Freedom Village, which prioritizes inclusive and accessible housing, celebrates grand opening

Freedom Village at Hamilton Woods is officially open, according to a Tuesday announcement from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.

Hamilton Woods is a housing development in Mercer County that prioritizes inclusivity and accessibility for individuals with disabilities. It offers 72 units with one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, catering to people from diverse backgrounds and abilities. Notably, a quarter of these units are designated for individuals with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses, promoting equal housing opportunities.

With over 8% of Hamilton’s population representing people with disabilities, this project addresses their housing needs and is a welcome addition to the township.

NJHMFA said the transformative housing development represents a significant milestone in providing permanent accessible homes and supportive services that empower residents with disabilities to live independently within the vibrant community of Hamilton.

With rents as low as $882 per month, this development addresses the housing needs of low- and moderate-income individuals, making it truly a place they can call home. Furthermore, the residents will have access to on-site social services coordinators provided by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, further enhancing the support network available to them.

Donna Spencer, NJHMFA’s director of multifamily and supported housing and lending at NJHMFA, expressed her gratitude and excitement during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. She praised the efforts of all those involved in bringing this remarkable project to life, especially acknowledging the support and collaboration of Mayor Jeff Martin, the township of Hamilton and Project Freedom, a key partner in this endeavor.

“At NJHMFA, we are firmly committed to providing supportive housing to ensure that everyone has a safe, quality and affordable home regardless of disability status,” Spencer said. “Hamilton residents know from experience that Project Freedom builds and maintains accessible, affordable apartments to the highest standard, enabling tenants to reach their full potential. It is our expectation that Project Freedom’s second Hamilton project will prove just as successful as their first.”

Funding of nearly $14 million generated through 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and an additional $1.2 million awarded through NJHMFA’s Special Needs Housing Trust Fund have been crucial to the success of Hamilton Woods.

Strategically located near the township’s “Center City” district, Hamilton Woods provides easy access to various neighborhood amenities, including a Capital Health clinic, the Hamilton Area YMCA and the Hamilton Library, all just across the street. Residents also will enjoy convenient transportation options with a nearby bus stop and a range of shopping and dining opportunities within walking distance.

“Hamilton is proud to host a second Project Freedom development,” Mayor Jeff Martin said. “Project Freedom’s commitment to affordable, barrier-free housing is second-to-none and we look forward to our continued partnership with everyone who made this project possible.”

Tracee Battis, executive director of Project Freedom, said: “We are so thrilled to be celebrating the grand opening of our beautiful Hamilton Woods project, our 12th since the inception of Project Freedom nearly 40 years ago and our second in Hamilton Township. We cannot thank Mayor Jeff Martin, Hamilton Township, NJHMFA, Mercer County, TD Bank and National Equity Fund enough for their continued support for our mission.”

At the event, Norman Smith, founder and associate executive director, expressed that this is like a second homecoming for him, having grown up in Hamilton Township. He went on to explain what Project Freedom means to him.

“Project Freedom’s housing provides a base from which people with and without disabilities can blaze their own paths,” he said. “This is what I am most proud of. While others see apartments as just bricks and mortar, I see them as catalysts for lives being changed through the opportunity of freedom.”