On August 2nd, Leake & Watts opened four new community residences in the Bronx and Yonkers providing permanent housing to 21 young men and women with developmental, physical, and neurological disabilities.
The new homes, named McDonald, Savada, Azalea, and Miller, provide 24-hour care and support and now make eight such residences opened by Leake & Watts over the past several years. This growth spurt is part of an ongoing expansion of the agency’s Developmental Disabilities services to serve a growing need in the community. Three additional residences in the Bronx are scheduled to open in the next year.
By opening these new homes, Leake & Watts is now able to accommodate individuals with physical as well as developmental disabilities. All of the new residents are 20-22 years old and are from the greater the New York area – including the Bronx and Westchester County – and have come to Leake & Watts as a result of aging out of residential school placements. Having come from such placements both in and out of the state of New York, most of these residents are now much closer to their families. Some relatives have already visited the new homes and have expressed how happy they are to have their children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews nearby once again. “By providing an opportunity for these young men and women to live and participate in their community, we are excited to broaden the range and depth of services at Leake & Watts,” says Leake & Watts Executive Director Alan Mucatel, “We are also happy to bring these young adults closer to their families.”
In opening the new residences, Leake & Watts now serves a population with a wider spectrum of disabilities and challenges including cognitive impairment, autism, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, seizure disorders, and other neurological deficits as well. Many also have concurrent medical diagnoses such as diabetes that affect their motor and self-sufficiency skills. Although some are able to communicate verbally, many residents use non-verbal indicators. As a result, this is an opportunity for Leake & Watts to provide a more intensive regimen of care and attentive hands-on help.
Staff assists residents with self-care activities necessary for daily living such as eating, dressing, and bathing. In addition, staff has been helping the men and women become acclimated to their new neighborhood by engaging them in activities such as field trips into the community, swimming, and walks in the park.
All the new residences are able to accommodate residents with mobility challenges. After undergoing intensive renovation, the homes include beautiful hard wood floors, granite and stainless steel kitchens, new bathrooms, and bright and spacious bedrooms. These renovations were undertaken to better meet the needs of the new residents, as well as to offer them a spacious, comfortable, and welcoming environment in what is now their permanent home. While everyone has their own personal space, all residents sit down for family style dinner, and those who are able to, help in the cooking preparations, and engage with each other around the dinner table.
About Leake & Watts:
Founded in 1831, Leake & Watts assists children, adults, and families who face a myriad of challenges, including poverty, disabilities, and a lack of access to quality education and basic services. Our comprehensive array of programs serving over 2,800 children and families each day includes family stabilization services, child care and Head Start, special education programs for children with emotional disorders and learning disabilities, family foster care, residential, day, and recreation services to people with developmental disabilities and residential treatment services and group homes for youth who have experienced trauma.