Residential Services for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Alternatives serves individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), which encompasses a variety of diagnoses, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, and those who may require behavioral supports and medical oversight. The agency follows an interdisciplinary model, which includes input from a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Registered Nurse (RN), when developing service plans and identifying staff training needs. Management level professionals are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, with a second tier of Director-level professionals who are ready to respond when needed. Alternatives is also an approved vendor for representative payee services. Residential services are provided in Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean Counties. In each region, several programs are geographically clustered creating many benefits including sharing resources such as staffing, recreation, transportation, etc.
Alternatives staff encourage clients to develop their skills in all areas of their lives, helping to foster independence in their home and community. The agency offers individualized services in a variety of residential settings that aim to meet each person’s unique needs. Based on the level of support required, individuals can reside in group home settings or apartment living, where supports are customized to meet the person’s needs. Supports may include health management, medication administration, transportation, meal planning, financial management, recreation, self-care and community involvement.
Alternatives hosts several recreational events throughout the year that are free of charge for those receiving residential services. Additionally, each program plans events and activities around the interests of the individuals. Individuals frequently attend free events or those involving a nominal fee, such as community fairs, festivals, shopping trips, dining experiences, celebrations, movies, theater, etc. A benefit to residences being clustered in similar geographic regions is the ability to offer opportunities for increased socialization.
Support can range from one hour per week (a health and safety check in) to 24-hour support with one-to-one care. Services provided are driven by the NJ Person Centered Planning Tool and a NJ individual Service plan developed by you and your family.
Alternatives Housing Department and Alternatives’ subsidiary, ADTI is determined to meet the need for supportive, affordable housing in our area.
We do this by:
Acquiring, rehabilitating and developing single-unit and multi-unit real estate (Link to examples)
Promoting equal access to and expansion of housing opportunities in our service area, for all persons with special needs and low-to- moderate income individuals and families
Encouraging broad-based community support and participation in developing low income housing
Raising community awareness of the need for non-discriminatory housing
Applying for grants for acquisition, construction, rehabilitation or renovation of affordable housing
Engaging in activities permitted by corporations organized pursuant to Title 15A, Corporation, Nonprofit of the New Jersey Statutes
A Place Called Home
Mary* has been a client with Alternatives since 1983. Before that, she lived in an institution for the first 16 years of her life then moved in with a foster family for a few years. She was a fixture in the Somerville community until she moved into an apartment in the Phillipsburg area 13 years ago.
Mary's dream of moving into a home with a yard came true when ADTI, the Alternatives housing subsidiary identified a house in Alpha, NJ as an ideal location for a new program. Service and property development staff collaborated on the project to ensure the home would meet the needs of our clients including easy access to transportation, shopping and places of worship – all key elements to a consumer who is an independent member of the community but does not drive. It was especially important for Mary so that she could get back and forth from her job at the local grocery store. After 5 years there, she wasn’t about to jeopardize that!
Purchasing a home is a long and difficult process but there is a tremendous benefit to the agency. When a home is purchased, we use grant money and donations, not loans. Owning and operating our own homes offers control to make changes to accommodate the specific clients that will live there. Something that is important to offering stability to our clients in years to come.
Mary’s second dream came true when her good friend Barbara* came to live in with her in Alpha. Barbara came to Alternatives in 1989. Prior to that she lived with family members and she was in the North Jersey Training School from 1948 to 1968. She still has a close connection with her family and visits with them in South Carolina for a few weeks a year, but enjoys returning to her home and her Alternatives family.
As is often the case, work needed to be done at the home after Mary and Barbara moved in. Staff decided that it would be less disruptive to relocate the ladies to an apartment during the construction. The empty home allowed for more extensive renovations such as making bathrooms and bedrooms accessible, something that could become necessary as Mary and Barbara age.
It was a long time to be away from home for Mary and Barbara; they missed their home but not because it was inconvenient or because they missed their things, but because they missed their neighborhood and they knew that their neighbors missed them. “They need me;” Mary said, “I tell them when the cat gets out, I water the flowers.”
The coordinated care for this property and the clients who live in it resulted in a beautifully renovated and accessible house for the ladies. It meets their needs and is conveniently located to staff. The neighborhood helped make it a home. The very same day that the renovation was complete, neighbors came over to plant flowers in the front yard and Mary simply gushed, “I’m never leaving!” Today, when the windows are open passers-by can hear Barbara’s favorite country music playing. And, be sure to beep the horn when they smile and wave as you drive by.
The client’s names have been changed to protect their privacy