OWASSO, Oklahoma – A new $20 million residential community designed specifically for people with disabilities has opened in Owasso.
It’s called “The Village,” and the community held a ribbon-cutting party on Tuesday.
Community costs were paid mainly through donations. A staff of 200 workers will be on hand to assist the residents around the clock.
The goal of this community is to give people with specific disabilities a safe and affordable place to learn to work on the basis of living on their own.
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Jodi just moved in with her dog Chloe, and she loves him so far.
“I’m happy here. This is my home, a better home than I’ve ever been,” Jodi told FOX23. “My bedroom is bigger, my kitchen is bigger. Everything is bigger, and I am happy here.”
The community will house 62 people, and it was built specifically for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The group behind the community, New Leaf, focuses on giving people with disabilities independence.
New Leaf CEO Mary Ogle said independence can be the most important thing for people.
“This gives them the opportunity to make their own choices in life,” Ogle said. “where are they [want to] work, where they want to live, and who they want to live with.”
The village is located 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 per month including utilities.
It provides safe, affordable housing that Ogle said is lacking in Tulsa County.
“There isn’t enough housing in Tulsa County, or across the country, for low-income individuals. People with disabilities have an unemployment rate of 63 percent, so they often live below the poverty line,” Ugel explained. “We have to give them opportunities to live on their own, so our housing here is low-income.”
There is also a “transitional academy” which is the first of its kind in Oklahoma. It’s a two-year college-style program that helps develop life skills to help people get jobs.
It’s been five years since preparation, and the community has drawn in people from all over Oklahoma.
Families of people with disabilities tell FOX23 that this community is really important to their loved ones.
Jonny Peterson and his son were looking at the facilities and said he thought the community was really beautiful.
“Life changes completely,” Peterson said. “Give these kids a chance to be on their own, try out a job, work for themselves, stand up for themselves and then have a place to stay. [It will] I give them some they deserve I guess.”
Joel, son of Susan Jarrett, is about to move in. She said it was a dream come true.
“It’s something we never thought would happen, but we’ve always dreamed that he’d have friendships of his own with the people he lives with, and would really grow up independently. It’s only natural that there wouldn’t be a mom and dad to do that for,” Garrett said.
The New Leaf said there are about 60,000 people in Oklahoma with disabilities.
“The waiting list of 250 people for the village is currently people from all over Oklahoma. This just shows what the urgency is, and we must continue to build and provide living opportunities for people with disabilities,” Ogel explained.
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