Adventures in Missions, a Gainesville-based Christian group, coordinates global mission trips but is now trying to reach the local community with an assisted living facility for disabled adults.
The organization wants to build the facility off of Bogus Road near its intersection with Claude Peck Road in North Hall County. The site is next to Adventures in Missions’ offices.
Seth Barnes Jr. with Adventures in Missions said the idea started with his youngest sister, Leah, who has some mental and physical disabilities. He said his family has always wanted to find a community for Leah but struggled to find the right place.
During the family’s travels, they spoke with other families and visited the Brookwood community in Texas, which houses disabled adults and offers them employment opportunities and spiritual guidance. While Brookwood is not accepting new residents and has a long waiting list, the family wanted to create a community like it and decided to start in their home of Hall County.
“Our focus is really on two main things — community and purpose,” Barnes said. “We want to provide a long-term care community for people with disabilities, where they can find a place of belonging and really make a meaningful contribution.”
The community, named the Flourish Community, would house up to 48 people in four different houses. Barnes said the first house would likely open late next year, and new houses would be added gradually, one about every 12 to 18 months. Flourish Community would start with only four residents and add one about every other month, Barnes said.
Each house would accommodate up to 12 residents and would have about 14,000 square feet. Barnes said the Flourish Community would be designed by an architect that has created other homes for disabled adults and keeps residents’ needs in mind.
“Their program leaders have gotten into wheelchairs and navigated their way around the home. … How should the door open, to the left or the right? How big should the rooms be?” Barnes said. “Everything is going to be (Americans with Disabilities Act) approved.”
Adventures in Missions would partner with local day programs such as the PIER Foundation in Cumming, and residents could also gain some business experience through the community’s partnerships.
“We may start businesses that can uniquely employ the residents, depending on their skill sets,” Barnes said.
The Brookwood community in Texas, which is being used as a model, sells plants from their residents’ greenhouse, or residents could make baked goods that could be sold at other businesses, Barnes said.
Residents will also be able to participate in activities such as sports and group trips. Each house will have an apartment for home teachers, and the community would host on-site clinics for residents’ medical needs.
Barnes said Flourish Community staff would partner with residents’ families to create a plan for long-term care.
“Whenever we accept somebody, we want to be able to set them up for life,” he said. “We would work with every family to create a unique plan for their son or daughter. We care deeply about each person and want to create a plan and a path for them that works for the family and for the individual.”
The next step for Adventures in Missions is approval from the county. The approximately 12-acre site needs to be rezoned from agricultural residential to planned residential development.
The Hall County Planning Commission will hear the application on Monday, Oct. 1. The planning commission’s recommendation will then go to the Hall County Board of Commissioners for a vote on Oct. 25.
Hall County Planning Commission
When: 5:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1
Where: Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville