Main Street is 3 Things
An accessible apartment building located in Rockville, Maryland, where 25% of the building’s 70 units are set aside for adults with disabilities and 75% of the units are affordable.
A membership-based community that celebrates people of all abilities. Residents and non-residents may become members and participate in dynamic programs in our 10,000 sq. ft. accessible community center.
A mindset and a model of inclusive and affordable living where residents and members of all abilities can learn, play and thrive together. Main Street is changing lives and changing minds through inclusion.
Main Street is accessible living, a membership-based community and a movement of inclusion! We approach our work with a philosophy of inclusion that we call “Bring Your Own Independence” (BYOI).
Main Street Connect, Inc. (Main Street), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, has developed a innovative, multi-purpose model – an affordable, accessible and inclusive apartment complex and community center just steps from a subway stop and adjacent to the town center in Rockville, Maryland. The building opened doors in August 2020.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of the 70 apartments in the building are affordable – serving households earning 30%, 50% and 60% of the Area Medium Income (AMI) – and 25% of the units are specifically designated for individuals with varying special needs. Details about the apartments and the application process are available from Main Street’s property management company, Edgewood Management, at LivingAtMainStreet.com.
Community Center and Membership
The ground floor of the Main Street building has a 10,000-square-foot community center that includes a fitness center, teaching kitchen, multimedia room and a classroom. Together with professional partners, Main Street offers a robust calendar of daily, weekly and monthly classes, programs, events and community engagement opportunities. Main Street’s community center and programming are open to residents and to non-residents who join as members. In addition, Soulfull Cafe, a coffee shop and partnership with Main Street Connect, is located at the front of the Main Street building and open to the public. Soulfull Cafe opened in September 2020, providing an opportunity for employment to people with and without disabilities.
Bring Your Own Independence (BYOI)
Main Street is not a service provider and does not provide care giving or support staff to meet individualized, customized, one-on-one needs. Main Street’s approach is based on a philosophy of inclusion that we call “Bring Your Own Independence” or BYOI. Residents and members are encouraged to bring with them whatever and whomever they need to help them fully access and enjoy the benefits of living at Main Street and/or being a member of the community center.
By breaking the link between housing and services, Main Street residents have choice regarding their service providers and are not required to move if they wish to change service providers. Main Street residents have the option to hire a Main Street Community Coach , life coaches who provide limited types of assistance.
Main Street’s community center is not a DDA day center or a drop off facility and is not responsible for residents and members when they are on Main Street premises or attending events. Main Street’s staff are caring individuals who are trained to provide quality programming for people of all abilities.
Learn more about the BYOI approach and what Main Street does and does not offer here.
Main Street – created on the founding principles of affordability, inclusivity and sustainability – is a vibrant community for continued learning, social engagement and health and wellness. By fostering a culture of inclusion, Main Street bridges abilities, age and socioeconomic factors, allowing residents and members to enjoy casual, organic social encounters as well as structured activities and programs provided by trained staff and community partners.
Mission, Vision, Values and Approach
To create dynamic opportunities through affordable, inclusive housing and community engagement so people of all abilities can live their best lives.
A world where people of all abilities thrive together – are included, feel connected, and have abundant choices and opportunities.
Integrity, Dignity, Collaboration, Reliability, Excellence, Boldness
Bring Your Own Independence (BYOI) – We don’t provide 1:1 services. We do provide accessibility and choice. Learn more.
The Origin of Main Street
Founded in 2017, Main Street is the brainchild of Jillian and Scott Copeland whose 21-year-old son, Nicolas, has developmental disabilities. Like countless families in similar situations, the Copelands had grave concerns about Nicolas’ future as there are such limited living options and community engagement opportunities for adults with disabilities.
Jillian’s quest to find long-term housing for Nicolas where he could “find his happy” and thrive in life, produced very little. Her comprehensive search proved that there was a dire need for Main Street – a model that incorporates affordable housing opportunities with a wide variety of recreational, social and vocational opportunities in an inclusive and welcoming environment.
As Jillian’s vision to create a one-of-a kind solution to the lack of affordable, accessible and inclusive housing began to coalesce, she elicited her husband, Scott Copeland, a principal with RST Development, LLC (“RST”) to assist with the development of Main Street’s flagship building in Rockville, Maryland. RST has been an active developer and builder of affordable housing for 20+ years. Ground was broken on the Main Street building in the fall of 2018 and the building will open doors in the summer of 2020. (See our time line of key milestones here.)
As the project has developed, the Copelands’ vision has come into clearer focus. Main Street is much more than a building that benefits people with disabilities. It is first and foremost a community that benefits people of all abilities. Main Street is a community of respect, choice and independence – a community in which people of all abilities belong and thrive together.
Meet the Copelands
In this 6-minute video from 2018, Main Street founder Jillian Copeland and her husband, Scott Copeland, share their vision for Main Street that was inspired by their son, Nicol.
To learn more about the statistics that underscore the need for Main Street and the steps that the Copelands have taken to create Main Street, visit: Why is Main Street needed? and How are we doing this?