Office for the Aging


Naturally Occurring Retirement Community Supportive Service Program (NORC-SSP)
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. In SFY 2014-15, 20 NORC-SSP programs and 17 NNORC programs were appropriated $4.05 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 percent of the units have an occupant who is elderly, or 2,500 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 2,000 people who are elderly (aged 60 or older) reside in at least 40 percent 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. The most recent data for the program is from SFY 2012-13. During that year, the NORC-SSP/NNORC programs in New York served more than 19,000 people age 60 and over.

Health related programming is an essential component of all NORC programs. Many programs use Health Indicators, developed by United Hospital Fund, which is a process designed to gather and interpret data on health status and risks for older NORC residents, as well as determine needed interventions to improve health. The process includes the collection of baseline data to identify key health risks in the community; the design, implementation and assessment of interventions targeted for identified health issues and follow up data collection measure the effectiveness of interventions and identify new or emerging health risks. Many of the NORC-SSP and NNORC programs utilize Health Indicators to tailor programs to better meet residents' health care needs.