Pols rally to save senior centers from devastating cuts
by Andrew Shilling
Apr 23, 2014 | 328 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilman Daniel Dromm holds a petition with more than 1,200 signatures demanding the city restore funding to their organization.
Councilman Daniel Dromm holds a petition with more than 1,200 signatures demanding the city restore funding to their organization.
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With tightening budgets looming for the 2015 fiscal year, the Mayor’s preliminary plans call for a cut to senior services, and the Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC) is just one of many on the chopping block.

With branches in Jackson Heights, Rochdale, Jamaica and East Harlem, service is threatened to thousands of seniors currently enrolled in the program, a multi–age housing development originally built for seniors and now home to a wide range of aging residents.

NORC residents Arthur and Rita Steftel, ages 84 and 74, said they have relied on the centers’ social work services after Rita had a serious knee surgery, stroke and a fall.

“After a stroke, my wife suffered while in the hospital, she was in total confusion for months,” Arthur said. “NORC stepped in by organizing in-home therapy and individualized care. Without these services, it would have been a disastrous situation.”

In an effort to secure these services in the coming years, dozens of local elected officials rallied with seniors last week at a NORC center at 33-04 93rd Street in Corona.

“NORC provides a wonderful service for our seniors that must be protected,” Dromm said in a statement following the event.

A petition was presented to Dromm and others at the rally with nearly 1,200 signatures calling for funding in 2015.

Assemblyman Michael DenDekker added that seniors rely heavily on a wide range of services when they enter senior living centers, and it is the city’s responsibility to find a way to “maintain funding for the NORC.”

“Hundreds of seniors in the community depend on the social work, cleaning services, visiting nurses, recreational activities, and other resources provided by NORC so that they’re not forced out of their apartments and into nursing homes or other assisted living facilities,” DenDekker said.

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