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Glen Oaks seniors get peek at plans for new community

Officials at SNAP organized...

By Dan Trudeau

Organizers of a pilot program to provide services for seniors living in single-family homes met with a group of senior citizens last week to discuss their plans at the Services Now for Adult Persons Center in Queens Village.

Officials at SNAP organized the town hall meeting July 22 to allow planners of the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community Without Walls, or NORC WOW, to present their plans to community seniors, measuring interest and getting feedback from retirees.

The proposed retirement community would set up a variety of in-house and social services for seniors aimed at allowing them to continue living in their own homes.

“It’s moving forward because there’s been real interest in the community in what we’re doing,” NORC WOW Project Coordinator Yvonne Gelbord said. “All the indicators show that there is a need for the services we would be providing.”

The NORC WOW will be funded by a grant from the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation in conjunction with the Samuel Field YM and YWCA, the UJA Federation and the Jewish Community Relations Council.

The project will be the 29th of its kind in New York state, but the first in northeast Queens and the first in an area comprised mostly of single-family homes as opposed to high-rise apartment communities. The organization will offer services yet to be determined to seniors living in the area bounded by Hillside Avenue, Union Turnpike, Langdale Street and the Cross Island Parkway.

The services provided and the use of the grant money would be determined in part by an advisory board of seniors living in the area. According to a statement issued by the NORC WOW, services in other communities include entitlements counseling, case assistance, nursing, health education and screening, recreational activities, transportation and chore services.

Gelbord said the single-family homes in Queens definitely make this NORC WOW unique, but also present challenges in coordinating and gaining community trust.

“It’s been proven effective in the past and we feel that the kinds of social services (people in high-rise communities) are getting are important, but the development system is difficult here,” Gelbord said. “There is no central management office that can pull this together. Everything is scattered.”

She said organizations like SNAP and the Samuel Field Y are helping to create the partnerships to make the NORC WOW a reality.

Seniors at last week’s meeting were curious and generally optimistic about the proposed community, although some expressed concerns about the program’s limited scope. Gelbord assured them, however, that since the program was a pilot for the area, success in the initial planning area could translate into a NORC WOW encompassing all of northeast Queens.

Another informational meeting will take place Aug. 4 at 6:30 p.m., at the HSBC bank in the Glen Oaks Shopping Mall on Hillside Avenue.

Reach Reporter Dan Trudeau by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com, or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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