The Need

Fulfilling an unmet need

In disability circles, it’s known as “the cliff.” Upon graduation from high school, the supports, social opportunities and routines individuals with disabilities rely on disappear. Meaningful employment and financial independence—anticipated milestones for most young adults—are often unattainable for adults with disabilities. A dearth of housing choices leave many living at home.

Adults with disabilities and their families struggle socially, financially and emotionally. Many adults with disabilities become isolated and depressed.  Anecdotal data collected through interviews with families of adults with disabilities in the greater metropolitan area show many challenges, including financial strains, lack of meaningful employment, social isolation, regression of learned skills and stress on aging care-takers and other family members.

Main Street will offer a solution to this pressing need by providing residential options to adults who desire independent living and community engagement.  Because the need is so great—with approximately 900 adults on waiting lists in Maryland alone—Main Street also seeks to serve as a replicable model for integrated living and community structure that provides the special needs community the supports they need to shape their success.

Main Street as a solution

Main Street’s philosophy is “multi-age, multi-stage” – a setting that bridges abilities, ages and economics and fosters a culture of inclusion.

What makes Main Street different from other housing projects for adults with disabilities is this inclusive, community-focused model.  A mix of different ages and abilities creates organic, meaningful interactions and opportunities that inspire the pathways to friendship and independence. Enriching, on-site activities remove the physical barriers often associated with group homes. Main Street’s city-centered location in Rockville provides easy accessibility to transit, employment opportunities and leisure. Grocery stores, restaurants and a three-story public library are within walking distance. Main Street redefines the concept of home by offering a place to truly live.

Read about why this program is important to the community

People with learning disabilities face gross inequality in life and death
The Guardian | May 29, 2018 | Read the article

This article discusses statistics and examples of people with learning disabilities dying at an earlier age than their peers, specifically in London.

As their parents get older, who will care for people with disabilities?
America Magazine| May 27, 2018 | Read the article

This article provides statistics and instances of people with disabilities and the difficulties of living independently. Discusses the crisis of a shortage of new nonprofit group homes, which are replacing institutions and the struggles the government has with fulfilling this need. Also discusses the history of housing for adults with special needs.

“The Matesics [family with an adult with special needs] would like Bob to move into a local group home, with round-the-clock care funded by Medicaid. But there is no room for him. After four years on a state waiting list, he still cannot get a spot.”

Who Decides Where Autistic Adults Live?
The Atlantic | May 26, 2018 | Read the article here

This article looks at early institutions and laws and regulations now. Looks at the lives of certain families and how they need a place for adults with special needs to live.

“Right now, 80,000 autistic adults are on waiting lists for residential placements that can be up to 10 years long, and the nonprofit advocacy organization Autism Speaks estimates that half a million autistic children will transition to the adult state-by-state funding system over the next decade.”

How autistic adults are breaking barriers in the workplace
WJLA | September 20, 2017 | Read the article here

This article discusses how adults with autism are committing themselves to self-improvement and their communities by breaking through expectations in their workplaces.

The Tricky Path to Employment is Trickier When You’re Autistic
Slate | September 22, 2017 | Read the article here

This article discusses how autism can complicate the job search – not out of ability, but because of perception.

“Only 14 percent of adults with autism held paid jobs in their communities…”

“It’s only in the last 10 to 15 years that there’s been growing recognition of the fact that children grow up to be adults…As Leight’s story demonstrates, autistic adults have their own needs – needs that we as a society are just figuring out how to fill.”

For Some Moms, the Nest May Never Be Empty
Kveller | September 11, 2017 | Read the article here

This article discusses the reality that most parents of children with a disability face – a life of caring for their children from home.

“Every parent facing down the prospect of an empty nest knows that [it’s hard to have a child leave home]. What I’m not always sure they realize, though, is just how fortunate they are to have children healthy and independent enough to leave home. Not everyone is that lucky.”

Looking Into the Future for a Child With Autism
The New York Times | August 31, 2018 | Read the article here

This article talks about the progress a young adult with special needs made in his life while being able to stay employed.

“How do you write about the happy life you hope for your child to have when you have a hard time picturing it yourself?”