We receive a lot of questions on topics ranging from our organization, housing, events and resources. Read our answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
1. What is Our Stomping Ground?
Our Stomping Ground is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting adults with developmental disabilities to live meaningful lives outside of their family or a group home. We partner with affordable housing developers who have units with a leasing preference for people with Developmental Disabilities (DD) in the Department of Justice Settlement Agreement population. We offer vocational, educational, social and therapeutic programming to residents and community members with and without disabilities to build inclusive and understanding communities from which everyone benefits.
2. What can Our Stomping Ground do for me?
If you are a parent of a child with a developmental disability then you can have hope that your adult child will have the opportunity to live in an affordable, inclusive, supported community long after you’re gone. We are committed to providing informative events that help families and adults with DD learn about our mission and prepare for a move to independent living in one of our communities. Adults with DD as well as transitioning youth (aging up towards adulthood) have the opportunity to attend events both in and around our communities at various locations. These events allow them to understand the ways in which we can help with the transition to live in one of our communities.
We are all becoming more informed and therefore able to help with general questions having to do with housing vouchers, rental assistance, Medicaid Waivers, Social Security eligibility and ABLE accounts. Our ultimate goal is to have both a team of experts within and outside of our organization to call upon and to design a web-based decision making tool to help you navigate the complicated system of federal, state and local government requirements and processes in order to access some of these important benefits around affordable housing.
3. What is a leasing preference?
A leasing preference enables a property to prioritize a rental application for a person in the Settlement Agreement population over other applications for a specific unit. The units are made available first to people in the SAP, however, they are not held indefinitely.
4. What is the Settlement Population?
The Settlement Agreement population consists of people with developmental disabilities who either (1) are transitioning from an institutional setting and meet the level of care for a Medicaid DD Waiver, (2) currently receive Medicaid DD Waiver services, or (3) are on the waitlist for a Medicaid DD Waiver. An individual must be age 18 or older to be referred for housing resources aimed at the Settlement Agreement population.
OUR STOMPING GROUND LOCATIONS/JOINING REQUIREMENTS
5. Where are Our Stomping Ground communities located?
- Gilliam Place Apartments – Now open, our first community of eight members lives at Gilliam Place in the heart of Columbia Pike Town Center in Arlington VA. Gilliam Place was developed by APAH (Arlington Partnerships for Affordable Housing) in a partnership with the Arlington Presbyterian Church. Our members are supported by OSG board member Donna Budway, mother to Emma, who is a resident in Gilliam Place.
- The Waypoint at Fairlington Apartments (Nine units with a leasing preference for persons with DD in the Settlement population) – We plan to launch an OSG community at The Waypoint at Fairlington, with our partners, Fairlington Presbyterian Church and Wesley Housing Development Corporation. On track to open in the spring of 2022, The Waypoint will be located on King Street in Alexandria, in close proximity to the Metro and Bradlee Shopping Center.
- Queens Court Apartments (Eight units for persons with a leasing preference for persons with DD in the Settlement population) – In another partnership with APAH, OSG will be developing a community at Queens Court in the thriving metropolitan area of Rosslyn VA. This property is on track for completion late 2021. It is within walking distance to parks, retail and transportation with the Rosslyn Metro Station one block away!
- The Arden (Six units with a leasing preference for persons with DD in the Settlement population) – Located a block from the Huntington Metro station in Fairfax County and walking distance to amenities, this OSG Community is on track for completion in the summer of 2022.
- Ovation at Arrowbrook (Six units with a leasing preference for persons with DD in the Settlement population) – In a partnership with SCG Development, this Fairfax County community in Herndon, VA, is on track for completion in the fall of 2022. This ideal location is just 1 mile from Dulles Airport, ½ mile to the Metro Station and a walk to retail, parks and entertainment.
