New program provides housing for people with unique abilities


A few men from Grand Rapids are about to embark on a new chapter in their lives, one they never thought possible. This is all thanks to a relatively new program that provides a place to live for people with unique abilities.

“It’s so hard to understand how exciting it is,” Tyler Docter told FOX 17 on Sunday. “It’s hard to express.”

It’s a big step, but it’s one that Docter, 22, is ready to take.

“To me it means more like having some pride and having freedom,” he said.

Next month, Docter will join two other people at a Rockford home, all looking to make the same leap in life.

This includes 19-year-old Brayden Wiley.

“When I came here I was nervous,” Wiley said. “But I came here and saw a house and I thought, ‘Whoa, this could be mine. It could be me with two people. I can see it totally. ‘ I was just blown away and super excited.

This opportunity was made possible thanks to Houses that give hope, a program that started in January 2020 to give people with mild intellectual disabilities the chance to live on their own.

The organization’s co-founder and director of admissions, Kay Wood, said: “We have just seen such a need for housing among the population with special needs, especially among the more able people than those who perhaps live in the area. group homes or care facilities. So there was this group of individuals that was really missing.

Wiley and Docter will move into the group’s second house. The first arrived in August 2020 and has four women and a home assistant.

Wood said one of them was successful.

“What we are seeing are individuals really waking up realizing that they can live independently and the other huge thing that we are seeing is social growth,” she told FOX 17.

Wiley and Docter will also have a residency assistant, but that’s a role that has yet to be filled. Wood said the RA would live there for free, but more importantly, be a role model for the residents.

Mostly, she said they’ll be part of a program that helps people like Wiley and Docter do something that seems impossible and turn it into reality.

“I never thought I would do something like this,” Docter said. “It’s really great that it’s going like this.”

Wood said this was just the start of Homes Giving Hope. She said the plan is to eventually have a community with about five or six houses and a community center as well.

She’s hoping that will happen soon, as 20 people are currently on the waiting list to follow in Wiley and Docter’s footsteps.

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