The Arc of Grays Harbor Receives Grants to Renovate House in Cosmopolis for Community-Based Home for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

red and white house with a wheelchair ramp leading up to it
The Arc of Grays Harbor purchased and renovated a home with two grants from the Kuni Foundation for adult living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Photo credit: Heidi Dover

You may have noticed construction on a beautiful 1912 house in Cosmopolis and wondered what was going on with the historical residence. It’s getting new life as a building project by The Arc of Grays Harbor, thanks to two Transformation Grants provided by the Kuni Foundation totaling $354,000. The home will provide affordable housing for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

The initial grant of $300,000 allowed The Arc of Grays Harbor to purchase and renovate the home, which had been vacant for at least five years. “The Arc of Grays Harbor has pushed for improving the lives of people with IDD since 1949,” shares Jeff Meeks, executive director of The Arc of Grays Harbor.  “It has been obvious for decades that additional housing options for those we serve is a huge need.  After COVID, house values tripled in our area. The rented homes of neurodiverse adults were quickly purchased by investors who promptly kicked out the tenants and sold to private parties.”

House in Cosmopolis Renovated for Adults with Disabilities

After a couple of years of hard work by all involved with The Arc of Grays Harbor, including staff and volunteers, the renovations are almost complete. “We just had a new roof installed, and expect to have landscaping and fencing installed as soon as weather permits,” shares Meeks. “The renovations were extensive. It was completely insulated, with new plumbing, heating and wiring. Special attention was paid to making the house as energy-efficient as possible. The water heater is an 80-gallon hybrid unit that consumes only a fraction of the energy compared to the one it replaced. All of the existing flooring was removed to refinish the original 1912 fir.”

The Arc of Grays Harbor team. Back to front, left to right: Jeff Meeks, Destiny Gustafson, Stephen Armes, William Lynch, Estela Aguilar, Amber Cook and Aiden Philips. Photo credit: Heidi Dover

In addition to needed upgrades to the century-old home, The Arc of Grays Harbor had to make sure it was accessible as well. “The entry, the back door approach and the bathrooms required special attention. Each toilet needs two flip-down assist bars and the shower needed bars on all three walls plus another vertical pole for mobility assistance,” shares Meeks.

The house originally had five bedrooms, but part of the renovation included adding a bedroom, allowing for six adults to live there. Two of the rooms are wheelchair accessible. And every room has its own mini-split heating unit. “It is going to be a great, comfortable and pleasant home,” adds Meeks.

The Kuni Foundation awarded The Arc of Grays Harbor an additional Transformation Grant of $54,000 to finish needed repairs and upgrades. The Kuni Foundation Transformation Grants are focused on funding affordable housing options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which made The Arc of Grays Harbor’s project the perfect fit.

bathroom with grab bars by the toliet
In addition to bring the house up to the 21st century, special accomodations were made to make life more accessible for its future inhabitants in the bathrooms and throughout the house. Photo credit: Heidi Dover

“Without the generous support of the Kuni Foundation, creating this home for six people would have been literally impossible,” Meeks shares. “Only large organizations have the clout to build housing in traditional funding models, but we are grateful that the Kuni Foundation is invested in supporting people with IDD served by small nonprofits and in hardworking communities like ours.”

Tenants for the home have not been chosen yet. “Once we open, individuals eligible for Developmental Disabilities Administration services can apply to live here,” shares Meeks. “We will also consider private pay clients. Among other things, we hope to give priority to people with DD who lack stable housing.”

Dining room with a table and chairs flowing into the kitchen area with an island
The common areas, like the kitchen and dining room, are bright, fresh and inviting. Photo credit: Heidi Dover

The Arc of Grays Harbor Continues Its Mission

With a mission to advocate and support a better quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, The Arc of Grays Harbor provides information, services and resources for those living with disabilities and their families. The creation of this comfortable, accessible and inclusive housing unit in Cosmopolis marked the nonprofit’s largest project to date, but Meeks says it won’t be the last.

“This is definitely the biggest project we have taken on, but we’re excited about the challenge,” shares Meeks. “The last two hurdles for opening are the hiring of six certified home care aides and a final licensing step with DSHS, which allows us to serve Medicaid clients (for which everyone on DDA services qualifies). I expect that this will be only the first. Our board of directors is proud and excited about this project and eager to take the next step.”

If you are interested in getting involved with their mission or could benefit from their resources, visit The Arc of Grays Harbor website.

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