Quinn Lays Out First 100 Days Agenda For NYC’s Aging Population; Plan Will Make NYC Most Age Friendly City In Nation
(August 28, 2013) – Today, Christine Quinn unveiled her agenda to help the city’s aging population in the first 100 days of her mayoral administration. The plan includes bold and realistic initiatives such as including a $50 million fund for age friendly infrastructure and community projects in her first budget to be allocated by a panel of older New Yorkers; doubling funding for legal services to prevent unnecessary evictions; issuing an request for proposal to build the city’s first LGBT senior housing community; launch a program to increase access to technology for mobility impaired senior; open a Workforce1 center for New Yorkers 50 and older; and expanding the taxi voucher program as an alternative to Access-A-Ride. Quinn noted how currently, more than 1.3 million people, or 16 percent of all New Yorkers are currently over 60 years old, and it’s estimated that by 2030 that number will grow to 1.8 million people.
“We need to ensure New York City is the best place to live during all stages of life,” said Quinn. “As Mayor, I will build off my strong record of delivering results for New York City’s aging population and make sure the vital resources these New Yorkers depend on are available and accessible. Whether it’s through infrastructure improvements to help older New Yorkers better navigate our city or providing free legal services to prevent unnecessary evictions, we will make New York the most age friendly city in the world.”
Under Quinn’s plan, within the first 100 days of her administration the City of New York will:
Create a Fund for Age Friendly Infrastructure and Community Projects in the Mayor’s Preliminary Budget
New York City is already one on the best places in the world for older adults, but there are still aspects of the city’s physical infrastructure that can be hard to navigate. As Mayor, Quinn will use a combination of public, private and foundation funding to create a $50 million Age Friendly Fund, dedicated to alleviating some of these challenges. She’ll appoint a panel of seniors from all over the city, made up of both aging experts and everyday older New Yorkers, who will engage in a strategic planning process and give the Mayor’s office their input on how best to allocate these funds.
Expand Taxi Voucher Program as an Alternative to Access-A-Ride
Quinn noted today that older New Yorkers can’t always plan far enough in advance, or with enough flexibility in timing, to effectively use the Access-A-Ride service. Additionally, the service can be inconvenient as a means of travelling directly from one location to another. To this end, Quinn announced today she will expand the recently launched pilot program that provides taxi vouchers to some Access-A-Ride users. The pilot program showed that the total cost of each taxi trip is an average of 70% less than a trip taken through Access-A-Ride, so there should be savings both to the MTA and the city from scaling the program.
Establish a Program to Expand Access for Seniors to New Technologies
Quinn stated the need to make sure that homebound New Yorkers are not isolated in their apartments where they are at greater risk of health issues, depression and potential elder abuse. As the city experienced during Hurricane Sandy, homebound people are extremely vulnerable during emergency situations. As Mayor, Quinn will create a public-private partnership to provide homebound or mobility impaired seniors with access to the internet, computers or mobile technology, and hands-on tech training. Robust and active engagement with the outside world through technology access can not only keep seniors active and engaged, it can literally become a lifeline in cases of elder abuse or natural disasters.
Double Funding to Services that Help Aging New Yorkers Stay in Their Current Homes
As many aging New Yorkers would much prefer to stay in their homes and remain connected to their friends, families and neighbors, the loss of income can threaten financial security and the ability to age in place. As Mayor, Quinn will coordinate a suite of resources designed to help older New Yorkers stay in their homes and their communities as they grow older including making sure seniors have access to legal services to help them avoid unnecessary evictions. Last year the City Council provided $2 million for these services and Quinn committed today to doubling that number in her first preliminary budget.
Issue a Request for Proposals to Build New York City’s First LGBT Senior Housing Community
Quinn announced today that within the first 100 days of her mayoral administration, an RFP would be released for the construction of the city’s first LGBT senior housing community. Quinn stated that as Mayor, she make New York City a nationwide leader in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender senior housing by creating senior affordable housing units While this housing will be available to all older New Yorkers, it will offer services focused on the LGBT community, including social and cultural services, helping connect seniors with available benefits, and economic case management and income security services. In order to better serve all of our older LGBT New Yorkers, Quinn also announced that she will incentivize existing senior housing facilities to provide LGBT cultural competency training for their staff, and make sure city funding is available for these trainings.
Open Workforce1 Site Dedicated to Helping New Yorkers 50 & Older
As Mayor, Quinn will open a Workforce1 center tailored to meet the needs of the city’s 50 years and older workforce in a comfortable and age friendly environment. The center will be staffed by older New Yorkers and others trained in how to best serve this population, and will build partnerships with age friendly employers who are interested in utilizing these workers’ skills. A Quinn administration will also co-locate additional services in the same building, so that older New Yorkers can conveniently discuss their financial health with professional advisors or find volunteer or educational opportunities. Additionally, she will ensure that age-friendly services are available at other Workforce1 sites, and expand the model to community centers and other local venues.