Discussing Disabilities: Community Access Unlimited (CAU) Featured in New Jersey Monthly

Top Quote CAU Discusses Both Existing And The New Frontier Of Residential Programs for Those with Developmental Disabilities. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) November 14, 2014 - Elizabeth, NJ - Community Access Unlimited (CAU), a non-profit human services agency that provides support services for youth and adults with disabilities, was recently featured in an article from New Jersey Monthly entitled "Aging Out: When Autistic Kids Grow Up."

    Housing for individuals who require daily support services is an especially precious commodity. Community Access Unlimited (CAU), a Union County nonprofit serving people with autism and other developmental disabilities, can accommodate more than 250 people in supervised and supported apartments as well as single, and multiple family homes. CAU discussed their programs and the ability to accommodate individuals who have recently graduated from public education, and William Busch, CAU's director of membership development, also stated how whenever they have vacant space, "it doesn't stay that way for very long." Please click here to read the article.

    New Jersey Monthly is a monthly publication based in Morristown, N.J. They are also a member of the City and Regional Magazine Association, and cover topics such as schools, restaurants and events.

    While some recent graduates wish to live in a Community Access Unlimited supervised or supported apartment program, CAU can also offer individualized and comprehensive in-home support services that allow young adults to live comfortably in their childhood homes while being supported by staff that help each member be independent in their community.

    As the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) reforms the way they will be allocating funds to support individuals with developmental disabilities, CAU has adapted their support services to serve more individuals who choose to live in their own home and receive in-home, self directed services. These support services give individuals, their families and caregivers the opportunity to lead a normal life surrounded by those they love and feel the most comfort with.

    Members of the Supports Program receive services that meet a broad array of needs and can be accessed by an individual living in the state of New Jersey. Dedicated staff work with each member to form the Individualized Support Program (ISP) directed by the individual and their families, that gives those receiving services the unique power to choose exactly how, when, and by whom, they are receiving services.

    For those Members who cannot utilize the above program , CAU offers "Out of Home Residential Programs,". Members of CAU's residential programs receive supports in housing owned by Creative Property Management (CPM) and Community Access Institute (CAI), both separate entities of Community Access Unlimited that provide affordable and well maintained housing for CAU members and members of the community. Living arrangements for member in these programs have a variety of housing options available to them from apartments and condominiums to single and multi-family houses. All housing locations fit the complex physical needs of CAU's members and the preferences of members and families.

    To insure the safety of all CAU residents, twenty-four hour supervised options are available. Trained staff assist members in their own homes by providing the assistance they need to live a happy and healthy life. During the overnight shift, staff is awake and on premise in case of emergencies. In some cases more than one overnight staff is available based upon individual needs.

    Professional services include a nurse, behaviorists, communication specialist and psychologist. All are available to all members at CAU. CAU provides over 300 individuals with various levels of supervised and supported care throughout Union County.

    CAU's mission is to provide community access through effective and comprehensive support services for at-risk youth and individuals with disabilities, giving them the opportunity to live independently and to lead normal and productive lives as citizens integrated into the community. CAU also takes on the challenge of developing affordable housing and extends availability of their apartments to not only their members, but to people in the greater community.

    CAU provides supports and gives a voice to adults and youth who traditionally have had little support and no voice in society. It helps people with housing, life skills training, vocational skills, employment, health maintenance, money management, socialization, education, crisis intervention, civic activities, behavioral support, transportation assistance and community support. CAU also supports opportunities for advocacy through training in assertiveness, decision making, and civil rights.

    What Sets CAU Apart
    Financial Strength - After using its initial grant as collateral for a loan to make payroll in 1979, CAU now has a $7.9 million line of credit backed by $45 million in assets with only $2 million in debt. Few social services agencies have this depth of financial strength while many are closing their doors.

    Social Entrepreneurship - CAU employs social entrepreneurship business techniques to reinvest into and strengthen the services it provides its members, identifying needs and filling those in ways that generate revenue. (e.g. Building mixed-use properties that generate commercial rents).

    Advocacy - CAU is a social movement rather than simply an agency, with advocacy for and by its members at its core. Members operate several advocacy arms with the mission of changing societal perceptions about people with disabilities and at-risk youth and changing the community.

    Adaptation - Unlike other social services nonprofits, CAU continually adapts to change, adopting new business models as opportunities arise and new missions as needs develop. Once again this flexibility makes CAU a leader as New Jersey's landscape for people with disabilities is redefining.

    Staffing - CAU has unique staffing stability. Eighteen percent of the agency's staff has been with CAU for more than five years and 40 percent of its supervisory personnel have been promoted into their positions. Seven percent are people with disabilities. CAU holds a hiring fair twice monthly and did so throughout the recession.

    Added Value - CAU provides benefits to its members no other agency offers, including computer and car donations; funds and scholarships; and recreation and social life enhancement, such as a Couples Night.


    - 1979
    Opens with a staff of three. Today the agency has a staff of more than 1,000.
    - 1984
    Responds to the needs of youth in New Jersey's child welfare system and parents with developmental disabilities through a provision to provide supportive transitional living programs and educational training.
    - 1987
    Purchases its first housing units for adults with developmental disabilities and youth members. Today, in addition to 64,000 square feet of commercial space, CAU owns more than 245 units of housing throughout Union County.
    - 1999
    Begins providing respite care to individuals with developmental disabilities throughout Union and Somerset counties.
    - 2006
    Becomes certified by CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) in the areas of aging services, behavioral health, Opioid treatment programs, business and services management networks, child and youth services, employment and community services, vision rehabilitation and medical rehabilitation.
    - 2013
    Is named the support coordination agency for in-home services provided by the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) for all counties in the state except its home county of Union.
    - 2014
    Celebrated 35 years of service on May 7.

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