People with special needs who want more independence, but can't live alone have a new option in the Lynchburg area.

Horizon Behavioral Health is opening new group homes that are specially designed for people with disabilities.

The intermediate care facilities, located in Madison Heights, are built to accommodate people who want to move out of the Central Virginia Training Center.

CVTC, which currently houses hundreds of people with developmental disabilities, is scheduled to close in five years.  Virginia lawmakers have set aside money to help training center residents find homes in the community.

Horizon's new transitional group homes are designed with special features like wide hallways, therapeutic bath tubs, and wheelchair accessible showers.  Large common areas and kitchens are designed to make the facilities feel more like home.

The buildings are located just a few miles from CVTC, which should make the transition easier for residents who are able to move there.

"We are trying to keep CVTC open," said state delegate Ben Cline, who represents Amherst County in the Virginia General Assembly.  "We want the training center to be available for those who need it and can't survive in a group home setting.  For the vast majority, (intermediate care) homes are fantastic."

The homes are named for Lula Bowyer and Pete Warren, two people who have made special contributions to the disabled community in Lynchburg.

58% of the construction cost was paid for with funding from the General Assembly.