Healthy communities are ones in which all residents have access to the conditions and systems that enable them to live the healthiest life possible. Healthy communities are ones in which all residents have access to the systems and conditions that allow them to live the healthiest lives possible and where principles of equity, diversity and inclusion are routinely practiced in civic processes and decision-making. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with disabilities are disproportionately affected with chronic diseases and conditions. The Inclusive Healthy Communities (IHC) Grant Program is an initiative designed to provide funding opportunities to communities and organizations in New Jersey to promote inclusive practices that support the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities in the communities where they live.
The New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Disability Services (DDS) engaged the Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy to provide support in managing the IHC Grant Program to assist grant recipients in implementing state-wide projects beginning Jan 4, 2021 and ending June 30, 2022. Contingent on available appropriations, with funding and oversight provided by DDS, awardees will undertake initiatives through one of two possible grant options: Capacity Building or Implementation, to address three mutually reinforcing, specific objectives and with the broad focus on all people with disabilities, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, immigration status and/or income:
- Adopt processes that are inclusive of people with disabilities as part of efforts to plan and create healthy communities; and
- Plan and implement lasting strategies that deliver the benefits of healthy communities to people with disabilities; and
- Advance sustainable practice, systems and environmental change that address the pre-existing physical, environmental, social, and economic challenges that prevent people with disabilities from having full access to the conditions that support health and well-being.
This IHC grant program seeks to advance practice, systems and environmental changes to enhance healthy community outcomes for people with disabilities who also may experience societal discrimination as a result of, but not limited to age, race, socioeconomic or immigration status, and/or sexual orientation. The program also prioritizes projects from areas of highest need in terms of disability population, economic burden, and under-served communities.