It was only a few decades ago that people with I/DD were, more often than not, hidden behind closed doors, not allowed to go to school, and banned from having a typical life. Fortunately, this attitude has largely changed, yet systemic barriers to opportunities for meaningful community inclusion are still prominent. Although a friend, family member or neighbor with I/DD may not be intentionally hidden away and excluded, the experience of isolation and loneliness for themselves and their families is not uncommon. The Autism Housing Network and Neuro-Inclusive Housing Solutions created the Empowering Communities Initiative to intentionally collect marketplace data in order to identify the strengths, barriers, and opportunities to meet the unique local demand for neuro-inclusive residential options in communities across the country.
What is the Empowering Communities Initiative?
Using the model illustrated, The ECI Team will educate Denver families on the broad array of residential options, then assess their needs and preferences via the ECI Needs & Preferences Survey. The survey data is presented to local leaders in an interactive workshop designed to identify critical factors for housing industry leaders, community-based organizations, policymakers and service providers to meet demand. A Denver Neurodiverse Housing & Community Development Market Analysis is then written to provide this missing research and economic data which in turn helps influence housing development, financial institutions, as well as state and federal policy to increase housing options and improve quality of life for all of Denver’s neurodiverse citizens. This process allows adults with I/DD, their loved ones and communities to understand local demand and take the future into their own hands.