Sara Steimle understood that challenge. She was born with cerebral palsy. It's a condition that impacts her movements. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in children.
At 27 years old, Steimle said she still needs help completing some daily tasks like getting in and out of bed and showering. These are tasks that are now easier for her to tackle in her new apartment.
She is a resident at Middleburg Heights Creative Living. It’s an apartment complex that opened to offer accessible housing to individuals with developmental disabilities.
“I moved in in May of this year,” Steimle said.
Each unit is designed with low counters, accessible bathrooms, and washers and dryers, according to the complex website. These accommodations allow residents to live more independently.
“So, this housing complex has made life easier to me because it is flat, and I am able to access everything in it on my own,” Steimle said.
Steimle added that the independence she has in her new apartment reminded her of the freedom she had back in college. She said her previous home did not offer her the accessibility she requires.
“My previous home wasn’t the easiest to live in because it wasn’t as wheelchair accessible as this was,” Steimle said.
Steimle said she learned about the complex after driving past the community on a trip to the post office with her dad. When she sent an email inquiring about the application process, Steimle said the apartments weren’t even finished yet. But, she added that she knew she was going to live there.
“I told my dad, like, out of the blue,” Steimle said. “I was like, no matter what it was, I was going to live here”
Steimle said the complex makes her feel included and added that she made many friends.
Dianne DePasquale-Hagerty is the CEO of Medina Creative Living. She said disabled individuals are a population that is often left out of housing planning.
She said the project took seven years to complete and added that the apartments are subsidized by many northeast Ohio organizations that they have partnered with for funding.
She said her company is planning to build more housing options for the disabled community in the future.
“We got the green light to move forward on 25 new units for individuals with developmental disabilities,” DePasquale-Hagerty said.
She added that all of the units in Middleburg Heights are occupied and there is a waitlist for future residents.
If you are interested in learning more about these apartments, please visit their website.