People and Places – May 2017

Housing option is celebrated The $10.3 million project is a partnership between Jewish Housing and Programming (J-HAP) and Community Housing […]

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Housing option is celebrated

The $10.3 million project is a partnership between Jewish Housing and Programming (J-HAP) and Community Housing Development Corporation (CHDC), a nonprofit affordable housing developer.

Cornerstone Creek is affordable, independent housing that allows tenants to hold their own leased, control their finances, select their service provider and maintain their own private space.

“I think all of us want independence and control in our lives,” said Linda Bialick, founder, and chair of J-HAP’s board of directors. “We want to make sure adults with developmental disabilities have the same opportunity.”

Demand for housing for adults with disabilities is expected to rapidly increase in coming years as the population lives longer and their caregivers age. Nationally, nearly three-quarters of adults with developmental disabilities live with their parents or other relatives.

Affordability is important as many adults with developmental disabilities earn very low incomes. Recent studies report nearly one in three adults with disabilities live at or below the federal poverty level and a majority have no post-high-school education.

“CHDC has a 27-year history partnering with community-based organizations to address unmet, critical housing needs,” said Heidi Rathmann, senior vice president at CHDC. “Our role is to bring the real estate development and affordable housing finance expertise, serving as long-term owners and property managers.”

Cornerstone Creek is designed to help combat the isolation often experienced by adults with disabilities. Amenities include tenant lounges, a main floor multi-purpose room, an outdoor courtyard, community garden, two guest suites, and a fitness studio.

Enriched services provided by J-HAP include guidance in connecting tenants to the community activities of their choice, 24-hour front desk staff, tenant-inspired programming, fostering involvement with the general community, transportation coordination, support with service navigation, community education, optional meal plans and more. J-HAP’s enriched services are funded by foundations, corporations and private donors, adding no extra cost for tenants.

Bialick said she hopes the Cornerstone Creek model will be replicated across the country. “This is permanent housing where people can age in place. That gives families the reassurance of knowing that, after they’re gone, their loved one will continue to have an independent, full life surrounded by a supportive community.”


Lupus Link is group’s beneficiary

Lupus Link Minnesota will receive the assets of the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota. The foundation board made the announcement about its assets in April. The foundation opted to dissolve in the face of increasingly unsustainable economic circumstances and announce that decision in January. The dissolution process is winding down.

Lupus Link Minnesota will use the foundation’s assets, including the endowment that will continue to fund lupus research. Lupus Link Minnesota was chosen because the newly formed group shares the mission and vision of Lupus Foundation of Minnesota. Both groups share the goal to advance knowledge and mobilize people and resources to improve the lives of all Minnesotans and those beyond who are affected by lupus and related autoimmune diseases.


Jerome Foundation awards announced

Emerging Minnesota artists with disabilities have won awards funded by the Jerome Foundation. The awards, announced by Jerome Foundation and VSA Minnesota, recognize excellence by emerging Minnesota artists with disabilities and encourage them to create new work. The latest round of winners is the 21st in the program and was selected from a field of 55 applicants.

Winners, their hometowns, and areas of work are Ayesha Adu, Minneapolis, screenplay writing; Sarah Drake, Sauk Rapids, painting and mixed media; Ruth Lais, Minneapolis, mixed media; Luke Lynons, Minneapolis, ceramics; Carrie Salberg, White Bear Lake, creative non-fiction writing and Joey Schad, St. Paul, music performance.

All grantees are first-time Jerome grant recipients. The applications were selected by panelists with backgrounds in the written, visual and performing arts. From 1996 to 2017, 132 grant awards have gone to 102 individuals including writers, visual artists, performers, composers and multi-media artists. Twenty-six people have been repeating grant winners.


The Tap hosts Cow Tipping Press

The TAP, a social space for people of all abilities, hosted Cow Tipping Press’s spring author reading and book release event April 21. The TAP is housed at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul. Authors read their work to a receptive audience.

Cow Tipping Press offers writing classes for adults with developmental disabilities. The program has more than 60 alumni, who have taken classes and had their work published. Authors often share their work at readings.

