Vitale Bill to Help Woodbridge Developmental Center Residents to Stay in Community Passed by Senate

During a news conference in the Statehouse, Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, speaks about how the Governor

Legislation Would Authorize Sale of State Property for Integrated Special Needs Housing

TRENTON – With the impending closure of the WoodbridgeDevelopmentalCenter, a bill sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale would provide a sensible solution to ensure a transition into the community of many residents of the DevelopmentalCenter was approved today by the full Senate.

“The residents of the WoodbridgeDevelopmentalCenter are valued members of the Woodbridge community and it is important that we try to find housing for them in the town that many of them have lived in for years,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “I have long advocated for the need to create integrated community housing for people with disabilities.  It is my hope that this project will be developed in such a way as to become a model within the State.”

The bill, S-855, would authorize the state to sell to WoodbridgeTownship a 15.5 acre property located in the Avenel section. This property would be dedicated for housing and recreational purposes with a portion of the housing dedicated to allow for the integration of special needs housing for those with developmental disabilities.

The 2011 Task Force on the Closure of State Developmental Centers in binding recommendations determined that the WoodbridgeDevelopmentalCenter must be closed within the next five years. This decision was to help New Jersey become in accordance with the 1999 Supreme Court Decision Olmstead v. L.C., which requires an integration of individuals into the community and out of residential centers whenever appropriate.

The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate. It now heads to the General Assembly for further consideration.