DFTA visits the Sunnyside Community Center
Sunnyside Community Center was all a-buzz this morning. Donna Corado, the Commissioner for NYC’s Department for the Aging and her staff had come to visit. Her purpose? She was there to listen to older adults, their caregivers, community partners, advocates and service providers in Queens give testimony on issues that impact New York City’s older adults. She also wanted to deliver some good news: For City Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015- June 30, 2016), the Department’s budget is projected at $325 million, approximately 14% more than Fiscal Year 2015 which is about 21 million dollars more. What’s more, the City will, for the first time, offer mental health services for seniors at 20 centers. Commissioner Corado began by urging all of us to look out for one other. She said DFTA’s mission is to eliminate ageism from New York City.
Members Chandrakant Sheth and Usha Mehta, and a staff member, testified for India Home. Sheth and Mehta spoke of how much they liked coming to India Home and taking part in it’s culturally appropriate services like festivals, vegetarian meals and trips. However, they also advocated for increased transportation services for seniors and translation services that would enable older adults with limited language ability greater access to services. Our staff member spoke about how India Home is the only secular orgaization serving older adults of South Asian descent in New York City and we provide programming for over 1000 South Asian seniors a year. Our catchment area in Jamaica queens has over 23,000 adults of South Asian origin in it – and the Desi Senior Center alone serves over 120 people a day, three days a week. Many of our members are isolated in their immigrant communities and our services provide a means to learn and integrate into American life. For instance, our trips to Manhattan and Amish County showed our members how different cultures cooexist in our city and country. DFTA spent about 2 hours at Sunnyside Community Service Center and made sure they heard from a diverse, articulate and concerned group of seniors. For our part, all of us at India Home were happy to have our views heard.