PLATTSBURGH - The Advocacy and Resource Center of Clinton County has opened the doors to its second respite house.
The opening of the house, located on Salmon River Road, was officially marked March 25. Clinton County ARC executive director Theresa M. Garrow explained the house provides temporary care on weekends by highly-trained professionals for individuals with developmental disabilities. And, it's in a building that's seen quite an evolution over the years, said Garrow.
"It's been the home of our early education program in the late 1970s and '80s. We've had case managers in this building. It was the home of Workforce Network, which is our supportive work program. It was even the temporary home for our [day rehabilitation] services when we were renovating our building on New York Road," she said.
The building was almost the home of new autism services two years ago, however the Clinton County ARC was unable to secure funding for the project. That left the organization wondering what to do with the building from there.
"Then, we found there was a great need for a second respite house," said Garrow, who noted that project was able to get financial support, with only a need to renovate and furnish the building.
Keith A. Martin, who serves as director of the respite house, said evidence of the need for a second house was in the regular use of the organization's house on Military Turnpike. Serving approximately 85 families in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties, the local ARC was previously limited in its availability of respite services.
"Guests were only able to come once every 14, 15, 16 weeks," said Martin. "Now, we'll be able to serve seven individuals in a weekend here and five over there. We should be able to cut our wait time in half."
"It'll be wonderful for the families and the individuals," he added, noting the houses serve individuals from children to seniors.
"[The respite house] is important because it gives families an opportunity to go out of town or to do what they need to whether it be taking care of business, going to an event or something along those lines, knowing their family member is safe and sound," added Garrow.
The house's out-of-the-way setting gives off a "bed and breakfast" atmosphere, said Garrow, making people who will use the facility feel invited and at home.
"And, that's the way it should be," said Garrow. "Anybody should be able to come and spend the night and families should feel like they'd want to stay here themselves."
For more information about Clinton County ARC respite services, call 563-0930.