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July 24, 2012

Elderly New Yorkers Angrey as Crisis Hits Poorest

By Claudia Parsons
NEW YORK
Feb 17, 2009
(Reuters)

From housebound grandmothers who rely on charity meal deliveries, to ailing retirees who cannot pay rising costs for medications, older Americans feeling the pinch of the financial crisis are getting angry and forming groups with names like "Senior Outrage."
In New York, with city and state tax revenues tumbling, benefits and services to the elderly are being cut, and many older residents are furiously drawing comparisons to the billions of dollars spent to bail out banks -- and pay Wall Street bonuses.
Dolores Green, 68, retired as a home help worker and lives on a government Social Security check of $740 a month. She pays $719 a month in rent, leaving just $21 for everything else.
To eat, she relies on the federal food stamp assistance program, and worries that her cost for some medication she needs for her diabetes has gone up to $8 from $3.
To get by, she said: "I run errands for seniors. They may hand me $2 or $3 or something."
Green says she sees more people seeking government assistance, such as her daughter, who lost her job after 25 years.
"She's just applied for food stamps, she's got two kids," Green told Reuters at a community center where some 25 elderly New Yorkers were eating a lunch of sandwiches, a gelatin dessert, milk and tomato juice. "That's why she can't help me, because she's got to help her children."
"Maybe I'll move in with you," she jokes to her friend Alice Jordan, 80, a retired teacher who suffers from osteoporosis and high blood pressure.
Jordan said her food stamp allocation had gradually eroded to $54 a month from $180.
When she reads about the well-heeled victims of financier Bernard Madoff's suspected $50 billion Ponzi scheme, she says she wishes they would spare a thought for those who never had such wealth.
"Just like this guy Madoff ripped them off, how did they feel when they lost their money and had to change their style of living? Think of us. ... How do you think we feel?" she asked.

BIG BUDGET GAPS
New York City's Department for the Aging, which runs more than 300 community centers for aging residents and provides services such as food delivery to the homebound, affordable housing and heating subsidies, has cut its 2009 budget by $4 million to $285 million and faces another proposed cut, of $9.5 million, in 2010.



 Abridged
 SOURCE:      REUTERS
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