AARP members spoke out on the steps of City Hall and AARP New York testified at a New York City Council hearing today.
The hearing is urging the passage of bills to guarantee free lawyers to senior tenants facing eviction, mandate age-friendly “universal design” in more housing, create a “know your rights” pamphlet for older residents, and require adult centers to include culturally appropriate programming.
The bills make up a package sponsored by Council Member Crystal Hudson, chair of the Aging Committee.
“Our seniors helped build this great City and deserve to age in dignity and have their rights protected,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel, who noted the City’s 65+ age group is growing 12 times faster than the under-65 population. “Council Member Crystal Hudson’s legislative package is an important step in battling ageism and creating a more age-friendly city. These bills would help protect the dignity and quality-of-life of New York City’s large, diverse and fast-growing older adult population.”
The package includes bills which would:
· Entitle any resident age 60 or older facing eviction or termination of tenancy in housing court to full legal representation at no cost, provide financial assistance to pay rental arrears when an older adult is not eligible to receive other forms of assistance, and establish a housing support program to provide tailored advice and support to older New Yorkers who are at risk of eviction or foreclosure.
· Create a “know your rights” pamphlet for older adults that would provide relevant agency and community-based organization contacts. The bill would also require the pamphlet to be posted on City websites and platforms, along with an outreach campaign and report.
· Require adult centers to include linguistic and cultural programs relevant to the local communities. This diverse makeup of older New Yorkers in the City rely on older adult centers for programming, access to services, and most importantly a sense of community and belonging.
AARP is also supporting a Hudson-sponsored bill requiring the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to develop a list of “universal design” principles and require any developer who receives City financial assistance incorporate universal design in at least 10 percent of dwelling units in each housing development project or housing preservation project. It would also require an annual report.
New York City is home to about 750,000 AARP members.
Finkel noted the bills incorporate core principles of AARP, including availability and affordability of housing options to allow New Yorkers to remain in their homes and communities as they age, ensuring seniors know about available services, combatting potentially deadly social isolation – which can result from a lack of in-language and culturally appropriate programming – and providing housing accessible to everyone regardless of age or physical ability.
Follow us on Twitter: @AARPNY and Facebook: AARP New York
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.