One Chelan family is doing their part to increase housing and opportunities for those with developmental disabilities in the Lake Chelan region. Ridgeview Place is a private residence in Chelan built by Al and Denise Lorenz to be shared by their son, Turner Lorenz, and three other male resident owners with developmental disabilities in Chelan.
“Something like 80-percent of people with autism end up living with their parents, and of course, that causes issues when that parent eventually passes away,” Lorenz explained. “When we started researching we found that these kids have a much more interesting day when they spend it interacting with their peers. The idea was to remove the limits for people with special needs.”
Al Lorenz explains that the goal of the project is to build the systems to make each day go smoothly and create employment for the residents, allowing the individuals with developmental disabilities to achieve financial security.
Lorenz was inspired by the format of a similar residence in Leavenworth in which the residents earn income assembling jump ropes. Al found a way to offer a similar opportunity to the residents of Ridgeview Place that allows for more financial benefit for the individuals.
“If the residents own the company, as a business owner, you can opt out of unemployment and L & I. Another advantage is, they can be paid in distributions into their trust accounts, which doesn’t affect their disability distributions,” Lorenz explained.
The business Lorenz has set up for the residents is a gun parts and accessories company, Lakeline LLC.
“This allows the residents to earn a really good income, enough to pay back their buy-in to the house in two years,” Lorenz stated.
When not running their own business, the residents of Ridgeview Place will enjoy a spacious and inviting home with a theatre room, large kitchen, laundry facilities, private bedrooms and bathrooms and sweeping views of the Chelan Butte.
“Each room has space for a desk, bed, sitting area television, and their own walk-in closet,” Lorenz explained. “The bathrooms are set up to where there are headers in the walls for rails if they need them. This house is designed for people to be able to live their entire life here.”
The home also features a private living quarters for a ‘house parent’ whose space is centrally located between the resident’s rooms. The role of ‘house parent’ was filled recently.
“We should have an offer to someone today,” Lorenz said.
“His background is as a special education teacher,” Denise added.
Downstairs, two additional rooms are available for family members of the residents to allow for visits and to aid in the residents’ acclimation to their new home, should the need arise.
“Not everyone will necessarily be from in town,” Lorenz stated regarding the additional guest rooms. “If we have interns they can stay here, too. It can be difficult to find somewhere to stay here in Chelan, so this will be an option.”
Lorenz added that the downstairs will also feature a gym space.
“Until we know everyone who is going to be here, we won’t complete that,” Lorenz stated.
Currently, Ridgeview Place has room for three more male residents. To learn more about Ridgeview Place including job opportunities, visit their website http://ridgeviewchelan.com/.
(By Jillian Foster)