As people, we have an innate desire to connect and feel secure. Whether we are sharing joy or sadness, knowing that someone else has truly heard us and can honestly say they have felt the same way, is a healing, comforting exchange. In other words, to be a part of other’s lives as they become a part of ours. As we grow older, this desire to socialize and connect becomes even more important – and at the same time, even more difficult to achieve. For parents and grandparents everywhere there is a struggle to find meaningful connections when they are living alone much of the time.
To help senior citizens find these connections in a safe and caring environment, the Jewish Community Housing Corporation (JCHC) was formed back in 1982. Our community is rooted in Jewish values and traditions, but actively cares for residents of all faiths and backgrounds. Our role is to give residents living at our buildings in Morris and Essex County New Jersey the services, support and connections that they need to truly thrive.
Our non-profit mission exists completely separately from those of other worthy Jewish organizations like the Jewish Community Centers (JCC), Daughters of Israel, etc… The JCHC has a specific focus on providing senior housing and related senior services across northern New Jersey. We are an independent 501c3 and receive no outside funding from other Jewish organizations.
Our Senior Living Communities in NJ
Our non-profit 501c3 organization serves senior citizens of all backgrounds, but make no mistake: our approach is proudly rooted in Jewish values and culture. The core mission for all members of the JCHC is to provide seniors in Morris and Essex County with affordable homes in safe, nurturing communities that enrich every aspect of their lives. We accomplish this through the ownership and management of our four senior living communities that provide over 600 units of housing: Lester Senior Living, The Village Apartments, Jewish Federation Plaza and B’nai Brith Federation House.
- Lester Senior Living. Nestled in the center of Morris County, Lester offers assisted living, independent living, memory care and respite care to seniors from all walks of life. Our professional caregivers are on-site everyday to provide support with ADL’s (activities of daily living) such as getting dressed for the day, going to the bathroom and managing medications. One of the best features is our monthly activities program that is constantly evolving to suit the many interests of our residents. Some of our most popular classes include chair yoga, knitting club, bingo, Scrabble club, movie nights and book club. This most recent JCHC development sits on the Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus in Whippany. With separate assisted and independent living wings as well as specialized memory care suites, Lester welcomes all seniors to its 172-unit complex.
- Village Apartments. At the heart of South Orange is the Village Apartments, a 79-unit building constructed in 1988 to serve moderate income seniors who can live independently. Village was the first senior community in South Orange, allowing NJ seniors to age in place within their community. Located at 110 Vose Ave, Village is just a few blocks away from the post office, library, public transportation to NYC, SOPAC, shopping, and dining.
- Jewish Federation Plaza. Opened in 1980, the Jewish Federation Plaza is a vibrant 135-unit apartment building located at 750 Northfield Avenue in West Orange. “Plaza” which comprises four buildings connected by a sunny promenade and social spaces, offers HUD-subsidized apartments for seniors and the disabled who qualify.
- B’nai Brith Federation House. The South Orange B’nai Brith Federation House, or “SOBBFH” is a 66-unit community where neighbors come together to enjoy all that life has to offer. The community is HUD-subsidized for low-income seniors and was constructed in 1992. SOBBFH sits across from a park, next to a police station and within walking distance of the attractive downtown of South Orange Village.
How the JCHC provides for seniors
The JCHC fully covers its operational expenses through normal rents and government subsidies available to non-profit organizations. However, enriching the quality of life of our senior residents is greatly aided by private and institutional charitable contributions.
With support from these donors, we have created a spectrum of services that range from helping residents with day-to-day personal care to fun recreational activities that prove no one is ever too old to learn and play!
