Host Homes: Finding a Match That Will Last
June 05, 2019
Ten minutes to share their favorite Host Home stories– that was the assignment. The Foothills Gateway Residential team lit up when this challenge was presented. It was an inspiring scene, watching this team ignite with genuine care and excitement for the people they support.
Nine inspiring stories in ten minutes. Nine people whose lives have improved because of successful Host Home placements. Nine matches between individuals with disabilities, the right Host Home Provider, and the right environment to foster success.
Foothills Gateway’s Residential Director Judy Tomcak, put it simply: “It’s all about the right match, and when you hit it, you just hit it!”
So, What is a Host Home?
A Host Home is similar to a foster home for an adult with an intellectual/developmental disability that places a high priority on finding a match that will last. The Host Home Provider helps with everything that person needs, from transportation, to setting medical appointments, and staying home to care for them when they are sick.
“It is a huge commitment,” Clinical Nurse Manager Shauna Poquette said. “In many ways, Host Homing is similar to having a family member to care for. You are their first call, providing the care and support they need in any circumstance.”
The Foothills Gateway Residential Program prepares each Host Home Provider for a variety of situations with extensive training, and also provides consistent communication, medical oversight, follow up, and accessible support with a 24-hour on-call system.
A Match That Will Last
As a Person-Centered organization, Foothills Gateway is focused on helping people with disabilities to live the lives they want. When the Residential team is looking for a Host Home Provider match for someone, they consider many different aspects of the person’s life, including:
- Goals and dreams
- Daily routines
- What’s important for them to live a healthy life (nutrition, medications, therapies)
- What brings them joy
- What is, and is not, working in their life
For example, if the individual wants to spend more time in their community enjoying outdoor events and participating in activities, the Residential team will look for a Host Home Provider who has an active lifestyle and would take the time necessary to provide those types of experiences for the person who will live in their home.
A successful Host Home placement consists of considerations like the example above, combined with personal compatibility and a focus on the details that would further enrich the individual’s life.
This Foothills Gateway program has a history of successful placements, with matches lasting 15 years on average. “Whether we have five minutes or five months, our focus is finding the best match possible. The outcome is pretty amazing,” one Program Supervisor said.
Chief Operating Officer, Erin Eulenfeld, explained, “The relationships people build, and the love providers have for the individuals they serve, really make the program what it is. (Individuals) become part of the Host Home family, which provides new opportunities that people with disabilities would not have otherwise.”
One Host Home Provider shared: “Initially, I went into host homing believing I could enrich someone else’s life and make it better for them. After 12 years of being a Host Home Provider, it’s humbling to admit that it is the exact opposite. MY life has been enriched and made better! I get to witness daily, their unique perspective and absolutely beautiful outlook on life. I see their sense of wonder and awe for things I take for granted. These amazing human beings started out as clients, and quickly became a part of my family. For that, I am forever grateful.”
Interested? Learn how to get involved here!