Throughout some of the early relocation efforts for clients of the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center, most of the options considered so far have been outside the Pauls Valley city limits.
However, it was at the most recent city council meeting where Lance Windel, a developer with LW Development LLC out of Ardmore, approached council members seeking a resolution of support in order to provide local living arrangements through an application for federal tax credits.
Bringing with him experience in constructing houses for the Developmental Disabilities Services Division of the Department of Human Services in the Ardmore area as well as other areas in the past, his goal is to facilitate the construction of no less than 25 units for those who wish to see their loved ones remain in the immediate area.
“For about 10 years I’ve been providing housing to DDSD, which is a division of DHS, which runs SORC,” said Windel.
“They came here about a year ago and said hey, it looks like we’re going to be closing SORC down and we’d like you to go put some housing in Pauls Valley.”
There’s even a contract to buy some land in the Hillcrest subdivision where a combination of single home or duplex setups would be placed, utilizing existing infrastructure instead of starting from scratch, said Windel.
It did not take long to gain city approval, with a final vote of 4-1 in favor, which will mean not being out any funding and officials are only asked to donate in-kind items like waiving permit fees.
Each of the homes will be built to meet the needs of clients, most of whom have physical as well as mental disabilities, said Windel.
This means meeting any handicapped requirements they may need in all rooms of the house from the accessible bedrooms to bathrooms.
“I can do it better if I can do it with some federal tax credits,” said Windel, noting how even planning and zoning will likely not have to get involved since the proposed spot is already zone residential.
“I’m going to try to use tax credits to build housing here in Pauls Valley to receive those clients being moved out of SORC... That just keeps my application more competitive getting those federal tax dollars.”
The next step is to send in the application for tax credits through the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, due by July 3, according to Windel.
He added how he may ask for special consideration to find out whether he is approved well before the decision date set for November, since the proposed SORC closure date of April 2014 is quickly approaching.
In the end, the community will also benefit from the clients moving into the homes here both economically and offering potential jobs for caregivers, said Windel.
“Not only does it keep the clients, but it keeps the staffing and the jobs here in Pauls Valley,” said Windel, noting how pleased DHS has been with what he’s constructed for them before.
“We’ve got five of these down in Ardmore, they really like them, they really like the design.”