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Q&A - Focus Groups

Q1:  What problem or need does Creative Living Community of CT (CCLC) solve?

A1: The market need that Creative Living Community of CT is addressing with its independent living community is substantial and increasing. There are far more adult residents of Connecticut who have DD than there are safe, supportive, and affordable residential settings designed to accommodate their needs and wants through their lifespans.

There were 77,886 people who have DD in the State of Connecticut as of June 30, 2018, according to the In-Home and Residential Long-Term Supports and Services (LTSS) for Persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities: Status and Trends Through 2018 report produced by the Residential Information Systems Project (RISP) of the University of Minnesota. Of that total, 22,349 were 18 years of age or older not living in congregate settings.

More significantly, only 1,441 Connecticut adults who have DD who received Medicaid Home and Community-based Services (HCBS) waiver funded Long-Term Supports and Services (LTSS) lived in a home of their own. In Connecticut, the percentage of individuals who have DD receiving LTSS who still live with a family member is 40 percent.

Without more safe, affordable, and supportive residential settings in the next decade, even more Connecticut adults with DD will have limited or no opportunities to live as independently as possible in the setting and manner of their choosing just as their chronological age peers who do not have DD have every opportunity to access.

 Families of adults with DD increasingly are looking for residential solutions for their sons and daughters that can be forever homes, that is, sustainable homes that offer the greatest long-term support for them when their parents are no longer around to support and advocate for them.

Q2:    How does CLCC solve the problem or need?

A2:    CLCC addresses the need for safe, supportive, and affordable residences for adults who have DD in northeastern Connecticut with a sustainable model that can be replicated across the state of Connecticut. The model incorporates best practices for living environments for adults who have DD who have a range of abilities and disabilities that have been pioneered by other intentional communities for adults who have DD in Connecticut and across the U.S.

The for-sale residence structure provides the permanence families and adults who have DD seek while enabling a capitalization approach that results in the setting getting built and becoming operational debt-free in less than five years from project start. The setting size for approximately  36 adults is large enough to generate revenues to support its operational funding needs, but small enough to be located in infill locations close to day habilitation, employment, retail, dining, services, medical, and recreational options.

The for-sale model is relatively new to the market for supportive housing for adults who have DD. It first appeared in April 2017 at Luna Azul in North Phoenix, Arizona, but several projects in development in Arizona, Indiana, Texas, and Wisconsin have adopted and are being developed with that model.

Q3:   Why is it important to build and operate CLCC now?

A3:   The population’s need for this supportive housing grows but the affordable, supportive housing that is available does not. Gone are the days when individuals who have DD had to live with family their whole lives. They want more out of life and to grow to be independent.

Q4:   Why should potential outside supporters get involved with CLCC now?

A4:   CLCC will be an innovative, replicable, self-sustainable model that can be deployed across the State of Connecticut and nationally. Individuals, foundations, and corporations interested in our vision and model have an opportunity to help us bring a compelling solution to market in the next 3-5 years.

Q5:  What sets CLCC apart and why should supporters choose CLCC over other projects and organizations with similar missions?

A5:  We believe that our residential model, scope of programming, and inclusion of all community members with DD sets apart CLCC from other organizations in Connecticut. We are the first community in Connecticut to develop for-sale housing for adults with DD. Home ownership is the American Dream and our for-sale homes will provide permanence for adults with DD and their families. It also creates a vehicle to build equity and financial security for adults with DD after their families are no longer around.

We also offer a variety of programs emphasizing agriculture and animal husbandry that provide educational, pre-vocational, and vocational opportunities for adults with DD including a greenhouse and CSA program, working farm, Farm Stand retail operation, and Alpaca and chicken programs.

Q6:  What is the origin of, or story behind, the name [of the residential community]?

A6:  To be written

Q7:   What type of supportive housing will be provided at CLCC?

A7:   CLCC will be a setting where residents know they are safe and have the supports they need to live the inclusive and independent lives they desire on their own terms. They will enjoy a community of friends at home and fulfilling and meaningful lives in the community.

We know from research and best practices in communities around the U.S. that individuals who have DD thrive in settings that optimize their individual initiative, autonomy, and independence in making life choices. Our model will facilitate individual choice regarding services and supports. Residents will choose and self-direct the people who will provide their daily living supports paid through their waiver funding or private pay.

Residents with DD will be supported to have opportunities to seek employment, engage in community life, control personal resources, and choose their daily schedules. CLCC will enhance that by encouraging friendships and socialization among all residents and ensuring a safe and well-maintained setting.

