Community Living Program Helps People with Developmental Disabilities Live Independently - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Community Living Program Helps People with Developmental Disabilities Live Independently

Posted: Updated:

YAKIMA, Wash-- State budget cuts may close Yakima Valley School for severely disabled children and adults. Community living advocates want to make you aware of other options.

The apartments on 41st Avenue don't stand-out on the block. And well, that's kind of the point. You wouldn't know that they're home to people with developmental disabilities, living with the aid of caregivers.

"I think for so many years residential programs try to blend in so much into the community that we've been kind of hidden for such a long time that there are so many people that don't know what we do," said Randy Howk, regional director, Community Living.

Alberta, a women with developmental disabilities, shares an apartment with her roommate, Maureen.

"I like living here," said Alberta.

Alberta lives semi-independently with the help of a caregiver through the Community Living program. Erica Salazar cleans, prepares meals and assists the women as a paid caregiver.

"We treat them as normal people, they just need a little more help that's all," said Salazar.

Community Living helps 64 people in Sunnyside and Yakima live in their own apartment. The people they assist have a range of needs. Clients range from almost complete independence to needing 24/7 medical care.

"In fact some folks in our program require feeding tubes and two person transfers and that sort of thing. So it's pretty substantial," said Howk.

Alberta said she likes living in her apartment as she lists all of her caregivers. Randy said community living is a good option for all people with developmental disabilities.

"I think most people could [live this way], if not all," said Howk.

Howk said Community Living has the resources to help more people. To learn more go to the Web site: