'Live their best lives:' Abandoned Eastchester convent to be converted into housing for people with autism

ArchCare's St. Frances Cabrini apartments will foster independence and community, while utilizing special technology that will ensure tenants are safe.

News 12 Staff

Mar 2, 2023, 1:12 AM

Updated 450 days ago

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A long-abandoned building on the campus of the Assumption of Our Lady Parish in Eastchester has been given a new lease on life.
Construction kicked off Wednesday to convert the old convent into an apartment building for those with autism.
The project is being built by ArchCare, whose mission is to provide care to vulnerable people. 
“Right now in New York state, there is a tsunami of adults with autism who need housing. They are on waiting lists, isolated and afraid as their parents age and their future is uncertain,” says Donna Maxon, of ArchCare.
ArchCare's St. Frances Cabrini apartments will foster independence and community, while utilizing special technology that will ensure tenants are safe. 
“There will be common spaces where tenants will be able to come together as a community to socialize, engage in activities and live their best lives away from their families in many cases for the very first time,” says Francis J. Serbaroli, of ArchCare. 
Eleanor Evangelista has a 23-year-old son with autism who is applying to live there, and she says it's a total game changer 
“A program like this, where they are given that ability to live independently in a community, they're familiar with, that's safe, and has some support being in the local area that they have friends here, different relationships here…this is a really special thing,” she says. 
Kristin Thatcher, who lives in ArchCare's pilot building in Staten Island, says it’s been a great experience. 
“It’s like the best place ever. I get to hang out with my friends, make my own schedule...We do activities like Dungeons and Dragons, we play video game tournaments, we do karaoke, board games, cooking classes, dance parties,” she says. 
To apply, you can download an application from archcare.org. It must be mailed via USPS to ArchCare's corporate office, and write on the envelope: ATTN: Donna Maxon. 
The deadline to apply is March 31. 


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