Conway nonprofit continues work on housing community for adults with autism, learning disabilities

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 6:12 PM EST
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CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - SOS Care’s Oak Tree Farm is all about creating an affordable housing community for people with autism and intellectual disabilities.

For the first time ever, five residents are living on their own in Oak Tree Farm’s new transitional housing.

“It’s very rewarding knowing the five residents of the house,” said Kathi Grace, Director of Marketing and Events at SOS Care. “Seeing how much they’ve grown has been very exciting.”

Grace said this is the first transitional home of its kind in South Carolina, and that SOS Care wants to have a community that promotes a healthy and active lifestyle for all.

The organization says there are more than 4,000 people with intellectual disabilities in Horry County.

Oak Tree Farm serves as a stepping stone to independent living, something that SOS Care CEO Sarah Pope says is incredibly important for everyone to have.

“It’s a human right,” she said. “I mean everyone should have the right to make decisions in their life and most people don’t put them in a position to do that, but we value them so much, and we want it to happen for all of the people we serve.”

Last February, the transitional home opened during phase one - but now, SOS Care is starting on an apartment complex for phase two.

It will house almost 50 more people. Plans also include a health and wellness center with everything from a gym and pool, to offices and classrooms.

So far, a campaign to pay for the expansion raised more than $500,000. Donors were also able to sponsor individual rooms within the center.

Oak Tree Farm resident Justin Borrero lives at the transitional housing. He says he’s excited to move into the apartment complex.

This is the first time he’s been able to live on his own, and says for many residents it’s something they never thought possible.

“Just being able to prove to ourselves and our family, and to be able to take that next step in independence and to be able to live independently, it’s been a great experience,” said Borrero.

Workers at SOS Care hope to break ground on the new apartment complex next month, with a goal of having people moved in by the end of the year.

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