Homes for Individuals who are Deaf, Blind or DeafBlind Dedicated
Homes for Individuals who are Deaf, Blind or DeafBlind Recently Dedicated
TALLADEGA – Two homes specially designed to provide safe and affordable housing for individuals who are Deaf, Blind or DeafBlind were dedicated at the Presbyterian Home for Children (PHFC) on Dec. 8.
The homes, called “tiny homes” because of their compact size, are fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and feature zero-step entry into the home, minimal thresholds, 9-foot ceilings and strategic placement of lighting. The homes are part of Union Village, a permanent supportive housing community on the 80 acre campus of PHFC, where residents can also access from the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) wrap-around supportive services, such as employment opportunities, transportation, meal delivery, support groups and more.
Two homes have been occupied since 2019. Two additional tiny homes built with donations from the Daniel Foundation of Alabama and the IPC Foundation with matching funds from PHFC were completed in November. All four homes were named Dec. 8. The two homes completed in 2019 were named Union Presbyterian Home and Presbyterian Manor Home after donations resulting from the sale of Union Presbyterian Church in Ozark and Presbyterian Manor Apartments in Tarrant.
The home built in 2020 with the donation from the Daniel Foundation was named in memory of Garry Smith, executive director of The Daniel Foundation of Alabama from its formation in 1978 until 2005.
“The Union Village project is a testimony to the power of relationships,” said Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., chancellor of Troy University and president of AIDB from 1979-1989. “I met Garry Smith of the Daniel Foundation in 1979 and that led to a relationship between the Foundation and AIDB that thrives today. The first project Garry and I worked on provided housing to enable students at AIDB to live independently. Add another strong partner in PHFC and the result is Union Village, which allows the Deaf and Blind to live independently with dignity. Union Village is the right project at the right time, and the Daniel Foundation is honored to be a part of this effort.”
The home built with funds from IPC Foundation was named in memory of Felix Yarboro, former youth director and community ministries coordinator for Independent Presbyterian Church. Beth Adams, president of the IPC Foundation Board, said Yarboro’s “faithful work left a lasting legacy through the IPC Foundation.” His close relationship with Ralph and Orlean Beeson led them to trust the IPC Foundation as the recipient of their bequest, which is devoted to “the benefit of mankind, the education of youth, the relief of human suffering, and propagation of the Christian religion.”
“IPC has supported the work of the Presbyterian Home for Children for more than 20 years,” Adams said. “We are honored to partner with them and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind to help create and expand this community – which is safe, affordable and fully accessible – giving residents the opportunity to be independent and together.”
The tiny homes, built by George Hicks Construction, Inc. of Talladega, include zero-step entry, minimal thresholds, 9-foot ceilings, zero barrier showers and other features designed for those who are Deaf, Blind, or DeafBlind.
“AIDB’s purpose is to transform the lives of those we serve beyond expectations by refusing to let adversity limit any individual's potential,” said Donte Little, director, AIDB Talladega Regional Center. “The housing provided by Union Village coupled with the innovative supportive programs offered by AIDB make this project a unique success story for AIDB consumers.”
Phase 1 of Union Village was completed in 2017 and currently serves 33 residents in five large cottages. Phase 2 will eventually consist of 16 tiny homes (two 495-square-foot homes per duplex) that provide special accommodations and accessibility with another 24 tiny homes planned for Phase 3. Shaded by large oak and pecan trees, this planned community will eventually include walkways, raised flower beds and gardens, and picnic areas, making it easy for residents to enjoy fellowship and the outdoors.
Daniel Foundation and IPC Foundation, both based in Birmingham, donated funds to PHFC to help complete the third and fourth tiny home at Union Village in Talladega. Presbyterian Home for Children has partnered with AIDB since 2017 to offer Union Village, a permanent supportive housing community for low-income individuals who are Deaf, Blind or DeafBlind. PHFC operates Union Village on its campus for AIDB consumers, and rental income from Union Village supports PHFC’s programs that serve and care for at-risk teenage girls, homeless children and women, and both young female adults and families in crisis from across Alabama and beyond.
“There are very few, if any, communities like Union Village in the country, and a tremendous need exists for safe, secure and affordable housing for low-income men and women who are Deaf, Blind, DeafBlind, and multidisabled. Further, income from these affordable rentals will help to offset a portion of PHFC’s operating costs to serve children, which is and will always be its core ministry,” said Jeremy Hardy, PHFC director of operations. “We are truly grateful for AIDB and our donors, the Daniel Foundation and the IPC Foundation helping us side by side to give these residents an opportunity to be independent and help each one at Union Village.”