JESPY House, partners to conduct an inclusive healthy communities assessment

Photo Courtesy of Sonya Kimble-Ellis
JESPY clients recently assessed the walkability of South Orange sidewalks and streets from the point of view of those with disabilities and/or mobility challenges. They found that there are many streets, sidewalks and entrances that may pose challenges to those with disabilities, as well as to seniors.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — JESPY House, along with New Jersey Association of Community Partners and SRS Strategic Associates LLC, will conduct an inclusive healthy communities assessment. The project is based in South Orange and is funded through a grant from the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Division of Disability Services to support the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities where they live, work, learn and play.

The project includes a multistep process of community engagement, community assessment, identification of long-term funding and developing a sustainable community action plan.

As of October 2021, you may see JESPY House volunteers out and about in South Orange conducting the community assessment. They will be collecting information on the accessibility of Academy Heights and Irvington Avenue neighborhoods, the downtown shopping area, and South Orange train station and surrounding access areas.

Once this data is collected, it will be analyzed and discussed; the partner agencies will prioritize strategies to pursue, and develop and disseminate a strategies report.

The purpose of the assessment project is to increase community stakeholder inclusion, awareness and consideration of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities when planning and offering services and opportunities to community members; to improve the experiences and interactions of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities when they interact with the local health care system, local government, municipal services, businesses, transportation and other community systems; and to reduce environmental barriers that not only affect individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities but affect seniors, those with other disabilities and many others. 

For information or to get involved in the project, contact Tara Roberts at 973-762-6909, ext. 221, or

For more information about JESPY House, a South Orange–based nonprofit organization that enables adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential and lead independent lives, visit For more information about NJACP, a coalition that assists member agencies that support those with disabilities, visit For more information about SRS Strategic Associates, a consulting firm that assists health care and human services organizations to become and remain sustainable, visit