Carving Refuse into Beauty. One Tenant’s Quest

Recently Project Freedom at Hamilton trimmed its trees of excess branches. Normally this refuse would be ground up into chips or disposed of in an eco-friendly manner.

Vincent “Vinnie”‘ Chiavonia, an original tenant of the 21-year-old complex, saw these branches in a different light–a more artistic light.

Vinnie received permission to take the branches, and he went to work with his hands to create wall decorations and bigger carvings.

“I started painting in 1977,” said Vinnie, “but started carving after I moved in here in 2001.  I stopped for a while, but my Mom urged me to start up again.  I recently started on  small logs.”

Vinnie finds carving and painting very relaxing.

 

Applications Now Open for 52-Affordable Apartments at Project Freedom’s Hamilton Woods

First residents to be picked by lottery on September 22

HAMILTON, NJ — If you are in need of an affordable housing apartment, then now is the time to apply to become a resident at Project Freedom at its newest location – Freedom Village at Hamilton Woods.

Since the groundbreaking, last fall, four new three-story residential buildings and a community center have taken shape at the site located across the street from the Hamilton Township Library and the Hamilton Area YMCA.

The 52 affordable apartments consist of six Low-Income 1-bedroom, 25 Low-Income 2-bedroom, 16 Low-Income three-bedroom, and five Moderate-Income two-bedroom apartments. These beautiful, modern, and spacious buildings feature private entrances, an elevator, energy-star appliances, central air/heat, and laundry facilities on each floor. In addition, all units within the complex are barrier-free, making them easily accessible to those with and without mobility needs.

The site is conveniently located near NJ Transit’s 603 bus route and will also be served by Access Link. 

‘People will die waiting’: America’s system for the disabled is nearing collapse

Providers for intellectually and developmentally disabled struggle to recruit and retain staff amid soaring inflation, pandemic burnout.

By Dan Goldberf, Politco.com, August 10, 2022

Private agencies that provide services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled have long warned that, without fresh state and federal funding, they would be unable to provide housing and staff support to the growing number of Americans who need care.

Over the last 12 months, the Covid-19 pandemic’s lingering effects and once-in-a-generation inflation have turned dire predictions into sobering truths, and agency directors, who for years hobbled along on shoestring budgets, have done in 2022 what not long ago would have been unthinkable: closed their doors.

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Project Freedom “Spotlights” the Need for New Funding

When NJ Governor Phil Murphy announced $303 million in federal funding being budgeted for affordable housing, the media turned to Project Freedom to explain why the funding is needed.  Taceee Battis, Project Freedom’s Executive Director, joined other affordable housing advocates to talk about how this money will help build more housing with affordable rents. 

Read Tracee’s comments here.

Watch Tracee’s Spotlight/NJPBS interview here.  

 

Paralympic Winter Games will have Primetime Coverage by NBC

NBC will present primetime coverage of a Paralympic Winter Games for the first time when the network broadcasts the 2022 Games from Beijing, a spokesperson told USA TODAY Sports. 

The games start March 4 and will be shown on NBC, Peacock, USA Network, Olympic Channel, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. The opening and closing ceremony are set to air live on USA Network. 

Seven total hours, including three in primetime, of the games will air on NBC.

Just as they are doing with the 2022 Beijing Games set to start next week, the Paralympics will livestream all events on Peacock, via the premium tier.

NBC is banking on following the success of the Tokyo Paralympics last summer, which set records for viewership.

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Selective Insurance & Nottingham Agency Join to Support PF Recreation Activities

 

Selective Insurance Company of America and the Nottingham Insurance agency combined to raise $249 to support Project Freedom’s recreation and support services for its tenants.

The donation was the positive result of a presentation to the Selective staff at their headquarters in Hamilton last summer.

Nottingham Insurance Agency has been supporting Project Freedom for over 35 years and, as a community-minded, has contributed many volunteer hours to Project Freedom events.

Selective staff members have pledged to volunteer their time for future activities.

Pictured Left to Right: Herb Schneider, Chair, Project Freedom Board of Trustee; Tracee Battis, Executive Director: Norman A, Smith, Associate Executive Director; Teresa M. Caro, Senior Vice President, Selective Insurance; Jack Blair, Partner, Nottingham Insurance, and Kathy Staggard, Underwriting Manager, Selective Insurance.

Take The Isolation Survey

The New Jersey Legislature passed a law that requires the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) to study social isolation among four specified groups: seniors age 65 and older, individuals with disabilities, individuals with mental illness, and those who have or currently serve in the military. 

For this study, social isolation is defined as a lack of contact or meaningful connection with others. Social isolation may have varying effects on someone’s quality of life and well-being. By studying how widespread social isolation is and determining related risk factors, it is hoped that services can be improved or introduced to improve people’s lives.

Your participation in this survey is completely voluntary. Your responses will not affect the services you receive. If you are helping someone to complete the survey, please make sure you are providing their responses and not your own. 

 
All responses provided are anonymous and will be reported in an aggregated manner. Any questions regarding this survey can be sent to Oresp@dhs.nj.gov.

Thank you for your participation.

 

Watch & Follow the Paralympics

On 29 July 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr. Guttmann organized the first competition for wheelchair athletes which he named the Stoke Mandeville Games, a milestone in Paralympic history. They involved 16 injured servicemen and women who took part in archery.

The Stoke Mandeville Games later became the Paralympic Games which first took place in Rome, Italy, in 1960 featuring 400 athletes from 23 countries. Since then they have taken place every four years.

In 1976 the first Winter Games in Paralympics history were held in Sweden, and as with the Summer Games, have taken place every four years, and include a Paralympics Opening Ceremony and Paralympics Closing Ceremony.

Since the Summer Games of Seoul, Korea in 1988 and the Winter Games in Albertville, France in 1992 the Games have also taken part in the same cities and venues as the Olympics due to an agreement between the IPC and IOC.

Everything “Paralympics” can be found by clicking here.

Live video coverage and recorded coverage will be provided by NBC through its various streaming Apps.

Pushing to bring Supplemental Security Income benefits up to federal poverty level

Democratic leaders in Washington, D.C., have touted a $3.5 trillion spending package aimed at helping to fight poverty.

Yet initial drafts have not included proposed reforms to enhance Supplemental Security Income — also known as SSI — that provides benefits to elderly, blind and disabled Americans.

Still, advocates have not given up hope that the changes will make it into the package as part of ongoing negotiations.

That includes Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who in June led the reintroduction of a Senate proposal called the Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act.

“SSI has been forgotten by Washington for years — I am pushing my colleagues to make sure that doesn’t happen again this time,” Brown. “I’m fighting to secure updates to the program, and this reconciliation bill is our chance to get this done.”

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Outdoor dining reopened restaurants for all — but added to barriers for disabled

Sidewalks have become more crowded with the increased popularity of outdoor dining, making it more difficult for people with disabilities to navigate the city

During D.C.’s annual Pride weekend, Katie Bruckmann and a friend joined the large crowds Saturday evening on U Street NW. Colorful decorations celebrating the LGBT+ community dotted the road and sidewalks, and shops and restaurants welcomed festive patrons who stayed home last year because of the coronavirus.

Bruckmann is a wheelchair user and part of at least 12 percent of D.C. adult residents with a mobility disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During Pride, she noticed some restaurants blocking curb cuts to create more space for outdoor dining, making it harder for her to get back on the sidewalk when she needed. When she was on the sidewalk, some of the already narrow walkways were congested with large signs.

“It was so much fun, so lively,” Bruckmann said. “But there were certain places that we would have liked to have gone to that we couldn’t. That was disappointing.”

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