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As care agency shuts down, North Hempstead to manage senior citizens program in North New Hyde Park

North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judy Bosworth said there

North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judy Bosworth said there will be no gap or loss of services for senior citizens who live in New Hyde Park. Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

North Hempstead plans to begin to fund services for senior citizens who were helped by a nonprofit that will close its doors.

The town's Project Independence program already serves seniors looking to "age in place," offering nurses and social workers to assist in their care in six communities -- New Hyde Park, Roslyn, Mineola, Port Washington, Great Neck and Westbury.

Project Independence will now expand to work with seniors in North New Hyde Park. That program had been funded by a state grant of about $140,000 that was administered by the Manhattan nonprofit known as FEGS, Federation Employment and Guidance Services.

FEGS announced earlier this year it will shut down, generating concern in the social services community. Town officials say that as of March 23, they will reallocate resources so members of the North New Hyde Park group can merge with the New Hyde Park unit of Project Independence.

The town has amended its contract with health care providers and, to accommodate the merger, reduced staffing hours in other Project Independence regions.

"Because we do have a developed, efficient and well-run Project Independence right here in our town, there will be no gap or loss of services for those who live in North New Hyde Park," town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in an interview.

The town will now cover about 2,000 North New Hyde Park residents who already participate in activities with fellow New Hyde Park seniors at the local Clinton G. Martin Park.

The town has contracts with North Shore-LIJ Health System and the Jewish Association for Services to the Aged for caseworkers and social workers.

"We had to make adjustments," said Kimberly Corcoran-Galante, the town's commissioner for the Department of Services for the Aging. She said the town will "work with all of our subcontractors to keep that continuity."

The town counts about 50,000 seniors -- 60 and older -- among a population of 226,000. Caseworkers and social workers operate out of community centers and facilities throughout town and can make house calls, providing relief for caregivers. Taxis can take seniors to medical appointments and grocery stores.

Joanne Tricarico, a registered nurse, said she is relieved the town is adding to its coverage.

"With the town's expansion of Project Independence, it worked out nicely that we were able to get absorbed," Tricarico said. "We are providing services to seniors in their home, and that hopefully allows them to stay in their homes as long as they possibly can."

Corcoran-Galante said the nonprofit was operating with the $140,000 state grant and that town officials will eventually seek that funding.

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