Doesn’t My Voice count? Let me decide what my community is!

My son Thomas lives in his chosen community. Living in his community enables him to engage in one of the few activities that he can do independently.    Using his savant memory for people’s names together with  his naturally exuberant personality and insatiable desire for talking with people, he greats every person he sees by name and calls out “hi (whoever he sees)” at the top of his lungs and jumps with joy whenever he sees someone coming or in the distance.  If he doesn’t know your name, you will be greeted with “what your name?” and “what country are you from?”  Don’t be fooled though – he will never forget!

Thomas lives at a Residential Habilitation Center (RHC) or Intermediate Care Facility for People with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/ID or ICF/DD).  This is a campus community and one which suits him perfectly.

Below are some photos from his community:

Thomas’ Secret Garden – growing sunflowers and pumpkins here

Therapy Garden – Raised Beds – Thomas is growing herbs in his bed. He waters and tends to his plants here.

Open field next to the Healing Garden

FIrcrest Chapel nestled in the woods

Community members playing in the open field

Fircrest Healing Garden with wind chimes

Thomas running to the concert – excited about seeing Cowboy Buck and Elizabeth!

Below are some photos of some group homes in Seattle.  Group homes are wonderful for those whom the environment is appropriate but just because it is a group home does not mean that it is the least restrictive environment or a community.

Nice, well-kept group home but certainly not “community” or “least restrictive”

Another well-kept group home but is this “community?”

Community Home on busy arterial without fencing. Is this a safe community setting for a person who elopes?

 Please see this link for other issues with high traffic and group homes:  

Community Homes in High Traffic areas

I fully support a continuum of care and small, community group homes when that is the appropriate setting and truly the least restrictive environment for the individual.  What I am trying to illustrate here is the fact that just because a group home is situated in  a “neighborhood” does not mean that it is less restrictive, more community oriented or more appropriate for the person.  One needs to look at the individual and as both the US DD Act and the 1999 US Supreme Court Decision Olmstead state, the individual together with their family/guardian should be able to make the CHOICE.

2 comments on “Doesn’t My Voice count? Let me decide what my community is!

  1. Jennie says:


    Powerful — and concerned — legislators and advocates from good government groups dedicated to transparency and accountability turned out in Bremerton Wednesday (Aug.22) for the first of many special briefings on the conditions at Kitsap Tenant Support Services.

    The legislators included: Sen. Jim Hargrove, 24th Dist., chair of the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee; Sen. Maralyn Chase, 32nd Dist., vice chair of the Senate Economic Development and Innovation Committee and member of the Senate Governmental Operations Committee; Rep. Sherry Appleton, 23rd Dist., vice chair of the House Health and Human Services Appropriations Oversight Committee; and Rep. Larry Seaquist, 26th Dist., who sits on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

    The KTSS members agreed to the lawmakers’ request to work with them on next steps both administratively and legislatively.

    Overlooking the briefing was a huge graphic showing all the KTSS workers who’ve been fired and/or retaliated against since the union organizing drive began last year. The workers voted by an 85 percent margin in March to form a union with WFSE/AFSCME.

    But KTSS management has walked away from bargaining for the workers’ first contract. Said retired KTSS worker Jack Hopkins, a former 25-year reporter with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer who covered some of the most gruesome trials of the 20th century and knows something about truth to power: “The working conditions at KTSS are untenable. As a result there is a very high turnover rate of staff.”

    The legislators also raised deep concerns about the living conditions of clients.

    KTSS is a for-profit company funded solely from taxpayer dollars to care for developmentally disabled clients in their own homes in the Bremerton area, Port Townsend and Port Angeles. The union has filed more than a dozen complaints against KTSS; in June the National Labor Relations Board issued an official complaint against KTSS over its unfair labor practices and illegal firings.


  2. Thank you to these concerned legislators (Senator Maralyn Chase, Senator Jim Hargrove, Representative Sherry Appleton and Representative Larry Seqquist) for standing up for the health and safety of our community members with intellectual disablitles. According to the Certified Cost Report submitted to DDD by Kitsap Tenant Support, they had a $110,930 profit in 2011. The cost they attribute to client services is $15.33 an hour – compared to other supported living agencies which state client services are $16.41- $18.51 per hour. KTSS could do much better in providing stability, sustainability and safety to the clients in their homes.


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