Community Empowerment is a NYSOFA initiative designed to work with state and local partners to develop a locally directed working structure/ to advance the livable community premise. It is designed to enhance awareness of existing community assets, identify existing issues/ barriers and concerns to create a livable community for older residents, create a detailed action plan with stakeholders and interest groups to address concerns.
The main goals and objectives of the Community Empowerment strategy is to:
- Help communities assess and plan for meeting the challenges and opportunities for becoming a livable community/ that is age friendly,
- provide a comprehensive analysis of services, land use policies, institutions both public and private, environmental and other factors that contribute to the ability of individuals to â€œto age in placeâ€�,
- Design a place where people of all ages and abilities will stay - Active, Happy and Healthy - as they grow older in their own homes and communities.
NYSOFA is encouraging local communities to start planning to make positive changes / making them more livable - enabling/ empowering older persons to live independently. The process must address the challenges and opportunities presented by the population which is growing older.
Examples of community empowerment at the local level.
- Allegany County- The Community Partnership on Aging in Allegany County sponsored on May 5th an Aging Conference entitled "Creating Livable Communitiesâ€œ at Alfred University. This conference focused on aging and leadership, healthy aging/healthy community and is was open to students, seniors and professionals. For more information contact Kim Toot, Allegany Area Agency on Aging Director (585) 268-9390.
- Chautauqua County- hosted mini rural-aging summit on May 20th at SUNY Fredonia expanding on the work that was done at the Rural Aging Summit Ithaca College, September 20 & 21, 2007. Of the seven areas of concern that were identified in Ithaca, three were be focused on at this conference including employment, technology infrastructure needs and volunteerism. A committee consisting of representatives from the AAA, RSVP and Catholic Charities have already been formed in this region to address volunteerism/workforce issues. Another group is looking at transportation issues. For more information contact MaryAnn Spanos, Chautauqua Area Agency on Aging Director (716) 753-4471.
- Chemung County- Planning is underway for a June 19 conference on livable communities in Elmira with special attention paid to how to tap into the baby-boomersâ€™. This event seeks to foster a collaborative environment within Chemung County between stakeholders and will focus on economic development, transportation, health care, housing, leisure/recreation, volunteerism and human service matters. For more information contact Sam David, Chemung County Dept. of Aging & Long Term Care Director (607) 737-5520.