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“What New Yorkers 50+ Deserve” Lays Out Fresh Blueprint for NYC Lawmakers

New policy guide from AARP NY offers recommendations for policymakers to tackle challenges facing New Yorkers 50-plus, including ageism, affordable housing and economic instability

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AARP New York released “What Older New Yorkers Deserve: NYC Blueprint for Action 2.0,” their second-ever comprehensive policy guide with over 90 recommendations to help city officials tackle important issues facing older New York City residents — from fighting age discrimination to hazardous streets.

“This policy book should be the blueprint for all New York City elected officials and policymakers to understand the issues faced by our neighbors age 50 and older,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “New Yorkers 50-plus helped build our city and make it great. They face many challenges, including ageism, a lack of affordable housing, economic instability, and more. Through thoughtful policy solutions, we can help New Yorkers 50-plus happily grow older in the communities they love.”

Residents 50-plus account for nearly a third of the New York City population, and it is rapidly growing. According to a recent report from the Center for an Urban Future, New York City's 65-and-over population grew by 36%, or more than 800,000 people, over the past decade, while the rest of the population shrunk by nearly half a million. Older adults are the driving force in New York’s economy, cultural life, and volunteer base. They also represent the largest voter turnout bloc.

AARP has collaborated with this increasingly diverse population to address priorities to make New York better for residents of all backgrounds. Drawing on research and policy work, including a series of policy briefs about substantial challenges faced by older New Yorkers, AARP is providing this policy blueprint, which New York City leaders can use as a road map to ensure New Yorkers 50-plus continue to enhance the city.

The report calls on the Mayor and City Council to develop clear plans to make NYC more age-friendly and tackle the challenges faced most by New Yorkers 50-plus, including a lack of affordable housing, workplace age discrimination, gaps in access to technology, food insecurity, inadequate coordination of services among government agencies, inaccessible public transportation, hazardous streets, social isolation, caregiving shortfalls, senior center needs, and insufficiencies in home-based care.

Recommendations in the policy book include:

● The city launched the MyCity portal to help residents more easily access the benefit programs to which they are entitled. The first phase of this portal is available only to parents and caregivers applying for childcare. Although the needs of families are important, so are the needs of the city’s 1,373,495 older adults. The city must make the MyCity portal available to older adults immediately.

● Work with AARP to follow Disrupt Aging measures to fight all forms of age discrimination in the hiring process and on the job. This includes overturning an unfair court decision that makes age discrimination more difficult to prove than race- or sex-based discrimination.

● Expand eligibility for SCRIE and DRIE to qualifying tenants in non-rent-regulated buildings, with the intention of supporting a greater number of aging and disabled tenants while providing greater security for owners and landlords who house them.

● Expand the city’s funding allocated for home-delivered meals programs to ensure that more eligible older New Yorkers can access two meals per day, seven days per week, with culturally appropriate food options.

● Continue to expand and improve zoning rules that allow the MTA to leverage private development to add elevators or other station access to New York City Transit, Staten Island Railway, Long Island Railroad, and Metro-North stations across the city.

● Commit to following Complete Streets guidelines, which make it easy for younger and older residents alike to cross intersections; walk to shops, jobs, and schools; bicycle to work, and move actively with assistive devices.

● Develop an NYC Caregiver Tax Credit for those providing direct care to a loved one, which will help to address the financial challenges experienced by many family caregivers.

● Guarantee the city fully funds the 5-year Community Care Plan, and ensure equitable distribution of funding to providers to expand access to senior centers and aging-related services in underserved communities.

● Expand the city’s investments to build out high-speed internet infrastructure.

“What Older New Yorkers Deserve: NYC Blueprint for Action 2.0” is available online. Click to download a copy of “What New Yorkers 50+ Deserve,” or read it below.

AARP staff and volunteers will share hard copies of the book and meet with leaders across the city to discuss policy solutions and push for increased support and attention to the issues and recommendations outlined in the policy book.

1. AARP Beth Video.mp4

CONTACT: Kevin Jones, kjones@aarp.org [at] aarp [dot] org.

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