Thursday, May 11, 2017
Hello everyone, and welcome to our blog this week!
Here at Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO), we help self-advocates and their families create supported communities for adults with disabilities. We feel that all adults should have the opportunity to live independently, according to their dreams, and governed by their own choices. We also fully believe that adults with disabilities should be fully integrated into the community. To this end, we are committed to creating Community partnerships and facilitating networks of support for our self-advocates as they live full, inclusive, independent lives.
As an organization that works with advocates for individuals with disabilities, we recognize the need for options and choices in regards to independent living options. Today, we would like to share with you a new independent living option for adults with disabilities in the Maryland area – Main Street. Perhaps the biggest difference between Main Street and ILO is that Main Street will be an apartment complex in Rockville Town Center with some units set aside for individuals with disabilities, while ILO builds communities of support in various locations in Montgomery County and Washington, D.C. ILO’s communities of support make use of the resources and activities already provided in the community.
Main Street is a new independent living and housing project in the Rockville, MD. area. Self-billed as the first of its kind in the Washington Metropolitan Area, the Main Street model consists of a residential development in which 25% of the units will be “designed and designated for adults with disabilities”. Spearheaded by Jillian and Scott Copeland, Main Street will be a place for residents to “live independently, learn and build friendships.”
The Main Street housing development will consist of 70 apartments with a quarter of these units reserved for individuals with disabilities. In addition, the complex will offer opportunities for residents to engage in learning activities through on-site professional skills workshops and classes. Main Street will house a movie room, wellness center and art gallery for recreational opportunities, and will host community events onsite. As well, Main Street will be attached to a coffee shop that will offer employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Main Street is currently in the planning stages and is awaiting its non-profit status. For more information, please visit their website: www.mainstreetconnect.org.
Integrated Living Opportunities
ILO is a non-profit whose mission is to support full integration of individuals with disabilities into the community. We achieve this by facilitating partnerships with organizations in the greater Washington metropolitan area and encouraging our self-advocates to use resources, programs and activities that are already in the community. ILO helps build and nurture these communities of support so that our self-advocates are able to be successful in their own places in the wider community.
Families that join ILO (Participating Families) and their family members with disabilities (self-advocates) are welcomed into an existing network of support. This network is facilitated by ILO and supported by community members. ILO then works with participating families to provide the training, resources, and support needed to create Supported Communities from the ground up. These communities provide a rich environment in which self-advocates can thrive, connected to each other and integrated into a wider, inclusive community. Once self-advocates achieve independent living, they are welcomed into community pods and attend social, recreational, and educational events – facilitated by ILO, and supported by community partnerships. Most importantly, self-advocates will be supported after the caregivers are gone, through community pods, personal networks, and professional partnerships of services and supports – all facilitated by ILO.
ILO is intensely grateful to Jillian and Scott Copeland, the founders of Main Street for helping ILO create one of the first pods at the Crossing in Gaithersburg, MD. To date (May 2017), ILO has created communities and community pods in Maryland and Washington, D.C. We have helped seven self-advocates achieve independent living and three more are moving out in the fall of 2017. We hope to have the Bethesda pod with another four to six self-advocates living independently in the next twelve to eighteen months. Through our partnerships and networks, ILO supports these individuals as they successfully integrate into their neighborhoods, and make full use of their community resources (stores, recreational activities, transit options, etc.) to live full, independent lives.
The need and demand for supported communities of all sorts for individuals with disabilities is far greater than what is available and planned for the future. Families of special needs need both Main Street and ILO to help their family members live independently in the greater community. There is a tremendous amount of synergy between the two models of ILO and Main Street. The more grassroots organizations to help create independent living scenarios the better. Across the country one can see a variety of choice and few possibilities for the future; however, there are not enough independent living options for the demand today and what is coming in the future.
Would you Like More Information?
Thank you all for taking the time to visit our blog today. We hope that we have provided you with an interesting discussion of the different independent living options that exist for adults with disabilities in the Washington Metro Area. For more information about ILO, or to learn how to join our network of support, please contact us.