Financial constraints force Owl House to close

By CLAIRE MOORMAN
Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — A residential home for people with disabilities operated by Anderson Woods will close this month because of financial constraints.

Owl House in Jasper opened in 1995 as a means of providing a supportive community for residents with disabilities to learn life skills and gain employment and volunteer opportunities.

When one resident moved out of Owl House at the end of May, only two were left to pay the fees, according to Anderson Woods President and CEO Judy Colby. A maximum of four residents, age 17 or older, could live in the home at one time with a full-time house parent. A health director saw to their dietary and exercise needs.

After deciding that they could not raise boarding costs enough to cover the decreased patronage, organization administrators opted to end the program, Colby said.

“It saddens us that we can no longer continue this residential program to fully support the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of these special persons,” Colby said in a press release. She added that because government-funded housing has become more readily available, private-pay facilities like Owl House are getting less interest. Owl House costs each resident slightly less than $20,000 per year.

Colby said the Anderson Woods staff has successfully transitioned one of the two remaining residents back into a family home and she expects the last one to be able to move out soon. The organization has no plans to sell the house at 1245 W. Sixth St., as it may be useful for other Anderson Woods ventures.

“We are in the process of reallocating our resources in developing alternative programs to more effectively serve the needs of persons with disabilities,” Colby said in the release. “Anderson Woods receives widespread support as we go forward.”

At one time, Anderson Woods had four residential houses, including one in Bloomington and two in Siberia. Owl House was the last remaining home.

The organization’s annual summer camp in Bristow will continue.

Contact Claire Moorman at cmoorman@dcherald.com.




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