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What's New at Casa Familia

With the holidays on the horizon, we want to share an update on Casa Familia's exciting progress.

As land acquisition and development funding are our current priorities, our Real Estate Committee has been hard at work identifying appropriate parcels and available funding streams. Though we cannot provide specifics at this time, we are proud to advise that we have several potential sites identified, and we are confident we will have site control shortly. Additionally, several board members attended the Affordable Housing Conference in Orlando, and the Special Needs Housing Solutions Summit at the Els Center of Excellence in Palm Beach County. We learned a great deal from each, and developed many important relationships that will help us as we move forward. We are very excited about our progress, and look forward to our next step, recruiting a developer to help us make this project a reality. Currently our shortlist for the Request for Proposals includes Atlantic Pacific, Carrfour, Magellan Development Group, and Vescorp. We welcome recommendations of additional experienced affordable housing developers to interview. The Advocacy Committee has had some very productive meetings with several local government leaders in our community and garnered tremendous support for our project. Several have agreed to help us in our search for property and campaign for funding. Additionally, we are fortunate to add attorney Sarah Herald and realtor Iris Linares to our team of advisors. We have also applied for state funding through the upcoming State Legislative Session in Tallahassee, and our legislative sponsors for funding this Session are Senator Lauren Book, (D-Plantation), and Representative Nick Duran, (D-Miami). The Social Services Committee has been researching and identifying best practices for safety and programming at Casa Familia. To this end, our board visited several operations of Sunrise Communities and engaged the advice of Jolynne Mendez, their Director of Operations. Additionally, several board members visited Bishop Grady Villas, in St. Cloud, FL, and Promise in Brevard, in Melbourne, FL, and acquired a wealth of information regarding operations. We also met with Daniela Koci, former CEO of Loveland Village, and Scott Eller, CEO of CASL, the Community Management company for Loveland, who provided insight into the resident evaluation process as well as ongoing management and operations. With this research we have developed a promising concept for the operations and programming arm of this project. We will be meeting with United Community Options, Promise in Brevard, and Bishop Grady Villas to further review models for how individual supports can be facilitated. With the help of Janet McDaniel, we are excited to announce the formation of our Grant Writing Sub-committee. Janet comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm, and we thank her for her help as we organize this important committee. If you enjoy writing, and have any interest in joining this committee, please contact Marie-Ilene Whitehurst at

As an active non-profit, we are working with our non-profit partners to join forces and promote support for our shared missions. Just this past month, we attended and sat on an Adult Services Panel at the We Coach Transitions Conference. Our hats off to the organizers who provided a wealth of much needed information to our community. In support of our friends at DSAM, we tabled at their annual Down Syndrome Association Walk. We were fortunate for the opportunity to network with families and providers at this important event. Finally, we collaborated with UM CARD to sponsor a workshop on guardianship for individuals with special needs at the Building Better Futures workshop. Thank you to the CARD Center for their continued support and all they do for our community.

In the near future we will be organizing a social media campaign to highlight individuals and families involved with Casa Familia and the housing crisis facing our loved ones with special needs. If you would like to participate and tell your story, please contact Kim Scott at

As we gear up for 2018, we look forward to collaborating with our partners and supporters to conquer the work ahead. Together we can and will make this dream a reality.



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