Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Apartments Are for Adults with Autism - as Well as Those Who Don't Have Autism Inclusiveness Makes This Housing Unusual

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Apartments Are for Adults with Autism - as Well as Those Who Don't Have Autism Inclusiveness Makes This Housing Unusual

Article excerpt

Adults with autism soon will be able to move into new apartments in Heidelberg where they can live independently, and where half of their neighbors will be people who do not have autism.

"Most housing for people with autism is just for people with autism," said Elliot Frank, president and founder of Autism Housing Development Corp. of Pittsburgh. "Inclusiveness is what makes this different."

In the entire country, Mr. Frank said, he has found only one other apartment project like this one - in Richmond, Va.

He explained that when educational and social services stop at age 21, many people with autism "graduate to the couch," with most living at home with their parents. Mr. Frank founded the autism housing group in 2011 to develop safe and affordable housing for adults with autism.

The Dave Wright Apartments on Washington Street are a joint project of Autism Housing Development Corp. of Pittsburgh and ACTION-Housing Inc. Construction is on target to be completed before Sept. 15, the goal for tenants to move into the building.

Half of the 42 apartments are reserved for people on the autism spectrum. All of the apartments are for people with low- to moderate incomes, with monthly rents of $565 to $795. All of the apartments are wheelchair-accessible, and six of the units meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards for people with disabilities.

This is ACTION-Housing's first apartments for adults with autism, said Linda Metropulos, director of housing and neighborhood development for ACTION-Housing, which has been helping people with special needs or low incomes find and maintain housing since 1957. The nonprofit will be the management company for the apartments, she said.

The new apartments are on the site of Wright's Seafood Inn, which was a popular restaurant for 106 years before it closed in 2007 after being heavily damaged in a flood.

The Dave Wright Apartments are named for the last owner-operator of the restaurant. The new building is closer to Route 50 and away from the creek that flooded the restaurant.

The apartment building is five stories tall, the tallest building that has ever been built in Heidelberg, Mayor Kenneth A. …

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