(Warren, NJ)–It was always the dream of Herb Heflich, CEO of Chelsea Senior Living and the Mt. Bethel Village special needs residence, that MBV be seen as a viable solution to the nagging special needs housing crisis in New Jersey. Now, with the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ decision to begin referring fully subsidized clients to MBV, that dream has become a reality.
“It’s really the blending of private business and government that I had always envisioned,” said Herb recently. “Families who are on waiting lists for housing solutions for their adult children may now apply through the Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities, for subsidized housing at Mt. Bethel. I believe this arrangement should be a model for the future of subsidized housing for adults with special needs.”
Subsidized housing means living virtually rent free in a single or shared apartment in the Mt. Bethel environment, which consists of modern apartments with 24 hour supports. Rent, furniture and in some cases one-on-one counselors are provided.
The first subsidized resident moved in on November 5, 2015. Since then, several more have moved in and it’s expected that all nine of the beds designated by the State for these referrals will be filled by March.
“It’s a misconception that the adults for these apartments are chosen based on income,” said Carolann Garafola, Executive Director of Mt. Bethel Village. “They are selected based on a number of criteria including how long they’ve been waiting, their suitability for living independently and whether they are considered an emergency placement. It all comes down to how we can meet their needs, no matter what their challenges are.”
There are currently an estimated 8,000 people with developmental disabilities on waiting lists for housing in New Jersey. Many live with aging parents who worry about what will happen to them when they are gone.
Mt. Bethel’s total capacity is 41 with most of the residents paying privately. Rents range from $4,200 to $8,000 a month.
“Yes, it’s expensive,” admits Heflich. “But our community provides modern amenities, full dining facilities, an included day program, a gym, computer lab and an outstanding, experienced staff. Our families have given us rave reviews and we’ve had nothing but support from elected officials.”
Mt. Bethel Village is located in Warren, New Jersey. More information is available at mtbethelvillage.com or by calling 908-757-7000. Referrals for subsidized apartments must come through the Dept. of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).