Bronx Council Members Fight To Keep Open NYCHA Centers

Displaying RT Comm Centers 6.12 035.JPGOn the steps of City Hall yesterday, Bronx Council Members Ritchie Torres, James Vacca, and Vanessa Gibson, along with public housing residents and advocates from around the city, called on the City to allocate funds to keep open 57 Community and Senior centers run by the New York City Housing Authority.

The centers are threatened by a 17 million dollar funding shortfall in NYCHA’s budget that would see the facilities close on July 1st, with a loss of 160 union jobs.  The cuts will deprive almost 5,000 New Yorkers of vital services like after-school programs, community meeting space, supplemental meals, and senior care.

“Community and Senior centers are a critical part of the everyday lives of NYCHA residents” said Council Member Ritchie Torres, Chair of the Committee on Public Housing. “They give working parents a safe place for their children, help elderly residents maintain their independence, are a focal point of community engagement, and offer some of our most vulnerable adolescences a legitimate alternative to gangs and violence. These dollars aren’t just to pay the rent or keep the lights on, they are a direct investment in the lives of NYCHA tenants, and I urge the City to provide the funds needed to keep these centers open.”

Councilman Vacca gave a local example:

“It is completely unacceptable for any NYCHA community or senior centers to be closed. They provide critical services to tens of thousands of senior citizens across New York City and any cuts would have harmful repercussions for elderly New Yorkers. The Sue Ginsburg Senior Center in Pelham Parkway Houses being at risk is even more alarming, considering my district has a large senior population.”

Council Member Vanessa Gibson spoke the of the diversity in constituencies that the centers serve.

“Many of the community centers in NYCHA developments provide a unique mix of intergenerational programming that serves everyone from pre-school to pre-teen youth, teenagers and seniors living in their golden years,”  Gibson  said. “The home of afterschool programming, educational opportunities and workforce development initiatives designed to help prepare our youth for the challenges of the modern economy NYCHA community centers play an invaluable role in building a brighter future for countless New Yorkers.”

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