More housing options for people with physical and mental disabilities are coming to town this week.

The Arc of Orange apartments allow disabled tenants the opportunity to live on their own for the very first time.

The apartments officially open Friday after years of collaboration between many organizations, such as the Arc of the Triangle and the Arc of North Carolina, Orange County HOME program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and The Ireland Family Foundation; East West Partners donated the land for the apartments.

Assistant Director of Communications at The Arc of North Carolina, Ben Akroyd, describes the goal of The Arc and how this new apartment building fits with what they seek to accomplish.

“The mission of the Arc is to empower people with disabilities to live the life that they choose,” says Akroyd, “and sometimes, because of a few obstacles, that can be difficult. But the Arc has really been trying to push independent living wherever possible for people with disabilities. This project was just ideally suited for that.”

He says that these apartments were constructed with those with disabilities in mind.

“They are built especially for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, so it has all the accessibility options that folks with disabilities might need,” he says.

Akroyd says the area in which they were built was selected because of several key features.

“What’s really great about it is the location in the Meadowmont community,” he says. “It’s walk-able to groceries, food, and transportation with the free bus system in Chapel Hill. It’s just ideally set up to help folks with disabilities who may need just a little bit of support to be able to live independently to do so.”

Chapel Hill mayor pro tem, Sally Greene, told WCHL:

“It’s terrific to see this new development take shape. Group homes offer a combination of independent and supportive living that is very valuable. It takes a lot of collaboration to put a project like this together.

“The Arc’s project contributes to solving a larger demand for permanent supportive housing in our community. This demand extends beyond those with developmental disabilities to those with mental illness and other afflictions that make fully independent living impossible. We welcome the Arc’s important contribution to the health and well-being of our community.”

A number of local officials and representatives are slated to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Those individuals include Congressman David Price; Chapel Hill Mayor, Mark Kleinschmidt; representatives of Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr; and members of the local Chamber of Commerce.

Residents will also be at the event and will offer voluntary tours of their own apartments.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place Friday at 10:00 a.m.