Project Freedom Inc. (PFI) is a 35‑year old organization dedicated to empowering people with disabilities to live independently through housing and related support services. People with physical disabilities and other advocates started the organization. They saw the need to build a barrier‑free apartment complex with support services to meet their collective needs.
In the old days, there were very few choices available for someone who used a wheelchair and needed an accessible environment. The only choices were in an institution, nursing home or maybe a group home. For someone who could make their own choices, this was not acceptable. So, PFI first order of business was to develop housing that would allow someone to make their own choices. That’s how the concept of Independent Living came about, which is a recognition of choice by the individual. PFI’s first agenda item was the construction of the apartment complex of 30 units designed specifically for people with severe disabilities. This meant lower counters, and light switches; accessible bathrooms with plenty of room for a wheelchair and accessible kitchens so that one could prepare their meals without banging into cabinetry.
This $3.5 million project is located in Robbinsville Township, NJ. As PFI moved through the construction of this complex, it created several related services to increase independence for people with disabilities. These services now include Recreation, Transportation, Systems Advocacy, and Information and Referral. PFI also designed and constructed an innovative Shared Living House where five people with disabilities live independently without physical assistance or supervision. As time went by, PFI recognized that most folks with a disability don’t want to be segregated from the mainstream, so they began to build housing communities which include non-disabled persons and families. To date, PFI has over 500 units located throughout the State of New Jersey with more in the pipeline to build.