Blanche Romey never minded picking up an extra loaf of bread or a dozen eggs from the grocery store for one of the residents at the Duncan Genns Apartments, where she’s been a community center volunteer for 30 years.
But in early April, as COVID-19 cases rose in New York City, the 80-year-old grandmother with decades of experience as a community organizer and affordable housing advocate, began to notice more and more empty shelves at the stores in Bushwick, her Brooklyn neighborhood.
Then she learned that the community center had closed down.
The pandemic, so deadly for older people, was also indirectly undermining the community structures that support them. Before the pandemic, the National Academy of Sciences released a report saying