Developmentally Disabled Units Coming to Town

The units are part of the township's COAH spending plan.

In continued efforts to move forward with fulfilling its , the township council unanimously approved two resolutions Wednesday that execute agreements for housing for developmentally disabled individuals.

The first resolution concerns three housing units, with three bedrooms each, on Helfreds Landing, Foothill Road and Roanoke Road.

“We are in this situation where the legislature adopted legislation extending the time for acting [on affordable housing] and the governor line-item vetoed that, so we need to have not only resolutions, but agreements,” said township attorney William Savo.

Savo said the township needs to move forward with its agreements for affordable housing by the state-appointed deadline of July 17, despite the fact that the submitted COAH plan has not yet been approved.

“We are not sure what the future requirements are for housing obligations,” he said. “But if we don’t have agreements in place, we are subject to having money turned over to the state.”

In this first resolution, a grant of $750,000 from the housing trust fund will be provided for this first project of three housing units.

Township councilman Filipe Pedroso asked whether there would be any traffic concerns or other problems with caretakers or others.

“These homes are in residential areas, and I just want to see what kind of impact there will be on the neighborhood,” he said.

Savo said the agreement is necessary for the spending plan, but the council can discuss the details with the developers—Our House, Inc.—in the future to iron out those kinds of potential problems.

“This is implementing the spending plan and authorizing the agreement,” he said. “We are not spending any money any time soon, and we are not approved for the plan yet.”

And, Naples said, the units are already residential properties with little impact on the surrounding neighborhood, so there shouldn’t be much issue.

The second agreement is with Cooperative Housing Home—based in Somerville, and which has properties on Prince Rodgers Avenue—and Benchmark Human Services, which will offer the developmentally disabled housing.

This agreement deals with two units, with two bedrooms each, and the grant from the affordable housing trust fund totals $500,000.

Currently, the homes are owned by Cooperative Housing Home, and executive director Angelo Di Orio said one home is all seniors and the other is for special needs adults.

“We’ve been working with Benchmark on this transition, and they’ll be taking care of the five [special needs residents] who are there,” he said. “We’ll be taking care of the remaining three seniors.”

Those seniors, Di Orio said, are being moved to a home owned by Cooperative Housing Home on 7th Avenue in Bridgewater.

“We’re happy to see an organization that is solely focused on developmentally disabled people focused on a special needs house,” he said.


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