A Pioneering Effort of Economic Sustainability for Individuals with Disabilities
Columbus’ “Hub of Opportunity” is an innovative transit-oriented, 200,000 square-foot commercial/residential development that will bring together a unique combination of community services, workforce development opportunities, and community living for individuals with disabilities. The project is located at 3900 S. W. Temple adjacent to the UTA Meadowbrook TRAX station in South Salt Lake. This innovative project is a community-based, mixed-use development that provides opportunities for individuals with severe disabilities to be good neighbors, tenants, consumers, and taxpayers. Because this will be one of the first of its kind in the country, other communities will be looking at the project as an innovative, replicable model of community living. Columbus has secured $40 million in financing and donations towards this innovative $42 million project. Columbus is in the last phase of a major capital campaign looking to raise $2 million to finalize the Hub project.
• The Hub will provide a significant inventory of accessible, affordable housing. The entire project includes 156 residential units, and it will be built from the ground up with accessibility and integration in mind. The project will be designed to enhance access and “visitability,” where residents, families, and visitors have barrier-free access to the community and each other. Of the 156 units, 110 units will be designated as affordable housing and the remainder will be market-rate apartments. Individuals with disabilities will be fully integrated into the community living side-by-side with neighbors that reflect the demographics of our community, ranging from those with severe disabilities to families to young professionals.
• This is a replicable project that will provide an innovative model of integration, employment, and housing for individuals with disabilities. Columbus will provide seamless program supports and services to ensure individuals with disabilities can leverage paychecks, subsidies, and entitlements in a way to ensure safe, integrated living in the community. This includes basic supports that many of us take for granted like accessible transportation, life-skill training, and vocational training. This project could be replicated on any TRAX or major bus line along the Wasatch Front, and portions could be replicated in other Utah communities outside of the Wasatch Front.
• The hallmark of the project will be the NextWork Autism Center and Transition Academy, a live/learn program for young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Utah has spent many years successfully cultivating a STEM business environment, but in this robust economy, companies are struggling to fill jobs with skilled talent. The NextWork Hub will provide a “live/learn” environment where 16 apartments and a vocational training space will give young adults with autism a safe environment to transition to community living and employment. This is an economic “win-win-win” for our community—employers tap into a talented but overlooked workforce; individuals with disabilities have access to employment and decrease their dependence on social services; and families have options for their adult children to live and work in the community. For more information, contact Stephanie Mackay, Columbus’s chief innovation officer at email@example.com; 385-715-5399 (direct); or 801-699-5954 (cell).