Thanks to strong leadership by the NYS Assembly, Title XX funds, which have been used to fund New York City senior centers, has been restored. I spoke out strongly in favor of this restoration as closing senior centers would dramatically impact the lives of so many in the elderly community. We can't balance the state budget by cutting services to vulnerable citizens during this economic downturn. We must protect those who have made lifelong contributions to our communities and continue providing them the services they need and deserve.
I voted in favor of the Assembly budget that rejected the plan to strip $36 million in Title XX discretionary funding from the centers - which had the potential to force 105 senior centers to close their doors. In order to eliminate the state's $10 billion deficit, difficult decisions have to be made, but I believed strongly that they should not come at the expense of Brooklyn seniors. Funding will ensure that thousands of seniors won't lose essential services provided by the centers, including nutritious meals, health and wellness activities and socialization.
The final budget, signed by the governor, allows New York City to continue using discretionary funding to support local senior centers and keep them open. Now it is up to Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Council to apply these funds to the senior centers -- I encourage constituents to contact the Mayor and your City Council representatives to show support for senior centers.
A free shuttle to Fairway Market, which I coordinate with Fairway, is resuming for the season. After the closing of two large supermarkets in Carroll Gardens and Brooklyn Heights, it became difficult, particularly for seniors, to do their food shopping. In turn, the Fairway Market in Red Hook is hard to get to because of a lack of public transportation. Two free buses pick up shoppers from three points in my district, take them to Fairway and return them to the pick up point.
The service began on April 28 when shoppers were picked up at 10 AM at the Eileen Dugan Senior Center at 380 Court Street and then at 10:30 AM at the St. Charles Jubilee Center at 55 Pierrepont Street - this shuttle will run every three weeks on Thursdays through November 17. The bus also picks up shoppers in Concord Village at 10 AM in front of 215 Adams Street in Brooklyn Heights beginning May 5, 2011 - this bus will also run every 3 weeks on Thursdays through November 3. Anyone of any age is welcome to come to Fairway on the buses.
Friends of the Carroll Gardens Library is holding a huge book sale Saturday, May 14, 2011, 10 AM - 4 PM at the library, 396 Clinton Street on the corner of Union Street. There will be thousands of books at bargain prices, baked treats for sale and free performances including children's favorite Karen K and the Jitterbugs. As a former librarian I strongly advocate for our community libraries in the Assembly and I will be attending.