Hope House opens new group home
By Dana Delgado
After living most of their lives in the remote Hope House campus on the outskirts of Liberty Hill, eight adult residents found themselves living in a new, vibrant facility Jan. 2, in the heart of the town’s historic district.
Named “Mike’s House”, the facility is specifically designed and constructed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and is the second group home to be built within the community. Hope House’s first group community home was built in 2013 on Nita Cove.
The multi-acre main campus, established in 1976 on a secluded site just southeast of Liberty Hill as an assisted living facility, will continue to house residents and provide a host of programs to support all sites.
For residents of the new home at 104 Young Street, it is a whole new experience.
“It is the first time they will have their own bedroom,” said Hope House Executive Director David Gould. “It’s a home I would be pleased to live in.”
The 2500 square foot facility was built by Valereo Services at a cost of $255,000 and is as “green as possible,” according to Director Gould. “They did a great job. I’m thrilled! The contractors are local guys. Our sons played little league together.”
“This is a new community concept through a program called Home and Community Services (HCS),” said Hope House Program Developer Erland Schuze. “It allows the residents to remain in the home as long as they need to rather than having to be moved as funds or space dictates in other programs. Director Dave Gould says, ‘For every person diverted from state-supported living centers (SSLCs) to HCS care in Texas, taxpayers save an estimated $200,000 per year.’”
The new living quarters offer far more amenities than the aging main campus. Designed as a duplex, the new group facility has four residents on each side. Each home space has pleasing aesthetics both inside and out and is furnished with comforting décor and furnishings. Bedrooms are clustered around a common living space with an open kitchen and dining area to encourage social interaction. A central handicapped-accessible bathroom with safety features is included in each duplex.
The home is designed to let in the natural world and includes plenty of sunlight, garden areas, and outdoor access. Another green feature is the inclusion of a thermal chimney, which provides added ventilation.
While living at the new home with support staff, residents, who average 35 years of age, will continue to participate in a rehabilitation program through Hope House.
During the week, they will be engaged in a variety of activities including shopping, making candles and soaps, and assisting with a community garden and a chicken coop at the Nita location.
Overseeing program development is Schuze who is seeking to establish greater ties with the community.
“It can’t happen without the generosity of the people in the community,” Schuze said. “I’d like to develop programs with churches and organizations.”
Interested clubs, churches or individuals can contact Schuze for more information, volunteering or programs by calling (512) 525-7504 or by emailing email@example.com. An informational video is available on their website, www.hopehouseaustin,org
With a great sense of pride and accomplishment, Gould showed off “Mike’s House” but fought back tears when he began to reflect on the beloved namesake who suddenly passed away in 2016 after 38 years with Hope House.
“I miss him so much,” Gould said. “He contributed so much to our community. His mother is on our board.”
Consideration for a third home site is expected to begin in a few months said Gould. Sites under consideration are in Bertram and Jarrell.
“It will be based on the availability of employees,” he said. “Employees need to provide direct services and it has to be a spiritual mission.”