ELIZABETH – As New Jersey residents with disabilities take greater control of the support services they receive and become increasingly selective of their service providers, Community Access Unlimited (CAU) continues to strengthen and expand its programs to become the provider of choice for a growing number of these consumers.
Representatives of TD Bank, a key business supporter of Community Access, were able to see first-hand how their support has helped CAU create the CAU Advantage when they visited the agency earlier this month. The bankers toured a 12-unit complex being built by the agency that was partially funded by a $100,000 Housing for Everyone affordable housing grant from the TD Charitable Foundation. Separately, CAU and TD Bank have signed a new $1.5 million line of credit that will enable CAU to continue expanding its housing services.
CAU provides support programs and services to people with disabilities and at-risk youth to enable them to live independently in the community, in areas including housing, vocational and life-skills training, education, advocacy and recreation.
New Jersey is moving away from providing contract reimbursement to agencies serving people with disabilities to a fee-for-service model that better reflects the value of the services being provided, according to Sid Blanchard, CAU executive director.
“As people with disabilities shop for their support services, those agencies that provide the best value will be the ones that are selected,” Blanchard said. “At Community Access we provide a greater array of support and do so
more efficiently than other service providers, making us the provider of choice for more than 4,000 people. That gives us an advantage in supporting people with disabilities – the CAU Advantage.”
The CAU Advantage includes the agency’s core services of employment and income development, housing, social life, health, money management and personal growth, according to Blanchard. These programs are supported by CAU’s financial strength, he added. CAU has more than $40 million in assets and only $2 million in debt, he said. In addition, unlike many other nonprofits, CAU owns all its properties, financed through lending institutions such as TD Bank rather than government bonds, Blanchard explained.
This financial independence and wide continuum of care enables CAU to custom-design the support it provides each member while continually expanding programs and services, Blanchard explained.
“We are able to customize our programs to the people we support. We help people live real lives in the community and provide the support they need when they need it,” he said. “And our financial model enables us to continually reinvest in programs and staff and provide more support to more people. That’s the CAU Advantage. We’re there to build supports one person at a time.”
This is particularly important as New Jersey moves to the fee-for-service model because thousands of people with disabilities currently on waiting lists for services now will be able to receive them, Blanchard said. That is why CAU continues growing and expanding its services, he added.
“We will be there as more people turn to us for help,” he said.
“TD is proud to support CAU in these efforts,” according to Nicholas Miceli, market president for TD Bank.
“They are a dedicated organization that really gets a lot done,” he said when visiting the property funded by the TD Charitable Foundation grant. “We’re delighted to be able to support them and this project is going to be
a long-term asset to the community.”
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