Heightened Independence & Progress (hip)
Heightened Independence & Progress (hip) has administered two premier Centers for Independent Living in New Jersey for many years - since 1980 in Bergen County and in Hudson County since 1987. Through the years, programs and initiatives have continued to expand. In some situations, identical services are provided, while in other instances programs are specific to each CIL which may have County boundaries or span the entire state.
We provide a wide range of services for people with disabilities in the areas of advocacy, information and referral, peer support, and independent living skills training. We offer employment services, life skills training classes, and recreational activities for adults and young adults.
hip also provides services, such as support coordination and care management under a number of state and county programs. hip’s comprehensive services are a critical part of the support network that enables people with disabilities residing in Bergen and Hudson counties to live independently in their communities.
- Information and Referral frequently occur as a brief service where staff either provides direct information or functions as a clearinghouse, directing individuals to other appropriate resources.
- Advocacy to Individuals is an essential service that provides assistance with such issues as housing, employment, and financial benefits.
- Systems Advocacy efforts are directed at addressing support or change of appropriate legislation, enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Fair Housing Act, and other issues which promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the community.
- Peer Support services are provided by persons with disabilities who may be staff members, consumers, or other individuals who are in a position to be of assistance as a result of their own life experiences.
- Independent Living Skills Training is the sharing of any information or support which enables individuals to function as independently as possible. A great deal of staff time is devoted to the provision of these core services.
Adjustment to Vision Loss Contact Trisha Ebel, [email protected]
The Adjustment to Vision Loss Project is a unique program designed to assist individuals in adjusting to the loss of vision, through one-on-one direct assistance as well as involvement in peer support groups. AVL has served 14 counties in Northern and Central New Jersey: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren and maintains a Directory to refer individuals to groups in their geographic area.
Groups address issues and concerns of people with vision loss, and through the sharing of their experiences, members provide support to one another. A phone peer support group welcomes individuals between 21 and 40 who reside throughout the state of New Jersey.
Advocacy is a service at hip which occurs in many ways. The overriding goal is to promote and ensure the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the community. Advocacy staff directs their efforts toward working with individual consumers who face difficulties in areas of housing, employment, transportation, and many other issues.
Systems advocacy is geared toward challenges faced by many people with disabilities. Efforts are directed at enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Act, and other issues which promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the community. Other areas which have recently been addressed include working with the community to assist people with disabilities in relocating from institutions to residences within their community.
DDD Support Coordination Program
hip‘s Support Coordinators assist DDD-eligible Bergen County residents and their family/support team in assessing their needs and developing an Individualized Service Plan (ISP) to access community-based programs and services. The Support Coordinators locate, link, coordinate and monitor the supports and services on an ongoing basis to ensure that all necessary services remain in place to enable the individual to achieve their desired outcomes.
Hispanic Outreach Program Contact Maria Valentin, [email protected]
Through this project, bilingual staff provides all Center for Independent Living services to people with disabilities who are Spanish speaking. Assistance is provided with completing applications for immigration, Social Security, housing, and other financial benefit programs. Translation is provided as necessary.
It's All About Work / Pre-employment Transitioning Services
It’s All About Work is a program developed by the New Jersey Association of Centers for Independent Living (NJACIL) in partnership with the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS). Through a series of course offerings provided at high schools, transition-aged students begin to explore their career preferences related to interests and abilities, learn about the adult service system and skills needed for independent living, and identify their life goals, particularly those related to work. At the conclusion of the course, students are eligible for individualized employment-related services through DVRS. Another component of the program works with adults referred by DVRS who benefit from instruction on enhancing their job readiness skills.
Multimedia Transcription Service Contact Jayne Jacobs, [email protected]
Multimedia Transcription Service (MTS) transcribes print documents into braille and audio formats. Through an extensive staff of transcribers certified by the Library of Congress, materials are produced for schools, government entities, non-profit agencies, the corporate sector, hospitals, theaters, and the community at large. A full range of literary, math, science, computer, and foreign language textbooks have been produced for students across the country. Go to the MTS website (www.mts-braille.com) for further information.
Peer Support Groups Contact Nicole Clark, [email protected]
hip offers the following peer support groups:
- Empowering Women meets at the Bergen hip office on the second Thursday of each month from 11 am – 1 pm to address issues such as relationships, women’s issues, family dynamics, employment, information sharing, and day-to-day challenges.
- AVL Fort Lee Support Group meets on the third Tuesday of each month from 10 am-noon at the Fort Lee Recreation Center, Bottom of Stillwell Avenue (at William T. Birch Park), Fort Lee, NJ 07024.
- AVL North Arlington Low Vision Group meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 2 pm – 4 pm at the North Arlington Senior Community Center, North Arlington, NJ 07031.
- AVL Washington Township Support Group meets on the third Wednesday of each month at the Temple Beth Or, 56 Ridgewood Road, Township of Washington, NJ 07676.
- State-wide Peer Conference Phone Support Groups
Ages 18-30 will meet on the first Thursday evening of each month at 7 pm.
Ages 31-50 will meet on the second Tuesday evening of each month at 7 pm.
Conference lines will be given to all who are participating.
Rehabilitation Technology (SNAP, MAP, and POLIO) Contact Maria Valentin, [email protected]
The Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) serves Bergen County residents who are elderly or disabled by providing funding toward assistive devices, equipment, or services that enable them to function independently in their everyday lives. Some examples include wheelchairs, bathroom equipment, hearing aids, emergency alert systems, and more.
The Modification Access project (MAP) provides partial funding to enable Bergen County residents who are elderly and/or disabled to increase accessibility within their homes. Some examples of home modifications are ramps, roll-in showers, railings, wheelchair lifts, and the widening of doorways.
The New Jersey Polio Network Program assists New Jersey residents who have been affected by polio. Individuals can apply for grants of up to $1,000 for such needs as medical evaluations, assistive devices, and medical transportation costs.
Senior and Caregiver Assistance Program
SCAP is a component of the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) which offers information, facilitates referrals, and provides linkage to essential services to individuals (60 or over) who either have a disability or are caregivers. The staff assesses needs and coordinates community-based services to enhance the quality of life of both the caregiver and the care recipient.
Support Coordination Program
hip's Support Coordinator assists DDD-eligible Bergen County residents and their family/support team in assessing their needs and developing an individualized Service Plan to access community-based programs and services. The Support Coordinators locate, link, coordinate and monitor the supports and services on an ongoing basis to ensure that all necessary services remain in place to enable the individual to achieve their desired outcomes.
Support for Independent Living
SIL provides care management services for Bergen County residents ages 18-59 who have disabilities. As a component of the Aging and Disabilities Resource Connection (ADRC), SIL enables individuals to remain independent in their homes. The staff works with consumers to assess needs and coordinate community-based services such as home health care, financial benefits programs, and Meals on Wheels.
Traumatic Brain Injury Fund
The Traumatic Brain Injury financial (TBI) Fund is a state-funded case management program that provides community services and support for New Jersey residents who have been affected by a traumatic brain injury. hip's care managers work with individuals to assist them in utilizing available funding for various therapies as well as the purchase of equipment and other individual services.
Basic Needs / Assistance
Employment / Training
Family & Support Services
Legal / Advocacy
Behavioral / Mental Health
Intellectual and Developmental Needs
Last Updated: 08/05/23