October 23, 2002
Apartment complex for physically disabled to be built in south Mississippi
By Jim Albritton
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—Just two years after breaking ground for the state’s first apartment complex for the physically disabled, Mississippi Methodist Accessible Housing, Inc. (MMAH), has announced plans to build a second, 15-unit building in Hattiesburg.
MMAH, a not-for-profit corporation formed by Methodist Rehabilitation Center to increase housing options for Mississippians with disabilities, has worked to secure a section 811 program grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to build the complex.
The one-story building, to be built in south Hattiesburg on Bonhomie Road, will feature a barrier-free environment without steps or steep ramps and will be designed to help those with physical limitations live as independently as possible.
“Research indicates a growing need for this type of housing throughout the state,” said Steve Hope, MMAH president. “There are many disabled Mississippians who are independent enough to live on their own if the right kind of housing is available.”
The building will have lowered light switches, raised electrical outlets, widened doorframes and fully accessible kitchens with roll-under space at the sink and the stove.
“Most people don’t even think about the heat and air controls, the doorbell and the security peephole. All of those are lowered for easier access,” Hope said.
Living nearby others with disabilities will be a boon to new residents. “This will be wonderful for those who will live here,” said Mark Adams, president and CEO of Methodist Rehabilitation Center. “The complex will give them a sense of community, well being and independence.”
The building’s location was chosen for a couple of reasons, Hope said. “South Mississippi’s growing population and the quality of health care in the area were key factors in our decision to build in Hattiesburg. Also, Methodist Rehab already has an orthotics and prosthetics clinic in Hattiesburg and treats a large number of patients from the area, many of whom could be potential residents of this facility.”
Thomas A. Turner, MMAH board chairman, said he was delighted that MMAH and HUD could work together again on such a project.
“Together we are providing Mississippi with its second complex designed solely for the use of residents with physical disabilities,” Turner said. “Because the State of Mississippi does not have other independent living apartments for the physically disabled, this complex, and future complexes like it, are very much needed to allow physically disabled adults to live more independent lives.”
Webb Park, the state’s first apartment complex built for the physically disabled, opened in Jackson in July 2001. The 19-unit building is named for John H. Webb Jr., a Hattiesburg resident, Methodist Rehab board member and former state director of the Mississippi Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
“We hope to see other apartments like this open in other parts of the state as well,” said Adams. “The new building in Hattiesburg will be a great example of community leaders working with a government agency to help provide housing solutions.”
For more information:
Complex puts independent life in reach | The Clarion-Ledger