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NEWSLETTER

NATIONAL INDO-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR SENIOR CITIZENS INC.

Summer/Fall 2004 issue                          Editors:   Rajeshwar Prasad & Ashwin Pandya, MD

Web site:  www.niaasc.org                   

E-mail: niaasc@aol.com               

Toll-free phone: 866-6-niaasc (866-664-2272)

 

Office: 1824 Fairfax Street, Elmont, NY 11003

  Mailing Address:

 7 Roberta Avenue, Farmingville, NY 11738

 

BRIEF HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ABOUT NIAASC:

 

The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC), incorporated in early 1999, is a nonprofit 501C3 organization. Its mission is to serve seniors through information, referral and advocacy services. NIAASC has organized eight full-day conferences/workshops and the subjects covered included: Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare and Medicaid Basics, Long Term Care, Transportation, Family Conflicts & Compromises Faced by Seniors, Senior Housing, Respite Care, Process of Knowing and Availing Services for Seniors, Advocacy Process, Elder Law, and Planning, Development and Administration of Senior Housing Complex. NIAASC through formal surveys, informal discussions and observations, has identified problems faced by Indian seniors, their needs and aspirations in USA. It has periodically published its newsletter or progress report. Its representatives have appeared on television, and written articles of interest to seniors and their families. Its pamphlet  'How to Set Up Senior Citizen Program' is available on request. Its Board of Directors is composed of individuals with dedication and professionalism in different fields. It provides a continuity of efforts by virtue of the fact that only one-third of its Board members retire every year, though eligible to be reelected. Its membership is open to all but decision-making rests with members 50 years of age and over. NIAASC remains to be an information, referral and advocacy entity without reinventing wheels and bringing to the attention of seniors and their families services available in their local communities and encouraging them to utilize them. Its collaborative efforts extend to a number of local, national and international entities. NIAASC works closely with a number of organizations, and maintains working relationship with a number of groups.

NIAASC COLLABORATION with OTHER GROUPS:

NIAASC contributed an article, took an advertisement in the Journal and attended the 26th Annual Fundraising Dinner of India Association of Long Island on June 12, 2004. It was attended by some 200 people in LI.

India's 57th Anniversary of Independence: NIAASC attended the ceremonies sponsored by the Senior Citizen Center of New York at the Vaishnav Temple in Holliswood, NY; and another set of ceremonies sponsored by the Indian American Kerala Center in Elmont. Both events attracted large audiences on August 21, 2004.

NIAASC regularly participated at the monthly program for seniors launched by the India Association of Long Island in May 2004 at the Senior Citizen Center of the Town of Huntington. Also attends programs by Senior Citizens Center of NY.

COLLABORATIONS: NIAASC has maintained steady collaboration with a number of agencies: Among them are: the Indian American Kerala Civic and Cultural Center, Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, Senior Citizen Center of New York (Vaishnav Temple), India Association of Long Island, Guru Gobind Singh Senior Center at the Plainview Gurudwara, Senior Forum by the Long Island Gujarati Cultural Society, Hindu Temple Society of North America, Asian American Federation of New York, and Asian Americans for Equality.

Planning, Development and Administration of Senior Housing Complex:

A Brainstorming Session by NIAASC on August 22, 2004 

The  National  Indo-American Association for Senior  Citizens (NIAASC)  held a "Brainstorming"  Session  on  Planning, Development  and  Administration  of  Senior  Housing Complexes, on  August  22,2004, at  the Kerala  Center in  Elmont, NY. This  NIAASC  initiative  was  prompted  by  its  mission   of serving  seniors  through information, referral and advocacy services and  to  address  the  increasing concerns  of  seniors  regarding  adequacy  and  affordability  of  decent  housing, in their  twilight  years  yearning to lead rich  and independent lives. The  session, attended by 26 participants, and coordinated by Dr. Ashok Satkalmi, NIAASC Vice President, was  punctuated  with  valuable  information  and  insights  by  a specially-chosen  panel  of experts actively involved  in  the area  of  Housing  in  general  and   Senior  Housing  in  particular. 

