Many of you know that our daughter, Jen is disabled and lives at our Hopewell Project Freedom community. Jen started her adult life in 2003 when she moved into our Lawrence site, and lived there until moving to Hopewell in 2015. So, since that time, she has been for the most part, on her own, with Mom and Dan providing emergency support when needed. Having that personal care support has been critical to her living successfully on her own, out in the community, as well as for many of our tenant consumers.
I have often been asked why Project Freedom didn’t provide that service along with our housing. This is usually the case with agencies that provide and run, Group Homes. The Group Home model works very well for many disabled consumers, and it consists of three or four unrelated individuals who live at the home with a care giver. These homes usually provide 24/7 care by a live in aide or aides, and for many families, this model works very well. The only problem comes when a consumer is not happy with the care provider, and wants to change that provider. To do that may require moving to another location or to another different service provider, something that most consumers do not wish to do.
When Project Freedom set out to create our housing, we sought the ability for the consumer to have the most independence possible. In essence to be “Master of his/her own universe” and to choose how one would live life with as much independence as possible. If the person needed personal assistance, then it was up to them to choose and decide who they would work with and with what agency.
At Project Freedom housing, the individual is not tied to one particular living situation but can change service providers at any time. The only thing we require is that they pay their rent and their utilities, and obey our housing rules, which is what is required at any apartment complex. This promotes independence and choice for our consumers without the risk of losing their present housing or apartment if they choose a different personal care provider.
Finally, those of us who are part of the disability community and those families served, need to recognize the tremendous service that these personal care workers provide to our loved ones. Because of their efforts, they contribute to the independence and freedom that our families and consumers enjoy. Furthermore, these workers are not paid a rate of pay that reflects their worth, and often have to work two jobs today to make ends meet. These folks are also our “ Front Line workers “ who have had to meet the demands of today’s COVID -19 days, with their service in our hospitals and other vital service areas.
So, hats off to all those who serve in this line of work—you need to know that because you are out the