Maloney and Local Community Leaders Successful in Saving Astoria Houses Senior Center
NEW YORK, NY – Following the announcement that the Astoria Houses Senior Center will remain open thanks to new funding in the New York City budget, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) released the following statement:
“I am so happy that by working together, this great community was able to save the Astoria Houses Senior Center. As a result of the combined efforts of tenant leaders and elected officials, hundreds of residents at Astoria Houses will continue to enjoy the critical services the senior center provides. Senior centers are an essential part of a community, offering good food, friendship, fun activities and a friendly environment. The Astoria Houses senior center is getting a makeover and will soon be better than ever. I am thankful to Council Member Constantinides who ensured that the City Council included funding in their-recently passed budget. His work was made easier by tenant leaders like Claudia Coger, whose tireless advocacy helped ensure success.”
Earlier this month, Rep. Maloney wrote a letter to Mayor de Blasio urging him to keep the center open and called for a meeting to seek an alternate solution to keep the senior center open. She highlighted the tremendous impact the senior center has on the community and the hundreds of low income seniors who would have been negatively impacted should de Blasio’s plan have come to fruition.
The entire text of the letter is below.
June 4, 2019
Honorable Bill de Blasio
Mayor of the City of New York
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor de Blasio:
I am writing to express my strong opposition to your administration’s proposal to close the Astoria Houses Senior Center, which is located in the 12th Congressional District which I represent. The Senior Center provides critical services for hundreds of senior citizens in my district, including a lunch program, scheduled activities, and social events.
Too many elderly New Yorkers are isolated in their homes, lacking stimulation, attention or friendship. The Astoria Houses Senior Center offers seniors a vital opportunity to socialize, eat a good, hot meal and participate in activities. Users of this Senior Center are typically low-income with few opportunities to access such services elsewhere. Astoria Houses is in a relatively remote area of Queens, located more than a mile from the nearest subway. Busing them to Queensbridge is not a proper solution, and many of the seniors who are currently served by Astoria Houses Senior Center will simply stop attending any senior center. There is a big difference between deciding to go to a senior center near your home and venturing out to one that is a lengthy bus ride away. The proposed arrangement would require seniors to be on time to make the bus. It will require them to plan ahead. And instead of coming to the center on their own timetable, they will have to adhere to a bus schedule. The senior center will no longer be a place they can just drop by. Many Astoria Houses seniors will simply give up going to a senior center will lose the one hot meal a day they currently eat and will grow more isolated.
The timing of the proposal to close the Senior Center is particularly troubling given that my colleagues, Councilman Constantinides and Assemblywoman Nolan, have worked with your administration to secure funding for much-needed repairs and upgrades. Some seniors had been discouraged from going to a poorly maintained facility. Thanks to the new funding, the center is in the process of being transformed, and the renovations are on the verge of being completed. Seniors were looking forward to receiving a hot meal and other services in a renovated center. Instead, they are hearing that their beloved center could close entirely, wasting the funding that had been invested in the center. Astoria Houses residents, including tenant leader Claudia Coger, have asked for my help in saving the center and the crucial services it offers.
I hope that you will intervene to save the Astoria Houses Senior Center. Hundreds of seniors will be negatively impacted if the center closes. I would like to meet with you and senior members of your administration to discuss an alternative solution, consistent with all applicable rules and regulations. I look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,
CAROLYN B. MALONEY
Member of Congress
cc: Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, Commissioner, Department for the Aging
Kathryn Garcia, Interim Chair and Chief Executive Officer, New York City Housing Authority
State Senator Michael Gianaris
Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan
City Councilman Costa Constantinides
Borough President Melinda Katz