Our Place Nashville empowers adults with developmental disabilities by providing homes that are affordable, work that is meaningful and an inclusive setting in which to live. We are the only organization in middle Tennessee that provides affordable housing for this population, just as cities across the nation become increasingly unable to adequately address this problem. Our Place Nashville is creating a replicable and scalable model that levels the playing field for those who are frequently left behind.
Our key program is our Friendship Houses, each of which accommodates residents both with and without developmental disabilities by placing individuals with disabilities (“friends”) alongside graduate students, primarily from Vanderbilt Divinity School. They live together as peers, with the students providing some voluntary supports and the friends teaching the students about living life with different abilities.
Our main partners in this work are two non-profit providers of affordable housing. They provide the physical building while Our Place Nashville provides the supports our resident friends need to live on their own.
We currently have 30 residents in two Friendship Houses, with a third Friendship House opening in July, and two more in 2020, for a total of five Houses. We will be nearly tripling in size in the next year-and-a-half from 11 friends and 19 students to 31 friends, 28 older adults, and 23 graduate students.
Your donation of $25 can provide for one of our weekly life skills classes, which range from money management and self-defense to reinforcing the importance of stranger danger and social boundaries.
Your $50 donation can fund a Friendship House cornerstone: the weekly community dinner. Although they share daily activities in smaller groups of 2 or 3, the weekly community meal is the one time the entire House gathers together.
Your donation of $100 can support job development and job coaching for a resident friend. 100% of our friends are employed (as opposed to the national average of 16.8%).
Your donation of $200 can pay for the intake assessment of older adults who want to apply to be Friendship House residents. Our families are excited about this upcoming addition of older adults to our model as our friends and seniors have a natural affinity for each other.
Your gift of $500 can help furnish common areas in our third Friendship House. Donations upwards of $1,000 can help build a communal building at our second Friendship House where residents can gather for meals, visit with each other, watch TV, and do laundry.
Although we cannot welcome everyone who has a disability, Our Place Nashville wants to be a sign of hope for our city, to show that whatever their gifts or limitations, people are bound together in a common humanity. Friendship House student residents make a huge contribution to this mosaic. When they graduate and move on to the next chapter of their lives, these students do so as strong advocates for individuals with developmental disabilities, increasing awareness and respect for others in their burgeoning careers as congregational leaders, educators, and non-profit executives.
Your donations make a transformative difference not only in the lives of our friends, but in the lives of their families. One of our mothers wrote, “My husband and I can’t thank you enough for the way you have embraced our son. It was so important to us that he not move out into a place and then sit by himself. He deserved something good to happen and it surely has. Thank you so much for respecting our son.” Another said, “You have made it possible for us to move farther, faster than [my son] has ever come before. You have given me something to hope for, when for years I have been nothing but desperate.”