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New complex caters to the disabled

April 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
An 11 year dream has finally come true in the city of Irvine. A group called Ability First is getting ready to open a 24-unit apartment complex.Young Hyung measured the room as she and her 51-year-old husband prepare to move into what will be their new home in Irvine.

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Hyung's husband, Een, suffered a stroke four years ago and is unable to speak. His disability helped the couple qualify to live at the apartment complex.

There are 24 new units at the apartment complex. Ability First is a private non-profit group that provides services for people with physical and developmental disabilities.

The group's second apartment complex in Irvine is exclusively for people with disabilities. There are extra features to the layout of the building. Handrails are in the hallways and braille is on the individual apartment numbers of the units.

"They have a lot of mobility room. All of our bathrooms have grab bars," said Chris Otero, Ability First coordinator.

The showers are designed to allow a wheelchair to role right in. Emergency pull cords and devices that can be worn are also supplied. A push of a button alerts others if a tenant needs immediate help.

"These come with every apartment," said Otero.

Officials expect tenants will move in over the next couple of weeks.

"We signed the papers today. It is exciting," said Eddy Ngok, a new tenant. "I like it and it is new," said Parley Ngok.

Officials say rent runs about $550 a month. Residents provide between 30 to 50 percent of their income, the rest is subsidized by HUD.

"It is extremely difficult and there is such a shortage of affordable, accessible housing," said Otero.

The Hyung's are grateful to be able to move to from Fullerton to live in the safe environment.

Officials say that 100 other people are on a waiting list.

 

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