New locations for the Champaign County Board of Developmental Disabilities and its provider for adult services have freed up dollars to put back into the people they serve.
The developmental disabilities board sold its U.S. Route 36 building and moved out in June 2016, Champaign and Shelby Counties’ Boards of Developmental Disabilities Superintendent Laura Zureich said.
The board’s provider for what previously was known as “Lawnview” – developmental disabilities assistance for adults – also moved from the building on U.S. Route 36 to a new location at 330 W. Twain Ave. That move took place in December. Person Centered Services (PCS) operates the Champaign Career and Life Enrichment Center, formerly known as Lawnview.
The sale of the building and new locations saved the developmental disabilities board money through operations costs for the larger building, Zureich said. That money, along with the $480,000 sale price of the 35,000-square-foot facility, can now be used for the programs for the board’s clients. Zureich said previously the board paid approximately $180,000 in utilities and maintenance costs at the old building.
The board is now located at 224 Patrick Ave. in a 6,000-square-foot office building. Zureich said the size is more suited to the 24-person staff, and the monthly rental is far less than it would cost to continue to maintain the larger Route 36 building. Rent at the new location is $4,587 a month, which will drop to $2,337 a month once the improvements to set up the office itself are paid off.
Board still needs current funds
The developmental disabilities board estimates it will receive $2.8 million in funding from local levies in 2017, Zureich said. The board has three continuous levies, totalling 5.5 mills, that contribute to that dollar amount – a 1-mill levy that began in 1990, a 3-mill that started in 1996, and a 1.5-mill that began in 2005. The board also estimates receiving $250,000 from the state and $162,000 from the federal government to provide services for 2017.
The developmental disabilities board used to use its dollars to provide direct services to its clients. But changes in state law required boards to instead contract those services out to other providers, though board employees continue to monitor and assist each client and help meet their needs. Some of the organizations funded through the state and the developmental disabilities board for these services include PCS, Downsize Farm, CRSI and Goodwill of Miami Valley.
The developmental disabilities board currently serves 311 people in the county of all ages. The board writes assistance plans, ensures the health and welfare of clients are met, and conducts assessments.
Though the board is managing well in its current budget, Zureich said, all of the money being collected is needed.
“The number of people we support continues to increase, and the needs of the people we support have changed dramatically over the past five to 10 years. There are a lot of behavioral support needs for severe behavioral issues people have, medical needs and personal care needs,” she said.
The board supports anyone in the county with any kind of developmental disability, whether it appears at birth, or if caused by a car accident or head injury up to age 22. That also includes difficulties associated with drug addiction that impact development.
The board is not planning on asking for additional levy dollars, she said.
“We are positioned well financially,” Zureich said. “We share a number of positions with the Shelby County board to help us be fiscally responsible without impacting services.” Zureich said nine positions are split between the two counties.
New location for adult services
The new location for the Champaign Career and Life Enrichment Center is in a 6,000-square-foot building at 330 W. Twain Ave. in Urbana. It houses 16 PCS staff members who assist over 45 individuals, center Director Cindy Anderson said. PCS is a private agency with 10 locations around the state, Director of Communications Mike Ramsey said.
“This is an opportunity for us to really expand our abilities to provide services,” he said.
The center sees to the needs of adults with developmental disabilities, Anderson said. That includes providing job skills training and assisting in placement of clients in local jobs.
“Our philosophy rests on five tracks – living skills, social recreation, volunteering, pre-vocational and career development,” she said. “We assist in all areas.”
PCS is a separate organization from the developmental disabilities board. State laws required a separation between developmental disabilities boards and service and support administrators, Anderson said. PCS has operated separately from the board for a while now, though they shared the same building on Route 36. When the time came to sell that building, PCS decided to move to another site.
Anderson said the new building is larger and in a better location to provide for its clients. There is more green space and less traffic, making it a safer location which will allow for more outdoor activities.
The new location is well-liked, Anderson said.
“They love this place. They are so much happier here,” she said.
PCS’ also provides quality of life improvements for clients, such as funding trips for clients to do something they always wanted to do. Those trips are paid for through fundraising activities for PCS’ nonprofit foundation.
For more information, call the developmental disabilities board at 937-653-5217 or visit www.champaigncbdd.org.
Times have changed since “Lawnview” was conceived
“Lawnview” is no longer the name for developmental disabilities assistance for adults. Person Centered Services (PCS) operates the Champaign Career and Life Enrichment Center, formerly known as Lawnview. The Champaign County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD) oversees this service.
“Lawnview” began as the Lawnview School in 1954 through community contributions. A levy passed in 1969 to create the Lawnview Child and Family Center on U.S. Route 68. The Champaign County Commissioners created the building and owned the property, while the Board of Developmental Disabilities operated it. State law changed, requiring developmental disabilities boards to stop providing direct services, instead funding other agencies to provide those services. The Champaign developmental disabilities board moved “Lawnview” from the U.S. Route 68 site to its building on U.S. Route 36 to save money and sold that building; it then sold the U.S. Route 36 building and is now in its current 224 Patrick Ave. location.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.