A.J. Enchill from state Sen. Adam Hinds' office, presents a citation from the Senate recognizing BFAIR's endeavors.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — BFAIR's new facility on Woodcock Road offers more spacious accommodations for the four men who will live in the four-bedroom home.
"What's really neat about this house is it's going to replace the one in Clarksburg," said Rich Weisenflue, executive director of Berkshire Family and Individual Resources. "The housing in Clarksburg is not nearly as accessible as this — not enough living space, safe or comfortable."
Neighbors and friends of BFAIR attended the open house for the converted ranch on Wednesday night. It is one of 13 residential facilities it operates in Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley.
BFAIR acquired the single-family home last fall for $348,500 and completely renovated the structure, including the former two-car garage, to house four men with disabilities and the staff required to assist them. The agency has received a certificate of occupancy from the town and now awaits approval from the state. The clients are expected to move in around the beginning of September.
The doorways and hallways are wide and the two large bathrooms were built to accommodate shower chairs should future residents require wheelchairs. In addition to the four bedrooms, the house has a full kitchen, small office, a medication room, laundry, half-bath, living/dining area and a large den with comfortable seating.
Jennifer Civello, director of marketing, offered tours of the house and said the bedrooms are currently empty of furniture until the residents decide what they will be bringing with them. BFAIR will then provide whatever else they need.
The structure replaces a much smaller home on Middle Road in Clarksburg that Weisenflue said will be sold. That house has three men living in it who will relocate Williamstown and a fourth client will join them.
John Little, the house manager, said he was thrilled to be moving into a new facility that's nearly three times the size of Clarksburg home, which BFAIR has operated for nearly 25 years.
"It's amazing, it's absolutely amazing," he said. "From where we're coming from you have no idea ... the house we're currently living in now is smaller. When you have four staff members and three guys, you're pretty much stepping on each other."
The agency offers services to some 540 area residents with emotional and behavioral disabilities, including those with brain injuries and autism. Its services include vocational opportunities, job placement, support for psychiatric services, applied behavior analysis, individualized care, home care, assisted care and full-time residential services. It employs more than 300 people.
Little said there has been a focus on getting residential clients more involved in their communities. The men in Clarksburg, for instance, have been volunteering or participating in a walking group. The home is staffed 24 hours.
A.J. Enchill, representing state Sen. Adam Hinds, presented Weisenflue and Board Chairman Alex Kastrinakis with a citation from the state Senate bringing best wishes for BFAIR's continued success.
"It's a really a pleasure to be able to welcome neighbors and members of the community to Woodcok Road and the work that we've done on here," Weisenflue said in thanking those who have supported or participated in the project.
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