Oak Tree Farm resident enjoys new home: ‘Mom wasn’t sure I could live independently’

Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 11:01 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2023 at 11:11 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Progress continues on the Oak Tree Farm development in Conway, but residents are already settling in their new homes.

The community broke ground last July and once completed will include six apartment complexes with one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

Oak Tree Farm is an affordable transitional housing community, a resource created through SOS Care, specifically developed for adults with autism and intellectual disabilities.

SOS Care is a nonprofit that provides help to people with disabilities. The organization provides classes covering skills such as cooking, budgeting, paying rent, and using public transportation.

Justin Borrero, one of the first residents to move into a finished duplex, said living on his own has been wonderful over the last year and several months.

“I was very silent and shy and wouldn’t go outside the house without having a parent or family member with me. My mom wasn’t sure what my future would be wasn’t really sure that I would be able to live independently on my own,” said Borrero.

Borrero is not only living independently but he is also employed by SOS Care. In his role, he can help his roommates and future neighbors.

“I work in IT and usually in their offices in Murrells Inlet. I help with some website stuff and some social media as well,” said Borrero.

For residents who might not have access to a vehicle, Coast RTA will also provide a service stop in the area.

“This will also be a point on the regular bus line for Coast RTA, so that will also be an option. We’re also looking to partner with volunteer services like neighbor-to-neighbor that will have volunteers that will work with our residents,” said Borrero.

There will also be the Chapin Health and Wellness Center with an exercise room, sensory room, and medical office.

“It will also function as an evacuation shelter and have classrooms, a kitchen, and offices,” said Kathi Grace of SOS Care.

On the heels of the completion of Oak Tree Farm, SOS Care plans on heading to Charleston with ideas for a community there.

“We agreed that once Oak Tree Farm is complete, we will move on to Charleston. A nonprofit called Village Vision was on the same path we were in trying to build affordable housing. They were having a tough time and we decided to help out,” said Grace.

Details about that project are yet to be determined. There should be a clear picture when all of the reports and studies are connected to it.

To learn more about Oak Tree Farm or to keep up with construction updates, you can visit their Facebook page.