ROCKVILLE, Md. — A new inclusive and affordable residential building and community center in Rockville, Maryland, is opening later this month. The 70-unit building, called Main Street, offers unique amenities for people with varying mental and physical abilities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 adults in the United States lives with a disability. The majority of the people in that community are fully capable of living on their own and being independent, but as some parents told WUSA9, their kids just need a community where they can thrive.
"There's a lot of comfort for me knowing that Jess will be with friends, and other young adults that will become friends in a location that kind of has everything to offer and we've kind of built in amenities that that are kind of unique and helpful for her," Lisa Benjamin said.
Lisa Benjamin’s daughter Jess is 29. She was born with cerebral palsy. It’s a motor disability that impacts a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture.
"Jess uses a walker or canes, but loves to downhill ski, which is a little counterintuitive," Lisa Benjamin said
But that’s Jess. She’s driven, strong minded and independent. And in just a few weeks, she’s going to be moving into Main Street.
Jess said she's "anxious and excited" about the increased responsibility of moving into her own place.
"The purpose of Main Street is to provide inclusive dynamic opportunities through inclusive living affordable living and community center programming," Jillian Copeland, co-founder of Main Street Connect said. "So it's not just about people living independently it's also providing this wraparound community support so that they can live these productive meaningful lives."
Jillian and Scott Copeland are the co-founders of Main Street Connect. It's a non-profit that created this new model for what an inclusive residential community can offer.
"We have four sons," explained Copeland. "One has special needs and some medical challenges."
She says that when their son with special needs was about 14 years old they went searching for what his adult life might look like and where he might live. They didn't find anything that they felt would allow him to live his best life.
Jillian is an educator and Scott is a real estate developer. When they didn’t find any group homes or programs they felt would give their son the lifestyle they wished for him, they set out to create one of their own.
"It is a 70 unit apartment building. 75% of all the units are affordable and 25% of those have been set aside for adults with disabilities," says Copeland.
"We're providing lots of robust programming, whether it's for personal development overall wellness socialization, education and learning."
There will be a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony on July 30 for the official opening of the community. The Copelands said all of the units are spoken for and that that the wait list is tremendous. They say they're planning to open up another location in the DMV.