Louise Strives for Independence

Close-up of Louise sitting outside.

Louise likes to sit outside and relax when she’s not at work.

The Supported Living program helps participants live the lives they want to live while providing the individual supports they may need to thrive in the community, connect with others, and achieve personal goals. Louise is an example of someone who has definitely thrived within the Supported Living program.

Louise has participated in the program since 2004 and has gained many skills toward independence during that time. So much so, that she has expressed that she is ready to live independently in her own apartment in the community. Together with her support team, Louise set a goal to find her own apartment in Columbia.

“Moving out of Supported Living is important to Louise and she has been talking about it for several years,” says Krista Rowden, site manager at Louise’s apartment building. “Louise and her plan team decided at her plan meeting earlier this year that Louise is independent enough to not need as many supports from staff and felt that this year would be a great opportunity for her to work on moving out.”

Louise has already begun her new apartment search. “I walk to work every day, so I want my new place to be close to my job at McDonald’s,” says Louise. “I also like being able to walk to the grocery store, the bank and the doctor’s office.” Additionally, she needs her new apartment to be pet-friendly as her beloved cat, Snoopy, will be moving with her. “Snoopy is coming with me, no matter what!”

Currently, BCFR staff only offers minimal supports to Louise. They monitor whether or not Louise has taken her medications each week, and offer occasional assistance with her finances. With all other aspects of daily life, Louise has demonstrated the skills she needs to be successful. Due to of all the support and training from the direct support professionals over the years, Louise is confident that she’s ready to move out. “I’m ready to be in my own place so I can do my own thing,” she says. “I would miss my roommate and my roommate will miss me. I think staff will miss me, too!”

Louise has toured one nearby apartment so far. “It was nice, but it was small,” she said. “I’m looking for something with a little more room to spread out. That one was also a little bit further away from work.” From her Supported Living apartment, it takes Louise about 20 minutes to walk to work. “I don’t want to get too much further away than that,” she says.

Staff is assisting Louise in researching available apartments and identify the criteria that is most important to her in a new place. “There are a few buildings I like right here in this neighborhood, but I don’t know who the landlords are yet,” she says. “Or if the apartments are even available. It will just take some time.”

After she’s made a list of all the places she’s interested in, and has had a chance to tour them all, Louise plans to narrow her list down to her top two choices. She’ll also have to decide how she will pay for her apartment and utilities. “Louise has received training in the area of her finances and is very independent in this area,” says Krista. “She knows how to budget her money and use her checkbook/debit card accurately.” Staff will assist Louise in creating a new budget or applying for rental assistance depending on how she decides she wants to pay for her new apartment.

“I’m not worried about living on my own,” says Louise. “I am not in a huge hurry though. I want to find just the right place.”