This Post was originally posted on SteppingStoneCommunities.org on November 15, 2018
At Stepping Stone Communities we always have to start with “why”? Why are we trying to raise $8 million dollars over the next three years? Why take on such a big challenge? Well, the answer is simple – As parents and supporters of adults with IDD we have to. We have no choice.
Our first project is an apartment building with 36-48 apartments. 50% of the apartments are allocated for adults with developmental disabilities and the rest for tenants from the general population.
The tenants will operate the building on the model of a cooperative, with decisions made by a vote of the group as a whole.
For perspective and context, here is an imagined “day in the life” of one of our future residents.
Linda comes home after work, walks through a warm, welcoming entrance and takes the elevator up to her apartment. Tonight she is having dinner with her neighbors in the gathering space downstairs, (sometimes she prefers to cook for herself in her own apartment). There will be a big noisy table of people, but tonight Linda wants a little more quiet, so she heads for one of the smaller tables where her friends Ned and Trudi are already sitting.
Dinner was prepared by tonight’s cooking crew, following the menus planned and budgeted for by the cooperative. Linda serves on the shopping brigade. After everyone helps with clean-up, Linda’s friends decide to play cards. Some residents retire to their apartments, others gather around the big screen TV to watch the game or work out in the fitness room. Perhaps some will go outside for a walk or game of volleyball. Another small group is going to the new Star Wars movie tonight.
Linda’s family comes for a surprise visit this evening and they all go into one of the more private social rooms to catch up on family news. Her brother, who came into town for a couple of days, will be staying in one of the guest rooms tonight.
Tomorrow there will be a Co-op meeting, and they will be voting on how to allocate the maintenance funds (new carpeting in some units, or landscaping for the patio?) and they will interview new applicants, who have already been cleared by a thorough background screening. Each resident gets one vote.
Is Linda an adult with DD or an adult from the general population? Can’t tell? That is the right answer!
This will truly be a home where all tenants live as independent adults! This community is not defined by any individual or disability, it’s defined by fellowship, community, and normalcy.