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Lombard group home offers housing option for suburban adults

Seguin Services opens new group home in Lombard: 6 photos

LOMBARD – Jared Jacobson is itching to move out of his parents' house and into a place of his own in Lombard with a few buddies. He's ready for independence.

Jared, 25, is autistic with a mild intellectual delay, said his mother, June Jacobson. Although he's mostly non-verbal, he communicates with his family, friends and teachers by using sign language.

Currently a resident of Elmhurst, Jared Jacobson has been approved to move into a Community Integrated Living Arrangement. It's operated by Seguin Services, a Cicero-based organization that provides housing, programming and other services to children, adults and elders with developmental disabilities.

"We just got the official word that he's moving in," June said. "As far as I'm concerned, the slower [the transition], the better."

A CILA is a group home for disabled adults that looks like a regular single-family house but is equipped with special features inside depending on residents' needs. The CILA is Seguin's first in Lombard, located at 708 E. Berkshire Ave., and residents are starting to move in.

Seguin already operates 65 CILAs throughout the suburbs and has been branching out into DuPage County.

The newest house will be staffed around the clock, while occupants will be responsible for cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and yard maintenance. Like Jared, each of the men living in the CILA has an autism diagnosis and is in their 20s, said Joe Mengoni, Seguin's vice president for adult residential and clinical services.

It'll be a gradual transition for Jared as he moves out of his parents' home where he's lived his entire life.

A York High School alumnus, Jared already receives services through Seguin, where he attends Seguin CLIMB, a day program for young adults that uses space at the Easter Seals facility in Villa Park.

When Jared was approved for residential funding from the state, the first place on his parents' list to call was Seguin. June and Jack, Jared's father, knew that a CILA was being built in Lombard.

Originally, the home was full, but one of the intended residents chose not to go through with the move and Jared was offered a room. Other CLIMB participants are residents, so he recognized a few familiar faces.

"When we went to visit, he was so happy," June said.

Since his initial visit, all Jared can talk about is moving into the house with his friends – he signs about it to his parents frequently.

His parents, meanwhile, are experiencing mixed emotions. There's a sense of sadness and uncertainty at the prospect of their son moving away, but there's also relief that he's found his own place to live with friends and peers.

"We're at the point where he's totally bored here," June said. "Somebody his age should be a lot closer to people his own age."

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