Earlier this year, ILA opened its first two residences in Queens, made possible, in part, by funds raised at last year’s golf outing.
226th Street Residence
The agency’s 226th Street residence, which opened in June 2017, is home to four Individuals who aged out of residential schools located out of state. Each Individual has a bedroom in the beautifully appointed house. Other notable features include a screened-in porch and two yards, front and back, enabling Individuals to enjoy warm weather days together. The residence also has a recreation area in the downstairs portion of the house, a separate kitchen and dining area, and a decorative fireplace.
The residence is centrally located. “The house is three blocks from Merrick Boulevard, allowing for easy access into the community,” explains Tiffany Bennett, Area Coordinator. Individuals walk to the library and stores, or they travel to appointments via public transportation, showcasing their increased independence and social inclusion. Some participate in ILA’s Community Habilitation Program, helping to enhance their self-sufficiency.
Inside the residence, Individuals continue to increase their communication, daily living, and socialization skills. They also take-charge in performing chores, helping to set the table at mealtime, and assisting with food preparation.
233rd Street Residence
In April 2017, ILA’s 233rd Street residence opened its doors, welcoming four Individuals who previously lived at residential schools in Upstate New York and Pennsylvania. It is also the agency’s first house solely for Individuals with autism. They maintain different levels of functionality.
The four-bedroom home is staffed by a supervisor and direct support professionals (DSPs), as well as nurses and a part-time behavior intervention specialist (BIS). Individuals enjoy spending time in the backyard and participating in community outings to local stores and restaurants.
According to Area Coordinator Donna Lundy, the Individuals have “adjusted well to their new surroundings,” and staff have enjoyed getting to know everyone in the house. She credits her team for their hard work and dedication while meeting any challenges that may occur. “I’m looking into additional training courses for management and DSPs so we can best meet the specific needs of these Individuals and enable them to achieve the highest level of independence,” Donna says.
Individuals are attending Community and Day Habilitation Programs, which provide greater structure to boost their comfort levels. “The community has been very welcoming to our Individuals, which has helped ease their transition to ILA,” Donna says. Another positive factor: the 226th Street and 233rd Street residences are fewer than two miles apart, allowing for regular social interaction between the two houses. Barbecues and other recreational outings have helped to foster camaraderie and socialization skills, with many more events on the horizon.