Q8:   Will only adults who have DD live at CLCC? How many will live there?

A8:    No, Ours will be a neurodiverse residential setting in which approximately 50 percent of our residents will be adults ages 21 and older who have a diagnosed intellectual or developmental disability (DD)  and who are accepted through our evidence-based intake process. The balance of the residents will be adults without disabilities who accept an obligation to be supportive intentional neighbors to the adult residents with DD.

Q9:  When do you plan to open CLCC?

A9:  We already have our land and the town council has given initial approval of our plans. Our opening date will depend on a variety of factors, including obtaining the necessary zoning approvals of our final plans, fundraising, and availability of construction materials and labor. We hope to be moving in adults who have DD sometime in 2026-2027.

Q10:   Where are you planning to build CLCC? Do you have your land yet?

A10:   We own approximately 10 acres in Coventry.

Q11:   What will it cost to build CLCC?

A11:   We do not have that information available at this time. We will disclose it at a later date.

Q12:   How is CLCC going to pay to build its community?

A12:   CLCC will be built with a combination of for-sale home proceeds, donations, grants, and in-kind contributions.

Q13:  Will the residences at CLCC be available on a for-sale or lease basis?

13:A Almost all of our units will be for-sale homes. We may reserve a couple to be leased for various durations for adults to occupy on a “try it before you buy it” basis to determine if CLCC is a setting where they can be successful.

Q14:  How much will it cost to purchase a residence at CLCC?

A14:  We do not have that information available at this time. We will disclose it at a later date.

Q15:  What happens if we purchase a residence but decide to sell it?

A15:  Residences cannot be sold on the open market. It is a closed resale market. We would buy it back from you at a predetermined price stated in the original sales contract. It is our desire for families to get their original purchase amount and not be penalized for trying an option for their sons or daughters like our community.

Q16:   Who do you believe will be able to live successfully at CLCC?

A16:   Adults ages 21 and older who have a developmental disability and who meet the requirements of our evidence-based intake process. Our process includes extensive input from the adults and their families. We will use this to determine who we believe can be successful in our residences. We expect there to be a range of abilities, support needs, and mobilities. Just because an adult who has DD may not be able to live independently doesn’t mean they couldn’t be a fit with our residential setting.

Residents will need to be able to communicate with or without assistance their wants and needs whether verbal, nonverbal, or through assistive or augmentative communications (AAC) devices. Residents and their families will be required to demonstrate that they have a sustained ability to pay for housing, programs and community fees (as applicable), and utilities, and have in place the necessary supports. 

Q17:  Who do you believe will not be able to live successfully at CLCC?

A17:  We will not be a skilled nursing or long-term care facility. Individuals who have developmental disabilities and are medically fragile or require periodic skilled nursing may be able to live successfully in our community as determined on a case-by-case basis. 

Because our first priority is safety, we believe that adults with developmental disabilities whose behaviors make them an unmanageable risk to the safety and security of themselves, other residents, staff, and guests, or to property will not be able to live successfully in our community.

Q18:  How will CLCC determine who will be able to live successfully at its residential community?

A18:  We will use an evidence-based intake process to determine who we believe can be successful in our community.

Q19: Are adults who have DD telling you what they want you to build for them and how to manage it? How are the voices of adults who have DD being authentically included in your planning?

A19: Yes, very much so. We presently serve adults who have DD with several social and vocational programs. We will be forming a Resident Advisory Council and conducting focus groups and feasibility sessions with families. We are considering adding 1-2 self-advocates to full voting members spots on our board of directors.

Q20:  Will adult residents who have DD be able to use Connecticut waiver funding to pay for the supports and services they need to live as independently as possible at the residential community?

A20: Yes, that is our plan.

Q21: What will it cost to live at CLCC? What will a typical monthly budget for an adult who has DD living at CLCC look like?

A21: We don’t have that information available at this time. Our goal is to make it affordable to a wide range of adults and their families.

Q22: How will residents pay to live at CLCC?

A22: We expect families or relatives to purchase the units for their sons and daughters. Adult residents who have DD are expected to be able to utilize Connecticut waiver funding to pay for their daily supports and services. They will utilize SSI or SSDI to pay for their daily living expenses such as utilities, entertainment, clothing, and sundries, and we expect many also may be able to utilize SNAP (food stamps) to pay for some of their food costs.

Q23: Will CLCC provide transportation and if so what will be provided?

A23: Residents with their own direct support professionals will be transported in those person’s vehicles for getting around the community. Residents who can safely utilize Uber or Lyft may utilize that option.

