ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Advocates for older New Yorkers are praising the state budget recently passed by lawmakers in Albany.

The $175.5 billion spending plan approved April 1 includes $15 million for counties to provide community-based services that allow aging residents to remain in their own homes instead of moving to taxpayer-funded nursing homes.

The funds will be used for services such as transportation to medical appointments and in-home assistance with daily activities.

The budget also includes the nation's first program to develop a private-pay market that will enable people of all income levels to gain access to services to help older adults remain independent.

Beth Finkel, AARP director for New York state, says the funding will help thousands of families. The organization was formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons.

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