Autism Communities (www.autismcommunities.org), a not-for-profit agency that was formed to provide housing for individuals with autism that facilitates an independent, safe and inclusive living environment, has announced that is now accepting applications for individuals with autism to resident in the agency’s first state-of-the-art, supportive apartments. The first residents will be able to move into their apartments by the end of 2019. This is a major milestone for the organization and the autism community it serves who have desperately seeking solutions to the serious housing shortage that exists not just on Long Island, but across the nation. Families, who have a loved one on the spectrum, can apply online at: https://autismcommunities.org/ or by calling the organization at: 631-302-0095.
Back in 2015, Charles Massimo, a father of two sons on the spectrum, wanted to address the concern he and all parents of children with autism have which is, what will happen to their child when they are no longer around to help them. With that in mind, he founded the organization.
“My motivation for launching Autism Communities was my realization that I won’t be here forever,” said Massimo. “I want to ensure that kids like my sons will have a safe, supportive community to live their lives when they grown older.”
Word of his mission and the organization spread quickly through the autism community and soon he was joined by other parents and concerned professionals who serve individuals on the spectrum. At that same time, parents of children with autism began contacting the organization interested in how they could secure housing for their children. Together, a committed group of parents and others, created the Autism Communities model which focuses on housing designed to meet the needs of individuals with autism, but which is also integrated into the community, and strives to facilitate fulfilled, purposeful lives.
Massimo, president & CEO of CJM Wealth Management continued, “This is probably one of my most rewarding endeavors. It took a lot of planning, negotiating and the commitment of many dedicated Long Islanders, all of whom came together to help make this a reality. We are hoping that our communities serve as an example for other regions across the nation where parents of children with autism, especially as they enter young adulthood, are also grappling with the housing shortage.”
Massimo noted that plans are already underway for the second and third communities. It is Autism Communities’ goal to create housing opportunities for individuals on the spectrum across the island, working closely with local builders and municipalities to fulfill the need.
In addition to Massimo, who serves as the organization’s Chairman, the Board of Directors of Autism Communities is comprised of both Long Island business executives, professionals and parents of a child with autism. Former State Senator Michael Balboni recently joined the agency’s Board.
According to Board Member Paul Pedretti, a real estate and marine consultant, “We’re excited to be opening our first apartments. It’s the beginning of what we plan to grow into a community of supportive apartments.”
About Autism Communities
Autism Communities is a privately-controlled and funded 501(c) (3) not for profit. The organization’s mission is to develop privately-controlled, person-centered, supportive, supervised living communities on Long Island for adults with autism. The goal is to help adults with autism live fulfilled lives as fully-assimilated members of the community. The first charter is located on Long Island.
The planned communities will be designed and developed to give each individual a sense of belonging, a purpose, and a connection to their greater community. The vision is that adults with autism can be fully-integrated into the larger community, where they can engage with others and attain satisfying, productive and happy lives.
Individual needs will be addressed across multiple domains from family, daily living and vocational interests to health and safety, behavioral and emotional development, as well as social and recreational growth.