A nearly 60-year-old law is getting an update that is meant to benefit older New Yorkers in the LGBTQ communities.
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday signed a bill that will expand a program for older New Yorkers to provide funding and services based on "greatest social need" that includes barriers or isolation created by racial and ethnic status, as well as sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and HIV status.
"As Governor, one of my top priorities is making sure all New Yorkers receive the care and help they need regardless of their identity," Hochul said. "There is drastic inequity in physical and mental care for older adults in the LGBTQ community, and this legislation is an important step in addressing those inequities while helping ensure LGBTQ older New Yorkers receive the same respect and support as anyone else in the state."
Under the current federal law, the state is required to administer the Older Americans Act for targeted populations in rural areas, people with disabilities, limited English proficiency and those with memory disorders and people at risk of institutional placement. The law does not specifically include older LGBTQ adults in its guidance.
The measure approved by Hochul will require the guidance to be updated under the state's administration of it.
"The Older American's Act affects everyone—older adults, people who help support them, and all of us who hope to one day grow old. It also underpins a promise to preserve the right to live independently, with dignity, making everyday decisions according to our individual preferences and goals across our lifespan," said Assemblyman Harry Bronson, who sponsored the measure with Sen. Brad Hoylman. "This promise is more important than ever, and this legislation will help fulfill that promise to many more New Yorkers."