Integrated Living Opportunities: Organizational Update

 May 28, 2015
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

It is no secret that housing for Americans with disability is in a crisis mode; as more and more individuals with disabilities age into adulthood (more than 500,000 individuals with ASD in the next decade alone), the already scarce housing resources that exist will be even more strained. This translates into longer wait times for those individuals waiting for housing, and less opportunities and funding for families who are searching for housing options for their family members with special needs.

With this in mind, the staff of M&L has been hard at work trying to come up with solutions for this housing crisis. We began by designing, developing, and launching our Independent Living Program and Housing Project database, an online resource with more than 800 entries of independent living programs and housing options, special needs organizations, and advocates for individuals with disabilities from all across the United States. This information includes program descriptions, contact information, eligibility requirements, and funding options. (To learn more or to subscribe, please click here.)

Once the database was launched, we turned our attention to creating more special needs housing opportunities – by working with Center for Independent Futures, we began to introduce their New Futures Initiative™ training program to the Washington, D.C. and Maryland areas. This training provides the resources and tools that enable families with special needs to create integrated, sustainable, community-based housing for their family members with disabilities in their own communities. As this partnership (and M&L’s housing development project) grew and began to evolve, it became apparent that something larger was needed to oversee, or facilitate, the process of special needs housing development. Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO), our non-profit, was born from this realization. ILO is committed to empowering adults with disabilities in the Greater Washington, DC metropolitan area to live their dreams as fully integrated, contributing and participating members of their communities. (To learn more about ILO, please click here).

Over the last few weeks, we have been posting updates as to the progress that ILO has been making as it defines its role in community based housing for Maryland and Washington, D.C. A few weeks ago, we shared with you how we are developing communities, and using CIF’s Full Life Model™ in our housing model. Please join us today as we share a little bit about the internal organization of ILO, to give you a better sense of how we can help you help your family with special needs.

Organizational Structure of ILO

On March 6th of this year, Integrated Living Opportunities officially received 501c3 status. Up until that point, we had been working hard behind the scenes to develop this housing non-profit, including recruiting and training participating families and helping a self-advocate achieve independent living. Those activities are still on- going, however we have now turned some of our attention to fine tuning the organizational structure of ILO, including the roles of ILO vs. the roles of participating families (PF). In a recent meeting, we tackled this issue and were able to define some of the differences between the role that ILO will play as an organization, and the responsibilities that participating families will carry. In a nutshell, here is what we have arrived at:

ILO is, above all, a facilitator of networks. As a facilitator, ILO will arrange access to all necessary training, i.e. the New Futures Training™ program, and other steps required to prepare for independent living, i.e. the Independent Living Readiness Inventory™. As an option to PFs, ILO will facilitate the relationship between families and service providers and/or support brokers, provide readiness coaching and staffing, and advise as to housing structures, optional supports, housing financing. At the PFs request, ILO could also provide the supports for the transition to moving in, help the self-advocate access the Full Life Model™, and engage the self-advocates community, i.e. provide opportunities for recreation, socialization, skill building, etc. Additionally, if requested by the PFs, ILO would act as a facilitator of the different support networks for the self-advocate on an on-going basis.

Participating families will take part in all required training and steps required to help the self-advocate achieve independent living, hire the supports necessary for independent life, and help the self-advocate to work on living skills as identified in the Independent Living Readiness Inventory™. The PFs will also identify their chosen community, housing structure, choose and secure the financing for the residence, establish personal networks, and help the self-advocate move into the residence and begin building his or her life (daily schedule, etc.). The PFs will also be responsible for helping the self-advocate to build community on an on-going basis.

Please note that the process of defining roles and responsibilities is a work-in-progress; the role of ILO vs. the responsibilities of the participating families will continue to be defined as we build the organization. Please stay tuned to this blog for updates in the coming weeks and months.

For more information about ILO, please click here to read our blog archive on the topic, or contact us. We would love to add you to our network!

Would You Like More Information?

Here at M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC, we pride ourselves on being a relevant, reliable, and comprehensive source of information for families with special needs. Our website (including this blog) is designed to be a one-stop shop for information related to financial and life planning for individuals with disabilities and their families; if you are looking for general information please take a moment to look through our Special Needs Resources page, where we have compiled numerous resources (organized by category.) You may also wish to read past blogs – they are listed by category, and can be found by browsing through the drop down menu titled “Blog Categories” on the right hand side of the page. If you are interested in learning about how M&L helps families with special needs, our Services page details all the ways in which we can help you secure a successful and financially stable future for your family. Last (but not least) if you would like to learn more about ILO specifically, or special needs housing in general, please contact us! We would love to add you to our network.

Thanks again for visiting our website today – next week, we will be sharing ILO’s plans for marketing, fundraising and corporate sponsorship. Please join us!




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