DCA, HMFA Announce Funding Support for Special Needs Housing Project in Morris County
Housing to Provide Community-Based Care for Mental Health Consumers

TRENTON - New Jersey Department of Community Affairs' (DCA) Commissioner Lori Grifa today announced that the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency's (HMFA) Board approved a financing commitment from the state's Special Needs Housing Trust Fund to a non-profit mental health organization to develop Marilyn's Hope, a community-based residential facility in Morris County for mental health consumers.

"This is one of many examples of New Jersey's response to meet its obligation under the U.S. Supreme Court's 1999 decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which requires states to provide appropriate, community-based care to people with mental health disabilities who have been unnecessarily living in institutional settings," said Commissioner Grifa, who is Chair of the HMFA. "New Jersey is committed to responsibly integrating mental health consumers into community life as much as possible."

The developer, Community Hope, has extensive experience and is successfully managing thirty-nine residential facilities. The non-profit organization's newest project involves the acquisition and substantial renovation of a two-family house in Morris County that is older than 100 years. Upon completion of the renovations, Marilyn's Hope will help to support and house four mental health consumers with the goal of integrating them into the community. Community Hope will provide case management services to the residents through funds from the New Jersey Division of Mental Health Services.

The site is located in a well-maintained residential neighborhood within walking distance of downtown areas that provide access to a variety of stores and services. The close proximity to retail and business will make it easier for the residents to meet their daily needs, as well as provide employment opportunities.

"This project is happening because of the partnerships between the HMFA, New Jersey Division of Mental Health Services, Morris County and Community Hope," said HMFA Executive Director Marge Della Vecchia. "Together we will provide the resources needed to make this a successful project while adding to the number of residents being assisted under the State's Olmstead Plan."

The HMFA is providing $380,000 in construction and permanent financing for the project from the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund. It is anticipated that the renovation work will start in August 2010 with a completion date of  January 2011.

The Special Needs Housing Trust Fund is administered by the HMFA and provides capital financing to create permanent supportive housing and community residences for individuals with special needs, with priority given to individuals with mental illness. The purpose of the fund is to develop special needs housing and residential opportunities as alternatives to institutionalization or homelessness for those who would benefit from these programs and to ensure the long-term viability of such housing.

For more information on HMFA programs, please call 1-800-NJHOUSE or 609-278-7400, or log on to www.nj-hmfa.com.