Walton South offers subsidized housing to disabled

Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Lawrence Green stands in the doorway of his new residence at the Walton Rehabilitation Health System's new Walton South complex. The handicap-accessible apartments feature spaces at the sink and stove for wheelchairs, and Braille range controls.

Lawrence Green has not yet moved into Walton South apartments, but his voice is deep with pride as he shows off his new kitchen.


"As you can see, it is state-of-the-art," he says with a sweep of his arm.

Actually, it is better than that. The range and sink have space below for a wheelchair to maneuver, and the range controls will be marked in Braille for Green, who is legally blind. Walton South is the ninth accessible apartment complex in the Augusta area to be built by Walton Rehabilitation Health System in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Walton South was built with a $1.5 million grant from HUD, said Beth Miller, the vice president of Walton Community. Walton has also built affordable housing for seniors and in December will complete its fourth, Planer Mill Village in Harlem.

Walton South will provide apartments for 13 of the 205 people on Walton's waiting list for accessible apartments, some of whom have been on the list for five years.

Green has been waiting since 2007. At one time, he was paying for a regular apartment, "which was real hard for me to do," he said. At Walton South, 30 percent of his income will go to rent, and HUD will subsidize the rest, Miller said.

Green's new independence also brings some added responsibilities, Miller said.

"From talking with Lawrence, he's been staying with his sisters, so he's spoiled," Miller said teasingly. "I don't think he's been doing a lot of cooking."

"Well, I can," Green said, laughing.

He might be able to take advantage of a program that provides help with housekeeping and things such as cooking, Miller said. One of the advantages of communities such as Walton South is that residents can share services.

The resident of the complexes also tend to become close, said Kisha Spann, the residential housing director for Walton. One of the Walton development has an accessible complex next to a senior complex and they have come to rely on each other.

"They all check on each other," Spann said. "It's very helpful. Because they have something in common, they all look out for one another."

Green said he is looking forward to that at Walton South.

"I feel like it will be a nice, close-knit community here. Because we're all disabled so we can all understand each other's problems," he said. "I'm going to be here for a long, long time."

Open house, ceremony

Walton Rehabilitation Health System will hold an open house for its latest accessible housing development in the Augusta area, Walton South, 511 West Richmond Hill Road, from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, with a ribbon-cutting at 5 p.m.