Jupiter, Florida (November 28, 2017) – The Special Needs Advisory Coalition of Palm Beach County, in partnership with Els for Autism Foundation at The Els Center of Excellence, hosted their inaugural Special Needs Housing Solutions Summit November 17th & 18th in Jupiter, Florida with nearly 100 attendees. Parents of adults with disabilities frequently ask, "Who will take care of my loved one, and where will they live when I’m gone?" The summit was designed to specifically equip family members of such adults to respond to this multi-faceted question. To do this, agencies with residential and support services and housing providers from throughout Florida and the U.S. attended to share their expertise and experience through educational workshops and panel discussions. Attendees ranged from those just learning what questions to ask to those who understand the gaps and wanted to collaborate with other parents and providers to piece together supportive housing solutions. Thirty-two of our attendees signed-up to serve on a special task force that will take information learned from the Summit, specifically outcomes of our Palm Beach County Special Needs Housing SWOT analysis, and determine follow-up actions and activities to be launched in 2018.
The Summit agenda started with an opening night reception on Friday November 17th in the El’s Center’s newly opened Pavilion and Sensory Arts Garden. The all-day Summit on Saturday, November 18th, featured nearly thirty (30) presenters and speakers leading workshops and conversations about housing issues that matter to our community. The Summit also offered local and national keynote speakers, seventeen (17) break-out sessions/workshops, lunch to attendees and an opportunity for the community to come together and collaborate.
"The Summit was a top priority of the Special Needs Advisory Coalition's Housing Task Force", said Sharon Alexander, CEO, Unicorn Children's Foundation. "The Summit was made possible by the extremely talented and dedicated members of our SNAC Housing Task Force, as well as, generous sponsors, volunteers and partners. A tremendous Thank You to everyone who played a role in making the Special Needs Housing Solutions Summit a reality and a huge success!" said Ms. Alexander. Kerri Morse, EdD, Adult Services Manager at the Els for Autism Foundation and Summit Chairperson said," It is a pleasure working with families and community members that are ready to change the discussion from, “What housing options are available for adults with special needs” to “Let’s create housing options for adults with special needs.” "We can’t just look for answers, we need to begin creating them".
Plans are already being made for another Special Needs Housing Solutions Summit in the fall of 2018, creating another exciting opportunity for the community to come together and collaborate. More information about the Summit and presenters/speakers may be found at www.snachousingsummit.org.
About SNAC of Palm Beach County In 2014, Unicorn Children’s Foundation (UCF) initiated a comprehensive Community Needs Assessment (CNA) supported by a mix of public and private sponsors (Autism Project of Palm Beach County, Autism After 21, Children’s Services Council, Els for Autism Foundation, Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, Palm Beach County (including the Youth Services and Community Services Departments), Quantum Foundation, Ruth and Norman Rales Jewish Family Services, and The Taft Foundation). Based on extensive public participation, The State of Special Needs in Palm Beach County highlighted the absence of a comprehensive, integrated system of care to meet the changing needs of the estimated 12% of the county’s population with disabilities throughout their lifespan.
This resulted in the formation of the Special Needs Advisory Coalition (SNAC) in 2015, a group whose 260 representatives of 100 participating organizations formed task forces to address:
This Housing Solutions conference is a top priority of the Housing Task Force, along with a consulting Housing Navigator to identify options and provide guidance to family members and individuals in need here in Palm Beach County. For more information about SNAC and how to get involved, please contact Tony Beall, SNAC Facilitator & Strategist at Tony@all4civicengagement.org
Our mission is to provide a comprehensive, integrated system of care which supports and connects individuals with special needs and disabilities and their families to community- based services and opportunities.
Our vision is a community that comes together to enhance the lives of individuals with special needs and disabilities and provide opportunities for meaningful engagement throughout Palm Beach County.