Building Community One Pod at a Time

 July 16, 2015
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the blog this week! We hope that last week’s post, Can My Family Member with Disability Afford Independent Living, proved informative, and inspired you and your family member with special needs to consider independent living either now, or in the future.

Today, we would like to continue with the independent living theme, by describing one of the ways our housing non-profit, Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO), is working to ensure that our self-advocates that have achieved independent living are well on their way to living integrated, happy, community-based lives: intentional communities, and community pods.

If intentional communities and community pods intrigue you, or even if you would just like to learn more about ILO and the work we are doing please read on!

Intentional Communities: What Are They?

According to the Fellowship for Intentional Community’s website, an intentional community is “a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common purpose, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values.” This community may exist in a single home, on a shared piece of land, in an urban neighborhood, or in a cluster of houses. Though each intentional community may be vastly different in location, organization, values, goals, and priorities, they all share one thing in common: they are built around the ideals of communal living, mutual support and the importance of “belonging” to a community.

We have written and published a number of different blogs on this topic, including a descriptive blog outlining the four different types of intentional communities, and a case study of one very successful intentional community in Florida. If you are interested in learning more about intentional communities, and how this type of community may fit the needs of your family member with disabilities, please follow this link to see all posts on the topic.

Intentional Communities & Community Pods

Here at M&L, we are hard at work (in partnership with our non-profit Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO)) to create community-based, integrated, person-centered and sustainable housing and, more importantly, communities for our self-advocates. As written above, we plan to achieve this by building our very own intentional communities, through the creation of “community pods.” The next question you may be asking is, “what is a community pod?” and “why?”

According to Debbie Fickenscher, ILO Secretary, founding member, and the director of the Maryland Community Pod Committee, a community pod is a group of families that have self-advocates who are, or who are considering, moving out of the family home to their own place in a specific community. These self-advocates in the pod will live within close proximity to each other and, as members of the community pod, self-advocates will meet with each other, build relationships, and become a part of each other’s personal support network.

It is our hope that by creating and facilitating the interaction of the different pod members, members will provide support and assistance to those who have moved out or are close to making that transition. Pod leaders will facilitate relationship building between the self-advocates as well as the parents, family groups, and members of the self-advocate’s personal support networks. Pod leaders will also facilitate the self-advocate’s engagement with Center for Independent Futures™ Full Life Model™

As Debbie says, “The idea [behind the community pod concept] is to eventually be each other’s back up, which takes commitment and trust.  We are beginning, and with patience I believe we will reach our goal.” Here at M&L and ILO, we are committed to this process – contact us to see how you can join.

Would You Like More Information?

Thank you all for taking the time to read our blog today! We hope that our discussion of intentional communities has been information – we are very excited about our own intentional communities and community pods that are being developed in Maryland and Washington, D.C. If you have any questions about this topic, or any other topic related to special needs housing or special needs financial planning in general, please contact us! We would love to hear from you.

From all of us here at M&L, we hope you have a great Thursday, and an even better weekend. We hope to see you next week!



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