Nonprofit plans to build group home on Great Neck Road

By Matthew Bernat | Feb 21, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Chair Judith Whiteside listens as Affordable Housing Trust Chair Stephen Sooy, right, discusses a new group home planned for Great Neck Road.

A nonprofit dedicated to helping people with a rare genetic disorder plans to expand its operation in Wareham.

On Tuesday, Anne McManus, president and CEO of Latham Centers, Inc., appeared before Selectmen to field questions about a planned group home at 165 Great Neck Road. The Brewster-based organization already operates one home on Peter Cooper Drive that houses five people with Prader-Willi syndrome. The disease is a rare, potentially life-threatening genetic disorder that affects between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 30,000 people.

Latham Centers offer treatment and support to those suffering from Prader-Willi syndrome. It operates group homes on Cape Cod and the South Coast.

McManus told Selectmen Latham already purchased the land on Great Neck Road. She said her organization plans to build a single-family home to accommodate four individuals.

“Our programs are under the auspices of the Department of Development Services, funded through contracts we have with them,” said McManus. “We have around-the-clock staffing in all our homes. Each house has its own supervisor as well.”

McManus spoke alongside Affordable Housing Trust Chair Stephen Sooy, whose board supports the proposal.

Selectman Patrick Tropeano said he was concerned about his board being in the dark regarding Latham's plans.

“We really didn’t get a lot of information,” Tropeano said. “I don’t have any input from neighbors or people…I think my job as a Selectmen is to pay attention to my constituents and the public.”

Tropeano said it's important the board perform due diligence, as it would with any project.

“This [project] probably fits in perfectly, but others might not,” said Tropeano. “We have to protect the neighborhoods.”

At the end of the discussion, McManus invited Selectmen to visit the Peter Cooper Drive site and learn more about Latham Centers' mission.

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