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Albany Budget Cuts Threaten City Seniors' Lifelines, Say Advocates

Thursday, March 03, 2011

WNYC

If Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget cuts are approved by the state legislature, about 40 percent of the city's 256 senior centers would close at the end of the fiscal year in June.

The city released a list of 105 senior centers slated to close if the cuts are approved. Kips Bay Castle Hill Senior Center, which has about 200 elderly members from the Housing Authority's Castle Hill Houses each day, is one of 22 centers in the Bronx that could close in the borough.

"We have line-dancing — we have to use the big gym because so many seniors are now into the line dancing. We have Tai Chi, that's growing in leaps and bounds, and it's a hubbub of life," President Gerri Lamb said.

Lamb said the community of mostly Hispanic and African American seniors have formed close bonds with each other. She worries about what will happen if this center as well as others in the city close.

"If you break up a center you break up families — not necessarily blood, but social families," Lamb said. 

In his budget, Cuomo has proposed cutting cut $25 million in funding that has traditionally have gone toward the city's senior centers.

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