The OUR Home Vision
- To eliminate segregation, isolation, and helplessness
- To support reciprocity, purpose and fun
- To provide beauty, nature and community
We’ve moved away from hometowns and extended family. We’ve moved our families from our city centers to the suburbs. We leave our neighbors on the outside by going from garage to house, eschewing the front porch. We’ve moved our elderly, our people with low incomes and those with disabilities into developments, facilities and group homes; segregating and grouping based on needs and deficits
Removing our more vulnerable populations from the natural vigilance and support of family, friends and community increases the risk of their isolation, abuse and neglect. This removal from community incurs costs not just for our at-risk populations, but for the health and wellbeing of our society as a whole. Equity is lost when we deny diversity in our neighborhoods. The premise that a quality life for people at-risk equals removal from an extended and diverse community needs to be reevaluated.
How we build neighborhoods that embrace the diversity of our elders, our community members with disabilities and those with lower income and how we thrive together in these neighborhoods are questions that need to be addressed by every society. Until recently, the models of housing and care in this country took their inspiration from the mechanization of industry and agriculture: efficiency of production resulting from economies of scale. It was believed by grouping those with similar needs and deficits together, services could be provided more efficiently and at a lower cost.
As the families and founders of Our Home, ICC, we base our vision on the understanding that this type of grouping, based on deficit and need, has unforeseen costs both financially and societally. When vulnerable populations are removed from the community at large, the result is too often permanent isolation, neglect and abuse. Medical and other support costs rise as individuals become increasingly dependent upon institutionalized supports. Ironically, when the natural supports available from family, neighbors, friends, community organizations and local businesses are in place, these costs drop, quality of life improves and outcomes are more positive. The wisdom of the ‘group, isolate, and exclude’ housing model is being increasingly challenged.
The eight principles
1. Diversity - people together based on individual values, strengths and interests vs deficits, needs, diagnosis, income or age – preventing segregation.
2. Community - people who care about each other vs paid to care for each other –preventing social isolation and system dependency.
3. Proximity - Create an environment where proximity builds familiarity and companionship – preventing loneliness and failure to thrive.
4. Natural and Supported Interactions - Easy access to spontaneous, casual interactions as well as on-going intentional activities designed to support collaboration and community in which unexpected and unpredictable exchanges and happenings can take place - preventing isolation.
5. Reciprocity - A strength based community creates opportunity to give as well as receive – preventing helplessness.
6. Purpose - Meaningless activity corrodes the human spirit. The opportunity to do things that we find meaningful is essential to human health and gives us purpose.
7. Beauty - Create an aesthetically pleasing, maintenance and energy efficient, ecologically sensitive environment where life revolves around close and continuing contact with neighbors, plants, animals, and children. It is these relationships that provide a pathway to a life worth living.
8. Growth and Flexibility - Creating an intentional community is a never-ending process. Human growth must never be separated from human life.