New York State has long been home to some of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the nation. New York’s ethnic communities—primarily comprised of African American/Black, Asian American/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino populations are not only growing, but also aging at a rapid pace.
Given these changing demographics, AARP is partnering with thought leaders, elected officials and leading organizations that serve New York’s ethnic communities in a multi-year effort to identify disparities that exist among their ethnic 50-plus communities and fight for solutions to disrupt these disparities.
AARP’s purpose has always been to empower people to choose how to live as they age. Through a societal movement called Disrupt Aging, AARP encourages all to challenge outdated beliefs and spark new solutions to facilitate peoples’ choices. However, key disparities that exist in the areas of health, economic security and livability among 50-plus New Yorkers of color create inequalities that can limit or even impede their choices.
On January 24, 2018, AARP New York, the Asian American Federation , the Hispanic Federation , the NAACP and the Urban League released a series of policy briefs highlighting disparities in health, economic security, and livability in AARP_DisparitiesPaperSummary_Booklet_FINAL , AARP_DisparitiesPaperSummary_Booklet_81-2X11_01132018_R1_Spanish , and AARP_DisparitiesPaperSummary_Booklet_CH .
AARP New York is also partnering with the Rockefeller Institute of Government to dig deeper into disparities and develop additional solutions, and in early 2019 commissioned a new report on the aging of New York by the Center for an Urban Future.
AARP and our partner groups have shed a light on the disparities in communities of color. Until now, few, if any, proposed solutions have led to the necessary policy changes to address these disparities; nor have they focused on New York’s 50-plus population.
But AARP and partners have made significant progress since January 2018, including:
- Enactment of the NYS Secure Choice program, which will allow private sector employers to offer their employees the chance to open individual retirement accounts with low-cost options through payroll deduction.
- An historic $15 million increase in funding for non-Medicaid home and community based services for the elderly in the 2019-20 state budget. These services, which include transportation to medical appointments and help with bathing, dressing and other daily activities, help relieve the burden on family caregivers and allow older New Yorkers to remain at home longer – where the vast majority want to be. National studies have shown that Americans of color have been moving to nursing homes – the majority of which are paid for by taxpayers - at an increasing rate while the percentage of whites moving to nursing homes has declined.
- $20 million in the 2019-20 state budget for housing and legal services for vulnerable homeowners fighting foreclosure, deed theft, and other challenges that threaten to displace them from their homes, replacing funding from bank settlements that ran out at the end of March 2019.
- The strongest rent regulation laws in the nation, signed in the spring of 2019.
- A ban on discrimination against any lawful source of income, such as Social Security checks, to pay for housing.
- Funding in the 2019-20 state budget for elder abuse prevention.
- Funding in the 2019-20 state budget for Kincare programs that help non-parent relatives raising children.
- Legislative passage of a bill making it easier for eligible children to receive a public assistance nonparent grant (the bill still needs the Governor’s approval).
- Legislative passage of a bill to create an independent utility consumer advocate with the power to challenge unfair rate hikes in court (the bill still needs the Governor’s approval).
There is much more to be done, and that is where YOU come in. We are looking to hear from you on additional policy solutions to help close the gaps that exist in communities of color. It is our goal that these solutions be put into action to help all communities enjoy the same stability and equal footing, thus offering more choices for how and where all New Yorkers live as they age. Share your thoughts and solutions with us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conversation doesn’t end here. AARP and our partner groups will continue taking these briefings around New York State where we will engage with legislators, journalists, and key policy influencers.
Note: this bill passed the NYS Legislature in June 2019 and will go to the Governor.
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Spectrum News Noticias NY 1
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Social Media Influencers:
Disrupting Racial and Ethnic Disparities for New Yorkers Age 50+ via @BiculturalMama
April 1, 2018 - Telehealth passed - New York State Executive Budget (Pages 124 - 126)
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