In 1943, the first center in the country opened in the Bronx with funding from New York City. In the ensuing years, New York City expanded its senior center funding, augmenting in with federal funds from Title XX of the Social Security Act. By 1975, there were upwards of 180 senior centers throughout the City. As Title XX funding eroded, the city replaced those dollars with city dollars, through the New York City Human Resources Administration.
At about the same time, in the early 1970's, the federal Older Americans Act - originally passed in 1965 was amended to include funding for senior centers. The city continued to expand its senior network under the administration of the Mayor's Office for the Aging. In 1975, that office evolved into the New York City Department for the Aging, although it took until 1991 for all 335 senior centers to be consolidated under this new department.
In 1974, representatives of senior centers began to meet informally to share their views, expand their knowledge, and discuss better ways to deal with government agencies and to serve seniors. By 1978 after the network had grown to include 200 senior centers, 88 of them formed The Organizing Committee for the Council of Senior Centers of New York City. In 1979, The Council of Senior Citizen Centers of New York City, Inc. was established as a not-for-profit organization, with the former Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, Elinor Guggenheimer, as its founding president.
In those early years, most of Council's work consisted of representing member organization in their contractual negotiations and program development discussions with the City. In 1985, Council undertook its final name change - Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, Inc. (CSCS) - to reflect the growing diversity of programs and services offered by its member organizations.