John has a big smile and an entrepreneurial spirit, as evidenced by the hand-made sign taped to the tray at the front of his motorized scooter advertising his business that reads: Sodas for $1.
John was institutionalized at age eight when his mother passed away. More than one of the places he lived in has been closed down by the state, and John faced terrible trauma in these settings. He is much happier living in the community in a home with one roommate. While John is mostly non-verbal, he is able to answer yes or no questions. No, he does not want a roommate. Though yes, he would live with a roommate if she were his significant other, he responded with joyous laughter. And yes, living alone would help him to be more independent. John receives services in the community from IAG, a non-profit organization that offers community-based support and advocacy for people with special needs. If these individuals require support 24-7, every day, they are provided this level of care, and less if less is required.
CSH firmly believes that supportive housing is a community-based option that can successfully serve people with developmental disabilities (DD). However, this housing option has been under-used within the DD service system and should be seriously explored and considered for those transitioning out of Integrated Care Facilities or State-Operated Developmental Centers. As such, CSH was recently contracted by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities to help create community-based supportive housing options for adults with DD. This work is tied to a Consent Decree in IL that settles the Ligas v. Hamos lawsuit on behalf of individuals with DD who reside in private, State-funded facilities that have nine or more residents, as well as those at risk of being placed in such a facility.
To learn more about the DD systems, CSH staff members are in the process of conducting informational meetings and tours with providers. In a meeting with Dr. Charlene Bennett, Founder and Executive Director of IAG and Dr. Brooks, IAG Founder and CFO, John was invited in to share his story and he agreed to offer support to CSH in our quest to help persons with DD have the choice of living in the community in their own apartment with community based supports. We welcome him to the team with open arms.