Naturally Occurring Retirement Community designation provides seniors the opportunity to age in place with government funding for supportive service

Council Member Cornegy with seniors and community members

BROOKLYN, NY– Today, Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., joined by Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez of NYC Department for the Aging, Richard Trouth, Executive Director of Brooklyn Neighborhood Services, Ms. Sundra Franklin of Age Friendly Network, Ms. Bessie Edwards, real estate professional and community activist, Henry L. Butler, District Manager of Brooklyn Community Board 3, and Emilio Dorcely President & CEO Bridge Street Development Corporation, announced that District 36 has been designated a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC).

Bedford-Stuyvesant is one of New York City’s first Age-Friendly neighborhoods, having developed the Aging Improvement District, an on-going project to create and support initiatives that enhance the social, physical, and psychological lives of seniors.

Housing is a serious issue through all five boroughs, and it is acutely felt in District 36. In the face of increasing fraud schemes, gentrification, and the lingering effects of the financial crisis, NORC designation provides seniors with the opportunity to age in place with government funding for supportive services. The beautiful brownstones in the district, and other properties, will stay in the hands of seniors and their families who helped build the community, ensuring sustainable wealth building.

The Council secured $3.8 million in the FY2020 budget for senior centers and Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, to be disbursed by Department for the Aging. Brooklyn Neighborhood Services will receive $100,000 to support the implementation of programming and resources.

Attaining NORC status for District 36 was one of Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr.’s core campaign promises, along with expanding Gifted and Talented program, and creating lactation stations.

“A lot of times to get the best for your community it takes a passing of the torch. Dr. Al Vann left me with a solid mandate to make sure that we could continue what he started – and we did” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. “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. In the face of increasing fraud schemes, gentrification, and the lingering effects of the financial crisis, NORC designation provides seniors with the opportunity to age in place with government funding for supportive services.”

“NORCs are particularly important because they preserve communities. With all of these changes going on, it’s important to preserve community and to support those people who have been the bedrock of this city” said Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, NYC Department for the Aging. “Who is the largest voting population in this city? Who are the consistent people who answer the census? Who are the people who fought so that we can have unions and better paying jobs? Seniors. They started that years ago, so all of us stand on the shoulders of some strong and mighty leaders. That’s what NORC preserves.”

“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. 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” said Richard Trouth, Executive Director of Brooklyn Neighborhood Services.

“It has been a wonderful experience with Age Friendly- housing, public safety, activities, friendship, commitments to each other, volunteer opportunities, advocacy, all of the things we need to make our lives complete” said Ms. Sundra Franklin, Age Friendly representative. “I would like to thank the Council Member for this NORC. Naturally occurring retirement communities where we have activities and services. And we’re starting to build a community that’s prouder of what Bed-Stuy is. We’re excited, and we’re ready to work.”

“This is so big for Bed-Stuy, for the community, and for the aging community! We have been working together to make sure we have safe healthy services, employed seniors- there are retired seniors in the community working in schools with young people. It’s so amazing, and having this status as a NORC will only help us to keep flying” said Twila Evanson, Age Friendly Liaison at Council Member Robert E. Cornegy’s Office.

“Our seniors, are the folks who we all rely on. We look forward to working with partners to make sure that this community is not only a community where folks can be born, be teenagers, be working adults, but also can age gracefully and continue to be active. Because as you know we’re in really challenging times, and we’re going to need all of you to work with all of us to make sure the next generation of seniors continue to have a place to live here in Bedford Stuyvesant” said Emilio Dorcely, President and CEO of Bridge Street Development Corporation.

It’s the senior population that keeps Bedford Stuyvesant growing and moving and I know that this is the most dependable population. If you go to any community meeting, who is there? Whether it’s a block association, tenant association, precinct council, and community board meeting. It’s our seniors. There is no other community that deserves this more than Bedford Stuyvesant” said Henry Butler, District Manager of Brooklyn Community Board 3.

I want to say thank you to the Council Member, his team, and partners for getting NORC. Now I don’t have to worry about having to move to Maryland with my children- I can stay in Bed-Stuy. I constantly share through my travels that New York, and Brooklyn in particular is the best place to grow older. There are so many things to do. You can take the bus, you can take the train, you don’t have to stay home, and you don’t have to wait for someone to drive you” said Ms. Bessie Edwards. “I am delighted and inspired by this group and this news.”

Video from Press Conference. Speakers in order: Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr., Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, Richard Trouth, Ms. Sundra Franklin, Twila Evanson, Emilio Dorcely, Henry Butler, Ms. Bessie Edwards

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