Groundbreaking Inclusive Housing Community Receives Catalytic Support from the Kuni Foundation
Portland, OR – A unique community model, the first of its kind in the nation and inspired by the mother and advocate of a teenager with intellectual and physical disabilities, received catalytic funding from the Wayne D. Kuni & Joan E. Kuni Foundation. Our Home, Inclusive Community Collaborative, founded by Alicia DeLashmutt, received $1 million from the Kuni Foundation.
Our Home – Cathedral Park will be an inclusive, co-housing inspired community with a variety of home ownership opportunities for individuals and families of diverse abilities, ages and income levels. The community includes 22 universally designed homes including one, two and three-bedroom condo units. Several units are subsidized for individuals who financially qualify, with priority given to individuals who experience disability. Reflecting the natural proportion of people that experience disability in the general population, twenty to twenty-five percent of the units at OHCP are intended to be owned by families and individuals that experience IDD. Located near the base of the iconic St. John’s Bridge, the proximity to public transportation and other amenities will provide access to jobs, education and health care.
“The devastating effects of isolation, not only for our populations at risk but for us all, has entered our conversations,” said Our Home, Inclusive Community Collaborative’s Founding Neighbor Alicia DeLashmutt. “One community at a time we are connecting people of all abilities and attempting to reduce systems dependency by reinvigorating the natural supports inherent within a community. Disability is often left out of discussions regarding equity, and through inclusive housing we strive to create the opportunity for reciprocal relationships where people care about each other rather than being paid to care for each other. Thanks to the generous support of the Kuni Foundation, we are able to move our first community from a need and a dream to a reality.”
Strong collaboration among a diverse range of nonprofit, government and for-profit organizations is a key driver to the project’s success. The co-housing community is being developed in partnership with Community Vision, one of Oregon’s largest providers of individualized supports for adults experiencing disabilities and Urban Development + Partners, a Portland development firm with extensive experience in multi-family construction and co-housing development. Community Vision secured the land for the project. Additional project support is being provided in part by Metro, Oregon Community Foundation, Proud Ground and Habitat for Humanity.
“This is an exciting, innovative project that advances inclusion and connection while complementing existing affordable housing efforts that are underway, said Mark Edlen, CEO of Gerding Edlen. “I believe this is a replicable model that can be duplicated in Oregon and in communities throughout the country.”
There is an unprecedented and growing demand for affordable and accessible housing throughout Oregon, and individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities are increasingly marginalized in the quest to secure housing. As neighborhoods shift and change, marginalized people are heavily impacted and there is a need for intentional and innovative housing and community building options. These range from house sharing between generations and families, to homeowners installing accessory dwelling units. The Age-Friendly Portland and Multnomah County Initiative has identified housing as a top priority – particularly inclusive, intergenerational, universally designed, and mixed income housing. Our Home – Cathedral Park is a model that incorporates all of these attributes.
“As Chair of the House Committee on Human Services and Housing, I believe this project addresses multiple issues that we are trying to solve: the need for safe, affordable, stable housing and meeting the unique needs of the intellectually and developmentally disabled population,” said Oregon State Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer, who represents District 46. “I’m thrilled to support this unique, community-driven project.”
The community is scheduled for completion in spring 2021 and nine units have already been reserved. Future home owners meet at least monthly as a group, forming a foundation of connection and community before the ground for the project has broken. At the same time, Our Home, Inclusive Community Collaborative is fielding calls from individuals and organizations from throughout the country interested in replicating the model.
A Legacy of Advocacy
As co-founder of the Wayne D. Kuni & Joan E. Kuni Foundation Joan Kuni was a pioneer in advocating for her sons and for other individuals with an intellectual disability. At a time when parents of disabled children were encouraged to institutionalize them, Joan quietly blazed a trail of inclusion and lifelong enrichment and empowerment for individuals with intellectual disabilities. More than five million Americans have some form of intellectual disability, and of particular concern to Joan was how to ensure that individuals with an intellectual disability could age in place within a vibrant, supportive and stable community.
“Joan Kuni’s determination and advocacy on behalf of her sons continues to have a profound, positive ripple effect throughout a community that is all too often marginalized,” said Greg Goodwin, Chair of The Wayne D. Kuni & Joan E. Kuni Foundation. “We are excited to help support Our House – Cathedral Park at this early stage and believe it’s an important proof of concept for future sustainable, inclusive communities.”
About the Wayne D. Kuni & Joan E. Kuni Foundation:
Based in Vancouver, Washington, the Wayne D. Kuni & Joan E. Kuni Foundation funds cancer research and supports programs and initiatives that enhance the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Learn more at www.kunifoundation.org or via Twitter at @KuniFoundation.
About Our Home, Inclusive Community Collaborative
Based in Portland, Oregon, the organization works with local partners to promote, support and develop inclusive, diverse communities consisting of families who have the opportunity for home ownership and include individuals often seen as ‘at-risk’ — elders, people who experience disability and people below median income. Our Home communities are based on strengths, interests and shared values, not deficits and needs. Learn more at www.ourhomeicc.org, www.facebook.com/Our-Home-Inclusive-Community-Collaborative or via Twitter at @OurHomeICC