no increase.
The need for these programs is clearly growing. New York City can and should do more to ensure that those who are able can age in their homes and communities – as the vast majority want.
Nationwide, roughly 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day for the next 14 years.
AARP thanks Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Aging Committee Chairwoman Margaret Chin and the City Council for holding senior services funding harmless and advocating for older adults.
Our seniors provide significant contributions to keep New York a robust city with their volunteerism, support for their families, economic power, and so much more. Helping them to remain and thrive here will continue to benefit our city for years to come.
Chris Widelo is Associate State Director of AARP for New York City.