BETHESDA MAGAZINE (4/25/2017) – Main Street would provide educational, social opportunities

A local couple is working on an innovative project to provide inclusive, affordable housing to adults with developmental disabilities in Rockville.

The vision shared by Jillian and Scott Copeland is to build a 70-apartment community called Main Street where residents can live independently, learn and build friendships. The plan is to devote a quarter of the units to adults with developmental disabilities.

“It’s a new model … where everyone is welcome and everyone is included,” Jillian Copeland of Rockville said.

A pre-application meeting on the plan is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at the Rockville Memorial Library. Copeland said the project will go through the city of Rockville development approval process.

Copeland and her husband embarked on the development project after identifying a community need. Their 17-year-old son, Nicol, is developmentally disabled, and Copeland said there’s a shortage of housing options for him. This isn’t the first time Copeland has taken initiative; she founded The Diener School in Potomac about 10 years ago to fill an educational gap for students with disabilities and create a place that would meet her son’s needs.

Her plan for Main Street is to combine housing with a wide range of community activities. The complex at 50 Monroe Place would offer one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and a movie room, art gallery, wellness center and places to socialize. There are plans for opening a coffee shop staffed by people with developmental needs, Copeland said.

Main Street will also partner with outside groups to offer professional workshops and classes in the community’s kitchen, rooftop garden, computer lab and meeting spaces.

Many of these programs will be available to both residents and non-residents alike, Copeland said.

“A lot of these people with disabilities are living at home,” she said. “They’re very isolated and they’re depressed. … So, Main Street is going to provide a home away from home for people.”

Main Street is also awaiting its nonprofit status, and Copeland said she and her husband are hoping to attract grant funding to support their efforts to minimize housing costs for residents.


This article was written by Bethany Rodgers and originally posted on on 4/25/2017