Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou Leads Assembly Push to Protect Social Services and Senior Funding in the State Budget

February 21, 2018

New York, NY – Last week, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou submitted two budget letters to Assembly leadership advocating for funding for social and senior services to be included in the FY 2018-2019 State budget.

“I was proud to have led the push for Settlement House Program and N/NORC program funding in this year’s budget negotiations. As for N/NORCs, I was incredibly grateful to have had the help of Assemblymember Gottfried, whose advocacy for this important program has been critical,” said Assemblymember Niou.

“Our settlement houses and N/NORCs are more than just service providers - they bind our communities together, particularly in lower Manhattan. Settlement Houses are our community hubs, as they offer a one-stop shop for after-school programs, career training and so much more. Our seniors deserve to age in their homes and thrive in the communities they helped build, and N/NORCs allow for that. The $5 million for Settlement House Programs and $2 million restorations plus $1 million investment for N/NORCs will help us grow and maintain these critical programs across our State, and I look forward to pushing for them as budget negotiations continue.”

“Underfunding these important programs would put some of our most vulnerable residents at risk,” said Assembly Member Richard Gottfried. “NORCs and NNORCs help seniors stay in their homes by providing vital support services, including health monitoring, case management and social activities and Settlement Houses have historically provided all kinds of assistance, such as afterschool programs, language and literacy education to immigrants and other people in their neighborhoods to help them succeed."

Assemblymember Niou put forth a $5 million ask for the Settlement House Program. In addition, along with Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, who is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health, she pushed for a $2 million restoration and an additional investment of $1 million for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) and Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NNORCs).

Settlement Houses are integrated into communities across New York State as neighborhood or community centers that residents rely on for comprehensive services including employment programs, children's’ and afterschool programs, language and literacy education, legal counseling, senior services, and health and home care. The Settlement House Program provides funding for 48 settlement houses across the State via the Office of Children and Family Services and Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

Assemblymember Niou has six settlement houses in her district - Chinese-American Planning Council, Education Alliance, Grand Street Settlement, Hamilton-Madison House, Henry Street Settlement, and University Settlement.

N/NORCs are age-integrated living environments not initially built for seniors but are now home to a substantial older population. N/NORCs have been woven into the fabric of many communities and provide more than just integral services to our aging population. The NORC program enables older adults to age in their own homes rather than in costly institutional settings. N/NORCs play a pivotal role in supporting successful health outcomes for our seniors by keeping them healthy, active, and social. Funding for the NORC program would go towards sustaining these programs and services and expanding them to meet the needs of New York’s rapidly-aging population. The NORC program receives funding from the New York State Office of the Aging.

Kevin Douglas, Co-Director of Policy & Advocacy at United Neighborhood Houses said, “United Neighborhood Houses (UNH) is grateful to Assembly Members Niou and Gottfried for their continued advocacy and support for the State-funded Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) program. NORCs are an innovative model of providing supportive services to older adults living in our communities that allow them to age with dignity in their homes. In addition to promoting the health, well-being and social connection of older adults, NORCs ultimately save the State money by helping avert or delay more costly acute and expensive long-term interventions. Thanks to the leadership of the New York State Assembly, State investment in the NORC program has grown in recent years, and UNH encourages the Assembly, Senate, and Governor to act on the recommendations of Assembly Members Niou and Gottfried to further invest in NORCs in order to plan for their growth and sustainability around the State.”

“University Settlement is keenly aware through our work with older adults, children, and families on the Lower East Side of how vital the NORC and Settlement House Program funding is to our community,” said Melissa Aase, Executive Director of University Settlement. “We’re grateful and support the efforts of New York State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou to bring more resources to our community, and thank her for continued leadership on these vital issues.”

David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street Settlement said, “Henry Street Settlement strongly supports the budget letters Assembly Member Niou is championing in the state legislature. Henry Street’s NORC funding is critical to ensuring our seniors receive the on-site health and case management supports they need to age in place. Our Settlement House Program support ensures that youth participants at our Boys and Girls Republic can access evening recreation and educational programming. We are grateful to Assembly Member Niou for championing the needs of the Lower East Side seniors and youth served by these critical programs.”

Keh-yueh (Carrie) Chen, B.E.S.T/NORC Program Director at Grand Street Settlement said, "Grand St. Settlement's NORC plays a critical role in the lives of low-income and ESL aging community members. Because of the wraparound services we provide through the Baruch Elders Service Team (B.E.S.T.) at Baruch Houses, we are able to help seniors enjoy a better quality of life and connect them to the resources they need."