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Coshocton Community Housing completes 12th home

| September 21, 2015

COSHOCTON – The Coshocton Community Housing Inc. started 20 years ago with a mission to provide independent living to members of the community with developmental disabilities. The organization bought homes throughout the community and transformed them into handicapped-accessible residences. The individuals would then be able to go out and chose the home they wanted to live in.

On Thursday, Sept. 17, the first home designed completely for individuals with developmental disabilities held an open house for members of the public. This home is unique in the county as it is the first home to be constructed from the ground up as a handicapped-accessible home.

“We saw a need for this type of housing for folks,” said Mary Mason, a member of the Coshocton Community Housing board. “It gives them some kind of independent living.”

The four bedroom, two bath home will be available to four Coshocton residents who are presently living in developmental centers in the state. Construction of the home took three months to complete and was done by Gemini Company, who has been in Coshocton for 15 years.

“We were very fortunate to work with the Community Housing on this,” said Jason Pendola, president of Gemini.

The house is located on 16th Street in Coshocton behind the RHDD building. It is the 12th house in the county owned by Coshocton Community Housing.

“We’ve worked really hard to make the other houses accessible to individuals with developmental disabilities,” said Steve Champagne, CEO of Coshocton Community Housing. “This house was easier because it’s handicapped accessible right away.”

Mason explained that the board of Coshocton Community Housing has been an asset to members of the community with developmental disabilities.

“Before we had the board, folks in wheelchairs, housing was just whatever they could find,” said Mason. “It wasn’t handicapped accessible. What we’ve been able to do is make it suitable for these folks.”

The house featured hardwood floors throughout, an outdoor patio with a nice backyard, handicapped accessible walk-in showers, a laundry room with front-load washer and dryer, lowered appliances in the kitchen, lowered light switches, and a family room where residence can have a private visit with their families.

“They’ve plugged faithfully along many obstacles to make this happen, and they made it happen,” said Mayor Steve Mercer.

The front door of the home is at ground level so those in wheelchairs don’t have to worry about stairs.

“From the moment you drive into the parking lot, you roll right through the door,” said Pendola. “If you’re in a wheelchair, you can be as independent as possible.”

Each appliance in the home and services provided were done locally. Money was borrowed from the Home Loan Savings Bank, Hitchens and Associates completed the site preparation, work was completed by Bill Albert, and Joseph Dale Sekely III was the architect.

“We did everything as locally as we could possibly do to stimulate the economy,” said Mason.

The house was funded through a $10,000 grant from Coshocton Foundation, County Board of DD loaned $30,000 and gifted $37,000, Schooler Family Trust granted $7,500, the City of Coshocton donated tap fees for water and sewer, and the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities gave $160,000.

The Coshocton Community Housing Board consists of Steve Champagne, Laura Miller, Caroline Karr, Bill Speaks, Tim France, Mary Mason, and Steve Williams. Amy Brown, an employee of the county board, volunteers her time.

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About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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