Hauppauge-based nonprofit Angela's House is in the planning stages of a new home for critically ill children in Stony Brook, its founder said Tuesday.
Bob Policastro, who along with wife Angie founded the nonprofit nearly 20 years ago in honor of their daughter Angela, said the organization will be building a facility on Stony Brook Road near the entrance to Stony Brook University.
The home will be the third built by Angela's House; the first is located in East Moriches and the second in Smithtown. Proximity to Stony Brook University Medical Center was a factor in the choice of location this time around.
"We're thrilled to finally get moving with it," Bob Policastro said. "This house will have a few kids that are ventilator dependent who are living out of state. We're going to give them a more comfortable environment."
The Policastro family founded Angela's House nearly 20 years ago after they found a need for medical care for their medically frail infant daughter Angela. According to the organization's website, the Policastros received excellent care in the hospital but found few local resources outside the hospital that could help them care for Angela.
They turned to an out-of-state facility for care, and would drive hours to spend time with their daughter. They were inspired to create a way for Long Island families to get the help they need nearby.
"This becomes that home away from home option for them," Policastro said. "When I first started 20 years ago, these kids were living in the hospitals in some cases up to five or seven years, and out-of-state facilitiies had extensive wait lists."
The Stony Brook facility will be home to eight children. An entirely new home will be built from scratch because of the need to accommodate medical equipment and handicap access. Policastro said he expects the home to be completed in time for the organization's 20th anniversary celebration in 2012.
When he first began the process of building in Smithtown, Policastro said Angela's House initially saw some pushback from the community.
"People weren't sure what it was, but by the time eveyrbody realized what we were doing, they see how beautiful it looks and it's been absolutely wonderful," he said. "The town of smithtown has embraced us tremendously ... it's nice to be welcomed into a community."