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Bernadette Moran and Frank Rossi are the parents of Moira, who is in her mid-thirties and has I / DD. Their worries about Moira’s future without them were all-consuming.

“Parents of children with disabilities don’t have the options other parents do,” says Moran. “We worried, ‘What if something happens to us before we find a solution? The options available were, more or less, living in a group home – if she might even enter a group home, although she does not need the level of supervision offered by a group home. Moira really needed and wanted to be free, to fly, and to make her own decisions.

A “model” house

A solution appeared for Moira and her parents in 2016, when The village of Arc Jacksonville* – the country’s first affordable apartment-style community for adults with I / DD – has opened.

The community offers housing in one and two bedroom apartments to 121 residents in a neighborhood, with a community center and recreational facilities. The housing development, which is within walking distance of shopping and entertainment, has become a model for similar parent-led housing initiatives, two of which – Landing of independence and Family house – are discussed later in this article.

Jim Whittaker, President and CEO of The Arc Jacksonville Village, led the $ 22.2 million residential development and was a leader in the development of community programs for people with I / DD during 40 years.

“There was no real model. Most housing options for people with I / DD are group homes with 24/7 supervision or supportive housing, where a person rents an apartment in a neighborhood with supports as needed. », He explains. “Some people are really successful at this, but many need a greater sense of community and belonging.”

The design concept of the village, explains Whittaker, “was to do it as a neighborhood, with large porches to encourage socialization and a community center where people can relax.”

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