- Associated Press - Saturday, July 30, 2016

HOUMA, La. (AP) - Houma-based behavioral health services organization, Options for Independence, has completed construction on its eighth permanent housing unit in Houma.

The new occupant is 46-year-old Ryan Burnett, a Houma native with cerebral palsy.

His mother Kay Thibodeaux said he’s been wanting to rent a house for a long time as he’s been living in Colonial Village in Houma for the past 21 years.

Thibodeaux was on the fence about the idea since renting a house comes with more responsibilities like keeping up with the yard and other maintenance necessities.

Burnett can’t care for himself all on his own. He has three caretakers who take care of him around the clock.



But after Thibodeaux talked with Options for Independence CEO Barry Chauvin about the organization’s permanent supportive housing options, the organization agreed to help Burnett get his own place.

This afternoon, Burnett, his mother and members of the community gathered to welcome him to his new home.

“He is just ecstatic. It’s a dream come true,” Thibodeaux said.

The 1,480-square-foot house is on Naquin Street. It has two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a brick exterior and a carport.

It is also Americans with Disabilities Act accessible.

Terrebonne Parish School Board member Roosevelt Thomas helped bring this project to fruition as he is a case manager for Options for Independence.

“We’ve been doing projects like this for the last six years,” Roosevelt said. “We have eight houses out right now. This is the only one with a carport.”

Options for Independence’s permanent supportive housing model combines affordable rental housing with voluntary, flexible and individualized community-based services to assist people with the most severe and complex disabilities to live successfully in the community.

The west Houma house costs a little over $121,000.

Synergy Bank has been financing the house and its construction, but Terrebonne Parish will soon take over the financing for the next 30 years.

After three years, Burnett will have the option to purchase the home.

At the groundbreaking on July 22, Chauvin read an email Burnett sent him, thanking everyone who helped him get his new home.

“I would like to thank you Barry for giving me the opportunity to be able to move into a house. … I did look into moving a few times, but nothing did work out for me. I want to give a special thanks to my mom for telling Barry I was looking for a house. Thank you mom. I love you. … And a special thanks to Mr. Roosevelt Thomas for putting it all together,” Burnett wrote.

He was expected to move into his new home July 29.

___

Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com

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