The desire to be more independent and live more independently in the community is so much more than a new address. Much planning needs to occur to make a successful transition. Many people are able to live successfully in our communities but need additional support. That's the focus of providing community living supports. Individuals receive one-on-one staff training and support to learn new skills such as cooking, cleaning, and balancing a check book. Individuals also receive coaching in navigating social situations, like how to make a transaction at a local bank, how to prepare to entertain friends, and how to negotiate with a landlord. We work with many people—some still living at home developing both confidence and skills toward a move into the community. Most live in their own apartment that they lease, and some individuals own their own home. Certain individuals require much support and training for success. Others need only minimal assistance. These levels of support are defined in each persons' person-centered plan. Individuals successfully transition from state institutions, group homes, and their parents' homes into community living arrangements. These arrangements include apartments with or without roommates. We also have experience helping individuals purchase their own homes. Ironically, the goal of independent living isn't independence so much as "connectedness." While people are dependent upon needed supports, it's important that individuals become part of the community in which they live so that they become valued neighbors, friends, church members, and club members. We look for ways for individuals to become "regulars" so that other community members come to expect their presence and participation and depend on them in various ways. Getting connected to others and events in the community is something we all strive for, if you really think about it. We have provided community living supports to over 350 individuals in the last twenty years and maintain active relationships with over 200 individuals and their families in six counties in West Michigan.
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