Joni and Scott: Housing Independence for a Son with Special Needs

Gabe’s Home Away From Home

  • Location

    Outside McKinleyville

  • ADU Type


  • Price


  • Time

    9 months

  • Year of Completion


  • Size

    1,100 square feet

We have been married for more than 40 years and have nine children together. We met at Humboldt State and built our current home about 20 years ago. Since our adult son Gabe has both Downs Syndrome and autism, and Joni provides him with part-time care, we wanted to build an ADU to keep him close to home while providing him with his own personal space. With three other adult children living in the main home and limited supportive housing options for people with special needs in the area, we thought an ADU could be the answer.

Our son-in-law is a licensed contractor and became our project manager. We found it was important to build a team that has experience since there are lots of details and our property is in an airport overlay. We were able to find a space on our one-acre property and worked with an architect to design a floor plan that would best fit Gabe’s needs, including two bedrooms and bathrooms, so both Gabe and his caretakers have their own space. The ADU is solar powered and receives lots of natural light. The process to build went slowly because of supply issues, and we ended up paying more than expected, but Gabe finally moved into the ADU in June of 2021.

Building an ADU has given our son more independence and has helped bring more peace to our home.  His and our stress levels have come down dramatically and it’s so good to know that Gabe is happy and taken care of in his own home.