Marlboro Township and Mobility Special Care Housing broke ground last week on renovations for the first special needs home through the state Special Needs Housing program.
In the spring of this year, Gov. Chris Christie announced a Special Needs Housing program which allows accredited companies to help house those with special needs. In April of this year, the Marlboro Town Council approved a resolution accepting $1.75 million in funds geared toward special needs housing.
"I am so proud to be a resident of Marlboro, many townships did not like the idea of this in their township," Jeff Wold, President, COO & CFO of Mobility Consulting and Contracting said. "Many townships were interested, but only for affordable housing credits."
The home, located on Center Street in Morganville, will be renovated from three bedrooms to four bedrooms and have the ability to house two ambulatory residents and two non-ambulatory residents.
The resolution also allows some current and future affordable housing and funds to be set aside for the special needs population. The Council on Affordable Housing has not yet approved this project for affordable housing credits.
"We started digging into [the project] and asking members of the community why this project would be important," Mayor Jon Hornik said. "I didn't understand that the transition for someone who is developmentally disabled to move to a social setting as they get older and still stay within the community is such an important step in their growth."
Currently, the township's COAH funds are frozen and the project is pending affordable housing authorization. It is unclear whether or not the township will get housing credits for this project.
"We ran into many issues," Wolf said. "I think the state had looked at Marlboro as a town that had all these COAH funds without any plans to use them, and I think that was a carry over from prior administrations."
The home also ran into issues when Gov. Christie attempted to empty COAH trust funds to fill state budget gaps, a move that was halted by state courts.
"In Marlboro, we have a lot of disabled children," Hornik said. "They need a place to go. It became a no brainer, once you see the social need for it."