The Rivershore Foundation, in collaboration with People, Inc., are about halfway to their funding goal in constructing a new residential building in Youngstown for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

On Wednesday, they got a bit closer to hitting their total goal of $270,000 with their “Raising the Roof” fundraiser at the Griffon House on Center Street in Lewiston. Complete with raffles, games, gourmet food and live music, the event brought dozens out to show their support. 

The new residential building will eventually be built on Hinman Street in Youngstown, on a piece of property that was donated several years ago by the late Richard and Karen Phoenix. Richard Phoenix was a board member of the Rivershore Foundation.

“(The apartments) are for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have been working on the skills to take that next step toward independence,” said Denise Bienko, executive director of the Rivershore Foundation. “So people who may be moving out of their family home for the first time, but they’ll be well-prepared to do that.” 

Bienko said that the location of the property is near the village’s downtown area, making it a pedestrian-friendly location. The facility will feature two units which can each accommodate two people.

She said that there are hundreds of people on waiting lists for apartments like these and that it’s “not unheard of” for people to wait as long as a decade for an apartment to become available. While this may not be the first such facility in Youngstown, there’s always a need for more, she said.

Though they’ll only be able to provide housing for four people at a time, those people could eventually move on as they become more self-sufficient, and then others would be able to move in. The apartments will be fully accessible to accommodate potential tenants regardless of what their needs are. 

“These four people may have four different sets of needs and when they move out we may have four new sets of needs,” Bienko said. “We’ll have staffing, as needed, so for some people that means they need staff to be there several times a week to make sure their groceries are taken care of, help them with some budgeting, etc.”

She added that the staff can also help residents with getting from place to place, job training or medication management. 

Though Wednesday’s event edged People, Inc. and the Rivershore Foundation a bit closer to their goal, there’s still more fundraising to do.

Anyone who is interested in making a contribution to the project can do so by visiting

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