Happy Holidays from the staff of M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC!

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Hello everyone, and welcome to our blog this week! We can’t believe that another holiday season is here and almost gone again. Here at M&L, we have spent the last few days reflecting on what we have accomplished over the last 12 months, and planning what lies ahead for us in 2015. We have truly had a fantastic year, and we are looking forward to continuing to grow and move forward. Please join us as we recap some 2014 achievements that we are especially excited about, and share with you how we plan to move forward in the coming year.

Special Needs Housing Development Project

2014 has been an amazing year for our special needs housing development projects in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, beginning with the formation of a wonderful working relationship between M&L and Center for Independent Futures. In February, we became the official East Coast Representative of CIF, and began to facilitate CIF’s New Futures Initiative training (training that teaches families how to create sustainable, community based, integrated housing) to families and organizations in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Since this partnership began, CIF has hosted a number of different training sessions for M&L clients and we have made incredible progress towards creating housing for our self-advocates. In fact, 2014 has also seen the first self-advocate achieve independent living! In addition to this, 4 out of the 5 self-advocates from our founding families have completed their ILRI assessments, so we anticipate that we will see these individuals achieve independent living in 2015. We even found time to celebrate, and hosted our first ever party with all of our self-advocates and families.

If you would like to join in this process, you still can! On February 4th and 5th, a second set of core families are participating in the first stage of the New Futures Initiative training – please contact us now for more details! We currently have 5 families from D.C., and 4 from Maryland. We would love for you to jump on board!

Integrated Living Opportunities  

As we began to meet and welcome more families with special needs into our housing development movement, we quickly realized that we needed an organization whose sole purpose was to facilitate the relationships and networks needed to make community living succeed – with this realization came the commitment to create this organization. So, we did! Or, more accurately, we are in the process of doing so.

Integrated Living Opportunities is a 501c3 non-profit organization (incorporation papers are in the process of being filed) that is being created by a core group of founding families. Our objective is to bring family groups together to establish integrated, sustainable and inclusive community based housing through the use of community partnerships. ILO’s vision is to provide individuals with disabilities the choice and opportunity to live, work, and play as fully respected members of a community that offers an array of supports and services designed to create and maintain a safe environment. We want this environment to promote independent living, employment, and recreational activities. ILO pledges to accomplish exactly that by working together to establish new cooperative housing and support arrangements that are person-centered, maximize self-direction, and fully support community integration, participation and inclusion.

Simply put, ILO is a network of parents of young adults with disabilities, seeking to support each other with the goal of creating full lives for our family members in an integrated and inclusive community. We have incredible plans for ILO for 2015, including growth through the inclusion of more families into our community of independent self-advocates, and by offering more and more housing supports to our clients and members. If you would like to become a part of this incredible organization, please let us know! To learn more about ILO, please click here to access our blog archive.

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Here at M&L we know that everything we have accomplished would not have been possible without your support. We would like to take this opportunity to send a sincere and heartfelt thank you to all of our clients, supporters, collaborators, friends and family – together, we move mountains! From all of us here at M&L, we wish you a happy and health holiday season, and a prosperous New Year – see you all in 2015!







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