Q24: Is there a social impact aspect to CLCC?

A24: CLCC will produce a social impact locally and nationally in several measurable and meaningful ways. CLCC will directly address one of the most significant barriers facing adults who have DD becoming full members of society and that is permanent, safe, and supportive housing that is affordable for adults whose primary sources of income are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. Our innovative for-sale model enables families to lock in housing for their son or daughter which eliminates the risk of institutionalization or homelessness. It enables families to build equity for their adult child that can be available after the parents have passed on. It frees the income for the adult who has DD to be used to support themselves to lead independent lives. CLCC becomes a supply of stable housing stock for the neighborhood in which it is built, and it is a model that can be replicated anywhere in the U.S.

Q25: How does CLCC contribute to the mental health and emotional wellbeing of adults with DD?

A25: Isolation and loneliness, lack of friendships outside of paid caregivers, food and housing insecurity, and lack of access to appropriate health and mental health resources are prevalent among adults who have DD and often are acute and difficult to solve. CLCC will be an intentional community designed to be permanent, safe, supportive, and affordable, but more than that, it will be a community in which approximately 36 adults who have DD will socialize, build friendships, share experiences, and support each other. Residents can begin their days together over breakfast and enjoy recapping their days over dinner. Knowing that a friend is just a few doors away in the Arts & Programs Center will encourage many to leave their residences to spend time with others.

Q26: What are your current social engagement options?

A26: CLCC currently offers programs for adults with DD. These programs combine adults with DD from the community with nondisabled volunteers.

Q27: What future social engagement options do you plan to offer?

A27: We will develop and offer new programs based on the inputs and desires of the adults with DD that we presently serve and others we would like to serve.

Q28: What kinds of social engagement options do you have in mind for the CLCC Arts & Programs Center once it is built?

A28: Our Arts & Programs will be an asset not only to our residents but also to the greater community of adults with DD and groups that support them.

Q27: What is or will be included in your independent living skill development?

A27: We are researching what programs are working in other communities like ours as well as making sure that we don’t duplicate what other organizations are offering.

Q28: What is or will be included in your vocational training?

A28: We currently offer vocational training programs in our greenhouse, farm, and farm stand. We hope to partner with community partners and provider agencies to expand vocational training opportunities for adults with DD. We would hope that these partners and agencies provide this training at locations in the community as well as our Arts & Programs Center.

Q29: What is or will be included in your employment opportunities?

A29: We will work with community partners and other nonprofits to support our residents to explore and succeed at part-time and full-time employment on our campus and in the community.

Q30: What is or will be included in your integrated housing choices for people with and without developmental disabilities?

A30: CLCC will be a safe, supportive, and affordable residential community in Coventry for approximately 50 adults with and without DD. Adults with DD and residents who live there by their own choice will advise the community’s design and management and may serve on our Resident Advisory Council to help guide our operations.

Q31: Will CLCC be a residential setting licensed by the State of Connecticut?

A31: No.

Q32: Will CLCC be a vendor with the State of Connecticut?

A32: No. CLCC anticipates partnering with State of Connecticut certified vendors.

Q33: Will couples who have DD be allowed to live at CLCC?

A33: Yes.

Q34: Will there be a meal service or meal plan for residents of CLCC, or will they be responsible for some or all of their own meals?

A34: CLCC will not offer meal service. Residents will be responsible for their own meals..

Q35: Will residences have full kitchens?

A35: Yes, we plan to make fully adaptable kitchens a part of every residence based on the abilities of the residents. Some may be very capable with range tops, ovens, and microwaves. For those who aren’t capable or are still developing the skills to operate them safely, we will substitute modular counter/cabinet units in place of the range/oven.

Q36: Will families be able to purchase units and live in the setting either in the same home with their son or daughter, or in a separate home near them?

A36: Our vision is to promote independent living as much as possible so we would encourage families to plan for their sons and daughters to live separately from them. Because we are a neurodiverse community, we are open to some families purchasing a home for their adult child and another for themselves in our community. We will counsel families to understand that the sooner they begin preparing their adult children to live without the supports of their parents, the better prepared they will be when the inevitable day comes that the parents are no longer around.

Q37: Will residents be allowed to have pets?

A37: We would evaluate requests for pets on a case-by-case basis. All residents with pets will need to be responsible for maintaining the care and safety of their pet and the impact the pet may have on neighbors.

Q38: How many residents can occupy a home or a bedroom?

A38: One person per bedroom. We would allow a couple in a romantic relationship to share a bedroom.

