The number of people aged 65 and older living in New York has seen a sharp rise over the last decade, and more funding for services is needed to provide for them, Assemblyman Ron Kim said last week.
Kim, the chairman of the Assembly Committee on Aging, called for an additional $50 million annually to help expand services at the State Office for the Aging, as well as a boost in local and county-level administrative capacity to spur programs for the elderly that provide direct services.
“There are now 3.5 million people who are age 65 and older in New York, a rise of 31% in the last 10 years,” Kim said. “We must meet this critical moment for older adults with the seriousness and reverence that their lives deserve. Older adults should not be forced into poverty due to our neglect or apathy. We must prioritize policies that provide this vulnerable population a life full of dignity and respect. How we take care of our elders is a direct reflection of us, which is why I will continue to fight for a system of care that protects all of us.”
According to Kim’s office, nearly 1 in 8 people aged 65 in New York are living in poverty, with higher rates for Black, Hispanic, Asian, and immigrant residents. The increase in older New Yorkers has come with a concurrent rise in poverty among older people.
Services alone won’t suffice, Kim said, as informational campaigns are needed to inform older New Yorkers about the housing and food benefit programs they qualify for.
“There are more older adults than ever before in New York,” said Jonathan Bowles, the executive director of the Center for an Urban Future Fund. “This aging boom is changing the face of communities throughout the five boroughs and across the state, and creating a variety of policy challenges that demand responses from city and state government.”
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