The Housing Design Standards for Accessibility and Inclusion equip designers, builders, and developers with guidelines and frameworks for disability-forward housing creation. It highlights cross-disability accessibility and design decisions that are anchored in inclusion. Each month we feature one of our partners and the Element they’re most excited about.
Kyle Gaughan / Resident Services Director / The Kelsey
This month, we highlight, Kyle Gaughan, The Kelsey’s Resident Services Director responsible for ensuring a superior resident experience for all residents. His favorite element aligns perfectly with his job function, Inclusion Supports and Services Personnel. Access and inclusion don’t end after a building is built, but extend into how a community is operated, what services are provided, and how staff support a culture of belonging. Kyle’s favorite element is part of the “Operations and Amenities” Design Category of the Housing Design Standards for Accessibility and Inclusion. This element ensures that communities include on-site staff who are familiar, involved and hands-on when making sure all residents are set-up to thrive. These staff members are not only trained in inclusion, disability, supports and services, they are also actively on site bringing residents together and connecting them to local resources. At The Kelsey, our communities include these critical team members in our Inclusion Concierge™ program (more on that in the Learn Center). Kyle calls these personnel the “inviters, connectors, and engagers” who serve as the “heart and soul of community living.”
Element Name: Inclusion Supports and Services Personnel (6.1)
Level 1 – (intermediate) A dedicated staff trained in inclusion, disability, supports, and services on staff to:
- Assists with wayfinding, assistive technology like listening devices, etc
- Provides assistance to visitors with disabilities
- Manages events and promotes social connections for all residents, promoting long-term residency
- Manages outreach and engagement with the neighborhood community outside the building
- Assists with connecting residents to services they require
Level 2 – (Advanced) A dedicated staff trained in inclusion, disability, supports, and services on staff to:
- Lead inclusion services and support training and development for all staff, residents and community
- Build trust and rapport with residents with disabilities and support with personalized housing access goals that are centered upon the residents’ goals and identified needs
- Manage events and promote social connections for all residents, promoting long-term residency
- Manage outreach and engagement with the neighborhood community outside the building and develops ongoing resources
- Assess existing community services; identify and outreach to potential community services to connect residents to services they require
- Trained in personal care supports and networks to be able to find emergency personal care support services to step in when a resident’s attendant is unavailable
Design Category: Operations & Amenities
Impact Area(s): Support Services
Additional Benefit(s): Racial Equity, Safety
Why is this element important to you, personally or for the project?
Inclusion Supports and Services Personnel will be the inviters, connectors, and engagers at future disability-forward development sites, which I believe is the heart and soul of community living. By having active staff on site to connect individuals to local resources and bring people together, it will foster opportunities for residents to meet neighbors from all walks of life, promoting connection and growth. This element reinforces the importance of interdependence that creates connections and a sense of belonging making a richer resident experience for everyone.
How would you explain this element to a 2nd grader?
This element, The Inclusion Supports and Services Personnel, requires leaders who live and work at the apartment building to help residents in order to live independently. Some residents will need help with chores, like cooking and laundry, these staff can connect residents to this help. These staff play the very important role of supporting all residents while also creating fun gatherings like art classes and game days.
What recommendations would you make to someone designing a disability-forward housing project (related to the design standards)?
Incorporating Inclusion Supports and Services Personnel at a housing project not only will help residents obtain additional in-home support (if necessary) but also increase housing satisfaction and reduce turnover for all residents.