New Horizons Group Homes, Inc. recently opened the Peter and Brenda Watkins Home, its third home, which will house six male residents.

Since 1992, the Special Ministries Department of First Baptist Church Brandon members recognized the need for long-term living facilities for developmentally disabled women and men. A committee became established to investigate the requirements, which led to the development of New Horizons Group Homes, Inc. located in Brandon.

On June 1, 1999, New Horizons opened its first group home called the Mary Lou Creamer House with six women as residents. Their second one opened in 2002 called the Alice Storms Home with six men as residents. Recently their third one was established on December 2, 2017 called the Peter and Brenda Watkins Home with six men as residents. All of the homes are located on the same property. The third home opened because of a demand for the demographic it serves.

“We had a wait list for individuals to become a resident at one of our homes and a third home did get built to accommodate that need,” said Yvonne Shelton, executive director (ALS) Administrator at New Horizons Group Homes, Inc.

This nonprofit organization chose to name the homes after its founders. For example, Peter and Brenda Watkins served on the board of directors since the beginning. These homes are licensed through the Agency for Health Care Administration as assisted living facilities.
With a mission to provide Christian group homes for the developmentally disabled as it aims to encourage them to develop to their full potential, residents are also required to care for their own personal needs, work in the community and more.

On a side note, the program is person centered which means that every individual gets help with goals based on personal choice and needs. For instance, residents learn important life skills such as cooking, counting money and more.

Shelton feels excited for the environment and population that the organization works with.

“We want to support them as they achieve their independence and can only hope that we can continue to be as successful with our previous and current homes,” Shelton said.

For more information, visit It is located at 109 E. Clay Ave. in Brandon. Call 571-2690.

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.