Congregate Services Program
The VHA has been operating a state-funded Congregate Services Program since 1981. The funding is provided through three sources:
- Initial funding from the State of New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Senior Services
- In-kind contributions from the Housing Authority: office space, computer equipment, supplies, and a portion of the coordinator's salary
- The program participant pays a unit cost (from 5–100%)
In this way, we keep the participant's cost to a minimum.
About our services
Services for participants include nutritious meals, shopping assistance, laundry service, and various types of homemaking chores. Services are tailored to the specific needs of each client as well. For example, special dietary needs prescribed by a participant's personal physician are met. Also, the Congregate staff works closely with a local vendor in designing meals that meet the 1/3 RDA requirements. The Authority’s vendor also prepares these meals, which are served 7 days a week including all holidays.
On average, the staff serves between 50 and 55 program participants each month and between 60 and 75 unduplicated clients per year. Over the years, the program has demonstrated the ability to help those ill and/or frail elderly residents remain independent within their immediate environment. The program has also demonstrated the ability to either eliminate or forestall premature institutionalization into a nursing home facility for up to 5 years.
The Congregate Office is staffed with a New Jersey Certified Social Worker and Homemaker Home Health Aides. The staff receives ongoing training throughout the year and is closely supervised by the CSP Coordinator. A professionally-designed case management system tracks participant need and services provided. The program also hosts a Professional Assessment Committee (PAC), which is comprised of the CSP Coordinator, the program's RN, the VHA Housing Inspector, and the County Nurse. The PAC reviews tenant needs, any need for outplacement, and the need to either increase or decrease services as a participant either improves or declines in health. The philosophy of the program is to serve the needs of the “whole person,” who is seen as walking a continuum of life.