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Our mission is to enable persons with physical disabilities the opportunity to live independently in accessible housing and to support themselves through meaningful employment by developing and efficiently managing housing facilities and employment services.
OTR was formed in 1974 by a group of Chicago-area parents of physically disabled children. Some children had cerebral palsy; others had muscular dystrophy or were born with spinal cord deformities. All of these children needed a wheelchair for mobility and required some level of assistance to dress and feed themselves. After visiting nursing homes and other assisted living facilities, the parents were disappointed and discouraged. The families were not wealthy, but together they joined forces to develop a better solution - to build apartments where their children and others like them could live independently, sharing access to personal care attendants for daily personal care needs. Seven buildings later, OTR continues to be an organization dedicated to serving low-income adults with physical disabilities.
In 1994, OTR created the Arboretum Business Center, located in a wing of its Evanston apartment building. The business center consists of 4,500 square feet, is a state-of-the-art, completely wheelchair-accessible workspace that provides valuable computer training by a qualified OTR staff member. The purpose of the Arboretum Business Center is to create employment opportunities for the physically disabled who now live independently and on their own.