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Utah company helps to house adults with disabilities

Jul 1, 2023, 5:38 PM | Updated: Jul 3, 2023, 12:30 pm

ROY, Utah — Home is where the heart is. And in one home in Roy, there are three hearts connected in a very unique way.

Both Macyee and Brookin are in their early twenties. They live with Carrie Carlow, who they refer to as grandma, and sometimes even mom.

“I feel like a grandma to them, because they do have their parents, and their parents are wonderful,” Carrie said.

Carrie, Brooklin, and Maycee were all connected through Buddies4Life.

“Both of these girls we’re living in what’s almost like an institution,” explained Andrew Brinton, CEO of Buddies4Life.

Buddies4Life helps adults with disabilities connect with host families like Carrie.

“So that they can live in a home, get out in the community, feel like a family member,” Andrew said.

Brooklin, Maycee, and Carrie (Aubrey Shafer, KSL TV)

Housing opportunities are hard to find for adults with disabilities. In Utah, there are hundreds of people on the waiting list – it can take years to find somewhere to live.

But Andrew is driven to help these individuals find more than just a roof over their heads – he wants them to have a place where they can thrive and grow.

“These houses that we match these clients with – it’s just amazing how they really help them, and the goals that they’ve been able to achieve is really, really special,” he said.

Maycee and Brooklin have been living with Carrie for over three years and, through this experience, have really blossomed.

“When I first got here, I was a little mean and kind of rude, but, with Carrie’s patience and help, I have been growing, and I actually owe a lot to Carrie because of that,” Maycee said.

It has also enabled Brooklin to become more independent, and even get a job.

“I actually like it a lot. Because I can get out on my own. I take the bus by myself,” Brooklin explained.

Brooklin, Maycee, and Carrie playing a board game. (Aubrey Shafer, KSL TV)

Carrie has loved opening her home to individuals like Maycee and Brooklin. Seeing them grow, and sharing laughs and memories, has filled her life with special meaning.

“It fulfills you because you are doing things for other people,” Carrie said.

While there are responsibilities and criteria for becoming a host parent like Carrie, Buddies4Life has a program to help those interested.

“We help families qualify to be able to offer the host home service. We help them with training and get the house certified because they need the right kind of fire extinguishers and CO2 and fire alarms and all of that,” he explained.

To further alleviate this housing crisis, recent funding from the 2023 Utah legislative session has also made money available – including to help host families.

“$3.6 million was approved for funding to help individuals like Brooklin and Maycee have a home to stay in. That funding will allow for 258 individuals to get off the waiting list,” Andrew said.

Macyee and Carrie in the kitchen together. (Aubrey Shafer, KSL TV)

Brooklin and Maycee are grateful to have been matched with Carrie.

“I love her. She is the sweetest thing that you will ever meet,” Brooklin said with a huge smile.

And Carrie can’t imagine her home any other way. She says that anyone interested and able should consider hosting opportunities,

“It’s been fun. They’ve helped me. I’ve helped them. And that’s what life is all about, helping each other,” Carrie said.

If you would like to learn more about ways to help, you can visit the Buddies4Life website.

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Utah company helps to house adults with disabilities