NYC Council provides first major capital investment and ADA accessibility to the center since it was built in 1950s

LOWER MANHATTAN – Today, Council Member Chin joined with Hamilton-Madison House staff and Smith Houses residents to announce long-awaited funding to upgrade the 50 Madison Street senior center. The center has been a cornerstone in the Smith Houses community since it was built in the 1950s, serving as a gathering place for supplies and shelter when Superstorm Sandy hit. The capital support secured by New York City Council underscores the ongoing importance of investing in NYCHA centers.

“The 50 Madison community center in Smith Houses has seen a lot, and served as a sanctuary to residents in crises like the fire at St. James Place, 9/11, and Superstorm Sandy.  Hamilton-Madison House staff and volunteers have never stopped working. These local heroes continue to work in the frontlines of senior services, food access, and recovery efforts, and we must continue to stand by them. I am endlessly inspired by the partnership and community in District 1, and I’m proud to have invested in critical upgrades to this center to help even more people,” said Council Member Chin.

“Senior centers are critical for our communities, and the 50 Madison Street Senior Center in particular was vital in helping neighbors during Superstorm Sandy. Upgrading this senior center, especially with the installation of ADA accessible elevator and bathrooms, will provide much-needed services for the community. Council Member Chin was instrumental in the designation of about $2 million from this year’s budget by the City Council to complete this long-awaited project,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson. 

“In the 122 years of history, this is the first time Hamilton-Madison House received capital funding for 50 Madison Street location. We are so grateful to the Speaker and City Council Margaret Chin for giving us the opportunity to upgrade the facility so that all the residents can fully utilize the space,” said Isabel Ching, Executive Director of Hamilton-Madison House.   

“Special thank you to our Councilwoman Chin for hearing our needs and most importantly doing and helping to ensure our needs are met as a community,” said Aixa Torres, President of Smith Houses Resident Association. 

The senior center is currently spread over two floors. Without an elevator or ramp, the second floor has remained empty and inaccessible to seniors. Approximately $2.1 million in investments from City Council will bring an ADA accessible elevator and bathrooms that will help make sure seniors and the larger community can take full advantage of this space, participate in more diverse type of programming, and better enable social distancing. 

Hamilton-Madison House provides residents of Smith Houses and the larger Lower East Side and Chinatown community with a plethora of resources, including senior services, early childhood care, music education, behavioral health, and immigrant services. In 2012, Hamilton-Madison House became a critical meeting place for Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts, during which the nonprofit coordinated with FEMA, the Red Cross, city agencies, and Council Member Chin’s office to provide essential services in the area. 20,000 hot meals were served each day, and hundreds of residents were connected to recovery services.    

During this public health emergency, Hamilton-Madison House social workers have been hard at work providing daily wellness calls, recreational virtual activities, GetFoodNYC enrollments, and Farmers Market coupons to seniors.  The capital upgrades will give Hamilton-Madison House the opportunity to expand these programs to serve a wider range of individuals as well as create a modern welcoming space for Smith Houses residents.