By Jessica Creagan
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- A long term plan for the care of special needs individuals in this area is getting a little more concrete.
SunUp ARC, an Indian River County nonprofit organization serving the developmentally and intellectually disabled, will break ground on its first constructed residential home on its Fifth Street Southwest campus on April 11 at 11 a.m.
The 4,200-square foot facility will have six bedrooms for full-time residents and a seventh for a part-time respite service, said Chuck Bradley, executive director of SunUp ARC.
"This will be the first home built on our residential campus. There will be a total of six homes to house 54 residents on our property, which is just less than 10 acres," Mr. Bradley said.
SunUp ARC operates four other homes for 20 special needs individuals in Indian River County, but the demand for places to live is much higher.
"We are at capacity and we have a waiting list," Mr. Bradley said.
The nonprofit recognizes that individuals with special needs are living longer, and while many of them live with their parents right now, those parents are also getting older.
Having more places for adults with disabilities to live semi-independently is something the community needs, and after three years of raising funds and planning, SunUp ARC is ready to start building those homes and start meeting the need, Mr. Bradley said.
"It's been a long process and it takes time, but we are excited," he said.
The entire residential project is estimated to cost $3.25 million and so far the nonprofit has gathered about $1.1 million in pledges and about $550,000 in the bank.
Capital fundraising is part of the project and right now there is an active $100,000 matching grant the nonprofit is trying to receive, but still need the help of the community.
"We think it's going to cost about $750,000 to get this first house up, and that's because of getting sewer, water and part of a road set up. If we can raise enough money to get the matching grant, with our $550,000 in the bank we will be able to do this phase without any bank financing," Mr. Bradley said.
While all the details of the facility have yet to be worked out, Mr. Bradley said the first home will have a metal roof, completely handicap accessible, including roll-in showers, fully-equipped kitchen and a built-in generator.
The residential campus will complete SunUp ARC's vision for providing the best in continuous care services for individuals with special needs, Mr. Bradley said.
In 2012, two organizations that served the special needs community in Indian River County merged to form SunUp ARC. Approximately 180 people use SunUp ARC's services on a weekly basis.
SunUp ARC's services include transportation, an employment placement program, supported living, residential group homes and adult day training, which provides training in areas of work preparation, daily living skills, behavioral intervention and community inclusion activities.
The groundbreaking will take place on SunUp ARC's west campus located at 2455 Fifth St. S.W., Vero Beach. For more information about SunUp ARC, call (772) 562-6854 or visit www.sunuparc.org.