BROOKSVILLE — The Arc Nature Coast will construct its first licensed group home in eastern Hernando County after receiving $325,000 of a $10 million appropriation to expand residential capacity across the state for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The six-bedroom home will be off Neff Lake Road, east of Brooksville, on the same 30 acres where the nonprofit group's administrative offices and training center are located, said Mark Barry, Arc's director.
"This home will be targeted for those with more challenging disabilities," Barry said. "They'll be located in close proximity to where they'll be training."
Arc's five other licensed homes are in Spring Hill.
The home will feature six bedrooms and three bathrooms and will be more specialized than the organization's other facilities.
"This will not be your typical residential facility," Barry said.
He said there is a tremendous need across the state for these kinds of services.
"The limit is on the funding source side," he said. "The need is great."
During its 2013 session, the Florida Legislature approved a $10 million appropriation to expand residential capacity. The state awarded $1.28 million in grants to eight chapters of the Arc of Florida to build new sites and renovate existing homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The state has nearly 22,000 people on its waiting list to receive Medicaid waivers for disabilities. In Hernando, there are more than 200 people on the list.
The state is in the process of trying to whittle that number down.
"It's a good thing to see," Barry said.
He said he was thrilled that the Arc Nature Coast received the grant, the largest award of any of the chapters.
"We're really grateful to have this opportunity," he said.
He noted that it is especially nice to see after so many years of economic strain.
Barry said he expects to break ground on the new facility in the summer. All of the Arc of Florida's projects should be completed by September 2015.
Danny Valentine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.