Community Pods

Community Pods are the Building Blocks of Independent Living

Community Pods are groups of self-advocates, along with their families and personal support networks, that live in close proximity to each other. The pods provide the infrastructure of assistance to those who have moved out, or are close to leaving the family home.

These pods provide a forum for the self-advocates and their families to get to know each other through family meetings and social events coordinated by the pod leader and their designated community builder.

The community builder works both with individuals and groups of self-advocates through skill-building activities and social events. See “How ILO Works” page to learn more about the role of Community Builders.

Through the community pods, self-advocates begin build relationships with each other and in the community, take control of their own lives and eventually transition out of their families’ homes.

Building relationships takes time, patience and trust; ILO is committed to this process and to facilitating the development of supportive communities.


ILO is growing communities in Germantown, Gaithersburg, Rockville and Bethesda, MD, as well as Washington, D.C.

Gaithersburg MD

ILO’s Gaithersburg community pod was established in the fall of 2016 at The Crossings, an apartment complex in Olde Towne Gaithersburg, MD. Seven adult men moved into their own units, and through their ILO Community Builder, developed a lively peer group that includes socializing with each other and out in the community, as well working on skills for everyday living. ILO has another self-advocate in this pod who lives with his parents, and the goal is for him to move to the Crossings soon.

Germantown MD

ILO’s Germantown community started with one ILO self-advocate living in her own condo, taking advantage of the amenities provided by a transit center, bus routes, a library, restaurants, grocery stores, movies, etc. There are now two ILO self-advocates in the Germantown community.

Bethesda, MD

Bethesda, MD has seven ILO self-advocates living in the same apartment building off of Battery Lane. The ILO community builder and participating family members help to ensure that all self-advocates are connected to each other, and are integrated into Bethesda’s vibrant, urban neighborhoods. The location of this community allows self-advocates to take advantage of busy retail, restaurant and shopping areas, as well as enjoy easy access to Washington, D.C.

Rockville, MD

ILO’s Rockville pod is ILO’s largest pod and is continuing to grow with fifteen self-advocates. The idea in Rockville is to populate one to two apartment buildings to continue building communities and working on the peer-to-peer relationships. This location is rich with many amenities and easy access to the Metro.

Washington, D.C.

DC provides a unique challenge to ILO: how to develop a community among a group of self-advocates spread throughout all quadrants of the city? The DC community builder has done this by facilitating skills workshops, “Social Sundays”, and family meetings that connect the self-advocates and their families, providing a springboard for independent living, utilizing the myriad of resources available in our vibrant city. In addition, ILO is working with developers and the city to carve out some of the affordable units for ILO’s DC self-advocates.


Creating pods in Virginia has been a challenge. ILO Virginia is on hold.

If you are interested in learning more about community pods please contact us.

It's True - ALL of ILO's Fees Can be Paid Using Self-Directed Funds

Transition to Independent Living the ILO Way!

Your loved one can join ILO and be part of a Community POD where they have social connections through vibrant activities and support from ILO staff in building peer-to-peer relationships and helping them grow their independent living skills.

All ILO Fees can be paid with one’s self-directed budget. Learn more HERE.

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