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East County Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 3 years ago

Haven breaks ground on new residence

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Wheelchair accessible group home should be open within a year.
by: Andrew Atkins Staff Writer

To hear Tyler Cook’s dad tell it, Tyler is the life of the party.

“He’s never met anybody he doesn’t know,” Charles Cook said.

Tyler Cook will have an opportunity for independence and more socialization when he moves to Mary Jane’s House at The Haven, which broke ground Jan. 31.

“We’re just pleased and tickled Tyler’s going to be included in the house,” Charles Cook said.

Tyler Cook said he’s excited to be one of eight residents in the $1.4 million home located at The Haven’s campus, at 4405 Desoto Road in Sarasota, which will be specially designed to accommodate individuals in wheelchairs. The 6,500-square-foot building will feature expanded hallways and door openings, lift systems and private bathrooms.

The Haven President and CEO Brad Jones said most families are interested in the socialization The Haven offers, but it’s more than that.

“When you get in these group homes, you build relationships. It’s like a family.”

— Brad Jones,The Haven president and CEO

“Once they live here, they’re independent,” he said.

The Haven is a nonprofit organization that serves individuals with disabilities. The organization currently helps about 800 people, Jones said.

Half of the funding for the house came from The Hardiek Family Foundation, Jones said, and the  rest was donated by other Haven  backers. The house is named after Bernie Hardiek’s late wife, Mary Jane. Bernie Hardiek stressed the relationships Haven clients have the opportunity to form.

“When you get in these group homes, you build relationships. It’s like a family,” he said.

Jones said The Haven also provides peace of mind for families that are worried about carrying for individuals with disabilities as time goes on — when caretakers age, for example. The Haven currently has 82 people on its waitlist, he said.

The home is the sixth new building in the past six years The Haven has designed and built.

Last year, The Haven opened the 7,500-square-foot Frank Stern Employment Training Center, which was built in response to a sizable waiting list for The Haven’s Adult Day Training programs for adults with disabilities.

Also in 2018, Judy’s Oasis Therapeutic Pool, a 1,248-square-foot commercial pool that includes a zero-depth entry, restroom facilities, a screened enclosure and a brick paver deck was added.

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