LIVING RESOURCES UNVEILS FIRST SMART HOUSE IN NEW YORK STATE

Hannaford Charitable Foundation to present $50,000 grant to Living Resources in support of groundbreaking initiative

ALBANY, N.Y.,– Living Resources today celebrated another step in the agency’s history as one of the Capital Region’s most innovative non-profit organizations with the unveiling and official opening of the first barrier-free Smart House for residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities in New York State.

Officials from the Capital Region joined leaders from Living Resources for the historic unveiling and tour of the state’s first advanced, barrier-free group home, which is designed to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities while allowing them to maintain an independent lifestyle.

The Smart House, located off Ardsley Road in Guilderland, features a universally accessible, energy-efficient design as well as advanced technology for system integration and better overall healthcare management. The home will accommodate six residents.

“As our residents age, they face more daunting challenges than other senior citizens because of their disabilities. Building new energy-efficient, barrier-free housing offers a permanent, cost-effective solution while promoting the concept of independent living,” said Living Resources CEO Frederick W. Erlich. “We are thrilled to see this project come to fruition as we welcome our first residents.”

Smart House to feature Hannaford Supermarkets Kitchen in honor of $50,000 contribution from Hannaford Charitable Foundation

During the grand opening, representatives from Hannaford Supermarkets announced a donation of $50,000 to Living Resources in support of the Smart House. The donation, which was awarded on behalf of the Hannaford Charitable Foundation, was used to apply the principles of universal accessible design to the Smart House kitchen.

The Hannaford Supermarkets Kitchen includes self-closing cabinets and drawers, an induction cook top that is never hot to the touch, special cookware to heat food safely, and counters and wall cabinets compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Hannaford Supermarkets Kitchen also features a solar hot water system and low-energy LED lighting with sensoring capability under the kitchen cabinets.

“Hannaford Supermarkets is honored to contribute to such a groundbreaking project that will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact on the lives of individuals who call the Smart House their home,” said Hannaford Supermarkets Community Relations Specialist Molly Tarleton. “We commend Living Resources for their extraordinary vision and commitment to building sustainable, green homes in the Capital Region, which truly enhances the lives of individuals with disabilities and the elderly population.”

The Hannaford Supermarkets Kitchen will also feature individualized AbleLink technology, allowing each resident to research recipes and receive step-by-step audio instructions from personal iPads as they prepare a meal. Additionally, the AbleLink technology will make it possible for each resident to control lighting, window shades, entertainment systems and video monitoring from their iPad control systems.

Smart House serves as a progressive housing model for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and elderly population

Designed and constructed by BBL Construction Services, the progressive Smart House is intended to serve as a universal housing model for individuals with disabilities and elderly populations. The barrier-free group home features a universally accessible design for independence, green energy for efficiency, and smart house technology for system integration.

The new housing offers an open floor plan on a single level for enhanced accessibility and natural lighting, expanded bathrooms, automatic lighting in designated areas, solar panels to provide maximum energy-efficiency and reduce carbon footprints, web-based medical supports for medications and tracking vital signs of residents, and other functional amenities to improve everyday living for residents.

The $650,000 cost for the Smart House was partially funded by a grant from the New York State Legislature, which was secured by Senator Neil D. Breslin (D-Delmar). The integrated technology component of the project is privately funded including additional grants from the William Gundry Charitable Private Foundation, Arnold Cogswell Health Care Fund of The Community Foundation, BBL Family of Companies, CDPHP and SEFCU, as well as individual donors.

Living Resources presently houses 36 individuals in homes that no longer meet their needs; an additional 31 residents are on a waiting list for upgraded and barrier-free housing. As people age, they experience difficulties with mobility, memory, vision, hearing and heart conditions. The problems may be compounded if individuals are also suffering from cognitive disabilities.

“Living Resources expects as many as 33 percent of our group home residents to reach the age of 60 over the next decade. The combination of emerging health issues among the aging population and the structural limitations of housing that no longer accommodate the needs of consumers can no longer be tolerated,” said Erlich. “Building more homes with advanced technology and capabilities is a critical step in the search to find compassionate solutions to the challenges of caring for one of the most vulnerable segments of our population.”

In addition to the Smart House, Living Resources continues to be a leader in implementing cutting-edge programs and projects for individuals with developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries, including the Carriage House Arts Program; the College Experience Program in partnership with The College of Saint Rose; and outreach to agencies worldwide to develop similar programs on the international level, including China.

For more information about the Smart House and Living Resources, visit www.livingresources.org.

About Living Resources

Living Resources is an organization dedicated to providing life-enhancing services to more than 1,200 individuals with developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries.  Motivated to create opportunities for full community integration for all persons, caring professionals and committed parents opened the first program – a residence – in Schenectady in 1974. Since then, Living Resources has steadily expanded its programming to include clinical services, day habilitation, employment services, fine arts instruction, interpreting services for the hearing impaired, after school programming, service coordination and, in 2005, the College Experience Program in collaboration with The College of Saint Rose.