On Monday, Livingston presented two checks, for $200,000 each, to Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey. The money raised is for the organization to build group homes in Livingston for residents affected by the disease.
Last year, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill which would have given municipalities two more years in which to spend their money from the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Funds. If towns did not spend the money in a certain amount of time, the state would be allowed to take the money back and spend it on their own.
According to Mayor Stephen Santola, the veto caused Livingston to take a closer look at different group homes and organizations in Livingston to see who could benefit the most from the Affordable Housing Trust Funds.
"One of the things (the veto) afforded us the oppurtunity to do was reach out to the organizations who have group homes in Livingston," said Santola. "One (of the organizations) that we are as proud of as any is CBNJ."
CBNJ works with people who have a range of disabilities, both physical and cognitive, and across its agency serves the needs of more than 1,400 per year. CBNJ has two schools in Livingston, the Horizon School and Horizon High School, which serve more than 150 students, ages 3 through 21, who have multiple disabilities.
"These dollars are collected under state statues over the last 20 years, barring the levels of percentage of value, for new construction that has gone on in Livingston, whether it be business or residential," Santola said. "It's really money that was intended for this purpose and I and the council are really proud that it is going to that purpose."
James McCreath, President and CEO of CBNJ, was on hand to accept the checks and said that the money will go towards a new group home on South Orange Avenue.
"It's a very complicated project, but with the support of the Mayor and the Town Council, we are able to get through it all and we are very pleased to get this project off the ground," said McCreath.
McCreath said that he expects the group home to be open in the middle of 2013.