In 1986, the UJA-Federation of New York fully funded the development of the Penn South Program for seniors, the first professionally staffed NORC-Supportive Service Program (SSP) in the nation. Since then it has been in the forefront of developing, testing, and promulgating this innovative approach to helping enable seniors to remain living in their own homes, where they want to be, even as they grow older and frailer. This work became the backdrop for United Jewish Communities’ launch of the National NORCs Aging in Place Initiative, which serves more than 40 federations in 25 states.
Recognizing government must be a partner in funding these programs, UJA-Federation provided the leadership in organizing a broad-based, multi-ethnic coalition of service providers, senior and housing activists, forming the New York NORC Coalition. In 1994, this coalition succeeded in securing state legislation, which incorporated the concepts and framework developed at Penn South, as well as funding for NORC-SSPs (by 1996 $1.2 million). Then in 1999, the coalition moved its efforts to New York City where a NORC-SSP program fund of $4 million was established. Together the city and state funding supported 29 programs state-wide, providing a real sense of security to over 50,000 New York seniors.
In the 2005 and 2006 budget cycles, legislators at both the city and state levels recognized the important contribution that NORC-SSPs are making to the health and welfare of the seniors who reside in these communities. Therefore, the NORC-SSP succeeded in increasing the funding so additional seniors can benefit from these programs. Last year, New York State incorporated the Neighborhood NORC concept into state legislation making it possible for communities of private homes and buildings with six stories or less eligible for the state’s $1.2 million. As a result, nine additional programs received this funding. This year both “classic”, communities with common ownership (co-ops, private landlords, or public housing authorities), and neighborhood NORC funding was increased by $1 million each, and request for proposals (RFPs) have been issued by the State Office on Aging.
Additionally, in 2005, New York City added $1.5 million to provide cost of living adjustment, (COLA) funding for the existing 27 city programs, and five new programs. This year the New York City Council added an additional $1 million, bringing the total city funding to $6.5 million.
According to UJA-Federation, the NORC-SSP programs are witnessing “a coming of age” in New York, as 41 communities are benefiting from this innovative community-building program, with more winners of the State’s RFP to be announced in the early fall. UJA-Federation affiliated agencies are the lead agencies or participate in partnerships on nearly half of the NORC-SSPs. Given the high percentage of Jewish seniors who have aged in place in these communities, the New York NORC-SSP has met a crucial need in the community, significantly improving the quality of life of thousands of Jewish seniors.
For more information about New York’s NORC-SSP programs and government funding, contact Anita Altman, Deputy Managing Director, Department of Government Relations & External Affairs, UJA-Federation, at (212) 836-1619