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Goose Creek neighborhood to celebrate new accessible home with area nonprofit

June 19, 2024 | online article

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) – A Summerville nonprofit is celebrating its first wheelchair-accessible addition to one of its homes for disabled individuals.

Community Options, Inc. opened 12 homes in the Summerville, Goose Creek and Hanahan areas. Out of the 12, the upgraded Thistle Road home in Goose Creek is the first wheelchair-accessible residence by the organization. Officials say they are working on home 13 which should be ready for residents in the upcoming months.

The Berkeley County Community Development Block Grant funded the accessibility upgrades. Community Options received over $64,000 toward improvements such as wooden floors, bathroom railings and generators for easier wheelchair and walker access.

This nonprofit provides housing and employment to people facing disabilities. Officials say residences must be single-floor, four-bedroom homes. The nonprofit buys homes and gets them ready for use by up to four people.

Director of Residential Services Kendra Chaplin says this work gives these residents who use wheelchairs and walkers an opportunity to live independently in traditional communities.

“It was just hard for them to be able to get in and out of the bathtub and with the grant it made it more accessible to be able to get in and out of the bathtub on their own,” Chaplin says. “Staff is still available, but they would be able to do more independently for themselves.”

According to the National Library of Medicine, accessible housing is critical for people living with disabilities. Accessible housing has many health and social benefits. The modifications help with rehabilitation and keep people safe from falls or injuries. Independent living for disabled populations improves privacy and self-confidence while reducing health service costs. Accessible housing decreases the amount of household accidents and reliance on institutional care.

The nonprofit offers around-the-clock staff supervision despite the push for independence. Chaplin says staff manage the homes but also help train residents to live independently in the home and the community.

“Once they’re admitted to our program, we do an assessment to see what they can and cannot do,” Chaplin says. “The staff goes and trains them to be even more independent. There might be someone in the home that already knows how to cook. That person might need to learn how to make their bed so that would be an objective for that person just to learn how to do that so that they can be even more independent.”

House manager and caregiver of the Goose Creek home Angely Stuckey says the current residents are excited for the grant upgrades as it is easier to move around the home. Stuckey says she is happy with the improvements as they ensure resident safety.

“You have to make sure and provide them safety and make sure they are good,” Stuckey says. “Even with their parents, you have to make sure to keep a smile on their face and make sure they’re happy with what’s going on so they can have the security that their children are in good hands. This really promotes an easy life for everybody.”

The organization will celebrate the newest upgrades at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Thistle Road home. Officials will give a facility tour to guests.