A new way to accommodate adults with developmental or developmental disabilities is taking shape on Constance Avenue, on the north side of Fort Wayne.

It's the vision of a non-profit organization in Fort Wayne that is starting to come to life.

CASS Housing – the acronym stands for Customizable Affordable Sustainable Safe – is planning a festive Sunday for its first suite-style home located at 515 Constance Ave.

On Monday, carpenters and other workers rushed to finish inside the house, just east of Clinton Street and north of the Turnstone complex.

Meanwhile, a vacant lot just down the street is in preparation for the second phase of CASS development. Three two-story buildings and six apartments, as well as a seventh apartment for a caretaker called a steward, are installed on this site.

The plan is scheduled for a public hearing of the Fort Wayne Plan Commission next month.

David Buuck, executive director of the agency, said that housing responded to an increasingly common dilemma of parents as their children with disabilities become adults.

CASS intends to serve adults with Autism / Asperger's syndrome, cerebral palsy, spine bifida, Down's syndrome and traumatic brain injury. -he declares.

According to him, the disability must have been diagnosed before the age of 22, and the housing is not intended for people with physical disabilities.

Candidates are people who may need help or support services to live independently, Buuck said. Some will probably be able to work part-time, but they will not be able financially or fully to live alone, he said.

Housing will relieve a lot of concern from parents, who are afraid of what could happen to their son or daughter when the parent caring for the children gets older or dies, he said.

This is a problem that did not exist a few decades ago, with many children not having reached adulthood or having spent only a few years in the past. adulthood, said Buuck.

The homes, which are built with private financing, would offer an alternative to group homes, living with a parent or relative, or other solutions, including some private landlords ready to rent to people with disabilities, a- he declared.

"What we are proposing is housing and support services," Buuck said.

Buuck said the idea for the program had started in 2016, but that the first residential location in southwest Fort Wayne had not come to fruition. Since then, CASS has worked to raise more than $ 600,000 from private donors, including foundations, to buy a property and build the first home.

It contains three residences plus a fourth for a steward, who will be early Buuck and his family. The house, he said, is considered a single-family home with incidental use – a classification commonly used for houses with a so-called mother-in-law suite.

The three residences, each of about 500 square feet, have their own living room, bedroom and bathroom. The residences also feature a kitchenette with sink and refrigerator, but no stove, which is not allowed under the zoning rules, Buuck said.

Residents could have a microwave oven or toaster and possibly a hot plate unit. The three occupants would also have a common area and a full shared kitchen.

The apartments would be similar in design but have their own kitchens, Buuck said.

The program's marketing materials indicate that residents pay about 40% of their social security-based income as a program fee plus some utilities.

Other more intensive models, including family and family life styles, are still in the early stages of planning, according to Buuck, who believes the model is useful beyond the current target market.

About 160 people wanted a place, he said, adding that according to national statistics, 1 in 6 children would have a developmental disability, 60,000 people in Allen County could have housing problems.

"We consider this model is appropriate for other people – the elderly, veterans, the homeless," said Buuck, adding that he had received inquiries from five other cities from Indiana and 13 states.

"It's a growing crisis and there are not really good answers," he added.

The apartment plan, including a garage layout plan, requires the approval of a master development plan with two variants but located on approximately one acre of appropriately zoned land.

The public hearing will take place at 17:30. February 11 on the place of the citizens.

rsalter@jg.net