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September 2012 Newsletter

 

October Property Tours—Archstone Santa Clara and Rivertown Apartments 

Are you interested in learning more about how to secure affordable rental housing inunits designated for people with developmental disabilities at Housing Choices Coalition's Partner Properties? You're invited to tour two of our properties, talk with residents who live there about the community experience, and hear from our Housing Coordinator about the process for getting on the wait list. 

Date:  Monday, Oct. 1, 2012

Time:  2 pm (a light lunch will be served with residents between 1 and 2 pm, but you must RSVP for the lunch).

Location:  Archstone Santa Clara, 1650 Hope Drive, Santa Clara, followed by Rivertown Apartments, 1340 Hope Drive, Santa Clara

What:  Visit the property, get information about rental rates and wait lists, see representative apartments, hear from residents about what it's like to live there.

RSVP to jstokley@housingchoices.com and indicate whether you plan to arrive in time for lunch.

 

Celebrating… Cooperative Housing

The year 2012, celebrated by the United Nations as the International Year of the Cooperative, is also the third anniversary of Housing Choices Coalition’s cooperative model of affordable housing for people with developmental disabilities.  Neal Folsom, one of the first residents of HCC’s De La Cruz Cooperative, recently reflected on his cooperative living experience on the eve of moving to his own apartment at another HCC Partner Property, newly opened Fourth Street Apartments.

Neal moved into De La Cruz Cooperative in December 2009 shortly after HCC launched the cooperative model at three single-family homes in Santa Clara County rented to the organization by HOPE Services.  A hallmark of cooperative living is that residents lower their living expenses by sharing rent, utilities, and other household expenses.  Residents use democratic decision-making to adopt house rules and hold regular House Council meetings to make the co-op a good living experience for everyone.  Unlike a group home, a co-op does not have live-in staff, so residents choose their own service providers, keep their own schedule, and enjoy guests and a social life within the limits of the house rules. 

But living in a co-op requires a spirit of compromise and a willingness to solve problems with housemates, as Neal learned.  He had moved to the co-op after living for a number of years with overnight staff in a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment.  Four years had passed without an incident that required help from the overnight staff, so it was determined that Neil no longer needed this level of support.  But this change also meant that Neil could no longer afford his two-bedroom apartment and he faced the dilemma of finding a new place to live. 

Housing Choices offered Neal the option of living in the De La Cruz housing cooperative with three other housemates.  The rent was affordable, and Neal would have a private bedroom.  And Neal would have the support of other co-opers if he did need any help at night. 

But after living for several years by his own rules with live-in support, Neal found the transition to cooperative living to be a challenge.  “When I first moved in, I broke a lot of house rules,” he admitted.  “I didn’t do my weekly chores, but would sign off as if they were done.”  Attending regular house meetings was also something Neal avoided.  “Even though I knew the house council meeting was coming up, I would call at the last minute and say I couldn’t make it.”

Within only a few weeks of moving into the co-op, Neal wanted to move out.  But he was counseled to give it more time.  “People told me to do my weekly chores, attend the house council meetings, and stick it out long enough to give the co-op a fair trial,” he said, “and they were right.”  Neal found that once he started carrying his weight as a co-op member—doing his assigned  chores, attending house council meetings, getting to know his housemates--he felt like he belonged.  And belonging to something bigger than himself made all the difference in how Neal felt about living at the co-op. 

Although Neal’s transition to cooperative living got off to a rocky start, he now sees that the experience offered many benefits.  “I was a much better cook than my housemates”, he said.  “I enjoyed the opportunities to cook for them.”  There were some good life lessons, too.  “I had to follow the house rules myself, but I also had to learn to set limits for my housemates while still remaining friends.” 

When Neal was offered the opportunity to join the waitlist for a new one-bedroom apartment at Fourth Street Apartments, he felt more than ready for the opportunity to live on his own.  The rent at Fourth Street Apartments was affordable, and he would also save on transportation because First Community Housing provides all residents a free Eco-pass.  Neal said, “What really sold me on Fourth Street Apartments was that I would remain in housing supported by Housing Choices Coalition.  At Fourth Street, I still have my independence but I am with a community of people I feel connected to, which is what my co-op offered me.”

