Oct 24, 2011
New Jersey’s First Affordable, Accessible Supportive Housing for People Living with Disabilities to Open
New Jersey– New Jersey’s first, brand new supportive housing development for people with disabilities who are in need of multiple sclerosis (MS) support services is to open its doors on Thursday, October 27 in Freehold Township. A special grand opening ceremony will be held for new tenants of the housing development joined with New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Lori Grifa, Township of Freehold officials, National MS Society officials, and lenders and project developers to celebrate and tour the facilities.
The development features 30 apartments specially designed to provide independent living for people living with disabilities and require MS support services. Kershaw Commons, named for the late Freehold Township Mayor Raymond Kershaw, was recently built next to the campus of Applewood Estates in the Township. The complex marks the first time that such housing will be built on the East Coast, and represents a dream come true for many people. "The opening of Kershaw Commons celebrates the completion of a housing development that is the first of its kind in our state," said DCA Commissioner Lori Grifa. "Kershaw Commons is unique in that the housing, along with the supportive services the community will provide, is specifically designed for persons with disabilities who require multiple sclerosis support services. I'm so pleased that the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency was part of the unique partnership that is responsible for this worthwhile, and much needed, housing project."
FULLY ACCESSIBLE INDEPENDENT APARTMENTS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES:
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system characterized by changes in sensation, visual problems, weakness, depression, difficulties with coordination, balance and speech, impaired mobility and disability. This $11.3 project created thirty barrier free one and two bedroom apartments built with many accessibility features designed to accommodate everyday living for those with disabilities who require MS support services. Each apartment comes with rental assistance to allow people of limited income to afford these accessible apartments. Additionally the complex houses a wellness and community space that features programming and support services provided by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Residents have access to individual support service coordination for their personal care needs, recreational and social programs such as tai chi and yoga, ongoing educational lectures, self help groups, employment related programs, and easy access to the nearby MS Center and MS Wellness Center at CentraState Medical Center.
“Accessible affordable housing is often a critical element in enabling people with disabilities to preserve their independence and remain engaged in their communities”, says Jim Roberts, President of the New Jersey Metro Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “The Kershaw Commons facility will be the perfect place in which to do this. Residents will be able to maintain their independence by having the necessary tools on hand. We are thrilled to be able to offer this much needed service to those living with MS and other disabilities and are working hard to bring affordable, accessible housing to other parts of New Jersey.” Roberts also noted the wonderful collaboration the Chapter has with CentraState Medical Center in Freehold. “Led by the passion of Dan Messina, COO, the hospital’s staff has truly transformed the lives of those living with MS”.
A PRIVATE – PUBLIC EFFORT:
Kershaw Commons marks the productive teamwork between several public agencies and the private sector, in a successful effort to help people with disabilities. The State of New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Housing Mortgage Finance Agency(HMFA) and Department of Health and Senior Services have all joined with the private sector to help this population in need. The HMFA provided both taxable bond financing in the amount of $1,310,314, a Special Needs Housing Trust Fund Grant in the amount of $2,562,787 and an allocation of affordable housing tax credits to help make this project successful. In a unique partnership to help people leave nursing homes, the State Department of Health and Senior Services has provided several nursing home residents with Medicaid waiver funding to help their transition to the supportive housing apartments at Kershaw Commons. This nursing home transition program not only saves money for the State, it helps eligible people to move from an institutional setting to this brand new, accessible housing.
To finance the project, TD Bank provided construction financing in the amount of $6.3 million and Raymond James Tax Credit Funds provided equity investment in the amount of $7 million. Additionally, local outreach and client support programs will be provided by Freehold’s Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey, enriching the lives of Kershaw Commons residents.
Locally, the Township of Freehold has been extremely supportive, expediting approvals and providing tax benefits that help make the rents affordable. Freehold Township Mayor David Salkin states, "From the very beginning, Freehold Township was pleased to be selected as the location for such an important residential Facility. Having it named after the our late Mayor Raymond Kershaw was very fitting, since Ray devoted so much of his time to helping the MS cause. I believe I speak for the entire Township Committee when we welcome our new residents of Kershaw Commons to the Township of Freehold, and we are here to serve them."
HONORING RAYMOND KERSHAW
Kershaw Commons is named to honor former Freehold Mayor Raymond Kershaw, who passed away in 2009. “Ray Kershaw got involved with the National MS Society over 20 years ago despite having no personal connection to the disease”, says Michael Elkow, Regional Executive Vice President of the National MS Society. “Over this time, Ray was a guardian angel to those living with MS. He was instrumental in the development of the MS Center and MS Wellness Center at CentraState Medical Center. Prior to his passing, Ray paved the way for this wonderful housing complex.”
Elkow also recognized the late John Grant. Mr. Grant was a longtime board member of the Chapter who lived with progressive MS. “Early on in my career John taught me about the needs of those who have a progressive form of MS. These lessons have served as the foundation from which Kershaw Commons was built.” Elkow concluded by recognizing Ken and Larry Regan of Regan Development a catalyst on this project. “Ken and Larry have been far more than a developer. They used their personal connection to MS to drive the concept behind this state-of-the-art facility”. Ken Regan noted, “As a product of the MS Society’s national effort to help create housing solutions for people living with MS, Kershaw Commons is truly groundbreaking. It is the first housing complex of its type on the whole East Coast. Kershaw Commons serves as a model for what we hope will be many affordable, accessible supportive housing complexes throughout the country, helping people with MS live independent, fruitful lives.”
APPLICATIONS: The building is currently at 100% occupancy. While applications continue to be accepted, please note there is a waiting list. Interested parties should contact Kershaw Commons at (732) 431-0500 or visit www.kershawcommons.com.
What: Kershaw Commons Grand Opening -New Jersey First Supportive Housing for People with disabilities
Where: 6000 Applewood Drive, Freehold NJ
When: Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 11:00 AM
ABOUT MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
Every hour someone is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS); a chronic disease of the central nervous system for which there is no cure. Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body and can stop people from moving. For some, this means living with unpredictable symptoms that can come and go, like numbness and blurred vision. For others, there is more permanent damage, like paralysis. For everyone impacted by MS, it means not knowing what the day will bring and always being prepared for the unexpected, making it difficult to move forward in life. For more information about MS contact the New Jersey Metro Chapter of the National MS Society at 732-660-1005 or online at www.nationalMSsociety.org/NJM.