Introductory Remarks: 

In  his  welcoming  remark, Mr. Rajeshwar  Prasad, NIAASC President,  briefly  alluded  to  NIAASC's  general  mission  of information dissemination, referral  and  advocacy services  and  how in  that  spirit,  this  brainstorming  session  was  conceived in  response  to the  Indian  Seniors'  community needs for  housing  articulated  by  the  NIAASC  members in  various NIAASC meetings. Mr. Prasad also informed that the media coverage of the proposed brainstorming session generated calls from Indian community leaders  from Chicago, Houston, New Jersey expressing that the session  could be a good starting point on senior housing subject. Mr. E.M. Stephen , president of the Kerala Center, welcomed all participants on behalf of the Center. He emphasized close working relationship between NIAASC and the Center. He also informed that the Center runs two senior programs, along with many other activities.

The panelists  were  introduced  by  Messrs. M.K.Ramasubramanian, NIAASC Board Member and  Rajeshwar Prasad.

The  Panelists  structured  their  discussions  into  three broad  categories: PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT and  ADMINISTRATION  with  each  area  being  covered by  a pair  of  panelists.  The  format  was  not  only  designed  to  tap  into the "expertise"  of the panelists in the  subject  areas  assigned  to  them,  but  also  to  facilitate  a free  exchange of  ideas, recognizing  the  overlap  of  the  three components  and  looking  at  them  in  a comprehensive  manner  rather  than  strict  compartmentalization.

PLANNING:

The  PLANNING session  was  led  by  Ms. Aleyamma Mathew  and  Ms. Michelle  Santantonio.Ms. Aleyamma Mathew, Director  of  Programs  for  the  National  Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD),  outlined  her  organization's  broad  spectrum  of  planning, implementation  and  coordination  activities  with  community-based  organizations  across  the  US.  Although  not directly  involved  in  Housing activities per  se, she  reiterated  the  vast  resources  available  from  her  organization  by virtue  of  their  wide  reach  across the US  and how  these  could  be  tapped  into  by  local  communities  embarking  upon  community-building activities  with Housing  as  the cornerstone.  The  queries and discussions that  followed  her  presentation  highlighted  the  opportunities for  follow-up.

Ms.  Michelle Santantonio, Executive Director, Long Island Housing Services,  then  traced  the  historical  development  and advancement  of  civil  rights  issues  as  they  pertain to immigrant, minority  communities  with    housing  discrimination  as  one  of the  thorny  issues  and  how  her  organization namely  the Long  Island  Housing  Services  successfully, valiantly  and  effectively  fought  to advance  the  cause  over the  last thirty  years, in alliance  with Human  Rights  Commissions.  She unequivocally  outlined  the  do's  and  don'ts  of Senior  Citizens  Housing  development  emphasizing  the  need  to  eschew any  overt/covert  "exclusiveness" perceptions, however  inadvertent  and benign  the attempts  may  be.  She  also  pointed out  that the  rules  and  regulations  have to  be  observed  strictly  irrespective  of whether  the projects  are  Govt. or private funded.  Given  the   vastness and diversity of  the  communities dispersed  in the  US the  Indo-American  Communities  involved  in Housing  development activities  must  be  cautioned to  be  fully  aware  and adhere  to  local  laws  on  fair  housing.

 SAVE THE DATE:

(Please note that Long Island Housing Services, Inc. will be celebrating its 35th Anniversary Dinner-Dance-Fundraising on Thursday, December 9, 2004 at Villa Lombardi's in Holbrook, Suffolk County, New York from 6:00 to 10:00 P.M. More information will be made available at the NIAASC General Body meeting on October 30, 2004. Save the Date)

 DEVELOPMENT:

The  session  on  Development  was  led  by  Mr. Doug  Aloise , Housing   Administrator   for  the  Catholic  Charities in Hicksville, New York, who manages  in  excess  of  1250  housing units  in  Nassau/Suffolk  Counties.  Doug  stressed the  importance   of  proper  scouting, selection  of  sites  for  housing  developments, being  thoroughly  aware  of  zoning requirements  laid  out  by the local communities  and  the  need  to  ensure  harmonious  relations with  the Planning Board  officials  and  other  lawmakers  in   the community  and  be attentive to  the sensitivities  of   the  local  populace.  He referred  to  the   rent  "thresholds" (namely  what  % of  income  should  rent account  for  in these units )   and  how  units'  rental  requirements, exceeding  this threshold  can be  met  by  subsidies   etc.  subject  to  the  prevailing  laws  applicable  in the  communities  concerned.

