Montville-based nonprofit Parents With A Plan will launch a statewide research program March 23 to assess the needs of New Jersey residents with autism and other neurodiversities who have issues obtaining proper housing.
PWAP will host a meeting at 7 p.m. via Zoom to kick off the market analysis, which has the goal of creating an autism-friendly apartment building in the state.
One in 34 children in New Jersey is diagnosed as on the autism spectrum.
There are 500,000 individuals with autism who will enter adulthood in the next decade nationwide. Nearly 75% of those adults live with a family member and 20% of those caregivers are over 60 years of age. PWAP reported that fewer than 1 in 4 adults with disabilities lives independently.
According to PWAP, autistic residents are at high risk of involuntarily displacement from their community, institutionalization or homelessness when their parents pass away. Parents With A Plan aims to create an apartment building that would provide housing for people with and without disabilities, yet be designed to be accessible for neurodiverse residents.
“It’s critical that we reimagine the way housing and services are delivered to our neurodiverse population,” said Parents With A Plan Founder Karen Fluharty. “We see a future in N.J. as a place where my son can have a safe and meaningful life of his own. Our goal is to bring the private and public sectors together to solve the impending social crisis facing these young adults.”
“We aim to make N.J. the country’s leader in rethinking how we address this housing challenge, a societal problem that research shows will continue to grow in our state. Our team of seasoned professionals is committed to making an impact on the community and furthering the well being of individuals and families,” said Dean Mon, PWAP board member and former chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.
The goal is for the building’s units to be autism-friendly, and to offer amenities to help residents maintain their home and become active members of their community. PWAP hired Neuro-Inclusive Housing Solutions to conduct a market analysis to plan for the physical features and supportive amenities that can make housing more accessible to the neurodiverse population.
“When we build housing that is neuro-inclusive with thoughtful property details such as universal design, easy-to-clean features, nature-based elements, additional sound-proofing and spaces for everyday chances for social interaction, we build housing better for everyone,” said Desiree Kameka Galloway, lead consultant for NIHS.
The March 23 Zoom aims to inform stakeholders on the variety of features and collect data on the demand.