Case Management Back on the Chopping Block
May 10th, 2011
Back in March, the city’s Department for the Aging was prepared to close more than 100 senior centers thanks to a cut in the state budget.
Those centers were eventually given a reprieve from the State Legislature.
Some expected senior centers, a frequent target in the Bloomberg administration’s recent budget cuts, to make it back on the chopping block last week. But it was the opposite.
The city will open about 10 new “innovative” senior centers in the next fiscal year, said a spokesperson at the department. Some will be completely new centers, others will be expansions of existing facilities. One of the centers will be exclusively for LGBT elderly.
“Innovative senior centers will have bigger budgets, have focus on health and wellness and still provide meals, information and referrals,” said Christopher Miller, a spokesperson for the Department for the Aging.
The news has not quelled opposition from advocates for the elderly, who still say the mayor’s executive budget proposal hurts senior services.
Bobbie Sackman, the director of public policy at the Council of Senior Centers and Services, pointed to the largest cut in the department — a $6.6 million decrease for case management services. The same cut was proposed by the Bloomberg adminsitration last year, but the City Council reversed it.
This time around the department plans to cut about 30 percent from its case management contracts, which now link 18,000 seniors to services.
“Some of them are just going to drop through the cracks,” said Sackman. “There is only so much you can do when you lose a third of your work force.”
Sackman and other advocates will rally at City Hall tomorrow to draw attention to the cuts.
With so many other cuts under consideration, including thousands of teacher layoffs, it’s unclear whether this will become a priority at the City Council.
In response to the criticism, Miller said, “The Department for the Aging will work with its case management provider agencies to consider alternate ways to restructure the service to minimize the impact on the cityís most fragile and isolated seniors.”By Courtney Gross on May 10, 2011, 5:44 pm
In category: Albany, City Hall, Electoral Politics, Eye Opener, Gotham City, Governing, Law, Measuring UP, Public Finance, Social Services, nextNY | No Comments »