CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) - For the intellectually disable, The Orange Grove Center is a safe haven. It is a place that is primarily focused on their mental and physical development in hopes of providing more comfortable life like the rest of the world.
On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, the Chattanooga City Council agreed to continue this movement by approving funds for Orange Grove, Inc. to create affordable rental housing. These funds were awarded on behalf of the HOMEAgain Program, a program that assists in creating supportive rental housing for underprivileged individuals and families to prevent homelessness.
According to documents from the Chattanooga City Council, the Department of Economic and Community Development are to award HOMEAgain Program funds in the amount of $45,000. The owner is to contribute $73,250 to create these affordable apartments.
Orange Grove residential services help support about 50 individuals in 23 homes located throughout the metropolitan area. While the non-profit organization may not own the homes, they help assist the individuals in leasing their home in the community and provide the staffing and oversight for the homes.
Orange Grove also provide residential rehabilitation housing. OGC has 25 homes serving 146 individuals. The residential rehabilitation housing supports two to eight individuals in Orange Grove Center homes with a house manager and support staff as needed. The staff helps with life skill development and many activities throughout the community.
Many agree that Orange Grove is a staple in the Chattanooga community that provides a safe environment for the mentally ill and that this initiative will only improve the private, non-profit organization.
“Orange Grove has worked hard to become the establishment that they are. If it wasn’t for Orange Grove coming along individuals with developmental disabilities would be left at home or in mental intuitions,” said Diamond Pride OGC employee. She also stated that OGC allow the individuals have regular lives help them feel more inclusive in the community.
Darious James, Direct Support Professional at OGC weighed in on the mentally ill clients and OGC’s initiative to make them feel more independent. “Orange Grove does a great justice to the community plus they also let the individuals work and make money on real jobs. ”
Although it is not clear on who the new, affordable apartments will be made available to, it is clear that Orange Grove is always finding ways to improve their organization.
More information will be provided as the story continues to unfold.