In November 2021, Main Street hosted its first Building Inclusivity Conference to share the Main Street model and nuts and bolts of its development, as well as to highlight other models that share our principles of affordability and inclusivity. Please learn more about the conference below. To purchase a video link to Main Street’s conference presentations regarding how to build affordable, inclusive and community-minded projects, please visit this link.

For additional information about creating communities like Main Street, please visit our Housing Resources webpage

Building Inclusivity Conference at Main Street

Affordable, inclusive and accessible housing is not a model often seen, and
creating such models is an incredibly arduous process. There are many
financial and governmental obstacles that slow projects or even grind them to
a halt.
At Main Street, we believe that this process should be easier, and that
inclusivity, affordability and accessibility should be norms in housing
development. In partnership with The Kelsey, Main Street gathered thought
leaders to educate, inspire and advocate for a community of support around
the common cause of Building Inclusivity!

Over the course of three days in November 2021, we learned that we need to…

– be active in local communities with local legislators
– form coalitions that are co-led by people with and without disabilities
– stay mindful of factors such as race, socioeconomic status, location, etc.
– remember that disability-forward advocacy takes curiosity, courage and creativity
– celebrate the small wins because inclusive, affordable housing projects take time!

Accessibility is only the tip of the iceberg. Building inclusion also means tackling
financial obstacles to achieve affordability and investing in the community itself
to foster a sense of belonging. Main Street is a testament to this process and is
determined to make it easier for future generations. Join us at Main Street and
be part of a nationwide movement to redefine inclusion!

National Housing Resources

Conference Information

Click on the toggles below to access resources from the conference, daily schedules and more detailed information.

To purchase a video link to Main Street’s conference presentations regarding how to build affordable, inclusive and community-minded projects, please visit this link.

5pm – 6pm : Cocktails Party, Mix and Mingle in PBK

6pm – 7:45pm: Dinner and Presentations

  • Welcome to Main Street: Who are we? What do we do? Learn more about our mission, vision, values, elevator pitch, purpose, membership, programs and partnerships. Learn why this is a movement.
  • Main Street Connect Speakers: The Main Street Team

7:45pm – 8:30pm: Dessert and Tours

8am – 4pm : Housing Models & Financing Learning

**Optional Main Street Inclusive Programming: Sunrise Stroll at 8:30am and IM ABLE Workout from 4-4:30pm. Dress comfy!

  • Housing Development Presentations:
    • Main Street (Rockville, MD)
    • The Kelsey (San Francisco & San Jose, CA)
  • Roundtables on Key Topics by Inclusive Housing Leaders
    • Donna Budway – Our Stomping Ground
    • Alicia DeLashmutt – Our Home, Inclusive Community Collaborative
    • Mark Dunham – Patuxent Commons
    • Paula Manion – Our Stomping Ground
    • Brian McCann – Faison Center
  • Nuts and Bolts of Financing; Resident Services Models; Development and Design
    • Scott Copeland – RST Development

6pm – 8:15pm: Dinner & Advocacy Discussion

  • Justin Tsang – Asian Americans with Disabilities Initiative
  • Zan Thornton – Advocate
  • Elizabeth Grigsby – Golden Gate Regional Center
  • Greg Robinson – Autistic Self Advocacy Network
  • Fatimah Aure – The Kelsey

8am – 12pm : Breakfast and Advancing Advocacy

  • Alison Barkoff – Administration for Community Living
  • Andrew Sperling – National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Allie Cannington – The Kelsey
  • Fatimah Aure – The Kelsey
  • Lisa Sloane – TAC
  • Valerie Novack – Disability Policy Researcher

To access the project description form, please click here.

Lodging Information:

  • The Cambria Hotel, Rockville, MD
    1 Helen Heneghan Way, Rockville, MD, 20850
  • Click here for special rate group booking.

Casual attire encouraged.

Limited financial aid available using this form. First come first serve. Please contact

Housing Development Presentations

Jillian Copeland
Jillian CopelandFounder and Director, Main Street Connect
Jillian was an educator, staff trainer and technology coordinator for Montgomery County Public Schools for several years prior to founding The Diener School in 2007. Jillian’s latest and greatest endeavor, Main Street, is a joint initiative with her husband Scott. Main Street is a model and a mindset, the first of its kind inclusive and affordable apartment building and community center serving people of all abilities.
Sharon Cichy
Sharon CichyChief Strategy Officer, Main Street Connect
Sharon began her career as an educator, had several entrepreneurial experiences as well as consulting for brands large and small. She seeks to build successful and impactful partnerships that propel growth and create innovative experiences and opportunities. Nurturing and expanding donor relationships are all aspects of Sharon’s role at Main Street.

Micaela ConneryCo-Founder, The Kelsey
Micaela co-founded The Kelsey with her cousin Kelsey, who continues to inspire and inform the mission and work today. Micaela has been working on inclusion in communities her entire life. She has seen firsthand the housing crisis facing adults with developmental disabilities and their families.

Fatimah Aure Director of Field and Capacity Building, The Kelsey
With a communications degree from Northwestern University and a Public Policy Masters from UC Berkeley, Fatimah has been senior leadership for several local nonprofit organizations. Cultivating meaningful programs is her sweet spot.

