New Futures Initiative™ Training: Round 2

 February 12, 2015
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Last week, M&L founder/owner Maedi Tanham Carney CFP®, CWIC and a group of 9 families travelled to Evanston, Illinois to take part in the New Futures Initiative™ training with Center for Independent Futures (CIF). As those of you who are familiar with our housing development projects are aware, this is the second round of the NFI training facilitated by CIF and M&L, with a second group of core families.

All of us here at M&L, the staff of CIF, and those involved with our nonprofit Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) are incredibly excited about the progress that we are making with creating sustainable, community integrated, person-centered housing in Maryland and Washington, D.C. With this second round of training and the addition of a second group of core families, 15 families – 9 in Maryland and 6 in Washington, D.C. – now support our housing movement. With this kind of involvement, support, and participation we cannot help but succeed!

Today, to celebrate this most recent progress and to spread the word about our housing development, we would like to focus on this New Futures Initiative™ training, how it helps families and organizations create community-based housing, and why this type of housing is so important. Please join us!

New Futures Initiative™ training – What is it?

Designed and developed by Center for Independent Futures, New Futures Initiative™ is a training program that is intended to help families open doors to community-based supported living options within one’s own neighborhood. The program, a year-long process consisting of four workshops, teaches participants how to replicate CIF’s Community Living Option (CLO) housing model. (For more information on the CLO housing model, please click here.)

The New Futures Initiative™ training provides the necessary tools, materials, and professional resources for participants to successfully develop housing options in their communities, while instilling the confidence to move forward. As part of this initiative, CIF also provides onsite consultation, offering the support needed to ensure that the process is sustainable and successful. Essentially, the New Futures Initiative™ provides a road map to help guide families on their path toward housing solutions for adults with disabilities.

If you are a regular visitor to our website, and a reader of our blog, you have no doubt read a post (or two) about the New Futures Initiative™ training, and M&L’s involvement with CIF. If you would like to read these past posts again, please click here to access our blog archive.

Why is community-based housing important?

For a couple of years now, M&L has been working towards creating solutions to the special needs housing crisis in the United States. We know, from personal and professional experience, that there simply aren’t enough housing programs to meet the needs to the growing population of Americans with disability. We also know that sometimes the programs that do exist aren’t a good fit for some individuals. When it comes to housing, one size fits all simply does not work.

What we have discovered – through many, many hours of research and examination of various living programs and housing options from across the US – is that the independent living programs and housing options that seem to thrive are the ones that rely heavily on community involvement. These programs place a huge importance on engaging residents and helping them with their social and recreational interactions and activities, and are populated by happy, successful adults.

So, the answer to the above question is this: community based housing is important because it leads to individuals with disabilities living full, inclusive, rewarding lives in a housing setting that they have chosen and feel comfortable in. Community means relationships. Through community building, we are helping our loved ones with disability make connections, build and nurture relationships, and occupy their days.

ILO community-based housing criteria
Note: Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) is the non-profit created by M&L to facilitate the New Futures Initiative™ and housing development project – click here to learn more.

Here at M&L, we know that community-based housing is the best possible solution for our family member with special needs, and we are committed to reaching out to other individuals and families who share the same dreams for their loved ones with disability. It is not enough to simply say “we want community” for our loved ones, however. By creating networks (as we are doing with ILO), we are coming together as a team to decide what exactly community means to us and our families.

Together, the core families involved with ILO and the housing development project have identified a number of housing criteria that they feel constitutes community living; this includes safety in the community, accessibility to shops, entertainment and transportation. It must also be financially sustainable and ADA accessible. Last (but not least) there must be an emphasis on community engagement, and the opportunity for community-based recreation.

If this housing project, the housing criteria, or any aspect of the New Futures Initiative™ training sounds appealing or interesting to you, please let us know! We are not currently accepting any new families for the NFI training, but we would love for you to join ILO and pledge your support to our community-building and housing initiatives.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog today. We hope that it has been informative, and that you are as inspired by the movement to create person-centered housing for individuals with disabilities as we are. As always, please contact us with any questions, suggestions or concerns you may have regarding special needs housing, or special needs planning in general. See you next week!


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