New grant allows Rhawnhurst NORC to expand its territory

Rhawnhurst NORC is expanding into Bustleton and beyond. During the monthly meeting of the Greater Bustleton Civic League on Oct. 26, Rhawnhurst NORC Program Manager Abby Gilbert said that her organization will begin offering services to seniors in the 19114, 19115 and 19116 ZIP codes, which cover Bustleton, Somerton, Torresdale and Morrell Park.

NORC stands for Naturally Occurring Retirement Community and is a name used to describe older folks who opt to remain in their private homes as they age.

A new multi-year grant from the Jewish Federation’s Weinberg Fund allowed Rhawnhurst NORC to expand its territory from its traditional boundaries. The organization has been serving seniors since 2005 in the 19111, 19149 and 19152 ZIP codes. The Jewish Federation manages the program in partnership with Catholic Health Care Services and with additional funding by Pew Charitable Trust. NORC also seeks individual donations.

NORC offers many services to older folks at reduced or no charge such as basic home maintenance and repair, home winterizations, occupational therapy assessments, home modifications with adaptive equipment, transportation, social service referrals, social activities and health screenings. The organization’s office is at 8546 Bustleton Ave. To qualify for services, a person must be age 60 or older and live within one of the ZIP codes. There are no income restrictions. Contact 215–320–0351 for information.

In an unrelated topic, GBCL President Jack O’Hara reported that the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment had denied a local homeowner’s application to build an addition in violation of the zoning code.

In June, neighbors voted, 30–1, to oppose the application for 811 Charette Road. The property is zoned residential and has two buildings. There’s a house and a second structure that formerly housed a dentist’s office. The owner applied to build a second-floor addition onto the office building. In June, he said he wants to convert it into a house.

But the configuration of the structure does not conform to the zoning code. It sits eight feet from a property line, although the code requires at least 20 feet. Neighbors have other concerns about the site’s suitability for habitation and its potential for use as a multi-family rental property. Other homes on the block are mostly twin ranchers. ••