Press founder Bryan Brice has a younger brother with developmental disabilities. Brice promotes writing and the sharing of work as ways to help give the writers a voice and to help everyone learn new ways to think about people with disabilities. Many readers said Cow Tipping writers have changed their perspectives about disability.

The writers take a class for several weeks, led by a teacher. Some participants can write themselves. Others need a personal care attendant or other staff to write their thoughts down.

Cow Tipping Press, which takes its name from the program’s first poem, has won Grinnell College’s Wall Award, been a finalist for Teach For America’s Social Innovation Award, been featured on local media outlets, and had its books used as diversity education tools in classrooms across the country, including by renowned author Kalia Yang.

Cow Tipping Press is sponsored by Springboard for the Arts and accepts donations. Go to to learn more.


Lindow-Davies steps down

After 16 years, Candace Lindow-Davies has stepped down as director of Minnesota Hands & Voices. She was honored last month by her many friends in the deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing community. Lindow-Davies is moving on as board president of Hands & Voices at the national level.

Lindow-Davies has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since its inception in 2000. She specializes in advocacy, equal access, and civil rights, and the needs of children who are deaf/hard of hearing “plus” – who have a disability or disabilities and are deaf or hard of hearing. She believes in finding common ground and working from that place to affect real, positive change.

She is a longtime Twin Cities resident. Her family includes a young adult son who is deaf, as well as her husband and daughter. She enjoys a variety of outdoor activities. Her family has been very involved in robotics. She loves mentoring students, particularly in order to open doors for females to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.


PrairieCare Fund announces grant winners

The PrairieCare Child & Family Fund has awarded more than $80,000 in grant funding to six Minnesota school districts to create programs to help educate and support school staff working with kids and families with mental health conditions.

The inaugural grant round brought in 19 applicants. Overall impact and program sustainability were factors in the programs chosen for funding, as was fundraising success and quality of proposals. The purpose is to support mental health innovations in education, services, and research.

Programs funded are Belle Plaine Public Schools ($9,428), Lakeville Area Public Schools ($29,899), Nevis Public Schools ($9,428), Rochester Public Schools ($11,412), South Washington County Public Schools ($13,350) and North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale District 222 ($7,820). Funding is for the 2017-2018 school year.

“This funding will help six unique school districts provide better mental health support for over 50,000 students,” said PrairieCare board member Sandy Nicholson.

Rhoda Michaelynn, the co-chair of the grants committee, said, “We received so many great proposals from the community, and were inspired to increase funding to impact more students and families.” The goal of this grant is to help create sustainable education programs for school staff to better identify and work with kids who may be struggling with mental health issues. Many of the proposals included regular staff education and seminars as well as curriculums that will be implemented into the daily educational routine for kids that promote resiliency and mental wellness.


Projects aim to improve quality of life for residents in Minnesota nursing homes

Nursing homes throughout Minnesota are launching a variety of initiatives to improve their quality of care for residents thanks to more than $6.7 million in funding through a Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) program.

Grants for a total of 38 projects in 87 communities will benefit 28 individual nursing homes and 10 nursing home collaborative efforts with capacity to serve more than 9,500 people. The nursing home initiatives aim for outcomes ranging from fewer infections and injuries, better sleep and less depression to more meaningful activities for residents and higher employee retention.

Under the Performance-based Incentive Payment Program (PIPP), nursing homes sign contracts with DHS to earn higher payments for implementing projects designed to make improvements in key areas that they identify. The funding is for the next one to two years.

“We want to make sure our seniors and all Minnesotans residing in nursing homes have access to the best quality care possible. This program not only helps improve nursing home quality overall, but it also gives these facilities opportunities to respond to emerging care, quality and workforce issues,” said Loren Colman, an assistant commissioner for DHS.

Examples of grants include:

• Developing chemical dependency treatment program in Minneapolis – Andrew Residence in Minneapolis will work to develop a program that incorporates chemical dependency treatment for residents who are diagnosed with both substance abuse and mental illness.

