Residential Services for Intellectually Disabled

Project Idea

Within recent decades, the needs of adults with intellectual disabilities become more recognized, and more effort is made to address those needs. At some point in their lives, some people may find themselves—or their loved ones may find them—no longer capable of running their homes on their own. This is a very vulnerable and a truly dreadful state, and many who find themselves in it have no-one to help them. First of all, it is a humanitarian necessity to address these needs by providing residential services to adults with intellectual disabilities and to help them live in decent conditions. To organize such a program, funding is required, and the presented project consists of creating funding for residential services in the state of Pennsylvania for adults with intellectual disabilities.

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However, the proposed project does not only pursue humanitarian purposes, and it is not charity. It should be acknowledged that, among adults with intellectual disabilities, many are fully capable of being involved in work that produces value and is meaningful for them. Unfortunately, some may not be able to do such work because they struggle to organize their living. What is fairly simple for people who do not have disabilities in terms of running their households and arranging the space in which they live may be very challenging, time-consuming, or impossible for people who do have disabilities.

However, once their living is arranged or once they receive necessary assistance through residential services, they may have time and be willing to engage in other activities that are important for the community. Therefore, the goal of the project is to create funding that is sufficient for supporting a residential services program for targets, i.e., people with intellectual disabilities in Pennsylvania.

Upon reflecting on the general concept, its meaningfulness, and justification, particular actions should be proposed. What the residential services program will offer is assistance with targets’ homes, including shopping, paying bills, maintaining space and facilities, budgeting, and accessing various resources proposed by community centers and other establishments that can provide additional assistance to address similar needs.

Also, the program may encompass housing, i.e., providing targets with a place to live in that they can consider their own. Creating funding for this program is associated with reaching potential sponsors and donors, conducting awareness campaigns, collecting funds, ensuring that the funds are distributed according to the project goals, and reporting progress properly. Besides, some direct funding can be provided to targets who need a transition from their previous living arrangements to a new model of residential services; this funding will be provided in the framework of semi-independent living, which is an initiative that has been successfully introduced, for instance, in Minnesota (“Semi independent living services,” 2017).

A major part of proposing a project is presenting evaluation considerations, i.e., how it will be evident that a project will have achieved its goals. For the presented project, the evaluation will be fairly simple, as the program will have its budget, and the main criterion of the project’s success will be creating funding that is sufficient to cover all the planned activities according to the budget. The timeline for the project, therefore, cannot be strictly established, as needed efforts may be reconsidered in the process of implementation. Still, it is expected that two months will be enough to generate primary results and create more than half of the needed funding.

As it was mentioned, much effort has been made to address the stated problem. For example, in Minnesota, a network of residential homes is established to help people with disabilities for whom “living alone is too difficult or potentially dangerous” (“Residential services for adults with disabilities,” 2017, para. 1). Particular attention is paid to physical environments and communication with people with disabilities, with their close ones, and with “givers,” i.e., people who are willing to donate.

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Another example is the initiative called Community Involvement Programs (CIP), which provides residential services to “individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities [with the purpose to] provide the support and opportunity for adults with disabilities to feel genuinely at home—whether it be in their apartment, or a home [the initiative manages]” (“Residential services for adults with developmental disabilities,” 2013, para. 1).

In Pennsylvania, similar programs are in place, too, but what should be addressed is the funding for them and the communication among people with disabilities, communities, facilities, and potential donors. The success of the proposed project will largely depend on the effectiveness of communication, which is why the proposed project will improve the situation and ensure that the residential services program is properly funded, i.e., more people who need such services will be provided with them.

It is noteworthy that the addressed issue is delicate. Not every potential target is capable of asking and receiving help. Their families may hesitate to negotiate or even consult specialists concerning the possibility of receiving residential services for people with intellectual disabilities. Further, potential donors may have doubts that they should fund such a program because it can be said that such programs do not produce explicit results. This is why it should be communicated what benefits—providing targets with opportunities to do meaningful and important work—the program will ultimately bring.