Mr. Frank  Lang,  Director of Planning and Development at Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), and a licensed architect, then  followed  on  the  Development  segment   and  outlined  his  experiences  in this   area  by virtue  of  being  involved  in the Asian-Americans  For Equality. Frank  stressed  the  importance  of  clearly-defined  objectives, mission statements  in  undertaking  Housing projects, the  need  to  tend  to the administrative  burdens  of  scrutinizing  applications (with  limited

staffing resources)  winnowing  them  down to   the  available  housing  units—often a fraction of the  applications  received  given the  inherent difficulties  of laying  down  criteria  that are deemed  fair  and equitable  in  the  allocation process.   Frankalso  provided some  insights  into the  Capital Outlays involved which are a function  of the  community neighborhoods  and the sizes  of  the  units proposed.  While  rental-ceiling  formulas (e.g.  not  exceeding  30% of  income)  can be  used as a  norm in assessing  the  "economics" of  the  housing projects,  these  can  be  suitably  modified  using  historic  rents (wherever they  exceeded  the  "thresholds") paid   by   the prospective  applicants. Needless to  say  these  guidelines  have  to  be  tailored  to  the  local  community  conditions  and needs.

ADMINISTRATION:

The  session  on  Administration  was  led  by  Mr. Subash  Midha, currently  CFO for  Consumer  Information  and  Dispute  Resolution  Inc.. He  emphasized  the  need  to  be  clear  about  the  path(s)  we  plan  to take - whether  we  choose the  HUD-Subsidized  route  of  Tax shelters or private-initiatives  in  the setting  up of the Senior Housing Projects. The  inevitable  delays involved  in  Govt-funded  schemes  need  to  be carefully evaluated  before embarking  upon the  projects.  Any covenants  or  restrictions  that accompany such  funding  schemes need to  be adhered to  in the  light  of the community's needs/objectives. Mr.  Midha  cautioned  that  the  administrative  aspects   such  as   --  the  budgeting, cost containment, staffing  levels  etc.  are  far  more  demanding than  the  setting  up  of  the housing  units. 

Mr. Basant  Kohli , an Executive with Metropolitan Life and AARP Ombudservice volunteer,  the other panelist  in the  Administrative  segment  outlined  the  activities  of  Ombudservice (an  adjunct  of AARP)—one  of  which  involves  Assisted  Living  entailing  periodic visits and  inspections  of the  facilities.

INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION:

The  after-lunch  session  was  punctuated  by  lively, interactive discussions  on the  presentations,  moderated  by  Dr. Ashok Satkalmi.  The  consensus amongst  the  panelists  was  that the  whole process  of  the  Senior  Housing Developments  ,from  conception to  consummation  must  be  thought through  with  clearly  laid  out  objectives  regarding   location, size of  units,mode  of  financing, adherence  to  local  laws (zoning, fair  housing  statutes  etc.).   The panel  also  stressed  that meeting  the " unique   needs"  of the Indo-American Senior  Communities  has  to  conform to the  need  to be  inclusive  and  this  delicate  balance has  to  be carefully preserved  in  the true  spirit  of the American Immigration  experience  and  history.

FOLLOW-UP:

The  discussions  hovered  on  the  next  steps  to  be  taken  by  NIAASC  building  on  the  ideas/concepts  thrashed out at  the  session.  The group also discussed  possibilities of developing retirement communities by interested individuals, who will be acting as owners. It  was  decided a Working Committee be  set  up, to be  coordinated  by  Mr. M.K. Ramasubramanian,  with the  help  of  Board  members and  some  of  the  panelists. This  Committee  will  focus  on  the salient  aspects  of  senior  Housing  Issue, delve  deep into  the specifics  wherever  deemed appropriate, meet  with  some  of  the panelists and  other  agencies deemed  knowledgeable  on the  subject  and develop  a report  which  NIAASC  could peruse  and decide on  the suitability  for  dissemination  to  the  Community. 

