M&L Special Needs Planning: New East Coast Representative for CIF Housing Development

 February 27, 2014
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Thursday, February 27th 2014

Hey everyone!

As you may know, last week M&L owner, founder, and resident Housing Expert Maedi Tanham Carney, CFP®, CWIC and five families travelled to Evanston, Illinois to participate in the Center for Independent Futures’ New Futures Initiative training. The training – which took place over two days – was an amazingly enlightening experience. Everyone who participated learned an incredible amount, and came away with a step-by-step process for creating alternative housing options for their loved ones with special needs. We also all came away with a renewed commitment to developing this housing, and a drive to get started on the work ahead.

As well, M&L Special Needs Housing is incredibly proud and excited to announce that we have been asked (and have agreed) to be the new East Coast Representative for the Center for Independent Futures (CIF). As a result, we will be sharing the New Futures Initiative to teach others how to create the Community Living Options in your area.

In today’s blog, we would like to take the opportunity to provide you with a refresher as to what the CIF is all about, how the New Futures Initiatives training works, and talk a little bit about the Community Living Options. We would also like to share a little bit about what we learned during the training, and how we plan to proceed with our housing development in the future. Hope you will join us!

CIF & Housing: A Refresher

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the CIF organization, or its New Futures Initiatives, the organization itself is a non-profit that “helps individuals with disabilities realize full lives, according to their hopes and dreams.” They provide a comprehensive roster of services to individuals with disabilities and their families, including public benefits consultation, full life future planning, independent living skills tutoring and support and, of particular interest to us, their housing services, in the form of their Community Living Option residences.

The Community Living Option Residences (CLOs) are housing options for individuals with disabilities – these housing options are developed according to the CIF’s Philosophy of Support, which focuses on community building, and the individual’s right to choice, experience, responsibility and relationships. Each CLO resident pays his or her own rent, utilities, expenses and support services costs – the CIF acts as a liaison between the resident and the landlord, and develops a memorandum of understanding between the resident and the landlord. Each CLO residence is grounded in “community building, while fostering individual choice and exploration.” The CLO also provides on-site support and staff to help residents with emergencies, and also with community building and developing independent living skills.

To learn more about the CIF or the CLO residences, please click here to read our interview with founder Jane Doyle, or visit the CIF website.

The New Futures Initiative Training – What we learned

As a result of the success of the CLO model, the CIF was awarded a grant from the Coleman Foundation to share their expertise and methods of developing housing for individuals with disabilities with family groups and organizations looking for alternative, community based special needs housing. The New Futures initiative training was born from this grant, and was developed to provide the support necessary to help others replicate the CLOs in other geographical areas. The CIF describes the training as “a process that provides family groups and agencies with financial, legal and support models for creating new community based housing options for individuals with disabilities in their own neighborhoods.”

The training itself takes place over four days. Throughout the course of the training, we learned about the core values behind the CLO housing model development – community, choice, assessment, person centered planning, family, and much more. We also learned (among other things) about:

  • Creating community based opportunities and partnerships
  • Person Centered planning, and the family centric approach
  • Natural Supports and Inclusive Communities
  • How to build and sustain communities
  • How to be community organizers
  • Residential Options
  • How to create organizational structure
  • the Independent Living Readiness Inventory

Honestly, this list of topics barely scratches the surface of the information that we learned during the training session. For more information about the specifics of what was covered during this training, please contact us.

The New Futures Initiative and M&L Housing Development Plans

Right now, M&L and a core group of five families will be going forth with the New Futures Initiative training to develop CLO model residences in the Montgomery County, Maryland area. Last night, we held an incredible Housing Workshop Update at the Treatment Learning Center in Rockville. During this workshop, we discussed what we learned during the training, and the ways in which the core group will be in the forefront of creating intentional communities in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia using the CIF housing model. We will be hosting another workshop on March 12, titled The Special Needs Process with a Focus on Housing. Please click here to register, if you are interested in learning more about housing for individuals with special needs.

M&L and the core group is looking for five additional families to join this process – the training that the original group took part in on Feb 20th and 21st will be repeated on April 13th and 14th for any families looking to join. After that, CIF representative Jen Knapp Executive Director of Community Choice, will travel to Washington, DC to merge the two core groups (10 families), and the second 2-day training session for all families will take place June 5th and 6th.

Here at M&L, we feel that this is an incredible opportunity. This venture is the beginning of Intentional Communities and Partnerships in the Washington, D.C. area.

If you are interested in learning more about this process, or discussing the possibility of joining the current group for training in April, please contact us. We would love to talk about the CIF with you, and give our perspective on why the CLO housing model is the best possible model for your loved one with special needs. Honestly, we feel that this opportunity is too good to slip away – join us as we build rich, vibrant, community based housing for our loved ones with special needs.

Thank you so much for taking the time to join us – we are so excited about our plans for housing development, and we just love talking about it! As always, contact us with any questions or concerns you may have, visit our blog – there are many posts on housing for individuals with special needs, or check out our Independent Living Program and Housing Project database – an online resource of more than 800 independent living programs, service providers and organizations for individuals with special needs from across the United States.

From all of us to all of you, Happy Thursday!

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