Apartment complex provides independence for young adults with special needs

Six young adults with special needs now have their own apartments thanks to a group of hardworking parents, grandparents and community agencies.

Most young adults have the desire to move out of mom and dad’s house and make it on their own. Those with special needs are often no different. With a little help, many with developmental disabilities are capable of living on their own and leading independent and productive lives.

In 2011, a group of parents, grandparents and siblings of students who were about to graduate from the Redmond Transition Program decided to try and make independent living possible for their loved ones.

Encouraged and guided by Redmond Transition teacher Kate Barker and HDESD Transition Coordinator Margie Blackmore, the parents and grandparents formed the Redmond Association for Successful Community Living (RASCL). They set to work – developing a five-year-plan and partnering with Cascade Community Development, Central Oregon Transition Plus and Housing Works.

Brand New Digs

The result of the five-year process is a brand new five-unit apartment complex in Redmond that is the new home of six young adults with special needs. The units are rent-subsidized and the occupants have a guaranteed place to live for the rest of their lives. It is conveniently located within walking distance of many stores and restaurants.

“These kids are about 80 percent self sufficient,” said RASCL member Dusty Underwood whose 24-year-old son Derek lives in one of the units. “They are capable of living on their own with just a little bit of support.”

Based on a similar project in Bend that was developed by the Cascade Community Development Association, the apartment complex includes a laundry room and community room.

According to Underwood, most of the residents have known each other since early elementary school.

“They are closely tied together because they all have special needs,” Underwood said. “This is a community.”

About the five-year journey to get the complex built, Underwood said: “It’s been a long road, but well worth it. There is a continuing need in our community for places like this. We need to create even more places for kids with special needs to be living as independently and successfully as possibly.”


About the High Desert Education Service District Transition Network
The HDESD Transition Network provides tools and resources to assist students and young adults with special needs to live independent and productive lives. Follow Transition Network on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.