In response to the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy to the site of a Red Hook senior program, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and City Councilwoman Sara M. González joined with New York City Housing Authority Chairman John B. Rhea in announcing a relocation site for the RAICES Red Hook Senior Citizens Program not far from the original location. The new site will be at the nearby vacant community facility at 120 West 9th Street; the senior program previously was located at 6 Wolcott Street. The RAICES senior program, which attracts more than 100 seniors to its daily programs, has been a 21-year old fixture in the Red Hook community.
“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 B. Rhea. “With the anticipated funding from the City Council as a result of the efforts of Councilwoman González, and with support from Congresswoman Velázquez, we hope to keep RAICES’ presence in the community, as we also look to expand to our efforts in support of intergenerational programs.”
“RAICES provides invaluable services to the seniors of Red Hook,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez. “After Sandy, this new location will ensure these programs continue to grow and thrive.”
“When I witnessed the trauma Red Hook seniors were experiencing by losing their home away from home in the aftermath of Sandy, I immediately began a series of negotiations with Chairman Rhea and his staff at NYCHA, the Department for the Aging and community leaders to secure a new space for our seniors,” said Councilwoman Sara M. González. “I enlisted the aid of Senator Velmanette Montgomery and my colleagues, Council Member David Greenfield, and Speaker Christine Quinn. In this year’s budget, I have designated $1.8 million to fund the needed renovations for their new home because I believe seniors are a true treasure in our community. All that we enjoy, we really owe to them. We can never do enough to repay them for all they’ve done for us.”
RAICES provides a full array of benefit and counseling services to older adults in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. These services include breakfast and lunch daily; exercise and health programs; and assistance with the application process and enrollment in all major benefits/entitlements available. In addition, RAICES provides a full array of mental health services and support; crisis intervention services; treatment for depression and other mental illnesses; as well as, an aggressive community based outreach modality. The program has 125 seniors who are formally engaged in their efforts.
“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 José 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.”
The 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, and computer equipment, among other items. Since November 2012, NYCHA has provided RAICES with temporary space at the Miccio Center, where it will remain until renovation is complete at its new home nearby at the currently vacant community facility. The move-in date will be determined after NYCHA’s Capital Projects Division completes its estimates for renovations.