In March 2018, Trust for America’s Health, with funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation and support from the Florida Departments of Health and Elder Affairs, launched a pilot in Florida to prototype state and local Age-Friendly Public Health systems with grants to 37 counties in Florida.
Upon receiving one of the grants in September 2018, the Florida Department of Health-Lee County established the Aging Coalition of Lee County with 50 other organizations and agencies serving older adults. The Aging Community Health Needs Assessment was conducted in 2019 and based on results, the Coalition selected social isolation as a special focus for coalition activities for the upcoming year. One of the objectives identified to address social isolation and to support positive aging in one’s own home was to explore the feasibility of creating a village in Lee County based on the nationally-respected Village to Village Network model.
The Village to Village Interest Group of the Aging Coalition of Lee County met for the first time in September 2020. Based on presentations and mentorship from other villages in Florida and across the nation, and on community needs data, the Village to Village Interest Group concluded that Lee County would be a good home for the Neighbors Network of Lee County (NNLC).
Granted 501(c)3 status effective May 5, 2022, the NNLC is dedicated to support older adults who wish to age in community. We will accomplish this using a hub and spoke model, the hub providing administrative and back-office support for all villages (also called ‘neighbors networks’) formed throughout Lee County. The first pilot village will be formed during 2023 in the Six Mile Cypress Parkway corridor, which is the geographic area within or near zip code 33966, including communities in census tracts 12.02, 401.08 and 401.17. The pilot will provide a roadmap for future villages in Lee County.
The NNLC looks forward to working with other members of the Aging Coalition of Lee County as collaborating partners and to help us locate many other partners in the upcoming months and year as we form the first pilot village in the Six Mile Cypress Parkway corridor.