An Innovative Housing Solution for Adults with Autism
Sweetwater Spectrum is a community within a community in downtown Sonoma, California. Our residents can choose supported living services by a vendorized service agency through the North Bay Regional Center. Supported living services (SLS) are a type of vendor service in California. Each member of our community has an individualized program—tailored to his or her specific needs, capabilities and expanding choices.
Five important principles set supported living services apart from other kinds of services. These are:
A Home of One’s Own—Residents at Sweetwater live in a home that they rent like other members of their community. Residents choose where they live and with whom. They control what happens in their home. Their housing lease is separate from their services so they are secure in their home.
Choice and Self-Direction—Residents at Sweetwater make their own everyday choices and plan for their own futures. They direct the services they receive and have a choice of staff. Individuals are supported to communicate their preferences, choices and needs. The design of the property maximizes choice—whether it be gardening, exercising, taking an evening class or simply relaxing with friends watching a movie in the community building. But residents also have ample private space when they desire quiet moments.
Relationships—Residents are assisted in developing a network of family, friends and neighbors. A circle of support works together as a team with the supported living agency. Sweetwater is designed to encourage participation from volunteers in the area, leveraging the best skills found in the local community. The community building has a teaching kitchen, an exercise room and is surrounded by extensive gardens, orchards and greenhouses which attract local volunteers to join in and support residents to live healthy, fulfilling lives.
Community Membership —Residents can fully participate in the mainstream of community life according to personal preference. They have opportunities to join clubs, groups, organizations, and religious institutions. Sonoma has many opportunities for our residents to become actively involved. Our site is only four blocks from the central square where residents can be a part of the weekly Farmers Market. Sonoma Community Center offers classes and events for all town residents. The Sweetwater site is also only one block from the Sonoma’s bike path which allows safe transit to town.
Flexible, Tailored Support—Individual Service Plans are developed through a person-centered planning process with the SLS provider. Service plans reflect the support that each individual wants and needs. These plans change as wants and needs change. Residents have opportunities to increase their abilities, confidence and quality of life. Services can be coordinated through the state’s regional center system. Sonoma is part of the North Bay Regional Center (NBRC) headquartered in Napa, California. Our philosophy and development have the full support of the NBRC.