Local organization expanding services to people with disabilities

NOW: Local organization expanding services to people with disabilities

GOSHEN, Ind. -- An organization that advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Michiana is growing.

ADEC recently bought some homes and empty lots along College Avenue in Goshen.

President and CEO Donna Belusar said the move allows the company to expand its supported living program to more people with disabilities in Michiana.

Individuals in supported living usually live in an apartment with one or two roommates. A supported living staff member stops by and helps the individuals with daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, and bill paying. The supervision helps the individual with the disability live a more independent life according to Belusar.

Belusar says in January, ADEC received a call from Indiana’s Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services. Another provider in Goshen that offered similar services to ADEC, Goldenrod, had suddenly gone out of business.

Twenty three individuals receiving supported living services faced eviction and homelessness.

However, to prevent that from happening, Belusar said ADEC decided to buy all six of Goldenrod’s homes and two empty lots for a $900,000 investment. The sale was finalized in late May.

“When you have housing [and] people are living there, they’re earning jobs and they’re taking that money and putting it right back into the community,” said Belusar. “We have such a strong belief in community integration. You’re going to see us really improving the whole landscape of where the homes are.”

Belusar says Adec is now renovating some of the houses so eight more people can move into them by next January. The organization also wants to build a multiple housing complex within the next three to five years. The new housing would make another 50 to 100 units available.

“They are independent in who they are as a disability,” said Belusar. “You may notice it because there may be a uniqueness in a walkway or something,  but what is so important to that individual is that they are your neighbors. They’re your best friend, go to our coffee shops, you could have coffee with them.”

Ashley Van Vurst moved into her home on College Avenue in 2013.

She remembers being scared when she found out she may be evicted. Van Vurst did not want to leave her roommates.

However, she’s glad that ADEC bought her former provider’s homes and plans to expand the supported living program so more people can receive one one one care in their own home.

“I was glad about staying because I love it there,” said Van Vurst. “I like to stay up as long as I like and I have no curfews. I like to cook, I like to clean, and I like to do laundry. I think it’ll be good having more people and having new neighbors.”

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