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Agencies partner to create attainable housing for adults with disabilities

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — There’s a push to provide affordable housing for adults with disabilities in Carmel thanks to a development partnership between Village at Merici and Old Town Companies.

It’s happening at an apartment complex that is under construction. Representatives hope it serves as a prototype that inspires other developers.

Over the course of the rest of the year, roughly 40 units will be available at the North End apartments for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, But it’s only a drop in the bucket as data shows roughly 5,000 around the state need housing like this.

The first phase of the North End apartment complex is well underway. In a matter of months, the first of 40 renters with intellectual and developmental disabilities will move in.

“Loneliness is the worst disability of all, so we want to be able to find a place where we can live near our friends, but have our own independence and have support that we need, and not necessarily be in a group home type setting,” said Colleen Renie, Executive Director of the Village at Merici.

It’s an agency focused on providing support services for adults with disabilities, in part by partnering with developers to provide attainable and affordable housing.

“As a community, we need to find ways to support that group of individuals. Those that have financial challenges and also social challenges.”

In the last year, Renie says rent rates have gone up by 27 percent in Indianapolis and Carmel areas.
Most adults with intellectual and development disabilities often sit at the lower levels of poverty.

“Several are still living at home with their family members who might be 70 or 80 years old, and it’s very challenging for them. If something happens and they’ve lived at home for 50 or 60 years and try to move out, it’s very difficult.”

So for this project, they are partnering with developers Old Town Companies. Tax credits through the Indiana Housing and community development helps offer these units at a fraction of the costs.
More than 200 people showed interests, but through a lottery the 40 units have already been claimed.

“I think it’s a human need to be loved and to have a sense of belonging. That’s universal, and we want to respond to that need,” said Rebecca McGuckin, Community Collaborator at Old Town Companies.

On top of the lower market rental rates, technology access is built into the model, providing wi-fi and remote support options for the 40 people who’ll eventually move in.

“I hope we prove the concept to others where they will be inspired to do the same because it gives value to human life, and we want to participate in that.”