NORC Blueprint


Practical Strategies for NORCs

NORC Blueprint provides tools and guidance to help transform naturally occurring retirement communities into good places to grow old.

The first naturally occurring retirement community supportive service program was created in 1986 by Fredda Vladeck and the residents of Manhattan’s Penn South Houses. Ever since, NORC programs have captured the attention of public policy experts, philanthropy, government, and program developers as a promising response to the increasing number of communities across the country whose residents are aging in place.

Today, most NORC programs are supported by various forms of public funding; some programs have been developed and are entirely supported by the private sector. With such a critical mass of programs, the time was right to bring together the wealth of program experience, knowledge, and expertise that has accumulated in the field; in response, United Hospital Fund developed its NORC Blueprint website, to help planners, managers, funders, and policymakers develop more effective, high-quality NORC supportive service programs.

Funded by the Daniels Fund, the Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and United Hospital Fund, the website defined guiding principles, identified elements of successful programs, presented helpful program development and management tools, and provided guidance on program financing to maximize the success of NORC programs.

Recognizing the diversity of NORC program experience around the country and the wide range of individuals and organizations interested in promoting these programs’ successful growth, NORC Blueprint also convened a broad-based working group of program leaders from the nation’s publicly funded NORC programs, as well as experts in social services, health care, and community development.

The working group addressed the following interrelated components of NORC programs:
Understanding the Community, by analyzing and assessing target communities in ways that both engage community members and key service partners and inform responsive program design.
Partnering with the Community, by designing and applying effective strategies for building coordinated community-based partnerships.
Designing and Implementing a NORC Program, to deliver effective services in response to unique and evolving community needs.
Evaluating Projects of a NORC Program, assessing service and overall program effectiveness to inform program modification for maximal community impact.
Sustaining a NORC Program, by identifying and analyzing successful strategies to expand and sustain NORC supportive service programs.

Examining these core organizing issues and synthesizing the best thinking and most useful examples and tools available, the working group assisted UHF staff in its preparation of the NORC Blueprint website, which was launched in the spring of 2008.

In 2017, the NORC Blueprint website was transferred to the New York State Office for the Aging, to make this important source of information and support more broadly available and accessible. To read an announcement on that transfer, click here.

Contact: Deborah Halper


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