M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC: Your Special Needs Housing Experts

Thursday, January 16th, 2013

Here at M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC we have had a very busy couple of weeks! We are so incredibly excited to tell you all about the changes and improvements that we are bringing to our brand of special needs planning in the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland areas!

To begin, we want to emphasize that first and foremost, we are a special needs planning business – and that business will of course continue to offer the services that are at the heart of planning for a family and individual with special needs. This includes helping families complete their personalized Comprehensive Special Needs Financial Life Plan, insurance needs analysis services, counseling as to different aspects of special needs planning, help with transitioning planning, vocational rehabilitation, legal and estate counseling and recommendations, etc. (for a complete list of services that we offer, please visit the Services section of our website.) It has been no secret, however, that over the last year or so the staff of M&L Special Needs Planning has found a new passion – a passion that inspires and motivates us. That passion is – you guessed it – communities for individuals with special needs.

Our interest in special needs communities began when M&L founder and owner, Maedi Tanham Carney CFP®, CWIC began the housing journey with her daughter Ellie. As Maedi began to research independent living and housing programs for Ellie, she discovered that there simply weren’t enough housing opportunities to go around. As we, the staff of M&L, began to dig deeper into housing for individuals with special needs, we became aware of the full extent of the special needs housing crisis. More importantly, we became aware of the roadblocks that parents faced when trying to find appropriate housing for their family member with special needs. These roadblocks included a lack of physical housing space for individuals with special needs (partly due to government regulations and zoning requirements), a lack of information about the programs and space that currently exist, and often incorrect or incomplete information being given to parents who were looking to help their family member with special needs find a home and build an adult life.

These roadblocks inspired us – Maedi and the staff of M&L – to create and launch our Independent Living Program and Housing Project. This project is an online database that contains more than 800 entries of independent living and housing programs, service providers, and special needs organizations from across the United States. It also contains a plethora of information regarding special needs housing such as journal articles, news reports, studies, and other important financial information that is incredibly useful to the special needs housing search. For more information about this program or to subscribe, please read the How it Works section of our Housing webpage, or visit this blog post.

Once this program was up and running, however, Maedi decided that it simply wasn’t enough; she felt that there weren’t (and aren’t) enough housing opportunities in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas to go around. She did notice, however, a plethora of interest from families and parents of children with special needs in the area – enough interest to seriously consider beginning a venture in creating and developing communities for individuals with special needs. From this realization, a new direction for M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC was born – community development for individuals with special needs.

M&L, The Special Needs Community Experts

The first step M&L took towards special needs community development took place on October 12th of last year, when M&L co-hosted a community development workshop with the Center for Independent Futures (CIF). This workshop promoted CIF’s New Futures Initiative, and was aimed at helping interested individuals create community living models that replicate the CIF’s Community Living Option residences in Evanston, Illinois. The workshop was incredibly successful, with more than 65 families attending, and the future of this type of development looks bright. In February of this year, Maedi will travel to Evanston, Ill. with five interested families to continue the New Futures Initiative training – and M&L will play an important role in the development of this type of community development model in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC area. As this model develops, Maedi will act as a coordinator, and will be responsible for sourcing the services and service providers, housing, etc. We hope to replicate this training for many more interested families including families in Virginia and Washington DC families. For more information on the New Futures Initiative and the development of this community living model, please visit the CIF website, or contact us.

The CIF New Futures Initiative isn’t the only special needs housing development that Maedi and the staff of M&L Special Needs Planning will be involved in, however. Maedi will also play an integral role in the development of other models of special needs housing and community living in the DC, MD and VA areas. Maedi is currently meeting with a number of families in late January to discuss the ways in which communities for their families members with special needs can be developed, acquired, etc. in the next 1-2 years. For more information on this meeting, please contact us. Also on February 26th, 2014 Maedi will be having a Housing Update workshop at TLC to share what we learned at the CIF training and how to get involved with finding communities for your family member with disabilities. Due to Maedi’s CFP® financial and special needs background, we will be able to tie all the important financial aspects to planning with one’s specific community needs. This is a one of a kind company and will only grow in depth once we get the handle of the real estate, staffing and supports needs.

In addition to these new community developments, Maedi remains committed to consistently researching new housing programs, and updating the Independent Living Program and Housing Database with important and relevant information. On February 1st, Maedi and the staff of M&L will be release the first in a series of informational videos – these videos will provide information to subscribers on various special needs planning processes, such as the Insurance Needs Analysis, Funding the Special Needs Trust, and other important topics. For more information on these videos, or to access them, please click here to subscribe.

All this talk of housing development brings us to our most exciting announcement of today – to reflect the new direction of the business and our increased commitment to housing and community development for individuals with special needs, M&L Special Needs Planning has claimed a new domain name – www.specialneedsplanninghousing.com. We feel that this new domain name accurately reflects the new direction that M&L is claiming, as well as accomplishing one of our primary goals – making information about special needs communities more accessible to parents. This domain name is connected to www.specialneedsplanning.net so when one searches for either special needs planning and/or housing, M&L Special Needs Planning will come up. Soon we may be adding Housing to our name – stay tuned.

On behalf of all the staff at M&L, we sincerely thank you all for your continued support and patronage. We are so excited to be moving along this exciting path, and we look forward to working on these new and exciting housing and community developments with you in the future! As Maedi says, her personal goal (which is reflected through her commitment to M&L Special Needs Planning’s Housing Initiatives) is to help more than 100 families find affordable and appropriate communities for their family member with special needs – in the next five years! Give us a call, and become a part of that journey.


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