• Improving resident services in Cannon Falls – The Gardens at Cannon Falls will create a new dining service and weight loss program to help improve the quality of life and care for its residents.

• Reducing emergency room visits across Minnesota – Benedictine Health Systems, a collaborative of 17 facilities, will work together to reduce the number of emergency room visits and hospital admissions related to preventable infections.

• Expanding wellness and exercise offerings in Osakis–Community Memorial Home at Osakis plans to create and implement a wellness and exercise program and training for wellness/exercise technicians. This will allow the staff to deliver services more efficiently and ensure residents get consistent exercise and more activities.

• Improving the quality of care and employee retention in Sleepy Eye – Divine Providence Community Home in Sleepy Eye will use the PIPP grant to improve quality care by promoting higher employee retention. The facility plans to focus on revamping employees’ experiences through the onboarding process and creating a culture that makes employees want to stay.

• Healthier food options in Ostrander – Ostrander Care and Rehab plans to develop a new dining program with expanded food choices, allowing residents to request other foods and offering healthy snacks at all times.

Participants in this round of PIPP grants include facilities in Ada, Aitkin, Albert Lea, Albany, Alexandria, Annandale, Appleton, Apple Valley, Belgrade, Brainerd, Breckenridge, Browns Valley, Buffalo, Caledonia, Cambridge, Cannon Falls, Cokato, Cold Spring, Coon Rapids, Crookston, Dassel, Dawson, Duluth, Elk River, Eveleth, Farmington, Fergus Falls, Frazee, Glenwood, Grand Rapids, Greenbush, Hastings, Hibbing, Hopkins, Houston, International Falls, Lake City, Little Falls, Littlefork, Long Prairie, Madison, Maple Plain, Mapleton, Maplewood, Melrose, Milaca, Minneapolis, Monticello, Montevideo, Moorhead, Moose Lake, Morris, New Brighton, New Richland, New Ulm, New York Mills, Northfield, Osakis, Ostrander, Owatonna, Paynesville, Pine Island, Princeton, Red Wing, Renville, Rochester, Roseau, Sauk Centre, Shakopee, Sleepy Eye, Springfield, Staples, Starbuck, St. Cloud, St. Paul, St. Peter, Thief River Falls, Virginia, Wadena, Watertown, Watkins, Wheaton, White Bear Lake, Willmar, Windom, Winona and Zumbrota.


New vice president is named

Kim Feller has joined the management staff as vice president of programs and services with ProAct, Inc., a major disability service provider based in Eagan.

“I am pleased to have Kim Feller’s experience in advancing quality programs that suit our organization’s mission,” said ProAct President and CEO Steven Ditschler. “She has proven leadership in creating bold, new efforts.” Feller leads programs and services, with an emphasis on skills training, employment, community inclusion, and effective business engagement.

Her background includes 25 years with RESOURCE, Inc. in Minneapolis, where she last served as vice president of employment services and career education. During her tenure with RESOURCE, she provided leadership for a growing number of employment programs serving a broad base of participants with multiple barriers to self-sufficiency. This included assessment and employment programming for individuals with disabilities. She also expanded the career education programming from three to nine career tracks that included IT support, medical office and core manufacturing. Additionally, Feller secured licensure and accreditation as a post-secondary institution for adult learners with barriers and grew overall programming by 70 percent. The programming also expanded into outstate Minnesota.

Through a creative blending of RESOURCE’s chemical dependency, and the employment and career education programs, the organization secured funding from the State Legislature to improve skills training and employment opportunities for this population. Under Feller’s guidance, RESOURCE maintained its accreditation through, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. The commission gave RESOURCE gave commendations for the creative building of partnerships between Minnesota businesses and individuals with barriers in the areas of business-driven career education and employment.

Prior to her roles at RESOURCE, Feller served as the marketing director for a tour operator in the travel industry. After earning her college degree in English and speech communications, she moved to Minnesota to earn a radio and television broadcasting degree from Brown University. Feller continues to provide voice work for commercials and video productions. She lives in Eagan.

ProAct is headquartered in Eagan and has additional operations in Red Wing, Zumbrota and in Hudson, Wis.



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