SOUTH ORANGE, N.J., April 6, 2016 –The Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey today announced the availability of a comprehensive housing guide designed to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities plan for community housing with supports. Funded through a grant from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, “The Journey to Community Housing with Supports, A Road Map for Individuals and Their Families” provides understandable information, advice and guidance about community housing and supportive services.
“For people with disabilities, creating a plan for independent living can be a difficult, confusing and frustrating process that requires creative thinking, planning, perseverance and advocacy,” said Gail Levinson, executive director, SHA. “The path to secure housing is a journey. Our housing guide offers a practical approach to help people understand the system and create a plan for supportive housing that is permanent, affordable and safe.”
“For people with developmental disabilities and their families, expectations about housing have shifted dramatically. The clear preference is toward integrated community-based settings,” said Kevin Casey, executive director, NJCDD. “This speaks volumes about the progress our community has made in fostering a culture of inclusion and self-determination. We must continue this momentum, assisting individuals and families in securing the kinds of housing options they expect and deserve, and urging policymakers to expand resources.”
The housing guide can be downloaded from http://autismnj.org/housing/SHAguide and is available in hard copy by calling the Autism New Jersey Helpline at 800-4-AUTISM. Training on how to use the guide will also be available for families and other interested parties. To register or for more information, visit www.shanj.org/images/HousingGuideTrainingSchedule.pdf.
“We are thrilled to partner with SHA to produce this guide for the community,” said Dr. Suzanne Buchanan, executive director, Autism New Jersey. “Housing remains a top concern for the growing number of adults with autism and their families. This guide offers a comprehensive summary of a variety of housing options and how they are funded to help them plan for the future.”
A growing number of individuals, by themselves or through their guardians, are controlling their own housing options and services and living in more community-integrated settings. This trend of supportive housing has created demand for additional affordable housing units, rental subsidies, mainstream resources and funding for supportive services.
"For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, housing is a critical component for integrated community living. Appropriate funding levels and a sufficient number of housing vouchers are vital for these individuals to live among family and friends in neighborhoods across the state,” said Thomas Baffuto, executive director, The Arc of New Jersey. “The Arc of New Jersey supports efforts to increase housing opportunities in the north and the south, in the rural towns and the urban cities, and everywhere in between throughout New Jersey."
The SHA housing guide details the history of supportive housing, housing options, funding sources and other resources available to individuals and their families. Much of the information in the guide is specific to New Jersey, however the funding streams, opportunities and obstacles described can benefit people with other special housing needs and those from other states. The content also has value for housing providers, public officials and advocates.
Grant partner Autism New Jersey contributed content based on their publications and experiences from their community. Many professionals, individuals and their families provided feedback, expertise and shared personal experiences for inclusion in the guide.
The Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey is an 18-year-old membership organization dedicated to affordable, permanent community housing with supports for people with disabilities and other special needs. SHA works to find monetary support from both the public and private sectors that can be leveraged to expand housing stock and services and encourages people with disabilities to live as independently as possible in communities of their choice. SHA also joins with other statewide advocates to support a HUD budget that provides federal subsidies to New Jersey. Find more information at www.shanj.org.