Project Freedom is scheduled to hold a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 17 for Freedom Village at West Windsor, a 72 unit affordable and accessible rental community to be constructed on Old Bear Brook Road.
Expected to be at the ceremony are Mayor Hemant Marathe, retired Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh, council members, affordable housing committee members and other township. Also expected is Florence Cohen, former chair of the Affordable Housing Committee, who introduced Project Freedom to the township.
Project freedom officials scheduled to be in attendance are Timothy Doherty, executive director, Norman Smith, co-founder of Project Freedom, and Herb Schneider, president of the board of trustees.
Project Freedom is a non-profit housing developer that specializes in creating housing for persons with disabilities. Freedom Village will be built on a 10-acre site, which is surrounded by a mix of residential and businesses uses.
The development will contribute a total of 144 affordable housing credits towards the township’s obligation to provide 1,500 units of affordable housing by 2025. This is 72 physical units that get double credit because they are rentals.
The project calls for the construction of six L- shaped two-story buildings with one elevator in each, consisting of one, two and three bedroom rental apartment units, all of which will be totally accessible to someone who uses a wheelchair.
There will be 14 one-bedroom units with an average size of 855 square feet, 42 two-bedroom units with an average size of 1,090 square feet and 16 three-bedroom units with an average size of 1,200 square feet.
The units will feature wider doors and hallways, energy efficient appliances and elevators for access to the second floor. The units will be totally self-sufficient, and feature central heating and air-conditioning, accessible kitchens and baths with roll-in-showers, large refrigerators and wall to wall carpeting. The building will include green features and conform to New Jersey Energy Silver under the LEED for Homes rating system.
Project Freedom currently has more than 400 units of housing and has successfully operated affordable rental units since the early 1990s. In the West Windsor project, there will be 18 units that will be deed restricted for the developmentally disabled and mentally disabled. Project Freedom will work with the state Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Division of Mental Health as well as various supportive housing agencies to identify clients who are in need of the housing and can live independently with appropriate support.
Each developmentally disabled client will have a service provider who will help them with necessary services on an individual basis. The mental health consumers will be supported by Catholic Charities of Mercer County. Project Freedom will employ a social service coordinator who will ensure that the tenants are able to access the supports which they require to live successfully in the community.
Project Freedom will also be providing educational training and employment opportunities through Opportunities for All at no cost to the tenant. In addition, TD Bank will be providing Financial Literacy training for all tenants.
Financing will be provided by the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Federal HOME Funding and a permanent mortgage from Investors Bank and /or NJHMFA. There will be a construction loan from TD Bank.