Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Pascrell Announces Major Federal Funding for Naturally Occurring Retirement Community in Clifton

Jan 31, 2005
Press Release

Pascrell Secured $200,000 for Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton/Passaic Initiative

PATERSON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. announced today $200,000 in federal funding for the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) "Aging in Place" initiative spearheaded by the Jewish Family Service (JFS), a division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton/Passaic.  The Congressman requested this funding and successfully pushed it through the appropriations process.

"I am pleased to have secured the funding for this innovative concept of senior service delivery.  Community-based providers such as the Jewish Family Service of Clifton realized that we need new models to adequately respond to the changing demographics and life choices of older adults," stated Rep. Pascrell.  "I am extremely grateful for their foresight, creativity and can-do attitude.  It is my role to ensure that the federal government has a part to play of improving the quality of life for seniors in Clifton and throughout the Eighth District."

The JFS NORC "Aging in Place" initiative emerged in response to dramatic demographic trends in aging affecting the local community.  Passaic County is home to more than 53,000 seniors, many of whom live in Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs).  With this funding, JFS will be able to participate in the nationwide "Aging in Place" demonstration program involving similar community networks across the country.  The JFS will develop and test innovative models of health and supportive services in a community-based, instead of institutional, setting of care.

"I'd like to once again thank Congressman Pascrell for his assistance in obtaining these needed funds which will allow our Jewish Family Service to expand its outreach social service work," stated Mark S. Levenson, President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton/Passaic.  "It's not easy to obtain additional federal funds in this period of budget retrenchment and the Jewish Federation as well as our Jewish Family Service agency want to extend our deep appreciation to the Congressman and his staff for their strong efforts and cooperation over the last year in helping to secure these needed funds."

Specifically, the program would organize a range of coordinated health care, social services and group activities at strategic sites within the community through partnerships that unite housing entities and their residents, health and social service providers, government agencies, and philanthropic organizations.  It would promote independence and healthy aging by engaging seniors before a crisis and responding to their changing needs over time.  Residents would play vital roles in the development and operation of the program (both in governance and volunteer roles).

"What kind of society are we if we do not provide the best for our elders?  It is time we provide alternative models that are attractive to seniors who do not need to live in an institutional setting.  As a senior myself, I am proud to support such an innovative and realistic program," stated Rep. Pascrell.

The initiative will not duplicate the existing services of Medicare, Medicaid, or the Older Americans Act, but rather fill the gaps where those services are insufficient or inadequately coordinated. The program is to be maintained through public-private partnerships that combine revenues and in-kind supports.

"Improving senior services is a top concern of the Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton - Passaic," stated Edward W. Schey, the Federation's Executive Director.  "Faced with a growing senior population, we welcome and appreciate the effort of Congressman Pascrell to assist our senior constituencies to maintain their independence, dignity and quality of life as they age."

"It may come as a surprise to many Passaic seniors that they already live in a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community," added Rep. Pascrell.  "This new project has the potential to transform Passaic NORCs into neighborhoods that do meet these needs and allow elderly Americans to remain in their homes and neighborhoods - to age in place."