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A place of their own: J-HAP

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J-HAP’s work with a new housing development for adults with developmental disabilities


We’re in a time of enormous progress in healthcare, which can create unexpected challenges. Speaking with American Jewish World, J-HAP founder Linda Bialik discussed a realization that she, and other parents of children with developmental disabilities, came to about a decade ago.

“This will be the first generation of adults with disabilities that will outlive their parents,” she said.

An architectural sketch of Cornerstone Creek, a new housing development for adults with developmental disabilities. (Courtesy of J-HAP)

Although in previous generations individuals with these disabilities might have had long lives, many suffered from additional health problems that severely curtailed their lifespans — as an example, people with Down’s Syndrome had an average life span of 25 years in 1983; now the average life span is 60, with many living into their 70s and beyond.

As a result, parents of people developmental disabilities must now consider how their children will continue to get the support they need if they outlive their parents.

To this end, J-HAP (Jewish Housing and Programming) recently opened a 45-unit apartment building in Golden Valley in partnership with Community Housing Development Corporation (CHDC), a nonprofit affordable housing developer.

The apartment building, named Cornerstone Creek, is designed to be an affordable and independent residence that “allows tenants to hold their own lease, control their finances, select their service provider, and maintain their own private space,” according to J-HAP’s promotional material.

The building, which finished construction in January, has already filled half of its units and will be completely filled by summer. Units are still available, and J-HAP executive director Jeffrey Sherman stressed that anyone who knows someone who might benefit from this project should contact J-HAP immediately. “This is a permanent residence,” he said in a phone interview. “We’re not expecting a lot of turnover.”

This project is a logical next step for J-HAP, which was founded in the 1980s by parents of children with development disabilities, in part to address concerns about opportunities for their children to participate in the Jewish Community. J-HAP now has programs in place to help them have access to religious ceremonies and Jewish life cycle events such as Bar and Bat Mitzvas.

Although Cornerstone Creek is open to the entire community, with J-HAP’s help it will provide support for Jewish resident’s needs. The facility will have a kosher kitchen and dining room and will partner with Jewish institutions to give residents access to their programs, as well as having in-house programs by Sha’arim, a local organization that provides Jewish education to students with special needs.

For those interested in learning more, Cornerstone Creek will have an open house on Sunday, May 21 at 10 a.m., which will include a ceremony to install a mezuza on the front door. Cornerstone Creek is located at 9280 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley. For information, email: or call 763-231-JHAP (5427).

(American Jewish World, 5.5.17)

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