Mayor’s FY25 Executive Budget fails to restore and provide funding for key services that address food insecurity, social isolation and other issues

City Hall, NY – Ahead of the City Council’s Executive Budget hearing with the Committee on Aging and the Committee on Finance, the Council called for the Administration to prioritize services for the city’s older adult population in the budget. Older adult services help ensure that elder New Yorkers have access to Department for the Aging programs within their communities. Specifically, the Council urged increased baseline funding to cover the cost of home-delivered meals, restoration of funding for older adult centers to remain open and fully operational, increased funding for case management and home care services, and greater capital funding to ensure older adult centers can continue preparing meals in their kitchens.

Older adults are the fastest-growing age group in the city and face significant barriers to aging in place, such as food insecurity and access to essential support services. These challenges have been exacerbated in the past few years by the pandemic, social isolation, and the increased cost of living.

There are several older adult programs facing cuts or inadequate funding in the Mayor’s FY 2025 Executive Budget that the Council prioritized investments for in its Preliminary Budget Response. These include:

Meal Reimbursement Rate for Home-Delivered Meals

  • Older adults are the City’s fastest-growing age cohort, and many of them are food insecure, relying on SNAP benefits and food pantries to meet their nutritional needs. Ensuring access to nutritious meals is a crucial part of making sure that our older adults can age in place with dignity and live full, independent lives. Additionally, providers are facing rising food and fixed costs and have continued to express concern about insufficient home-delivered meal reimbursement rates. The Council calls on the Administration to increase and baseline $12.7 million in funding to raise the per meal reimbursement rate for home-delivered meals (HDMs) and account for providers’ actual costs. 

Older Adult Centers Restoration

The Council has called on the Administration to restore the $2.2 million baseline funding reduction for older adult centers in the Mayor’s Preliminary Budget, and the $13.5 million baseline cut in the Mayor’s November Plan that takes effect in Fiscal 2027. The City must ensure that older adult centers can remain open and fully operational to serve the wide range of needs of the City’s nearly 1.8 million older. This requires that community-based providers be allocated the resources needed to handle the growing number of participants relying on the centers for programming and services.

  • Additionally, the Council called on the Administration to issue a new request for proposals (RFP) for older adult center contracts, which expire at the end of the 2024 calendar year. This new RFP should account for the current needs of the City’s growing older adult population and the rising costs of services. The City should not be reducing funding for older adult services without fully projecting the level of need for the contract term. 

Home Care and Case Management Older Adult Programs

The Council has called on the Administration to add $13.3 million to NYC Aging’s budget for their home care and case management programs to help functionally impaired older adults live safely at home, $7 million in baselined funding to support the continued growth in demand in NYC Aging’s home care program, and $6.3 million in baselined funding to clear the case management waitlist and fully address the level of demand for the program. Case management agencies, contracted through NYC Aging, provide assessments, and link homebound seniors with services, including home-delivered meals (HDMs), home care, information and referrals, and other supportive programs. The services are provided through referrals from senior centers, HDM providers, hospitals, and other community-based social service and health care agencies.

Older Adult Centers Capital Funding Enhancement

The Council has called on the Administration to increase capital funding for older adult centers by adding $50 million to NYC Aging’s Capital Plan, with $10 million of this funding earmarked for centers that predominately serve older adults who are immigrants. Providers have expressed concerns about the infrastructure needs at many older adult centers across the city, especially within their kitchens. Without the needed kitchen upgrades at older adult centers, providers will need to rely more heavily on outsourcing food preparation, which is both more expensive and less nutritious. Investing further in NYC Aging’s Capital Plan would ensure the agency’s ability to effectively deliver much needed services and programming to the City’s older adult population.     

“Our older adults built the foundation upon which we stand, and we cannot afford to leave them behind in the city budget,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “It is critical that our budget reflects the needs of our older adults and invests in older adult care centers, home care and case management services, and meal services they rely on for their health and well-being. All of us deserve to age with dignity, and that can only happen if we equip our older adults with the resources to age in place in their communities. With the right investments and restoration of funding, we can ensure that our older adults, now and in the future, can lead healthy and connected lives.”

“We cannot accept indiscriminate budget cuts to the programs that keep our communities afloat; and this is certainly the case for NYC Aging,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Aging. “It would be irresponsible to underestimate the effects these cuts will have on our already-strained resources and cash-strapped service providers. Yet, this administration seems unconcerned that poverty and food insecurity are becoming more and more commonplace among older New Yorkers; that our older adult population has increased by more than 30% in the last decade and is expected to balloon 40% by 2040. This should be a moment of investment. We should be bolstering and expanding the resources NYC Aging and their contracted providers offer to millions of our neighbors today so that we may guarantee dignified aging for all New Yorkers tomorrow. I look forward to working with Speaker Adams to ensure we deliver the care our older neighbors deserve.”

“Our older adults built this city – and let’s not forget they continue and build on their contributions every day,” said Council Member Justin Brannan, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “We owe them every chance to age in place, in dignity, and surrounded by friends and family in return. As the challenges of aging change over time, we must remain adaptable and robust in offering support. I am proud to fight for a New York where no senior is truly alone.”

“Mayor Eric Adams’ deeply unpopular, austerity budget has cut essential services from nearly every community. Our city’s aging population is no exception,” said Allison Nickerson, Executive Director of LiveOn NY. “Programs that older adults rely on to live healthy and fulfilling lives will be cut, including meals-on-wheels programs, transportation and case management services. In addition to that, we’re looking at the closure of 30-60 older adult centers across our city. We have to do better.”