Kennewick mom Marilyn Rausch described living with a 21-year-old autistic son as the "blessing of a load that's 24/7."
Although an adult, her son requires constant care and supervision -- and that can wear down even the most patient and loving parent.
Having a way to get a break from the daily stress of caring for a loved one with special needs can be crucial for the mental and physical well-being of a mother, father or caregiver.
"Respite is important because it keeps families together," Rausch told the Herald.
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So she joined a group of Tri-Citians that is working on putting together a respite bed and breakfast in Kennewick where children and teens with developmental disabilities along with a care provider can have a vacation filled with activities and fun -- and give parents at home a rest from the demands of round-the-clock care.
Members of the Benton Franklin Housing Network have found a house on West 23rd Place that belonged to a family with a special needs child that they think is perfect for their needs.
Steve Mallory of Arculus Design & Technical Services told the Herald that the 8,300-square-foot home has plenty of space and can easily be adapted to make it wheelchair accessible and safe and secure for people with developmental disabilities.
But for the plan to work, the group has to raise $339,000 to buy the house by July 15. Another $365,000 is needed to make the necessary renovations and get proper permits.
Claude Oliver, a Tri-City real estate broker and former Benton County commissioner, said the group paid for an option on the property and hoped to find financing for the purchase, but two financing alternatives didn't work out.
The group now is hoping to drum up enough community support to get the house up and running in early 2013.
According to a fact sheet the group developed, it expects the house to bring in about $22,500 a month with a full house of five guests, and have expenses of about $16,000.
The $6,500 net revenue could go toward other needs and programs for people with developmental disabilities at the direction of the nonprofit's board.
Similar homes in other areas have been popular and had high demand, Oliver said.
The group is having a public open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 810 W. 23rd Place, Kennewick, to share their vision for how the house could help the community of 800 to 900 Tri-City individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
"This place is going to be special," Rausch said. "It's going to teach the world how to individualize support and care."
-- Send donations to Benton Franklin Housing Network, c/o Community Action Connection, 720 W. Court St., Pasco, WA 99301.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org