Allie CanningtonManager of Advocacy and Organizing, The Kelsey
Allie leads The Kelsey’s field-building efforts to increase Disabled participation and leadership across housing policy and practice. Allie also spearheads community engagement initiatives for our housing pipeline and convenes and mobilizes people with disabilities and allies to advance disability-forward and equitable housing.

Roundtables on Key Topics by Inclusive Housing Leaders

Donna Budway

Donna BudwayDirector of Programming/Community Outreach, Our Stomping Ground - Inclusive Communities
Donna has served as a community organizer in Arlington for the past two decades and currently manages programming at Our Stomping Ground’s first community, Gilliam Place. She is instrumental in her outreach in sharing the mission and the importance of making community. Her passion is in developing and sustaining inclusive settings and ensuring the well being for adults of all abilities.

Alicia DeLashmuttFounder and President, Our Home, Inclusive Community Collaborative
Alicia is currently working with her team to develop a first-of-its-kind intentional community that includes people at risk—seniors, people with disabilities, and those below median income. Located in the Cathedral Park neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, Our Home – Cathedral Park is designed to be a self-supporting cohousing community and a “Homes, not Housing” model for scalable replication.

Mark DunhamPrincipal, Kindred Strategies
Mark Dunham works with local organizations and stakeholders to catalyze development of supportive housing that leverages the social capital of neighbors of different ages, abilities and incomes. As a consultant to the Howard County Autism Society (HCAS), Mark designed the initial concept planning process for Patuxent Commons and now works closely with its developer, Mission First Housing Group, and an HCAS-led coalition of community stakeholders to advance its development.

Paula Manion

Paula ManionFounder and Chair, Our Stomping Ground - Inclusive Communities
Paula Manion is a strong and passionate leader of the mission to create affordable, inclusive communities and meaningful lives for adults with disabilities. She also serves the community as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Primary Care Mental Health Specialist with a special focus on advocacy and care of children and adolescents with developmental disabilities and mental health issues.

Brian McCann

Brian McCannPresident & CEO, Faison Center
Prior to joining the team at The Faison Center, Brian was an attorney who devoted his law practice to civil litigation with an emphasis in education law to help families of children with disabilities. During his legal career, Brian was recognized in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2013 Brian was recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 in the city of Richmond for his work in Special Education Law.

Nuts and Bolts of Financing

Scott CopelandPrincipal, RST Development
M. Scott Copeland (Scott) is a principal of RST Development, LLC based in Rockville, Maryland and Virginia Beach, Virginia. RST is a family owned and operated multifamily development, management and construction firm with approximately 8,500 units throughout the mid-Atlantic region. A substantial portion of RST’s portfolio has been financed utilizing Section 42 Low Income Housing Tax Credits, therefore serving moderate to low incomed households, including several projects in Montgomery County. Scott and his wife, Jillian Copeland, co-founded Main Street Connect in 2017.

Dinner and Discussion Speakers

Justin TsangDirector of Research, Asian Americans with Disabilities Intitiative
Justin has been involved in various settings involving disability advocacy, including the American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD), The Kelsey, and the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC).

Zan ThorntonAdvocate
Zan is an elder LGBTQIA2S+ multi- disabled peaceful veteran & activist. They got the 2021 D-30 diversability award for providing access & rides to over 500+ GA voters with disabilities including IDD: Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities, Deaf /DeafBlind/ Blind/Low Vision, & 7 Native Tribes.

Greg RobinsonPolicy Analyst, Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Prior to ASAN, he worked in community program development around housing and community health for underserved communities in Philadelphia as Healthy Homes Americorps VISTA with the New Kensington Community Development Corporation. His passion in policy centers around the intersections of social determinants of health in marginalized communities.

Elizabeth GrigsbyConsumer Rights Advocate, Golden Gate Regional Center
Elizabeth’s philosophy is to always put the individual served first in everything that she does and help every individual have a full, inclusive life of their choosing. The disability is not the problem, it’s people’s attitude towards disability and the lack of understanding that is problematic.

Policy Horizon Panel

Lisa SloaneDirector, Technical Assistance Collaborative
Lisa has over 35 years of experience working with federal, state, and local governments as well as nonprofit agencies, to address the supportive housing needs of people with disabilities and of individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

Andrew SperlingDirector of Legislative and Public Advocacy, National Alliance on Mental Illness
In his role at NAMI, Andrew also served as a Co-Chair of the Consortium for Citizens With Disabilities (CCD) Housing Task Force. CCD is a coalition of national disability advocacy organizations that pushes for enactment of federal policies to promote access to decent, safe and affordable housing for non-elderly people with disabilities.

Valerie NovackDisability Policy Researcher
Valerie focuses on integrating the expertise of lived experience and grassroots efforts of marginalized peoples into policymaking at the local, state, and federal levels. She has partnered on legislative and community advocacy efforts with organizations such as the Center for American Progress, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and the National Disability Rights Network.

Platinum Presenting Sponsor

The Building Inclusivity Housing Conference is also made possible in part by the generosity and support of The Disability Opportunity Fund.