History

For more than 35 years, JESPY House is proud to have provided adults with disabilities a well-rounded program of support services.

JESPY House opened its first residence in 1978 with only three staff members and four clients with learning and developmental disabilities. Residential services and vocational services were uniquely provided together within the same organization. The Academy Street Residence, “The Residence, still operating today, provides apartments of varying sizes to accommodate different arrangements to meet the needs of each client.

In 1998, JESPY saw an opportunity for clients to have a family home-like setting with the level of independence that is appropriate for each individual. Through the generosity of the Laurie Foundation, a nearby private house in the community was purchased.  Six clients from The Residence were chosen to live together, enjoy meals, and share household responsibilities, all under the caring supervision of a house parent who provided case management services.

Intrigued by this model, many other JESPY families wanted their family members to have a similar opportunity. Through their generosity, two additional homes were purchased so that other clients could participate in the shared housing experience. Currently, the Shared Housing Program includes five homes, all of which are in the South Orange community and within walking distance of all JESPY services.

In 2010, the newly renovated Judith Ruback Schechner Recreation and Wellness Center was dedicated in memory of Judi Schechner, a past president of JESPY House. Known as Judi House, many recreational and cultural arts activities; health education and wellness activities; and special events are offered in this building. The Judi House Café is a popular venue that offers social activities and refreshments every day from late afternoon through evening.

Currently, JESPY’s population ranges in age from 18 to over 60. JESPY House serves:

  • approximately 35 clients living in The Residence and Shared Housing facilities;
  • approximately 120 clients who live independently in their own apartments or condominiums in the South Orange community, with the support of JESPY Outclient Services; and
  • an additional 60 adults who participate in several JESPY programs while living elsewhere.

We look foward to further developing and enhancing innovative programming in independent living, recreational and vocational services.

Town Hall has been a part of JESPY life since the very beginning.