Able Community Inc. FAQ

What is Able Community Inc.?

Able Community is made up of persons with and without disabilities building affordable cooperative housing (“co-housing”) for people with and without disabilities seeking employment. It is the first fully accessible and intentionally inclusive co-housing in the United States. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

What is our mission statement?

Redefining independence through self-directed personal care, employment, and community by building affordable co-housing for people with and without disabilities to create an alternative to living in nursing homes and having to depend on family for care.

What is our specific goal?

We desire to build an inclusive co-housing community committed to including people with disabilities, open to a wide range of incomes, skills, and capacities. We will be located in Chicago, specifically in a desirable neighborhood (2-3 miles from the city center) with employment potential and accessible public transit. It will have approximately 20 various sized apartment units and shared common space. People with disabilities will directly decide how to live and actively participate in the co-op. Personal care assistants may choose to receive co-op benefits (e.g., housing, meals, a share in our food purchasing program, health insurance, daycare, etc.) in lieu of, or in combination with, a salary for their services. To promote full inclusion, people without disabilities who are not personal care assistants will also be residents fully participating in the community. However, housing preference will be first given to people with disabilities and personal care assistants.

We will also offer office space and trainings on how to succeed at self-employment for people with disabilities struggling to find employment. We will improve care by offering personal care assistants co-op benefits; improve employment; and strengthen community. The co-op will be constructed with universal design, as well as being green and sustainable. Universal design means we will build everything to be usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of age, ability, or status in life.

What is co-housing?

Cooperatives are organizations owned and controlled by members who use its products, supplies and/or services. Cooperatives vary in purpose (e.g., food, daycare, housing, and labor co-ops), but all exist to meet members’ specific objectives and adapt to members’ changing needs; self-reliance and self-help in assisting one another through the collective democratic governance are essential for cooperatives.

Co-housing is collaborative cooperative housing with features of a typical home that also have shared spaces, like a shared kitchen and/or common rooms, where residents purposefully work together to create their own community. And no, we are not a commune.

Why are we doing this?

Able Community seeks to solve issues involving improving independence for people with disabilities, primarily in the areas of personal care, accessible housing, and employment. Please see our statistics page for more information on each of these areas.

Additionally, Illinois is one of the lowest ranked states in terms of serving people with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities in the community. As of 2011, they still had 2,034 residents in large state facilities and 33,114 people waiting for home care based services. In other words, it is extremely difficult for people with disabilities to obtain decent, safe, affordable, and accessible housing. Most housing discrimination complaints are based on disability.

We are also doing this because we believe in community.  People without disabilities are realizing the importance of community; many think that the idea of community is lost in today’s society. This might be particularly true for people with disabilities, who already have difficulty with isolation. However, this will improve when people live in the community.

Who are we?

Please see our member bios.

How are we funded?

We are obtaining grants as a 501(c)(3). However, we also need help from you to make this project happen! Please consider donating to us. Your donations will be 100% tax deductible.

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