BLOOMFIELD, Conn. — Charlie Correll’s family didn’t plan on him ever living alone. Correll, 61, has lived in a couple of group homes but needs care that seemed to put independence out of reach. But in August, he moved into his own apartment at Bloomfield’s Lavender Field, which is offering new supportive housing units for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Correll had lived with his mother for most of his life before his brother, Daniel Correll, suggested to her that they needed to find an alternative.

“I had a couple of hard conversations with her, explaining that someday something’s going to happen to you,” Daniel Correll said. “And if Charlie’s here, it’s going to be very traumatic for him because you’ll be gone. And then Charlie will not be in his home that he considers a home. He will be moved out somewhere else, and I really won’t have control … And so she finally realized that she had to kind of let go.”

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Charlie is among 18 adults who moved into nine supportive housing units at Lavender Field Apartments in August. The complex is run by Favarh — Arc of the Farmington Valley in partnership with New York developer Regan Development.

The new apartment has brought lots of new experiences for Charlie, Daniel said.

“It is a huge learning experience for Charlie because he’s here, he has a kitchen, he’s on his own. He’s helping out with things. You know, he’s got to deal with dirty dishes with some help and cooking with help. But he’s engaging with it, which is great,” Daniel said.

Charlie also remains connected to all the activities he enjoys through Favarh and Special Olympics.

“He does, I think every Special Olympic sport there is practically … so he does all these practically daily activities that can continue here, too. So he has that blend, no interruption from the social aspect of it,” said Daniel’s wife, Marge Correll.

Support and special features

The nine supportive housing units are designed with ADA-plus features and staffed with 24-hour support. Carvey Jerrick, Favarh residential manager at Lavender Field and his team — consisting of an assistant manager, liaisons and others — help the residents with medical appointments, papers, bills and other necessities.

“Taking them grocery shopping, to the mall, doing laundry for them, medication administration. Most of our individuals, they self medicate … we just have oversight … making sure that individuals are safe,” he said.

Within the units there are additional accessibility features, including hardwood floors, extra grab bars in the bathrooms, roll-under sinks for both bathrooms and kitchens, wheelchair door controls and quick-stop devices that stop automatically when turn off when they’ve been on too long.

Favarh Executive Director Stephen E. Morris said that more smart technology will soon be built into the apartments.

What makes Lavender Field so special, he said, is that it is centered on building community ties, integrating people with and without disabilities and encouraging friendships.

The apartment complex has a community space on the second floor for the residents to congregate. Social activities are also planned.

“And we invite people, whether it’s a cooking program or bringing in a musician to play some music — that helps people get to know each other and develop those friendships that become so important,” he said.

Since most of the residents are actively involved in day programs or employment, Jerrick and his team are working on a schedule for social activities to begin in the evenings. On a recent weekend residents went out bowling and they will attend a concert Sept. 10.

Myriad benefits

Lavender Field is the second partnership between Favarh and Regan Development, following Bear Woods in Canton, which opened in 2021 with space for nearly 20 young adults.

“There’s so many benefits of a setup like this: staff efficiencies, the larger peer group integration, the greater independence, realization of smart technology, the extra accessibility features, all of these things are possible because we can work with the developer from the design bar, instead of coming in after the apartment,” is built, Morris said.

“Something like this hasn’t been done before. Supportive housing has been around for a long time for people who are low income or ex-offenders; they have lots of programs that are important,” Morris said. “But it’s never been paired up for people with intellectual developmental disabilities before. So this is the second of two. And then there are six more in the works throughout the state, and hopefully more on the way.”

Lavender Field resident Ann Marie Goehring recently retired after 27 years of working in Stop & Shop in Simsbury, and on a recent day at the complex, was excited to be meeting with her former manager, ordering in from Bloomfield Village Pizza and playing Yahtzee that evening.

About her favorite part of her apartment, Goehring said: “No stairs. It’s my rheumatoid arthritis.”

Mayor Danielle Wong said she also pleased about welcoming the new residents from Lavender Field Apartments into the community.

“Bloomfield is in the midst of a wonderful housing boom, so I think Lavender Field is great,” she said. “Bloomfield is a diverse and welcoming community, and a part of that is ensuring we have spaces for everyone to live.”

© 2022 Hartford Courant
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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