City Contracts Awarded For Two New Senior Centers In Asian Community
City contracts went out Monday to two new Brooklyn senior centers. Both serve the Asian community, the city's fastest-growing group. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Homecrest Community Services has been providing for the Asian community in Bensonhurst since 2004. While many senior centers may have Chinese members, this one is also run by Chinese.
"What we bring is that special feeling of community, that cultural heritage," said Homecrest chairman Don Lee.
The senior center has relied on donations and grants to keep the center funded. Now, it's been selected by the city for funding.
"We all know that Homecrest has been doing very good services for a very long time," said Department of Aging Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. "The difference is going to be that they have more resources now. They're going to be part of a network."
"It's been a dream come true in many respects," said Richard Kuo, the executive director of Homecrest. "So we're very happy."
For the first time in about a dozen years, the Department of Aging put out a request for proposals. Only two new groups were chosen in Brooklyn, both primarily serving Asian communities: Homecrest and the Brooklyn Chinese American Association in Sunset Park. Homecrest was awarded a 3 year, $380,000 contract.
"Essentially, we had over 300 applications," Barrios-Paoli said. "It was very rigorous. A lot of competition. So it's attribute to Homecrest that they were able to compete successfully against some established providers to get funded."
The elderly Asian population has seen tremendous growth in Bensonhurst over the past decade and the facility brings many of them together to socialize, eat together, learn English and take health classes. The center is open Monday through Friday serving about 80 meals a day.
"The city is now going to provide funding for those congregate meals, for the staffing and to help offset the cost of the rent, which is a very important component," Kuo said.
State Sen. Marty Golden has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to keep the center operating. His district has one of the largest concentrations of elderly residents.
"The southwest and southeast parts of Brooklyn have the highest senior counts throughout the state of New York," he said.
Administrators at Homecrest said with more, they'll do even more.