(The Center Square) – New York is distributing federal relief funds to help the state's elderly meet basic needs, remain in their homes, slow the spread of COVID-19 and get vaccinated.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said the $149 million in pandemic aid will be distributed between New York City and other regions of the state and will build on other assistance to older individuals and their family caregivers to help "maintain their economic and social contributions in the community."
"Our older community is in desperate need of support, and using federal stimulus funds will strengthen our aging services network, and extend support for those who need it," Hochul said in a statement.
Hochul said the additional funding will help continue food and medication delivery, transportation, efforts to address social isolation, elder abuse and financial exploitation, "all while supporting the family members who care for older adults so they can return to work."
Under the disbursement plans, New York City will get the largest share of the funds or more than $69 million, while Long Island will get about $17.6 million, according to a breakdown of the stimulus spending provided by the Hochul administration.
The Hudson Valley region, which includes Duchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties, will receive about $15.2 million.
The Western New York district, which includes Allegheny, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties, will get about $11.4 million from the relief funds.
Beth Finkel, president of the New York chapter of the AARP, said the federal aid will go a long way toward helping the state's most vulnerable population.
"Virtually all older adults want to remain in their homes and communities, and keeping them healthy and safe is paramount," Finkel said in a statement.
Stephen J. Acquario, executive director of the New York State Association of Counties, said the funding is "critical to supporting the essential frontline work that counties do to support older New Yorkers and their families."
"Nobody has paid a higher price to the COVID-19 pandemic than older New Yorkers, both in loss of life and in disruption to services that help seniors live with dignity," he said.
Overall, New York has received $12.75 billion in pandemic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion stimulus signed in March by President Joe Biden.
The Hochul administration has said it will also focus spending of relief money on projects that provide help to renters, small businesses and hard-hit sectors of the state's economy.
Under interim U.S. Treasury Department guidance, states and cities must commit the ARPA money by 2024, and spend the funds by 2026.