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Evans outlines senior citizen plan, says Flagler-Mitchell has “got to go”

Jun 11, 2021

City Councilmember and Mayoral Candidate Malik Evans.
Credit Gino Fanelli/CITY

Mayoral Candidate Malik Evans announced plans for increasing services to senior citizens, in his third campaign announcement leading up to the primary.

Joined by a group of senior citizens from across Rochester in a news conference Friday afternoon, Evans unveiled three policies meant to better the lives of aging Rochesterians — designated space for “intergenerational” cohousing, a “Senior Stabilization Fund” aimed at assisting seniors in aging-in-place, and the launch of a Senior Volunteer Corps.

The proposals make up the fourth pillar of Evans’ so-called “Compact with the Community,” the encompassing title for the candidate’s policy package. The first two proposals, announced earlier in June and May, included job training for city youth, curbing gun violence, and expanding small businesses and home ownership.

The goal of the intergenerational housing initiative is largely to foster diverse and inclusive communities in Rochester. Evans pledged to begin the process of creating that housing within his first 100 days in office.

“Let’s say I’m a young couple and I want to be in a community, how great is it that we have seniors living in this intentional community?” Evans said. “Where we have these intergenerational conversations and relationships, and can work to make our community thrive.”

The idea of a Senior Stabilization Fund is akin to a microgrant program for senior citizens. Philanthropists, nonprofits, and city funds could be dumped into a community chest, where elderly Rochesterians could access funds to help them keep their houses in good shape.

Evans pointed to organizations like Lifespan when asked who could be involved in supporting the fund, although no organizations in Rochester have formally signed onto the idea yet.

“We want this fund to be housed somewhere else, I don’t want this fund to be housed at City Hall, I want to be clear about that,” Evans said. “I want it to be run by an independent place where it can be audited and said to the community, ‘Hey, here’s what the money was spent on, here’s what was raised.’”

The Senior Volunteer Corps would aim to help keep elder Rochesterians involved and active in the community. The three proposals are ultimately aimed to keep older Rochesterians engaged, housed, and active.

Evans said the need for better services for seniors is critical, given Rochester’s aging population. According to the Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey, 12.8 percent of Rochesterians were 65 or older. Just five years prior, the number was 9.3 percent.

“We have to make sure that we have a prime focus on our seniors,” Evans said.

CITY also questioned Evans on his position on Ernest Flagler-Mitchell, the county legislator embroiled in sexual harassment allegations and facing calls to resign from across county government. Neither Evans, nor his opponent, Mayor Lovely Warren, have publicly commented on Flagler-Mitchell to date.

Evans’ response was succinct.

“He should leave,” Evans said. “He’s got to go.”

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at (585) 775-9692 or gino@rochester-citynews.com.