The New Jersey Department of Human Services awards an additional 12 grants to help communities across the state implement inclusive initiatives that support individuals with disabilities in the communities in which they live, work, learn and play.
“These awards bolster ongoing efforts to ensure individuals with disabilities thrive in the places in which they live,” Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “Creating spaces that are accessible for all is key to creating a stronger, fairer and more inclusive New Jersey. The Department looks forward to continuing to create sustainable change that will impact generations to come.”
The following organizations were selected to receive grant funding under the Division of Disability Services’ (DDS) Inclusive Healthy Communities Grant Program (IHC):
- Allies in Caring, Inc. will expand upon a previous IHC grant to train a team of bi-lingual and American Sign Language-skilled community health workers to serve the deaf and hard of hearing communities in southern New Jersey.
- Family Resource Network, Inc. will build upon a previous IHC grant to test, validate and disseminate an Inclusivity Scorecard and Toolkit to serve as a resource for organizations engaged in health and wellness programming.
- Freehold Borough will collaborate with community partners to develop a strategic plan to help improve access to health care among residents with disabilities in the community.
- Hudson County’s Department of Health and Human Services will build upon a previous IHC grant to enhance employment training and mentoring programs for young adults with disabilities, and expand the county’s paratransit services for individuals with disabilities.
- Livingston Township will create and implement a community-wide needs assessment to gauge gaps in facilities, infrastructure, transportation, programs and services as they relate to inclusiveness and accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
- NJ Association of Community Providers will expand upon a previous IHC grant to work in partnership with South Orange and Jespy House to advance community based changes to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.
- Newark Beth Israel Medical Center will expand their Wellness Pantry, which was established in 2019 to serve pregnant women and children, by improving healthy food access and providing nutrition education.
- Nutley Family Services will conduct an inclusive community assessment to identify disparities, barriers, and resistance that keep residents living with disabilities from full community participation to inform what changes are needed to facilitate meaningful, sustainable change.
- Pinelands Preservation Alliance, Inc. will build upon a previous IHC grant to increase the enjoyment and accessibility of natural areas for individuals with a range of disabilities. The second year of funding will go into implementing strategies found from an information hub created in their capacity building phase.
- Rowan University Special Needs Center will build upon a previous IHC grant that focused on sexual and reproductive healthcare for women with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The second year of funding will go into implementing strategies found in their capacity building phase related to expanding resources related to women’s health.
- Trenton Health Team, Inc. will build upon a previous IHC grant to partner with Trenton food stakeholders to address food insecurity in the greater Trenton area and implement solutions to identified challenges for individuals with disabilities.
- Young Audiences will develop and deliver a school-based arts residency program inclusive of students with disabilities, their classmates, educators, and families through partnerships with five participating schools in New Brunswick, Newark and Paterson.
First launched in January 2021, the IHC Grant Program is an initiative spearheaded by DDS to support communities and ensure the voice and needs of individuals with disabilities are included in healthy community planning. The grant program is available to non-profits as well as county and municipal government agencies.
“From collaborating to address the health care needs of residents with disabilities to strengthening ongoing efforts to improve the sexual and reproductive health of women with IDD, well-rounded change will be embedded into New Jersey’s policies, systems and environment through these projects. We look forward to seeing the long-lasting impact this will have in our communities,” Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said.
The program aims to promote change at the local level by addressing pre-existing physical, environmental, social and economic challenges that prevent individuals with disabilities from having full access to the conditions that support health and well-being.
Under the program, applicants were able to submit proposals for capacity building grants of up to $60,000 or implementation grants of up to $150,000. Work for this funding cycle begins this July through June 2023, allowing grantees 12 months to implement proposed work plans.
“Creating spaces that are accessible for all should be the standard for communities across the U.S, and these additional awards will help establish this in our great state,” DDS Executive Director Peri L. Nearon said. “Creating accessible environments ensures that individuals with disabilities achieve better health outcomes and experience equal opportunity in leading a healthy and fulfilling life.”