Don Engels, principal and senior vice president of financing with The Hampshire Cos., was among those on hand for Cohome’s recent gala as the supportive housing program recognized the commercial real estate firm and other honorees. — Photo by William Hauser Photography/Courtesy: Cohome
By Joshua Burd
Members of the state’s commercial real estate industry were among the honorees at a recent gala hosted by Cohome, a program that creates housing opportunities for adults with disabilities.
The organization, which is based in Morristown, welcomed guests to 1776 by David Burke as it marked the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act while also celebrating its fifth anniversary. Those on hand included The Hampshire Cos., the developer of a new 85-unit luxury apartment building in the town that includes 14 units of supportive housing, as well as Sills Cummis & Gross PC attorney Frank Vitolo.
Cohome, which is working with Hampshire at the Morris Street building, also honored advocates Eric Legrand and Bill Byrne as part of the July 26 gala. Each received the organization’s Advocate in Action Award, as the honorees, community members and sponsors reflected on the significant impact of the ADA in promoting inclusivity, breaking barriers and fostering a more equitable society.
As part of the ceremony, state Assemblywoman Aura Dunn and Kellie Doucette, district director for U.S. Rep. Mike Sherrill, presented ceremonial resolutions and congressional certificates each awardee, acknowledging their commitment to disability inclusion, according to a news release. The main event featured a video produced in collaboration with Morristown High School, highlighting the organization’s inclusivity and the achievements of its housemates.
In a speech expressing gratitude to all attendees and supporters, Executive Director Nate Diskint emphasized the importance of continued support to further grow Cohome’s residential and social programs, enabling the organization to better serve adults with disabilities in Morristown and surrounding communities.
The evening’s festivities also included a wine and whiskey pull, a silent auction featuring items from local Morristown businesses and a live auction, in which attendees won trips to Costa Rica and Sonoma Valley, the news release said. All proceeds from the event and auctions will go toward supporting Cohome’s critical initiatives, including increased staffing, building repairs, unique curriculum expansion and essential materials and supplies.