OWASSO, Okla. — A new $20 million housing community specifically designed for people with disabilities has officially opened in Owasso.
It’s called “The Village,” and the community had its ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday.
The community has been paid for mainly by donations. There will be a staff of 200 workers on hand to help residents around the clock.
The goal of this community is all about giving people with certain disabilities a safe, affordable place to learn to work on live on their own.
Judy has just moved in with her dog Chloe, and she loves it so far.
“I’m happy here. This is my home, a better home than I was in before,” Judy told FOX23. “My bedroom’s bigger, my kitchen’s bigger. Everything’s bigger, and I’m happy here.”
The community will house 62 people, and it was specially built for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The group behind the community, New Leaf, is focused on giving people with disabilities independence.
Chief Executive of New Leaf Mary Ogle said that independence can be the most important thing for people.
“This gives them the chance to determine their own life choices,” Ogle said. “Where they [want to] work, where they want to live, who they want to live with.”
The village is near E 86th Street North and N 81st East Ave in Owasso.
There are single living apartments and shared houses on the property. Rent ranges from $230 to $560 a month including utilities.
It provides safe and affordable housing which Ogle said is lacking in Tulsa County.
“There’s not enough housing stock across Tulsa County, or really across the nation, for low income individuals. People with disabilities have a 63 percent unemployment rate, so they’re often living below the poverty line,” Ogle explained. “We have to offer them opportunities to live on their own, and so our housing here is low income.”
There is also a “Transition Academy” which is a first for Oklahoma. It’s a two year college style program which helps develop life skills to help people be able to get jobs.
This has been five years in the making, and the community has attracted people from all over Oklahoma.
Families of people with disabilities told FOX23 this community is really important for their loved ones.
Johnny Peterson and his son were looking at the facilities, and he said he thinks the community is really beautiful.
“Absolutely life changing,” Peterson said. “Give these kids an opportunity to be on their own, experience a job, work for themselves, fend for themselves and then have a place to stay. [It will] give them some worth I think.”
Susan Garret’s son Joel is about to move in. She said it’s a dream come true.
“It’s something that we never thought would happen, but we’ve always dreamed that he would have his own friendships with people he lived with, and he’s really going to grow independently. Just naturally without mom and dad there to do it for him,” Garret said.
A New Leaf said there are around 60,000 people in Oklahoma with disabilities.
“The waiting list that currently has 250 people for the village are people from all over Oklahoma. Which just goes to show what a great need there is, and we must continue to build and provide living opportunities for people with disabilities,” Ogle explained.
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