MOORHEAD-Brad Nelson is quick to sing the praises of his three best friends.
"These guys are considered family right now," he said of Lane Larson, David Dickson and Greg Schaff, all of them housemates for the last 10 years.
They give the love right back, in a special kind of brotherhood. The men call their place the LDBG House, based on the first letters of their first names.
"My three boys," Larson said with a sweet smile, referring to the others.
The men, ranging from 44 to 58 years old, have varying physical and mental disabilities and health issues.
They live together in a house at 421 Dale Ave. S., in Moorhead, owned by Creative Care for Reaching Independence, or CCRI.
Several CCRI staff members provide care to them around the clock; still, it's getting more difficult for the men to function well in the house as they age.
The nonprofit has launched an effort to build a new, fully accessible home at 4420 10th St. S., calling their campaign #Build4TheGuys.
Dickson has a bedroom in the basement in the current residence. He's starting to have trouble going up and down stairs, and his friends are worried.
"I'm concerned Dave might fall one day," Nelson said.
Nelson, who's in a wheelchair, hasn't been able to take a bath in all the time they've lived there. Jody Hudson, development director at CCRI, said he showers only because there's no wheel-in bathtub. He will have one in the new house.
"When he's cold, his legs hurt him, so to be able to soak is going to be amazing," Hudson said.
No separating these guys
Typically, in an arrangement like this, a person who develops new needs, like David, would find a new place to live and move in with different people, said Shannon Bock, CCRI's executive director.
However, the staff couldn't bear the thought of separating the group.
"They have bonds like brothers would," Bock said.
Around the time campaign planning began, CCRI faced budget cuts from the state, she said.
They decided to go forward anyway because of the pressing need.
Hudson said most people don't realize there's a lack of accessible housing in the FM area.
CCRI operates 42 similar homes for people with disabilities, 13 of which it owns, while community investors own the rest, Bock said.
They're looking to raise $348,000 in the next year to pay for the new house for the men, on top of $35,000 raised so far through monetary and in-kind donations, Hudson said.
All proceeds from an event called Tablescapes, set for Oct. 9 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Moorhead, will go toward the project.
People can keep tabs on the project by following #Build4TheGuys on social media.
The design was drawn up at no cost by YHR Partners of Moorhead, and the house will be built by Hohenstein Homes. It's expected to be done between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Nelson can't wait and is also looking forward to heated floors in the new pad.
"No cold feet in the house! I'm excited about the move!" he said with a broad smile.