Newest New Day residential home up and running

Written by Bill Rautenstrauch, The Observer February 29, 2012 12:34 pm

GRANDE MANOR RIBBON-CUTTING: From left, Beth Leake, Union County Ambassadors; Randy King, Union County Chamber of Commerce president; Alan Keffer, New Day board president; Joe Brogdon, New Day board member; and Zee Koza, New Day executive director, participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Feb. 21 at Grande Manor — New Day’s recently completed residential facility.  CHRIS BAXTER / The Observer
GRANDE MANOR RIBBON-CUTTING: From left, Beth Leake, Union County Ambassadors; Randy King, Union County Chamber of Commerce president; Alan Keffer, New Day board president; Joe Brogdon, New Day board member; and Zee Koza, New Day executive director, participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Feb. 21 at Grande Manor — New Day’s recently completed residential facility. CHRIS BAXTER / The Observer

New Day Enterprises, the local non-profit agency serving the needs of the area’s developmentally disabled adults, celebrated another milestone last week as it opened its Grand Manor residential home at 701 16th St. 

Grand Manor brings the total of New Day homes to six. Executive Director Zee Koza said the new facility has room for five residents with medically fragile conditions.

“It’s got five bedrooms, a kitchen and laundry facility, and it’s specially constructed to be compatible for people with wheelchairs. There are no hallways,” Koza said.

The home was built thanks to a $485,000 grant from Oregon Housing and Community Services. Koza said that agency has contributed funding for three of New Day’s residential facilities.

For Grand Manor, Elgin-based WC Construction was the lead contractor, with many local sub-contractors involved as well.

“We hire as many local craftspeople as possible,” Koza said.

New Day’s major objective is to empower and support developmentally disabled adults to live and work in the community. The agency was founded in 1972, and has grown steadily since then. Today it serves about 60 clients, and employs 150 people.

In addition to its group homes, New Day operates an employment services program. Clients work in industries including casket-building, paper-shredding, embroidery and sewing and more. 

Last year, New Day clients shredded nearly 12,000 pounds of paper for businesses in La Grande and outlying areas. In another activity, clients sewed bright red shorts for use in the prison system. More than 2,500 prisoners received new exercise shorts last year thanks to New Day clients and staff.

Most clients living in the residential facilities go to work every day. At home, they are assisted in daily living by staff members. The staff provides transportation to and from work and social outings. Residents attend functions at Eastern Oregon University, go bowling and enjoy picnics in local parks.

Koza said New Day residential facilities are designed with security and comfort in mind, and Grand Manor is no exception.

“The residents have a sense of comfort and a secure quality of life in a home that’s been built with those things in mind,” she said. “Oregon Housing and Community Services provides us with the boards and nails. We take it from there and make it a home.”

Grand Manor will employ a staff of 12 in three shifts. Residents will begin moving in March 1.