CIF Hosts Training for East Coast families

February 12, 2015

At the beginning of February, Center for Independent Futures welcomed eleven families from Washington, D.C. and Maryland for two days of workshops and collaboration. The families came to Evanston to begin CIF’s New Futures InitiativeTM (NFI) training, a step-by-step process that supports families to create supported living options in their own communities.

Connected through a non-profit called Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO), these families share a common goal of building community-based housing solutions for their loved ones with disabilities. The coordinator of the family groups, Maedi Tanham-Carney of M&L Special Needs Planning in Washington, D.C., formed ILO with families who participated in NFI in 2014 and was excited to bring new families to Evanston to participate in the training.  

On a Wednesday morning at the CIF office, the families began by sharing the stories of their family members and discussing their visions for the future. They engaged in community-building and asset-mapping exercises led by Dr. Paul Arntson, professor emeritus at Northwestern University. The afternoon featured a panel of professionals in the areas of real estate, legal ownership options, affordable housing development, and community considerations.

In the evening, the family group visited one of CIF’s Community Living Options residences to share conversation and pizza with CIF community members. Through hosting tours and answering questions about their independent living experiences, the residents helped the visitors understand CIF’s support model. Thanks to this firsthand insight, the families formed a clearer vision of possibilities for their loved ones.

Day two of training started with a debrief of the first day, followed by tours of two other CIF residences. Then the families got to work planning how they will come together as a community and continue to research potential resources. In June, CIF trainers will travel to Washington, D.C. to facilitate two more workshops, focused on support services and moving out. CIF looks forward to guiding these families as they take steps toward more independent, secure futures for their loved ones. We are grateful to the engaged workshop participants, the trainers, and all involved for a successful New Futures InitiativeTM training.

 

 

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