Q: Brooklyn has the largest senior population in New York City. What initiatives does your office have in order to meet the needs of our seniors?
A:The goal is to create an environment where seniors can have a good quality life and give them access to all the free services and benefits they have earned from their service and dedication particularly here in Brooklyn. We plan on going door to door and to senior centers to make sure they know what’s available to them including Food Stamps and programs like SCRIE that help seniors to pay rent.
Q: With so much development in Brooklyn, are there any plans in the works that the seniors should be aware of, in regards to affordable housing?
A: I want to make sure seniors can age in place without being forced out of the homes they have lived in for 35 and 40 years. We have
an informative lecture series where we go to senior centers each month. I also want to encourage the Mayor in his housing initiative to think outside the box to look at ways to building affordable housing on top of Post Offices and Libraries. I would like to retrofit and make them more senior friendly, sort of like a one stop shop. We would like to also look at churches as they are some of our largest land owners. Our initiative called Kingdom of Faith Builders allows developers to team up with churches to increase affordable housing.
Q: What are a couple of high priority senior concerns that you would like to address in the coming months?
A: The trauma of moving is a large concern for our seniors. We would like to create grandparent housing in NYCHA Housing so that seniors can stay in the communities they are familiar with. Another concern is public safety. We want to get information in the hands of seniors that will help protect them from individuals who try to take advantage of our most vulnerable population.
Q: Where can seniors find more information about the services and programs that are available within your office?
A: They can always contact my office directly to find out about our latest services 718 802- 3700 but it will always be my goal to meet seniors where they are.
-S. Eric Blackwell