May 4, 2007
Testimony before the Manhattan Delegation of the New York City Council on behalf of the Lincoln House Outreach, a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community

Good afternoon.  I am Evelyn Jones Rich, a senior citizen – receiving both Medicare and Social Security - representing Lincoln House Outreach, a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community on the Upper West Side in New York City.

Thank you, Co-Chairperson Brewer and the other members of the City Council’s Manhattan Delegation for giving me the opportunity to present Lincoln House Outreach’s request for funding in the FY’08 budget.

Other speakers - representing individual NORC’s, senior citizens’ centers, public and private housing entities and specific service providers – have already spoken or are scheduled to speak.  They will highlight the thousands of seniors they serve, the creative programs they initiate and execute, the health care services they deliver and the overall impact their programs have on the life and vibrancy of those of us who are 60+ and fortunate enough to live in communities that have evolved into NORCS and are benefiting from a supportive service program.

I am here to tell you briefly – first about how Lincoln House differs from our fellow and equally deserving NORCS and then to ask that you allocate $5000 in the up-coming budget to help us continue the extraordinary efforts we undertake to build supportive communities in which seniors live.

You know that NORC supportive service programs help to transform aged-in communities, mobilizing not only the financial resources of the city, the community and often philanthropy but in addition the life skills and experience of the seniors themselves in order to help create good places in which to grow old. 

These programs provide a host of services including case assistance and case management, information and referral, public health nursing as well as, in some cases, providing transportation and chore services coupled with social, educational and recreational activities. 

It is estimated that 350,000 of NY City’s 1.25 million seniors (60+) live in NORCS and that 55,000 live in NORCS which are funded by the City.

Currently, there are 34 city-funded NORC supportive service programs, which receive a total of $6.5+ million from the city.  Seventeen (17) of  the  city-funded NORCS are in Manhattan.  While seeking funds for the smallest of the DFTA funded programs, Lincoln House, we also ask that you support the other NORCS in our community, borough and city.

Let’s talk dollars! $4.5 million dollars of the $6.5 million dollars is base-lined in the DFTA budget. We’ve just received word that the Mayor has added $1.5 million and base-lined it for the next four years.  We now ask that the City Council renew its $1 million allocation designed to finance emerging programs in parts of the city with a high concentration of seniors as well as several NORC programs which were not funded in the FY06 renewal process.

The funds we seek for Lincoln House address the essential mission of individual NORC programs – to keep seniors in their own homes - where they want to be – as they become older and frailer.  The 85+ segment of the City’s senior population – now at 121,703 – is the fastest growing segment of those above 60 and will require increased services – home care, home delivered meals, visiting nurse care, etc. - over the next decade. We have our share of that segment among the seniors at Lincoln House.

Ours is a model program.  One of the ways in which we differ from other NORC programs is our aggressive fund-raising. . The budget of Lincoln House Outreach, the smallest funded DFTA NORC, is $147,000 - $75,000 of which DFTA provides as its minimum grant.

Lincoln House Outreach raises the difference – about $72,000 – through a combination of foundation funds, grants from elected officials and internal initiatives ranging from our end-of-year appeal letter to $3 fees for cat-sitting, plant-watering, and mail-collecting. House tours, gently-used clothing sales and a host of other creative and imaginative fund-raising efforts help. Of special note is our newly instituted sports program!  Last year we purchased a plasma television set from funds received in a special one-time allocation from DFTA.  We were able to expand our Friday night film program and our every-other week Sunday classic and international film series and are attracting increased numbers of building residents.
We added other programs around major events with an emphasis on sports. We celebrated the super bowl in January, the Oscars in February and are preparing to celebrate the Kentucky Derby with a party including a hat contest designed to appeal both to seniors and children.

Secondly, these programs attract significant numbers of seniors in our community. Rose Earmedes leads the Great Books group. Iole Magri teaches the Italian class. Jerry Gerber selects the classic and international films we view every other Sunday evening. Our programs focus on seniors but attract shareholders across a wide age spectrum – from the very old to young children. Analysis of the data provided by individual programs count about
265 seniors each month – almost all of our senior community.

Then, residents own their programs.  We initiate, maintain, expand and do the lion’s share of program implementation.  
Because Outreach is so central in our lives, we seniors respond to requests for help from other seniors seeking assistance in creating their own programs.  We do this pro bono because we see it as an opportunity to share our own vibrant ideas and to give back to a City which is and has been so good to us. 

We see ourselves as an army of seniors – retired but not yet tired – whom you should consider as “assets” rather than “liabilities.” and who continue to help those frail and elderly among us while taking full advantage of good health and keen and incisive minds.  “Retirement” for many of us is a myth. We believe that by remaining healthy and involved we will take the lead ourselves in seeking jobs, offering service, building support groups and enjoying local educational and cultural programs as we reduce the problems inactivity spawns.  We live in the present – not the future.  We look toward “successful” aging.  We need your help to continue our good work.

Lincoln House welcomes you as allies.

Working Families Win Reports Meetings Newsletters Speaking Out Endorsements Legislative Ratings Testimony Working Families Win Reports Meetings Newsletters Speaking Out Endorsements Legislative Ratings Testimony Working Families Win Reports Meetings Newsletters Speaking Out Endorsements Legislative Ratings Testimony
Web site content © NYC Americans for Democratic Action. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission.
Working Families Win Reports Meetings Newsletters Speaking Out Endorsements Legislative RatingsTestimony