To learn more about living in a housing cooperative supported by HCC, contact Alex Bonilla, Santa Clara County Housing Coordinator, abonilla@housingchoices.com

 

Celebrating…the Full Life of Robert Faber  

Robert Faber, a resident of Edenvale Apartments, a Housing Choices Partner Property, passed away in August 2012 after a brief illness.  At a memorial celebration, Robert’s long-time San Andreas Regional Center Service Coordinator, Shelley Berkowitz, facilitated the sharing of memories by Robert’s sister, Jackie, his fiancée, Mercedes, and more than 75 friends, neighbors, and colleagues.   

Born in 1945, Robert graduated from San Jose High School in 1965, coming of age in an era when the civil liberties of people with developmental disabilities were not yet recognized.  Long before the passage of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), California was leading the way in the movement to end the second-class citizenship and forced segregation of people with developmental disabilities by adopting the landmark Lanterman Act in 1973.  The Lanterman Act created a mandate for the people of California with developmental disabilities to enjoy the chance to live full, rich lives in their community with support from the state-funded network of Regional Centers. 

In every aspect of his life, Robert Faber was at the forefront in making the Lanterman Act not just a statement of purpose but a social reality.  With support from San Andreas Regional Center, he moved into his own apartment in Gilroy.  In 2007, he moved into Housing Choices Coalition’s Edenvale Apartments in San Jose with independent living services provided by HOPE Services. 

Robert had grown up working on bicycles at his father’s bike shop, and his greatest satisfaction was in bringing a bicycle back to running order.  He worked for many years at HOPE Services’ bicycle repair business, where he was the acknowledged “patriarch” of the operation.

Robert fell in love and married Linda to whom he was happily married until her death.  In July 2012, Robert became engaged to be married a second time and was survived by his fiancée, Mercedes. 

Friends and Edenvale neighbors remember Robert as an active, outgoing person with a great sense of humor who loved to talk on the phone.  His worship community remembers him as a person with compassion for others who also took seriously the responsibility to nurture his own spiritual life.

Robert was active on the policy front to continue to open doors for people with developmental disabilities.  He served on the Board of Directors of the San Andreas Regional Center from 2004 to 2010, and became the President of the local chapter of People First, an organization dedicated to advocacy for and by people with disabilities.

In the joy and fullness with which he lived his life and in the many ways he enriched the lives of others, Robert Faber’s life is a testament to the promise of the Lanterman Act—the promise that we, the people of California, by removing barriers and restraints imposed on people with developmental disabilities, will increase the total measure of our community well-being.

 

Register to Vote by October 22

 

  On November 6, California voters will go to the polls to elect representatives to fill local, state and federal seats and also to determine the fate of several ballot initiatives, including Proposition 30, which will affect the ability of the state to fund the rights and guarantees of the Lanterman Act. 

To vote on November 6, you must register by the registration deadline of October 22.  You must re-register to vote if you have changed your permanent residence address, your name, or your political party.  You can register or re-register at the County elections office or online at the Secretary of State’s web site http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm.  You can also check your status on line if you’re not sure whether you have registered in the past.  Online registration will work if you have either a California drivers’ license or California identification number registered with DMV—otherwise you’ll be able to print the application, complete it and mail it to the County elections office.

To register to vote in California, you must be

  • A United States citizen,
  • A resident of California,
  • 18 years of age or older on Election Day,
  • Not in prison or county jail or on parole, post release community supervision, or post-sentencing probation for certain felony convictions, and
  • Not found by a court to be mentally incompetent.

You can vote on Election Day in person or you can vote by mail.  However, requests to vote by mail must be received by the County elections office at least seven days before the election.

You can learn more about voting in your individual county by visiting your County’s Registrar of Voters web site, as follows:

Santa Clara County http://www.sccgov.org/sites/rov/Register%20to%20Vote/Pages/Register-to-Vote.aspx
Santa Cruz County http://www.votescount.com
Monterey County http://www.montereycountyelections.us/register.htm
San Benito County http://www.sbcvote.us/registrar/registration.htm
 
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