June 20, 2019 By Shane O’Brien
Community leaders and elected officials announced today that the Astoria Houses Senior Center will remain open.
The announcement comes just two months after the Mayor’s office had proposed shutting down the facility, citing low attendance as the reason. The administration threatened to close the facility and many others operated by the New York City Housing Authority to save costs. The plan was to bus seniors from Astoria Houses to Queensbridge Houses two miles away.
The announcement was particularly irksome to elected leaders, since the center was undergoing a $500,000 renovation that was close to completion.
Council Member Costa Constantinides joined seniors at the facility this afternoon to celebrate.
“Today, we can celebrate both the opening of the renovated senior center, which will be able to hold more people, as well as its continued service to this community,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “Though these cuts should not have been proposed in the first place, the City Council made sure these seniors wouldn’t have to get on a bus and travel down cramped streets for basic services.”
The center will no longer be operated by NYCHA and will now be controlled by the Department of the Aging with City Council support.
“Seniors rely on this center for hot meals and recreation but even more importantly to foster a sense of community we cannot put a price on,” said State Sen. Mike Gianaris. “I am thrilled that, by working together and with the support of our community, we were able to save this critical center.”
The Astoria Houses Senior Center received $500,000 under the Astoria Cove rezoning in 2014 for upgrades and expansion.
Until renovations were completed, seniors have met in a smaller space. The new facility will provide more room for seniors to talk, play games, and enjoy what is for many their only hot meal of the day.
Today I’m excited to announce the Astoria Houses Senior Center will remain open! This center has provided so much for our senior community, and now under the Department for the Aging will continue to provide them with hot meals and a place to socialize. pic.twitter.com/EJT0MwILJo
— Costa Constantinides (@Costa4NY) June 20, 2019