‘I get treated with respect’

When Michael was house-hunting for the home he’d move into with Tony and Son, two RHD clients who would join him in the Extended Family Home program at RHD Nebraska, he brought them with him to help make the choice.

“I wanted them to see if it would work for them, they could see where their rooms would be, because I thought the inclusiveness of that would be a good setting,” Michael said. “It’s not so much they’re moving in with me; we’re moving in together. This is their home as much as it is my home.

“One of the benefits that they both enjoy is a sense of consistency. They don’t have to worry about which staff is coming here tomorrow, which staff is coming for the overnight. It’s all one. And that allows them to function as a family unit. It’s a good thing for them, and makes them comfortable.”

“Michael helps me, and I help him,” Son said. “He’s really my family. He’s in my heart.”

RHD’s Extended Family Home (EFH) model in Nebraska develops housing and community-based support services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. RHD combines housing and a full array of community supports to help individuals achieve stability and live successfully in the community. The RHD Extended Family Home program offers individuals the opportunity to live with a caregiver of their choice within the community.

Individuals supported in RHD’s Extended Family Home program gain the stability and independence that comes with living in the community in a family-oriented model, and receive support in expanding their circle of friendships, pursuing community interests, and becoming active, full members of their communities.

“I’m glad that I’m here, it’s much better for me,” said Tony, an RHD client who transitioned from a group home to the EFH model. “I get treated with respect. It helps me to function much better. I really like all the people that I live with, and I trust them.”

The EFH provider is a community-based, family-oriented home that offers people the ability to participate and contribute to the household, while promoting personal growth and independence. EFH providers receive extensive support, training, and ongoing oversight in order to support and assist the individual in service.

“I love working with Matthew and with the EFH program,” said Chandra Beauford, an RHD EFH provider. “It has been so great for my family — and also for me, being part of the RHD family. We work as a team at RHD.

“It’s been such an eye opener and a learning experience. I am receiving so much as well; program that works for not only him but for myself.”

Zoey has been an RHD client since 2013, and now lives with RHD EFH provider Rafietou Tchatchasse-Ali. Zoey attends school, goes shopping, swims at the local public pool and is active in the community.

“Life is really great together,” Zoey said. “We look out for each other, and we support each other.”

“I’m really grateful for this opportunity,” Tchatchasse-Ali. “In the EFH program, Zoey has more freedom in a home environment. This is her home; she doesn’t have a roommate. It’s perfect for us; we’re a good fit.”