Public/private partnership between New York, AARP, Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, The New York Academy of Medicine
The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), in cooperation with the New York State Departments of State and Health, released a grant program application that will help communities to become healthier and more age-friendly. The program will fund communities that seek age-friendly community certification from AARP and the World Health Organization (WHO). It will also fund county governments that commit to incorporating age-friendly and healthy community principles into all relevant policies, plans, ordinances and programs.
The age-friendly planning grant request for applications (RFA) is available in the procurement opportunities section of the NYSOFA website.
“New York is the first state in the nation to be enrolled in WHO’s global network of age-friendly cities and AARP’s network of age-friendly states and communities,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. “The governor and I recognize the contributions of older New Yorkers and have been fighting to make New York more equitable for all ages. This grant program will advance our efforts to support aging and smart growth in communities across the state.”
NYSOFA Acting Director Greg Olsen said, “Communities that understand and adopt age-friendly, smart growth principles thrive by attracting new residents to New York and retaining others, including the growing older adult population. Older New Yorkers are a vital part of their communities, contributing economically, socially and intellectually through volunteerism, civic engagement, employment and tourism. New York is leading by example in developing a comprehensive approach to incorporate age-friendly principles in communities across the state.”
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “Gov. Cuomo is making New York state the healthiest and most age-friendly state in the nation. He recognizes that healthy communities – with strong populations of all ages – are the drivers that create equitable and sustainable societies. The Department of State’s planning and development programs embrace these inclusive and accommodating measures.”
New York State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said, “This RFA is an opportunity for communities to incorporate health considerations and considerations for healthy aging into community planning. Health across all policies and healthy aging are principles of our prevention agenda, the state health improvement plan. Our prevention agenda vision is to become the healthiest state for people of all ages. This RFA will help localities achieve that goal.”
Under Cuomo’s leadership, New York state was certified as the first age-friendly state in the nation in 2017 by AARP and the WHO. The grant program is part of two approaches launched by Cuomo in 2017 and 2018: Health Across All Policies and Age-Friendly NYS. These seek to create and foster healthier, more integrated communities that allow New Yorkers of all ages to easily access services, take part in civic activities, and move around their community without being dependent on an automobile. This is achieved through system-level changes, such as offering incentives for age-friendly concepts, establishing new program and procurement guidelines, or implementing regulatory changes. In 2018, the governor issued an executive order directing all state agencies to adopt and incorporate the principles of age- and health-friendly communities into their programs, policies, spending and reporting.
New York leads the nation in implementing positive healthy aging policies, and in 2019, the state received the Public Health Innovation Award from the National Network of Public Health Institutes for its Health Across All Policies/Age-Friendly NYS approach.
The state has developed an innovative public/private partnership to implement the age-friendly grant program, which includes AARP, the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York, and the New York Academy of Medicine. This first-in-the-nation, multiagency, public/private sector approach will invest $1 million in state funding and leverage additional, significant investments from its partners to support Cuomo’s ongoing priority of keeping New York healthy and age-friendly.
The grant program will provide one grant to communities in each of the 10 Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) regions under the following options:
•Option 1 is available for counties that seek to replicate the governor’s executive order to help them incorporate and adopt age-friendly/livable community and smart growth principles in their county plans and procurement opportunities.
•Option 2 is available to counties seeking to become certified under the AARP/WHO model.
•Option 3 is available for counties to achieve both options 1 and 2.
•Option 4 is available for two eligible counties to create age-friendly centers of excellence to provide mentorship to grantees that are beginning this work under Options 1, 2 or 3.
The private partners in this effort will also develop centers of excellence in the REDC regions to assist communities to institute age-friendly, healthy and smart growth principles.
AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel said, “It’s critical that our neighborhoods become more age-friendly as our population ages, and joining AARP’s Network of age-friendly communities will help them do just that. We thank Gov. Cuomo and Acting Director Olsen for their leadership in making this funding available, for partnering with us to grow the network – and for making New York the first state in the nation to join the network. AARP looks forward to working with the state and counties to ensure this funding helps make their communities great places to live for residents of all ages.”
Health Foundation for Western and Central New York President Nora O’Brien-Suric said, “As the first certified age-friendly state in the nation, New York has always been a leader in livable communities. These grants are an important next step in helping diverse regions of the state develop the necessary infrastructure to continue the journey towards being a truly livable state for people of all ages.”
New York Academy of Medicine President Dr. Judith Salerno said, “For more than a decade, The New York Academy of Medicine has led age-friendly NYC, a collaboration with the mayor’s office and New York City Council, which has facilitated changes across all sectors of government to improve life for older adults. We look forward to facilitating this work at the state level alongside our partners at the NYS Office for the Aging, Department of State, Department of Health, the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York, and AARP.”