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“This house is a huge hug for a lot of families that come in,” said UC Davis social worker Courtney Corbitt, who has partnered with the Oak Park Rotary House Foundation to identify patient families in need of long-term temporary housing.
Located within walking distance of UC Davis Children’s Hospital, the Oak Park Rotary House offers a two-bedroom private home for a family with a child who will be hospitalized for at least six months. Families must live hours away from the hospital to qualify.
“There’s no rent. We take care of the utilities. We take care of the yard maintenance,” said Lynette Andersen, secretary of the Oak Park Rotary House Foundation. “We literally built this house ourselves from the ground up every weekend for a year. There’s love in this house. I think when you walk through the door you feel that.”
Reno residents Jacob Gibson and Sally Welch felt the love on move-in day. Their three-month-old son Arthur has been treated for rare liver and gastrointestinal conditions at UC Davis Children’s Hospital since he was only two weeks old.
“Everything goes out the window when your one and only baby gets sick. To not have to think about accommodation during this time is awesome. We can just think about baby and whatever he needs,” said Welch.
Their story is like so many stories of families who have stayed in the Oak Park Rotary House over the years. A bound book that stays with the house gives each new occupant a chance to share their story in its pages. Families have also left behind special mementos, art and décor as a thank you.
“Being able to stay in this house is life-saving for us. You can forget that there are people out there that care. We can’t thank them enough,” said Gibson.