BCF President and CEO Cecilia Clarke (center) announced on Wednesday the launch of the Brooklyn Elders Fund.
BCF President and CEO Cecilia Clarke (center) announced on Wednesday the launch of the Brooklyn Elders Fund. Photo courtesy Brooklyn Community Foundation

The Brooklyn Community Foundation announced on Wednesday the launch of a new fund dedicated to the care and welfare of older adults in Brooklyn. 

The Brooklyn Elders Fund will bring together seniors, policymakers and community-based nonprofits to develop strategies and execute innovative approaches to providing the care and support that the borough’s aging population needs.

“After building the Brooklyn neighborhoods the world has grown to love, Brooklyn’s elders are too often living in poverty, struggling to find decent housing they can afford and fighting for basic services that would allow them to live with dignity,” said Cecilia Clarke, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “It is the definition of a crisis.”

With the largest population of older adults of any New York county, 13.5 percent of Brooklyn’s population is older adults, and more than one in five live below the poverty line. With the average stay in New York City nursing homes costing close to $150,000 per year, older adults are struggling to find housing and care while many nursing homes are forced to close, amplifying the affordable housing crisis for senior citizens.

Leading up to the launch, BCF hosted a series of listening sessions to bring together diverse voices of Brooklyn’s elders to shape the priorities of the new fund. The information collected from these sessions will allow the fund to target the most critical issues affecting the borough’s older adults, the nonprofit said.

“Brooklyn has a long tradition of honoring and caring for its eldest residents,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “The establishment of the Brooklyn Elders Fund will help our older neighbors age in place with dignity, supporting them with the highest standards of care and respect that they have earned and deserve.”

The Brooklyn Elders Fund is seeded with $10 million from two fields of interest funds—CABS Community Foundation and the Fund for the Health and Integrity of Seniors—held permanently at BCF. The source of the funds is the result of two closed nursing homes, assets from which will now remain in and continue to serve older adults in Brooklyn, BCF announced.

“With new ideas and significant new resources, we will do our best to honor and transform the lives of older adults in our neighborhoods for generations to come,” said Clarke.

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