Here's a story that appeared in this week's edition of the Riverdale Review. Enjoy.
By Brendan McHugh
The outgoing chair of the aging committee had three bills signed into law last week that will protect and serve senior citizens long after he has moved on.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, finishing his term as the aging chair, sponsored bills that protect seniors against domestic violence, aid senior military veterans, and ease the difficulty of gaining state funds for senior communities.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bills into law last Wednesday.
“I am pleased that Gov. Cuomo signed these three bills, each of which will positively impact the lives of many seniors throughout New York State,” Dinowitz said in a statement. The Bronx assemblyman will be the chair of consumer affairs and protection when the new legislative session begins.
The first bill (A6736) calls for the creation of programs for senior centers to prevent domestic violence. The programs will be developed by the NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and brought to senior centers around the state. Elder abuse is a growing concern in New York, and these programs will be an important resource in educating senior citizens and preventing elder abuse, provided in the ideal location of senior centers.
Another bill (A544) directs the NYS Office for the Aging to review and develop programs to meet the needs of our senior military veterans. New York State has the second largest population of veterans in the nation, many of whom served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and this bill will ensure that our senior veterans have access to quality programs that serve their needs.
Many veterans in New York are approaching or over the age of 60 according to the bill’s summary, but before the bill was passed, the Office for the Aging had no obligation to tailor many programs to veterans specifically.
The last bill (A395A) relates to the state matching funds for grants under the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) supportive service program. The bill allows these communities to raise money outside of their geographic boundaries, thereby diversifying and expanding their sources of revenue.
“In certain communities, through the natural process, the collective people became very old,” said Dinowitz, referring to the Amalgamated Houses as an example. The NORC program gives communities the ability to find more private money to put to use on senior programs, nurses, social workers and much more.
“What legislation does, it makes it more flexible on how you can come up with the funds to secure state money.”
Dinowitz said that despite his new position in the legislature, he plans to always keep in mind the needs of the elderly.
“Now that I’ve been appointed Chair of the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection, and my tenure as Chair of the Aging Committee has ended, but my commitment to fighting for the needs of seniors will never waver,” he said.