Housing for the blind

Housing for the blind

Posted under Guest Blogger, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

Hi. My name is Robert Kingett. I’m a blind journalist in Chicago. I’m writing to share my experience as a visually impaired young adult living at Friedman Place, one of only two supportive living communities for the blind in the country.

As a 23 year old, there were a lot of obstacles in my life. I don’t want to go into it all but I had to move away from my mother at the age of 16. I suddenly had a lot of responsibility and independence come into my life but, with that, also came fear as well. I’d be sleeping on friends couches, renting rooms for a short time, always wondering where I’d end up next. I didn’t want to live and bounce, based on that fear anymore and so I investigated housing for the blind in Illinois, as IL was the only State with such a resource. As someone who lived independently in college, and also spent much time with friends helping them financially and in return, I was deemed a place to stay; I can say that supportive living strikes the right balance of independence and support. For me. Ii have cerebral palsy. I can’t cook due to the cerebral palsy, plus I have never been successful in the kitchen.. Among other things. Residents here are from age’s 22-elderly. Each resident has their own apartment and can elect to receive housekeeping and laundry services or not. There are microwaves in each apartment, but residents cannot cook for themselves as meals are served in the dining room. Certified nursing assistants are available 24 hours a day yet all staff encourage as much independence as possible.

From my personal experience, a person who would be the best fit for living at Friedman is someone who is motivated and has solid self-advocacy skills and also a good, independent, direction of how they want to spend their days.. The staff are very client-centered and so look to the residents for their own direction in how they want their daily lives to go. The added security of staff available 24/7 also could be a good fit but this is not a nursing home or anything of the like. Every resident here is a wonderful addition to the family. We all look after each other, and we all definitely have fun with each other as well. It’s that remarkable. I am hopeful that as I continue to let others know about Friedman Place, more and more young adults will move in, making it a very welcoming and appropriate place for this age group. There are activities provided in the building, but I honestly see many of these as being more geared towards the older residents in the building though this could change in the future. There are many opportunities in Chicago for education, volunteer work, employment, and socializing. Chicago also has a very good public transportation system for those comfortable with that mode of transportation, as well as a solid Paratransit system. This is what makes it a good place for a blind young adult to either put their roots down, or stay for a short time and then move on to completely independent living or other arrangements if they no longer feel Friedman is serving their needs.

Below is the FP website, Feel free to pass this information to, well, anyone who might be interested. I remember my struggle as a high school student trying to find the right resources. Also, I’d be more than happy to give you the right emails and numbers to talk to. I don’t work here at Friedman.

I’m just a really satisfied resident who wishes to spread the word about this wonderful opportunity, to let other blind people know, especially young people that they don’t have to look anymore or worry about living at home with their parents because a safe place is here.

Robert Kingett.

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