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PCA’s 2024 Public Hearing Highlights Budget, Programming and Community Advocacy

John Deangelis

June 12, 2024 – PCA held its annual Public Hearing bringing together staff, board members and community representatives to discuss the need for additional advocacy and resources to keep up with the ever-increasing and changing needs of Philadelphia’s older adults.

Glenn Bryan, PCA chairman of the board, stated “in the next 50 years, we must expand – cast our net even wider. Philadelphia maintains one of the oldest and poorest populations in the country. We need to stand up and shout to advocate for all of them.”

In discussing the future budgetary and programmatic plans, PCA President and CEO Najja R. Orr, DBA, FCPP, noted that the 2024-25 state budget plan proposes “the single largest increase in PA Department of Aging (PDA) history.”

Some of the PCA 2024-25 Area Plan Goals, in brief, focus in five areas:

  • Continuing to target the OAA core programs.
  • Maintaining relationships and improving services based on lessons learned from COVID.
  • Continuing to address equity issues across the city.
  • Exploring innovative techniques that provide opportunities to grow our capabilities.
  • Strengthening caregivers services and supports.

Executive Director of the Center in the Park Community Center, Renee Cunningham, representing northwest Philadelphia, lauded Dr. Orr for his ongoing commitment, tenacity and advocacy on behalf of all older Philadelphians.

Ms. Cunningham, noted that amongst the many areas of need, the ability to provide senior center members with access and training in technology continues to be an area that is underfunded.  In her testimony she stressed her hope that organizations like PCA would identify ways to collaborate with private and public entities to help provide the city’s senior centers with equipment and training to extend the technology programs that help make older adults better able to independently operate in the world we live in today. She also mentioned the yeoman’s work being done by the staff at the senior centers particularly in guiding older adults through the various processes and quagmires to gain access to necessary services. Cunningham suggested that in future those community navigators should be housed within the senior center network as a way to better directly connect with and provide for the communities the centers serve.

Finally, Mr. Johnson, an older Philadelphia resident, pointed out the importance of getting beyond the bureaucracy of the numbers and focusing on what really matters and gains government attention – the people. Mr. Johnson emphasized, “instead of tax breaks for corporations, there should be allocation of some of those monies to the truly needy. We need to bring government to the communities. So, they see we are not ones and zeros. We are human beings. Paper has no face. When government leaders see the faces of those suffering, their consciences are challenged.”

Categories: Advocacy Finances News about PCA


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