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Community for people with autism, learning disabilities opens first home in Conway

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 7:43 AM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Five men are the first to move into the newly built Oak Tree Farm transition house. It’s a part of the overall housing development for people with autism and other learning disabilities to live on their own.

SOS Care has been working on the project for years. The transition home is equipped with a full kitchen, living room, wash room, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Resident Cody Lewis said he got to move in on his birthday and it’s a day he’ll never forget.

“It’s so nice to be on my own, especially because I’ve been with my parents for the last 33 years,” Lewis said.

Lewis has quite the sense of humor and said he used to help around the house when he lived with his family. He said he bets his parents miss him doing the laundry.

Kenneth Neathery also moved into the development. He said he thought it would be hard at first to live alone but he’s adjusting well.

“Their independence and confidence has changed so quickly it’s mind blowing,” said SOS Care CEO Sarah Pope said.

Pope added all of the men go through training and classes before moving in.

Even though the transition is complete, Oak Tree Farm still has a way to go before it’s totally done.

Pope said they’ve had to overcome a lot of hurdles to get to where they are. She said flooding and changed plans delayed the process.

She added they changed the plans to meet a greater demand. She said originally the development was created to house around 95 people but the new plan will be able to welcome around 130. They still have a wait list of about 300.

Pope said the next phase will include two apartment complex buildings. She expects the newest addition to be complete by the summer of 2022.

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