CCHI is a unique concept in community building! We believe you can not create a community by building a house or apartment. A building is simply brick and mortar. A community is a group of people who share life experiences. CCHI is a community, where everyone is committed to building a future that welcomes all people. We are a grassroots movement that unites people and helps them create solutions for inclusive living options, specifically for individuals with Developmental Disabilities.
The picture you see above is from Fall 2020, amidst the pandemic. CCHI came together to volunteer in Highwood to help with a food drive. Each month CCHI commits to different volunteer opportunities-allowing us to serve our community. Additionally, every family in CCHI is involved. Every family attends monthly meetings. Every family participates in fundraising. Every family creates opportunities for us to get together. Every family participates in the creation of our buildings. Every family understands that we can not come up with solutions by ourselves. It takes us all together, to make neighborhoods that are inclusive, affordable, welcoming and safe, and CCHI families are invested in making it happen!
Housing must offer innovative supports that help individuals with disabilities live a self directed, vibrant life in their chosen community.
We believe technology can help everyone -we all use cell phones to assist us daily! Imagine the next level of support we can use to help independent living; medication dispensers, virtual cooking assistance and medical support, digital shopping, advanced security, etc. CCHI is partnering with community stakeholders and universities to evaluate the needs of our community regarding technology support, and create programs and apps to help transition people from their home with their parents to living on their own with support.
We are not creating just buildings, we are creating endless possibilities in inclusive living solutions.
Q: What is CCHI?
A: CCHI stands for Collaborative Community Housing Initiative. We are a grassroots collective made up of families with young adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DD) and community members who desire a new kind of community — one that is inclusive and diverse. CCHI envisions communities where individuals of all abilities live collectively, each determining their own path to a meaningful life. It is not just housing, it represents inclusive opportunities in living, working, and socializing.
Q: How is this housing different than what is currently offered?
A: There is nothing currently offered in our area that offers inclusive living opportunities for individuals with special needs and the greater community.
Q: What do you mean by inclusive living?
A: Inclusive means all people living, working and playing together in a society with equal status, position and opportunities. People with disabilities are often excluded and segregated, not necessarily by intention, but by the nature of the community and society. Inclusive living is all abled people welcoming all types of people.
Q: Why is inclusive living important?
A: Individuals with disabilities have a right to live, work and socialize in their home communities. By establishing inclusive social and living models that offer different levels of social engagement and community building opportunities, everyone has an opportunity to live in a more diverse environment, which unites people of all ages. No one deserves to be left out and isolated because they are considered “different."
Q: What would the ratio be for an ideal housing model?
A: The ratio that has worked in other states is 25-30% of people with disabilities, 70-75% without disabilities. Our first building may be closer to 30% people with disabilities along side 70% non-disabled people.
Q: Is CCHI a Real Estate Company?
A: No. CCHI is a non profit charitable organization that is helping to facilitate creating inclusive and diverse communities in Illinois.
Q: Where is CCHI based?
A: Our first building will be in Highwood, Il. Highwood fits all the criteria for CCHI: Accessibility to transportation for members, staff and residents, walkable to grocery, pharmacy, local stores, restaurants and community offerings. This inclusive community ensures members remain close to established family, friends and employment.
Q: How big is the building?
A: Our current plan for our building in Highwood is designed to have around 40 units. In the future we foresee a range of 30-70 units based on the land we are able to obtain. We hope to offer One, Two and Three Bedroom Apartments and Townhomes in Highwood, Highland Park, Glenview and Northbrook.
Q: Who will live in this community?
A: Community members with disabilities from the North Shore will live with non disabled individuals, many of who work in and serve the community.
Q: What does this building look like?
A: The pretty picture of our planned building is on our home page! It is a multi unit building with community accessible spaces on the first floor. This includes a reception desk, tv viewing area, work stations, and a space for hanging out and socializing. Also included will be a professional kitchen, a fitness room and green spaces to enjoy. We hope to have a business/social enterprise on the first floor that serves the greater community.
Q: What other things make this project special?
A: Advanced technology is offered in the building and in every unit to help support day to day living. Green spaces, LEED, Universal Design will be sensitive to Sensory, Mobility, Sound and Aging in Place.
Q: What do you mean by Advanced Technology?
A: CCHI has investigated many different programs that offer intuitive technology options for all people to live a more supported life. Examples of this are: sensors for doors and windows, in apartment video supports for medication reminders, cooking and laundry tutorials, cameras for hallway and doorway security, and virtual staff for daily connections and emergencies. This is meant to supplement other supports as needed and desired by residents.
Q: Is there a staff on site to support people with special needs?
A: There will be a full time Programming Manger who offers ongoing social opportunities for the entire community. This individual coordinates the relationships with outside peer organizations who help facilitate the engagement of all residents and greater community. Additionally there will be a full time property manager provided by the landlord. Individual service providers will be hired by each resident based on need, and the partnership between CCHI and FCC will select an overseeing service provider for the building.
Q: What kind of social opportunities will be offered?
A: Like most contemporary apartment environments, there will be weekly shared meals, movie nights, group discount offerings for local entertainment, pizza parties and celebrations for special occasions.
Q: How much does this cost and who is paying for it?
A: Services will be paid by the individual using their own funding for support service providers. We are looking at rental and ownership opportunities for future buildings.
Q: What can I do to be a part of this amazing project?
Q: How has Covid affected CCHI?
A: With the restrictions around Covid, we were unable to launch our membership drive in the way we had planned! However, we will not let that deter us from moving forward, offering virtual and in person programs, activities and gatherings for CCHI Members.
Q: Is there a waiting list to get into the building?
A: There is not a waiting list currently. When the building is close to opening, the developer will open up a waiting list. This list will have criteria that helps to determine the residents. Criteria for the first building is individuals with DD community members who work and serve the community(teachers, firefighters, police officers, hospital workers, social service employees). The selection of residence is made by the developer.
Q: You mention a "first" building, will there be others?
A: We hope so!! We want to help create several communities! Once the funding comes through for our first building in Highwood, we will begin to focus on a second location. We are evaluating different ownership models, financing and private partnerships in the meantime, to create new solutions for inclusive living.
Q: I am interested in having someone I know move in, what steps should I take?
A: Please become a member of CCHI! We are creating solutions as a group. We are community organizers, not landlords or developers. If you know someone that will benefit from our work, please help us in building more communities. Unfortunately, no one is helping families find these housing solutions. Together we can work towards making it happen!
Every parent of a child with a disability has a major concern as to what will happen to my child in the future? Where and how will they live as adults? CCHI, a parent driven organization, answers those questions and concerns. CCHI is working to build mixed housing in local communities. A safe, supported, welcoming place to live with other local residents. Hopefully, one day, every community will have a CCHI.
CCHI Parents: Jerry & Bill