Housing Complex in Tenafly Gives Disabled Adults Independence

A new complex in Tenafly, New Jersey is giving disabled adults a new lease on life.

An article on the NorthJersey.com website explain how affordable housing is critical for disabled adults, who can live independently, but also require a degree of supervision.

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“The adult residents at the Tenafly home span the gamut of disabilities: blindness, multiple sclerosis, autistic spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities,” the article reads. “A housing coordinator visits twice weekly to see if anyone needs assistance with anything from filling out social-service forms to cleaning, cooking and mediating roommate disputes.”

The complex has been in the works for years, with officials nailing down the land, gaining approval from local and state governments – and pulling resources from the county to bring the idea to fruition.

Now, the United Way independent living apartment complex is set in motion, with 10 people who live with a disability living within six units of one- and two-bedroom apartments.

According to the article, many people who live with disabilities are waiting to move into similar homes that have yet to be built.

“There is a waiting list of thousands of individuals with developmental disabilities who are looking for opportunities to live independently,” said Gina Plotino, vice president of programs and operations for Bergen County’s United Way. She estimates that number to be 8,000.”

The article reveals that New Jersey has among the highest rates of autism in the U.S. and those who have been diagnosed on the spectrum find it difficult as they get older to integrate into the broader community.

This means that the demand for special housing is growing about as fast as officials are trying to satisfy it.

John Winer, executive Director of J-ADD, which is a Hackensack based non-profit that advocates for the disabled, explained that people living with disabilities often live off their Social Security.

Because they don’t bring in much money, they end up living in substandard housing. It’s group homes that help to keep disabled adults from living in institutions unnecessarily, which helps to save money for New Jersey.

“Under the Trump administration, however, there’s concern about whether there will be federal funding to help build such homes,” the article reads. “There will be cuts to all these groups that help the disabled,” Winer said. “Politicians forget that disability is not something that is cured. It needs to be supported for life.”