This Post was originally posted on SteppingStoneCommunities.org on October 18, 2018
Can you imagine that day? Sunshine, crisp Colorado air and the excitement!!!
I dream of it almost every day. What am I referring to? Our Ribbon Cutting!
There will be balloons, of course. And maybe a couple of local celebrities. Festive music and plenty of food.
But the stars of the show will be the 30 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are there to claim their brand new homes! Thirty long cherished dreams coming true all at once!!!
The relief on the faces of aging caretakers, knowing their loved ones finally have a safe “forever home”. And imagine the pride on the faces of the hundreds of generous people who made it all possible!
Of course the excitement will be just a great for the young professionals who will join the I/DD community as they move into apartments they can actually afford. Workforce housing for southern Jefferson County is so scarce… another need being met.
And don’t forget the independent seniors, who will find a truly integrated community where they can contribute. (You know, a lot of us seniors don’t really want to live with just a bunch of old people!) These seniors can be “in loco grandparents”, staying young by being an active part of a vibrant community.
Then, in the days after, the residents come together to form the cooperative that will govern the new community. The cooperative will balance budgets, oversee maintenance and manage leasing – all with the guidance of professional experts in these areas. Perhaps the most fun will be planning menus and preparing daily meals. Or planning great social events: maybe a spontaneous trip to a movie, a midsummer field day or a hilarious Super Bowl party (Broncos are playing, of course!).
At quieter times, residents can relax in the common areas, playing games, putting together jigsaw puzzles, or just reading and watching TV while enjoying the company around them.
Rents will be income and needs-based, affordable for every resident. And it is comforting to know that the income from the rents on the apartments will sustain the building long term, so we will not be raising money to keep the door open.
And the heroes who made all this happen? They will move on to the next building, and the next and the next. The need is so great, we know we will never catch up. But every building is a stepping stone to a final solution!
The balloons will be gone. The celebrities will go home. The caretakers will breathe a sigh of relief. And Stepping Stone Communities will move on to the next residential project, solving a critical social problem one step at a time.
I just can’t wait!