Project Selection Finalization

Adults with intellectual disabilities are often unable to manage their living. There are many aspects of this, from challenges with fixing an electric bulb, doing shopping, or paying bills to full incapability of living without constant care. There are many initiatives to address this problem; one of them is conducting residential services programs, in which targets receive assistance in their homes or are given opportunities to live in a facility like in their own homes. However, there are still major complications with organizing these programs and reaching all potential targets; also, the funding is often insufficient, which means that not all the people who need such assistance receive it. The proposed project is aimed at creating funding for residential services in the state of Pennsylvania for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Creating funds can be accomplished in several ways. Still, the proposed project will focus on raising awareness and reaching everyone who may be willing to contribute to the residential services program. Therefore, communication is a major aspect of the project, and there are several parties to communicate the project’s goals and activities to, including targets and potential targets, their families, their communities, and potential sponsors and donors. The project will be considered successful if sufficient funding is created to cover all the expenses described in the residential services program’s budget.

A specific characteristic of residential services explains the interest in this project for adults with intellectual disabilities: it is widely believed that such services are pointless. An analogy can be presented between this issue and the issue of helping children with autism. When people donate to cover the treatment of an ill child, they may eventually be reported explicit results: the child is healed. However, donating to autism-related programs does not generate such results: children with autism continue to have it throughout their lives and may never be socialized. So someone may ask this question: “Why should anyone donate to such programs?” People who work with children with autism have a set of prepared answers.

One of them is that many children with autism have good chances of doing meaningful work and producing value in the future if their development receives proper attention at the early stages. Similarly, donating to a program of residential services for adults with disabilities is not only ensuring that their living conditions are decent—which is a worthy purpose already—but also providing them with opportunities to do meaningful work by ridding them of the challenges related to running their households.

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Previous studies established that inactive adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, i.e., people who have no daytime activities, do not necessarily suffer from depressive moods or health problems because of inactivity (Taylor & Hodapp, 2012). However, it is also known that inactivity is a factor that can deteriorate the state of people with disabilities. Giving them meaningful work is a solution; however, not all targeted adults can engage in such work because running their households is full of challenges for them and is often practically impossible. Funding a residential services program will help address this problem.

To assess the project’s chances for success, the experience of managing residential services programs in Minnesota was analyzed. Two explored programs report significant progress, as they claim that people they help are substantially assisted with what they would be otherwise unable to do and with becoming more engaged members of their communities (“Residential services for adults with developmental disabilities,” 2013; “Residential services for adults with disabilities,” 2017). In Pennsylvania, similar programs exist, too, but they are often inaccessible for many adults with intellectual disabilities, and it justifies the need for the proposed project.

A major consideration is an evaluation. According to Ward (2012), evaluation “should be important to grantseekers as a means of showing funders that they are capable, reliable, and can be trusted with future grants” (p. 12). For the presented project, the evaluation will consist of assessing whether created funding covers the activities described in the residential services program’s budget. Also, for the evaluation of indirect results, it should be assessed whether the needs of targets are properly addressed. For this, a valuable source that can be used is feedback from targets, their families, and their communities.

The problem statement is an integral part of grant proposals, but what is important, too, is vision (“Grant development guide,” n.d.). The vision of this project is that it combines two purposes—humanitarian (helping people with disabilities who are unable or find it highly challenging to manage their living) and societal (providing them with opportunities to engage in their communities more and to find time and energy to do meaningful and valuable work). The presented project commits to creating needed conditions (particularly, funding) enabling a residential services program to achieve these goals.

References

Grant development guide. (n.d.). Web.

Residential services for adults with developmental disabilities. (2013). Web.

Residential services for adults with disabilities. (2017). Web.

Semi independent living services (SILS) program. (2017). Web.

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Taylor, J. L., & Hodapp, R. M. (2012). Doing nothing: Adults with disabilities with no daily activities and their siblings. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 117(1), 67-79.

Ward, D. (2012). Writing grant proposals that win (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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