More Than a Place to Live: Providing a Home
As we move into the holiday season, we see a lot of imagery that brings to mind a sense of “home.” For many people, the feeling it evokes is one of fitting in somewhere and thoughts of a place where we feel valued. It is the feeling of “belonging,” and it feels good.
It is not a coincidence that Mosaic uses the word “home” to describe our largest (and continually growing) residential service called Mosaic at HomeⓇ. Often called shared living, the service matches a person with a disability who needs support with a “home provider.” The person needing support moves in with the home provider, and they get much more than just a place to live like a landlord might offer; instead, they get a home.
They get a place where they are valued. A place where they fit in. A place to feel “at home.”
“You get to share your life with this other individual. It’s very fulfilling,” said Stephanie Skoog, a Mosaic home provider supporting a young woman.
More than sharing their life, home providers offer support the person needs for daily living. David Hawkins supports a young man with both physical and intellectual disabilities. “He needs a good amount of physical support, and I can provide that,” Hawkins said.
Home providers also help people become more independent and learn to do things for themselves they may not have been able to previously.
“There are times when we see her accomplish something she couldn’t have done before, and we’re very excited about that,” said Linda Koopman, who supports a young woman who lives with her and her husband.
Mosaic home providers are as diverse as the people served. No one profile would fit them all, but they share some traits: empathy, patience and a desire to help others by offering a “home” and all that entails. They do it because it fits their personality, and it fits with their life, whether living in town or in the country, alone or with children, young or older, always on the go or pretty much a homebody. It works because home providers are matched carefully with people who need support and want the same type of life.
Brie Rehrs is a home provider to an older man whose family is actively involved in his life. She, her husband and their teenage daughter bring more people who care about him into his life.
“He feels like part of our family because he is included in everything,” she said. “There is no ‘but’ situation.”
Home providers receive an income as well as room and board. But that’s not what most people talk about when asked why they do what they do.
“Being a host home provider gives you a 24/7 purpose, to be part of other people’s lives and encouraging them to grow and watching them grow and going through the tough parts and the positive parts,” said Cindy Warren, who supports two young men in her home.
It’s about providing people with a home and all that it means.