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Staten Island asks the candidates: On seniors and medically-compromised residents


CITY HALL — Our first question for Mayor Bill de Blasio and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis comes from Westerleigh resident Regina Lutz. 

Each week until the Nov. 7 general election, the Advance will select a reader question on a Staten Island issue and pose it to the de Blasio and Malliotakis campaigns. 

Submit your own question with your full name, age and neighborhood of residence by email to or by leaving a comment on this article. 


Lutz, a 64-year-old registered nurse, wants to know what the candidates will do to help some of Staten Island’s more vulnerable populations.

“What are you going to do to meet the multiple needs of the elderly and medically-compromised residents of Staten Island?” Lutz asked.

Responses from candidates are copied verbatim, but any factual errors may be noted and responses may be trimmed if longer than 400 words. 

Here’s how the campaigns responded:


“According to the report  A Rising Population issued by the NYC Comptroller’s Office, the population of New Yorkers 65 and older grew by a staggering 19.2% for the decade ending in 2015. A growth rate, that is triple the rate of the under 65 population in the city. The Bronx and Staten Island are currently the boroughs with the fastest growing senior population. In addition, over 40% of senior headed households rely on government programs for more than half their income and 60% of New York City seniors spend more than 30% of their income on rent. 

During her career in Albany, Assemblywoman Malliotakis has fought to:

  • Restore of Title XX funding in State Budget, which NYC uses to fund its senior centers
  • Preserve Spousal Refusal in state budget which protects senior citizens from having to lose all their assets to care for a sick spouse.
  • Implement specific improvements to Access-A-Ride program
  • Support Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption

Staten Island contains one of New York City’s fast growing senior populations yet it contains few senior services programs. As Mayor I would do the following:

  • Build the New Dorp Senior Center which was destroyed during Super Storm Sandy.  This will be a priority.
  • Expand senior programs in Community Board 3 which is a rapidly aging community.
  • Introduce and Executive Budget that increases spending for Seniors through the Department of the Aging.  As mayor I will never leverage the security of our seniors for the sake of budget negotiations.
  • I will refer back rent for seniors living in NYCHA housing to ensure that seniors do not become homeless. 
  • Partner with private developers to construct supportive senior housing in all of New York City’s 5 boroughs to be completed within 3 years.
  • Create a Blue Ribbon Commission on Aging consisting of the Commissioners of Department for the Aging, Department of Social and Homeless Services, City Planning, Housing Preservation and Development, NYPD and NYCHA and MTA board members to create a blueprint to prepare NYC to serve and retain our aging population.   

As mayor I will recognize that people with disabilities may need special assistance when dealing with government agencies.  One example would be to allow disabled parents to register their children in the closest public school rather than being forced to travel miles due to strict school districting policies.” 


“As Mayor, my administration has made caring for and housing New York City’s seniors a top priority.  Finding affordable housing can be a challenge for all New Yorkers, especially those living on fixed incomes.  During my Administration, for the first time ever, New York City saw not just one but two rent freezes, and even further rent protections for seniors and the disabled.  Through Housing New York, we are adding 10,000 apartments for households earning less than $40,000: 5,000 of which are dedicated to seniors and 500 to veterans, some of who became disabled during service to our country.

We have also increased funding for senior programs by 60 percent to give these New Yorkers the care and programming they deserve.  We have increased salaries for case managers that serve on the front lines, helping at-risk seniors and those with disability access essential services.  We provided $12 million in funding to reduce waitlists, and are serving 50% more of those who need homecare. We’ve also expanded elder abuse prevention programs by $3.5 million to help identify the early warning signs and provide timely help. And to support caregivers, we’ve provided $4 million in baseline funding so they can care for themselves while caring so tirelessly for others. 

Every New York senior deserves stability and peace of mind.  If elected for a second term, seniors will continue to be a top priority for my Administration.”


Submit a question with your full name, age and neighborhood of residence by email to or by leaving a comment on this article.

Priority will be given to topics of general interest to Staten Islanders, as opposed to more narrow questions about issues specific to individual voters. 

Please include your name, age and neighborhood of residence. We will prioritize those from readers who provide this information. Let us know if there are circumstances that require you to remain anonymous.

We’ll pick a question and/or topic for the week by Wednesdays at 11 p.m., but suggestions from readers will be accepted on a rolling basis. The answers and responses we get from the candidates and campaigns will be published on Mondays. (We originally planned to publish answers on Fridays, but decided to give the campaigns more time to provide thoughtful responses.)  

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