January 15, 2013
MT. BETHEL VILLAGE LAUNCHES DAY PROGRAM, READIES FOR FIRST RESIDENTS
(Warren, NJ)-- A first-of-its-kind residence for adults with autism and other special needs is open for business with a robust Day Program and the first permanent residents preparing to move in.
Mt. Bethel Village, located at 130 Mt. Bethel Road, opened its Day Program Monday, January 14th, 2013, with its first day program clients. The first residential clients will move in later this month.
Warren Mayor Carolann Garafola, Executive Director of Mt. Bethel Village, welcomed all clients and their families with a promise of good things to come.
"This beautiful new community is designed to offer a safe, fun and very functional environment for special needs adults," she said. "We are proud of every aspect of this building, from the robust security to the beautiful furnishings and architectural features. It was designed specifically for special needs adults to thrive."
Mt. Bethel Village was designed to help alleviate the housing crisis that exists in New Jersey for adults with autism, developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries. There is currently a waiting list of thousands of people desiring placement in community homes. Some of those individuals will wait years. In the meantime, many of their aging parents are becoming less able to care for them, a source of constant stress and worry for this population of senior caregivers.
"We believe our community is exactly what lawmakers are talking about in the Innovative Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act," said Mrs. Garafola, " a bill currently in the New Jersey Assembly which would encourage public-private partnerships to provide new, community housing for this population." Mrs. Garafola recently testified in favor of A-2893.
Mt. Bethel Village offers one and two-bedroom apartments for permanent residents and those interested in "respite", or short stays of at least two weeks. Rent includes three meals, snacks, housekeeping and full access to Mt. Bethel Village Day Program activities. Other activities continue into the evening and on weekends. There is staff available 24/7 to guide and prompt residents through their day.
More information on the Mt. Bethel Village Residential and Day Programs and respite/short stays are available at www.mtbethelvillage.com. Interested parties may call 908-757-7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an interview or tour.
December 10, 2012
NJ ASSEMBLY BILL 2893 HEARD BY APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE; FAMILIES URGED TO CALL LEGISLATORS TO EXPRESS SUPPORT
Families of adults with special needs are urged you to call, write or email their legislators to express support for the "Innovative Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act", Assembly Bill 2893, which was heard by the NJ Assembly Appropriations Committee Thursday, December 13th, in Trenton.
Bill A-2893 seeks to encourage new and innovative approaches by private providers, as well as through public-private partnerships, to address the shortage of community residential housing and other services for persons with developmental disabilities. It does so in a manner that assures that persons with developmental disabilities are integrated into the community, can interact with peers who are not disabled, can engage in social interactions with persons of their own choosing and live as independently as possible. More reasons why we need A-2893.
We believe Mt. Bethel Village, opening in early 2013 in Warren, NJ, is exactly the type of innovative approach that A-2893 is talking about. Our Executive Director, Carolann Garafola, testified in favor of the bill earlier this year (scroll down to read more).
Please show your support by contacting your local lawmaker. Below are the names and contact info for the relevant NJ legislators:
May 12, 2012
GARAFOLA TESTIFIES IN FAVOR OF BILL TO FORCE NEW LOOK AT HOUSING FOR ADULTS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
(Trenton, NJ)-- Housing for New Jersey adults with autism and other developmental disabilities is "at a crisis" with more than 8,000 people on waiting lists for group homes, according to the Mayor of Warren Township who is also executive director of the soon-to-open Mt. Bethel Village residence for special needs adults.
Carolann Garafola testified on May 21, 2012, in favor of Assembly Bill A-2893, sponsored by Bergen County Democrat Valerie Vainieri Huttle, which requires the state Department of Human Services to "encourage the establishment of innovative service arrangements for persons with developmental disabilities."
While the bill does not call for any new funding, its intent is to, in Mrs. Garafola's words, "look at more creative solutions" to housing adults with autism and developmental disabilities, many of whom currently live with aging parents who are desperately trying to find places for their adult children to live before they can no longer care for them.
Right now, moderate to high functioning adults have few living options-- either state-licensed group homes, of which there is a chronic shortage, living at home with their parents or other family members or, in emergencies, commitment to state institutions, arguably the last resort for those with no place else to go.
Mrs. Garafola is Executive Director of Mt. Bethel Village, currently under construction on Mt. Bethel Road in Warren Township, which will offer housing and rich, 24-hour support services for 41 moderate to high functioning adults with autism, developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injuries. Mt. Bethel Village will be private pay, but Mrs. Garafola thinks the state should look at it as a model for future partnerships between private companies and the government to fulfill an urgent need. Further, she urged consideration of many other housing options including garden apartments, assisted living arrangements, shared rental of homes larger than four bedrooms and supervised dormitory apartments similar to college dorms.
Since September, 2011, Mrs. Garafola testified she has met with more than 140 families with adult children in need of housing.
"The stories are hand-wringers and bring tears to my eyes," she told the Assembly Human Services Committee. "It clearly will help the families who lay awake at night wondering what will happen as they get older and their adult child needs a place to live."
Shortly after the hearing, the bill was approved by the Committee and sent to the full Assembly where its future is uncertain.
"We need to look at the world through different glasses," said Mrs. Garafola, "be creative and seek a private-state partnership in a slimmed down process that helps to advocate for our adults with developmental disabilities and not throw up hurdles."
Learn more about Special Needs Community Warren, NJ.