SAGE: Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders
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For Immediate Release

June 27, 2014

New York City Council Awards Funding to SAGE to Expand its Services through The SAGE Center to LGBT Older People across the Five Boroughs

Championed by Councilmember Ritchie Torres, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the LGBT Caucus of the New York City Council, this initiative will support underserved New Yorkers in all boroughs.

(New York, NY) The New York City Council’s adopted budget for FY’15 includes $1.5 million dollars in initial funding to support Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) in expanding LGBT senior center programming throughout the five boroughs of New York City, supporting some of the City’s most vulnerable residents. Planning will begin this summer and fall of 2014.

“SAGE is deeply grateful to Council member Ritchie Torres for spearheading this critical initiative in the Council, and we are thrilled that the City Council has supported the expansion of SAGE’s work,” said Tracy Welsh, deputy executive director and chief financial officer of SAGE. “Through The SAGE Center, we currently serve many of our city’s LGBT older adults in lower Manhattan and Harlem, who disproportionately struggle with social isolation, financial insecurity and health issues. This funding will allow us to extend these supports to LGBT elders in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens.”

The initiative was spearheaded by Ritchie Torres and the New York City Council’s LGBT Caucus, which includes Council members Rosie Méndez, Jimmy Van Bramer, Daniel Dromm, Corey Johnson and Carlos Menchaca.

“Before I introduced this initiative, we lacked sufficient support services to address the unique and pressing issues faced by the over 100,000 LGBT elders that call New York City home,“  said Council member Ritchie Torres, the first openly gay elected official from the Bronx. “With an allocation of $1.5 million dollars we will not only provide seniors in every borough better access to the care they need, but we will ensure that more of our LGBT seniors are able to age with dignity and surrounded by  a supportive community.  I am incredibly grateful to Speaker Mark-Viverito, the LGBT Caucus, and my colleagues throughout the council for championing such an important cause.”

Building upon the success of The SAGE Center, this initiative will enable SAGE to:

•         Serve LGBT older people in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens;

•         Augment existing programs and services available at the SAGE Harlem community center;

•         Provide  meals and programs related to health and wellness, nutrition, education, socialization and cultural enrichment; and

•         Expand its LGBT cultural competency trainings offered to service providers in those five boroughs.

The details for this new programming will be determined over the next several months. In keeping with its history of partnership, SAGE will collaborate with existing LGBT service providers and aging networks to develop programming based on the needs and interests of the targeted communities.

While SAGE works to expand its offerings within New York City, it has also shaped the national dialogue on the needs of LGBT older adults throughout the United States. Through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and its policy work at the federal level, SAGE has educated aging professionals and policy leaders on the importance of funding supports in various parts of the country.

About The SAGE Center

In March 2012, SAGE opened The SAGE Center, the country's first comprehensive, publicly-funded LGBT senior center, located on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. Seeded through an initiative co-developed by the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) and the Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, Inc., The SAGE Center addresses a growing demand for services tailored to the specific needs of LGBT older adults.

The SAGE Center provides free dinners five days a week, as well as a comprehensive array of services related to arts and culture, fitness, food and nutrition, health and wellness, and lifelong education. Drawing on more than three decades of experience working with LGBT elders, The Center also provides a full spectrum of case management and supportive counseling and support groups, provided by social workers.

LGBT elders in New York City can come to the SAGE Center to meet friends, obtain information on their health benefits, participate in a program that builds their employment skills, record their personal stories for public education, and much more.

SAGE is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people. SAGE also offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE coordinates a growing network of affiliates across the country. Learn more at

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Christina DaCosta
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