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New Project Makes Affordable, Independent Living Possible For Disabled Youth

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's Independence Day for dozens of residents at the Commonwealth's first assisted living complex designed specifically for people under 55 who have disabilities.

"I'm excited happy overwhelmed, everything," says Ashley Murphy-Moore, 32.

For the first time in six years her life is on a roll. Ashley was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at birth and at age 15, her disability forced her out of her home and into a nursing home facility.

"It was hard in knowing that I couldn't go home when I wanted to," she says.

But Wednesday Ashley moved into a two-bedroom apartment at the newly constructed Inglis Gardens, an 80 unit apartment complex where half of the units are specially outfitted for individuals in wheelchairs-- they have lower sinks, light switches, wide showers and remote control doors.

"It's finally a place where everything is completely for me," she says smiling.

inglis gardens
(Credit: Cherri Gregg)
inglis gardens
(Credit: Cherri Gregg)
inglis gardens
(Credit: Cherri Gregg)

Moore will live in her unit with her sister, Ebony, who will work as her in home health aide. The duo grew up together and now they get to become independent together.

"It was tough," says Ebony Moore, 22, "but we made it through and now she can do whatever she wants."

Inglis CEO Gavin Kerr says Moore and the other residents have independence, with some support. The complex includes a library, TV room, as well as health aids and other personnel who can bring meals and check on residents. The 26-million dollar project comes thanks in large part to state and federal tax credits. In addition, the Philadelphia Housing Authority subsidizes rent to keep the units affordable.

"They only pay a third of whatever their income is and most of that is just social security," says Kerr, "but the pay off-- the real magic is in all the smiling faces."

"Today is independence day-- it's very liberating," says Walter Poschinger, 49.

After years working in the Philadelphia restaurant industry, an accident has left Poschinger confined to a wheel chair. But today, his life is on the roll again. No more nursing home for him equals freedom.

"I can turn on my TV and relax and know that this is my home, I can go to bed when I would like to go to bed and eat when I would like to eat," he says, "and reclaim my life."

The 26 million dollar Inglis garden comes thanks to tax credits and is kept affordable with rent subsidies.

Forty of the Inglis units are now open, another 40 open next month.

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