CONCLUSION:

The panelists were equally impressed with the group of this brainstorming session. Many of these participants had professional background in various fields such as medicine, insurance, health and human services, social work, administration and management, coordination of senior programs, accounting. Panelists confided that the work ahead is challenging but not impossible. The success of the project requires collaboration and partnership, and they reiterated that NIAASC in its future deliberations on the issue of senior housing can depend on the agencies represented by the panelists. In  his  summary  remarks,  Rajeshwar  Prasad  reiterated  the role  of  NIAASC as  a information source for the  communities  embarking  on  projects on  key  issues  affecting  Seniors  like  Housing. He emphasized that  implementation  of  housing schemes would  be undertaken by  the communities  involved,   with  NIAASC  acting  more  as a  facilitator. Mr. Prasad stated that NIAASC has played similar role as facilitator in various senior citizen programs, sponsored by different community organizations.

Ms.  Tara Kotecha, Secretary  NIAASC, proposed a  vote  of  thanks    to  the  panelists  and  the  participants  in the  sessions. She underlined the cooperation extended by the Kerala Center under Mr. Stephen's leadership. The  unanimous  consensus  amongst  the  participants   was  that  the brainstorming  session  was  an  unequivocal  success  and  the participants left with a great sense of accomplishment. They recognized the difficult task ahead and encouraged the NIAASC to play a leading role on this important issue.

MEETINGS OF THE NIAASC BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

The NIAASC Board of Directors meets four times a year and  the Executive Committee meets in between. If you are interested to attend the Board meeting, please call NIAASC Secretary, for date, time and place. Next meeting will be a telephone conference. The NIAASC Board can have a maximum number of 21 members. Currently it has 20 members.

NIAASC BOARD OF DIRECTORS: 2004

Officers:

Rajeshwar Prasad, president (631-698-0512), Ashwin Pandya MD, vice president (516-292-9741), Ashok Satkalmi Ph.D., vice president (718-343-9038), Tara Kotecha, secretary (516-826-0486) and Romesh Tewari, treasurer ( 732-727-9456)

Board Members:

Samir K. Dutta  MD, Floral Park, NY; Sushila Gidwani-Buschi: Dobbs Ferry NY; Satpal Malhotra: Westbury, NY; Satya Malhotra  RN: Westbury NY; Kamla Motihar: Flushing NY; Chandubhai Patel: Bellerose, NY; Manoj K. Patel Esq.: Jersey City NJ; M.K.Ramasubramanian: Fresh Meadows NY; Asha Samant DDS: Livingston NJ; V.N.Sehgal MD:  Jackson Heights NY; Suprabhat Sengupta: Flushing NY; Chandrakant Shah: Floral Park NY; Vipin Shah: Old Bridge NJ;  E.M.Stephen: Elmont NY; Satish Varma MD: New Hyde Park NY.

MARK THE DATE OF OCTOBER 30, 2004 AND REGISTER TO ATTEND THE MEETING,

CONFERENCE AND LUNCHEON: HELP SPONSOR THE EVENT: Details inside

NOMINATIONS FOR THE NIAASC BOARD OF DIRECTORS: On July 16, 2004 NIAASC members were notified that any one interested to serve on the Board of Directors of NIAASC  should so notify the Nominating Committee ASAP. Those eligible may still send in their desire to serve on the Board to: NIAASC at 1824, Fairfax Street, Elmont, NY 11003 (marked Nomination Committee), latest by October 10, 2004.Nomination Committee will present its recommendations to the General Body Meeting on October 30, 2004. One-third of NIAASC Board members retire every year but they can be re-nominated.

