Seniors centers have been closed for 7 months, but providers have been asked to blindly agree to redesign the system for the next 3 years to a decade
NEW YORK – Today, Council Member Margaret S. Chin released the following statement to affirm her call on the Department for the Aging to revise the Senior Center Concept Paper and delay the Request for Proposals until FY23, which starts on July 1st, 2022:
“Senior centers have been at the forefront of serving the most vulnerable and at-risk New Yorkers during this pandemic. Over the course of a few weeks, providers quickly navigated obstacles in order to fit programming with the necessary health and safety guidelines. In the midst of ongoing uncertainty, DFTA is now unreasonably asking providers to submit RFPs that will dramatically restructure the system for years to come. Senior center providers cannot efficiently complete an RFP about the future, when DFTA has failed to address concerns about senior centers of the present. The recent turmoil of DOE school reopening should provide an example to DFTA of the result of lacking transparency and coordination. In order to avoid an instance like this from happening with senior centers, I urge DFTA and the administration to revise the concept paper and delay the RFP until FY23.”
The concept paper fails to address a number of issues, including rising food insecurity, the need for funding, and the necessary distribution of data. Although over 43,000 seniors are in need of meals, the concept paper does not acknowledge the critical role senior centers play in combatting food insecurity. Until DFTA addresses these issues and outlines clear steps on reopening, providers will not be able to accurately complete an RFP.
On October 5th, Council Member Chin sent a letter to DFTA, attached, urging for a revision of the concept paper and a delay to the senior center RFP until FY23. In this letter, Council Member Chin also urged for a pause on other upcoming RFPs. DFTA has not yet issued a response but has already moved forward in issuing the Elder Justice Program Concept Paper.