[First Reprint]

SENATE, No. 1796







Sponsored by:


District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)


District 37 (Bergen)


Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Beck and Gordon






     Establishes "Naturally Occurring Retirement Community" pilot program; appropriates $250,000.



     As reported by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on September 20, 2012, with amendments.


An Act establishing a "Naturally Occurring Retirement Community" pilot program and making an appropriation.


     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


     1.    The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.     Elderly residents of this State are aging in place in their communities and they prefer to remain in their familiar surroundings, near families and friends, and receive services in their communities;

     b.    A residential area with a high concentration of elderly residents who are aging in place is known as a “Naturally Occurring Retirement Community” or “NORC”;

     c.     The housing in a NORC differs from senior-designated housing because it was not originally built as housing for the elderly; NORC housing is age-integrated but more than 50% of the households are headed by a person who is 60 years of age or older;

     d.    NORC programs are intended for persons with moderate or low incomes and, by their nature, are proactive and take a holistic, preventive approach to the health and well-being of elderly residents; 1[and]1

     e.     The establishment and implementation of a NORC pilot program that addresses the needs of elderly residents by providing a wide array of social, health care, mental health1, transportation,1 and other support services 1[at a senior center or one or more moderate or low-income apartment buildings or housing complexes] in a defined community1 would help some State residents age in place and serve as a model to expand the program Statewide 1; and

     f.     A NORC pilot program can best be implemented through the action of a lead agency to administer the overall fiscal, managerial, and programmatic responsibilities of the pilot program and to recruit and coordinate the services of program partners, including service agencies, civic organizations, volunteers, and the residents of the defined community1.


     2.    a.  There is established a “Naturally Occurring Retirement Community” or “NORC” pilot program in the Division of Aging 1[and Community]1 Services in the Department of 1[Health and Senior] Human1 Services.

     b.    The Commissioner of 1[Health and Senior] Human1 Services shall provide a grant to 1[either]1 a 1lead agency for the agency to provide a basket of services to assist eligible seniors to remain in the community and “age in place” in a selected defined community, whether at a1 senior center in Mercer County1,1 or one or more moderate or low-income apartment buildings or housing complexes in Mercer County 1, or within a defined geographic area in Mercer County,1 in which at least 50% of the households are headed by a person who is 60 years of age or older 1[, or both,] in order1 to implement the pilot program pursuant to the provisions of this act.

     1An eligible applicant to be the lead agency shall be an entity with demonstrated experience and expertise in providing a basket of services to populations who are “aging in place” and in administering related initiatives in the community.  It may provide the full array of services directly, or in collaboration with other experienced providers.  The lead agency may be a non-profit or a for-profit organization, but selection shall be evaluated on the organization’s ability to provide services in a comprehensive and cost-effective manner, to recruit partners such as service agencies, civic organizations, the residents, and other volunteers to assess the needs and resources of the community and formulate policy, and the ability to coordinate and integrate the services offered.1

     c.     The pilot program shall provide:

     (1)   social services, including, but not limited to1[:],1 on-site assessments, information and referral services, case management, counseling, recreation and socialization programs, management of  volunteer programs, support groups1,1 and education programs that help elderly residents preserve their health;

     (2)   health care services, including, but not limited to1[:],1 on-site nursing and physician services1[;],1 health screenings and monitoring1[;],1 and medication management;

     (3)   mental health services, including, but not limited to1[;],1 a consulting psychiatrist to assess, diagnose, and treat residents and educate other professional staff, patients, caregivers, and families to detect and assess mental health needs1[;],1, and mental health screening by a social worker or registered professional nurse; and

     (4)   support services, including, but not limited to, transportation services and assistance with shopping and financial management.

     d.    The 1[commissioner shall require the senior center or moderate or low-income apartment building or housing complex to] lead agency shall1 periodically report to the commissioner on the establishment of the pilot program and the impact of the pilot program on the well-being of the residents.  1In its report, the lead agency shall employ a formal outcomes measurement tool, administered at multiple points in time, to assess the impact of the program on older adults’ health and well-being, as well as the potential cost savings of these outcomes for long-term care, health, and human services delivery systems.  The report shall include outcomes-based data, including, but not limited to, systemic cost savings represented by:

     (1)  a reduction in the number of emergency room visits by older adults;

     (2)  a reduction in the number of overnight hospital stays by older adults;

     (3) a reduction in the number of older adults moving into institutional care;

     (4) a reduction in out-of-pocket health care costs and increase in older adults’ economic security; and

     (5) a reduction in risk factors for functional decline, such as depression and social isolation.

     The lead agency may allocate up to 7.5% of grant funds toward the costs of evaluation, to include software, consulting services, and staff time to analyze outcomes and evaluate the program.1

     e.     The commissioner shall report to the Governor1,1 and 1to1 the Legislature 1pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1),1 on the pilot program within two years of its implementation and make any recommendations the commissioner deems appropriate to expand the program to other counties in the State.


     3.    There is appropriated $250,000 from the General Fund to the Department of 1[Health and Senior] Human1 Services to provide a grant to 1[either a senior center or one or more moderate or low-income apartment buildings or housing complexes in Mercer County, or both,] the entity selected to be the lead agency1 to implement the NORC pilot program established pursuant to this act 1in a defined community in Mercer County1.


     4.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire upon the submission of the report by the commissioner pursuant to section 2 of this act.