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These Communities Could Reduce the Affordable Housing Problem for Adults With Special Needs

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Two housing communities in Florida are currently in the works as part of a larger movement to provide more housing opportunities for adults with special needs.

The Villages at Noah’s Landing is a housing development undergoing construction in Lakeland, Florida. It’s designed to provide a sense of community as well as living assistance for people with physical or intellectual disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism and Down syndrome. Expected to be fully operational by this time next year, the 56-acre gated community will include 132 apartment units, a recreation center with a pool, a community garden, a farm yard and a commercial kitchen with an optional dining room. Residents will be able to walk or ride their bikes within the community and will have access to public transportation, according to the project’s website. Staff, volunteers and parents will provide individually-tailored oversight as well as help to foster a sense of community among residents, Disability Scoop reported.

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A drawing of the Noah’s Landing community design via the project’s Facebook page.

The Arc Village, a 97-acre community design similar to Noah’s Landing, will soon begin construction just outside Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to fostering a social environment within the community, the Arc aims to enable residents to interact with the greater Jacksonville community in ways they could not have before, according to the project’s website.

Once completed, both communities will hopefully reduce the waiting list for affordable housing for people with intellectual and physical disabilities in Florida. Noah’s Landing and the Arc Village are among the first housing developments of their kind in Florida, but comparable communities exist throughout the United States and beyond. Residences such as Pathfinder Village in New York, the Baddour Center in Mississippi and Annendale Village in Georgia provide a similar combination of independent and assisted living for people with special needs. The Camphill Association of North America founded more than 100 living communities for people with special needs worldwide, 11 of which are in the U.S., according to its website. In Europe, both Switzerland and the Netherlands have designed housing communities for people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Hopefully, the movement will continue to grow. “We believe we’re starting a tsunami,” Jack Kosik, a Noah’s Landing founder told Disability Scoop. “If we do it right, this will be a national model.”

To learn more about Noah’s Landing, visit the project’s website or Facebook page. For more information about the Arc Village, visit its website and Facebook page

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Originally published: March 4, 2015
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