I’m the mom of an awesome young adult that is a huge sports fan, loves music and is most likely one of the most ‘present and in-the-moment’ people that you will ever meet. My daughter also experiences disability. She will have paid assistants throughout her life that will help her access work, recreation and daily living, but, like all of us, she also needs people in her life that she cares about and who simply care about her, not just people that are paid to care for her.

I see cohousing as an innovative solution to the isolation, segregation and loneliness often experienced by people with disabilities, their families and our community members often see as “at risk”. Cohousing can be a game-changing example of community that includes all. I feel that a healthy community requires diversity; including people that experience disability, those who want to age in a home of their choice or may be below median income and can offer home ownership opportunities to families with a range of abilities, incomes and ages. Cohousing communities offer the opportunity for everyone to bring their strengths, gifts and capacities to the forefront to build a strong, supporting community around them.

In her youth, my daughter has grown up being included in her school, recreation and broader community. Through ‘just being in the room’ she has changed hearts and minds about what people who experience disability have to offer and bring to the table. Cohousing is the perfect environment for her advocacy to work its magic. We all can learn from people that we once perceived as ‘different’ or ‘scary’ before we got to know them. Cohousing offers the opportunity for diversity and inclusion and can heal some of the isolation and segregation that we are experiencing as a broader community and country.

Alicia DeLashmutt
Founding Neighbor
Our Home, Inclusive Community Collaborative
Our Home – Cathedral Park

Alicia is the proud mother of an awesome teenage girl whose diverse interests include basketball, Fritos and opera.  Her daughter experiences Mowat-Wilson, a rare genetic syndrome whose effects are widespread and significant. Currently, Alicia is the Founder and President of Our Home, Inclusive Community Collaborative; a non-profit that promotes, supports and develops inclusive, diverse communities. She is currently working with her team to develop a mutually supportive, inclusive community in the Cathedral Park neighborhood of Portland, OR.  Alicia is an active advocate and parent mentor who believes that the inclusion of ALL, regardless of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability or gender identity is necessary for a vibrant and healthy community.

 

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