BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta joined the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), Bernards Township, and Our House, Inc., in celebrating the grand opening of Basking Ridge Group Home, an affordable permanent supportive rental housing project in Basking Ridge in Somerset County. The HMFA, an affiliate of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), provided $250,000 in permanent financing through the Special Needs Housing Partnership Loan Program (SNHPLP). Additionally, Bernards Township provided $250,000 in Affordable Housing Trust Funds. The DDD provided a $15,000 sprinkler system subsidy and additional funding for social services and rental assistance.
“The Basking Ridge Group Home project which will provide housing opportunities for New Jersey’s residents with developmental disabilities following the Olmstead Initiative,” said DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, who also serves as Chairman of the HMFA. “It is projects such as these that help to integrate the special needs population into communities throughout the state.”
The Olmstead Initiative is DDD’s plan for moving 1,850 residents from its seven developmental centers into the community over eight years, beginning in 2007, thereby expanding living options for people with developmental disabilities.
Basking Ridge Group Home, a moderately rehabilitated ranch home, is comprised of four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, and a laundry room. Each resident will have his or her own bedroom and will share the common areas. The scope of the rehabilitation work included the construction of a staff office for 24-hour staffing, renovating the existing two bathrooms and making one of them ADA compliant, expanding bedroom and kitchen doorways and the hallway to make them handicap accessible, painting the interior, and refinishing hardwood floors throughout the home. Front and rear handicapped accessible ramps, fire alarm, and sprinkler systems were installed throughout the home. The units will be reserved for individuals with developmental disabilities at or below 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI).
Our House, Inc., the developer and social service provider of the project, will provide customized supportive services to the four residents with developmental disabilities, designed to meet each resident’s needs and desires for care, treatment, training, and rehabilitation. The training and support to residents will emphasize developing skills that will enable them to be self-sufficient. Furthermore, the individuals will receive one-on-one training in the goals listed in their Individualized Habitation Plan.
“Basking Ridge Group Home creates safe, decent, and affordable housing in close proximity to public transit, social amenities, and jobs in Somerset County,” said HMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta. “I am pleased that HMFA played a role in getting this project off the ground. This project truly represents our mission of increasing the availability of special needs housing for individuals with developmental disabilities residing in the state.”
Under the SNHPLP, the DCA, the HMFA, and the DDD provide financing to create permanent supportive housing and community residences for individuals with developmental disabilities. Following the SNHPLP Guidelines, loan proceeds are used for the acquisition and rehabilitation of existing 3-4 bedroom single-family houses and first floor 3-4 bedroom condominiums, with acquisition and all rehabilitation to be completed within six months of the mortgage closing.
The goal of the SNHPLP is to help integrate people with special needs into the community as much as possible, and to move those who require emergency community residential placements into appropriate housing more promptly than before. Moreover, the Program motivates municipalities like Bernards Township to utilize the monies in their affordable housing trust fund accounts to create housing for people with developmental disabilities.
Our House, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides residential services to individuals with developmental disabilities. Presently, they provide residential services to 83 individuals in 10 group homes, five sets of supervised apartments, and nine Supported Living program apartments. The organization has two projects with a total of eight units financed through the HMFA’s Special Needs Housing Trust Fund and five projects, with a total of 20 bedrooms financed through the Special Needs Housing Partnership Loan Program. Over the years, Our House, Inc., has broadened its scope of services to provide affordable housing, employment, social and recreational services for adults and adolescents with mild to severe developmental and other disabilities.
For more information on the SNHPLP visit the HMFA website at www.njhousing.gov or call 1-800-NJ-HOUSE or (609) 278-7400.