A Bensonhurst senior center offering specialized services to the area’s growing Asian population has been designated a NYC Neighborhood Senior Center, and will now receive public funding to continue its mission.
The center, located at 7907 New Utrecht Avenue, is a local annex of the Sheepshead Bay-based Homecrest Community Services, and has been operating since 2004 through donations and grants. The public funds will now ensure continued services for a booming population.
The city’s decision to fund this senior center recognizes Bensonhurst’s Asian boom. The Asian population of Community Board 11, which is comprised of Bensonhurst and Bath Beach, has swelled 10.5 percent since 2000, according to the 2012 Brooklyn Neighborhood Report of the Center of the Study of Brooklyn. Asian-Americans now account for 33.7 percent of Bensonhurst residents.
State Senator Martin Golden, New York City Department for the Aging Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, and officials of Homecrest Community Services, held a press conference on Monday to announce the public funding.
After the event, Golden’s press secretary John Quaglione said that the neighborhood now has the highest concentration of aging Asians in Brooklyn.
Quaglione added that although there are other senior centers in Bensonhurst, the Asians have additional barriers, such as language, which makes them in need of additional assistance. He said that this center is “Asian-run and Asian-attended,” which makes it easier for the Asian seniors to participate in activities and enjoy themselves.
According to Quaglione, the center will now be funded by the Office of the Mayor and the Department of Aging. He said that $369,000 will be needed each year to run the center adequately and efficiently. The senior center offers a day program to all seniors, consisting of meals, social activities, health care opportunities, citizenship assistance, case management and recreational activities.
Homecrest Community Services’ primary operation is based in the Homecrest Presbyterian Church located at 1413 Avenue T in Sheepshead Bay, where it has been serving that neighborhood’s Asian senior population since 1997.
“As a long time supporter of Homecrest Community Services, I am proud to be part of this historic announcement designating them as an official NYC Neighborhood Senior Center,” said Golden at the press conference. ” I know that this senior program will greatly advance the Asian American community in Southwest Brooklyn, and will support all senior citizens in need in my community.”