MARION, Iowa (KWWL) – One organization in our state is serving adults with disabilities by pairing them with mentors and giving them a new home.
Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) is a non-profit organization. They have nine service lines, including helping people with disabilities.
About two years ago, LSI started ‘Host Homes.’ They match their clients with host families. The adults move in with their mentors with the goal of creating a strong relationship.
Without the program, many of the adults would live in group homes with roommates and five to six caregivers. Host Homes gives them a more stable and supportive environment in a private family home.
“The Host Homes program gives people the ability to work one-on-one and focus on their individualized schedule and their activities and what they want to do and then have that relationship with just one person or one family,” Cody Lewton, Director of Services for People with Disabilities said.
Jacob Lubbers, 19, lives in Marion with his host family, Lelani and Charlie. He’s been diagnosed with autism and anxiety. Lubbers said he bounced around homes since he was a young boy. He lived in a 24-hour treatment facility, but hoped for one-on-one care.
Lubbers said nothing worked for him until he discovered Host Homes. He’s lived with Lelani and Charlie for about one year. He told KWWL he now has more freedom and support.
“Not very many people know how to deal with people like me” Lubbers said. “But luckily I know somebody that actually understands me and can actually help me understand myself, too.”
Lewton said many states are offering individualized care for adults with disabilities. He said it’s becoming more common in Iowa.
Since Host Homes started, they’ve matched 14 adults with host families across the state. Lewton said they hope to pair five more adults by the end of July.
Host Homes is looking for families interested in mentoring. If you’d like to get involved you must:
- Be 21 years or older
- Own or rent a home, apartment, single-family home or trailer
- Be able to provide a private bedroom for the individual
- Be available with a flexible schedule to provide oversight and supervision
For more information about Host Homes and how you can get invovled, visit: https://lsiowa.org/hosthomes/