Chapel Haven’s Campus Expansion Underway with Lots of Community Support
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Chapel Haven’s Campus Expansion Underway with Lots of Community Support

S/L/A/M Rendering of Chapel Haven’s campus expansion

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Chapel Haven is taking a giant next step as a pioneer in serving adults with disabilities.

On Sunday, April 30, at Chapel Haven’s largest event of the year, the Family Day Brunch, Chapel Haven shared the latest in a capital campaign that holds promise as a national model in serving adults with disabilities as they age. Close to 400 people attended, along with Mayor Toni Harp, state dignitaries, friends and families.

The event took place at Anthony’s Ocean View in New Haven, and included a presentation and renderings by Chapel Haven’s architectural team from the S/L/A/M Collaborative. Chapel Haven’s owner representative, Leland Torrence of Leland Torrence Enterprises, was also on hand to discuss the project.

Chapel Haven’s plan was recently featured in the New Haven Independent. Click here to read the story.

Ann Frank accepts the 30-year award on behalf of her spouse, David Frank.

The event also included special awards to three Chapel Haven community members – David Frank, Mary Beth Jacobs and Jonathan Stent – who have lived 30 years-plus with independence in Chapel Haven’s supported living community

Jonathan Stent receives his award for 30 years of independence

Mayor Toni Harp, center, pledged the City’s support for Chapel Haven’s expansion. At left is Chapel Haven Board Chair Peggy Baker; right is Chapel Haven President Michael Storz.

Mayor Harp called it a “banner day” for Chapel Haven.

“I’m here to congratulate Chapel Haven for its 45 years of extraordinary service,” Mayor Toni Harp said. “I congratulate Chapel Haven, President Michael Storz and Board Chair Peggy Baker, along with Chapel Haven’s dedicated families and staff – for having sufficient staying power to become a genuine fixture in the Westville community. As Mayor, it’s gratifying to know that Chapel Haven considers New Haven an ideal place for young adults to begin and sustain their adult independence.”

To see Mayor’s Harp’s remarks, click here

The campaign, entitled “Chapel Haven: Continuing the Commitment,” comprises a multi-year master plan that will transform Chapel Haven’s Westville campus. The plan entails the construction of a state-of-the-art new facility dedicated to aging services, allowing senior members of the community to continue living among friends and with independence, along with a complete transformation of the Chapel Haven campus.

The expansion also includes construction of a new, 32,500-SF building to house the Residential Education at Chapel Haven (REACH) and REACH Bridge programs. Work began in mid-July, including demolition of three empty homes along Emerson Street and clearing to ready the site for the new REACH building.  The new REACH facility will be completed and ready for occupancy by July 2018, so one year from now. This first phase of construction also includes a new Welcome Center adjoining the community center building, to be completed by Thanksgiving 2017.

In addition, Chapel Haven has received a $5 million gift from a family foundation to launch the Center for Employment Opportunities. Chapel Haven is working with national experts to create a replicable, sustainable employment model for adults with disabilities. Chapel Haven knows that a key component of independent living is meaningful employment. National statistics show that the employment rate for persons with disabilities is only 20 percent, compared with a 70 percent average for the general population.

Chapel Haven President Michael Storz said Chapel Haven looks forward to designing a campus that culminates “years of comprehensive strategic planning and visionary practices.”

“I am so proud of Chapel Haven’s founding in 1972. We were the first agency of our kind to champion the idea that adults with disabilities can gain independence and live happy and productive lives,” Storz said. “Each year, Chapel Haven serves 250 adults, so our track record and longevity is incredible. With this campaign, we are poised to become a pioneer once again with the planned addition of aging services and a complete transformation of our campus.”

Justin Martin was the final speaker and moved many to tears!

Justin Martin had the final word at Sunday’s brunch. He took to the mike to talk about all the progress he has made in his five years at Chapel Haven and earned a standing ovation. “I learned so much since I started. I made a lot of new friends at Chapel Haven and I really like it here,” Justin said as his proud parents looked on. “I learned how to take the train from Union Station to Grand Central in New York City so I can visit my parents. I really came a long way. When I graduated the REACH program in 2014, I was nervous and needed my teacher’s help to make me feel better but now I don’t need any help at all.I want to thank my teachers and my friends for helping me. If there is anything that you need help with that is okay, Chapel Haven can help you with whatever you need.”

About Chapel Haven:
Founded in 1972 in a house on Chapel Street, New Haven, CT, Chapel Haven is an award-winning, nationally accredited transitional living program and approved private special education school with a mission of teaching adults with cognitive disabilities and social disabilities to live independent and productive lives. Chapel Haven has grown to serve more than 250 adults (18 years of age and older) in the residence and the community with three distinct programs; REACH, Asperger’s Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT), and Chapel Haven West (Tucson, AZ). Read more at

Have a question about Chapel Haven? Call the Office of Admissions at (203) 397-1714, ext. 185 or an email to

About The S/L/A/M Collaborative
The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM) is a national, fully-integrated, multi-disciplinary architecture firm offering architecture, planning, interior design, landscape architecture and site planning, structural engineering and construction services that focuses on higher education, K-12 public/private education, healthcare and corporate market sectors. SLAM is located at 80 Glastonbury Boulevard, Glastonbury, CT and has additional offices in Atlanta, Syracuse and Boston. For more information on The S/L/A/M Collaborative please visit or call 860-657-8077.

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The post Chapel Haven’s Campus Expansion Underway with Lots of Community Support appeared first on Chapel Haven.

This has been a special needs program update from Chapel Haven. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.