LSC Host Home Program Expanding

By Katie Scarvey, Lutheran Services Carolinas

Adults with intellectual disabilities have not always had many supported living options other than group homes. Recognizing that a group setting is not the right environment for all individuals with intellectual disabilities, Lutheran Services Carolinas is now offering what are known as host homes.

Based on a national model, a host home is a private home where an individual with intellectual disabilities receives support and services while living as independently as possible with a host family in a safe and caring atmosphere. Host home caregivers are trained and provide care in their own homes, similar to a foster care model, but typically for adults.

In South Carolina, LSC already serves individuals with intellectual disabilities through 29 host homes in the Midlands, Pee Dee, and Lowcountry regions, as well as through 10 group homes (four adults per home with 24-hour professional caregivers).

Host families are recruited and trained by LSC and undergo a rigorous licensing process. With ongoing supervision and support by LSC, host families provide personalized care and programming to help the client with I/DD achieve goals.

“Host homes are made for individuals to have more of a homelike setting with many opportunities for teaching moments,” said Chaz Harris, regional team manager for LSC.
Clients get help, tailored to their needs and abilities, with cooking, cleaning, and hygiene. During the day, they may work or volunteer in the community.

Some of the adults who live in LSC host homes had previously lived in group homes, transitioning into host homes when they were ready.

The host home option has also enabled some young adults who had been in foster care as minors to continue living in the same household, with the same caregiver, after they turn 21. Johnathan W., for example, began living with Rosa as his foster parent when he was nine. When he aged out of the foster care program at 21 recently, he was able to continue living with Rosa, thanks to the host home program.

LSC’s current host home program grew by 156 percent in 2017, and huge potential exists for the program to grow and serve many more individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. As part of its push to increase and enhance services in South Carolina, $200,000 of the Love One Another campaign funds will go toward bringing host homes to the
Greenville/Spartanburg region.

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