Most people want to age in place and that is especially true for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, for whom it is essential to provide the right environment to encourage independence.
Finding existing homes to accommodate those needs, however, is difficult. Fully accessible homes are very rare and updating houses to be accessible can be expensive.
That is why The Arc of Monroe launched the Aging with Grace, Aging In Place campaign, which is focused on building two new seven-bedroom, ranch style homes that are fully accessible for 14 residents.
Tracy Crosby, executive director of the Arc Foundation of Monroe, said people are receiving better care and are living longer, fuller lives, prompting the organization to reassess its housing options.
“It’s a good problem to have,” she said.
The new homes – which are ADA compliant – will create space for people The Arc of Monroe supports without needing them to be displaced due to mobility challenges or other concerns that arise because of aging, she explained.
The Arc purchased a 1.5-acre property on Long Pond Road in Greece in 2021 with plans to construct the homes there, Crosby said, adding the project is a reallocation of resources not an expansion.
There are no final plans yet for what will happen to the homes the residents move from, Crosby said, adding that one home may be sold, and another may be converted to mixed-use housing.
The new homes will emphasize mobility, she noted. In addition to one-story structures, the homes will have features such as lower countertops and roll-in showers, as well smart technologies throughout.
The design of the homes will also be focused on helping residents be as independent as possible, which can also help staff with their jobs.
The need for staffing continues and Crosby said having the new homes on one property could allow for shared services, such as transportation.
She anticipates construction to begin in March, with move-in slated for early- to mid-fall of 2023.
Crosby said the homes will “help fulfill our mission of creating an inclusive society where the people we support may live truly integrated lives and reach their full potential as a part of our community.”
The organization’s campaign received a recent boost with a $300,000 grant from the Golisano Foundation. It is the single largest gift the Golisano Foundation has awarded The Arc of Monroe Foundation.
So far, roughly 65 percent – or $850,000 – of the $1.3 million needed to be raised has been secured through grants, as well as corporate and individual gifts. Crosby expects to have raised $1 million by year-end.
The Arc is still accepting donations for the campaign.
“It takes a community,” she said. “This is all coming together with the support of so many.”
The Arc of Monroe is one of the largest Arc chapters in New York, serving adults with a range of disabilities, including autism, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, gait abnormalities, blindness, hearing loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
With over 45 locations throughout Monroe County, the organization has been offering a variety of programs and services for over 65 years.
The agency serves over 1,500 adults – many of whom are over 50 years old – through the operation of 29 residential homes, several of which are two-story structures.
Crosby said the two homes in Gates could be the beginning of more one-story home builds, given the needs of the residents the organization serves.
Tracy Petrichick, The Arc of Monroe president and CEO, agreed, adding that moving the residents into the fully accessible ranch-style homes will broaden their range of choices and options.
“Those who were previously limited in their daily living by mobility challenges, will move safely and easily in their new forever home,” Petrichick said.
[email protected] / (585) 653-4021n