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South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House Hosts Visit from Sen. Menendez’s Legislative Counsel

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Lavinia Walker (center), a long-time resident of South Orange B'nai B'rith Federation House, with Artin Hagshena (left) and Rebecca Schatz, who represented Sen. Robert Menendez at a meeting on May 4. Credits: JCHC
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South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House (SOBBFH) hosted a visit by Rebecca Schatz, legislative counsel for Senator Robert Menendez, who toured the community and heard from residents about what it means to them personally to have affordable housing available to them. The visit provided Schatz with tangible benefits of HUD Section 202 Supporting Housing for the Elderly, a program that enables very low-income seniors to live independently in an environment that provides supportive services. Sen. Menendez is a supporter of HUD Section 202.

Both SOBBFH and Jewish Federation Plaza in West Orange, owned and managed by the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey (JCHC), offer HUD subsidies for seniors and the disabled who qualify. The independent living communities, for adults ages 62 and older, provide on-site services and programs for residents. These include educational programs, discussions, exercise and art classes, games and social activities, and transportation to local shopping, area events and outings. Both buildings have a long waiting list for available apartments, which underscores the growing need for these subsidies among low-income seniors in New Jersey.

The residents who shared their insights and stories with Schatz also shared a common theme—that being able to live at South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House provides them with safe, affordable housing in a true community setting that has had a strong, positive impact on their lives. Some said they truly would have nowhere to go, were it not for the financial assistance provided through HUD, due to the New Jersey’s high rental rates and other financial factors that have affected them.

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Schatz assured the residents that Menendez is committed to making sure that the Section 202 funding remains strong and that there are funds available for Congress to allocate towards construction of new affordable housing units. In fact, she noted that the Senate has fought to protect those dollars and that no funding cuts are on the horizon at this time. She also reminded residents that the senator’s office is a resource for them.

“We thank Ms. Schatz for making the time to see our community and hear how strongly our residents feel about the need for affordable housing,” said Harold Colton-Max, CEO of the JCHC. “Our seniors are proof of what a vibrant and engaged retirement looks like, and of the benefits of providing high-quality housing with services at rates they can afford on restricted incomes.”

The JCHC also owns and manages Village Apartments of the Jewish Federation in South Orange and the Lester Senior Housing Community in Whippany, which offers independent and assisted living and memory care. For more information about the JCHC senior living communities, visit www.jchcorp.org.

About the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey Founded in 1983, the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey (JCHC) owns and manages more than 470 apartments in four buildings for older adults in Morris and Essex counties in northern New Jersey. The non-profit organization offers seniors a range of options in terms of services, amenities, location, and cost, all within a traditional Jewish environment. The JCHC provides housing, programs, and services for the independent elderly as well as those who need assisted living. For more information, go to www.jchcorp.org.

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