FAQs

Find answers to questions you may have about donating, our housing communities and development, or about our advocacy work.

Projects

We are a co-owner and co-developer of both of our current the projects, The Kelsey Civic Center and The Kelsey Ayer Station. In our pilot community, The Kelsey at Atlas, we run our program within a larger independent development. Our model is to partner with co-developers that understand the local market and have expertise in design and construction or support developments in progress to be more disability inclusive. We also provide technical assistance to individuals and organizations that seek to build inclusive housing by: identifying and securing sites; recommending funding sources for the project; designing a unit mix that will be inclusive and mutually supportive; overseeing building design for accessibility; identifying and vetting partners for design, development and operations; and managing amenities like the Inclusion Concierge program.

Yes they are! We define inclusive pretty specifically. Housing is not segregated, separated, or specialized. This means communities include homes for residents who are both people with and without disabilities. Units and housing experiences are the same quality for all residents.  Additionally, at The Kelsey inclusion means more than simply integrating homes together. We also deliver thoughtful, but optional, efforts in design and programming to foster interaction, understanding, and connection across people of all abilities and backgrounds to create a sense of belonging within a mutually supportive community. 

Our buildings are not leasing yet, but to sign up here for updates when they do. Currently, all our units are rentals, but we will explore ownership opportunities in the future. Most residents will qualify based on income for homes we offer through a lottery process. Additionally, we reserve a percentage of homes for people with disabilities.

Our affordable homes include housing in mixed income communities for individuals with an annual household income between 20%-80% Area Median Income (AMI). We’re specifically focused on building as many homes as possible priced for people at the lowest incomes, including those who rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and those in the middle incomes. Our research and focus groups found these groups of individuals were often the most underserved in affordable housing. 

Yes. In our ground-up communities we co-develop at The Kelsey, we approach accessibility looking beyond code-requirements and practice Universal Design, deploy design strategies that support cross-disability accessibility, and ensure all spaces and units are either accessible or easily adaptable. The Kelsey takes accessibility into consideration from site selection, to community space and unit design, to programming decisions and tenant policies. We look at accessibility for a diverse disability community and a diverse set of access needs. To us, accessibility is more than someone in a wheelchair who can use their restroom (which is a must!), but taking a thoughtful approach to all aspects of the development process, so people with different disabilities are included in the community. 

We are service-linked, service ready housing. This means we design our buildings with the service needs of our future residents in mind and then provide support to develop connections and to navigate all the resources available in the surrounding community to support our residents’ housing, independent living, and community engagement goals. Our design includes features like shared offices and lounges where residents can meet with their service providers and in our development process, we identify leading service partners in the region. Once operational, The Kelsey supports a “bring your own services” model in partnership with the local community service providers, where residents will maintain their in-home care services and housing support needs.  Our on-site Inclusion Concierge™ support service coordination and navigation, community programs and events, neighbor connections, and cultivating informal support networks for our residents who desire.

We don’t operate homes and we don’t provide direct services like personal cleaning, feeding, caregiving, therapy, etc. — though we are happy to support our residents to figure out the available resources within the community to connect with.

We have lots of resources available in our Learn Center on The Kelsey’s approach, philosophy, and strategies. Beyond that you can also connect with our team in our monthly office hours which we share in our Field Notes — sign up here. We also provide some technical assistance and are open to co-development opportunities. 

The Kelsey is not a direct housing or service provider, which means we cannot help people find housing. If you want to find out more about becoming a future resident of The Kelsey, sign up for project updates to be notified we start the leasing process. 

Advocacy

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability is defined as an “impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity only as a result of the attitudes of others toward them; or doesn’t have any impairment, but is treated as if having an impairment.”

At The Kelsey, we believe that disability is an invaluable part of human diversity. Our understanding of disability is rooted in the social model of disability, intersectionality, and movements for disability rights and justice. We respect and support how people choose to identify about their disabilities. 

We use a cross-disability approach in our policy, advocacy, and field building. Cross-disability means we do not focus on any one type of disability, but on the range of disabilities, from intellectual and developmental, physical, mental health, chronic illness, sensory and so on. We believe that a cross-disability approach can build greater power and strengthen our ability to create more inclusive, affordable, and accessible housing. 

