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AARP calls on NYS to address COVID-19's 'disproportionate impact on older NYers of color'

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Tue, May 19th 2020 03:15 pm

Seeks robust testing, long-term care task force, continuing moratoriums on rent & mortgage collection, other actions

Testifies at joint state legislative hearing on ‘Exploring Solutions to the Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Minority Communities’

Earlier this week, AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement in conjunction with AARP New York’s presentation of testimony at the Joint New York State Senate and Assembly public hearing on “Exploring Solutions to the Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Minority Communities”:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is shedding light on a wide range of disparities impacting older New Yorkers of color that existed before this crisis and that have been exacerbated in the months since the spread of the virus began. AARP New York’s own research, particularly ‘Disrupting Racial and Ethnic Disparities: Solutions for New Yorkers Age 50+,’ and ‘Disrupt Disparities 2.0: Solutions for New Yorkers Age 50+,’ has shown widespread health and income disparities driven by access to care, affordability and other health care system factors, as well as the impacts of social determinants of health such as poverty, residential segregation, unemployment and low educational attainment.

“Older New Yorkers of color are bearing the brunt of COVID-19. The pandemic has made fixing underlying structural inequalities more imperative than ever before, and addressing the needs of older New Yorkers of color must be a priority for our recovery phase and beyond.

“We’re urging the state to:

•“Provide robust testing in communities of color, with culturally competent outreach plans to the communities with the highest rates of infection;

•“Increase SNAP outreach and allow home-bound New Yorkers to order groceries online using SNAP benefits;

•“Establish a long-term care COVID-19 taskforce while extending the mandate on testing to facility residents and home care staff and allowing the state’s long-term care ombudsman program back into nursing homes;

•“Protect essential workers and ensure that all have adequate and functioning personal protective equipment;

•“Continue moratoriums on both rent and mortgage collections and utility terminations;

•“Provide regular, detailed reports of actions and plans being taken to address inequities in the health and economic impacts of the outbreak;

•“Create a disparities task force to analyze the data and take action, address rising xenophobia in New York and educate constituents on how destructive it can be for all New Yorkers.”

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org.

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