The Red Hook Senior Center at 6 Wolcott Street hasn’t been occupied since Hurricane Sandy hit and soon, seniors won’t be going there at all even after cleanup is complete.
Instead, the RAICES Red Hook Senior Citizens Program will be permanently relocated to the currently vacant and under construction/renovation PAL Community Center at 120 West 9th Street, which is still overseen by the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA).
The move-in date is still to-be-determined.
The seniors have spent the last few months using the PAL Miccio Center at 595 Clinton Street as a temporary program location.
Local elected officials, including Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, and Councilmember Sara Gonzalez, along with NYCHA Chairman John Rhea tout the new location as a boon for the community, as the new site is only a few blocks away from the original site and will have the added benefit of being close to a hub of community services and activity.
They also pledged to allocate city funding for program expansions. Around $1.8 million of City Council funds have already been allocated to pay for renovations.
“I think that it is great that we will be in a new location and finding a new place for our program will allow us to grow within the community,” said Jose Ortiz, founder and executive director of RAICES. “Eventually, we hope to be able to expand to provide inter-generational programs and that will be a win-win situation for Red Hook.”
“I believe seniors are a true treasure in our community,” said Gonzalez. “All that we enjoy, we really owe to them. We can never do enough to repay them for all they’ve done for us.”
“We are delighted that we are able to relocate our seniors in this very valuable RAICES Red Hook Senior Citizens Program to a new location that will continue to serve their needs,” said NYCHA Chairman John Rhea. “With the anticipated funding from the City Council. . .we hope to keep RAICES presence in the community, as we also look to expand to our efforts in support of inter-generational programs.”
RAICES provides over 100 Red Hook seniors per day with a daily breakfast and lunch, exercise and health programs; assistance with the application process for senior benefits, mental health services and support, crisis intervention services, treatment for depression and other mental illnesses, and community-based outreach.
RAICES Senior Citizen Program location at 6 Wolcott Street was totally destroyed by Superstorm Sandy with more than five feet of water and sewage damage to all furniture, fixtures, inventory, appliances, computer equipment, among other items.