Communities that attract retirees

In 2008, the North Carolina General Assembly created the Community Credit Retirement Program, administered by the NC Department of Commerce. It is a community development program as an economic and community development strategy for people who want to attract retirees to their area.

The program has the quality of life that the community of elders wants. The potential benefits of attracting retirees to the city are significant: the wealth accumulated in the surrounding area, the developers attracting developers to build affordable housing and higher-end facilities, the existing retirees remain in the community.

Texas has been very successful with their Certified Retirement Communities (CRC) and estimates that each state retirement home generates 1.5 jobs. The GO TEXAN Certified Community Retirement Program has been running since 2006 and is currently updating information on the impact CRCs have on community members. Cuero County of Texas has been with the CRC designation for two years. Randall Mali, executive director of Cuero Development Corporation, has secured a new building for his residential and adult care as a Cuero Certified Retirement Community.


In order to qualify for certification, the local government must apply to the Department of Commerce and the Community Development Division. Retirees are assessed on criteria that are important to retirees – low cost of living, low taxes, low crime rate, quality medical care, recreation, education and culture, and a welcoming community. The size of the population does not define certification, nor does it have a rural or urban environment. Lack of affordable housing for seniors is also not a problem if it is certified to be built by developers. The designation has a five-year lifespan, and then the community will have to re-certify by the end of the five-year term.


The Department of Commerce has established criteria for a certified retirement community.

  1. Being within 30 miles of hospital or emergency medical services (does not have to be within city limits).
  2. Get help from churches, clubs, businesses, media.
  3. Submit application fee for 21,000 Century Communities Program for $ 10,000. If the town does not receive a certificate, they will return $ 10,000.
  4. Submit a complete marketing and public relations plan designed to meet the purpose of the program to the Department of Commerce.
  5. Submit a long-term plan outlining the steps that must be taken to maintain or improve the community as a retirement destination for its owner.
  6. Forming a Board of Attraction for Retirees, the town must be in place for six months to apply for certification. Applications are received twice a year in January and June / July and require several months to review. Commission:
  • Submit a report to the Department and evaluate the community.
  • 21 is issued by the representative of the committee headed by st Century Communities Program.
  • It raises the money needed to launch the program, organizes special events, and promotes and coordinates the program with local organizations.
  • Establishes a community image, evaluates target markets, and develops a marketing and public relations plan to meet the goal of the program.
  • It already develops a system that identifies and contacts relationships with retirees and future retirees, providing guidebooks for visiting future communities, inviting guests to special community events, and keeping in touch with the future, until a decision is made about where to retire.

Communities selected for certification will receive statewide marketing efforts, technical support, networking opportunities, and funding to support the program.


As retirees seek out the Retirement Community, much of the observing process has been secured by the state of North Carolina. The retiree can rest assured that the town will be well received with minimal facilities and services.

At the time of this article, Lumberton, NC was the only Certified Retirement Community in North Carolina. Connie Russ is a Downtown Development Coordinator / Retirement Contractor for Lumberton, and was instrumental in her, along with her committee, developing the certification program. For North Carolina. Currently, there are three other towns in North Carolina certified as a retired community: Asheboro, Marion and Sanford.

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