HANOVER, NJ — The joy was palpable as residents, friends and family, supporters and officials of The Rose House gathered Wednesday to open to the public the eight-unit residence in the Cedar Knolls section.
Begin five years ago, the $2.3 million project, The Rose House Community Residence, offers independent living for eight developmentally disabled residents in a home like setting.
All the residents, ranging in age from 26 to 40, are employed at least 25 hours a week. They will be responsible for most of their day-to-day activities, such as cooking and cleaning. Rose House staff will work with the residents between 15 to 40 hours a week, said Rose House executive director Mark Kramer.
“The enthusiasm is well deserved,” Kramer said to over 100 supporters at the open house.
The home was developed with partner NewBridge Services of Pequannock, and with the help of agencies like Morris Habitat for Humanities, whose 40 volunteers painted the interior, and Homeless Solutions Inc. of Morristown, the Housing Partnership of Dover, and the Housing Alliance of the United Way of Northern New Jersey, which provided guidance.
United Way provided the seed money, Kramer said, which set the stage for Rose House to approach Hanover Township for funding from the township’s affordable housing trust fund, a commitment that enabled Rose House to seek other funds.
United Way donated $25,000, said Michelle Roers, chief professional officer of the Morris office.
Other funding came from the federal and state governments, Morris County, Medicaid, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and private foundations, Kramer said.
More than 5,000 developmentally disabled persons are on a state waiting list for housing, Kramer said.
Rose House, a 12-year-old non-profit that supports residents with developmental disabilities, operates two group homes and a vocational training program.
Kramer said the eight Cedar Knolls residents, all from Morris County, should all be moved in by the weekend.
“It is up to them to step up now and rely on themselves,” he said.
The home is located near shopping, businesses, a park, a church and on a public bus line.
The home has four 1-bedroom units and four 2-bedroom units, Kramer said.
The units feature handicapped-accessible rooms, modern kitchens and family rooms. The residents will supply the own furniture and decorations.
Resident Lisa Markey, 30, happily played a song on the piano in her apartment. She said she will be moving from her parents’ home to the new residence.
“I feel like I’m ready to have my own life,” she said.