Northern Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant are among the city’s senior-friendliest neighborhoods according to the NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA). The agency made it official by designating the 36th City Council District a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy announced on Wednesday. 

The designation will secure additional funding for programming and resources benefitting the social, physical and psychological wellbeing of local seniors, explained Cornegy who was joined by DFTA Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, Richard Trouth, executive director of Brooklyn Neighborhood Services (BNS) and other community stakeholders.

“We are here today to announce that effective with the New York City FY2020 budget, District 36 has been designated a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community,” said Cornegy. “In the face of increasing fraud schemes, gentrification and the lingering effects of the financial crisis, the NORC designation provides seniors with the opportunity to age in place with government funding for supportive services.”

Photo courtesy Office of Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy Jr.

A Naturally Occurring Retirement Community is a multi-age housing development or neighborhood that wasn’t originally built for older adults, but, over time, has become home to a significant number of older adults. DFTA funds supportive-services programs at dozens of NORCs in the city, where residents can access health and social services right where they live. Services provided by designated local nonprofits range from health and wellness activities to fitness classes, case-management assistance, help with benefits and entitlements, educational activities and outings.

The Council secured $3.8 million in the FY2020 budget for senior centers and NORCs, to be disbursed by DFTA. In Cornegy’s district, Brooklyn Neighborhood Services will receive $100,000 to lead the implementation of programming and resources.

“Before I really knew what a NORC was, and started to read about it, I realized that this is something we’ve always done — taking care of the people in our community who need help,” said BNS Executive Director Richard Trouth. “I am hoping that by taking this initiative on, we’re going to continue over the next years providing for our seniors and improve quality of life. It has certainly been a pleasure over the years, and it continues to be a most gratifying part of our work.”

Attaining NORC status for District 36 was a lengthy process that didn’t begin with him, but became one of his core priorities, Cornegy said.

“A lot of times to get the best for your community it takes a passing of the torch,” the councilman said. “Dr. Al Vann left me with a solid mandate to make sure that we could continue what he started — and we did.”

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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