The need came from the call of special needs kid’s parents concerned about the availability of quality housing, should some event keep them from caring for their children.
The search took several years from looking at properties from Santa Barbara to Temecula and San Diego. The design envisioned was a large ARF, Adult Residential Facility, that had not been done before. Institutional facilities had been closed down by the Lanternman Act years before and small group homes (less than 6 residents) popped up in neighborhoods.
My vision came from the search, Glennwood Foundation, dba the Lighthouse Group, and the sports leagues for my son and friends. It would be a community within a community…. men and women, different ethnicities and different faiths, just like the real world. The problem was finding cities that understood and bought into the concept of 40-50 young adults living today, learning independent skills, getting along socially, and with employment opportunities.
Laguna Beach and San Juan Capistrano were the only two cities that were not “NIMBY” – not in my back yard.” They were the two in Orange County, as the goal was safe, local, and affordable.
It took a well-coordinated effort of people with heart and who bought into the concept from realtors, city officials, architects, builders, social workers, and charitable groups and individuals. This all occurred in the midst of the worst economic crisis of our generation.
Thanks to a generous building owner group, monthly fundraisers, (web-site has details and photos), supportive media articles from Laguna Beach, the OC Register and LA Times, all supported us… but few really believed it would become reality. (You can see the reality and supporters on our home and donor pages!
So the City of Laguna Beach unanimously approved our Conditional Use Permit in March 2011 and then the real fun began. Truly, blood, sweat, tears, prayers all played a role in seeing a dilapidated vacant ALF, Assisted Living Facility, on Pacific Coast Highway, restored to a new ADA compliant and Community Care License approved ARF for 50 residents with terrific amenities, landscape, an organic garden, activities room and ocean view.
The City and residents rapidly accepted each other and the doors opened August 24, 2013.