Q39: If two or more families wanted to go in together to purchase a home, how would that work?

A39: Generally speaking the families would need to each contribute to the purchase with cash. No lender will offer a split or fractional mortgage. We would strongly encourage families considering such an option to structure the deal with the benefit of legal and tax guidance counsel.

Q40: Will there be an HOA or Community Fee, how will it be charged, and if so what will it pay for?

A40: Yes, a condo community typically includes a monthly or annual fee for common area expenses. Families that purchase units from CLCC are purchasing the interiors of their units. CLCC will retain ownership of the exteriors and common areas. The Community Fee will be billed monthly and will pay for maintenance, utilities, property taxes on the common areas, insurance, etc.

Q41: What appliances will be in each home as part of the purchase price, and what appliances can I bring and use in my home?

A41: Each unit will have a stackable washer/dryer, full-size refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, water heater, and HVAC system. Residents may bring a toaster, toaster/oven, coffee maker, blender, and other similar countertop appliances.

Q42: Will I be able to use a Housing Choice Voucher to pay for my home?

A42: We are investigating this option, but it would be the responsibility of each family to work with the Housing Choice Voucher authority. We know that these vouchers are very limited and can be difficult to obtain.

Q43: Will each bedroom have private or shared bathrooms?

Q43: Each bedroom will have its own private bathroom.

Q44: If we buy a unit and we have an open bedroom for someone to occupy, do we have to find a roommate or does CLCC do that? Or the State?

A44: CLCC plans to have a list of names of Applicants who have expressed a desire to rent and have been approved through our intake process, but it will be the responsibility of the Resident and Resident’s family to choose the renter. The State of Connecticut will not be able to “place” anyone in your home.

Q45: Will CLCC do the housekeeping or am I responsible for that?

A45: The Resident, Resident’s family, and Resident’s DSP staff will be responsible for ensuring their unit is properly maintained.

Q46: Will CLCC handle any repairs inside the homes or as the owner am I responsible for that?

A46: Homeowners are responsible for handling repairs inside their homes. CLCC will provide Residents with lists of companies in the area that do a range of repairs. CLCC also will counsel families and Residents to plan for how to pay for repairs including home warranties and insurance.

Q47: Will there be limits to the extent of any modifications we may want to make to the interiors of our homes? Will there be an architectural review/approval board we have to work through?

A47: Minor modifications will be permitted without CLCC review. Major modifications will require at least review in advance by CLCC. We will prepare a list of types of modifications that fall into each category with the understanding that CLCC will be the final authority on major modifications.

Q48: Will the homes come fully furnished, partially furnished, or completely unfurnished?

A48: Completely unfurnished.

Q49: Will this be a place I can only live a few years or can I choose to live there my entire life?

A49: A Resident will be able to live his or her entire life there assuming that they remain financially, physically, and cognitively able to do so with appropriate supports.

Q50: What hours will the common spaces be open?

A50: We expect the indoor common spaces will be open during normal business hours daily.

Q51: What will the Arts & Program Center have?

A51: We are planning on a large multipurpose space for programs and events, a teaching/event kitchen, music room, weaving/arts room, yoga/meditation room, and a prayer room.

Q52: Will there be CLCC staff on-site 24/7, especially overnight, to ensure the security of the site and in case a Resident has an emergency?

A52: CLCC does not plan to have staff on-site or on-call for resident emergencies. Residents and their care providers will be responsible for providing those supports.

Q53: Will families who are not disabled with young children (under 18) who may or may not be disabled be able to purchase a home and live there?

A53: Yes, we expect this to be an inclusive community and welcome families with children.

Q54: We don’t live in Coventry. Can we purchase a home in the CLCC community?

A54: Yes if the adult with DD is accepted through our intake process and has the supports and services in place to be able to live there successfully. The issue that could complicate that would be if the supports and services need to be paid for with waiver funding. The family and Resident would have to secure the waiver and local funding from the state before they could move in.

Q55: Will CLCC give preference to Coventry residents?

A55: No, our place is to consider Applicants and their families on a first-come basis. Coventry residents may be better prepared if they already have waiver funding from the State.

Q56: Under what circumstances would a Resident be asked or required to move out?

A56: There will be a Resident Code of Conduct. This will speak to appropriate conduct around other residents, staff, and visitors. If a Resident demonstrates behavior that presents an unmanageable risk to other residents, staff, and visitors, or to property that cannot be resolved, CLCC will initiate a process for moving the Resident out of our community. We hope that our very thorough intake process can make sure that all Residents are able to live successfully in our community.