Accessory dwelling units can be separate structures or units attached to the main residence. (JED OWEN VIA UNSPLASH)

Montclair Gateway to Aging in Place (mGAP) has received a 2023 Community Challenge grant – part of the largest group of grantees to date with $3.6 million awarded among 310 organizations nationwide – AARP New Jersey announced Wednesday.

Montclair Gateway to Aging in Place will use the AARP Community Challenge grant to organize a design competition for freestanding, practical, and reusable Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

“We are honored to receive this award from AARP, as well as a matching grant from Partners for Health Foundation, to mount an ADU Design Competition among architectural students,” said Ann Lippel, President of Montclair Gateway to Aging in Place. “The goal of the competition is to demonstrate to residents and town planners that ADU construction is a path to better housing options for older residents as well as other citizens. An increased inventory of statewide accessible Accessory Dwelling Units must be part of the public policy strategy to provide more suitable housing options for all.”

The AARP grant is $12,266 and the Partners for Health grant is $10,000.

Montclair Gateway to Aging in Place (mGAP) acts as a virtual senior center in Montclair, providing advocacy and service to better the lives of seniors through accessible housing opportunities and peer-to-peer digital technology training programs. ADUs are one of the efforts MGAP has supported to help make Montclair age friendlier. In February, the Township of Montclair voted to make ADUs a part of Montclair’s housing landscape.

ADUs, which are secondary housing units on a single-family residential lot, are an emerging housing option to allow older residents to age in their homes and communities. Designs for the competition will be solicited from students at architecture schools in the region and will adhere to universal design standards that adapt to structural needs for aging, mobility challenges, and other disabilities.

“AARP New Jersey is committed to working with local leaders to improve residents’ quality of life through tangible changes,” said Stephanie Hunsinger, AARP New Jersey State Director. “We are proud to collaborate with this year’s grantees as they make immediate improvements in their communities to jumpstart long-term change, especially for New Jerseyans 50 and over.”

AARP Community Challenge Grants

AARP Community Challenge grant projects will be funded in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. True to the program’s quick-action nature, projects must be completed by November 30, 2023.

This year, the AARP Community Challenge accepted applications across three different grant opportunities, including existing flagship grants in addition to new capacity-building microgrants for improving walkability and community gardens. New demonstration grants will focus on improving transportation systems, with funding support provided by Toyota Motor North America, and housing choice design competitions.

AARP is also bolstering its investment in rural communities, mobility innovation, transportation options, and health and food access.

The grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative, which supports the efforts of cities, towns, neighborhoods and rural areas to become great places to live for people of all ages, especially those age 50 and older.

View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at and learn more about AARP’s livable communities work at

One reply on “Design a Dream ADU: AARP New Jersey Awards Grant to Montclair Gateway to Aging in Place”

  1. This is good news.

    I’d get real-life examples. Assign each student to a senior citizen living in Montclair who would like to consider the ADU possibility at their home. This would give the students real life constraints, constraints due to the existing house and property and due to the homeowner’s budget.

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