Naturally Occurring Retirement Community Supportive Service Program (NORC-SSP) and
Neighborhood NORC (NNORC)
Over time, many people who moved into single family homes or low-rise apartment buildings when they were younger have grown older and now need help to remain in their residences. Such areas with high concentrations of older people are called "naturally occurring retirement communities."
In 1994, the New York State Legislature determined that there is an increasing need for support services for frail older people residing in housing complexes and apartment buildings in New York State and that the provision of support services would help residents maintain their independence, improve their quality of life and avoid unnecessary hospital and nursing-home stays. The Legislature found that while some services were being provided, public and philanthropic funding is insufficient and targeted state funding would help increase other services to these older persons.
Since 1994, New York State developed two NORC programs. The Naturally Occurring Retirement Community Supportive Service Program (NORC-SSP) provides services to older people living in a building complex or complexes. The Neighborhood NORC (NNORC) provides similar services to older persons living in a residential area consisting of single family homes and buildings not more than six stories high. Currently there are 19 NORC-SSP programs and 15 NNORC programs receiving a total of $3.75 million dollars across New York State.
- An apartment building or housing complex that was constructed with government assistance.
- Was not originally built for older persons.
- Does not restrict admission solely to older people.
- 50 per cent of the units have an occupant who is elderly, or 2500 of the residents are 60 or older.
- A majority of the residents are low to moderate income, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Residential dwelling or group of residential dwellings in a geographically defined neighborhood.
- Not more than 2000 people who are elderly (aged 60 or older) reside in at least 40 per cent of the units.
- Made up of low-rise buildings six stories or less in height, single or multi-family homes, not originally built for elderly persons.
- Does not restrict admission strictly to the elderly population.
Only not-for-profit organizations specializing in housing, health or human services are eligible to apply for state NORC-SSP and NNORC funding. They must be able to offer supportive services, such as service coordination, case assistance, case management, counseling, health assessment and monitoring, home delivered meals, transportation, socialization activities, home care facilitation, and monitoring. In State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2011, the NORC-SSP/NNORC programs in New York served almost 17,500 people age 60 and over.
The Warbasse Cares for Seniors NORC-SSP in Coney Island is one of many NORC programs that participated in the Health Indicators Project in 2007. The project was designed to gather and interpret baseline data on health status and risks for older NORC residents as well as determine needed interventions to improve health. Warbasse Cares NORC-SSP recently conducted a new survey of NORC residents in August, 2011with 185 participants. . The goal was to learn more about the health status and related needs of this population. The survey results indicated that there are several chronic health issues prevalent in this NORC, including: high blood pressure (76%), diabetes (41%), arthritis (75%), history of falls (45%), depression and/or other mental health problem (400%), and heart disease (62%). As a result, planned future programming will include falls prevention, a range of exercise programs to promote increased physical activity and monthly health lectures on topics such as good nutrition. There are several NORCs and NNORCs which are utilizing the Health Indicators to tailor programs to better meet residentsâ€™ health care needs.