Disabled Utahns get tour of newly renovated apartments

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Some disabled Utahns will soon move into their own apartments, thanks to caring community teamwork.

Finding the right, affordable place to call home can be a big challenge for people with disabilities, but five individuals in Salt Lake will soon live in specially modified apartments that are ideal for them.

Jeffery L. Emerson took a tour of his new home Wednesday morning. He's disabled, and along with four other individuals, he'll move into this newly-renovated six-plex in Salt Lake City next week.

"I'm an independent person. I want to do everything humanly possible myself," he said.

Emerson appreciates the help of others but looks forward to a whole different level of freedom.

"I used to live in this place before, but it's changed. They re-did it. It looks better now," he said.

Utah Food Bank Services recently gave the Salt Lake County Housing Authority the chance to own and manage the property. Money from the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund paid for upgrades and renovation. It's now ideal for people who receive support services through the Utah Division of Services for People with Disabilities.

Janice Kimball, director of Housing and Services, said, "This is very exciting. I think it's a much needed kind of housing. All of the units are accessible, so it's really good for people who have mobility issues."

There are new counters, new flooring and other updates so the tenants can create new homes for themselves.

New tenant Stan Francom said, "I'm way excited. I've been waiting five years for this."

Emerson still hasn't selected a specific unit, but today he's simply thankful. "Words can't explain, you know. I'm excited because now I'll be able to be on my own instead of having everybody and his dog helping me," he said.

One tenant has lived in the six-plex since March; the new tenants move in next Tuesday.

E-mail: jboal@ksl.com


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