Our Mission

The mission of the New Avenue Foundation is to create more meaningful lives for people with disabilities and autism, and to reduce dependence on the government programs that now support these individuals.  It has 3 key components:

  1. A non-profit organization that oversees the community inclusion, housing and employment programs, with a governing board comprised of parents, community residents and civic leaders.
  2. We support community activities and expand participation in those activities by creating a “community enterprise”.
    • Crafts, plants and flowers at the Media Farmers Market
    • Education activities like our cooking and hiking programs
    • On-going community service projects and events, like our “different kind of coffeehouse” – Our Community Cup
  3. Creative living arrangements with greater family involvement in financing and support services.

The “New Avenue” program is based upon concepts from successful programs across the country.

The “Value” of Inclusion

Community inclusion is one of the greatest challenges facing people with disabilities. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities often do not participate in community activities in a meaningful way, in roles that allow them to demonstrate their abilities, establish true relationships with others, earn recognition and respect from others, learn new skills, or simply to have fun.

True community inclusion must be based upon personal connections, common interests, shared values, and upon ongoing interactions that occur as people with disabilities and community residents encounter each other on a regular basis in natural settings, such as at church, the grocery store, at restaurants, and other community settings.

A community enterprise can serve as the vehicle for community integration.

Community integration is essential:

  • It enriches the lives of our family members; it is stimulating and addresses their need for human interaction.
  • It is a means to skill development and maintenance.
  • It is a means to develop essential in-kind and financial support to minimize the impact of funding cuts in the Medicaid program.

A community enterprise can be successful in improving integration because it addresses one of the essential elements of inclusion or integration – it provides value both to the community and to people with disabilities.

One of the prerequisites for inclusion is value. There must be an underlying reason for inclusion to occur and to be sustainable. Inclusion must provide value or satisfy an underlying need; it must be valuable to the community and it must be valuable to the person with disabilities. Value is key to sustaining inclusion.

Parent-led programs provide higher quality housing services and have been more successful in promoting community inclusion than agency run programs because parents are often more committed to successful outcomes for their family members.

Community Enterprise

  • It is an initiative to improve community inclusion.
  • It is a business or ongoing community-service project that strengthens the community and provides vocational or social opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.
    • NAF’s participation in the Media Farmers’ Market is a community enterprise. It strengthens the community by adding value to the Farmers Market and demonstrating that people with disabilities can contribute to their communities.
  • It provides an additional reason for community residents to become involved with their community and simultaneously with people with intellectual disabilities.
  • It serves as a vocational or social program for the residents, reducing the cost of adult day programs.
  • It promotes community understanding and compassion for people with developmental disabilities or Autism.
  • It provides opportunities for revenue, funding and in-kind support, and reducing 100% dependence on the Medicaid program.

Our Housing Program

  • Our housing goals are based upon concepts from successful programs across the country.
  • The goal is to create several houses of different sizes ranging from a conventional home for 3-4 people, larger homes for 8-10 people, and apartment or condo units.   These homes may be in different communities.
  • Financing and ownership will vary based upon the size or type of home. Private ownership and financing is an option.
  • We have developed an economic model that shows housing costs and how they may be supported by family funds or special needs trusts.
  • New Avenue sees the opportunity to pursue and combine funding from multiple sources, above and the beyond housing allotment in current HCBS consolidated waivers.  Those sources include HUD, OHCD, Section 8 and 811, and other federal programs.
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