City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights) yesterday demonstrated in action the African-American community’s historic respect for elders and legacy building.
That after Cornegy announced his district has been designated a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC). The designation comes with funding and city services to further develop Corngey’s development of his Aging Improvement District, an on-going project to create and support initiatives that enhance the social, physical, and psychological lives of seniors.
“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 Cornegy at the announcement held at the Brooklyn Neighborhood Services office, 506 MacDonough Street in Bed-Stuy.
“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.”
The council secured $3.8 million in the FY2020 budget for senior centers and NORC, which the Department for the Aging (DFTA) will disburse. Brooklyn Neighborhood Services will receive $100,000 to support the implementation of programming and resources.
Attaining NORC status for District 36 was one of Cornegy’s core campaign promises, along with expanding Gifted and Talented program, and creating lactation stations.
Cornegy noted that while housing is a serious issue through all five boroughs, it is acutely felt in his district, where many seniors bought, raised families and still reside in one of the borough’s most beautiful brownstone neighborhoods.
This designation will help ensure these brownstones and other properties will stay in the hands of seniors and their families who helped build the community, ensuring sustainable wealth building, he said.
Joining Cornegy in the announcement were DFTA Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, Brooklyn Neighborhood Services Executive Director Richard Trouth, Age Friendly Network Director Sundra Franklin, real estate professional and community activist Bessie Edwards, Community Board 3 District Manager Henry Butler, and Bridge Street Development Corporation President & CEO Emilio Dorcely.
“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 Cortés-Vázquez.
“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,” she added.
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 Edwards. “I am delighted and inspired by this group and this news.”