In 2010, leaders from Empowered Queens United in Action and Leadership began organizing to improve services at the local Social Security Administration district office in Jamaica, Queens. A team of leaders surveyed seniors within our congregations and outside the office and found that people were angry about excessively long wait times, staff unable to help them, serious lack of privacy and poor service. A group then went and took action by meeting with SSA officials and won a commitment to improve each of these concerns.
East Brooklyn Congregations leaders in East New York met with managers from the United States Postal Service, which led to improved mail delivery and shorter lines in some of the local post offices. Now leaders in Bushwick, Brownsville and East New York are developing plans to make intersections and sidewalks safer, provide more benches and bus covers at stops used by seniors, and challenge the MTA to run the buses on time.
In 2011, Irving Domenech Senior Housing in Ocean Hill opened and provides housing to 72 seniors. Domenech Housing was built by Common Ground and named after a longtime EBC leader.
Leaders from Manhattan Together have successfully forced the Department of Transportation to install new countdown timer crosswalks in several areas in the Upper West Side, East Harlem and the Lower East Side. MT leaders were able to get 62 stories, including many Duane Reades, on the Upper West and Upper East Sides to adopt a set of “senior friendly” practices, including access to a bathroom, a drink of water and a place to sit down. Many of the stores also offer a senior discount.
The work by EQUAL, EBC and MT leaders are part of a Metro IAF's citywide strategy to organize seniors to make improvements.