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Last updated: Saturday May 29, 2010, 9:45 AM

BY STEPHANIE AKIN

The Record
STAFF WRITER
 
Measured in distance, Scott Feldman’s move this summer would be considered insignificant: The house he bought in Fair Lawn is across the street from the one he has shared with his mother for 38 years.

Symbolically, though, it represents a major milestone on his path from a baby who was sometimes called “retarded” to an independent adult living with autism. In his mother Emily’s words, it is a miracle.

It is also the result of fortunate timing.

Scott could be among the last to benefit from a New Jersey program that helps people with disabilities finance their homes and live on their own. The state program has provided 1 percent interest rates for 33 people since 1998. But it may become a casualty of budget tightening, even as plummeting prices put houses in North Jersey communities within reach, and a growing body of research suggests homeownership offers people with developmental disabilities more fulfilled lives and a chance to play more active roles in their communities.

While other options are available, including mortgage loans available to all low-income families, nothing matches the state program’s low interest rate, which has made a big difference in New Jersey’s high-priced housing market, he said.

Scott reacted to his new status as a homeowner with unconcealed glee.

Read in Full:  http://www.northjersey.com/news/health/95168869_The_deed_to_a_new_life_for_autistic_man.html



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