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Grand opening: Passage Apartments to meet the needs of people with disabilities

Passage Apartments meet the needs of people of disabilities

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Arguably best known for its annual Irish Festival, the Irish Hill Neighborhood has a new mission: to serve those with intellectual or developmental disabilities to live independent, fulfilling lives.

Thursday marked the grand opening of Passage Apartments. The complex sits at 50 Shelby St., just southwest of the I-65/I-70 interchange for Washington Street in downtown Indianapolis. That’s a block from the IndyGo’s Blue Line bus rapid-transit route, which can provide access to job interviews and other resources.

It’s a five-story building with 39 residential units. One floor was strictly dedicated to short-term rentals. Eight of the units were to be reserved for people with disabilities and their families. Housing vouchers were available for the rest the unit for renters who qualify by earning no more than the median income in Indianapolis.

By Thursday, all units were already spoken for and move-ins were to happen over the next couple of weeks. For anyone interested, there is a waitlist.

The Englewood Community Development Corp. teamed up with Noble to bring the vision to life. Noble, a nonprofit founded in 1953, focuses on the community needs of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome and autism.

Noble celebrated its anniversary on Sept. 1, marking 70 years since the first-ever Noble School opened its doors. It was the first place many students who were barred from public schools due to disabilities could receive an education. On that morning, 31 students started school in an organized classroom for the first time. It was near downtown Noble Street, but the nonprofit’s name came from the parents of those students who believed the organization’s mission was noble.

Now, Noble has planned to embark on its next venture, running a career center out of the building’s first floor.

“I think this really marks what we consider our next season of service to this community. 70 years is a lot, but we’re not done. We’re using this as a springboard for all of the wonderful things we can do next,” Noble said.

A community center in the apartment complex is 2,200 square feet. The complex also has a career center.

Rita Davis, Noble’s senior director of communications, says skills training and educational support will be used to support people with disabilities and anyone who is having a hard time integrating into the workforce to find and sustain employment. “This career center is a fantastic opportunity to serve the community, be more closely enmeshed in the community; an opportunity to help people find and maintain sustainable employment.”

David added, “The intentional design focused on meeting the needs of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities while highlighting technology, energy efficiency and transportation. Nine of the units feature full ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility.”

The complex also has a gym, laundry facilities, and an art gallery.

The project’s development was part of the Moving Forward 2020 program. According to Noble, the development is a collaboration between the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and the nonprofit Energy Systems Network. The city of Indianapolis supported the project with a $1.2 million investment.