BY TRONE DOWD
Across the five boroughs, there is a prevailing trend of seniors leaving their homes in the sprawling New York City area in favor of a more affordable and easy going living in the southern states. City and state agencies however, are trying their best to change that trend.
With the advent of NORCs, Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, the state hopes to keep the aging population in New York longer.
NORC’s are usually located in close knit communities such as an apartment buildings, complexes or neighborhoods. In these communities, Supportive Service programs are put in place to address the growing needs of the elderly as they continue to age. From activities for the elderly to participate in to offering crucial and accessible health services, educational activities and trips, NORC’s provide similar amenities to what many seniors hope to find in other more affordable states like Florida and Georgia.
NORC programs are made up of public and private partnerships in which the Department for the Aging, the United Hospital Fund, the housing entity, local community service providers and NORC residents themselves all play a part in keeping these systems running.
In minority areas like Southeast Queens, NORC’s have been remarkably helpful for aging adults looking to stay in their home state.
Council members Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) and Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) both have functioning NORC’s in their districts that are funded by the Department for the Aging. Councilman Richards told the Queens Tribune that the NORC in his district was running as intended.
“Since we brought the NORC programming to Roy Reuther Senior Center in Far Rockaway last year, it’s been serving our seniors very well,” Richards said. “By adding programs that allow seniors to get crucial services, it helps them age with dignity and stay in their homes and communities for a longer period of time. I’d like to thank JASA for providing these resources to the seniors of Far Rockaway.”
The office of Councilman Wills on the other hand, detailed that while support for the NORC’s in the district was cut back, the councilman worked towards getting funding to support the programs offered at the residence.
“The NORC at Rochdale Village was defunded under the previous administration,” a spokesperson from Wills’ office told the Queens Tribune. “Since that time, its operations have been supported through the Council’s NORC initiative, as well as discretionary funding provided by Councilman Wills. The recently adopted FY 2017 budget includes $253,000 in initiative funding for RV NORC’s core programs and services. Additionally, discretionary funding in the amount of $45,000 will go towards the costs of maintaining the programs, activities and meals offered to Rochdale Village’s seniors, and $35,000 of which will help to cover the expenses for Rochdale Village Social Services’ youth mentoring and leadership program.”
The office told the Queens Tribune that they hope to see more of an investment there will be more of a permanent investment from the DFTA in the future.
“The City’s senior population is rapidly growing,” the representative said. “The DFTA must do more in the coming years to meet the surge in demand from not only residents that are aging-in-place, but also those living in underserved communities like South Ozone Park where DFTA has yet to compensate for the loss of resources suffered by a local senior center it previously funded.”
Reach Trone Dowd at (718) 357-7400 x123, firstname.lastname@example.org or @theloniusly