Dromm rescues vital Jackson Heights seniors’ program

By Bill Parry

City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) has rescued three Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities from closure for the second time in two years. Dromm allocated more than $284,000 in funding for Jackson Heights’ Northbridge/Brulene/Southridge NORC for fiscal year 2016.

The funding accounts for nearly 100 percent of NORC’s operating budget. In April 2014, Dromm rallied 150 seniors and presented a petition with 1,200 signatures to effectively persuade Mayor Bill de Blasio to restore funding to the co-op program, which provides vital health and social services to senior residents in their own building or building complex.

Established in 1999, NORC is managed by SelfHelp Community Services Inc. and provides transportation, medical, counseling, financial management and long-term care services to nearly 2,500 senior residents. Throughout New York City, NORCs are apartment buildings and complexes where large numbers of people have remained and grown older in the housing they moved into as young adults, a phenomenon known as “aging in place.”

“This allocation of $284,500 will allow SelfHelp Community Services to continue to provide many free and low-cost services to seniors in the Brulene, Northridge and Southridge cooperatives,” Dromm said. “Our seniors who depend on these quality services in order to live happy and healthy lives deserve nothing less. Protecting NORC and all programming for seniors continues to be one of my top priorities.”

Dromm presented the check to representatives of SelfHelp Community Services and Advisory Board members of the three cooperatives Dec. 30. The Southridge complex is between 92nd and 93rd streets between 34th Avenue and Northern Boulevard. Northridge is located directly across Northern Boulevard while Brulene is located on 34th Avenue between 93rd and 94th streets.

“We are grateful for his support, which is vital to creating an active and engaged NORC community in Queens,” SelfHelp Community Services CEO Stuart Kaplan said. “We look forward to continuing to work together to provide our residents with fulfilling programming and the support they need to remain active members of their community.”

John Melisdones, NORC Advisory Council president, recalled Dromm’s rally when the mayor’s 2015 preliminary budget cut $1 million in funding to the Jackson Heights NORCs, the Rochdale NORC in Jamaica and a third location in East Harlem.

“The funding from last year was critical to allow us to continue our programming, and without it we would likely not exist,” he said.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

More from Around New York