Emmaus Blog

Program Meets Needs of Those with Less Challenging Developmental Disabilities

Emmaus Homes - Tuesday, February 26, 2019

From a September 1999 Emmaus Messenger

The newest program at the St. Charles campus has allowed men and women with less challenging developmental disabilities to receive services from Emmaus for the first time. The Independent Living Assistance (ILA) Program welcomes individuals who have never lived on their own but desire to do so and individuals who need to to improve or change their current living conditions but need assistance to reach that goal. Program participants also are able to remain alone or without staff in their home and be safe in the community for at least 48 consecutive hours, and can afford to live by themselves or with a roommate.

Currently 11 clients participate in the program who less challenging developmental disability allows them to access more natural support systems in the community which in turn creates greater independence and reduces their need for staff support.

The ILA program welcomed its first client, Glen Grasshoff, in December 1997. "Glen was referred to us by his caseworker because he had discontinued using another agency for several months and a close friend became concerned about his well-being," explains Dave Riazi, Support Coordinator for the ILA program. "Glen was doing pretty well on his own but needed help with money management, reading his mail, and just remaining independent." According to Dave, independence is extremely important to Glen, who is employed as a part-time Dishwasher at a banquet center in St. Charles. "Glen could work more hours at his job, but he chooses to do other things like bicycling," remarks Dave. Glen's desire to remain independent was at the top of his list when his goals and priorities were discussed when he first became an Emmaus client. Glen knew immediately that buying his own home would achieve his goal of independence. With the guidance he was now receiving from Emmaus staff, research began on what resources were available to help him reach his goal of home ownership.

After much research, paperwork and patience, Glen was able to purchase his own condominium in St. Peter, Missouri, with a loan from the St. Louis Reinvestment Program. His frugal ways and the proceeds he earned from selling his homemade hot pads, Glen had enough money for the down payment. Glen moved into his own home December 1998.

Now that Glen has reached his goal of buying his own home, he's settling in to it and his new neighborhood. Emmaus staff still remains involved with Glen through weekly visits and are continuing to help him keep other aspects of his life stabilized so that he can remain independent.

Another participant in the ILA program is Marty Mika (below), who lives with a roommate in a condominium also in St. Peters.

Mary Mika (Emmaus Client in ILA Program)

Marty joined the ILA program in February 1998 to learn how to live on his own. He is learning to cook, shop and pay bills. One of Marty's future goals is to obtain a driver's license. These steps to greater independence for Marty require about 10 hours of Emmaus staff support a week and will eventually be fewer hours as Marty reaches his goals. Marty works full-time doing assembly and packaging work at Boone Center Sheltered Workshop in St. Peters.

"The ILA program has provided a much needed service to those in the community who previously had no supports," notes Donna Manco, administrator for Emmaus Homes- St. Charles campus. "We look forward to serving more people through this program as they are identified needing this type of support."

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