HOPE Adds Six Homes with 24-Hour Care to Support Adults with Intensive Behavioral and Medical Needs
by IAN NEVAREZ
At HOPE we direct our focus on the people we serve, their diverse housing needs, and the differing supports they utilize to live full, active, and meaningful lives. For those most vulnerable in our communities, adults with severe behavioral and medical conditions, HOPE offers an alternative to state run institutions.
In partnership with the Regional Center System, families, and a network of service providers, HOPE has worked tirelessly to create homes with greater choice, dignity, and meaningful opportunity for our residents. This is evident in our commitment to creating new licensed homes that are located not in hospital settings, but in neighborhoods. This model creates the most inclusive community environment possible for our residents.
To this end we are ecstatic to announce that over the past six months we were able to acquire six new homes that will include with 24-hour resident care for adults with increased behavioral and medical needs. The California Department of Developmental Services requires that home care organizations be licensed either through the California Department of Social Services to provide 24-hour non-medical residential care (e.g., personal services, supervision, and assistance essential for self-protection and sustaining activities of daily living) or through the California Department of Public Health to provide 24-hour medical care (e.g., habilitative, supportive health, and nursing services).
Darcy Farias, a program director at California Mentor, currently works at a HOPE licensed home that serves medically fragile individuals. “Our residents come from huge state-run developmental centers. Those facilities have hundreds of rooms where in the past our tenants lived in bedrooms with five or six other individuals.” This is in contrast with a HOPE home where each resident is given her/his own room. For many ex-developmental center clients, this may be the first time they have experienced privacy in their personal bedroom. “When a new client moves into HOPE, we make sure it feels like a home. We don't ever want to make it seem like a hospital.”
Darcy sees the big picture impact that HOPE housing makes on the lives of those living with new found respect, support, and choice. “Of course our primary focus is our residents’ health,” Darcy continues, “But our secondary priority is making sure they get out in the community. Recently we took one of our residents to the beach. At first when we arrived, he didn't know what it was. He was so excited to find out that he was actually at the beach for the first time. Stories like that are the reason I’m here today.”
This type of supported living environment at HOPE is creating dramatic behavioral and health improvements for our residents. After being integrated into a neighborhood and receiving needed individualized supports, some of these adults have even started walking for the first time or talking for the first time.
These new homes were made possible in part by our donors, foundation grantors, community lenders, city partners, and the California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA). As California is facing an affordable housing crisis, funding is scarce to develop homes for those most vulnerable in our society. In spite of what might seem to our industry like an upward climb, HOPE and our donors continue to identify creative funding solutions to further our mission.
One such creative avenue of funding was identified by capitalizing on recent research that finds housing to be a major determinant of public health. “CHFFA begun to consider affordable housing agencies as potential partners in their mission to promote community health,” says HOPE Manager of Finance and Operations Charles DeCuir. “Through their Health Expansion Loan Program II, they have allowed HOPE to obtain the lowest interest rate in our portfolio.” This is a huge step forward for HOPE that used this financing to purchase three of our newest licensed homes.
This type of creative financing is essential for HOPE to continue our mission during this time shrinking resources and growing need. The heavy demand for our housing is confirmed by HOPE’s lengthening wait list and the recently published 2016 homeless count, coordinated by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Their research found 1,483 people with developmental disabilities living in the streets of our county.
With the purchase of our six newest licensed homes: three in Carson, two in Long Beach, and one in Wilmington, we will be able to provide a home to 20 additional adults with special needs. Renovation plans are currently underway to prepare these homes for these future residents, but we are more excited about the improvements to the quality of life that they will receive through HOPE.
We are continually inspired by our residents. On a daily basis they strive for greater self-reliance, achieve dignity through the contributions they make in their communities, and endeavor to take full advantage of all that life has to offer. Because of donor support, our homes play a part in empowering this reality. Housing is foundational, and if together we can provide stability where our residents live, they in turn will be able to focus their energies on improving their health, enhancing their behavioral wellbeing, or achieving greater self-reliance.
To assist HOPE in creating additional homes with 24-hour residential care for those most vulnerable, join our sustain gift program, Mission Makers. For as little as $10 per month you can make a statement that safe, stable housing is foundational in lives of adults with developmental disabilities.