State restored funds to NORC programs: Rozic

State restored funds to NORC programs: Rozic
Photo courtesy Queens Council on the Arts
By Mark Hallum

Elected officials announced success in pressuring state agencies to restore funding previously committed to naturally occurring retirement communities but later revoked.

The state’s Office for the Aging and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office had extended contracts to other NORC programs before taking funding away from nine other programs across New York, according to state Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows).

Rozic said the Office of the Aging’s decision to withdraw their plans to fund other programs instead of the nine in question was a win for the seniors in her district who gain support from the Samuel Field Y and other organizations.

Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside), a member of the Committee on Aging, said the funding was vital to the elderly constituents in the communities he serves.

“It is great news that the State Office for the Aging has reconsidered its initial decision and has restored funding to all previously approved NORCs, such as Samuel Field Y’s NORC WOW,” Braunstein said. “NORCs provide vital services which help keep seniors in their homes and in the neighborhoods where many have raised families, built friendships, and established support networks. Moving forward, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that SOFA conducts a fair grant application process. Additionally, my colleagues and I are committed to working with providers and advocates to make certain that NORCs are properly funded in the next budget cycle.”

Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) serves on the legislature’s Task Force on People with Disabilities and claimed the funding is critical to supporting seniors who wish to remain in their homes and communities while aging.

“Astoria seniors living at Queensview and Queensview North depend on a NORC program to be able to age with dignity in their own homes, keeping bonds with family and friends, houses of worship and local merchants they’ve known for years. I’ve made it my business to insure there were funds in the state budget to keep vital services and was frankly horrified to learn that our senior communities had lost funding,” Simotas said. “I’m grateful to the community of elected official who worked on this problem, to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who responded to our urgent plea, and to the state Office for the Aging, which recognized that their funding process had inadvertently thrown the baby out with the bath water.”

DiNapoli’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.