Update December, 2018:
Below are some updated photos from Eric Feldmann from our Work Group - ArchCare @ Saint Teresa. The construction is going well, and sheet rock is now onsite:
The project is now gaining some financial attention too with support from:
The Staten Island Foundation has given $50,000,
An unnamed $25,000 grant from a foundation contact of an ArchCare board member, and
The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York awarded the project $243,000, through its Affordable Housing Program.
Other foundations are now being contacted.
December 2018 Updated Parameters for ArchCare @ Saint Teresa
Updated May 3, 2018
The name is now "ArchCare at Saint Teresa";
Asbestos removal has begun on the building;
New move in date is summer of 2019;
This would be a “non-certified setting” in the OPWDD system;
ArchCare at Saint Teresa will have a booth at the JCC of Staten Island Special Needs Resource Fair on May 11, 2018. Thanks to Senator Andrew Lanza for the support to our community;
Applications to ArchCare at Saint Teresa will begin this summer of 2018 at the Autism Housing @ ArchCare website. Offline applications will be accepted too.
How do you implement "Self-Direction in the OPWDD System", in a residential community, and how do you make it great? ArchCare, The Continuing Care Community of the Archdiocese of New York, is converting a beautiful building at Saint Teresa Parish on Staten Island for our Special Needs population.
For those that are not familiar, "Self-Direction" is a big shift for the Developmentally Disabled community in New York State and the USA. Many parents and many agencies are concerned about these shifts of empowering individuals over institutions:
Based on personal experience from our son's after-school programs, we are big fans of "Self-Diection". We also realize that it will not be a fit for everyone, but our friends at ArchCare are giving the Self-Direction population a huge head start on Staten Island.*
The initial game plan is for:
10 studio apartments, each with their own kitchen and bathroom.
There will be 2 apartments for staff and 8 for residents.
There is an existing beautiful kitchen and dining area where residents can invite parishioners, neighbors, and friends into OUR community and we will serve them meals and entertainment!!
The building has common areas for community events and employment programs.
Outside independent programs and employment for residents are supported.
Our goal is to have collaboration with GrowNYC and similar groups to have "farms" on Staten Island. :) Yes farms on Staten Island!! Ok, it is more like a small garden, but we want our population to live the "farm to table" lifestyle.
Saint Teresa's also has a school, gym, huge common area, and the church that our population can integrate with.
ArchCare is contributing $2.5 million in capital improvements to the former Saint Teresa's Convent building, and they are taking below market rents on a 40 year lease to match OPWDD rates.
Target move-in date - Summer 2019.
This will be complicated, fun, and it will fill OUR lives with purpose. I am very excited by the commitment from ArchCare and the Parent's Committee, and thanks to Jackie Ceonzo of SNACK NYC for inviting me to this group. I believe that ArchCare @ Saint Teresa will be a catalyst for additional facilities in NYC and Upstate in the ArchCare system. More to follow in the coming months, and I am genuinely grateful to ArchCare's CEO Scott LaRue, Cardinal Dolan, and Monsignor William Belford of Saint Teresa's Parish.
* Dustin Sweeney will not be a resident of ArchCare at Saint Teresa, but I am very motivated to make this work for benefit of the population as it will be an excellent model to build on for future projects.