JCHC services include, but are not limited to the following:
Dining: We offer nutritious meals to residents at all our buildings that can be modified to suit dietary restrictions, low-calorie preferences and kosher preferences. This can range from a Sunday brunch at one building to all 21 meals a week in our assisted living setting at Lester Senior Living. In collaboration with the JCC of MetroWest, we also operate two (2) Kosher Nutrition Sites that offer meals, social activities, and nutritional counseling for low-income, disabled, or otherwise vulnerable seniors in Essex County. These sites are located at our Village Apartments and at the JCC in West Orange, serve about 100 participants daily, and are funded through the Essex County Division on Aging. We also prepare more than 50 meals per day to homebound senior citizens through the County-funded kosher Meals on Wheels Program.
Assistance with Household Chores: Residents at Lester Senior Living and the Village Apartments have their apartments cleaned regularly. Additional cleaning services are also available upon request. Through a collaboration with the NJ Department of Community Affairs Division on Aging, the Congregate Housing Services Program is in effect at our two HUD-subsidized buildings, providing subsidies for frail elderly individuals who need assistance with housekeeping, personal care, shopping, and meals to maintain an independent lifestyle.
Health Care and Social Services: Through a collaboration with Jewish Family Services, a social worker is available for residents at all JCHC buildings. Additionally, a medical suite with full-time nursing staff and medication management is available for residents of the Weston assisted living wing at Lester Senior Living.
Monthly Activity Programs: As we briefly touched on before, a variety of recreational activities are offered at our buildings for senior residents on a monthly basis. More examples include University-level classes, arts and crafts, computer classes, morning stretches and video games. Each of our buildings also has its own tenant organization with officers and regular meetings which help drive additional recreational programs proposed by the residents themselves.
Chaplaincy: Religious services, counseling and pastoral care are provided for seniors who wish to use them through the Joint Chaplaincy Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest.
Transportation: Regular shopping trips as well as transport to nearby social events are provided through two (2) JCHC buses. In addition, private services and local municipalities also provide transportation options for JCHC residents.
Core Values and Future Goals of the JCHC
The JCHC was recently certified by the state of New Jersey as an “Assisted Living Program.” JCHC is one of only 10 organizations in the state to achieve this certification. This allows us to offer assisted living services to our low cost housing residents, filling a huge gap in senior care that exists throughout the state for those who cannot afford home care or assisted living. These services are provided to our residents at low or no cost and allow them to stay in their homes as long as possible. As a non-profit organization, this new service fits perfectly into our mission: To care for those who have cared for us. To help seniors live their lives to the fullest in the communities they call home. In order to make this philosophy possible, we have to keep improving beyond the basic need for housing. We are fully committed to taking an active role in improving the quality of life for seniors emotionally, physically and spiritually. This can be achieved through expanding and enhancing our offering with our Assisted Living Program.
A contribution to our non-profit 501c3 organization goes directly to funding these vital services. JCHC donor contributions fund improved on-site medical care, updated dining experiences, a brand new state of the art in house movie theater, or periodic university classes and guest speakers. These events make a world of difference for seniors who might not otherwise be able to connect with others outside of our organization. Your support directly enables us to:
- Renovate and upgrade existing community buildings. We have already started renovations in late 2022 for Lester Senior Living! This project includes a new medical suite expansion, turning the first floor library into a more open lounge-style café, creating a new fitness area on the second floor and an updated cinema-style theater room. With these upgrades, Lester Senior Living can provide more specialized medical care, diverse dining options and enhanced fitness and socialization activities.
- Expand recreational programs to reach more seniors. At all of our buildings, recreational programs help our seniors to actively pursue their interests, form quality friendships, maintain their physical strength, improve intellectual capabilities and enhance their spirituality.
- Sustain the Congregate Housing Services Program to ensure that low-income seniors who need support with day-to-day activities and additional meals receive the help they need on-site.
- Create and manage new affordable senior housing. Like other providers of housing for low-income seniors, we currently have substantial waiting lists at Plaza and SOBBFH and would love to provide new affordable housing options in the near future.
To learn more about the JCHC and how you can help our ongoing mission to fulfill the lives of senior citizens in New Jersey, please visit us at: https://jchcorp.org/capital-campaign-donor-page/