A proposed group home for autistic and developmentally disabled young adults in Lindenwood got unanimous approval by Community Board 10 last week.
The home, located at 137-31 80 St., will be operated by Birch Family Services and house six young men with autism or other developmental disabilities. The residents will all be around 21 years old.
Representatives from Birch Family Services attended last Thursday’s CB 10 meeting to answer questions on the proposed site, its employees and its residents.
“We want them to lead as normal a life as possible,” said Lester Kaufman, executive vice president for Birch Family Services, who noted that the men inside the home would use local stores and facilities under the supervision of Birch’s on-site staff. “We want them to participate in the community and have a normal community life.”
The home is a two-family residence that will be kept as is. Three of the residents will live on the first floor and three on the second.
Two staff members will be present during the day and two during the overnight shift, while there will also be two “floating” workers in the morning and at night when the residents are home.
“There will be ample staff in the house,” Kaufman said.
During the majority of the day, the residents will be taking classes at an off-site school they will be bused to.
Joann Ariola, president of the Lindenwood Alliance civic group, expressed concern about the employees and whether or not they will be “heavily vetted.”
“Before they can work the first day for us, they have to go through a rigorous training program,” Kaufman told her.
After the unanimous vote, CB 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton said the board has not had any serious problems with any of the group homes in the neighborhoods the community board serves.
“None of our facilities have negatively affected our community,” she said.