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Councilman introduces plan to increase support for senior citizens

OTR Senior Center nearly closed last year
Posted: 4:05 PM, Jan 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-14 16:05:58-05
Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld will push for organizations acting on behalf of senior citizens to be eligible for more city funding.

Sittenfeld announced the third step in his three-part plan to help save the Over-the-Rhine Senior Center which was under the threat of closure this past November.

"We had a scare heading into the holidays," Sittenfeld said during a news conference Monday, "and that scare was at this special place where we’re gathered here today - the Over-the-Rhine Senior Center - which has provided warm meals and just as important, warm friendships, for more than 30 years."

Without outside help, the center would have closed on Nov. 24.

"The community was rightly alarmed," Sittenfeld said.

MORE: Over-the-Rhine Senior Center, a 30-year haven for local seniors, can't afford to stay open

Members of city council, with help from private donors, allocated $50,000 to Cincinnati Area Senior Services to keep the center open. Sittenfeld also called for giving CASS control of the OTR building through a ten-year, zero dollars lease which may be extended depending on long-term needs of the center and its success.

On Monday, Sittenfeld proposed a third change.

"To open up parameters of eligibility for funding in our Human Services Fund to include agencies whose direct mission is to support seniors — to support the older adults in our community," he said.

Right now programs in the following four areas are eligible for human services funding in Cincinnati:

  • Programs that increase gainful employment
  • Programs that reduce homelessness
  • Programs that promote violence prevention
  • Programs that provide addiction treatment and prevention

The United Way then handles the vetting and selection process. According to Sittenfeld, the funds available in the Human Services Fund have increased enough that other programs will not be negatively affected by the change.

"But what we definitely do not want is to be back in the same situation year after year," he said.

Sittenfeld will present his motion before a council committee Tuesday before the motion is considered by all council members.