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Opinions Fly Over Housing Community for People With Disabilities

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Last year we reported about The Villages at Noah’s Landing, an affordable housing community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Lakeland, Florida. Construction on Noah’s Landing is nearing completion, and Disability Scoop reports the community will be ready for residents by late April or early May.

Jack Kosik, founder and executive director of Noah’s Ark of Central Florida, which is behind the project, hopes this is just the start of similar opportunities. Kosik’s daughter Brittany, who has intellectual disabilities, will reside on site. “What we’re doing is groundbreaking,” Kosik told Disability Scoop. “It’s really opening the doors to serve a need.”

However, a number of individuals have responded negatively to the Noah’s Landing news story on Disability Scoop’s Facebook page, calling it “scary,” comparing it to an institution and calling it a step back, among other complaints:

“This is a pretty way of reinstitutionalization. This is NOT what people with intellectual disabilities need!!!!” — Mary Pearson

“We used to have these. They were call institutions.” — Bob Niemiec

“This is the worst idea. I absolutely would NOT let my daughter live here.” — Toby Bilyeu-Johnson

“It’s complicated, but it’s segregation.” — Darryl Wood

“Another giant leap into the past.” — Steven Eidelman

Still, other readers took to the comment section of the post to voice their support, along with the importance of families having choices like Noah’s Landing:

“There needs to be a variety of options for adults with disabilities to choose from, including options like Noah’s Landing.” —Shannon Doty

“It is a step in the right direction. I can think of a few people who would like this.” —Helen McManus

“Wish there was something like this where I’m at.” —Lori Thomas

“While we don’t know the specifics of this housing effort, we want to make sure that each person needing supportive housing is provided the full options of housing that is available to him or her and that the individual living makes the decision that is best for him or her when choosing a housing option,” Scott Badesch, CEO of Autism Society of America, told the Mighty in a statement. “We also encourage any housing for individuals with a disability to fully integrate with the community in terms of access to transportation, socialization, employment and much more.”

The Villages at Noah's Landing community housing

The first phase of construction includes 17 buildings, with room for 128 residents and four resident advisers. Noah’s landing includes a recreation center with a pool, a community garden, a farm yard and a commercial kitchen with an optional dining room, according to their website. As far as pricing, Kosik told Disability Scoop that the rent for each unit averages $400 a month, utilities included. Noah’s Landing will offer counseling, training and supportive services.

The Villages at Noah's Landing community housing

The Villages at Noah’s Landing has not yet responded to The Mighty’s request for comment about the negative remarks on Disability Scoop’s Facebook post.

What’s your take on this? Let us know in the comment section below.

Originally published: February 16, 2016
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