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Transition to Independent Living

Operated by Easterseals UCP & Funded by Trillium Heath Resources

Did you know that 85% of adults in NC living with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (IDD) reside in a supervised setting or are cared for by family? For different reasons, many of these adults strive for greater independence. Perhaps their caregivers are aging, which leads to uncertainty about their own future. Or, they are accomplishing personal goals and, like other young adults, yearn for self-reliance.

2 men cleaning kitchenOur Transition to Employment (TTE) program teaches individuals living with IDD the life skills and confidence they need for greater independence in their lives. This program creates a road to independence by providing curriculum and a stepping stone approach that promotes self-advocacy and choice; encouraging individuals to be self-sufficient while giving them the tools to succeed. This can mean training for and getting a job, paying bills and learning to live on their own. For some, moving into the Transition to Independent Living (TIL) Smart Home is the next step on their journey.

This unique Smart Home, created in partnership with Trillium Health Resources, uses both technology and a phased living approach to prepare and empower individuals living with disabilities as they move toward greater self-reliance. Participants build on the skills they acquired through the TTE program. Our Smart Home is a transition to living in their next home–a home where they will have even greater autonomy.

2 men holding a kittenIn 2021, after meeting certain milestones, two TTE program participants became the first TIL Smart Home residents.

Choice is an important social determinant of health, so all residents, now and in the future, will make decisions about meal preparation, leisure activities, how they decorate, if they bring a pet and if they want to continue the program.

Once selected for the Smart Home, roommates move in and work toward completing all six program phases over approximately 18 months. Residents spend each weekday evening with a coach, working onsite to develop living skills like cooking healthy meals, paying bills, dividing chores and adhering to a roommate agreement. Overnight, staff will safely monitor residents remotely through technology. Some of the technology installed includes door sensors, a Ring video doorbell, smart locks, oven sensors and a technology hub where residents and support staff can easily communicate. 

Program Phases

  1. Weekly Living: residents spend 1 night a week in the house
  2. Part-time Living: residents spend 3 nights a week in the house
  3. Full-time Living: residents spend 7 nights a week in the house
  4. 15% Rent: residents live full-time and pay 15% of their half of the rent
  5. 25% Rent: residents live full-time and pay 25% of their half of the rent
  6. Final Phase: residents move out of the Transition to Independent Living Smart Home and new residents move in
It is our hope that through the success of the pilot Smart Home, we will create similar options in new locations to provide more opportunity for individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live on their own.

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Technology provides remote monitoring & engagement opportunities that allow residents to be independent.

For more information: man cooking
To be eligible for the program, the individual must be enrolled in the Transition to Employment Program with Easterseals UCP.

Sarah-Grace Britton, EMPOWER Site Director

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