WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A senior center is on the verge of being cast out after four decades at their location by their Methodist church landlords — forced to scrape by on a shaky month-to-month agreement, officials said this week.
The ARC XVI Senior Center executive director Fern Hertzberg told Community Board 12 at a meeting Tuesday night that the organization is currently in a “precarious place" after its landlord, Christ Church United Methodist, refused to renew its lease, which expired Dec. 31, 2016.
They're looking to team up with other local organizations or programs until they're able to lease and get resettled in another location, but haven't found anyone yet.
“We need short-term solutions that involve sharing space, possibly,” Hertzberg said during the meeting, adding that she serves approximately 5,000 seniors. “I need space to serve people meals, to run activities and social services for seniors.”
Hertzberg said her current space on 4111 Broadway is 10,000 square feet, although she’s willing to partner with someone and share a 6,000 to 7,000-square-foot space.
Roseann DeGennaro, a spokeswoman for Christ Church United Methodist, confirmed they sent the senior center a letter in May notifying them of their intent not to renew their lease agreement. She wouldn't provide further details on the current status with the center.
ARC received support from the Community Board last year, who wrote a resolution to the landlord on behalf of the organization, said Chair Shah Ally.
Congressman Adriano Espaillat rallied in support of the seniors in May and September, and also launched a petition to prevent its closure.
Candace Person, spokeswoman for Espaillat, said this week that they were "working with the leaders of Christ Church to further relay the importance of how the space in question is currently being utilized."
"We are working diligently to address the concerns of all parties involved in this debate and hope to soon find a remedy that will meet the needs for both Christ Church and the residents of the ARC Senior Center," Person said.