6. Are OSG communities group homes?
In a word, no! Group homes are defined as places where 4 or more persons live together. Group homes are residential programs licensed by the Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services that provide 24-7 staff support. Most group homes have four or more persons living together. Individuals typically have limited choices about who lives with them and who supports them.
Our Stomping Ground communities are located in multi-family apartment properties with units of varying bedroom sizes. The properties make a specific number of units available to people in the Settlement Agreement Population with a leasing preference. Individuals who rent these units have a lease in their own name and can choose to have roommates or live alone. They can get support services from other sources to assist them to live independently in their own homes. Some people utilize services funded by Medicaid Waivers such as personal attendant services, in home supports, independent living supports or family members.
7. How does someone get to live in an Our Stomping Ground Community?
Individuals must first let their Community Service Board support coordinator know that they are interested in applying to live in a property that has a Our Stomping Ground community. The individual must be receiving Medicaid DD waiver services or be on the DD Waiver waitlist. The support coordinator will assist the individual with completing a housing referral package. If the individual will need rent assistance to afford the rent at the property, and rent assistance is available, the individual’s first stop will be to apply for rent assistance. Once rent assistance is approved, the individual will be referred to the property.
Individuals with Developmental Disabilities who do not have a support coordinator and are not on the Medicaid DD Waiver waitlist must first apply for a Medicaid DD Waiver. Contact the local Community Service Board and ask to be screened for a Medicaid DD Waiver.
Being a Friend of OSG does not guarantee the individual will lease a unit in one of our communities. However, OSG can guide individuals through the preparation process so they are well positioned to apply for a unit.
8. What is a Friend of OSG?
A Friend of OSG is simply someone who loves what we are doing and wants to support our organization. You can give a one-time donation or give a monthly gift. Once you are a Friend of OSG you will receive a login to our website so you can access community features such as private Facebook groups, member profiles and roommate search. If you would like to be a Friend of OSG, head here.
9. How much does it cost to be a Friend of OSG?
That’s really up to you. We encourage a monthly donation of $10 but understand that not everyone can give monthly. You can also give a one-time donation in an amount you feel will help support our mission.
10. What age do I have to be to get involved with Our Stomping Ground?
Families can participate with Our Stomping Ground if they have young children or children under age 18 but more importantly, to foster independence, families should encourage their adult children to participate.
11. Does being a Friend of Our Stomping Ground guarantee me or my loved one a unit in one of your apartments?
No, but Our Stomping Ground can help a great deal. We can guide you through the process to apply for a Medicaid Waiver and help you understand how your SSI/SSDI (Social Security Income/Social Security Disability Income), any earned income, housing vouchers and state rental assistance are connected. Membership and attendance at our events and meetings will help families and adults with DD prepare to make the transition to independent housing and position them to be ready to move when openings at properties with OSG communities become available. Most importantly, being a member of OSG will make you part of a community even if you’re not a resident of the property, where you could:
- Meet potential roommates
- Make friends
- Socialize with those who are residents to better understand how to take that step towards living in a place of your own
12. Can I attend Our Stomping Ground events without being a Friend of OSG?
Presently, OSG events are open to everyone. Some are free and others charge a fee.
13. Is there a way for me to stay informed about what OSG is doing?
Right now anyone who shares their email with us will be kept in the loop with our newsletter and emails about events. Another way to keep up with us without is to follow and like us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
14. Can I become a volunteer at Our Stomping Ground?
There are opportunities within the organization to help but also within our communities to support our adults. For example, at Gilliam Place in Arlington where we currently have 8 members, our program director Donna Budway welcomes volunteer help. The best way to get involved is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about yourself or your family member, your talents or special skills and how you would like to be involved.
15. What fun activities does Our Stomping Ground host?
We spent our first year educating our stakeholders and members about who we are and hosting educational events around housing accessibility. We have recently started hosting social events such as a successful Game Day at the site of our future Waypoint Community in Alexandria. At our Gilliam Place location we have done walks, tutoring, Harry Potter meet ups and current events groups.