A Flushing senior club will remain open after the City Council on July 12 announced restored funding for 10 senior clubs across the city that were previously slated to close.
The Council was able to secure $2.1 million in funding to keep the 10 clubs open — including the New York Housing Authority (NYCHA) James Bland Houses Senior Club, located at the outskirts of Flushing at 40-25 College Point Blvd, announced Council Speaker Corey Johnson, City Councilman Peter Koo and Aging Committee Chair Margaret Chin.
In the April Executive Budget, the Mayor’s Office proposed closing 12 senior clubs managed by NYCHA and Department for the Aging (DFTA). The city claimed the clubs were poorly attended and inaccessible for people with disabilities, according to reports. However, Council members and advocates for the aging population rallied against the administration for closing, rather than fixing them.
But with secured funding from the Council to keep the clubs open, there may presumably be plans to make repairs and ensure it complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“The Council worked really hard to advocate for our seniors in this year’s budget and we are proud of the end result, which will not only restore funding for 10 senior clubs, but also will transfer operation of all clubs to the Department for the Aging,” Johnson said. “I am proud of the work that we have done for our seniors here, and I thank Committee on Aging Chair Margaret Chin for her tireless advocacy on this essential initiative.”
Chin worked with advocates, service providers and seniors, forcefully pushing back on City Hall’s plan to shutter several NYCHA senior clubs across New York.
“While I hope to join my Council colleagues and advocates to identify additional opportunities to preserve the remaining spaces, I am glad that we are sending the message that our communities are stronger when our seniors get the help they need,” said Chin. “I thank Council Speaker Corey Johnson for his unwavering support, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and my Council colleagues for standing with older New Yorkers throughout the budget process.”
Koo noted the importance of senior clubs that he says are important to the aging population in Flushing as they help connect older adults to vital services and activities that help them stay healthy and independent.
“In an area where many of our senior clubs are already over 100 percent capacity, it is essential that we do everything we can to protect these important gathering spaces that allow our seniors to age in place with dignity,” Koo said.
Bland Houses is a development with five buildings featuring 400 apartments that house almost 900 residents in Flushing. It is named after James Alan Bland, an African American music composer and minstrel singer in the late 1800’s, who is a native of Flushing.