Robbie and Beth’s Housing Story

Robbie, white young adult male sitting in his bedroom, with a wooden giraffe behind him. He is smiling, wearing glasses, and a crown on his head.

Beth Goddard and Robbie Batista participated in The Kelsey’s Together We Can Do More Report in 2019, and are based in Redwood City, California. Beth’s son Robbie is 20 years old, has a chromosomal abnormality and developmental disabilities. Beth works at Kainos Home & Training Center in Redwood City and is the President of Friends of L’Arche SF Bay Area.

Even as someone who has a deep understanding of the housing process through my professional role at Kainos and my longtime volunteering with L’Arche, the housing process has been incredibly challenging. It’s the reason why 5 years ago I started researching every housing option available, an effort to prepare my son Robbie (and myself) for living on his own. What’s tough is everywhere I turn has a waiting list, and even if I find an available unit, it’s extremely expensive. It feels like I need at least $1 million dollars to ensure a place, which can be overwhelming.

When it comes to Robbie’s housing interest, they’re grand, his ideal home would be living in Africa . . . going on safaris . . . and eating cheeseburgers everyday. But while the specifics are unlikely, we know he doesn’t want to live alone, prefers having a roommate, wants to be surrounded by friends, and regularly spend time outdoors. Living in a home where he can be supported by a network of people who look out for him, is something I, as his parent, would appreciate, knowing he’s safe and happy.

For Robbie, his neighborhood, and the places he can go near his home matter just as much as what’s in it. Outdoor space is something he enjoys, because he loves hiking, camping, swimming, and going on walks in our neighborhood to find dogs to pet and play with. Whether it’s doing outdoor activities, visiting his favorite animals at the local zoo, or getting around the Bay, he often wants to use public transportation, CalTrain especially. So, when we learned that The Kelsey will offer free city transit cards for residents, it gives me a sense of how liberating living there will be for residents.

As a family of 6, we love each of our children. Robbie is one of 4 boys in our blended family. And when it comes to Robbie we know our job as his parents isn’t much different: they each deserve the chance to live on their own. One day, Robbie will have to, and until then we’ll continue to share him with the world. He has a lot to offer, and the housing community he chooses will be lucky to have him.

Stories by The Kelsey are collected to illustrate the housing issues facing people with disabilities and elevate the voices of adults with disabilities and their families. A complete list of Stories is organized here. If you’d like to share your housing story, contact us today.

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