Project 1212: Urban Housing for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

 December 19, 2013
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Thursday, December 18th, 2013

Hello everyone! Here at M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC we have had our hands full with preparing (and helping our clients and families with special needs prepare) for this very busy time of year! On behalf of the staff of M&L, we would like to extend our best wishes to all of you during this holiday season; we are so glad you have taken the time from your busy schedule to join us this week!

For today’s blog post, we decided to focus on a new housing option being developed in Chicago. The development is called “Project 1212”, and is spearheaded by the Julie & Michael Tracy Family Foundation.

The Julie and Michael Tracy Family Foundation (JMTF) is an organization that works to help adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) address challenges and improve their quality of life. Their mission statement pledges to “promote independence, confidence and a strong sense of community while supporting young adults in their social, vocational and educational decisions.” JMTF, which is aligned with Rush University Medical Center, is committed to “providing wrap around solutions and a path to a fully integrated community life.” In addition to their work with Rush Medical Center (the AARTS program) and their Community Garden initiatives, the organization intends to develop residential models in the West Side of Chicago, beginning with their pilot home, Project 1212.

What is Project 1212?

Project 1212 is the first in a series of residences being developed for young adults with ASD. One of the primary goals of the JMTF is to develop Urban Autism Solutions for adults – essentially, the organization intends to create “communities within communities”, or housing options where the residents are a part of the economic, social, and recreational life of the surrounding community. Their commitment to creating Urban Autism Solutions also includes providing psychiatric services, conducting research, and developing workforce options so that adults with ASD can lead productive, and independent lives.

1212, the pilot home, is a 4 bedroom, Victorian home located near the West Side of Chicago (as a matter of interest, the house is historically rich and dates back to the late 1800s). 1212 will provide a housing option for three adults with ASD, and an overnight staff person. According to the project’s webpage, “the residence itself will have a secure, nurturing environment. While it will have a family-life staff, it isn’t intended to function as a ‘container’…the ground floor will act as a conduit to the surrounding neighborhood.[i]” JMTF intends to use this ground floor to provide space for the community to join in classes and programs that will reduce the social isolation that is so prevalent in the group. Examples of these classes include a spring cooking class, and a video cookbook.

The house itself is in close proximity to Rush Medical Center, public transportation, stores and shops, and recreational facilities.  According to JMTF, it is this urban location that ensures the personal success of the residents of the house – they count the availability of public transportation, the close proximity of restaurants and businesses in the West Loop of Chicago, and the urban, downtown setting as bonuses for you adults with autism. JMTF cites the public transportation as essential to the lives of adults with ASD who will never drive – and the abundances of restaurants and businesses ensure there will be plenty of opportunities for meaningful employment for 1212’s residents.

How Can I Learn More about Project 1212?

1212 is scheduled to be operation in the spring of 2014 – the Tracy’s son John, who was diagnosed with ASD at age 2, will be one of the three residents. Information in regards to pricing and services isn’t yet available – those wishing to learn more about this project can visit the organization’s website, Facebook page, or use the organization’s contact form.

If you would like to learn more about housing options for your family member with a disability, the staff of M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC are housing experts. We can help you every step of the way, and can provide consulting services based on the options available in your state, and funding and financial services that can ensure that the housing option you choose is financially feasible.

You can also join our Member Directory, and gain access to our Independent Living and Housing Project database.  This database has information on independent living programs and housing options from all across the US – the information is organized by state, and incudes project descriptions, funding options, contact information, and eligibility requirements, among other things. We have also included other relevant housing information in this database, such as the latest studies, research, and relevant journal and news articles. If you are interested in learning more, or in signing up for this service please visit the Housing Page of our website, or contact us.

Thank you so much for joining us today! From the staff of M&L Special Needs Planning, have a great holiday season – stayed tuned to this blog, as next week we will provide tips on helping your family with special needs complete their year end planning.


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