Support for people with disabilities throughout the year
February marks Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month, otherwise known as JDAIM. This is a global effort by Jewish organizations to raise awareness and promote the inclusion of people with disabilities. But for the Jewish Federation and our community in South Jersey, providing support to this often vulnerable population is one of our five areas of impact and one of our daily commitments to help those in need.
Our Jewish Federation has been a leader and innovator in the area of special needs for many years now. Where support programs and services were once scarce in our community, our Jewish Federation paved the way for inclusive programs that covered many different levels of need. Today, we offer a wide range of programs and services for people with disabilities of almost all ages. From help navigating support services through our Jewish Abilities Alliance to the ACHaD department of the Katz JCC and Open Hearts/Open Doors to the JFCS SAIL and TOPS programs, and everything in between. We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life. Our programs and services for people with disabilities are centered on this belief.
To this end, our agency Samost Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) has rolled out its new JFCS Disability Services Department during JDAIM. This name change aligns with current best practices and better reflects the many services that JFCS offers to people with developmental disabilities.
As our programs and services have evolved over the years, a long held dream of many in our community has been to answer the question “what happens next?” when parents of adult children with special needs are no longer able to care for their children. We saw that dream finally come true with the construction of our Weinberg Commons community on Springdale Road in Cherry Hill. Just a mile down the road from our main campus, Weinberg Commons is home to 160 affordable apartments for seniors (55+) and adults with special needs, including eight quadruple-style units comprising four private one-bedroom apartments . attached to a common dining and living area in each quad. These quads are specially designed for our residents with disabilities, providing them with complete autonomy and privacy in their private units as well as wrap-around supports for life skills, socialization and group activities.
The Weinberg Commons Residential Program is now home to 21 residents. Staff are on site and available to provide the supports needed to help each resident achieve their highest level of independence. The first residents moved into their apartments in September 2020. Despite the pandemic, they have continued to thrive, grow and live independently. The quadruple units have the capacity to accommodate 32 disabled adults.
This unique, multi-generational model of affordable housing has already received state and national awards and has generated a lot of interest from other Federation communities across the country looking to develop sustainable affordable housing solutions in their communities. own communities.
The future is bright and we look forward to continuing to support people with disabilities in our community through a wide range of programs and services. JDAIM isn’t just February for our South Jersey Jewish community. You can find events and programs throughout the year on our community calendar at jewishsouthjersey.com/calendar