In early 2020, Main Street partnered with the University of Maryland (UMD) to create a research project examining the impact of Main Street on its residents, with and without disabilities, and their family members. Led by Professors Peter Leone, Ellen Fabian and Yewon Lee from the UMD’s College of Education, the study focused on resident perceptions of how Main Street affected their overall quality of life. Participants completed surveys and interviews prior to the move to Main Street and 6 – 7 months later.

Results of the surveys showed statistically significant improvement in three areas: overall quality of life, psychological wellbeing and neighborhood/community satisfaction.

UMD Survey Results Table
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Qualitative Findings

The findings from the surveys were supported by what researchers heard during the interviews. Residents and family members expressed overall satisfaction with the residential experience at Main Street. Themes that emerged included pride, autonomy, inclusion and increased engagement. Below are a few examples of quotes from research participants.

“Yes I love being at Main Street because I can be by myself and do things as I choose.”

Main Street Resident, Member and Research Participant

“They’ve done an exemplary job with this building and I am truly honored to be a resident at Main Street.”

Main Street Resident and Research Participant

“I think what’s really exciting about Main Street is that the whole facility is the community. That it has a strong presence for the residents . . . a strong identity through its programming.”

Main Street Parent and Research Participant

Significance of Research

The finding that Main Street’s affordable, inclusive model has improved quality of life for research participants is critical to the broader, national discussion regarding housing for people with disabilities. As a new model, Main Street’s leadership understood the importance of moving beyond anecdotes and gathering data regarding the project’s actual impact. As few communities like Main Street exist, little has been known about the effects of such housing and community spaces. Through our ongoing research efforts, Main Street aims to refine our own model, advance understanding of inclusive communities in general and to provide a solid foundation for development of similar projects in Maryland and beyond.

Ongoing Research Efforts

In addition to surveys and interviews, the UMD research team conducted in-depth case studies of a purposeful subset of research participants. Results of the case studies are coming soon. In addition, a focus group with residents without disabilities is planned for the spring of 2022.

Members and Staff Enjoying Main Street Programming

For More Information

Main Street and the University of Maryland welcome opportunities to collaborate with like-minded partners and to share information about our research efforts and findings. Please contact us.