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September 20, 2018

OCO Breaks Ground On New Community Residence


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</p>Pictured above is the architect's design of OCO's newest community residence.  Construction began earlier this month and is scheduled to be completed by mid-November.  The home, which is supervised 24 / 7, provides individuals with developmental disabilities with the opportunity to live as independently as possible in the community.

Pictured above is the architect's design of OCO's newest community residence. Construction began earlier this month and is scheduled to be completed by mid-November. The home, which is supervised 24 / 7, provides individuals with developmental disabilities with the opportunity to live as independently as possible in the community.

For Patrick Waite, director of Oswego County Opportunities’ Mental Hygiene Division, these are exciting times.  Construction has just begun on a new community residence and plans are underway for additional homes in the future.

According to Waite the new community residence, to be located on West Fourth Street North in Fulton, represents a new direction for the division’s housing programs, one that mirrors a statewide trend.  “Our community residences provide long term care for the residents.  The population that we serve has a tendency to have more aging issues and more medical issues than the general population.  Our new residences will be getting away from the two story design as a ranch style home will be more manageable and allow us to better meet our consumer’s needs by making it easier to provide them with the long term care that they require,” said Waite.

Waite explained that the new location would be a replacement for a current residence at 8-10 South 3rd Street in Fulton.  The design of the new residence will be much more accessible and comfortable for the residents.   The ranch style home will have five single bedrooms, two baths, a dining area, kitchen, den and a living room.  The home will also be totally handicapped accessible with roll in showers, lower kitchen counters, and other amenities to accommodate the residents.  Funding for the project is being provided by the New York State Office of Mental Retardation / Developmental Disabilities.

OCO’s Mental Hygiene Division operates a total of 12 community residences and 1 respite residence that is used to provide relief to caregivers of developmentally disabled children or adults.  The homes, as well as several supportive apartments, are licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Retardation / Developmental Disabilities and serve more than 120 individuals throughout Oswego County.  The residences are supervised 24 hours a day / 7 days a week and provide individuals with developmental disabilities the opportunity to live independently in their community.  “Our community residences enable our consumers to live near their families and stay in the community they grew up in.  It gives them an opportunity we would all want…to live independently to the best of their abilities,” said Waite.

Each resident is assigned a case manager who designs a service plan based on each individuals unique needs and goals.  Counselors work with the residents to help them hone their skills and achieve their goals such as learning to cook, budgeting, and developing social skills.  Each residence is also staffed by a dietician to plan menus; a nurse manager to monitor the residents’ health needs and follow-up on health care issues; and a consulting psychologist to respond to their emotional needs.

Waite, who has been with the program for the past 26, has seen the division go through a number of changes over the years as it has grown to meet the demand.  He has seen first hand the success of the program and credits that success to OCO’s commitment to the program and the community’s acceptance of it.  “Our staff is passionate about this program, many of them have been with us for more than 20 years.  It is a very stable staff that understands the consumers needs and truly care about what they do and who they are working with.  This program is an excellent example of OCO’s commitment to offering programs that enhance and build community,” said Waite.

As for the future, Waite said that more community residences are being planned for New York State.  A state committee oversees the development of the homes and determines their recommendations based on the needs and desires of those eligible for the program.  With a current wait list of almost 70 individuals, Waite is anticipating that more residences may be coming to Oswego County.

“With our new residence scheduled to open in mid- November and negotiations currently underway to lease 8 additional supervised apartments from an existing complex we are excited about the future of our program and are looking forward assisting even more individuals in Oswego County,” added Waite.

For more information on OCO’s Community Residences or the many services offered through the Mental Hygiene Division you may contact Waite at 589-4732.  OCO Inc. is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966.  OCO, Inc. is a United Way of Greater Oswego county Member Agency.  For more information on OCO visit their web site at www.oco.org.

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