Newest Supported Living Homes to Be Site of Born This Way Docuseries

View of courtyard at new Banner housing in Long Beach.

View of courtyard at new Banner housing in Long Beach.

One size does not fit all when it comes to housing. This is also true for people with developmental disabilities, a segment of the population that has been historically underserved with living options. For this reason, our organization offers several housing models: licensed homes, for those that require 24-hour medical or behavioral care; affordable homes, for those who are more self-reliant; and college to career housing, for students enrolled in community college but who require additional on-campus and residential supports.

HOPE believes a home should not just be a roof over our tenants’ heads; it should also empower them to make the most of their lives. And different people need different supports to reach their full potential and take advantage of all the opportunities that life has to offer.

One common concern of parents of young adults with developmental disabilities is the need for support in assisting their children as they prepare to move out on their own.

That is why HOPE is partnering with SL Start and Harbor Regional Center as they launch their newest supported living program, aptly titled, "On My Own." Beginning in February of 2017, this model will serve seven adults who are ready to move from their families’ homes and into their very first apartments. Residents will each receive their own one-bedroom unit in a recently renovated multifamily building. A staff office will be located onsite, with personnel available to provide ongoing supported living services as needed. This innovative model not only creates increased independence, but also peace of mind for both our residents and their families.

This innovative model not only creates increased independence, but also peace of mind for both our residents and their families.

HOPE acquired the location in early 2016 with a vision of this program in mind. “The collaboration between agencies aims to provide housing plus the needed individualized levels of support for each resident as they move toward greater independence,” said Executive Director Kristin Martin. “Harbor Regional Center is at the forefront of creating housing programs that best serve the unique needs of their clients. We are excited as ever to play our role in assisting our newest residents find success during this important stage of their lives.”

The site is a beautiful eight-unit property at the heart of the Bixby Knolls neighborhood in Long Beach. Originally constructed in 1947, and maintaining much of its historic charm, the building has also been rehabilitated to improve safety and comfortability for future tenants. A special thank you should be given to the City of Long Beach for partnering with HOPE on the purchase of this much needed affordable housing by contributing more than $500K toward the purchase of the $1.6M residence.

Marla (staff), Sindee (parent), and Julia (resident) signing paperwork on move-in day!

Marla (staff), Sindee (parent), and Julia (resident) signing paperwork on move-in day!

Our first tenants began moving in on February 3rd as Associate Director, Denise Fanelli, was on site to welcome them to the HOPE family and distribute house keys. “It was great to see the excitement on their faces and their families there to support them as they start this next phase of their lives,” she said.

To add fanfare to this unique housing project, one of the new residents is none other than Cristina Sanz, star of the Emmy Award winning, A&E original docuseries, Born this Way. The show highlights the outgoing personalities and amazing abilities of seven young adults born with Down syndrome.

HOPE has followed along with the rest of America as we watched Christina build relationships, overcome challenges, and venture further toward independence, stability, and happiness. We are glad our newest housing program can play a role in her journey.

This show is an empowering opportunity for all people of differing abilities to witness a HOPE tenant on television successfully moving toward greater self-reliance. Filming began for the new season of Born this Way on Saturday, November 18th. More to come on her story this summer on A&E!  


If you would like to sponsor an item for an On My Own or other HOPE residents that will help to turn their houses into homes, please consider making a contribution through our HOPE HELPS Gift Catalog.