*

 

GENERAL BODY MEETING, LUNCHEON AND CONFERENCE

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2004

Place: Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center, 1824 Fairfax Street, Elmont, Nassau County, New York

 

               10:00 A.M.                                       Registration, Reception and Breakfast

                11:00 A.M.                                       Conference

                1:00 P.M.                                        Luncheon, Recognition of Sponsors , Community Leaders  & Award to Honorees*

                2:00 P.M.                                        General Body Meeting, Nomination Committee Report                                                        Annual Progress and Fiscal Reports April 03 to March 04

                3:00 P.M.                                        Organizational Meeting of the Board of Directors

                                                                                                                (All are invited to attend)

                                                                                                                Election of Officers

 

* In 2003, NIAASC honored two distinguished community leaders for their foresight and commitment for seniors of Indian

origin: They were Dr. Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, and Ms. Chan Jamoona,

Executive Director  and Founder President of the United Hindu Cultural Senior Center

The Conference Subject will be "Social and Cultural Interventions & Elderly Abuse." As always NIAASC will have professional speaker/s for the conference, and there will be an interactive discussion on this important issue. NIAASC recognizes that in many cases it is the elderly parent/s who are likely to be abused, and in certain cases it is the reverse.

DONATION: NIAASC is requesting a donation of $35.00 per person for this event from non members and $25.00 per person

from NIAASC members. NIAASC is also requesting the following sponsorships:

                   Collaborative Sponsorship by nonprofit organization                          $100.00

                   Sponsorship from commercial entity     /corporation                         $250.00

                   Individual Sponsorship                                                                     $  50.00

All sponsors will be acknowledged in the program and announced at the General Body meeting. Nonprofit organizations

interested in senior programs may wish to be recognized as Supporting Organizations without financial obligation. Let us know.

Directions to the Indian American Kerala Center:  1824 Fairfax Street, Elmont, New York 11003  (Telephone of the Center: 516-358-2000). From New Jersey, Take Verazano Bridge to Belt Parkway and follow the direction below:

Take Cross Island Parkway: south if you are coming from Long Island Expressway or Northern State Parkway; north, if you are coming from Southern State Parkway or Belt Parkway. Once on Cross Island Parkway take exit 26B for Hempstead Turnpike (going east). On the seventh traffic light (landmark 2nd Mobile gas station), including one blinking light, make right. You will be on School Road. Second left from School Road is Fairfax Street. The Center is at the corner of Fairfax and School.

For further information about Sponsorship and Registration for the October 30th Program please call any of the officers of NIAASC listed under Board of Directors, or send E-mail to NIAASC@AOL.COM, or you may fill out the form(s) below and send the same with your check payable to NIAASC to NIAASC, 7 Roberta Avenue, Farmingville, NY 11738.

NEWS OF INTEREST TO SENIORS:

 

It is to inform you that in Long Island and New York City following senior programs are available for Indian seniors:

* United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Center: Monday to Friday 10:00 AM. to 3:00 P.M. 118-09 Sutter Avenue, South Ozone Park (Queens), NY 11419, Telephone: 718-323-8900

* Senior Citizen Center of New York (Vaishnav Temple): 196-43 Foothill Avenue, Holliswood, NY 11423, Alternate Saturday 2:00 P.M. To 4:00 P.M. Telephone: 516-292-9741                

* Senior Program by the Hindu Temple Society of North America: Every Wednesday, 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., at 45-57 Bowne Street, Flushing, NY 11355, Telephone: 718-460-8484

* Guru Gobind Singh Senior Center at the Plainview Gurudwara: Every Thursday,  11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., at Old Country Road, Plainview, Nassau County, New York.

* Senior Forum by the Long Island Gujarati Cultural Society: Last Sunday of each month 1:00 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. at 39 Montauk Highway, Blue Point, NY 11715: Town of Brookhaven -- Recreation Center

* Senior Citizens Program by the Indian American Kerala Cultural & Civic Center at 1824 Fairfax Street, Elmont, Last Monday of the month 7:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. Telephone: 516-358-2000

* Senior Program by India Association of Long Island in collaboration with the Town of Huntington at 423 Park Avenue, Huntington, fourth Saturday of every month. Telephone: 631-351-3253 or call IALI at 631-499-3059 (Mr. Uppal)

 

Home Chore Program: Funding for this program is provided through the local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). The local AAA receives it from a State Unit on Aging which is funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The local AAA contracts with other entities to provide the services under this program. NIAASC is pleased to provide information from one specific program for the benefit of seniors. Seniors should contact the local AAA to know about similar programs in their areas. Following is an example of an ongoing program: (Adapted from the Town of Brookhaven Flyer): Contact Person: Madeline 631-451-9092: between 9:00 & 3:00 P.M.

