SOMERSET, NJ JAN 17, 2020 Throughout 2019, New Jersey Deaf Housing continued working toward our mission of building fully accessible and culturally supportive housing for Deaf, DeafBlind, Late Deafened and Hard of Hearing individuals in New Jersey. More than 80 volunteers – including our dedicated board – supported these efforts in 2019.
For the past 14 years, Cardinal Capital Management (CCM) in Wisconsin was our development partner. In 2019, along with CCM, we explored a location in Madison. Unfortunately, the costs and zoning issues presented challenges that could not be overcome. As a result, CCM and NJDH decided to part ways. CCM will be developing an affordable housing project (not connected to the deaf) in Flemington. Likewise, NJDH has moved on to new resources and local developers who are better suited to navigate the political and financial issues specific to New Jersey. Two opportunities we explored:
- With the assistance of Keller Williams Elite Realtors, an historic mansion in Plainfield. The costs to lease were too expensive.
- Renovating a building on the campus of the Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf in Trenton. We are currently pursuing this possibility.
The board also critically and comprehensively reviewed all facets of our organization and took the following initiatives:
- Joined Jersey’s Supportive Housing Association (SHA).
- Forged relationships with local developers, attorneys, and city and county leaders.
- Applied to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs to join the New Jersey Directory of Registered Charities.
- Researched our insurance needs.
- Updated the NJDH website and marketing support materials.
- Participated in outreach efforts through events at the Union County College ASL Festival, Easterseals New Jersey/Career Pathway Connections at Ocean County College, New Jersey Association of the Deaf conference, and the annual SHA conference.
Ongoing fundraising events, charitable partnerships and donations are all vitally important to keeping our mission alive. Our goal is to raise $1 million to pay for renovation/construction costs, furnishings for the common areas of our building, and assistive devices as well as provide social services for our residents. Fundraising efforts in 2019 included:
- Facebook campaign ($1,720)
- Fashion Show & Gift Basket Auction ($23,000)
- Donations ($1,250)
NJDH has accomplished much, but there is still so much to do. How can you help? Many people have never heard of New Jersey Deaf Housing. I, personally, am asking each of you to educate your family and friends. Share your story as to why NJDH is important and why we need this kind of home. Set up a Facebook fundraiser to benefit NJDH. Share this letter and refer our website (njdh.org). With your help, let’s make 2020 the year we realize affordable, supportive housing for the Deaf, DeafBlind, Late Deafened and Hard of Hearing in New Jersey!