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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the mission and vision of Olivia's Gift?

Our Vision – Olivia’s Gift stems from one family’s search for meaning for their child who lives with severe disabilities. It is this founding family’s wish that many other families who know this lifelong challenge will one day have an “Olivia’s Gift” of their own. A vibrant place in the community waiting for their child as he/she moves through life. A home away from the family home.

Our Mission – Olivia’s Gift is a non-profit creative housing partnership for young adults who require a high level of care. We provide excellent individualized support and meaningful community-based opportunities while assuring a safe and caring environment.

Where is Olivia's Gift be located?

Olivia’s Gift is located at 5040 Cascade Road in Ada Township near the intersection of Cascade Road and Spaulding. This location will provide residents with easy access to area parks, medical services, community centers, churches, and schools. In addition, Ada Township and the neighbors nearby have graciously welcomed Olivia's Gift with open arms.
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OG2 is located at 2009 Forest Hill Ave in Kentwood Township near the intersection of Forest Hill Ave & Cascade Road.

Olivia's Gift an unlicensed home?

Olivia's Gift is an unlicensed facility which allows residents and their families the freedom to live by the “self-determination” model or philosophy which gives people with disabilities the freedom to decide how to live their lives. Being an unlicensed home gives residents more freedom and control to choose a) how they wish to live their lives, as well as b) where they most want to live.

This is supportive living, using support funds allocated to individual tenants through the Network180 self-determination process.
Olivia’s Gift will accept tenants who have adequate funding from public and private sources, and it will work creatively to help coordinate the services using individual service budgets.

Can people with disabilities develop the skills needed to “take control of their lives”?

With the support and love of family members and the community in which they live…absolutely! In Michigan, an individual’s plan of service that uses the person-centered planning process can be a key part of living a self-determined life. The plan of service identifies clinically/medically necessary mental health services aimed at increasing independence, community inclusion and productivity. It also identifies the natural and community supports residents need to remain connected with family, friends and the community.

All individuals residing at Olivia’s Gift will use self-direction of their public mental health services. Self-determination is not a program – it is a way of life.

Why is Olivia's Gift limiting its residence to six apartments?

The State of Michigan primarily in the past has offered larger licensed residential settings for people who are severely disabled, but this model is diminishing on a national level and Michigan is leading the way in using Self Determination and Self Direction.

Olivia’s Gift is planning for a much more active lifestyle for its residents including:

  • keeping them active and engaged in their communities
  • keeping the community engaged with our residents

Believing that everyone has gifts to share – gifts that benefit both the able and the disabled – the board and future staff believe that offering apartment style living gives honor, dignity and independence to each resident.

Having said that, Olivia’s Gift has always partnered with federal, state and local governments to ensure guidelines and regulations are respectfully adhered to.

How will residents spend their days?

Individuals age 26 and younger will continue their education through KISD Special Education. For those residents beyond the age of 26, family members will identify each resident’s preferences. Day programming both in Olivia's Gift as well as outside activities will be offered.

Rest assured, Olivia’s Gift offerings will have residents on the move! Art therapy, music for enjoyment, pet therapy, and aquarium observation will all be a part of a typical day at Olivia's Gift. In addition, residents may wish to venture out for a nature walk or try their abilities at gardening.

Beyond Olivia's Gift, staff fully intend to keep residents engaged in the larger community through volunteer programs, ongoing community involvement, regular outings, and service projects to name a few of the possibilities.

How will the selection process for residency be made?

Spectrum Community Services will review applications prior to opening the doors of Olivia's Gift. Individuals seeking residency at Olivia’s Gift must choose both self-determination and self-direction of public mental health services in Kent County.

How will operating costs be covered?

Each resident's monthly SSI or SSDI will cover basic food and rent. Rental rates are held low due to the grant money we are receiving from the Kent County Housing Development office.

What is the plan for future models?

The founding family’s goal is to make Olivia’s Gift a repeatable model promoting inspired residential care for severely disabled adults across the country. It is their dream to share what they have learned in their journey with others throughout the country. This innovative concept will become a new way of life for families like Olivia’s…a concept that, without a doubt, celebrates life in all aspects.

How will the staffing needs be addressed?

Olivia’s Gift will use a current provider agency through Network 180. These skilled professionals will provide staff support in the residents’ apartments to insure that all needs are met and that the residents are working on their goals stated in their person centered plans.

These service providers have years of expertise coordinating residential living care for the severely disabled. Olivia’s Gift will also extend an open invitation to nursing students who are fulfilling their internships, along with family, friends, community members, church groups, and volunteers who show interest in working with our residents.

What is self-determination?

Self-determination is a philosophy that says people with disabilities should have the freedom to decide how to live their lives – just like everyone in the community wants to. Self-determination is not a program or something you do – it is a way of life.

All people with disabilities can live in a self-determined way if they have support to develop the skills and beliefs to take control over and responsibility for their lives. In Michigan, an individual plan of service that is developed through the person-centered planning process can be one key part of living a self-determined life. The plan of service identifies clinically/medically necessary mental health services aimed at increasing independence, community inclusion and productivity as well as natural and community supports the person needs to become or remain connected to family, friends and the community.

What is self-direction of public mental health services?
People eligible for covered mental health services in Kent County have a choice. They can receive those services in the traditional manner or they can choose to self-direct them. People wanting to live a self-determined life may choose to self-direct mental health services as one way to take more control over and have more responsibility for that part of their lives.

The basic tools for self-direction of covered mental health services are the following:

  • A plan of service identifying clinically/medically necessary mental health services and other supports
  • A Self-Direction Agreement
  • An individual budget that outlines the funds allocated for covered mental health services

Individuals can choose one of three ways to implement self-direction of mental health services:

  • A provider with choice arrangement using staff from an agency on the network180 provider panel
  • A purchase of service agreement with a provider not on the network180 provider panel using a fiscal intermediary
  • Acting as employer of record (hiring and managing own staff) using a fiscal intermediary

What are the principles that support self-determination and self-direction?

Freedom: The ability for individuals, with assistance from allies, to plan a life based on acquiring necessary supports in desirable ways, rather than purchasing a program. This includes the freedom to choose where and with whom one lives, who and how to connect to one’s community, the opportunity to contribute in one’s own ways, and the development of a personal lifestyle.

Authority: The assurance and authority for a person to control a certain sum of dollars in order to purchase supports, with the backing of their allies as needed.
Support: The arranging of resources and personnel, both formal and informal to assist the person in developing a life dream, taking steps to reach toward that dream and living his/her desired life in the community, rich in community associations and contributions.

Responsibility: The acceptance of a valued role by the person in the community through employment, affiliations, spiritual development, and caring for others, as well as accountability for spending public dollars in ways that are life-enhancing.

To learn more on Self-determination visit www.network180.org.

What is “MOVE” therapy and how will it benefit Olivia's Gift residents?

Olivia’s Gift is cutting edge in this department and is one of the first residential homes in Michigan to offer this program…Olivia’s Gift will offer daily activities that encourage residents to seek their highest potential. Our onsite MOVE (Mobility Opportunities Via Experience) program is an extraordinary resource—keeping residents on the move every day, improving functional mobility and empowering them to achieve greater independence, better health, and enhanced personal dignity. This is achieved through instruction and adaptive equipment.

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