ROCKFORD, Mich. — A new non-profit in northern Kent County is offering adults with special needs, ages 18-38, a chance to live on their own.
Homes Giving Hope opened its first home to female residents in July.
The home sits on 23 acres of land purchased by Sara Boven and her husband for the purpose of creating the independent living community.
Boven said the vision came to her after years of working as an educator.
"I started to become passionate about transition... A lot of them are very high functioning. But, when they move out on their own, there's not really a lot of support for them, a lot of options, especially in the Rockford area," Boven told FOX 17 News. "I kept saying, we've got to find a place for people to rent from, and provide them with opportunities in this area so that they can stick close to home, stay in their community."
The couple found the perfect partner to execute their vision in Boven's friend Kay Wood. Wood, who taught students with autism for years, was also passionate about the mission.
"She was feeling like God was really providing this opportunity for her to also come alongside of us, and help us with this vision," said Boven.
Residents pay rent, along with a service fee to live in the home.
"As a house of roommates, they all work together to come up with a covenant, or agreement, ways that they're going to take care of the home," Boven explained. "So we're really trying to set it up, like that college campus feel, where there's a peer mentor that lives with them to provide support through the overnight hours."
Boven said plans are already in the works to create a second home on the property for men.
And that's just the beginning.
"We have a hope of almost branding our mission, so that we can take this specific model and plan to and all different areas around town," Boven said. "It honestly is a dream come true for so many educators in the area, employment specialists, families of these individuals and the individuals."
Homes Giving Hope set a $50,000 dollar goal this #GivingTuesday.