In our housing developments, we are always grounded in cross-disability inclusion but on some projects also focus on specific types of disabilities or service systems for whom the community, amenities, or designs most meet their needs. 

After years of research, focus groups, site visits, meetings, conversations, and interviews, we found that inclusive housing benefits are desirable because inclusive housing values diverse relationships and understands the value community can have on resident happiness. Our research confirms that inclusive, community-based living is possible for all people who desire it if the needed service and support infrastructure exists alongside inclusive living models because:

  • Inclusion is desirable.
  • Inclusion aligns with policy and best practices.
  • Inclusion fosters community awareness and engagement.
  • Inclusion supports financial sustainability.

For all these reasons and more we remain committed to housing advocacy and development that does not segregate or isolate people with disabilities but creates truly inclusive integrated homes.

Our advocacy focuses on building greater coherence across disability rights, and affordable housing; and alignment in disability, and housing policy and practice. We support national advancements in disability and inclusive housing, with an emphasis on the San Francisco Bay Area where our first communities are located.

The Kelsey’s advocacy specifically centers on unlocking new funding and advancing policies that increase the production of accessible, affordable, inclusive housing. We also support our housing and disability rights partners, in their work, to protect and preserve housing that is inclusive, accessible, and affordable to people with disabilities. 

If you have an advocacy initiative you’d like to share with us for support contact us here. You can also tag us on social media @TheKelseyMore and we’re happy to elevate your work.

The expertise and leadership of people with disabilities is critical to all parts of The Kelsey’s work.  People with disabilities are members of The Kelsey staff, Board of Directors, and are paid consultants. Through initiatives like Raise the Roof, we train and support disabled advocates who want to work and/or advocate in the housing field. All advocates we work with make their own decisions, but we respect when a family and/or loved ones want to get involved. 

Our work must be co-led and supported by people with all types of disabilities and others with related lived experiences to disability and housing. It is critical to ensure that people with disabilities who have historically been underrepresented in housing and disability rights are centered. This includes disabled people who are Black Indigenous People of Color, LGBTQIA, immigrants, and those who have experienced housing insecurity homelessness, and those who hold other marginalized identities. 

Collaboration and community partnerships are central to our mission. You can engage with The Kelsey as a partner, donor, co-developer, or community leader. Involvement opportunities include joining an advocacy initiative, hosting a fundraiser, co-developing housing, accessing resources on our Learn Center, hosting a fundraiser, or sharing your own housing story.  We also host regular events, like Inclusion Hours, that are open to the community. If you’re interested in exploring co-development, in need of technical assistance, or want to explore other partnership opportunities contact us.

The Kelsey is named after Kelsey O’Connor. We consider her a co-founder with her cousin Micaela, our CEO. Kelsey had multiple disabilities and was an advocate for inclusion throughout her life. 

Donate

All donations are tax deductible. We are 501c3. EIN Number is 84-2909645. 

We receive funding from diverse sources, including foundations, private donors, corporations, and public entities. Our organization is initially seeded and supported with philanthropic gifts leveraged to unlock additional public and private funds that support individual project development.

Our philanthropy partners provide support both for broader organization efforts and project-specific capital. Gifts of all levels make an impact.

Organization funding supports community organizing, advocacy, ongoing programs, and general operating expenses. This fund supports programs at The Kelsey like Raise the Roof, Inclusion Hours, and our Learn Center. They serve individuals and communities nationally. Organization unrestricted funding also supports early project exploration and acquisition that allow us to move faster to develop inclusive housing. 

Project-specific investment include donated and concessionary lending capital to develop inclusive housing communities. Naming opportunities are also available in all of our current projects in development.  Contact us to explore naming opportunities or other capital needs.

In 2020, our annual budget is about $850,000. From January 2018 to May 2020, we were a fiscally sponsored organization through Community Solutions, Inc. Their 2018 audited financial statements and 2018 990 (which include our project expenditures) are available upon request.  A 2019 audited financial statement and 990 for The Kelsey will be available upon request in late 2020. 

Get involved and join us with your support.