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Affordable Housing Residence Coming to Mt. Tabor

Originally set to be on Reynolds Ave., Community Hope finds a new site for a home for developmentally disabled residents on Tabor Road.

Changes are coming to an affordable housing project being supported by the Township Council.

At the body's agenda meeting last Tuesday, it was announced that next week, the council will take up a resolution to amend its agreement with nonprofit Community Hope to use $600,000 from Parsippany's Affordable Housing Trust Fund to fund a new supportive living residence for developmentally disabled people.

Under the original agreement, the money would be used to acquire and rehabilitate a home on Reynolds Avenue for five disabled residents.

J. Michael Armstrong, CEO of Community Hope, which helps mentally ill people and veterans with finding the housing they need, said it was forced to find an alternate location after the Reynolds Avenue building wanted for the project was sold.

"We lucked into a house at 639 Tabor Road," Armstrong told Patch. "We have to get variances for some minor modifications to the property, but it will have room for six developmentally disabled residents."

He said this is not a group home.

"This is what we call 'supported housing,'" he said, noting that the residents will have jobs and live fairly independent lives. "Community Hope will have staff coming there on probably a daily basis to provide services like case management, counseling, job search assistance and help with transportation."

According to Armstrong, nearby residents should only notice the arrival of new, good neighbors.

"We try to blend in to the communities where we place residents," he said. "We place people who have moved along in their recovery."

Armstrong said he doesn't expect the house to open for at least six months.

The agreement approved by the Township Council in July included a provision permitting Community Hope to choose a new location in the event that the Reynolds Avenue site was not able to be acquired, so the likelihood is that the amendment will pass easily.

Armstrong said the nonprofit is grateful for the affordable housing funds coming its way.

"The town administration has been very supportive, and we appreciate its assistance in helping people who need affordable housing," he said.

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