With over 30 residential homes and growing, TLC is always looking for the perfect living situations.
Home is much more than a roof over their heads for Typical Life Corporation individuals in the organization’s Residential Program. It’s a safe retreat in a world that doesn’t always appreciate or understand their unique circumstances.
Finding the perfect residences for individuals to call home can be difficult, says Jeff Bass, TLC director of Properties and Purchasing.
“I appreciate that there’s people in this world who are so unselfish,” Jeff says of the team at TLC. “If I have a small piece in helping them change lives, that’s what I’m here for.”
The Ideal House
Finding the perfect home takes a certain amount of finesse. When setting out to find that perfect property, Jeff takes care to examine the specialized list he has cultivated over the years to ensure it’s a long-term option for any individual.
This includes counting the number of stairs, noting if there is a second story, or a sunken living room. Mobility challenges are a part of many individuals’ daily living at TLC; because of this, Jeff takes great care to ensure that current and future needs are always taken into account.
Through his many years with TLC, Jeff has found that a ranch style home is the best fit for individuals to maintain a high quality of living, at home.
It’s not only the stairs that Jeff looks out for — the type of heating system, the sewer hookup, and the number of bedrooms — all play a role in finding the perfect home. But the most important aspect, Jeff says, is the layout.
Can an individual easily navigate through doorways with a wheelchair?
Is every room open and easily accessible?
Apart from in-home amenities, a location close to shopping and services is ideal as TLC strives to ensure individuals regularly are active within their local communities.
Parking is always a challenge that Jeff takes into account. With a house vehicle on-site and staff on hand 24/7, the driveway might need to accommodate five cars at any time.
Being Good Neighbors
In one of his first searches for TLC housing, Jeff connected with Rob Stuart, a sales associate with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. Rob not only directed Jeff to potential homes but sold Jeff the home next to his own and welcomed TLC individuals to the neighborhood.
That’s the kind of neighbor Jeff hopes every TLC Residential Program individual gets to have.
Each neighborhood is so important to the individuals — to feel safe to take a walk, to feel included in neighborhood activities, or just to know there is somewhere there in an emergency.
So many times, there have been instances of not only a friendly wave or conversation, but assistance in a snowstorm, a concerned call when a neighbor hasn’t seen someone out, or just knowing that they feel part of the community.
Finding a Forever Home
As TLC celebrates its 21st year, many of the individuals have aged alongside the organization.
This experience has helped Jeff and TLC realize that not all its current homes are the best long-term fit for individuals. Those that require a lot of maintenance or have many steps, for instance, are not friendly to help individuals age in place.
Instead, Jeff works diligently to be strategic about finding both purchased and rented homes that are more ideal, where individuals can live in all stages of their life.
“We’re looking for lifetime occupancy,” Jeff says. “We need to find something that’s stable in their lives and not have to move them around every couple of years.”
That process has become much more difficult in the rental market recently. Challenges often emerge when landlords realize it’s not an individual, but a nonprofit organization applying. Yet, with the amount of love and care Jeff puts into the properties, TLC is frequently heralded as ideal tenants and renters.
“We take care of our homes better than most renters,” Jeff says. “We even have our own maintenance team.”
TLC strives to make every residential program a lifelong home for our individuals. It takes a certain finesse to find the right homes to purchase within the parameters of a non-profit budget. Jeff, Rob, and the team at TLC stretch every dollar and work each connection to press on — searching for the perfect home. For TLC, ensuring individuals feel the love that is put into the home finding process is a reward.