Integrated Living Opportunities – Officially Open for Business!
Thursday, April 2nd 2015
Hello everyone, and welcome back to the blog this week! We hope that you are all heading into this holiday weekend happy, healthy, and with the company of family and friends.
Regular readers of our blog will have noticed that Thursday past we published two blogs. That was because last week brought with it some exciting news – and we couldn’t wait to share! Just to recap, the first blog was our regular weekly post, in which we discussed the way that the ABLE Act is being enacted across the United States. After that, we published an additional post in which we shared this news: As of March 6th, our housing non-profit Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) officially received 501c3 status! (Note: for an explanation of what 501c3 status means, please click here to read the post from last week).
Well, it is exactly one week later, and our excitement has yet to fade! Now that ILO is officially open for business, we can begin to formalize the plans that we have had in place for the last few months. If you are interested in learning more about ILO and how we can help families with special needs find or create special needs housing, please join us!
What is ILO?
The story behind ILO is long, and inspiring. For the sake of brevity, we will not feature that story in today’s post – if you are interested, please visit Integrated Living Opportunities: All About the ILO. For today’s purposes, here is a quick summary:
Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) is a non-profit organization that was created by Maedi Tanham Carney CFP®, CWIC and a core group of five founding families. ILO’s objective is to bring together family groups and help these groups work together to establish integrated, sustainable, and inclusive community based housing. We intend to accomplish this type of housing through building community partnerships, and through the formation and facilitation of networks of support.
ILO grew from our working relationship with Center for Independent Futures® (CIF) and delivers their New Futures Initiative™ training to families in the Washington, Maryland and Virginia areas – the goal of this partnership is to create housing that replicates CIF’s Community Living Option™ residences. (For more information on our housing project and CIF, please click here to access our housing archive.)
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.
How does ILO help families with special needs?
It is important to note that first and foremost, ILO is a network that we are building to help families create community and housing opportunities for their family member with special needs. ILO’s mission is to help families to create intentional communities to facilitate networks of support for adults with disabilities to enable them to live independently. We will do this by developing teams of paid and unpaid individuals for our self-advocates as they move out of their family houses and into their own homes. These teams will help the individuals maintain their skills and develop new ones, maximize self-direction, and be full participants in the wider community.
Currently, ILO offers five services that further enable us to achieve our mission: Training, Assessment, Establishing Support and Staffing, Advocacy and Facilitation.
Training: As mentioned earlier, ILO will facilitate the New Futures Initiative™ training sessions developed by Center for Independent Futures®. This training consists of a series of four workshops, workshop materials, and onsite consultation to guide families through the process of creating community based housing, and developing partnerships with different organizations in the community, i.e. churches, disability services organizations, city departments, etc.
Assessment: In order to live independently, self-advocates must possess the necessary independent living skills. At ILO, we will administer an extensive, integrated evaluation and interactive assessment and inventory of a self-advocate’s daily living skills and experiences. This assessment, the Independent Living Readiness Inventory™, will be used to help the self-advocate prepare for independent life.
Establishing Support and Staffing: ILO will guide and assist families to facilitate the necessary supports for the self-advocates who complete training and assessments. Currently, ILO will not provide the staffing, but will advise individuals on where to find affordable staffing for the specific needs of the self-advocates.
Advocacy: ILO will facilitate advocacy for self-advocates and their families. ILO will help to create goals, assist in time management, identify emerging needs, and provide ongoing facilitation and meetings. ILO will help advocate form and facilitate personal networks for support for the self-advocate while the parent(s) are alive, and for an additional fee ILO may continue to advocate for the self-advocate after the parent(s) are gone.
Facilitation: ILO will help facilitate personal networks and committees in all the communities. As a facilitator, ILO will create and organize recreational, social, and life skill classes in specific areas of community based housing. ILO will guide the formation of personal networks. The Executive Directory and staff at ILO will maintain this responsibility.
Would You Like More Information?
Thank you all so much for taking the time to visit out blog, and share in our excitement as we watch ILO take this first step towards becoming a key player in the movement towards sustainable, integrated, community-based housing. If you would like more information on ILO, community partnerships, or on how to create your own special needs housing for your family member with special needs please let us know! We would love for you to join ILO as we work towards expanding and strengthening our networks of support. If you would like to remain in the loop on ILO, please subscribe to our blog notifications. We will be posting updates as they happen.
For further reading, you may wish to visit CIF’s website to learn more about their Community Living Option™ residences, the New Futures Initiative™ training sessions, and their philosophy of support. As well, M&L has an extensive database of articles and blog posts related to special needs housing – you can assess it by selecting Integrated Living Opportunities, or Housing for Individuals with Disability from the drop-down menu titled Blog Categories on the right hand side of our webpage.
Again, thank you, and have a great holiday weekend!!
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