New Jersey’s Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP) is a series of residences located throughout the state in which low level care and supportive services are provided. Through this program, the state helps frail, elderly and / or disabled individuals to continue living with relative independence and avoid, or at least delay, placement in a nursing home. While not identical, the Congregate Housing Services Program can be thought of as similar to assisted living, but funded, in part, by the state.
As of 2020, there are estimated to be 50 locations in 16 different counties throughout New Jersey that house approximately 1,850 disabled or elderly individuals. NJ residents are free to seek admission to a community in any county regardless of their current county of residence. This includes residents of the 5 counties in which there are no congregate housing locations (Burlington, Hunterdon, Ocean, Salem, and Warren).
4. Cape May
Funding for NJ CHSP comes, in part, from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the state of NJ and from the residents themselves.
Age – candidates must be at least 62 years of age or, if younger, they must be “disabled” as designated by Social Security.
Residency – candidates must be legal residents of the state of New Jersey. CHSP residences are not available in every county, but there is no requirement that one must apply to a residence in their own county. Therefore, persons residing in counties without congregate homes are still eligible for this program.
Functional Ability – Candidates are considered “frail” or unable to live on their own without some level of assistance. A typical resident may require assistance with several activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, and mobility. However, their needs cannot be so severe that it would be less costly to care for them in a nursing home. Nor, would an individual with a progressive condition such as Alzheimer’s be a good candidate for CHSP.
Financial – Strictly speaking, persons at any financial level are eligible. However, room, board, and assistance fees are based on a sliding scale of one’s income. Those at the lower end of the economic spectrum receive the greatest amount of financial assistance, while those with means are expected to cover the full cost.
Final eligibility is determined at the residence level by facility administrators.
Depending on the residence, program participants have access to a variety of support services including:
Typically, an independent assessment committee performs an evaluation and recommends a service package to the housing management.
The cost of living and receiving assistance under CHSP varies based on the resident’s income and the number of services one is receiving. One’s “disposable income” is calculated and one is expected to pay their cost-share from that income. In general, participants pay approximately 10% – 20% of the cost, though some may pay up to 100%. For those who cannot cover the cost of the program, subsidies may be provided by the state. However one can assume any out-of-pocket costs are significantly less than the market rate for assisted living in NJ.
To learn more about the New Jersey Congregate Housing Services Program, contact the New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services.
To locate residences within a specific county, contact your local Area Agency on Aging.