With the purchase of six homes on a stretch of property just east of Goshen College, ADEC is excited to increase capacity in Goshen to serve an additional 30+ individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through its supported living program.
The process started back in January, when Indiana’s Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services called on ADEC for help. Another provider in Goshen offering services similar to ADEC’s was closing immediately, and the individuals receiving community residential services needed immediate care.
ADEC stepped up to the challenge. Members of ADEC’s leadership team worked through that weekend reaching out to the individuals previously served by the other provider, as well as the employees who provided direct care in their homes, to make sure all their immediate needs were being met.
“ADEC is a very well-respected provider and we are pleased that the organization was able to step forward and serve a large number of individuals in such a short time frame,” said Steve Cook, president and CEO of INARF, the principle provider association for Indiana organizations serving individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Every individual served by the former provider was offered ADEC services — although each had the option to seek services with any provider they wished — and every direct support employee that met ADEC’s employment criteria was offered a position.
“Our top priority is always the health, well-being and safety of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our community, as well as the direct support staff who provide quality care to them,” said Donna Belusar, ADEC’s CEO and president. “I was so very proud and humbled by the immediate response and action taken by our team. It was exceptional and a true testimony to our belief in our mission. Not only did it show the love for what we do, it was the right thing to do.”
However, the work for ADEC was only beginning.
When the former provider shut its doors, all of its remaining assets — including the properties where more than 20 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities called home — were set to be liquefied and sold. The 23 individuals living in the properties had signed a rental contract with the previous provider that was set only to run through the end of 2019 and could be canceled with 30 days notice by a new property owner.
Many of the residents feared eviction.
“That kind of change would most definitely impact the long-term friendships and bonds these residents had established and it would disrupt the lives they had built in the community,” Belusar said.
So, ADEC made an offer to purchase the properties. Of course, ADEC wanted the residents to feel secure in their living arrangements and to know their needs would always be met — but the purchase also aligned with one of ADEC’s main strategic goals of smart and targeted growth in the region.
“This purchase was possible due to ADEC’s legacy of strong fiscal management and transparency in operations,” said Don Anderson, chair of ADEC’s Board of Directors. “My colleagues and I take the board’s responsibility of financial stewardship very seriously, and we unanimously agreed that the purchase of the Goshen properties was the right decision. Not only does it ensure a smooth transition for the current residents of the homes, but it aligns with ADEC’s mission of providing choice and possibility to even more individuals in Goshen for years to come.”
The deal was closed on May 20 and ADEC is now the owner of the six homes in Goshen as well as two nearby vacant lots. New rental agreements were presented to each of the residents — reassurance that they would not be evicted and that their life could continue on as normal.
ADEC’s entire team — from direct support professionals and residential managers to maintenance staff and finance specialists — continues to work hard to ensure the residents are comfortable, that much-needed repairs are being made to the properties and that all paperwork is filed correctly.
Before purchasing the property, ADEC ordered several inspections on the homes, which included examinations of the electrical and HVAC systems as well as roof conditions. Necessary repairs and beautification efforts are currently in progress.
With the expansion in Goshen, ADEC now provides supported living services to nearly 80 individuals in Elkhart County who live in apartments or homes. The program helps people with disabilities live independently while receiving the support they need, whether it’s a few hours a week or around-the-clock care. Trained direct support professionals help individuals master the daily tasks required for independent living, from cooking and cleaning to paying bills and taking medication.
Supported living is just one of about a dozen programs ADEC offers to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they can live lives full of choice and possibility. ADEC serves more than 1,200 individuals across Elkhart and St. Joseph counties each year, with service ranging from summer camp for children with disabilities to day services for adults.
A smooth transition
Since ADEC stepped in to provide care in Goshen, the top priority has been ensuring the individuals served experienced as little disruption in their lives as possible. Purchasing the properties in May was another way to ensure a smooth transition.
Ashley Van Vurst, one of the individuals living in the Goshen property, has been in her home since 2013.
“I have loved it here, and I still love it here,” she said. “I’m on my own! I don’t have a curfew and I have the freedom to live my life the way I want.”