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More MS news articles for March 2003

Housing opens doors for disabled

March 12th, 2003
By Deanna Truman-Cook
Register Staff Writer

Lyn Crossing Apartments gives 40-year-old Dan Hedlund some of his independence back.

Hedlund, who has multiple sclerosis, moved into a one-bedroom apartment in early February. He previously lived with his because there weren't any apartments in the area that offered the accommodations he needed. The Lyn Crossing Apartments, on Des Moines' south side, are a blessing, he said.

"I like the fact that it is a place where handicapped people can live alone," he said.

Hedlund's building has two apartments for people with severe disabilities and two apartments for caretakers, who provide assistance at night.

The apartments, which are owned by Dream Catcher Inc., were built to give the disabled an option other than nursing homes, but the complex also provides housing to young adults, families and senior citizens. Only 16 of the 50 apartments are designed for people with disabilities. There are one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments available.

"The idea is that it is a community," said Cheryl Sutton, Dream Catcher Inc. executive director. "We don't want people isolated."

Lyn Crossing has a van that transports residents who can't drive to medical appointments, grocery stores and anywhere else in the metro they might need or want to go, Sutton said.

The apartments are similar to Dream Catcher's Lyn Circle Apartments in Waukee, built in 2000. The new apartments are even better, said Charles Day, president of the nonprofit group. Day led the effort to build the Waukee apartments and took the lessons he learned to make the Lyn Crossing apartments better. For example, Day realized how wheelchairs can eat up a room's space, so he made the rooms bigger.

Day built both apartment complexes in memory of his daughter, Becky Lyn Day, who died in 1997 at the age of 37 of multiple sclerosis.

When his daughter was ill, Day said her only options in the area were to live with her parents or to go to a nursing home. She wanted more, Day said.

Charles Day named the group that made his daughter's dream a reality Dream Catcher Inc. for the Native American dream catchers that resemble spiderwebs woven inside circles of tender branches. Becky Day loved to make dream catchers.

Day and Sutton are proud of the apartment complexes.

"It is a wonderful project," Sutton said. "We tried to make them extremely nice."

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