January 14, 2021

Contact: Yuridia Peña, [email protected], (718) 790-0837


Amidst failure to vaccinate NYC’s older population, the platform addresses historic lack of political power and representation of aging New Yorkers, applies a broad lens of accessibility across city buildings and services, and establishes specific ways the City will make it easier for all older New Yorkers to live healthy and active lives.

The plan establishes a Director of Aging Advocacy within the Mayor’s Office, calls for the City to go beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act, design principles in housing and transportation, and demonstrates a commitment to empowering older New Yorkers in the workplace.

NEW YORK, NY – Adding to his Campaign of Ideas recognized by national and local experts, former Obama-Biden Administration Housing Secretary and Budget Director Shaun Donovan released today his Aging Platform, entitled Investing in the Future of Every Single New Yorker: Providing our Older Residents with Safety, Comfort, and Security. The nearly 8,500-word plan provides a blueprint that prioritizes the safety, security, and health of older New Yorkers.

“Older residents have given so much of their lives building our city and our communities. And yet, they are so often marginalized, lacking meaningful political power. It is our responsibility to listen to, understand, and advocate for this vital group of New Yorkers, and actively consider them across all of the City’s decisions. Doing so is not only the right thing to do; it would provide social, economic, and health benefits that would be critical as we overcome this pandemic,” said NYC Mayoral Candidate Shaun Donovan. “This plan ensures that the needs of our aging population are consistently and comprehensively met at the highest standard possible, whether it’s health and safety in and out of one’s home, getting around the city easily and affordably, or simply knowing that your perspectives are being considered in all of the City’s decisions.”

The policy ideas communicate a vision for a New York where our older residents do not need to fear discrimination by age, race, religion, functional ability, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, or experience a lack of access to the services that they depend on.

Highlights of the platform include:

  • Establishing the Bill of Rights for Aging New Yorkers, including
    • The right to political power with representation in the Mayor’s Office through a Director of Aging Advocacy
    • The right to high-quality, age-accessible health care in every neighborhood for all New Yorkers
    • The right to live in a neighborhood anywhere in New York City that is both safe and upholds fair policing
    • The right to a healthy life, supported by city government through good food and accessible recreational and social spaces
    • The right to affordable and accessible housing with place-based services that meet the full range of older New Yorkers’ needs
    • The right to safe, comfortable, and well-lit outdoor settings in every neighborhood
    • The right to live free of discrimination by age, race, religion, functional ability, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, or gender identity
    • The right to services specific to our older population’s needs through better data collection by five- or 10-year cohorts
    • The right to free movement across the entire city through high-quality, accessible transportation options
  • Appointing a senior staff member in the Mayor’s Office to oversee the implementation of Age-friendlyNYC, and passing an Executive Order requiring all city entities to consider health and aging in their planning, policymaking and regulation, and procurement activities
  • Demonstrating a commitment to the values of a multigenerational workforce by hiring older New Yorkers in city roles, making age-friendly adjustments to the built environment, publicizing these initiatives, and working to reduce the stigma of older workers staying in the workforce
  • Incorporating universal design principles that go beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act in senior housing, and fully funding capital improvements to bring MTA subway stations into Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, prioritizing neighborhoods with large concentrations of people with ambulatory difficulty
  • Significantly expanding the availability of place-based services to meet the full range of older New Yorkers’ needs
  • Identifying priority areas for sidewalk repair and better lighting informed by Age-friendly Neighborhood consultations and socio-demographic data (i.e., large concentrations of older people, people with mobility impairment, and falls prevalence) 
  • Increasing public seating, including bus shelters with seating, prioritizing neighborhoods with large concentrations of people with ambulatory difficulty

A Donovan administration would be committed to providing the highest quality of life for its older residents. The extensive platform for the aging was lauded by experts in the fields of health and accessibility:

“Shaun’s plan really demonstrates the thoughtfulness and commitment to bold, inclusive, and effective policies that I’ve seen in him for as long as we’ve known each other,” said Dr. John Rowe, Julius B. Richmond Professor of Health Policy and Aging at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. “The truth of the matter is that there is a considerable gap between what the aging population in New York needs and what is being done to help them, and they lack the political power to bring attention to their most pressing issues. Shaun understands that ensuring that older persons age successfully goes far beyond just providing Medicare–it includes providing other needed services and a safe, supportive environment. He also understands that lifting up New York City and overcoming this pandemic means lifting up all New Yorkers, and he’s proven that by putting forth a really smart, comprehensive plan directed toward this critical population. His ideas will make our city’s older residents healthier, safer, and happier, and will make it easier for them to move around the city, work with dignity, and meet their needs wherever they are. I couldn’t commend Shaun more for the work that he and his team have put into these ideas.”

“The Donovan Aging plan is another clear example of how Shaun’s campaign is really focused on tying accessibility to every one of their policy ideas,” said Dustin Jones, Disability Rights Advocate and President & Founder of United for Equal Access NY. “Whether it’s getting from point A to point B or being safe in one’s home, issues of disability are a fact of life for countless New Yorkers of all ages. I think it would have been impressive if Shaun had just put out an Aging plan focused on issues affecting every single older New Yorker. The fact that he and his team actually zeroed in on the particular challenges of the disabled aging population and are calling on the City to go even further than what’s required by the Americans with Disabilities Act–that really shows that Shaun gets it! He knows what it means to support all New Yorkers, and I’m proud to support him back.”

For more details on Donovan’s Aging Platform, please visit

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