ELIGIBILITY: Town of Brookhaven residents who are homeowners or condominium owners, apartment renters (with signed consent of homeowner) ... All of whom must be 60 years of age or older. Priority is given to those persons with physical or financial limitations: The Program provides household assistance with chores that do not require the skills of a licensed craftsperson. This is not an Emergency Service. Hours limited to 16 hours per fiscal year.

 

A. Plumbing: Replacing washers or faucets for kitchen sinks, wash basins and tubs. Clearing clogged sinks and toilet drains only B. Electrical: Repairing or rewiring lamps, replace light switches or receptacles, including fuses; replacing frayed cords, No Appliance Repairs except hose connection. C. Carpentry: Install grab bars or safety rails for tubs and toilets. Minor repairs to doors, floors, house trim etc. Install shelves. D. Painting: Exterior: house trim, window trim, doors and overhang on house, only when necessary. No Shutters        Interior: ceiling of kitchens and bathrooms and other ceilings where water or structural damage has occurred. Patch walls and ceilings - no cosmetic work. E. Weatherization: Caulking and weather-stripping of windows and doors. F. Exterior: Minor patching of concrete or blacktop driveways, walks and masonry foundations. G. Crime Prevention: Installing - Door and window locks, peepholes. H. Miscellaneous: Replacing broken window panes; installation or removal of storm windows and screens, Repair of screens. Clean gutters and drains (one story high only).

Process: The program coordinator will estimate work needed and cost of materials. Materials must be provided and paid for by eligible persons. No Tipping ... Free Labor

 

A Proposal to form an Indian Senior Singles Group: Soliciting Comments & Suggestions

A very involved social work professional from Texas has suggested to NIAASC to explore the possibility of forming a Group of Single Seniors of Indian Origin, age 60 + at the national level. The proposal underlines the suggested eligibility requirements for such seniors: be very comfortable in speaking and writing English; must be living by themselves meaning they are financial head of the household; and must be able to access e-mail/website or willing to learn. The format of membership is open for suggestions, whether it should be an independent entity with membership dues or part of an existing organization such as NIAASC where members identify specifically their preference for the 'Singles' group. The Group could also be an e-mail group so that members can communicate with one another and share their experiences. The Group could be South Asian in composition including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, or it could be international composed of eligible seniors.

DO YOU WISH TO JOIN IN FURTHER EXPLORATION OF SINGLE SENIORS GROUP PROPOSAL, SEND YOUR E-MAIL TO NIAASC@AOL.COM AND WE SHALL FORWARD THE SAME TO THE PERSON PROPOSING IT.

MISSION AND OBJECTIVES of NIAASC:

 

Mission of the National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) is to serve as the leading national information, referral and advocacy organization committed to the well being and quality of life of Indo-Americans in their senior years. The objectives include: creating awareness of Indo-American senior issues and needs; providing information on issues and services; advocacy at the local, state and national levels on seniors' issues; forging collaborations with public and private service providers; providing advisory support to Indian community, business and professional groups in developing senior programs and services; educating the public through workshops, conferences and seminars to address senior issues; and working with Indian and other groups to collect and store information regarding senior issues and problems.

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Membership Benefits with

NATIONAL INDO-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR SENIOR CITIZENS

 

Membership is open to all Indo-Americans, agencies and organizations which subscribe to the objectives of NIAASC. Members will benefit through:

                *  A periodical newsletter on pertinent issues for seniors;           

                *  Information about services identified earlier; 

                *  Referral to service provider agencies in their communities;       

                *  Advocacy on behalf of seniors;

                *  Job opportunity alerts for seniors;           

            *  Workshops, seminars and conferences to address issues affecting seniors.