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East County Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2015 2 years ago

Community Haven breaks ground on group home

Marlene’s House will give its nine residents a home of their own.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Leannette Pigott’s son, Cyle, 19, lives in a group home in Pinellas County even though his family lives in Heritage Harbour. That’s why his mom  can’t wait for him to move closer to home to Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities’ future Marlene’s House.

“His goal is to be on the lawn-care crew here,” Pigott said. “When you have a special needs child, you worry about what’s going to happen if something happens to you. It’s a community here. It’s a community for them to be themselves. And, they’re safe.”

After celebrating 60 years as an organization last month, Community Haven has reached another milestone: On March 5, the organization broke ground on Marlene’s House, its newest group home and the first building on its long-range master development plan. 

The 4,800-square-foot house will house nine clients in individual rooms upon completion in August. A house parent will live at the facility, as well.

“It’s huge,” said Brad Jones, CHAC’s vice president of operations. “This was in our one- to five-year plan. It’s kicking us off in the right direction.”

The project is the first to come to fruition since Community Haven underwent an extensive rezone project last year so it could develop its 32-acre campus to meet the community’s existing and future needs. The organization has waiting lists for every program, said Marla Doss, CEO and president of CHAC.

The Fry Family Foundation, created by Darryl and Marlene Fry, funded $440,000 of the project’s total $750,000 cost. The remainder is being funded by individual donations and by the families whose children will live there.

Betty Rogers’ son, Tim, is a future resident. Although Rogers has family in New York City and Atlanta, Community Haven, where the soon-to-be-27-year-old Tim has received services since he was 14, is a better fit for him.

“We’re on the threshold of Tim starting his own life,” said Rogers, who cares for Tim at home and was widowed when Tim was 5. “Now, he will have a place to call home.”

Community Haven opened a group home, Jacquelyn’s House, in June 2013. It also houses nine clients, but residents live two to a room, rather than in individual quarters. 

Community Haven also is working to raise funds for its next construction project, a new building for its Haven Industries program. It hopes to break ground on the facility in December.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected]om.

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