Are You Living in a NORCWritten by Adriane Berg
Are You Living in a NORC? Naturally Occurring Retirement Community
Are the people living in your community predominantly over the age of 60? If so, you are probably living in a NORC, a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community.
NORCs arise when a preponderance of the population are aging-in-place. When the population becomes conspicuously older, younger people feel outnumbered and move out. So too, older people may feel more comfortable and move in. The percentage of older residents grows exponentially.
AARP suggests that there are thousands of U.S. communities that can be classified as NORCs. There are at least 300 officially designated NORCs, with organized services for people over the age of 60, often subsidized by state, federal and non profit programs.
Types of NORCs
NORCs are categorized by types of residential development. Single family home neighborhoods are called “open” or “horizontal” NORCs. High rise ownership of condos and coops in cities like New York and St. Louis are called “vertical,” “closed” or “classic” NORCs. Rural area NORCs are called NORRs, Naturally Occurring Retirement Regions, because they cover so much territory.
How many people over the age of 60 make a NORC?
Title IV of the Older Americans Act,qualifies communities with at least 40 % older households for certain social service entitlements. New York City, which funds a variety of high rise NORC programs, requires that 500 housing units in a complex be owned by people over 60, or if there are only 250 units owned by elders, then at least 45% of all units must have a 60 plus head of household.
These numbers are important because the object is to qualify under a funding rubric to create NORC programs.
What is a NORC Program and why would you want one?
While there are many models, most established NORC programs have two aspects in common; they coordinate existing social and health services, public, private and non-profit, and they create a place where elders can engage in their community.
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