CONSTRUCTION COMMENCES FOLLOWING GROUNDBREAKING
June 27, 2011
(Warren, NJ)-- Construction officially began today for a new, state-of-the-art housing solution for moderate and high functioning adults with autism and other developmental disabilities at a time when housing for the developmentally disabled population is at a crisis point.
Mt. Bethel Village will house 41 people in a highly supportive environment that will emphasize independence for each resident. Anticipated completion is the fall of 2012.
The mission of Mt. Bethel Village, located at 130 Mt. Bethel Road, is to enable moderately and more independent adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to further advance their skills, independence, purpose and self-esteem through a comprehensive array of quality services, supports, advocacy and collaboration with families.
There are currently thousands of families in New Jersey on waiting lists for group home placements for adults with developmental disabilities. Many parents of these residents are aging themselves and losing the capacity to care for their adult children. Mt. Bethel Village seeks to provide an alternative for some of these families.
“We hope that this project could be the beginning, a template, a model that the state and maybe other states will use,” said Herbert Heflich, CEO of Chelsea Senior Living, a partner in the management of the project.
The Mt. Bethel Village model employs an assisted living approach pioneered by the senior provider community, but specifically tailored to address the unique learning and social support needs of its residents. The program will provide extensive social skills training and counseling supports, higher-level life skills training, employment supports, case management and health services. Staff support will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Dr. Paul Abend, a member of the board of directors, is the recent winner of the NJ Governor’s Jefferson Award for Health Care and operates an autism assessment and treatment center a mile up the road. He is the father of a teenager with autism.
“We’re going to be doing intergenerational programs, “ Dr. Abend said. “We’re going to be doing horticultural therapy. We’re going to do vocation services like organic farming. We’re going to have physical, occupational and speech therapy, integrative medicine with yoga, massage and a whole technology program for these residents.”
Dr. Abend was in Washington, DC, last week and met with New Jersey’s Senators.
“I met with Menendez and Lautenberg,” he said, “and the first thing they wanted to know was ‘We got to talk about residential housing.’ This is where it’s at.”
The project is being financed by Two River Community Bank whose officers were at today’s event.
Warren Township Mayor Gary DiNardo and Deputy Mayor Carolann Garafolo also attended and pledged the township’s support.
“Anything that we can do that will help promote this project and help it go to completion, we will go over hurdles to do that for you,” said DiNardo.