Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities
NORC stands for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities. This is a term that is used in the USA to describe a community with a large proportion of over 60 year olds, but was not specifically designed to meet the needs of older people living independently in their homes.
This has the potential to be a model for building older LGBT communities. There are already some examples of where this may be happening: if you have an older people’s scheme where there is already a core of LGBT residents and supportive managers, then there is the potential to encourage applications and allocations of older LGBT people.
Caution might, however, be required. Such developments tend to depend on a sympathetic scheme manager. If they move on, then the situation could change.
The key here is not about changing the agreed allocations or lettings systems: it’s about spreading the message that older LGBT people are aware of the scheme when using choice based lettings or other systems for referral or allocation. This, though, would only work for older LGBT people who are already part of local networks or communities: it may miss those who are isolated.
So there might be a role here for Stonewall Housing and other LGBT organisations to work with housing providers to identify schemes where there may be an opportunity to build a NORC. And they might also need to work together to ensure that the current regulatory or management practice doesn’t create a barrier to the natural growth of NORCs.
This approach might provide evidence of how a successful older LGBT housing scheme can work, without the need for significant additional investment.